What 31 Looks Like

I am going to warn you now I have a serious case of verbal diarrhea. There is going to be little to no structure with this post…

Those of you who know me well, are aware I had a bit of an “issue” with the idea of turning 30 last year. (Those of you over 40, stop rolling your eyes.) I don’t know what it was about it, I just kept repeating it in my head over and over again…I’m going to be 30…So this went on for months and then I decided: Screw it! I am going to throw a party. So that’s what I did.  I rented a hall, invited all my friends and made it a “Roaring Twenties” theme. Clever or dumb? I thought it was clever. For the most part everyone dressed up and had a great time. I turned 30 May 20 of last year and literally the next day I thought: Meh. So what. I was over it just like that.

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So with all of that said, 31 was also: Meh. Okay, I’m 31.

So what does 31 look like? I find myself reflecting on where I am versus where I thought I would be at 31. Here is what I would have pictured 10 years ago: Married, 3 kids, Accountant (or Interior Designer, which is just a pipe dream it seems, but it’s actually a passion…), making decent money, owning a nice piece of property where my kids can run around…etc. You get the idea.

I have watched my parents go through a divorce, watch my Mom battle MS AND fight off cancer – this is real life. Life is precious, our time here is short and can be snatched away in the blink of an eye. I lost a friend a week ago. She passed away from Cystic Fibrosis at the age of 31. She was given 3-5 years to live about a year-and-a-half ago and never made it that far. She cherished every moment and lived life to the fullest, or tried to at least. How would you live your life if you were given a an approximate estimation of when you would die? Would you live it the same or differently? Quit your job? Spend all of your money? Travel? She did none of these things. She just…lived. I really don’t know what I would do.

I am not going to predict where I will be 10 years down the road because I really have no idea. Life is a mystery and ultimately we write our own story but the universe plays a huge part in that, I believe. You never know what will come knocking at your door. Strength is my motto these days. Live one day at a time. The past is the past and your future is dependent on what you choose your now to be.

That’s all for now guys.

H.

 

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Hope

I have backspaced the first sentence of this post at least ten times. Struggling to find the perfect  right way to begin…

My Mom was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer about a year ago. Those of you who have been following me along, know that she also battles Multiple Sclerosis. I will never forget when she called me to tell me the news, that they had found a lump, and it was cancer. My first reaction: “Are you f****** kidding me?!” As if she hadn’t been through enough… What stage? How bad is this? Is it curable? Will you need a mastectomy? Will  you need chemotherapy? What is the prognosis? All questions we didn’t have answers to.

I remember going to her first appointment to meet with the surgeon and watching my Mom process the information. Trying to hold myself together to be strong for her, but falling apart as I watched her fall apart. Helpless. That’s how I felt.

Everything moved fairly quickly, and she was scheduled for a lumpectomy in June. Ultimately it was her decision as to whether she wanted a lumpectomy or a mastectomy, and the surgeon was confident that her prognosis would be the same if she chose to have the lumpectomy.

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She was such a trooper and my sisters and I were so proud of her.

Soon after, we received the results from the lumpectomy and the news wasn’t what we were hoping for. They had found a second lump during the surgery and the samples taken from nearby lymph nodes revealed the cancer had spread. This meant she would require both chemotherapy and radiation. This was sort of a worst case scenario in a sense. The doctors ,including the oncologist didn’t know how chemotherapy would affect her MS or how her MS would impact the chemotherapy. The oncologist actually said she had never come across a patient requiring chemotherapy who also had active MS. My reaction to this, yet again, “Are you f****** kidding me?!” So we just wing it, cross our fingers and hope for the best? This is what I wanted to shout at the oncologist as she told my Mom this, but I bit my tongue and listened to what she DID know.

My Mom started chemotherapy in September. Over the course of six months, she would receive two different types of chemotherapy. The first: AC (doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide), would be once every three weeks and the second: Paclitaxel, once a week. She lost her hair almost immediately. I think that was harder than she thought it would be. She told me she wanted to shave it, she didn’t want to see it fall out in clumps anymore. That night I went and bought a buzzer and went and shaved her head myself. To this day I am glad I did this for her.

The chemo was hard on her. She was quite ill, extremely exhausted, and her immune system was severely compromised. She didn’t leave the house for six months, unless it was to go to the hospital. Even something as simple as me bringing the kids by for a visit was limited, as the winter months brought many illnesses our way. Even the common cold could pose a real danger to her.

After six long months, she finally rang the bell at the cancer centre, signifying she had received her last chemotherapy treatment. I will never forget that sound…

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She started her radiation almost immediately and we knew she was in the home stretch. All scans came back clear indicating the cancer was gone and she was in remission. We all breathed a HUGE sigh of relief.

Last Friday, my Mom completed her last session of radiation (the treatment lasted 6 weeks, 5 days a week). I cannot begin to imagine the relief she felt walking out of the hospital that day. A fight that lasted almost a year, and a fight that will last a lifetime.

A hero is defined as “a person admired for courage”. My Mom is my hero. There is no stronger person than her, and I have never been more proud of her, than I am today.

To all of those out there fighting the battle, stay strong and never give up hope, you’re not alone.

