2015 Round Up and Resolutions

Man, these holidays have flown by. I can’t believe it’s New Years Eve already. 2015 was a weird one. It felt long. It was not an easy year for us. Here’s the recap.

Winter

I started the year hopeful. I had gotten back into crafts, I was super close with friends, and I was excited to be posting more often. I was being approached by companies to do posts and this thrilled me. I took my resolution of self love very seriously and I opened up about being queer. We started trying for baby #2

Spring

Started a new fitness plan and tried to eat better. My body was sore and my health wasn’t great. I was struggling with missing my parents. I started backing up old pictures and working on photo albums. Liam turned three! I was told I was having a miscarriage (dr and tests confirmed this) and went through a really difficult time…until it turned out that baby wasn’t going anywhere! Horrible morning sickness, ahoy! Our financial situation is pretty bad, so I went back to work and Pat started job hunting.

Summer

We emptied out our storage unit and finally went through all of the stuff from my parents’ estate. Major decluttering began. We became really close with our neighbours and spent a lot of time with them. My fur baby, Byron, had to be put down. I am heartbroken, still, by this. My friends took me to see Sarah Harmer for my birthday. I was sure baby was a girl, we picked a name and I knit her a cute little cardigan. I had a doctor fat shame me and I realized that I had truly come to a place that I loved and valued my body and self, no matter what my size or shape.We found out baby was a boy and we were shocked.

Fall

A tough time for my pregnancy. I had a bleed and started having a hard time with pelvic pain. Started nesting and really prepping the house. I started sticking closer to home and really settled in. Sarah threw me a great baby shower.  My friend Claire offered to be my doula and Mason decided to come early and our hospital saga began, leaving me with bad post partum anxiety.

Winter

So, here we are. Thankfully, the combination of support, monitoring by my dr and a change in my prescription has really helped with my anxiety and we’re doing pretty well settling in to our new groove. This year has felt like an uphill climb.

As for my resolutions, I set out to do the following in 2015:

  • Make time for my husband and our relationship
  • Continue to nurture my creativity
  • Continue on the path to living a healthier life
  • Be more present in the moment.
  • Let go of the material. It doesn’t define me.

I think I did an ok job. We definitely got sidetracked a bit on our relationship and in focusing on my creativity. I really failed with letting go of the material. I spent way too much money on useless crap. This year, I need to figure out how to live within our means. I also want to set out to spend more quality time with family and friends. I want to nurture those relationships as well. I’m going to keep these resolutions. I think I may even write this up and put it up somewhere where I can see it daily. Hopefully, we’ll have a bit more success in 2016.

Thank you so much for following my journey here and keeping up with our family. I hope you had a great 2015 and that 2016 is kind to you. Happy New Year!

2014 Round Up and Resolutions

And just like that, I find myself snuggled up in a blanket, alone in our cool basement while our boys are upstairs watching netflix and eating Pizza. It is yet another typical New Years Eve for this household. I can’t remember one where one of us hasn’t been sick. This year, it’s my turn. My whole body aches and I am perpetually freezing (which probably means I have a fever brewing).

2015. Can you believe it? It’s been one hell of a year to get to this point. Lots of highs and lows. I have to say though, I am watching this year come to a close with relief and with excitement for the coming year. 2014 was a hard year for many. We are not excluded from that. There were some incredible highs though, so I do still look back at this time fondly. Shall we recap? Why not.

January: We started this year much like we will 2015 I think, with some coughs, sneezes and late nights. To counter that, and to pass the time, I taught myself how to crochet. Since then, I have made several items. Some better than others. Want to see? Take a look.

Dino Cowl

Basic Chunky Infinity Scarf

Feyona Cap

Commissioned Flower Hat

Castiel Tree Toppers

February: Tracy, my amazing sister, started getting things in motion to get her gallery, LoveCraft Gallery going. I am so incredibly proud. Also, one of my best friends had her twin boys and my heart exploded with jooooooy. I picked up our family history again, had a hard time with my meds (changed doctors), and realized how awesome my friends are. Oh, and I started knitting again. Unfortunately, we got word that Pat’s aunt was terminally ill, which brought up tons of emotions for all of us. We started focusing on our health and diet.

