Monday, December 30, 2013

13 from 2013

i feel like i have said (a lot- too much probably) that 2013 was simply not my year. it's been a difficult one for many in my close circle and, if i'm being totally honest, i am rejoicing that it's finally coming to an end. something about the new year always feels like a fresh, clean start, and that is  a feeling i am genuinely looking forward to.

but despite my negative-nancey attitude, there were still some pretty incredible memories and, as is the case with life, valuable lessons came along with the hard times. i feel like 2013 was my year to grow in huge ways. i have learned SO much about myself, my beautiful husband, and the amazing support network of family and friends we have built around ourselves. we both share endless gratitude for that. truly.

anyways, every year i share some of my favourite photos from the past 12 months (which i will still eventually do) but this year i also wanted to recap a few of my favourite posts from this here blog- you know... in case you missed any.

so here we go- 13 of my favs from 2013...

finn's room

 uncle kyle

finn is three
these days
galiano island
myles alan gregory craig
rock throwing
getting back to simple
the hunt for our christmas tree
thank you all for your love and support over the years- especially this past one. it means more than you will ever know. kisses, cheers and positive vibes to an incredible 2014!


a few really good books for kiddos- round two!

a while back, i shared a few of finn's favourite books. many of them are still in our regular rotation, but our bookshelf continues to expand, so i thought i would share a few more favs worthy of a mention.

happy reading! xo

The Day the Crayons Quit by Oliver Jeffers - a really cute tale of a little boys crayons going on strike. super humorous (for parent and child) with really fun crayon illustrations- sure to get many page turns for many years to come.

Where You Came From by Sara O'Leary (illustrated by Julie Morstad) - in my last children's book roundup, i mentioned the book 'When you Were Small' written and illustrated by these same ladies- this book is another piece of pure perfection. wildly imaginative and full of sweetness, a mother and father try to recount where their inquisitive little boy came from.

An Awesome Book by Dallas Clayton - full of incredible thoughts and illustrations about children's dreams (and how we forget our ability to dream big as we get older). jeff got this book for me as a mothers day gift with the perfect inscription to always encourage our children to dream wildly. awesomely perfect in my opinion.

On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman - i think this book is our generations 'Love You Forever' - my Aunt gave it to finn a few years ago for christmas and i tear up every time i read it. a beautifully told story of the whole worlds excitement on the night a child is born.

The Caboose Who Got Loose by Bill Peet - finn loves trains, so i am always on the hunt for (good) books that cater to that (and don't include a certain blue engine and his friends). this book is a classic- the story of katie, a worrisome little caboose that isn't quite happy with her circumstances.

There Were Monkeys in My Kitchen by Sheree Fithch - a hilarious and brilliantly written poem about a little girls home being taken over by monkeys. it's so fun to read and the author is an amazing and much loved canadian poet from the maritimes. (i also mentioned one of her other books, toes in my nose, in the last kids book roundup. we love her over here!)

Monday, December 9, 2013

snow day

it almost never snows in vancouver, and over the last 12 months, i have quickly become acclimatized to that fact. sitting around the playground small talking with the other moms about how cold it has been. sighing over the fact that i can't get away with wearing my jean jacket on some of these extra brisk winter mornings. drinking my weight in coffee to try and keep warm.

an outsider would never believe i spent most my life in calgary.

but when it does snow here, it beautifully dusts all things green with the tiniest layer of white. it falls from the sky in magical clumps and quiets the streets around us that are normally so hectic. it usually melts within a few hours- never staying for much longer than an afternoon, and quickly the city is back to wetness. back to grey. back to rain.

as is the case with most children, finn loves the snow- especially when it is accompanied by mild weather. and so today i found my deeply buried love for the fluffy stuff. a love i have spent my entire life complaining about.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

the hunt for our christmas tree

this weekend we got a christmas tree.

i will start by telling you how much research i did before deciding on a tree farm. many years ago, we got a tree in alberta from the junior forest wardens. it was a lodgepole pine tree, and it was, in my opinion, PERFECT! it literally had 5 branches (total) and i loved the simplicity of it. so i went on a search to find one here. and although it is the most commonly grown tree in BC, not a single one of the 20+ tree farms i looked grew this type of tree. i suppose probably because most people like to put more than 6 decorations on it. 

we dont have a ton of extra space in our home, and with the extra full house of guests we have coming over the holidays, we knew we wanted something no more than 3 feet tall. we started off at a u-cut lot but just couldn't find a little enough tree that we could all agree on. after wandering around (and taking a few pictures), we decided to venture north.

i had read online that you can cut your own christmas tree on crown land. no where was i able to find an actual map of where this crown land is, but i did read something about the trees under hydro lines being part of it. basically, i am giving you all this information, because we pretty much drove toward squamish, turned off on some side road, and found a perfect little pine tree- right under some hydro lines. im pretty sure what we did was in no way kosher (much like me using the word 'kosher' in a post about christmas trees. ha!) but- with all the driving we did, coupled with a grumpy little boy, two tired parents and a mom that simply wanted to cut down our own damn christmas tree, i say we did ok. (we also promise to plant a few trees in the near future to replace the one we borrowed.)

stoked to have cut down our first family tree!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

rock throwing

to honour roo's could-be birthday, we wrote some special notes on rocks, kissed them full of love, and ventured down to our favourite beach to toss them into the beautiful, giant, wild ocean. our evening was magical.


the sky was so epic - unlike anything i have seen since moving to vancouver. and as soon as we turned around to leave...
it was gone. magical indeed. 