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H. xo

A Look Back: A Gold and Pink Party for Everly

So this post is beyond late. Like 6 months late. Everly will be 2.5 years old on January 30th, so I figured it was time I share her 2nd birthday party with you. It’s so late on account of all the things that had been going on that kept me from blogging. Better late than never right?

For her second birthday, I decided to do a gold and pink theme, with a little bit of sparkle. She is such a little girly girl I thought it would be a perfect fit for her. I had so much fun planning all of the little details. It’s easy to say that now that I can look back on it and smile; but maybe if you had asked me at 1:30am the morning of, I may have said something else as I iced 60 cupcakes in my kitchen…

We decided to rent a hall for her party because we were expecting quite a few guests, I didn’t want to chance it incase it rained which would leave us cramming people into our house. (It’s a good thing we did, because it was pouring rain the day of her party.)

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Her birthday banner I made myself (I purchased the card stock from Michaels, as well as the gold polka-dot wallpaper.) The tassels I made myself. Each one is a single sheet of tissue paper. They were a little time-consuming to make (only because I needed quite a few of them), but they turned out great.

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The cake pops I purchased from Starbucks – they are a little pricey but the kids LOVED them. The pink cotton candy jelly beans I purchased from bulk barn. The cotton candy I purchased from a local business owner, it came in the containers and was around $1.50 per tub. Again, these were a huge hit with the kids. I added the gold sparkle tape around the tubs, which I purchased on clearance from Michaels. The chalk board easel I also purchased from Michaels, and the carnations were a pretty touch. The cupcakes I made myself, and dusted them all with some edible gold sparkles. I am really happy with how they turned out (well worth the effort – again, easy to say now).

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The loot bags and tags I purchased on clearance at Michaels and filled them with little trinkets from Dollarama. The sand buckets were for the littlest ones. The princess rendition of “pin the tail on the donkey” was also purchased from the dollar store.

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I tried to buzz around as much as possible to take pictures of all of the guests and kids playing together – it’s times like that I could really use a clone…

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How sweet is she?! I think my little cupcake had a great party.

Review of Artful Monkeys, Personalized Invitations and Party Printables

In the past, for the kid’s birthday invitations, I chose to order them through Shutterfly. Don’t get me wrong, Shutterfly is great, but this year I wanted something a little more personal and “homemade”.

For Maxton’s 4th birthday party, I decided to do a Superhero Theme (he LOVES Spiderman, The Hulk, Captain America etc.) and wanted to find the perfect invite to showcase this. So, I turned to Etsy to see what I could find. I wanted a shop that would create a digital image of the invite so I could email, text and/or print the invites myself.

So I searched “Superhero Birthday Invitations” and came across one that I LOVED. The shop’s name is Artful Monkeys, and she is based in the UK.

I chose the Superhero party invite ($14.25 CAD) and emailed the shop owner as soon as I saw it. She replied immediately and once I sent her the details, she had the completed invite emailed to me within a few hours! I couldn’t believe how quick and affordable they were. I was so happy with how it turned out, I couldn’t wait to send them out to all of Maxton’s little party guests!

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I blocked out the location of the party, but the whole thing looks fantastic! I am so pleased with how it turned out and the turnaround time for the completed invitation.

If you are looking for any invitations or party packs, check out Artful Monkeys. We have teamed up to save you 15% off your order until October 31, 2015, by entering code HWBLOG15.  So head on over to her shop today!

 

Fifteen Months of Everly

My baby girl is fifteen months old. It’s still hard to believe – I swear she was just blowing out the candle on her first birthday cake yesterday…How quickly time passes by when you have little ones. (I don’t think I can stress that enough.)

My little princess is a talking machine. Although I did a fourteen month update for her, here a few additions to that post.

– She is FULLY walking! Finally! It happened just after her fifteen month mark (October 30), but it has happened. She doesn’t crawl at all anymore – it’s funny how they just stop once they get the hang of/decide to walk

– A few additions to her vocabulary list from her fourteen month update: Bapple (Apple), Ni-ni (Night Night), Beh (Bed – which she will point to at night time), Kank-cue (Thank you), Izzum (if she doesn’t know what something is, or wants something and doesn’t know what it is called, that is her choice of “word”), Bubbo (Bubble Guppies), Wa-wo (Owl and or Water), Gocky (Sockie), Chew (Shoe), Ba (Bath), Memo (Elmo), Ki-ki (Kitty), Cowww (Cow), Cheecho (Cheerio), Ba-da-tee (Brush your teeth), Ma-ton (Maxton)

– She loves Frozen and Bubble Guppies, her little face lights up when she sees either on TV (her favourite part of Frozen is when Elsa & Anna are little, at the beginning of the movie)

– She loves bath time, and crawls/or walks from her room to the bathroom saying “ba” the whole way until she reaches the tub

– The face she makes when she says “please” is priceless. “Peeeeeeeze”

– Every morning when she wakes up, she wants to see Maxton right away so she can wrap her arms around him to hug him

This is quite late, but how about a Halloween costume pic to mark fifteen months?

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Happy 15 Months, Miss Everly. xo