March: We made a road trip to Montreal to attend the celebration of life of Pat’s aunt. I enjoyed our last bit foray into babywearing. Liam loved our Tula and our ring slings. I also went to Brockville to attend and teach at a babywearing meet up there. I continued with our health journey and incorporating Rhythm into our lives. I also won the CTV Makeover contest, which happened in April…

April:  Makeover makeover MAKEOVER! :D Also, Liam got Roseola. Fun. Liam turned two. Tracy started her kickstarter for the Gallery. We got the stomach flu and delayed Easter/Ostara.

May: I started and quit the Feel Great in 8 Program. Oh well. I had the best of intentions :P On the plus side, I did get an early birthday present out of the deal: The Fitbit Flex, which had a huge impact on getting me moving more. I was added to the social media team at Belly Laughs, which showed me how much I love it as a profession. We had a really awful couple of incidents at the park (a child was attacked by a dog, and the boys played in a puddle of bleach). I learned how much the internet has had a major impact in my relationships, specifically by bringing some amazing people into my life.

June: June was awesome. My girls took me out for my birthday, I did my first youtube video for the store and it was a hit, we attended our first powwow. We fell in love with a house and came super close to buying it.

July: July started out less awesome…Liam had HFM, which meant we were locked away for a couple of weeks until he was no longer catchy. No. Fun. This was also the month that we decided that we were really serious about moving. Every weekend for the next few months would be dedicated to house hunting and getting our place ready for sale.

Liam, loving the park after being sick.

Liam, loving the park after being sick.

August: August was hard. Started out with lots of hard work, me being overwhelmed by the world and life situation of moving limbo, and we hit the breaking point with Liam’s sleep. At almost 2.5 years old, he was waking up between 3-7 times a night to nurse. Each night. Without fail. So, despite a crazy time already, we decided to sleep train. It was a VERY difficult week for me, but it was life changing. He has been sleeping through the night ever since. One afternoon, while out and about, I was heckled by a stranger because of my weight. For some reason, I let this go. I turned it into a lesson. This was my real entrance into the Body Acceptance movement. Also, we put an offer on our dream house…We got so very close only to discover that it was going to be too much work for us to take on. We decided to keep looking.

September: September was a month of waiting. We kept looking for houses every weekend, we finished up getting our place ready for listing. Pat and I both started the 21 Day Fix program and had good success with it (which I have since gained back, btw). Tracy and I came up with the last minute plan of having her visit in October. We booked and planned and waited.

October: This was a strange month. In Canada, October is when we celebrate thanksgiving. I spent the whole month living around the idea of thankfulness. Counting my blessings. I had a wonderful visit with my sister, whom I hadn’t seen in almost a year and a half. We saw friends, had wonderful weather and a really great Thanksgiving. With Tracy in town, we celebrated “Christmalloween”, which was so much fun. After she left, we had a great time taking Liam out for trick or treating. October was also when our city was shaken. The shootings at the War Memorial and at Parliament was incredibly difficult for us and it really put things in perspective. Following the shooting, news about Jian Ghomeshi hit the news and I decided to share my story as a woman who has been sexually assaulted and have not gone to the police about it.

November: This was a hard month for me. After my sister went home, I found myself slipping into a deep depression. November is a grey cold time here in Ottawa, and I think the combination of this and missing my family really hit home. I struggled, a lot. On top of that, life seemed to get a hoot out of kicking us while we were down. Our car died, requiring expensive fixes the same week that I was cut from doing Social Media at Belly Laughs (and my hours dropped significantly). This was also when we really came to terms with not being able to move. We just can’t get what we want for the price we can afford. Thankfully, I have a wonderful support system in place and they encouraged me to see my dr, which I did. Properly medicated and supported, my depression lifted. I also decided to focus my anxiety into crafting (which has always been immensely calming for me). I managed to knit and crochet a ton, finally finishing a sweater for Liam and doing another commissioned piece for a friend.

