November 24, 2014

so, what is it all about?

Last night, around 11 p.m., I leaned over to my hubby and asked him what he thinks life is all about. As you can imagine, he was thrilled to be handed such a light question when he has to get up early. But it's been on my mind more than ever. I find it fascinating to hear the different responses people have to that question. There are those who want to leave their mark, whether it's through architecture, literature, music, entrepreneurship, or a large family, etc, they want their legacy to be lasting. There are those who strive for wealth. There are also those who are so confident in their religious beliefs that they think this life is all for a higher purpose, for another chapter that awaits us. All I know is that I've never contemplated the meaning of life more than I have lately.
Life feels like it is moving by at warp speed, probably because, more than ever, I want it to slow down. I want to keep my momma right by my side.
What do you want your legacy to be?
Too often lately, I know of friends whose parents work their butts off their entire lives, are prepared to retire and then are struck with a life altering illness. Dreams of travelling the world or enjoying their retirement don't come to fruition. So, my number one piece of advice is to get on it. Get working through the list of what matters the most to you. Take that dream vacation, have that child you've been yearning for, try writing that book you've been talking about, get out of that job or marriage that's been depleting your spirit for years. I really think it is important for people to sit down, take a blank piece of paper and map out your dreams that you want for your life because it is really easy to get sidetracked by busy schedules. What dream for your life would you be most disappointed if it wasn't realized? Make that one your first priority.
I know for my mom, life is about the connections we make. It's about fighting as hard as she can against cancer to spend her extra days with her husband, children, grandchildren and friends. She's content with the places she's seen, she never needed to achieve fame, she just wants more cups of tea with her loves. And as quiet as a life as she's led, I can tell by the steady stream of company that visits, that she has made her mark on a tonne of hearts.
I encourage you to work your hardest to stop going through the motions, work on what means the most to you and pursue it with all that you've got.
Each day now, I write down who I connected with that day, what major task I accomplished, what I am grateful for, and one step I took towards my dreams. It makes each day feel more significant and focused.
Ah, another light and breezy post! Chat soon friends xoxo

November 18, 2014

friendship


These three little loves have been best of friends since they were babies. They are completely different from one another, and yet compliment each other beautifully. My daughter thinks about them continuously with questions like, "Mom, do you think Emlyn would also like this book?" "Do you think Nyah would like this show?" "Mom, do you love your friends like I love Emlyn and Nyah?"
She talks about them most nights when I tuck her into bed. I'm still really close to my childhood friends and wish nothing more than these three little ones remaining in each other's lives.
With all the visits I've been lucky enough to witness between mom and her lifelong friends lately, there's something extraordinary about people sharing stories and hilarious events from your history, to make your life seem like a beautiful continuum instead of specific, succinct chapters. I've heard so many incredible stories from mom's friends, about when she was young, and some of the antics she got up to; stories she never would have told me. I eat these stories up like candy because they are letting me see my mom in a whole new, edgier way.
I honestly believe our wealth is in our relationships, surrounding ourselves with those who bring us joy and nurturing those bonds so they last us throughout our stories. xoxo


November 11, 2014

here comes the sun......










As much as I love the city for its variety of restaurants, shopping and vibrancy......I can't help but feel the most serenity in expansive country landscapes. Yesterday I finally had a chance to snap a few photos on a gorgeous crisp, sunny day. For the first time in weeks I felt like it was a chance to breathe and to re-group.
It's no secret that I've been tackling some pretty severe grief ever since hearing "the news" back in February. I fluctuate between days where I'm overwhelmed by the finality of it all and days where I feel strong enough to make the most of what precious time we have together. I try my hardest to be strong for my parents because I know that they are imploding in their own grief.
Yesterday, I asked my hubby for an hour for myself, to go for a drive, with my camera in hand. I found these beautiful remote roads that I had never been down, and something about the serene spaces helped settle down my restless spirit. I finally felt a sense of calm that I have been yearning for through this process.
Today after the Remembrance Day ceremonies, I took my daughter and some lunch over to mom's for a visit. I feel like my daughter, although just two years old, has an old soul. She stood up in front of my mom and I and announced that we needed to have a big party. I said, "for who?" And she said, "For Nana. We need to decorate the house and get a cake with butterflies on it."
I said, "for her birthday next month?" And she said, "No, now."
I love the idea and will put it in motion. Why not just have a random celebration for someone we love?
xoxo




November 6, 2014

one day....

