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I am still standing – Things I am grateful for

My apologies for this lengthy and intense post but today I am struggling.  This is something that is very hard for me to write, hell it is hard enough for me to say it, let alone write it.  In print, for all to see and forever look back on.  I am the strong one, the one people can lean on when they need to talk, vent or cry.  That is my thing, forever a part of who I am and part of what drives me.  Lately, not so much.  I feel as though I have come a little undone.

I have gone back and forth about writing about the details of my ordeal that happened a couple months ago, even if just to get it off my chest and hopefully start to lay it to rest.  I just haven’t figured out where and how to begin.  You see, I am not an eloquent writer and have no witty and entertaining way to write about what happened to me, to us.  So, I guess I shall just share it, as I did with my friends.  Break the silence so to speak as today, May 5, is officially I AM STILL STANDING DAY after losing a child or infertility.

Both of my pregnancies resulted in emergency C-sections due to pre-eclampsia.  So, Chris and I took some time to decide to have another, an entire year to be precise.  We both love kids and would likely have had many more if it wasn’t for my darn body and pregnancy issues.  We had pretty much decided we were having another but hadn’t officially pulled the trigger yet (tee, hee).  We were on our way to our annual snowboarding trip to Vermont (for our anniversary) and I received a text from one of my best friends that was a little suspect.  After a little prodding I managed to get it out of her that she was pregnant.  I was SO excited for her!  We had talked about how amazing it would be to be pregnant together.  That was the green light for me.  I knew we were getting pregnant that weekend.  So much so, that I bought an antique letter press #6 while we were there at my favourite antique store.  Chris and I, our three girls plus baby = 6.  It would go in the nursery.  I remember thinking while buying it that maybe we would have a boy and Chris will finally have more testosterone in the house and someone to complain to about how much toilet paper we go through every week, haha.

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I was right.  Fast forward to 8 weeks later, I am crawling around on the floor in horrible pain.  Chris insists we go to the hospital as I am pregnant and he says “you just never know”.  Not wanting to put anyone out or traumatize the sleeping kids, I tried to change his mind.  Didn’t work, thankfully, as I found out later had I stayed at home, I likely would have died.  Can you imagine hearing that come out of a doctor’s mouth?  I found out that night that I potentially had an ectopic pregnancy.  I am not going to bore you with all of the details but doctors and specialists went back and forth all night as to what the next course of action would be while I lay there in disbelief and wanted them to be damn sure that was what was going on before they did anything that might harm the baby.    The morning ended with two doctors, a nurse and Chris running to the OR with me on a bed, writhing in pain watching the lights and ceiling tiles quickly streaming past.  I felt like I was in a movie and it wasn’t really happening to me.  I had a ruptured ectopic pregnancy which resulted in a blood transfusion, my fallopian tube and a bit of my uterus being removed.  Our baby was gone and so were the hopes of another.

I read once while trying to find others that have gone through the same thing as me that “grief has a way of getting all up in your business” especially when you least expect it.  I wish I remembered where I read it so I could give her credit and return to read more of her wise words.  I just remember reading it and thinking how true that was.  At that moment and now.  Just when I thought I was doing fine and making strides with moving past it, today, grief has gotten all up my business.  The loss of what was and could have been.  People keep saying, you have three beautiful healthy girls you should be happy. I agree, I am totally grateful and always will be, but at the same time, I realize what I am missing out on.  What WE are missing out on.  It is tough.  Most days are good and I realize how precious life is and am grateful for the reminder of what is truly important in life.  Today it is tough.  I fear this has opened a part of me that I can’t ever close.  A me that will occasionally burst into tears at seeing a women who is as pregnant as I would be right now, a me that is so emotional and can cry at the drop of a hat, a me that has been a little impatient, when patience has always been one of my qualities I have been most proud of.

The rational side of me knows better.  I just need to get over the trauma of it all.  As I am grateful for my girls, I am also grateful to Chris and my friends for being so supportive even though they might not get what all the fuss is about.  I am also grateful for my art as it truly does help heal.

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Alice in Wonderland Party

It was my two year old’s birthday this past weekend and I had big plans for the Alice in Wonderland party theme I wanted to do to help celebrate her special day.  I tend to go all out for birthdays.  I feel like it is the one day of the year that is all about you.  So you should be spoiled, celebrated and be allowed to mostly do what you like.  My being out of commission however kind of threw a wrench in the plans.  Thank god for family and friends as they are the ones that helped pick up the slack and helped make the party happen.  I also bought more then I normally would.  I am more of the Martha Stewart ilk and try to make everything myself.  Unfortunately, that was not possible so I had to let it go, haha.