Newsboy Hat Commissioned

Gramps Sweater

December:  Here we are. December. I left my work at Belly Laughs with a heavy heart and have taken a step forward into the unknown. We have had a wonderful holiday, with Pat having two weeks off following his birthday mid-month. Liam got his first hair cut and has been growing like a weed. It’s insane how grown up he seems now. Money is incredibly tight, perhaps dangerously so, but we are doing what we can. I’ve spent time with friends and family. We’ve been sick off and on. We were spoiled at Yule and Christmas. We are happy. I had a moment. I saw a tweet last week. It was a total “Aha Moment” for me. It seems to simple, so obvious, but it just clicked. Finally clicked. I can’t seem to find it, of course, now that I am looking for it, but I found essentially the exact same thing over at Dress a Day. Hell, it may have originated from them for all I know. Anyway, here it is:

You Don’t Have to Be Pretty. You don’t owe prettiness to anyone. Not to your boyfriend/spouse/partner, not to your co-workers, especially not to random men on the street. You don’t owe it to your mother, you don’t owe it to your children, you don’t owe it to civilization in general. Prettiness is not a rent you pay for occupying a space marked “female”. 

It is from this post here. Read it. Please. It’s important.

I will post about this more later, but reading this, feeling what I felt, this is important. And note worthy.

So, there we are. That is 2014 in a nut-shell. Last year, I wrote some goals down, some things that I wanted to keep in mind and accomplish. How did I do?

  • Take an art or craft course of some kind. Quilting, pottery, whatever. Something creative that gets me out of the house and around other people who want to be creative as well Nope, didn’t happen. I did, however, get back into crafting so I’ll take that as a success.
  • Live a healthier lifestyle and ideally get back down to my pre-pregnancy weight. Well, sort of. I started this. The weight aspect I am no longer concerned about.
  • Visit my parents at the cemetery No, and honestly, I’m ok with that. 
  • Clean up computers and photos Kind of? I started anyway.
  • Continue to write Yes :)
  • Put down my phone and play more. Of and on. It’s been a bad year for screen time.
  • Finish a sweater project for Liam YES.
  • Have dates with Pat. At home, yes.
  • Manage our money better Not so much.

So, coming back to that tweet that clicked with me. One of my goals last year was to be kind. In a round about way, it was also to be more kind to myself. Read the whole post here if you want more details, but I get into fat shaming, body acceptance, etc… It was almost a year to the day that I wrote that down, but I am finally back on that road. I do not need to be pretty. I am perfect the way that I am. I do not owe anyone a god damned thing. This is me, this is it. For better or worse, at this weight, 196lbs, 20lbs less or 40lbs more, this is who I am and my value does not change. I want to be healthier, and happier in my body, but I no longer want to feel like I owe my husband my thinness, or my old friends the way I looked in my 20s. This is me. If it’s not good enough, it is your loss. Kindly fuck off so that I can stop wasting my time on someone who doesn’t deserve it.

Tiptoeing into 2015, I think of that and what it means. Here it is, my goal for this coming year: Body acceptance, and finding joy and love within myself for myself.

As for the little things? Well, they are fun too.

  • Make time for my husband and our relationship
  • Continue to nurture my creativity
  • Continue on the path to living a healthier life
  • Be more present in the moment.
  • Let go of the material. It doesn’t define me.

Thank you for following me on this journey. I can’t wait to see what the new year brings for all of us.

Resolutions

My lady friends have been talking about resolutions lately and I have been looking at their lists in awe. I haven’t done resolutions in a long time. I find them restricting and setting myself up for disappointment if I don’t meet these super high expectations I always seem to come up with.