Hello friends! How are you? I just wanted to sip on a tea and drop a quick hello on this stormy night. 
Life has felt busier than ever lately between the little one and spending as much time as I can with my momma.....but I could tell I was physically and emotionally burnt out. So, yesterday, was this gift where I had a day for myself. What would you do with your day? Some of my choices might look so subtle, but when you have this little one running around, asking you 1000 times a day, "why?" and throwing open the door as soon as you go into the bathroom....you will see why sometimes it's the simple pleasures in life that mean so much. So I dropped her off at her daycare and booked a day for myself and was AH-MAZED at how quickly it flew by.  Seriously, did the earth spin a little faster yesterday?
A coffee and a new magazine. A luxurious combination.
 Browsing shops with a coffee in hand. You can't tell, but I'm smiling from ear to ear at the ease of which I am walking around the store. 
I set up a little craft table for her as a surprise. I may or may not have taken it for a test run before she got home. 
 The post workout glow of a good run in the great outdoors. Happy & stanky.
My day's haul. At some point in the day I decided I wanted a woodland Christmas this year. Ah there's nothing more fun than buying things that look homemade.
What you don't see pictured, but is worthy of mentioning so I don't oversell things.....as soon as I picked up my little one, she looked at the things I bought, said, "Why?", spilled glitter all over her craft station and peed her pants. But as I sit here, sipping my tea, I can still faintly remember how tremendous it felt, having that one day. xoxo

October 30, 2014

food is love


Today was Productive, capital P needed. I booked the day off work, and with the little one in daycare, I was able to dedicate the day to cooking for my mom. For breakfasts, I made fruit parfaits in mason jars layered with greek yogurt, blueberries, pomegranates, and gave her a separate jar of granola to mix later. I also made these easy sunshine muffins to go with the parfaits. For a lunch meal, I made this homemade tomato soup & these parmesan crackers. I'm just realizing as I write this that I forgot to add cream to mom's cream of tomato soup....oops....hopefully it'll still taste good. Healthy! For dinner I made these yummy chicken pot pies. To go with the chicken pot pies,  I bought some of those delicious bagged kale salads, as seen here.
Food is definitely love. I see it in the steady parade of meals that mom's friends deliver to her. I feel it in the thought process when I pack my daughter's school lunches or make our family dinners. When I first got home from the hospital after giving birth, I remember the steady stream of meals that our friends and parents brought over. It was the best gift new parents could get. Food is a means of giving us strength, of keeping us going, when we don't have the energy to cook anymore. Whenever my friends ask how they can help me in this tough time, I always just ask them to make some kind of food/snack/meal for my parents. I love seeing my mom eat, because I know it gives her that little bit of extra strength to keep up the good fight. xoxo

October 27, 2014

finding balance again....

Hello friends! It's funny, the very first thing my hubby asked me when we met was, "What's your sign?" For real. While neither of us are astrology buffs.....I do believe there's something to be said for my sign (Libra) being the scales. I crave balance in my life, and when it's out of whack, I do not feel like myself. Trying to balance busy days with a toddler, and spending as much time as I can with my cancer fighting mother, has taken all of my emotional and physical strength. The only free time I have is during her nap, and in that little window of time, I usually have to race around cleaning up the morning smack down that she has laid upon our humble abode.  We have a large piece of property too, that I eventually have surrendered to. But I'm happy to report I've located our dog and cat, who I thought had been lost in our knee deep grass. The squirrel search party has been called off. So please don't get me wrong, there's nothing I would rather be doing in this moment in time than caring for my mom in any way possible to make her life better right now, or caring for my toddler, who I love more than life itself. But somewhere in there, we have to, have to, make a sliver of time for ourselves or we end up becoming both incredibly whiny and embarrassingly winey.
So I've come up with a few simple ways to get my scales back in balance. Number one is exercise. I need it now more than ever, to re-energize for my busy days and to combat the grief that I've been enduring during mom's battle. I've found gyms that have childminding, so I can squeeze in an hour workout and know that she's having fun playing with kids. I have also tried DVDs and free online workouts at home while she naps. I'm pretty pumped that I might be able to sport a bikini whilst drinking egg nog by the christmas tree this year. It'll be quite the family photo. But seriously,  I am thankful for the immediate boost that increased fitness brings. The next thing to get back on track is more time with friends. Instead of giant dinner plans, it's nice to just meet up for a quick drink or walk with a coffee, just a little window of time that I can squeeze in, catch a break and re-connect. This weekend we had our crew over for appies/drinks &  to play Cards Against Humanity. It was the laugh riot that I needed. The other key to keeping life in check for me, is to make time for photography, for writing, and to dedicate time to this space again. It's my biggest passions (aside from my family) - and without any time to dedicate it, I have felt out of sorts. Do you feel like your life is in balance lately? If not, take time to come up with a few simple adjustments you can start ASAP to get your life back on track. xoxo

October 26, 2014

Hello there!!

Hi friends! I hope you had a wonderful weekend! I just wanted to drop a little line to say hi, I've missed this space. Life has been incredibly busy, so I just wanted to take a moment to say hello. I'll write more tomorrow at length. I had taken a bunch of photos I was so excited to share with you this weekend, but then my memory card in my camera hadn't loaded up properly, which I didn't even know could occur(!?!)....and none of my photos saved. It was heartbreaking for the photographer in me (I may or may not have been the one you heard in the distance throwing a hissy fit).....because I know they are moments I can't recreate - parties and gatherings.....my husband, ever the sunny disposition said, "but at least you have all the memories!" He's right, but my eyes still did roll (possibly followed with an extra loud UGH). So I went out in the sun (with memory card firmly inserted) to shoot some photos of the leaves, and tossed some high into the air, creating this spontaneous selfie portrait. I like the moment of joy it represents....even though life is challenging as hell right now.....there are these sweet joyful moments to steal for ourselves. xoxo