The Switch #theylovetodance #thesearethedays

Well, it’s been a source of uncertainty for a couple of years now. You might remember my post earlier this year about Brooklyn and what her deal is with dance. To refresh your memory, she LOVES being there, but HATES going to it.


So this year I signed her up like usual, and although she was more positive she still wasn’t excited. When I asked her why, she said:

*Well, I just feel like I’ve been there too long*

So I probed further and asked if she would be interested in trying a new studio {a thought that had not previously occurred to me lol}. I didn’t think too much more about it and Brooklyn really didn’t bring it up again either.

But several weeks ago now, I followed an instinct and switched her. Actually, I switched them both. I chose a studio that I have heard excellent things about, one where several of my friends have put their kids, and one, upon visiting, just gave such a nice feeling.

So I signed them each up for a Hip Hop class, and Brooklyn’s first class was just 30 minutes after registering them. lol She was a little nervous and feeling lazy and really didn’t want to go, but I coaxed her. And she ended up going happily in the end.

In fact, while in the waiting room, I turned around and she had gone into class without so much as an *I’ll see you later*. After class she said she liked it.

Later that night, during bedtime prayers, she expressed gratitude for her new dance class.


Then, on the Wednesday, while I was telling Jonah that his new hip hop class would be the next day, Brooklyn said, *Oh, I wish it was Tuesday already*.

It was a difficult decision because we’ve been at their old studio since she was 4 {so this was year 6}, but it was the right one.  And I couldn’t be happier.

P.S. Jonah’s first class was GREAT! He came out so thrilled and happy and showing me what he had learned.

P.S.S. It’s been over a month now, and the kids are incredibly happy and settled in. I never have to convince Brooklyn to go and week after week she tells me how much she likes it. Jonah, also, is happy to go. In fact, when I had a small *friend of the family* emergency to attend to, and spent some time at the ER, making him miss his class, he BURST INTO TEARS.

It’s a good sign. A good sign indeed.

The Pillow #thesearethedays #itssentimental #givingismagical

It started with a patient passing away first thing in the morning. It didn’t matter how many times it happened, I never got desensitized to it. I always take a minute to silently offer warm thoughts to the loved ones. Nobody ever wants to get that call.

I mean, the reality is people die. And it isn’t always the shock that people are sad over – it’s simply the loss. No matter whether it was sudden or a long process, the loss is always great and felt immediately. And that grief breaks my heart.

The family asked for some chairs so they could all sit together around her, so I offered to grab some.

The love in that room was palpable. There were tears of sadness, but more than that, there were tears of gratitude. For however many years their lives had all been blessed by her presence, her example, her generosity, and love. And you could feel it. I soaked it up.


On her bed was a pillow. As I put the first chair down, I commented that her pillow matched the bedding set we had just bought Brooklyn {for her then upcoming birthday}. They were a kind group, and even in the deepest moments of grief found an opportunity to reach outside themselves.

Her husband said simply, *Take that pillow for your daughter*. And quite frankly, I couldn’t contain my emotion. The tears just started flowing as I protested that I couldn’t possibly take this pillow from them. I mean, how could I?

But he insisted, saying that his wife would have wanted it that way.

I don’t know if there are rules against it, but in that moment, there was no way to refuse. And so, I agreed, with more tears, asking if I could leave it in the room for a while. I wanted it to soak up that love, that kindness – and the ability to be so generous and thoughtful amidst that grief. So I did.

And I couldn’t be more grateful. Being able to add this pillow to Brooklyn’s birthday gift meant a lot. And being able to explain to Brooklyn how and why this pillow became hers was magical.

A co-worker of mine thought it was weird. I think it’s beautiful.


And Brooklyn, too, thought it was beautiful, immediately hugging the pillow with gratitude and compassion. She gets it. This sweet 9 year old, sometimes entitled feeling, little girl gets it.

I couldn’t be more proud.

The Company I Keep #thesearethedays

I know I’ve talked about it before, but it’s been on my mind a lot lately.

I’m not much of a complainer. And I’d like to say there’s no particular reason, that it’s just the way I’m wired…and while that may be partially true, at the end of the day I think it has a lot to do with the company I keep.

optimistThe friends I have and the examples they are and have been. Through really big trials, with every reason to complain, they didn’t and don’t.