The invitation I ordered on Etsy through Beca at Paper Tinker.  It was a down-loadable pdf so it was fast and I could print it on whichever card stock I wanted.

(peaberrydesigns)  -  Alice in Wonderland Invitation - PROOF -

I even managed to get the family into character.  We were a little concerned it might freak Amelia out, but she was fine.  I dressed as the Queen of Hearts, of course.  Most of my costume is stuff I had around the house.  The hearts I got from the Dollar Store and attached them to a black dress with double sided tape.  The only new thing was the hat which I purchased in Disney a few weeks ago.

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Chris was a trooper and became the Mad Hatter for a couple hours.

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Our little Ava became the bunny who was late for a very important date.

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We didn’t have a proper watch for her so I made a steampunkish one from a Tim Holtz Pocket Watch.

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Even my friend Brittany came as one of the flowers.

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Now for the guest of honour, Alice (aka Amelia).  I ordered a tutu dress from Carly at Cutie Patootie Designs.  There was nothing in the shop big enough so I contacted her and she made it custom for me.  She was awesome and based right here in Ottawa.  I just had to drive over and pick it up.  Unfortunately, Amelia wanted nothing to do with it at the beginning of the party.  About half way through, after she had insisted on wearing a t-shirt she got as a gift, she wanted to put it on.

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All of the cake and candy probably had something to do with it but once she got it on she was SO excited and hyper.

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She rolled around in it forever, SO cute!

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Now, the food, which wasn’t very healthy, mostly candy and sweets.  It was a tea party after all.  The kids loved it (not so much the parents :).

The mushroom cookies I ordered from Boko Bakery in Ottawa.  They were delicious!!

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I ordered some images off of Etsy as well.  I wanted some “eat me”, “drink me” tags and some goodies for the kids to do crafts with.  I got them from Amelia at Cherrypink Prints.  Here is a sign in action with the lemon squares.

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And with the cupcakes I made.

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Here is Amelia’s special cupcake with her #2 candle.

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These Cheshire Cat tails I truly made from scratch though.  I saw a picture of them on Pintrest without instructions so I just winged it.  I put three marshmallows on a stick, covered it with pink melted chocolate and added the purple icing stripes.  Sounds easy doesn’t it?  It wasn’t, haha.  Took forever.  I had to bring a chair to the stove because I couldn’t handle the standing for too long.  Maybe if I was feeling better it wouldn’t have been so bad.

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Here are the signs I put on our banister as you came in the door.

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Last but not least, I got print-ables to make a banner from Cherrypink Prints to hang on the mantel.

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Man, that was a long one!!!  Hope this has inspired you to have an Alice in Wonderland party of your own.

Scrappy Sunday – Baby’s First Days Layout

It has been forever since I have done a Scrappy Sunday post or did any scrapbooking.  Craft fairs have taken priority lately as it is that time of year.  I had my first day off today (over a weekend) in a couple months.  I had no obligations, wasn’t teaching or in a fair.  So, on the agenda, a scrapbook first days layout for Amelia’s baby book (before she graduates from high school, haha) and decorating the Christmas tree, WOOO!!

Before decorating, a layout about Amelia’s first days on this earth.  They were a little rough.  She ended up in the NICU for her first 24 hours then had do light therapy for 2 twelve hour sessions as she had jaundice.  Those 12 hours sessions were some of the longest hours of my life.  I just sat and stared at her crying.  I wasn’t allowed to take her out unless it was to feed her.  So brutal and doing this layout brought it all back.  Which I believe is the point of scrapbooking, to let your kids know about their past and remind yourself of the memories.

Almost all of the paper and accessories are from Webster’s Pages.  I am in love with this animal/baby page.  Couldn’t wait to use it.

I didn’t want the second page to match exactly as it would have looked a little silly having the animals with the scale on the second page as well.  So I found a background page and overlaid a large die cut with the same colours.  I then used that same paper to matte my pictures on the opposite page (see above).

Sorry about the quality of the photos.  I just missed the daylight by 20 minutes.  I must set something up in the house for good lighting.  (Tips are always welcome if anyone has any :)  Here is the title with all of the trim.

Don’t forget to hand write on your pages, it is almost as important as the photos.  You might not have the perfect handwriting but it will certainly mean more to them.  Look how tiny her hand was around daddy’s finger.

