Friday, 22 February 2013

My One Regret

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They say that you're not supposed to have regrets in life. That everything that happens to us in life is ultimately meant to teach us, to help us, to shape us into who we are meant to be. Well, I believe this. I really do. But I do have one regret. Maybe I've learned from it..actually I know I've learned from it. Maybe that means it's not a regret anymore.

But I still regret it.

Here is the story:

It was the day before Halloween. I was still recovering from Carter's birth, trying to keep my eyes open from the sleep deprivation of having a newborn, and realizing that Halloween was only a day away. I still needed a few odds and ends for the big night and a few extra groceries to get us through the rest of the week. So I quickly wrote out my list, packed up both kids into the van and headed out to the store.

As I pulled into a parking spot, I remember feeling slightly anxious at the prospect of going to a large store on my own with a 2yr old who doesn't like being confined to the seat of a shopping cart and a newborn who I was still getting to know. But with arms full, we made it in and got most of what was on my list with few problems. Mya ran along beside me, her little hands gliding along every item that we passed along each aisle and Carter stayed asleep, his eyelids fluttering open only occasionally as groceries filled up our cart.

As we made our way to the checkout line, it all started.

I began to hear yelling. A woman's voice. An angry woman's voice.

I all of a sudden found myself staring at a mom, her arms full of groceries, screaming at her two young daughters. Screaming and swearing at them. Words that no children should ever have to hear.

I couldn't take my eyes off of them.

Both of the little girls had long brown tangled hair that looked like it hadn't been washed in weeks. And they were both drowning in their over-sized coats, making them look even that much smaller compared to their tall mother hovering over them.  

The young girls (probably 8 and 10 years old) both had their newly picked Halloween costumes draped over their arms, as their shoulders curled up at the sound of every scream. They both looked down at the ground with fear on their faces.

The dad then started in on those two little girls as well. Screaming, swearing at them. Tears filled their little eyes as the older one started begging "Please stop. Please, please stop".

Then all of a sudden, as swear words continued to fly freely out of that mother's mouth, she took all of the groceries that were in her arms and threw them down on the floor. THREW them down. The crash of the food stopped everyone in their tracks. All of a sudden everyone at that store stopped and watched.

She then ripped the costumes out of her daughter's arms and threw them on the floor as well, while screaming at them that she wasn't going to buy them their costumes or any of the food anymore.

Tears streamed down those little faces as both girls pleaded "No mommy, please...please".

My heart dropped and I felt like I could barely breathe.

With food and costumes scattered all over the floor, the angry mom cursed those little girls and stormed out of the store.

As both little girls cried hard, they began reaching down and picking up the mess of food all around them as their dad continued to yell and swear at them.

I froze. I didn't know what to do. I didn't know if I should do anything.

Would I make it worse? Would I be overstepping my boundaries as a stranger interfering with a family situation?

My mouth went dry as I tried to find what words I could use to step in and do something. Anything.

Instead I locked eyes with both girls separately and gave them each a look of "I'm so sorry's going to be okay", then winked at each of them as I held my own daughter in my arms and pushed my cart back and forth trying to settle my now-wide-awake newborn.

I didn't do anything else.

I continued to watch as the dad angrily gathered up the last of the groceries on the floor and continued to yell at the little girls as he headed for the checkout. The oldest child gently grabbed her sister and hugged her, whispering something in her ear.

I almost cried.

She hugged her. She comforted her. She knew that she could do nothing else but try to protect her young sister and try to make it all better. They held each other crying.

I kept watching. Frozen.

The screaming and cursing settled as they followed their dad out of the store, their little hands intertwined, heads down as the cold wind hit their tear streaked faces as they walked out of the front doors.

I never saw them again.

I think of them often though.

I wonder what their life is like at home. If both of their parents think that swearing and screaming at them in a store is okay, what is happening behind closed doors? Are they okay?

I regret not stepping in. Not saying something. I've thought a lot about what I should have done, what I could have done differently. And all that I've come up with is that I should have gently stepped in with a sense of love and compassion for the entire family. I should have told them that I know how hard parenting is sometimes and could I please buy all of these groceries and the kids' costumes? It's the least that I can do. Please. Let me do this for you to ease a bit of the stress of your day.

It may have caused more anger, me stepping in. It may have caused more grief. It may not have been my place. But maybe it would have for a moment made those little girls see that someone in that moment cared about them. It may have showed those angry parents that someone cares about them as well. And maybe...just maybe, it would have made them realize that that type of behaviour towards children will change who those kids have the potential to be one day. It changes who they are.