Case in point:

Maria: For weeks after her youngest child, 5 year old Shelby, passed away from Cancer, Maria drove to work blaring U2’s *Beautiful Day*.

me shelby nicole

                            Me, Nicole {7}, and Shelby {5}

Donna: When her daughter, Nicole passed away {at age 11} from Cancer, and I felt like I had missed out on more time with her {because I had}, Donna simply stated that it just meant more time for her. Something she was grateful for.

Morgan: A sweet 6 year old, who was battling Cancer, once said, *Mom, I love my feeding tube because then I can eat and play at the same time.*

Maternal Grandma: Her life was filled with all sorts of unfair experiences – and yet what all of us remember is her LAUGHING her way through every day. One time she returned to her vehicle in a parking lot to find a nasty note left about her parking job. Instead of getting angry, she started laughing that someone would WASTE their time to write the note.

Nigel: Passed away from Cancer in his early 20’s and at the funeral his journal was discussed. Regardless of the events of the day, each and every entry started with *Today was a good day*

Karma: A dear friend whose 4th child passed away at 16 months of meningitis – and yet the way she lives her life…the way she continues to help and give to others…you would never guess her heart carries such heaviness. She has since had 2 more boys.

A close friend {who will remain anonymous due to subject matter}: Despite spending time in an abusive relationship – one that really took it’s toll in a fairly short amount of time – she has risen above and made her life incredible. And her efforts to help others is inspiring.

Brent: My incredible husband. Even in the weeks that followed his dad’s sudden passing, he did not take his grief out on the kids, me, or anyone else. And since then, although the loss is great, he has managed to move forward, without complaint.

Mother in law: It’s only fitting to mention her. A woman who was widowed suddenly, while on holiday, and in what could have been the *prime* of their married lives….and although I know her loss runs deep, her days are not filled with complaints.

Josh: A dear friend of mine who passed away at age 15 {Cancer}. When his dad asked him once if he ever wondered *why me* he shrugged his shoulders and simply said, *why not me?*.

A close friend: Her husband left her for a co-worker and took up his role as a *deadbeat dad* of sorts. And she – one of the most incredible women I know has taken life on…made it the very best.

Aunt Kristy: Who lost a young daughter {10 months…to SIDS} and then years later, her husband {Cancer}….just found her way to carry on, always finding ways to laugh and things to be grateful for.

My mom: While I know my  mom has shed many tears over circumstances {yes her kids were the cause of many of those}, she never let it swallow her whole. She always got up and kept moving. Always.

The thing is this. I consider myself to be a compassionate person. I’m empathetic and my heart hurts at the anguish of others. I lose sleep when those I care about are struggling. But I actually have very little compassion for complainers. And I think it stems largely from this list….from those in my life who have had REAL hardships….REAL problems….and still….STILL…don’t complain their way through life. They are gracious, kind, helpful, and always looking for the good in situations. It’s for this reason I have difficulty spending extended periods of time with those who LOOK for reasons to complain. repetitively. Spending their energy finding things to be unhappy about. Ways to negate all the positive things in their life and instead focus only on those things that aren’t perfect or ideal.

fifty five

Sometimes our choices determine our circumstance

I almost can’t process it. I have seen so much loss, so much hardship – and yet those are the people who have shown me the most optimism and grace.

I feel incredibly fortunate to have those listed among the company I keep. I continue to meet and become close friends with people who live similarly. I don’t know how or why I have been blessed in this way – but I have an immense amount of gratitude for their examples.

Simply incredible.




My Afternoon Gig #thesearethedays #makingmemories

Those of you who follow on facebook know that my Service Aide job has come to an end {last weekend}. I can honestly say I am BUMMED – I mean, thrilled for my friend who is coming back, but so BUMMED for me. I really did love this job, and was happy to see how the casual thing would work out. I guess I’m lucky that I don’t HAVE to work, so I had a little freedom in just taking casual shifts or waiting for the right position.

And then it happened.

A posting…the perfect kind of posting. Part time, at the hospital, utilizing my former admin skills and experience. So I applied. And got an interview {seriously!}.


So, yesterday I began my career as the Admin Assistant to the Director of Clinical Engineering. And I couldn’t be more thrilled! It makes leaving my position not quite so difficult.

