Friday, October 2, 2015

we are out of is balanced this weekend

While we were up at John's parents, after my hospital stay back in July....yes it has taken me that long to post about it.....we snuck away for the day to a few spots we have visited before but always re-visit because they are just that awesome that you have to go back.

First my most favourite little pottery studio.  Chetolah Pottery.  I picked up the most beautiful bowl. Her stuff is just so unique and beautiful.  

I have been using this often for my cereal in the morning.  I have tea cups I use daily from other visits.  I follow Tara on instagram and just love seeing the new things she is creating.  

We then took Amber and her friend to the Dorset Lookout Tower.  John and I did not climb up....I don't think my energy levels at that point would have allowed me to due to my hospital adventure (thankfully I am back to my old self....even back running again!) but the girls were up the tower and back down before we knew it.  We walked out onto the one lookout and Amber had snapped this photo of John taking a selfie of us.  My stance on selfies is that they are relatively narcissistic and make you look stupid unless you are with your special someone, a baby or child, or a furry being and even then it is iffy......if you post too many it cancels out any acceptance of them what so ever or if you buy a selfie stick...honestly people.....please don't do that.....please do not waste your money on a selfie stick.  Get someone to take the photo or use a self timer if you can't capture what you want within arms length.  This one passes because I am with someone special and I never do the selfie thing.  I love the the photo Amber took more then the actual selfie to be honest.  

We ended up visiting the Haliburton Wolf Centre.  We have gone there before twice.  One year we saw the wolves.  The other year we did not.  This year we saw all the wolves.  Nine in total including three pups.  It is amazing that the centre has been able to continue.  A few years back people claiming to help these beautiful animals cut the fences and four wolves escape.  Two of those wovles were shot.  So much for helping them.  It was so sad to learn of this on our second visit there. Thankfully they were able to get a new male that the females wolves accepted as their alpha but for quite sometime there was uncertainty.  They have been able to have pups which is very important.  Wolves are painted in such a negative light and so being able to preserve them is important.  They are so beautiful.  We got some pretty amazing photos through the one way glass....unfortunately a lot of the photos are on my camera and with the whole my computer sucks dilemma....getting them off is not a task I can take on at this point.  So I had a few that I did get.



This is one of the pups.  Last year they had pups that died.  They try not to interfere.  Last year the pups died from worms.  So this year they did tranquillize the momma and they went into the den when the pups where ten days old and treat them for worms.  Without the help they may not have survived.  Humans have done a lot that has made their survival very tough.  I am glad there are places like this that are helping to keep the wolf population thriving and healthy. 


While we were there we got to wander down and see all the beautiful husky sled dogs.  They allow you to go into the female pen and love and pet the dogs.  Here they are all waiting for us to be allowed in.  They don't let you go into the male pen because many of the males are not fixed and will pee on you to claim you.  So females it was.


I am telling you it was an amazing experience.  They are the most loving dogs and they just took all the love  in.  The fella in charge knew all their names.  I am not sure how he knew....with 70 dogs that has to be tough.  He pointed out the siblings.  He called to one dog, that was gently nipping at John's legs, to give it a break.  I guess that was her thing...little nibbles.  Honestly they were all so beautiful.

This old gal was a retired sled dog.  I believe she was 12 years old.  She was happy in the shade waiting for you to come to her.

You can actually adopt retired dogs.  I think it would be amazing to do that one day.  If I could have, I would have snagged this sweetheart away!!!  

Porscha is home this weekend.  It is nice.  Life feels balanced with her here.  We are out of milk again.....the first time since she left.  I had given milk to my neighbour the other week because it was close to expiring and was not getting used quick to say she is our milk drinker!!  We have a bit of a busy weekend ahead with the Taylor Swift concert tonight for Porscha and Amber, a wedding tomorrow (my cousin) and Shel has another Comic Con Sunday (costume is about two hours from done).  I am looking forward to Monday....slow and easy with little obligation.  