So regrets? Ya, that's my one. My big one that I think about a lot. My regret that my fear of getting involved in business that wasn't my own left those scared little girls alone in that moment. Alone in a life that they were just born into. Born to parents who may not even realize how completely damaging those kinds of words can be to little people.

But I've learned from that regret. Learned that I won't just sit back next time. As uncomfortable as it might be, I'll step in next time to help. I won't just sit back and watch (as literally every single person at that store did, including myself).

So maybe my regret is actually a lesson in disguise. A good life lesson that I'll take with me and use and hopefully never leave a child or anyone feeling alone and helpless again.



Monday, 18 February 2013

A lot of gratitude

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We are overwhelmed by you.

Thank you.

Because of you, my email inbox and Facebook PM box are full of so much right now. Full of possibilities. Full of opportunities. Full of options. Full of support and love and kind words of encouragement. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Our spirits have been lifted, our hope renewed. A little bit of light is shining through what was a pretty dark reality only a couple of days ago. Thank you for those who offered to help, who offered to take Terry's resume, or who have suggested job openings at their companies. We are completely overwhelmed by the love. Thank you.

Although we realize that it's still not going to be an easy road ahead, as the reality is that even with options and help, it's an uphill climb to actually go from where we are right now to sitting in a nice cozy office desk and kissing Terry goodbye each morning as he heads off to work again. But we'll get there. We have hope now. That counts for something. And you? Thank you. That's all I can even begin to say.

So we'll pick up our pieces, as so many others have done before us, and keep moving forward. We'll rid our house of this wicked flu bug, pull up our boots, continue working on updating Terry's resume and getting it sent out to those who offered, and work towards our future...whatever that might be now.

I sat down last night, exhausted from the wearing off of this illness and the many sleepless nights this week and had a moment of clarity as I decided to write down all of the things that I'm grateful for. I decided to do it since I knew I had to switch my brain from sorrow to happiness, quickly. Keeping things in perspective for me always brings me back to the reality that life is still so so good.

Here is what I came up with...

I am grateful for: 

1) Having a washing machine and dryer in my basement.

After doing 6 loads of laundry the other day trying to rid our house of this flu bug, I really sat back and appreciated the fact that man are we ever lucky to have our own laundry facilities in our home. There are so many people who have to leave their home to do laundry (who I have so much respect for, especially after yesterday's laundry day)...I realized that I literally would have had to be at the laundry mat all day long, with 2 small kids, in order to clean what needed to be cleaned.

P.S. If anyone who needs to leave their home to do laundry ever has a ton of clothes to wash and is facing the reality of sitting at the laundry mat all day, please call me and I'll come over and take it to my house to do. I'm absolutely serious.

2) Having Terry home with us.

Obviously I'd rather the circumstances of him being home with us be different. But I love having him here. And so does Mya. There have been a lot of daddy cuddles happening throughout the day, and I have no idea how we would have gotten through this week with all of us being so sick without him being here to help take care of us. Thanks my love.

3) Chinese New Year.

We're learning a lot as we go about the Chinese culture...a lot from Jeff, a little from Google.

But I love new traditions of celebrating Chinese New Year together...

...eating delicious Chinese food (made by Jeff and Mom)

 ...handing out red envelopes (some full of small amounts of money--as traditionally done...and some full of treats for the kids..don't know if that's traditionally done or not...I'll Google it tonight).

They'll appreciate the coins when they're older, but they appreciate the chocolate right now.

 So with decorations put up (along with a lesson from the Chinese man at the dollar store about what the signs meant) and delicious food on the table, we celebrated...and taught our little Oliver a bit more about his culture, as we are all learning along side him as well.

Oh to have a drink again. With pregnancies close together and breastfeeding my babies I realized the other day that I haven't touched a drop of alcohol in years. YEARS. I kinda miss it. 

4) Oliver and Mya's love for each other.

Anyone else trying to wipe little Oliver's face isn't always freely welcomed. But if Mya does it? No problem. It really is just the cutest thing ever. She's gonna be a good mama one day.

5) Valentine's Day, even when sick.

With a sick mama and sick 2yr old, Valentine's Day wasn't exactly as exciting as I traditionally like to make it. But I pulled out the heart covered table cloth, plates and napkins for her to eat her saltine crackers off of...and made her food into heart shapes...even if it was just toast.