And then, another amazing thing happened. A friend of mine, a former youth leader who is like a sister to me {for 18 years now} e-mailed me. Her mother in law, who has been a widow for about a year and a half, is needing a little tlc. She asked me if I knew anyone who would be able to provide an outing and some attention for an hour or two every afternoon. She listed some requirements based on the situation and I thought, hey, I can do this. And she said they had hoped I would, but didn’t want to ask because of the commitment.

Not only were they moving her within minutes from the hospital {SO convenient for me}, but the entire opportunity just struck me as nothing close to coincidental. I am excited to spend some time with her each day, take her out, make memories, and just love her. But  more than that, I am most definitely aware of the incredible impact she is going to have on my life.

It is a difficult thing to watch  someone suffer from varying stages of dementia. I saw it fairly regularly as a Service Aide, and it does something to a person’s soul.

please don’t ever let that be me.

I mean, being a widow comes with its own challenges – I see it with my mother in law. But to be a widow AND be confused AND believe your loved ones have abandoned you. It breaks my heart.

It’s also been 9 years this coming week that I’ve been without a grandma {or a grandparent}, and often I have wished that I could have their influence in my life now. Grandparents are pretty incredible people. I was able to spend a lot of time with my dad’s mom for months in the hospital before she died {2002}, and those memories are some of my fondest.

And now I get the opportunity to create more memories with this {sometimes not so} sweet lady.

I am so grateful that neither job impacts my life as a mom or the kids schooling. AND, should my admin job ever require more hours, my afternoon gig is totally flexible. I mean, how lucky can a girl get?

Right now, I am feeling blessed. Really, really blessed.

Catching the Bento Fever #thesearethedays #bentofever

For a few years now I have been telling Brent I want to pack Brooklyn better lunches. More than just the typical {and boring} sandwich, and something with more variety and healthier items. Not to mention, cutting down on the amount of ziploc baggies used. Don’t get me wrong – ziploc bags are necessary and something we use often – but I hated the idea that we were filling our own landfill with her lunches alone.


                     photo from website

So last  year I bought some Rubbermaid Lunchblox products. I was SO excited….and had every intention of rocking her lunches {and Jonah’s as he was in Kindergarten two full days a week} but still didn’t have the vision.

Thank goodness for Pinterest – I FINALLY get it!

And thanks to the Bento Review Post by Smashed Peas and Carrots {one of my fave blogs}, I went for it and ordered some items. I had them shipped to the condo and can honestly say it was the ONLY reason I was anticipating the school year starting {okay, that and both kids being full time lol}.

Bottom line: I have caught the Bento Fever.

I have a few more products to add to our collection, but am happy for now. And my kids are rockstars at bringing home the reusable toothpicks {yay!}. I also know I can get even more creative, but I am still having loads of fun and I know the kids are enjoying their lunches.

Here are some ideas:

**Keep in mind it doesn’t have to be fancy. And, once  you lose the idea that kids need a whole baggie of carrots for example and realize that just a couple is perfect, your life will change. Their lunches will change.**

IMG_0754The first day: Jonah’s {top} had kabobs {cheese is chopped cheese string}, watermelon, cashews, and a candy treat.

He told me after school he wanted more….of course he would – I completely forgot about recess snacks. oops.

Brooklyn had the same lunch except raspberries instead of cashews.

IMG_0757Jonah’s perfect Robot Bento Box.

IMG_0756And Brooklyn has the adorable Owl one.

IMG_0762Pasta Salad {with veggies, cheese cubes, and a homemade dill dressing}, fruit kabobs, frozen yogurt bites, carrots {with dip}, and a ham wrap.

IMG_0780Yogurt {with saran wrap just in case}, raspberries and blueberries, ham sandwich shapes, cucumbers and dip, a container with a few smarties, and a fruit leather {cheese string for Brooklyn}.

IMG_0791Bruschetta crackers, laughing cow cheese, carrots, cubed nectarines and frozen yogurt bites, and a wrap cut into little bite sized roll ups :)

IMG_0811Apple sauce, laughing cow cheese, THRIVE freeze dried apples and strawberries, 2 candies {2 to share, as per Jonah’s request}, tortilla shell cheese pizza {Brooklyn had a cheese quesadilla}

IMG_0854An orange, laughing cow cheese {was a big hit lol}, sliced strawberries {in a cupcake liner}, ham rollups, a sliced pickle, snap peas, half a granola bar, and a minigo yogurt.