The last few years have been intense and I think now might be a good time to set a few goals. Something to strive for, something to bring me out of this funk that’s been lingering for months. So, here’s the list of goals, of ideas to try in 2014:

  • Take an art or craft course of some kind. Quilting, pottery, whatever. Something creative that gets me out of the house and around other people who want to be creative as well
  • Live a healthier lifestyle and ideally get back down to my pre-pregnancy weight.
  • Visit my parents at the cemetery
  • Clean up computers and photos
  • Continue to write
  • Put down my phone and play more.
  • Finish a sweater project for Liam
  • Have dates with Pat.
  • Manage our money better

I think that’s good. I have a good feeling about 2014. :)

2011 in Review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog. It’s pretty schnazzy so I thought I’d share it.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 10,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

My favourite part? Learning that my most popular post ever was titled “Satan and Pugs“. Hahahaha. How badly did that post disappoint those who wandered in from search engines, I can only imagine.

I can’t believe it’s already 2012.

In a long standing tradition founded way back in my livejournal days, here is my annual recap:

January 2011 – My sister came to visit for the holidays and left just before the new year. I chose the word “Acceptance” for my word of the year. I posted about mental illness and my own personal battles with depression and PTSD. The estate got very bad, very quickly. I struggled with letting the darkness drag me down vs. picking myself up and choosing to improve my day myself.  Pat and I started actually trying for baby.

February 2011 – I started having nightmares about my parents. I had to live my word “Acceptance” as I got some really hard news about an old friend and the estate continued to be extremely difficult. Started meal planning and attempting new and interesting menu items (chili and cheese biscuits, the extremely popular red velvet cake balls, baked potato soup). Started listening to Laura Marling. I looked into getting a lawyer due to the estate badness, which was well timed because continued badness resulted in us moving into mediation. At this point, we expected everything to be done by the end of April. Started attending Beer and Wing night with Pat’s work friends. We emptied out my mother’s home and moved a bunch of stuff into storage and our place.

February 2011 - I start to cook for the first time ever!

March 2011 – I travelled to New Orleans with my buddy, Isaac! Unfortunately, I was quite sick for most of it! Started playing Dragon Age 2. Spent a lot of time with family and friends. Struggle with my mother’s birthday. Had junk guys come in to clear our my mother’s house of the last remaining items and had a major break down. Due to estate stuff and family issues, had a very difficult time with Acceptance.

March 2011 - Isaac and I take NOLA

April 2011 – Was visited by my first love, Jamie. Hung out around town and had him over to dinner to meet Pat. Started settling into our house a bit by putting up pictures/decorations. The anniversary of my mother’s death was very difficult. Made homemade tomato soup cake as comfort food. Spring hit Ottawa with some beautiful weather. Started watching Game of Thrones. Received an offer on my mother’s house. Heartbroken by the loss of the step father of my oldest friends. Met Arthur from The Biggest Loser and worked out with him and a co-worker. Spent time with friends for a bridal shower and had the guys of my husbands family over for a UFC night. Began posting here, on wordpress, almost exclusively. Bye bye livejournal!

April 2011 - I start making our house OURS

April 2011 - I met Arthur and worked out

May 2011 – Celebrated Beltane with Pat by having a big roast dinner and a lavender and honey cake. Started reading Game of Thrones. Travelled to Calgary to visit my sister and attend her graduation! Attended her grad show (she’s a fine arts grad, so it was a big gallery style show), her graduation and took a road trip to Banff! Exactly the break I needed!

May 2011 - My beltane cake

May 2011 - Me and my sister, at her graduation!

May 2011 - Me in Banff

June 2011 – Had a chemical pregnancy (very early miscarriage), started a journalling project (but never finished), met with a potential new family doctor and had an awful experience. Had a hard time with my Dad’s birthday, which also held some more estate badness which included discovering that things would be delayed significantly. Our A/C broke at home. I turned 28, and had a wonderful time with my husband and my GURL, L. Helped out Pat’s auntie, as she had a benign tumour removed. Wrote my first “article” type posting. The topic? Brazillian Waxes. Celebrated our 1 year Wedding Anniversary by spending a wonderful weekend at a B&B in Merrickville. Started tracking monthly goals. Struggled with depression.

