March 31, 2014

life lessons........

Don't worry Mom, I've got you!!! And then I ploughed her over. 

March 30, 2014

random images from the day...

Jacques' 3rd birthday ( aka my future son in law)
Mom's very first pedicure!
Early evening at the park. 

March 29, 2014

recipe for fun

Toss two toddlers in a gigantic pile of pillows. 


Somehow in this life, I have collected this legion of women who never cease to amaze me with their support and thoughtfulness. This whole situation with my mom's cancer is without a shadow of a doubt, the hardest thing I've tackled in my life, because of depth of love I hold in my heart for her. And yet, I feel like I'm stronger than I ever imagined I'd be through this. This strength comes from knowing that I want my mom to completely understand that I'm here to hold her up, to support her, to let her lean on me, every step in this. But I also know my strength is from my hubby, daughter and this group of women, who keep showing up for me, and showing their support in a variety of ways, through food, through emails, through texts, through phone calls, through visiting my mom, through all of these beautiful gestures that combined are holding me up. It's a cycle isn't it? They hold me up, so I can hold my mom up. It's a beautiful chain reaction.
I had a wonderful night out Friday catching up with some great women from work, only to come home and find this lovely gift waiting for me from my friend Tammy. It was her card's words, that she's with me every step of the way that really hit home, because I feel that. I feel that I'm not alone in this. Her support throughout this has been so tangible, so tremendous, that I truly can't thank her enough. Life is so fragile and so fast, but it is also remarkably beautiful.
xoxo (Friday's 365)

March 27, 2014

just because....

It's a quick phone photo, so it's a little blurry, but it's not everyday you get to meet a puppy. His name is Jasper and he had me at woof. xo

March 26, 2014

our first batch....

Today I brought a juicer and a bag of fresh produce to mom's place with a list of recipes aimed at fighting cancer. Every article I've read about people who have added length to their lives in their cancer battle have turned to juicing to infuse more nutrients into their bodies. The doctors have told us they can't operate, based on where the tumours are located, but I'm going to do everything in my power to slow these tumours the $&* down. Have you ever used a heavy duty juicer before? I was truly amazed watching it separate the pulp from the juice.

Today we tried:
4 celery stalks
5 handfuls of spinach
3 apples
1 orange (peeled)
1/2 lemon (peel included)
1/4 thumb of fresh ginger

It was so fresh and delicious. I was so impressed that I ran out and bought one for us too. I figure I can sneak more veggies into my family's diet in the form of delicious drinks, then that's exactly what I'll do.
Remember, think before you eat. xoxo
Here are some sites with good juicing recipes to help battle cancer:

Dr. Oz's anti cancer juice
cancer fighting juice & smoothie recipes
Standford Cancer Institute's juice recipes
Oncology Nutrition & Juicing
good tips from a cancer survivor

March 25, 2014

this little light of mine....

I'm so grateful for her giggles to help mend my broken heart. xo

March 24, 2014

..and they were all yellow....

lemon wedges in ice water, one of my favourite simple pleasures xo

March 23, 2014

these people I know......

Hello Friends! I hope you had a wonderful weekend. I always knew that I had an extraordinary group of people in my life, but when the chips are down, they truly blow my mind with their acts of kindness. My friend Lynny gave my mom and I each a beautiful bracelet adorned with our first initials, linking us with positive energy.  A gesture that had my mom and I in tears.
Then I arrived home from grocery shopping on Saturday, to find a beautiful bag containing this plant and a gift certificate for a family dinner out from my extremely thoughtful friend Tricia.The card attached said "I will volunteer to hug you until you feel better." Amazing.
While out for drinks Friday night with some girlfriends, I told them that I was having approx. 20 people over for a family dinner on Sunday to rally around Mom. Upon hearing this, my friend Tammy told me she'd drop off two lasagnas. She went to her job all day, came home and then whipped up this delicious feast for my family. Unbelievable.

And as if making a feast wasn't enough hard work, Tammy also brought over a flat of her delicious baking. Needless to say, I was touched beyond words. This act of hers, took so much off my plate, that I was able to spend my time putting together a crate of food recommended by the cancer agency for my mom's chemo treatments. 

My hubby took my little girl to the park while I got our house ready for company. He has been the best partner through this whole process - helping me wherever needed and having big shoulders to lean on.
I loved getting everything ready for our family. Do you enjoy entertaining? I seriously love it - meal planning, setting up the house, getting music playlists together, all the little details.