IMG_0857Ham wrap {Jonah had cheez whiz}, carrots and snap peas, an orange, and grapes. Plus a yogurt tube.

IMG_0873Chicken sandwich {kids have request the whole thing now instead of half}, cheese slice, cubed nectarines, cucumber slices, and a minigo yogurt.

Other things I plan to send: bagels and cream cheese, guacamole and tortilla chips, granola and yogurt, granola bars, mini rice cakes, and anything NOT dairy related. Clearly that is a bit of a food rut/crutch I need to back away from. lol

I also have a few more items {okay lots more} I want to buy, including containers for apple sauce and yogurt with a lid. But for now, I’m enjoying providing the kids with colourful lunches and variety. 3 weeks in and I am still going strong!

Have you caught the vision of Bento style lunches?

Also – any other suggestions for what to send – pass them along!

Family Photos {I’m A Total Fluke} #thesearethedays

I am a pretty lucky girl – I have TWO incredible photographers {nearly} at my disposal…they are two of my closest cousin friends and are both *blow your socks off* amazing. In both life and photography. I’m not just biased, though of course I love them, but they are seriously THAT good!

My cousin, Laura – of Laura Taylor Photography – specializes in newborn photography. Her photos will make your heart melt. every. single. time.

And my cousin, Radelle – of Eternal Reflections Photography – does wedding photography exclusively. And her photos will make you swoon. every. single. time.

Luckily for me, she steps outside her *comfort zone* once a year or so to take our family photos. Now, the funny thing is, every time I watch America’s Next Top Model I think to myself *how hard can it be?*…..

and then I get in front of the camera.

I am SO awkward. I’m terrible at posing, body and face. And any good shots are seriously a complete fluke! I mean it.

storyboard121For example: the photo on the left….my one and only classic pose. I ALWAYS do this chin-to-shoulder pose. always. Photo on the right…complete fluke. I have a naturally frowny shaped mouth {strange for someone who always smiles} so I can’t generally do the no-smile face successfully.

Need another example?

storyboard107LOVE the photos….but my posing, while okay, is a little lack lustre. But what else do you do with such a boring and awkward subject? ;) Always a hand on hip – to create the waist effect! {seriously, do it!}…and I wish I had worn different shoes. But that’s not a photo issue haha.

Okay another one? And surprisingly my favorite of the shoot {of myself}:

storyboard117These photos are a result of me TRYING to get the posing and facial expressions right and just laughing at myself. Not to mention the photo on the left – classic chin to shoulder.


See, it’s the mark of a photographic genius…to take this awkward girl and capture these amazing moments. I am IN LOVE with these photos and will be getting a rather large canvas made for above our couch in the living room.

And for your viewing pleasure {even though you can see them on the header of the blog} here are some additional photos from the shoot:

storyboard106storyboard110storyboard116storyboard113These two clearly didn’t inherit my awkwardness…I love this set!


I LOVE kids….always have. And most of my experience growing up and in my early working days has been centered around kids. I’ve always just naturally gravitated towards them. It could be because I had just one sibling growing up {and wasn’t sibling’d out}, but it’s anyone’s guess really. I’m from a rather large extended family and most of my childhood was spent getting together with all my cousins, aunts, and uncles. I always loved it – and my fondest memories are from those times.


Brooklyn, Jonah {left} and cousin J {right} while boating at a  family reunion a few years ago.

I love busy…I love the sound of busy little feet running through a house. The fits of laughter and excitement that fill a room or backyard quite simply make me happy. The happy chaos that I seem to be able to thrive in. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love peace and quiet too and time to myself, but when I’m amongst a large group, like my extended family – well, few things bring me as much joy.

me and girls

                          Me and two of my closest cousins

Which is precisely why I always wanted 8 kids. Yep.

I love the idea of having a large family, and have always wanted one myself. My brother and I were both adopted and at the time there were restrictions preventing families from adopting more than 2. So, our family was what it could be and I’m grateful for it for sure. But at times it was a wee bit *boring*. I’m not saying I would have loved having pesky younger siblings {who can really know}, but now that we are grown I find it a little humorous that a simple Sunday dinner can turn into a reunion of sorts. It just doesn’t involve the hype and planning and even excitement that a larger family get together has. {though my mom always cries when my brother and sister in law leave after visiting….Brent and I  {and the kids of course} go over every Sunday for dinner and not one tear is shed when we walk out the door. lol}

Anyways – seeing moms with 4+ kids just makes me smile. I love it!