Monday, December 2, 2013


today marks what would have been roo's due date.

there is a big part of me that feels uncomfortable sharing any of this- i think mostly because it drudges up hard feelings. feelings i thought i had managed to move past. but also by avoiding writing this, i somehow felt more healed. i never wanted to come across as broken. like this sad woman that was dwelling or still grieving or just couldn't talk about anything else. but the further we travel along this path, the more i have realized how many others have experienced a similar journey, and how everyone processes the steps along the way so differently. it's amazing and incredible and humbling and so sad all at the same time. but the one thing i have taken from all of this is - there will always be someone out there with a sadder story than yours, and as awful as it sounds, knowing that got me through some of our hardest days.

when i think back to july 12th, all i wanted in those first few days was to be past that point. i remember saying to jeff that i wished we could fast forward to 3 months from then and be beyond the ugliest part. be past that day. that week. that entire month. i never wanted people to feel sorry for us or awkward being around me. for someone who loathes being the centre of attention, there was no escaping it in that moment. i think the hardest part for me was that i truly didn't want any of my 4 friends who were pregnant at the time to in any way feel that my loss dampened my complete overjoy for them and the new journey they were about the start. what was meant to be such an exciting time for all of us, suddenly felt so fractured, and i didnt want that to trickle down to any of them.

we decided to have an autopsy done after roo's passing. i was hesitant at first- just wanting to chop it all up to fate and move on. but i think i was actually more worried the results would came back and say it was my fault. something i did or didnt do caused him to not develop like he should have. the doctors really pushed for us to have the tests done, touting that having some answers could help with closure or decisions around future pregnancy's. in the moment it felt like we were bullied into doing it, but to be honest, i am now grateful we did. we found out that roo had trisome-21, or down syndrome. we had declined any genetic pre-screening, and thinking back, we wouldn't have changed our decision around that. jeff and i both know in our hearts we would have wanted to continued the pregnancy even if we had known in advance that roo had down syndrome, so to have spent time going through so many invasive tests, being poked and prodded, sitting though so many heartbreaking stories and statistics, working through all the emotions that would have surfaced, AND THEN, to lose him. I cant even imagine. i am grateful that the 19 weeks roo spent inside me was filled with love- he was never questioned, we never had to justify why we wanted to keep him and never once was i sad or heart broken or unsure. he only knew (and still only knows) the purist of love, and for that, i am thankful.

never have jeff and i ever wonder why this happened to us. we never felt angry or cheated or resentful. this has really been a journey towards deeper understanding. from the start we were able to  accept that this was meant to be part of our life's path- something beyond our control that for some reason, we needed to get through. but also, we have finn- a healthy, happy, beautiful, hilarious, spirited little boy that has changed us for the better in ways i cant even begin to explain. and for that, our hearts will always be completely full.

in the days and weeks after losing roo, anytime i felt particularly low, i would ALWAYS see small white moths fluttering around. they seemed to follow me wherever i went this summer and because of that, they will always be a gentle reminder of the sweet boy we never got to meet. they will forever bring a smile to my face and calmness to my heart knowing that somewhere out there, he is smiling at us.

sweet roo- you will always be SO loved.


the day that i got home from the hospital, i was fixated on finding the perfect christmas ornament for roo. i spent hours on etsy searching/ distracting myself. i found this waldorf inspired angel ornament- a fundraiser for kathreen ricketson & rob shugg's two children, daughter Otilija and son Orlando. its beautiful, simple and exactly what i envision when i think of roo. it also came with an incredibly sad story that helped keep my perspective and emotions a bit more balanced.
you can read more about kathlreen ricketson and rob shugg here

the first gift i was given for roo were these beautiful handknit booties from my dear friend, sarah. when i was packing up some of the things i had collected for roo, i knew these booties belonged to him- i didnt have an emotional attachment to very many other things, but these will stay in our little box of roo's things. 

this was the first thing i bought for roo. my girlfriend becky was visiting for the weekend (when she was around 4 months pregnant). we shopped a lot for her new babe, and i couldnt resist getting a little something for roo too.

Friday, November 29, 2013

dinosaur filled december

a few years ago, i did a random acts of kindness project leading up to christmas. it wasn't anything major, but it was so much fun and rewarding to look back and see what we were able to pull together and give back to our community. last year we kind of missed out on doing much of anything (we were right in the middle of moving) so i was extra keen to get something organized for this year- especially now that finn is old enough to participate more and understand the importance behind it.

my issue was i had a zero and a million ideas all at the same time. i liked a little bit of something, and a little bit of something else, but none of it was really focused on giving back, and more importantly, none of it made me feel excited like i did that first year.

so, we had this idea...

it started with the 'elf on a shelf' craze. i really liked the idea of incorporating magic and wonder into the project, but was not so cool with using the elf as a way to manipulate finn's behavior. present giving is because you love someone, not because they acted well or somehow deserve it. the elves are also SUPER expensive, so that was a bit of a deal breaker for us.

a couple weeks after my half baked elf plan was fizzling out, my friend james sent me a link to a really funny website - dinovember. a husband and wife that devote the month of november to convincing their children that, while they sleep, their plastic dinosaur figures come to life. the pictures of these trouble-making dinosaurs are HILARIOUS! Jeff and I both laughed until we cried looking at this site, and again, i was drawn to the idea of creating that sense of wonder and magic, but it was still missing that connection piece that i was looking for.

so tonight i finally came up with our happy medium. we have some dinosaurs with festive hats and scarves, and starting december 1st, they are going to create some positive chaos at our house. each night they will suggest fun activities, ideas or random acts of kindness for us to do as a family- demonstrating everyday kindness and love toward each other, our family and friends, and total strangers. And reinforcing what the holidays really mean to our family in the process.

i will do my best to share some of our favourite ideas here on the blog, but in the mean time, here are some pictures of the dinosaurs in their winter best- ready to create some magic!