When the kids were outside playing, the adults snuck in a few rounds of Cards Against Humanity. None of them had played before. It was a huge hit. I'm so glad my family has such a dirty/warped sense of humour because we were laughing our asses off.  It felt so great to have the sun shining in on us all afternoon and hearing the big waves of laughter resonating through the house. My mom hugged me at the end and said it was really fun for her, which meant everything to me.

365 photos for fri/sat/sun

March 20, 2014

Happy Spring!

I seriously would wear this to work if it was acceptable. She was so happy jumping around in her wings and tutu. Happy first day of Spring lovelies! xoxo

March 19, 2014

carpe diem

As I looked around the oncologist office today, at the faces of loved ones, we all shared the same expression: one of shock and profound grief, bonded in our tears. I walked out of the office with a new mindset: to make her days as special as I can, giving her every ounce of my support in any way that makes her life easier, helping her live as pain free as possible with the utmost dignity. Cancer is an emotional rollercoaster. You want to show your loved one a brave and hopeful face, and at the same time, you want to scream into the universe and tear the cancer out of their body. It leaves you feeling helpless in that you can't fix things, but you also will never be more useful, in the sense that you can do everything in your power to make their life better on a daily basis. She wanted the house full of family, so tonight we ordered in dinner and her grandkids ran around like maniacs, keeping things light hearted. We laughed, and joked and temporarily forgot the magnitude of the situation. She turned to me and told me to live each day to the fullest. We hear it all the time, carpe diem, but why do we so easily forget it? Why do we put off our dream trips when we know we should take them when we're healthy. Why do we put off having a family for the "right time" when there will never be such a perfect occasion. More than ever, I am aware of the preciousness of life and how on a dime, things can change. I beg of you, don't get caught up in the small stresses, because as soon as you have a real problem, you'll realize how much energy you wasted on things that really were nothing. Don't spend your days being miserable, because life is far too short to lose weeks or worse, years of your life. Make whatever changes are necessary to invite happiness back to your life. Tell your loved ones how much they mean to you while they are standing right before you. It's simple advice but sometimes bears repeating. I'm so proud of who she is, all of the beautiful connections she has made who have been showing up in droves to show their support with food, visits and profound love. The greatest gift I've ever been shown was being adopted because it led the course of my life directly to her. xoxo

March 17, 2014

A few little things that made me smile today.... ducks mate for life....and that little red afro. 

March 16, 2014

random images from the weekend....

I made these for mom's brunch Saturday morning....
we had some sweet friends over for dinner Sat night....
we had the privilege of meeting baby benjamin walter.......
I just feel so lucky to know so many truly top notch people. I hope your weekend was a hit. xoxo

March 14, 2014

Happy Friday!

Happy Friday Friends! Do you like to play your weekends by ear or pack them with plans?
Whatever you find yourself doing, I hope you savour every delicious moment of it (like I savoured my tasty fish taco from this food truck today at lunch.)

P.S -In case you haven't checked out this site, please do, it's amazing. A photographer wanders the streets of New York, snapping several random portraits a day and asks them questions about their lives. He always draws out the most interesting little glimpses into people's lives. You can follow his work on Facebook. (I follow him on Instagram at humansofny.)

While job hunting, my hubby said the most interesting question he got was to describe himself in two sentences and you're not allowed to describe anything work related.
How would you describe yourself? What makes you, you?


March 13, 2014

comfort food.....

I was so happy to come home to find this delicious dinner waiting for me: homemade mini turkey meatloaf, roasted butternut squash and peas. We really show our love through the food we make for one another;  healthy, thoughtful choices.
Today, I knew my mom's closest friends were getting together to have a lunch in her honour, but what I didn't know is that all eight women were bringing her an abundance of homemade food. My mom called me in tears, overwhelmed by their generosity. In fact, there was too much food to fit in my mom's two refrigerators and giant deep freezer. I had tears rolling down my cheeks, so grateful that my mom is getting such amazing support everywhere she turns. I can't express to you the depth of the love I have for her circle of friends - they are truly inspiring. If you know someone who is ill, is elderly, is a new mom, honestly - food is the best gift you can give them. It takes a giant item off their to-do list, and gives them the burst of energy they desperately need. xoxo

March 12, 2014

everyone's invited....

Today I drove up and my daughter was setting up a pretty rad picnic on the front lawn, where animals, sesame street characters, robots and unicorns were all welcome to partake in a feast of milk, brown rice, and eggs. I kind of love the fact she brought out my oven timer, because I get it,  pulling off something of this magnitude, it needs to be perfectly timed. xo

March 11, 2014

what's your definition of a great day?