When Brent and I got married we thought 6 was a number that suited us. If our plans went ahead we thought having 4 biological children and 2 adopted would be pretty perfect. But we always said we knew life had its own plans and we were willing to just *go with the flow*.


                    Brooklyn and our darling *Jonah* bump

**Photo courtesy of Mandy Baker Photography**

We were ELATED when Brooklyn joined our family. Then, getting to see her as a big sister when Jonah was born 3 years later, was amazing. Both kids were amazing babies and made the adjustment really easy and enjoyable. And making the decision to try for both of them was easy, as we felt like it was time to.

But here we sit, still not having *that feeling*. Neither of us was willing to have more kids just to fill the personal idea of a certain number or age gap, etc. and it’s something we’ve both thought a lot of about. We’ve talked about it, prayed about it, and really thought a lot about adding to our family again.

Something is holding us back.

We’ve talked about going the adoption route in the next few years instead, so who knows how that will pan out. We definitely want to add to our family in that way at some point – I just don’t know if our family will consist of any more biological children.

But I’ll tell you this – I treated both pregnancies as though they could be my last. And am I ever glad I did.

Generally speaking most people have stopped asking – I think they’ve given up on us. LOL

Some have wondered if we’re having difficulties getting pregnant. The answer is no.

Some wonder if we want more kids. The answer is yes.

Some have asked if we are having more. And the answer is, quite simply – We don’t know. We just don’t know.

So here we sit at 2 – and one puppy – taking it one day at a time. :)

296**Photo courtesy of Eternal Reflections Photography**

These Are The Days {and a new look} #thesearethedays #makingmemories

Have you noticed the changes? I mean, they are kind of hard to miss. lol But I must visit my blog 5 times a day JUST to look at it.

I am in LOVE with the new design {from Peaches and Cream Designs}. IN LOVE.

Wanting a new design is the easy part….deciding what exactly you want is a whole different ball game. I am indecisive at best – so the conversation sort of goes like this:

Um, I like bright colours and the beach. So yeah, what can you do with that?


I mean, don’t get me wrong – it was a LOT of back and forth. I couldn’t necessarily say what I didn’t like about certain drafts, only that it wasn’t *it*. I also, on initial viewing, wasn’t sure this was the background I wanted. But then I couldn’t picture anything else. Bright, Cheery, Fun, but simple. And I looooooove it.


And could it be any more of an accidental miracle that our recent family photos coordinate perfectly? Seriously – so not planned but so so awesome. {Just a wee shout out to my incredible cousin, Radelle of Eternal Reflections Photography, for stepping out of her niche of weddings and taking these fab images for us. If you are getting married or know someone who is – anywhere – BOOK HER! I don’t just love her because she’s my cousin – I love her because she’s amazing. at everything she does. especially photos. and being one of my dearest friends.}

Seriously, book her.

Okay, back to this. Why the name change? I’ll try and make this quick. {ha, no I won’t}. I love doing giveaways – really I do. And have lots of ideas for future events and such. But the truth is this – it all came down to this one thing – I don’t want to give away STUFF.

I want to give away opportunities. Opportunities for MEMORIES. I don’t just want to blog about the things we are doing, but inspire you to MAKE the time to do things too. Make more memories instead of have more stuff.

Because, no matter where you are in life – 20’s, 40’s, married, single, with children, without children, grandparents, etc. THESE ARE THE DAYS.

These are YOUR days. And I want you to make the most of them – while we are busy trying to do the same. It’s not about stuff or things. It’s about time and memories. Whether you are raking in the dough, barely scraping by, somewhere in between….on vacation, in school, running ragged with young children, work, life, or in the hospital with a loved one – you are being given opportunities to make memories. The good, the bad, and the ugly.

But mostly the good.

So let’s celebrate those. Feel free to link up on twitter with the hashtag #theseareyourdays.

THESE ARE THE DAYS….let’s make the most.

I Dream Of Faraway Places #madetoholiday #thesearethedays #makingmemories

I don’t spend hours on Pinterest like I did in the beginning. Part of that is I have gotten busier and therefore made less time for it, and part of it is shifting my focus from PINNING, to DOING.