**Oh how I never appreciated the fact that full shirt bibs were once only used in this house for food splatter. This week?..the flu bug attacked them randomly at any meal of the day. Oh the joys. Sigh. 

Poor little thing. She was thrilled though regardless, especially loving the table cloth. One day she'll remember that her parents tried. That's what really matters. She'll know that even though it wasn't as exciting and full of all of the treats and excitement that I would have liked for it to be, she'll remember her sick food cut into heart shapes and how her mama still tried to make that day a little more special than the day before.

6) Carter slept for 10hrs straight the night that Mya and I were up being sick all night long.
That's a pretty happy little pre-sickness all of a sudden feels much better when you look at something like that each day. 
Can you believe it??? He's never in his life slept 10hrs straight...but he did that night. Slept right through all of the crazy chaos of the night and woke up only after Mya and I finally settled. I don't think that was any coincidence.

Reading over this list already makes me feel so much better. We might have had a punch to the gut this past week with Terry's job loss and that wicked flu bug, but if we look closely enough there are still so many other great things going on. That's what we'll focus on around here from now on, all the good...cause if you look really hard, the good will always outweigh the bad.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Sending out an S.O.S.

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There won't be any pictures on this post as I can barely muster the strength to even write this afternoon, and really...I'm not sure what pictures I would even think of adding this time.
Terry got laid off from his job on Monday morning.

Just breathe, I keep telling myself.

We had heard whispers of more lay-offs to come in his company, but had our fingers crossed that we wouldn't be touched by them. Wishful thinking I guess.

I know we'll be okay, eventually. Right now we're not, really. We're mourning the loss. We're trying to figure out what to do. A million negative thoughts of our future, our present and our family situation are running through our heads. It's like a punch to the gut. Anyone who has ever been laid off I'm sure knows the feeling. Your world that was once what it was, is now gone and a new sort of world and reality is having to emerge.

I waited until Terry gave me the 'okay' to post this as these past couple of days have been a bit of a blur for all of us, as we're letting the reality of it all slowly sink in. With me being on maternity leave and having a new baby at home, it only adds more stress to the situation. But we both decided that the best thing to do was to tell people. My dad has always said that networking is the best method for finding jobs. So, here we are. Asking for any of our wonderful friends to please keep your ears open for any job opportunities coming up in your company or otherwise. Thank you, a million times over.

Then just to add a cherry on top, when we thought that we had been given enough to handle for one week, Mya and I came down with the worst flu bug ever yesterday. We both spent the entire night last night being sick, running to the bathroom at least 10 times in the middle of the night...then running into her room to clean up her bedding and sheets as well. I don't think I've ever been so sick in my life. And our poor little Mya...she's never been so sick either. I haven't left my bed all day now. So in trying to find at least a bit of a silver lining in this less-than-perfect situation that we're going through, I'm at least grateful that Terry is home this week to take care of us. He's been bringing Carter upstairs to me so I can feed him, then quickly taking him away...and he's been on permanent popsicle duty. And my mother-in-law has been here all day helping him take care of a sick 2yr old, a sick wife and a 4month old baby. Thank you Judy.

What a week.

Here's the thing though. In my foggy sick brain, I know that this illness will pass. It will not last forever. And the job thing? We'll figure something out. I'm not sure what yet, which is of course the scary part. But we'll eventually be okay.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Nesting..or something like that

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   I feel like I'm nesting again. That feeling of complete urgency to get things done. That feeling that life might just be over if I don't get the kitchen painted this week. Yes, the kitchen painted. I'm not even sure why I want the kitchen to be painted, but I do. And I need it done now.

    I've been looking through every drawer in our house and feel desperate to get them cleaned out and organized. I want to purge everything. Get the stuff out of our house that is cluttering up our space.

      I want to spray paint our picture frames going up our staircase. Today. Yesterday, really. Why? I don't know. I all of a sudden think that having white frames would be softer, nicer to look at than the black frames that we currently have. I'll be buying spray paint this weekend..probably today actually. Cause yes...I want it done right now.

     I've already painted Carter's it actually. It was freshly painted by my wonderful parents when I was pregnant, but I ended up hating the colour that I chose. It was too dark for the size of the room. I'd sit in the rocking chair late at night, nursing my sweet little boy, while feeling like the walls were caving in on me. It needed to be changed.

     So we went for the exact opposite of what was once there: from dark gray to a soft cream colour. And I love it. It's calming. Warm. Soft. Unfortunately hard to see the true colour in these photos since I took the pics at night, but it's wonderfully calming and I love it.  