Monday, September 21, 2015

life is beauty full

Things have been a little busy the last few weeks. It all started with some sewing projects I took on. Well first let me start by saying these sewing projects revolved around Porscha leaving the nest for the first time. She was accepted into a program at a college about three hours away. She is staying in a townhouse with three house mates on campus and she has navigated it all very well so far. I miss her but not in a pining.....oh my gosh she's left kinda way.  It is just different.

I wanted her departure to be special. I never did the whole on my own thing and I have talked before how as a person when you don't.....well I think you miss a very valuable part of life in which you find yourself. So for her to be doing this thrills me more than I can say. It definitely is cause for celebration.

She had asked for some of my recipes.  Like our brownies and those sugar cookies everyone loves. Plus a few others. I made her a little going away to college cook book.

A few months back I saw a pillow in a magazine.......I can't recall what magazine but of course doing what any crazy crafty person would do, I did a Google search for pillows. Stumbled across so many cute pillows. My thought was.....hell to the ya, I totally can make those pillows.

And so I did.

These came out frigging amazing.  I love love love them.  I made a Life is Beauty Full for our living room.  Most certainly would entertain making these again.  So many possibilities....go and Google pillows and you will see!!!  Gawd I love the internet!!

There had to be new jammies.

The bestest project was a quilt I made for her from her basketball jerseys.  She had quite a few over the years.  Originally I saw this idea.  I sort of tucked that idea away in the crafty corner of my brain to be called upon when the time was right.  Well the time was right!

I had a slight pang of anxiety with that first cut.....would she be mad I cut them (for the record I did spare two).....could I finish it in time.....would it turn out????? I am not a quilter but I think it came out frigging awesome!

Now I don't own a walking foot which would have allowed me to quilt the top. Instead I tacked down all the non jersey surfaces.  As well all layers (top, batting and yellow flannel backing) were caught into the binding around the sides.  I think it will hold up fine.  This is her and her boyfriend snuggled up with it after I gave it to her.

The next morning I made up a batch of those favourite sugar cookies and filled a cookie jar for her to take. I felt a little knot in my throat as I finished these and was getting them together.  I didn't cry though....this is a happy time......not a sad time.  We have made and raised some pretty awesome kids and this is our reward....seeing them venture out with confidence to tackle the world.

Jax wasn't sold on the whole idea.  I think he was hoping she would take him.  Poor boy.  You have to wonder what they are thinking.  We have been loving him extra special so he doesn't miss her too much!!!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

all about the chalkboard

So two projects I had been wanting to share for weeks and weeks and weeks are all about the chalkboard.  Originally I stumbled across the idea on this blog after doing google search for chalkboard bunting and browsing the images (I am slightly bunting obsessed....I google bunting often...fall bunting, Easter bunting, Halloween get the picture) I saw it done as well with a painter's drop cloth here....I picked one up at Home Depot for about $15.00.  I used spray chalkboard paint for both of these projects.

First a chalkboard bunting.  After seeing this idea and thinking about it for a few days I had the thought....why not do this to an apron?  Like aprons could get better....but maybe with a wee chalkboard they could.  I was kind of excited to try this.

Definitely something I had never seen before, an apron with a sweet patch of chalkboard for a special message.

First the drop cloth made four aprons, one was a causality of not getting the paint quite right the first time.  One went to work and was raffled off for Father's Day (I mean that is sort of cute....some dad got a apron with a special message from his kiddos chalked on it), one went to another gal that loves chalkboard shiz as much as I do and I kept one.  I love a good apron.

I am not sure why but I didn't get a huge wow factor from the aprons or the bunting, which I passed along to a friend.  Maybe they hung around in que waiting to be finished for too long, I don't know. Maybe the work to make them outweighed that final product high.......although they really were not that tough to make.  I don't know what it was.  There are times I finish a project and I am on cloud nine with the results.  This time around I wasn't feeling the love.