June 2011 - Our B&B in Merrickville

July 2011 – Lost myself in stories – Read The Hunger Games and got deeper into A Song of Ice and Fire. Started watching Dexter and Doctor Who.  Dropped down to part time hours. Went away to a friend’s cottage for the weekend and had a great time. Hosted S&K’s baby shower with S’s mum. Went out with S&K for the END OF HARRY POTTER OMG. Crazy weather = melting Heather with a broken A/C.  S had her baby boy!! Discovered my poor Subaru is indeed deader than a doornail. More estate complications, this time with taxes. Ugh.

July 2011 - Cottage Weekend!

July 2011 - My brand new baby nephew!

August 2011 – Relationship with Pat is best it’s ever been. Also: We found out that we were pregnant!!! WOO! Kept this bit of news to ourselves though, with the exception of our close friends and family.  Unfortunately, this was very quickly followed by a major bad turn in the estate, which resulted in a complete change in the way we communicated and much more involvement from the lawyers. Also, things at work weren’t going well. Lots of time with friends and family, including birthdays and a visit from L. Discovered that we needed to redo our basement due to water damage. Morning Sickness begins.

August 2011 - Special time at home <3

September 2011 – Went to Montreal to visit L and for Maid of Honour duties for her. Major sit down with the lawyer to work on estate stuff. We struggled with the 3 yr. anniversary of Dad’s death. Due to the family drama, I didn’t feel comfortable about going to visit the grave site. I try to be sneaky and hint at baby, but end up outing myself here on the blog and thus, we make our big announcement a few months earlier than planned!  Due to our big life changes, we decided to give up our two snakes :( Met one of our midwives and loved her. Had our first ultrasound. Gifted with a ton of used maternity clothes from my SIL and her friends

September 2011 - On the train to Montreal

September 2011 - Our first ultrasound!

September 2011 - A bitty baby bump

October 2011 – Thanksgiving with the in-laws and discovered that my SIL is pregnant too! Went apple picking with Pat’s best friend and her family. My iphone went for a swim. The Apple store downtown replaced it for me <3 Wearing maternity clothes now! Work troubles continue, as does estate stuff.  Met the other midwife and loved her just as much! Heartbroken over the death of one of my Mum’s friends.  Started talking about finances and how to get the basement done in time for baby’s arrival.

October 2011 - Belly is growing

October 2011 - Thanksgiving and Apple Picking

October 2011 - Samhain

November 2011 – Work stuff continues to be bad. Pat participated in Movember and I baked like a fiend for their fundraising bake sale. One of my knitting friends gifted me with TONS of mat clothes and baby clothes, S gave me all of her office mat clothes,  and a friend of my boss gave us a bunch of used baby items. Hosted dinner at our place for S & K. First time ever <3 Started some holiday crafting. Had “Fake thanksgiving” with Pat’s work friends. Struggled with how to be assertive without being a bitch, and whether being a bitch was a bad thing after all. Had another ultrasound and found out that baby is perfectly healthy and absolutely MALE! We decide on a name (Liam) and share the news. Met with the estate lawyer and started the process of FINALLY ending the estate. Saw one of my oldest friends – Tyler. Decided to focus our energy on getting the house fixed up and settling in rather than planning to move. Went on my first ever job-related trip and bonded with one of my co-workers.

November 2011 - More bump!

November 2011 - Second Ultrasound. Healthy baby!

December 2011 – Refinanced our mortgage and decided to start renos ASAP. Many plans and dreams starting! S&K spent a day with us to get us set up with our baby registry. S, L and my sister, Tracy, got together and bought me a wonderful gift – A gently used maternity winter coat, a starbucks gc and some baby soap.  LOTS of baking. Too much baking – lots of discomfort in my back, neck and pelvic starts. The pelvic pain gets so bad I can barely walk. Pat and I spend Yule together, attend a couple of holiday parties, and then spend Christmas eve with Pat’s brother and his wife, Christmas day with S and her family, and then the 27th with all of my in-laws. We planned on getting the house ready for renos over our break, but instead spent time together. Little development on the estate, but we hope to be done this major step by the end of January. Pat gifts me with a bunch of new Maternity clothes!