Daddy had taken notes of the day on his blackberry and I am so glad he did.  He e-mailed them to me a long time ago and I printed them off on card stock when I was ready to do my layout.  Check out that feather flower and push pin, aren’t they gorgeous?

A string of pearls and some little whimsy flowers here and there and it is all done.

Now for the Christmas decorating.

Weekend Recap

To say my November is busy is a complete understatement.  Teaching, birthdays and craft fairs, I am having a hard time catching my breath but enjoying every minute of it.  This past weekend was a perfect example so I thought I would give a little weekend recap.  Two birthday celebrations and I was in an Art & Craft fair on Sunday.  I have realized that the trick is to be present in the current moment and try not to worry about that never ending to do list (it will always be there :) or what is next on the agenda.

On Saturday I got to spend the afternoon with my girlfriends in the Gatineau Park to celebrate Rachel’s b-day.  We went for a nice hike on the sugar bush trail in Chelsea.

Here we are starting out.

Jen brought her beautiful munchkins.  Made me wish I had of brought my girls.

It was such a gorgeous sunny day.  Here is some bright green moss I found on a tree.  I kind of wanted to take some home to put in my terrarium but wasn’t sure if that was kosher.

I found an old tree leaned on another with a giant knot in it that went through the entire tree.  Super cool.  Would have been nice to take that home too, for my garden, haha.

 We started to get a little cold so figured it was time for some warm drinks.  I was super excited to check out the new coffee shop Biscotti’s but unfortunately they were too busy and there wasn’t enough space for all of us.

So, we went to one of my favourite places, the Chelsea Pub.  They put on a new addition to an old heritage building and did a great job keeping with the esthetic.  Also gives them a lot more space which they greatly needed.

They were all decorated, Christmas is in the air.  Looking forward to decorating our house.

On Sunday, I was in the Sandy Hill’s One & Only Craft Fair (more on that later) and we also celebrated another important birthday, which was our little Ava’s.  Well, she isn’t so little anymore.  She turned 8.  Next thing you know she will be driving off to go hang out with her friends, haha.  Through all of the chaos I wanted to make sure that she got a home baked birthday cake.  It is something I try to do for all of the girls on their birthday.  They at the very least get home baked cupcakes.

I know, pretty sad isn’t it?  It certainly isn’t my best decorating job but Chris thought I was crazy to attempt any of it at all with everything going on.  Here she is while we sing to her.

Finally blowing out the candles as she took her time making her wish.  I wonder what she wished for?????

Well, this post was a little less of my art and more of my soul but one must keep a balance.

Scrappy Sunday – 18 Month Layout

For today’s layout I wanted to do something to help remember the everyday for Amelia.  There are so many milestones as our babies grow up, but it is the little things I want to remember as well.  Those little adorable crazy faces she makes or her favourite food at the moment.  So, I did an 18 month layout of a day Amelia and I were hanging out by ourselves and she was goofing around with a mini slinky.  The title of the layout was…

She was wearing her little Tommy Hilfiger dress that was black & white with red.  I didn’t have many embellishments in those colours so instead of running to the store, I thought I would just make my own.  So much faster and cheaper that way.  The first thing I did was take a couple white paper doilies and rub the outside edges right onto a red ink pad.

I didn’t really have any black and white paper either but I did have some mistables paper from Pink Paislee.  It had a cute chevron pattern and I took my black ink pad right to it and just rubbed it on until the paper was covered.   I took a paper towel to rub off the excess and voila, the pattern appeared.

Here is the entire 18 month layout.  I added some pretty pins and a flower from Webster’s Pages.  The black flowers I had in my stash (luckily) but I am not sure where they are from.

Here is the left side.  Check out those adorable faces she makes, haha.

Here is the right side, with Amelia’s foot covering part of it, the little stinker.  God forbid I should be trying to do something without her.  She just had to involve herself some how :).  I used a lot of vintage items in this layout such as the red buttons, the old flash card and an old explosives card for the Pennsylvania Railway (I ordered a bunch of cool cards off of e-bay for my art).

Here is the card that her foot was covering.  Just a few things I thought we might want to remember as she gets older.

Hopefully these are things she will want to know as she gets older as well and let her know how much she is loved.