I have an urge to make more aprons and of course more bunting.  I will just minus the whole chalkboard thing.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

a touch of august

Well holy cow the summer is almost over. I won't lie and say I don't miss those early years and the lazy days of summer because I use to enjoy those times with the girls when they were younger and I didn't work.  I see moms coming into the library with their young ones, enjoying the programs and signing up for the summer reading club.  I miss it but at the same time am glad my time as that busy mom is finished.

The other day I walked past a little spot that use to be paved with cement decorated with large decorative rocks. Shelby would often be pushing the speeding limit as I waited for Porscha, and then Amber when she was old enough, to navigate balancing across these rocks. Construction has taken that little patch away.

Time flows forward so quickly.  That is what has happened with summer. I feel like the last few days have fall walking up our front step thinking about knocking on our front door. I am excited for is my favourite time of year but maybe just a little more summer would be nice before it takes up camp.

I spent some time in the hospital the beginning of July.  Six very unexpected days.  I woke up one morning with a start and my heart was racing out of control.  I had chalked it up to being fatigued.  I went on with my day.  I went into the ER around 10:00 p.m. that night.  Long story short it took six days to get the right kind of medicine cocktail to bring my heart rate down and keep it there. Many tests later there still is no clue as to why it flipped. Right now it is back to normal and my medication has been lowered.  The first while on the medication was frustrating.  My energy was no where to be found.  I felt tired walking up a flight of stairs.  I am so grateful to be finally feeling like my old self.  I have a few more tests and will see the cardiologist for follow up in six months but am strong and healthy.

The night before this happened was a night that brought me close to my limits.  The cat knocking over a vase of flowers.....broken glass and water all over the floor.  As I cleaned it up.....vowing to never ever own anymore pets.....Shel was on the commode.  Well when I got back to her, finally, there had been an issue that required extra clean up and laundry all at about 12:30 a.m.  I went to bed that night angry at life.  Annoyed at the responsibilities that nag at me daily.  Mad at the things I can't change. Just a whole lot of f@%$ my life going on.  I am a very happy person....I look for silver linings....I make lemonade outta lemons people but I allowed the crappy stuff in life to get the better of me that night.  I went to bed wrapped in such negative feelings and thoughts.  They can't seem to find a cause for why my heart went I to atrial fibrillation.  There is a part of me that does feel that our lives.....particularly our bodies.....have some pretty awesome warning signs......letting us know when somethings gotta give.

My family is use to me doing it all. Well that has changed. Clearly me doing it all isn't working anymore. Everyone stepped up to the plate when I was in the hospital and they continue to.  I still have to ask sometimes but they don't complain about it. I think it is scary to see your loved one unwell. They understand that I need their help.

This week started us on seven more visits from workers to help Shelby. I now have four nights a week when someone is coming in to get her into well as three extra mornings that someone comes to bath her.  This was help that I should have asked for ages ago.

I am not really a stressed out kind of person.  I don't sweat the small stuff.  I go with the flow.  Had I fallen victim to any of that over the years I would have succumb to life long ago.....and I probably would yell a lot.  On my end what I need to change is my habit of taking on way too much with only five minutes before I have to head out the door. Time management.  I am getting better.  Knowing that some days starting that sewing project an hour before I have to leave for work and I still need a shower is maybe not the best plan.  Knowing that there are days I am not going to accomplish all I want. I have been having to put my way too busy mind on time outs.

I have always stressed my desire to be good to my mind, body and soul.  Well that is even more so a priority.  Exercise, eating well and taking time to just be still and reflect. Being grateful for being given the chance to remember the important things.....and enjoy the little things.  Fostering those relationships that make me shine.  Being humble and grateful for all that I have.  

John was truly the most amazing and sensitive partner.  It is hard to know how your spouse will navigate this sort of situation.  He made me feel loved and supported.  He came back and forth to the hospital each day.  He did everything he could to make this situation easier for me.  Which included him bringing me movie popcorn one night.  I am so grateful for all he did.

