Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Tragedy

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      Last night I spent the night holding my boy and watching news clips of the horror that happened in Connecticut this past week. I watched as the tiny faces of those babies who lost their lives were flashed across the television screen and my eyes filled with tears. It's unspeakable. It's unimaginable. It's horrific. It's scary.

     As a kindergarten teacher, I looked at those children's faces and saw my own students. As a mom, I saw my own babies. There are just no words to describe this kind of horror and I hesitated to even write about it since I knew that words aren't even barely enough to bring any kind of comfort or peace to anyone. My heart breaks for the lives that were lost. My heart breaks for the lives that were left behind.

    
     As they showed the faces of the children and teachers who lost their lives, I paused my television so that I could study their faces and I reminded myself that this was real. This really happened. It's unthinkable.

     I watched as the father of one of the young victims spoke to the media, hands holding the podium firmly, shaking, trying to fight back his tears, pleading that this tragedy does not define his 6yr old beautiful little daughter or what her life meant. Pictures of this little girl, with her long blond hair and sweet little smile flashed across the screen, and I couldn't help but think about the reality of what her parents were going home to after the lights go out and the swirl of media dwindles away. How do you cope with this? How do you move forward? How do you go on living? I just don't know.

    As I wiped my tears and finally turned off the television, I nursed my boy as I scanned through Facebook, hoping to mindlessly settle my mind before crawling into bed for the night. As I scrolled down the screen, I came across something that someone had posted and I thought I'd share it as well. In the wake of such incredible sadness and loss, I was touched to see the good that is forever still in our world as well. Click here to see it.

     How do you fight evil in this world? You fight it with good. As I woke up this morning and turned on the news again, I watched as therapy dogs were brought in to bring comfort to those in need. I watched as a coffee shop in Connecticut gave out free coffee just to bring a tiny bit of joy to those coming into their shop. I watched as a woman walked into Toys R' Us and paid off another customers lay-away bill right before Christmas. I watched as a woman found an envelope with cash in it on her car windshield, and a note saying that this random act of kindness was simply to bring some light into someones life, in the midst of such tragedy.

    Let's hold our kids a bit tighter today. Let's tell the people in our lives that we love them. Let's let go of anger that we have towards someone in our life. Let's gain a little perspective about how big (or little) our problems really are. Let's move on from our past and start fresh today, living the life that we would want to live if we knew that we had limited time on this Earth. Let's go out and make a point of trying to make someone smile today. Let's love each other and never forget those sweet little faces of the ones who lost their lives in such tragedy.

Erica
xox

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Christmas Cookie Exchange

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     So Jen and I decided that hosting a cookie exchange with a one year old, two year old and an infant in our arms would be a super idea. We get these ideas in our heads and just go for it...which means that we end up doing some pretty fun things sometimes. But it also means that Terry looks at me a lot throughout our marriage, as I'm trying to juggle a million things at once, and says "Why do you do this to yourself?".  And fair enough...I mumbled those same words to myself the day before the party as Jen and I had all three kids crying at the same time as we were trying to hang shiny snowflake thingy's from the curtain rod over the table. Because you know, you just really need shiny snowflakes thingy's hanging over your table to make it feel like a festive event, right? As we abandoned the snowflakes and calmed all of the tears, I did in that moment think, Terry is right...why do I do this to myself? But that thought is always fleeting, lasting for a split second, then quickly escaping my mind as I remind myself that this is what life is all about. Celebrating with friends, making memories for our kids, having a good time and purposely creating and living out the experiences that we envision for our kids and ourselves. Even if it's not all smooth sailing and easy along the way, it's definitely worth it in the end.

     So after an S.O.S. was sent out to our parents the morning of the cookie exchange, they were all of a sudden at our house vacuuming, dusting, holding Carter and entertaining the kids as Jen, Terry, Jeff and I ran around getting everything else ready. If you call in the troops they come, every time. Even though mom worked the night shift the night before, she was all smiles and ready to help. I have no idea what we would do without them. Thanks mom and dad!

    With all of this said...here is our little cookie exchange in a nutshell. What a fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon. Definitely worth all of the work for all of the great memories made.   
     








Snowman Soup for the kids...(A.K.A. hot chocolate)



And peanut butter cups and Hershey`s Kisses for the adults, tucked into cute little Santa and reindeer bags. 









*Please note the lovely darn little shiny snowflakes hanging from the curtain rod...yes, we finally got them all up. And did I mention that Jen actually strung each and every one of those little snowflakes herself?  For the amount of work that these ridiculous snowflakes took, you can bet that you'll forever see these snowflakes at each and every party that we throw from now on. Even in the summer time.






Reinbeer anyone? 
 