Before turning in to go to bed, I realized that today was my version of a really successful day. I was able to take my daughter to her last gymnastics class of the term, have coffee with a great friend, fill up our bags with new books to devour, finish off some projects, have a wonderful visit over tea with my folks, played in the forest with my family and went for a energizing run. It felt balanced and I felt happy all day. Ever since receiving "the news" about a month ago of my mom's diagnosis, I'm aware, more than I have ever been, that this life has to be savoured one day at a time. Celebrate all of your small victories because at the end of the day, you will see that they add up to a pretty extraordinary continuum. I think so often we think that it's the giant moments; the skydiving, the mountain climbing,  or swimming with sharks, bucket list sized moments that are noteworthy, but we have to take note of the beauty in our everyday life too. Appreciate each day. I hope you found successes in yours.

March 10, 2014

my happy place...

This is the beach at 5:30. I'm a huge fan of this daylight savings time. This day was just spectacular. A beautiful vista, a light ocean breeze, the sun on our faces, my loves by my side - I'm in bliss. Where's your happy place?

March 9, 2014

it's coming....

Last night we sprung our clocks forward an hour, and today already felt like Spring. The sun was shining, the flowers are starting to bloom and everyone was out and about. Can it be? Have we turned a corner? xo

March 8, 2014

the self portrait...

I'm always shooting photos because I find it to be one of those things that keeps me in the moment. I'm very comfortable being behind the lens, but completely critical in front of it. A few years ago, I took a photography class, where we were forced to take self portraits and display them for our classmates. I honestly must have taken 80 before I found one that I felt OK about submitting to our class. I hated my profile, felt like certain angles made me looked bug eyed, you name it, I found something to criticize.
I looked chubby, tired, more wrinkled - any little criticism had me constantly hitting the delete button.
So now, every once in awhile, I snap a self portrait, not to seek attention, but to force myself to be kinder. Accept that this is how I look, this is who I am at this moment in time. Today I snapped this photo with my iphone after visiting my mom. I'm smiling, but I can see the sadness in my eyes.
And that's ok. We have to learn to love every side of ourselves, and be our own best supporters.
I read this quote yesterday by Mindy Kaling, and it really hit home:
"My relationship with my mom is really the single most profound relationship that I’ve ever had in my life," Mindy tells me...But her voice breaks when she starts talking about how she sat down with a pen and paper and asked her mother to give her all the advice she could possibly give her before she died, and Kaling realized she’d never be able to ask her mother for advice again. “I said to her, ‘Mom, I’m going to be so lonely without you.’” She’s crying now but keeps going. “And she just said, ‘You have to be your own best friend. If you always remember that, you will always have someone there with you.’”

the circle of support...

Today my aunt, cousin, daughter and I had a wonderful afternoon with my mom sharing laughs and delicious food (my favourite combination). While we were there, one of my mom's neighbours from our old neighbourhood called because she had heard of my mom's diagnosis and wanted to come to visit this week. Yesterday when I saw my mom, another new neighbour was over, offering to help out in any way she can (offering drives to the cancer clinic, etc) because she had gone through the gamut herself and wants to be there for my mom every step of the way. Since finding out exactly month ago about her cancer diagnosis, I've seen the very best in people. There really is something so amazing about these connections we create throughout our lives, because I'm seeing them show up time and time again to be by my mom's side, when she needs support the most. Her friends are showing up daily with food, picking up whatever she needs, a group of her friends even cleaned her home from top to bottom before she got home from the hospital. I really believe that because my mom is such a caring and thoughtful person, she has drawn like minded people to her throughout her life, and now they are showing up in droves. 

As we grow older, hearing the worst of how humans treat each other day in day out on the news, I was definitely growing more cynical.  But going through this experience with my family, I'm reminded every time I talk to my mom, and hear yet another story of someone doing something so special for her, that people are truly remarkable. It honestly is what gives me the most strength through this process, is knowing that she has this giant team of people, rallying with her, all sharing the same goal, to take care of all the little daily things, so that she can save her energy for the big fight. xoxo

March 7, 2014

Orange is the new black....

Happy Friday friends! What's on your line up this weekend? We just had a delicious dinner with my folks and are getting into our cozy clothes to watch this flick.  Have you seen it? I can't wait to see such an amazing cast together. I love how Tina Fey and Amy Poehler refer to the film as "the explosion at the wig factory." 
Putting away my clothes tonight, I realized more than ever, that I have a lot of orange in my wardrobe. I took a look at this site  and was fascinated to read that orange is a colour of healing - which makes a lot of sense right now. Also interesting was how it is described as those with a gentle, creative spirit who could use more self esteem. Hello spot on. What's your colour?
 I'll touch base more on the weekend, but wanted to wish you a fun night and sweet dreams. xo