I got a lot of knitting done while I was in the hospital.  I finally finished my sock yarn afghan.

Some stats:
495 squares
approximately 207 hours to finish
675,000 stitches

We were suppose to go camping but my little hospital stay put a bit of a wrench into that plan.  So we spend a few days at John's parents.  I was bummed to not have been able to do our planned week of camping but it would have been way too much physically for me at that point.  So the last square happened on our drive up.  So then there was lots of threads to tie but I finished it and had a beautiful back drop for some photos.  I will say that it was probably better we didn't camp.....the bugs were insane.  Even just sitting out by the water you had deer flies bugging and bugging.  The city looked very good after a few days!

I was very pleased to finish this.  It had been on the needles for years.  It honestly makes me very proud that I can accomplish something so beautiful.  

I have moved onto a sweater I have had waiting in the wings for over a year.  On bigger needles I am making quick work of it.  Jax was helping me double check my stitches. As I started into the second arm hole I thought I had too many but under Jax's watchful eye I was able to verify all was good!  It is going to be an amazing sweater.  It is from Mary Maxim.  You can see it here.

I leave you with a picture of the cutest baby.  That sweet adorable Logan.  He is getting so big.  He is the happiest baby.  I love when he can visit.  This face was beyond excited at how close the cat was getting to him.  At one point he did grab the cat by both ears.  Jax let out the loudest meow and from that point on kept his distance.  I told Lee-ann that I wished I could quit my job and babysit him when she goes back to work!  I would in a heart beat do that if I could.    

Maybe I should buy a lotto ticket!  I would also buy myself a nice new computer.  My old one is done.....I can't charge it anymore.  I have done a good portion of this post on my phone the last few days and snagged Shelby's computer while she was sleeping for the final touches before publishing it. That is blogging dedication I 'd say!!!

Monday, June 29, 2015

elementary dear watson

Amber graduated from grade 8 last Tuesday. It is hard to believe how time seems to fly by. I remember her starting school. She was so excited leading up to her first day. The back pack had her sold....I think it was Dora.

As John and I walked her to school her mood changed. She looked incredibly sad.  I remember John saying that she looked as though she was walking the green mile.  She never cried...she was close though.

She had taken a special token for those first few weeks.  A picture of Gran.  Once she got into the groove she really loved all that school was.

I didn't feel nostalgic last week.  I think that I am at the point in life where I have settled into watching my girls grow and change and it does not affect me like it use to.  I wonder sometimes if it is because with each step they take toward becoming independent, there is less on my very full caregiver plate.

I took Amber to get her make up done.  It felt nice snagging her away and having some time with her alone.  That does not happen as much as it use to and so I really did enjoy it.

She let me do her hair which was a total shock with that whole my mom isn't really cool stage she is in.  She wanted pictures in her basketball gear.  I love this picture.  It is a I can be a girl and be strong type of picture.  The type of message I hope they all take with them throughout life.  

And then a picture with the heels.

Amber had a fantastic year academically.  She graduated with honors distinction, athletic distinction and citizenship distinction.  As well she received a co-curricular award which is an award that highlights the fact that she was able to achieve excellent grades while being exceptionally involved in extra curricular activities.  We were so happy for her and very proud.

We were reminded during the ceremony, as one of her teachers made a beautiful speech prior to awarding one of her classmates with an award (her mom passed when she was young and the teacher made a point of acknowledging her mom and how proud she would be of her accomplishments), that life is uncertain.  We must live each day well and with love towards others.  There is no room for mean words....conditional love....there are no do what you do today...what you say to someone today.....this moment, those words, those actions....stay here always.  That sort of thing makes me want to live better.  It was a beautiful moment and it humbled me.

Her and her friend Marissa with a change of footwear ready for their dinner and dance!