My pinterest is filled with Cute Kids Stuff, Food I Love, Inspiration, Things That Make Me Laugh, and more…so much more. I love looking through each album to get new ideas or remember something that has helped me….but the one that keeps me coming back for more. The one I come to Pinterest specifically for, that my biggest dreams are built on:


I love getaways, big and small. Day trips to Waterton, Calgary, or even just a few hours spent at the Birds of Prey center, outdoor pool, or in our backyard. Weekend camping trips or a few days visiting friends and family. And of course, the weeks we spend at the condo in Whitefish {2 separate weeks a year}, or the 3 weeks the kids and I spent in California with my cousin and her son {since then she’s gone from 1 to 4 kids! awesome}, the trip Brent and I took to the Mayan Riviera with some great friends {sans kids}…and of course, the upcoming family trip to Puerto Vallarta – all of these facilitate the memories that are most important to me. The ones I’ll remember, the photos we’ll cherish and love looking through for years to come.

burgundy street madrid spain

Burgundy Street – Madrid, Spain

And of course – the places I dream of going, the cultures  I am ever so hopeful to give our kids the opportunity to experience.  The ones I just keep pinning.

suitcaseBecause that pretty much sums it up.

Why I Went Back To Work

I’ve considered it before. Working *outside* of the home. But the timing wasn’t right. When Brent and I decided to add to our family with children, having me at home with them was important to both of us. And I loved it – it was what I had always wanted, dreamed of…and I was a happy mommy! I am a happy mommy.

I’ve talked previously about the difficulties in parenting an intense child, and while we are mostly out of those trying times, I still can’t forget how stressful it was. How many hours I spent trying to figure out how best to parent – so that he could be his best self. In his last year of preschool, I considered going back to work. Looking for something VERY part time, because I wondered if we needed time apart. But the truth is, after thinking and praying A LOT, I felt strongly that the timing wasn’t right. That he needed me. And honestly, that I needed him.

So I left it at that.

Until last summer, when a friend of mine was going on Maternity Leave. I had been watching her daughter every once in a while and when she said she was pregnant I told her I wanted her job. Part time, at the hospital, and she loved it. I knew I would too, and so, after some back and forth {would the hassle of childcare be worth it?}, I decided the least I could do was apply.

And I got it!

TONS of people applied for the position, so I felt incredibly grateful for the opportunity. It was also neat to look over my resume and see how my life up until that point had given me opportunities and experience that aligned with the job. So, I am a Service Aide – I order and stock the supplies on my unit to make the nurses jobs easier. And I LOVE it! It’s been a year {next Saturday} and I still love it – I love the part time {perfect balance}, the staff {my nurses are amazing}, management {they are great to work for and with}, and the job itself. In a sickening kind of way, I love going to work every day and making things easier for the nurses and other staff. I mean, seriously LOVE it.

c/o Eternal Reflections Photography {I've told you, my cousin rocks}

c/o Eternal Reflections Photography {I’ve told you, my cousin rocks}

It’s perfect – The year before would not have gone so well I don’t think, but the timing was right. Of the 2 days I worked, Jonah was in kindergarten one of them and at a friend’s house playing the other {Brooklyn is full time school}. Not any different really than his life would have been otherwise. I work 2 out of every 6 Saturdays so the kids either get a day with their dad or grandparents – which I think is something every kid should have the benefit of.

It’s my first summer working, and I’ve had to do a lot of self talk. I love my job, but also don’t ever want work to crowd my priority of being a mom – a stay at home mom. But so far, it’s been amazing and we are packing everything we can into my days off. We are making the most of the time we have, and in some ways I think the working days help me appreciate the days off even that much more!

This has been an amazing year, and I hope I can continue in this position if my friend doesn’t come back, or in something similar if she does. I don’t see myself ever being a full time kinda girl – as spoiled as it sounds, I don’t ever want my life to be ALL work…especially with Brent working full time. I see now how difficult the balance can be between marriage, family, and working…nevermind time for self. And I don’t want to have too many balls in the air. But I am loving the part time for sure! And am grateful I followed the instinct not only to apply, but to wait a year before thinking seriously about the working option.

Some times, things happen just as they should.