December 2011 - My new coat, a gift from my best friends.

December 2011 - I've definitely "popped"

December 2011 - Pat and I together on Christmas

It’s been a crazy year. I can’t believe that in that time I travelled twice, spent that much time with friends and family, struggled so much with the estate and found out we were pregnant! What a whirlwind! I really struggled with acceptance, depression, loss and how to be assertive. At the end of this year, I find myself feeling much more self-aware and self-assured. I am far more aware of who I am and what my limits are. I feel so loved by my friends and new family, and yet also way more independent than I have ever been. Pat and I are closer now than ever before and I feel more in love with him every day.

I’ve been debating my word for 2012. I’m not sure yet, but I’m considering either Healing or Growth. I’m sure I’ll know soon and will try my best to live with that word in mind. Thank you so much, dear readers, for sharing this crazy ride with me. This place has been a refuge for me and has helped me work through some of the best and worst times of my life. Thanks for being there :) Happy 2012 everyone! Hope it’s a great one!

2011 – The Epic Post

Happy New Year everyone!

Last night the hubby and I stayed home and brought in the New Year in our traditional manner – Wine, movies, fattening food and each other. Unfortunately for him, the combo wasn’t a happy one and he was sick throughout the night. We had had plans to visit with a friend and her peeps, but the hubby got to the wine bottle a bit early, making it a nice evening at home.

Throughout the day, I worked on my Hogmanay celebrations. I cleaned the house thoroughly and then did a sage smudging. I used a cleanser I bought many years ago here when mopping the floors. I finished up by sweeping dust out  doors. We placed items on our kitchen table to symbolize what we would like more of in the new year

I played silver coins out on the deck for blessings of good luck (which may have caused me to accidentally first-foot myself by accident…does it count if the door was never shut? I was retrieving the coins and never even considered that due to Pat’s sickness, he never first footed us last night.)

It was a lovely day, one of reflection over the year (and the decade) passed. I thought about accomplishments and mistakes. I thought about who I’ve become and the changes I’d like to see in myself and our lives. I was pretty vague in my post yesterday, so I think I’ll elaborate a bit. I’m strengthened by the amazing NYE post by Dark Mother Goddess.

This past year has been full of ups and downs.

January involved starting to recognize the patterns of my anxiety and working through it. This was a big deal for me. My anxiety has pretty much run my life for as long as I can remember. In fact, I first started seeing a psychologist about it at the age of 10 because I was making myself physically ill with guilt and worry over things that I had no control over. It was also January that I started to take ownership of my body. I have eczema and IBS and I started looking into these things further. I worked on my diet, I decided to try organic products to see if it would help (it did in some cases. Others were just a waste of money). January also held one of the scariest moments of my life. I was having a hair trial for the wedding out in the boonies and on the way home a freak storm swooped in causing zero visibility. My car lost traction and I rolled twice into a snow filled ditch. This caused back and neck injuries that I’m still working through.

My poor poor Volvo.

January was also the month that we discovered that Mum’s cancer was no longer responding to treatment, and that there was only a couple of options left. We were told to move up the wedding. So we did. We changed the date from September 18th to June 26th. As a result, lots of wedding plans were under way and I attended my last wedding show with Mum and Sarah. Mum was adamant, that no matter what happened, she wanted us to marry that year. Hell or high water. She and I, a team of hard-headed wont-take-no-for-an-answer women got everything moved over and booked in two days.

Mum and I at the wedding show

February involved fostering two puppies from a local rescue shelter. This was a valuable lesson on my limits and that it’s ok to say no. We lasted all of a couple days with the two scoundrels. I miss them to this day, but it was just too much. Especially with my back injury.