Amber has said that she is ready to leave elementary school.  I am sort of happy to be done the whole elementary phase as well....I think again it falls into less being on my well the public system is not getting better...funding is constantly taken away and the schools suffer and ultimately the children I feel like we got out just in time in so many ways.  

She is ready to take on high school.  I think she will do high school well.  I think she will strive to be her best both in the classroom and on the basketball court.  And I know above all else, she will have so much fun getting involved and leaving her mark!  Cheers to you Miss Amber!!!

Monday, June 22, 2015

warning: long ass catch up post

We had a visit from the cutest baby ever a few weeks ago and I had fully intended to blog about it and then a week turned to like five.  John's nephew and his wife brought their sweet Logan in for a visit. My heavens that baby is beyond sweet. I kissed his head way too much.

Well he came to see Shelby after her graduation last week.   My heavens he has changed in those few weeks....he is bigger and so inquisitive.  We strapped him into Shelby's seat belt.  It made it so much easier for her to hold Mr. Squirmy!!!  His smile is infectious.  He is such a little gem!

Parenthood looks good on Christopher and Lee-Ann.  I loved the early times of motherhood but it wasn't easy.  I have weathered the storms of motherhood not many people talk about....the whole loving it and hating it. The exhaustion of it all some exhaustion that knocks you to your knees.  Sometimes feeling jaded by your experiences as a mom.....for me, special needs, little relief and feeling overwhelmed often.  It is lovely but equally hard to be a parent. I hope that they never field these sorts of challenges.......although there is a part of me that knows it is near impossible not to suffer from the blows parenthood throws at you.....not suffer from the impact parenthood has on you as a person, on your marriage....on everything. I feel a pang in my heart at the possibility they will at one point have these challenges. The saving grace is that with all of those possibilities comes a feeling of accomplishment when you do a great job parenting......particularly through adversity.

When I think of motherhood and its impact on my life, I know that I have done it well.  Certainly far from perfectly but I have done a not too shabby job.  The girls are older now and the tide has shifted somewhat to them finding their place in life and living their lives well....I am able to step back somewhat and breath a sigh of relief.  John and I are slowly getting time back that involves just the two of us which is so amazing.  One thing that I think can be hard is still finding a place for each other once you have that time back.  John and I have no issue with enjoying the heck out of "our" time.  We have taken a leap.....we booked an only us trip for the fall.  I am beyond excited at the prospect of him and I alone for 7 days at a very beautiful resort in Mexico.  We have never been away like that.  It will be so rejuvenating for our bodies, souls and minds.  I stress about the cost. There are things that need done around the house....I think to myself that money should stay in savings......but then I take a moment and remind myself how tough our parenting path has been and how much we need this to continue on that path.  I foresee a new bikini in my future and a real great beach hat!!!

Back to that college graduate. Shelby was beautiful on  her special day.

I had her disability counselor send me this message after I took a moment to email her and thank her for all her help over the last few years.  Her help made this special day possible.

I will miss seeing Shelby around the college but I wish her much success!  I will also miss you, you represent a stellar example of supportive parenting- being there so that Shelby could succeed, but backing off enough to allow her to find her own way.

It made me smile and feel proud.  The last few weeks as this special moment had inched closer I had had moments were I had got lost in the thoughts of how much it all has been for me to help her along this path.  How many meetings I have gone to, how many times I have planned to make sure she had the workers in place to toilet her, the planning of transportation, the times when I had to go each day and toilet her when services were not in place and then rush to work.....the weight of realizing how much that put on my shoulders stops me in my tracks. It was often terrible to navigate. Her words make me realize that as a mom you make it all work, you support your children, you push your limits to see their successes happen and you do your best to raise them up to be their best. Above all you must love unconditional.  Then in the end you take a deep breath and pat yourself on the back for doing your best.  Then you drink.

Okay drinking.