    I've organized our linen closet. Donated half of what was in there to Goodwill and feel so much better already (pics to come).

   I've been working on organizing Mya and Carter's toys and playroom downstairs and I have this urge to bake...a lot. I want to bake a million yummy treats. I have no idea why.

Mya doesn't mind this part at all.

Thanks for the adorable apron Kim, Jamie & Seb! 

We made up some delicious peanut butter balls the other day. We used this recipe if you wanted to give them a try. I just added more peanut butter and less butter to make them super creamy. They were to die for.

Didn't I just write about how I was enjoying how things were slowing down around here? Geeze.

At least my urge to bake comes in handy with Valentine's Day coming up next week. Someone else is getting excited about Valentine's Day as well.

     Isn't it strange though? All of a sudden to be feeling this way? I'm clearly not pregnant (although, that would be amazing). No big life changes are happening at the moment (ie. about to have a baby, or going back to work after having a baby) -which can sometimes (ok, all the time) lead me to turn into a crazy organizing/cleaning woman. It's just strange. Who knows. 

     Anyways, in my desperation to get things organized, I thought I'd pass along a super easy and free way to organize any drawer in your house. I saw this idea online and thought I'd give it a try in my mess of a makeup drawer. There are a lot of drawers that I'd like to tackle in our house, but I thought I'd pick the worst of the worst.

    Here was my original reality. A complete disaster.

    So with a few empty boxes, cut down to size and covered with scrapbook paper, you've got some cute little 'baskets' to store your stuff. And the best part? It cost me absolutely nothing (since I already had the paper on hand).

     It's as easy as this:

1) Dump everything in your drawer and go through it--getting rid of stuff you don't use. Then grab some boxes and line them up in your drawer.

2) Cut them to size and start wrapping them in scrapbook paper (I just used tape to keep everything together).

3) Once all wrapped, put your items in the new bins and you're done!

Side note: This is also a perfect activity to do with a girly 2yr old who loves playing with makeup. She spent a good 45mins taking things out of the bins and putting them back in..great sorting activity (says the kindergarten teacher in me!). Oh, and it's fun to smear lip gloss all over your face too. True story. 

Nice and neat.

Can you believe that it used to look like THIS??

Happy organizing!

Saturday, 2 February 2013

DIY Ruffled Lamp Shade

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This is going to be a quick one...lots to do today, Carter will be awake at any moment and we've got some preppin' for Valentine's Day to get started on.

You have no idea how happy all of these hearts make me.

Anyways, just thought I'd pass along the easiest (and cheapest) DIY lamp shade idea ever. I just finished it the other day and it took me less than an hour to do it.

*(To see the other lamp shade that I covered for Carter's room click here).

How cute is this one though?

*(To see how I made Mya's tutu side table, click here). 
Start with a lamp (any lamp)..this one pictured below was going to be thrown out. Literally.

As I was taking the kids out for a walk one day I ran into a woman who was walking out of her house with this lamp, about to put it on the curb. In my cheap crafty little mind, I instantly thought SCORE. I asked her if it still worked, and she said "Yup, but the lamp shade is all busted up". 
Perfect. I'll take it. 

So I headed home and showed Terry my new treasure. 

He laughed when he saw it. "You don't ever stop, do you?" he said as he examined my busted up garbage find. 

"Don't mess with my crafting, buddy. I've got visions for this little lamp". 

So after a quick trip to the fabric store, I came home with a couple yards of this ruffled material and got to work. 

**Disclaimer: That sounds easier than it actually was. It actually took me an entire week to figure out a time for me to go to the fabric store sans children, then it took another night of strategically planning and prepping for me to be able to have a good hour of alone time in between feedings when Terry was home at night to look after Carter and when Mya was down for the night.

 Anyways, once I got started it really only took about 45mins to finish (if that). Here is how I did it: 

1) Heat up your glue gun and start at the top of the lamp shade.

2) Place a couple dabs of glue along the rim of the shade and stick your ruffled fabric securely down. 

3) Keep adding more glue to the edges, while pressing down your fabric until you complete a full circle. Cut your fabric and start again by wrapping your fabric around 

4) Keep going around the lamp shade with your fabric until you've reached the bottom. 


I painted the rest of the lamp with the same left-over pink paint that I used when I made Mya's wooden name letters. 

This entire lamp cost me a total of $6 and it's so darn cute.

Happy crafting!

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