The lucky guests who had a penguin sticker on the bottom of their mug or beer won a Christmas present. We had two lucky winners that afternoon. Congrats Jason and Alex!


Cute mini party dress #2. Complete with her favourite pose--crossed legs.















The aftermath of people starting the cookie exchange...our counter was jam-packed with bags of cookies. It was absolute cookie Heaven.

As our house is finally back in order after a huge cleanup last night (thanks Jeff for staying so long!), we're off to two more parties today. Happy weekend!

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

What I love

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     I've found that in life, it's always the little things that I love the most. Here are a few of my recent favourites:

1)  Our annual tradition of taking the kids to see Santa and getting all of us in the shot. We've grown by one baby a year since Mya was born, with hopes that the baby train won't stop any time soon...Santa's gonna have to get a bigger lap. I love this because we all look so darn happy sitting there with Santa... 


...then in two seconds flat it all goes downhill, quickly.




    I'd like to say that these pictures don't crack me up...because that would just be mean to laugh at your own children...but honestly. Mya high-tailin' if off of the couch is what gets me the most. But I'm not laughing. Promise.


And just as a side note: both kids were completely fine and smiling once again just minutes after getting out of there--Santa is apparently better to look at from afar. What a completely bizarre concept though really...making kids sit on some strange man's knee who looks nothing like anyone they know. I understand the tears. Still not laughing though.

2)  A surprise hunt for an early Christmas present from my wonderful hubby. I just love this guy.



Look what I found at the end of my hunt. Oh Terry...what a gem. He knows that I've been wanting a Blackberry for so long now (a white one in particular). Thanks my love. I've been smiling for days now. And hey, you can BBM me now! ..that's apparently Blackberry talk. I'm learning. 


3) Being the recipient of a wonderful random act of kindness. How incredibly surprised I was tonight as I opened my door to see my friend Jenny standing there, her arms full as she passed me a Christmas bag full of delicious food. She and her girls made us a wonderful meal, complete with dessert and a beautiful Christmas book for the kids. Thank you Jenny, Maddie and Kylie! You girls are superstars and I can't even begin to tell you how much we appreciate your kindness. Jenny told me that my sis and I had inspired her with our random acts of kindness, but really, you girls have inspired me. These girls are going around the city in the weeks before Christmas and bringing smiles to people's faces with every kind act that they perform. You're making a difference in this world girls!Thank you a million times over.

   

4)  Quiet times with my boy.  


     I can't even tell you how much I love this new little soul. It's a love that overwhelms me at times since you really can't imagine being able to love another being as much as you do your first child. But it's possible.,.oh man, is it ever possible.

     It's usually during the rare quiet times that I get completely alone with him that overwhelm me the most. I just look at him, breathe him in and whisper to him over and over again how much I love him and how lucky I know I am to have been chosen to be his mama. I just love this little man so much. 
And my sweet little Mya? The moment that she was born she taught me what it meant to love greater than you ever thought possible. She is my girl. My heart. My love.  




5) Carter meeting his great grandma for the first time. Her health is unfortunately failing her, so it meant the world to me for her to be able to meet our little Carter and see Oliver and Mya again. She was just as thrilled as we were that day.





6) Christmas parties. We went to our first Christmas party of the season and came away feeling like Christmas had officially begun. Thanks Andra and AC for a great afternoon!   




Oh, and cute little party dresses--complete with a little itch. I just love a mini party dress!



Opening her secret Santa gift. Her secret Santa knows her oh so well...a baby doll for Mya is nothing short of the perfect present. She likes to think that she's a mama-in-training every day with her dolls...thanks Alex, Russ, Ayva and Violet! :)  


  

     Looking forward to a busy week ahead full of planning for Christmas, baking, parties and going through our house and bagging up old toys and clothes to donate them. Purging and organizing before Christmas is my big goal this year. With new toys and presents bound to fill up our house soon, it's my goal to go through the toys that Mya doesn't play with anymore and our clothes that we just don't need and donate them. Excess to me is never a good thing and purging and organizing always makes me feel better. Here's to a great week!    

Saturday, 1 December 2012

A few Santas running

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     We did it. And man, was it ever fun. 



Stroller decorated...






Kids tucked in all cozy...




Beards and hats on...(even little Oliver and Carter)





Runners getting ready...





Our cheering squad prepped, ready to hoot and holla' on the sidelines...(mom and Terry both disappointed that they couldn't run since one of them was up working the night shift all night and the other had 3 hockey games to ref that afternoon). 

And we're off! (good luck finding us through all of the suits)





About to cross the finish line!


Feasting after the run...


And heading home after a good run, with a proud daddy.


'Til next year Santa run! 'Til next year. 


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