Well you end up being celebrated on your special day.  Mother's Day.  I wanted to talk about Mother's Day sooner but somehow times slips by way too quickly some days. Mother's Day is one of those days that really is just another Gran often said....she liked the everyday. I am the same way but I won't lie and say it wasn't sweet to have John take me to breakfast at a very cute diner. The Harbour Diner.  Another great little whole in the wall place that was featured on You Gotta Eat Here.

Everything a great little diner should be.  No frills menus.

Crazy old lady wallpaper.

Mismatched tables and chairs.

Little nooks and crannies.  We sat up a few stairs in the front window.

And of course delicious food.

Then when I came home Amber had cleaned the kitchen and did something so sweet....she navigated the dog pooh in the yard to pick a few flowers for me. That honestly made my heart swell.

Later the girls gave me some of which was a gift card to Michaels and because it has been so long since Mother's Day I actually spent some of the gift card on this awesome rustic light up arrow....40 % off which was a bonus!

My mom did something so amazingly sweet for my sister and I for Mother's Day. Last year we made a special gift for her. Well all year as she read those each week she wrote and reflected on each one. She did it all up in folders for each of us to enjoy. I actually waited until the Monday after Mother's Day....when I knew I would have no interruptions.  I made a pot of tea and sat down to read them all. It was a beautiful gift. One I will cherish and re-read often.

I had the chalkboard all ready for John when he woke up on Sunday.

There was cake too!!

We were away last weekend for a basketball tournament. I was able to get the coverage I needed for Shelby's care to get away for a break.  It was very nice.  I always love watching the girls play.  I made a point of taking my camera.  I sometimes get stuck on using my phone a lot and there is something nice about pictures from my good camera.

Amber had a good weekend with her teammates.  We had good food and shopping and they played hard.

During one of the games I snapped this photo of John taking with the girls during a quick time out.  I applaud John. I am proud of him.  When the girls were young a lot of it fell onto my shoulders.  It was hard and there were times I was angry at him and resentful that he did not help more.  The thing is that I would do all those younger years over again just as they were because I have been able to witness John become an absolutely amazing father.

I am thankful and appreciate all he does for the girls and for me.  It is hard on him....there are days that he just does not get what being a girl entails and I am sure he feels lost and out numbered often but he handles it well and continues to give his time and love to his daughters.  I think he had a pretty great Father's Day!

I leave you with my idea of gardening, orange juice, yet another banner and a surprise visit!

I use to have gardens everywhere and quite honestly they were far too much work.  As I have gotten older I have really acquired a distaste for dirty finger nails and the very huge possibility that I will in fact kill whatever I plant.  Pots are perfect!!!  They are non committal and they have a very low disappointment rate if I forget to water them.  Pots leave far more time for the important things in life like knitting!!

Speaking of knitting I am working still only on that sock yarn afghan.  Slowly I am moving closer to it being finished.  At first I had thought about going to 500 squares.....I am at I think like 410 but then I thought maybe I should just finish the pile of sock yarn I have.  I am undecided but each time I finish a ball of the yarn I get a real high!!!  A few balls getting smaller and smaller!!!!

Oh right the juice!  Homemade orange juice using the Vitamix!!!

It is so amazing.  You honestly won't want to drink it from a carton again and from what I have been reading lately.....our orange juice isn't as "pure" as companies would lead us to believe!!!  Go have a little look here.

Amber celebrated her 14th birthday back in May.  Honestly hard to believe.  I think of one of my first posts was when Shelby was turning 14 years old.  That was almost 9 years ago!!!

There was the banner.  The times when I doubt doing them.....or rather loathe doing them because I have again left it all until the last minute, usually 2 a.m. of said birthday.....I am reminded on the morning of the birthday why I do it still.

The first thing she did when she woke up.....went to check out the banner.  I think I am screwed....these banners are happening until I am old and gray!!!

There was a surprise from my parents on her birthday.  They showed up unexpectedly.  We were so fortunate to enjoy a few days with them here.  We actually went for breakfast one morning at The Harbour Diner!!!  It was so nice to see them!!!