 

Scrappy Sunday – Graduation Layout

This week I decided to do Milah’s grade 6 graduation layout.  She is my oldest and as Milah gets older, there seems to be less and less milestones to document.  Not to mention she has started scrapbooking herself.  Looking at these pictures reminds me how quickly time passes.  This gorgeous tall leggy blond used to be my baby girl, my Milah Moon (which she refuses to acknowledge, haha).  Makes me proud and sad all at the same time.  Just a reminder that we should all ENJOY THE EVERY DAY!!  I am certainly trying to do that with our youngest Amelia. I do not anxiously await the next milestone as I did with Milah but I try to enjoy every stage.  Then document it through their books so we have them to look back on and remind us of the special moments.

Here is the double page spread.  I used some of my free goodies I received last weekend.

 All of the circles I punched out of a 12×12 Jillibean Soup page with a circle punch.  Except for the black and white clock ones which were a stamp using the same punch.  I also took a butterfly stamp to a book page and fussy cut it out.  Both are easy and inexpensive accessories.

Both papers on this side are from the Core’dinations collection and I took sand paper to the green one.

Such a pretty girl who makes us so proud :)  The brown fabric flower is from Maya Road who was a generous sponsor at Crop & Create last weekend.

A couple of the photos were a little blurry so I printed them in black and white then just coloured Milah’s dress in to make her stand out with one of my Faber Castell PITT big brush pens (that are my absolute favourite).

Hope everyone is having a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend, we are in Peterborough and having a great time!!

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Sunday Journal – Zentangle and Family

We were away having a lovely visit with family in Peterborough this weekend.  So, I thought I would share this family layout I did in my art journal.  It is very reminiscent of Zentangle which seems to be quite popular at the moment.  Even Ikea has gotten in on it.  Love it, I bought curtains for the downstairs a while back.  I set out to do a page entirely with my pens/markers and to add elements that were representative of my family such as the 3 + 2 = 5 (which are the kids + chris and I).

I used sharpies for the black outlines and coloured in with my Faber Castell Pitt Pens.  I almost suceeded in using just pens except for the bit of white oil pastel around the images to tone down the background of the original pages.

The flower was my favourite part.

I thought it was cool that you can still see the building and tree in the background.

I love this quote and thought it would be perfect for these pages.  “What greater thing is there for human souls then to feel that they are joined for life”.  Kind of how I feel about my family.

Even with the lack of texture I still liked how it turned out.  Your turn to pick up a pen and Zentangle away, or at least go out and try something new :)

Scrappy Sunday where have you been???

The last couple of Sundays have been action packed so Scrappy Sunday has gone by the wayside.  Until today.  I managed to get a layout done for the family album of our first trip to the Bio Dome in Montreal as a family.

I used Jen’s layout of the month (from the Scrapbox) for inspiration.

It is not very often all three girls are excited about the same thing, due to their ages, so this was quite the treat.

I decided to go with blues for this as I spotted the blue and white canvas flowers at Micheals in their Recollection section.

The felt buttons were from the same collection.  The rick rack ribbon is felt as well.  I just LOVE it, felt that is.  Not sure why, maybe the tactileness (that’s a word right?) of it.

I thought the blue craxy coil brads from Karen Foster Design were pretty cool too.  I had to add some of those as well.

I am off to bed, hope everyone is having a great long weekend!!

Scrappy Sunday – A Nice Spring Walk

This layout started with a nice spring walk.  This week is also loosely based on the same layout template as my previous one.  I had this gorgeous flower diecut from Webster’s Pages that was the same shape as the center piece I wanted to use.

Here is the double page layout of us taking a walk after dinner when we went to Peterborough for Easter.

One page at a time…

The “family” tag and journaling card are from Stampin Up!

The bird and swirlies are from Prima and are paper backed canvas pieces called “mistables”.  Here is a video with a few different types of mistables and what you can do with them.  They are pretty cool as they help bring my love of mixed media into my scrapbooking.  I used a Tattered Angel Glimmer Mist to spray them with but you could use ink in a spray bottle and just dilute it a little with water.

Some come with a pattern that resists the ink when you spray them.  Just like this bird piece.  I added a little pearl for his eye.

I am going to leave you with a link to a video with different mistables and some great ideas for other scrapbook layouts.

MIA this week

It has been a little busy, so no Scrappy Sunday, sorry!!!  I have been MIA this week but I do have an excuse, or a few rather but the best one is that one of my bestest friends had her baby so I drove out to visit.  Introducing Gord Junior…

With mom and big sister Molly…

Isn’t he adorable?

With the nice weather on its way, we have started to clean up the back yard so I have been working on a piece for the kids area outside.  Almost done, just need to find the staple gun :)

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