I renamed them Han and Chewie

It was also right around then that I started looking for work again. I was offered a job at one of the local hospitals in the Heart Institute as an admin assistant in Finance. Despite my gut screaming at me to RUN AWAY I took it for my family, so that I could bring more money to the table. It was the most miserable three days of my life. I came home crying every day until I finally couldn’t take it anymore. Another valuable lesson learned. February also came the preparation for a move. Mum asked Pat and I to move in, so we started decluttering, cleaning, etc…We were in a rough spot financially, but we did whatever we could to get out and into Mum’s place by April 1st.

March was a month of family. We spent quality time with Mum and the in-laws. I also found myself very frustrated with people and their ways of dealing with our situation. Pat and I had dates and enjoyed each other’s company while also providing support in those tough and stressful moments. March was the month I started this blog, with no clear goal in mind other than having a place that I could share my experiences with a new group of people. It was also the month that a friend’s fiancé was killed in a work-site accident. It rocked me to the core, and Mum was a huge source of strength during that time.  We got the house painted, we were almost all set to go. We thought we had a buyer, but she backed down. We puts lots of time and energy into getting home. We celebrated Mum’s birthday at her favourite restaurant (a little hole-in-the-wall turkish place), got our room ready at her house and sent out our wedding invitations.

Our freshly painted room at Mum's house

April. April is still impossible to think about without tears. It started out with failure – We were behind in our renos and house prep and I wouldn’t be able to move until the 10th. We booked the truck and did our best to get it all done in time. Easter was great. The whole family came out and we spent lots of time together. Mum wasn’t feeling great, so she stuck to the couch and hung out with her grandkids the whole night. We stayed late. That week, I was back and forth to the house as much as possible. On the 7th, I dropped by with boxes for the move with a friend. We arrived to find a couple of Mum’s friends there really upset. They had dropped by to check on her and she was not responding well. We took her to the hospital and didn’t get many answers about what was going on. We suspected it was her hemoglobin again and were told that a transfusion and some rest should get her home.

I can’t tell you all the details, because it’s still so very raw and painful. On the ninth, about two hours before her brothers and my sister were to arrive to see her, my mother died of complications brought on from years of chemotherapy and radiation.  The day before I was booked to move in. A week after I should have.

Rest in peace, Mum.

My feelings surrounded what happened those days leading to her death and the weeks after aren’t fit for this public forum. They are too private and too loaded, for now. What I can say is that my whole world was swept out from under me, and I’m still working to get myself standing again. Friends and family were amazing to me during this time. Leigh came to stay with us for a few days to help, and my nanny, Mila, was the foundation on which we were able to start to rebuild. My in-laws were incredible and made it so easy for us to take our time with our grief.

May was so busy I can hardly remember. Lots of wedding plans. I got a new job, which seemed to be a gift from Mum, at the Canadian Cancer Society. My sister came home to help with the wedding stuff. I had my shower, and basically did everything I could to surround myself with good people, focus on my upcoming marriage and work through the hard stuff with lots of incredible support.

 

Me and my BeeMaids <3

June was a blur. I had my bachlorette, last minute wedding stuff, working through the biggest event held by the Canadian Cancer Society, The Relay For Life. It was this month that I realized that the job I had was saving me. It helped me heal. It forced me to face Cancer and my grief head on. Life changing, for sure. The end of the month was obviously marked by our wedding. It was, as clichéd as it sounds, one of the best days of my life. Recently, our videographer posted our video. Here it is:

{ Heather & Patrick } 16mm/Super 8mm handmade wedding film ~ Merrickville, Ontario from { First Kiss Films } on Vimeo.

July was about living our new life and healing. We were shocked and hurt by family, while simultaneously amazed by the love and support of friends, new and old. The major lesson I learned here is that love doesn’t have to come from blood. It is in actions, silence, hugs and Sunday dinners. My definitions of family have changed. Unfortunately, this was also the month where a complete stranger assaulted me because he felt that Pat had cut him off in a construction zone. I have never seen Pat so mad. Ever. We’ve known each other nearly 11 years, so that’s saying something. Also, we bought me a car!

Yummy Dinner Parties

August was a strange one. I had a hard time dealing with my grief for both of my parents. Also, work started to not be as fun or fulfilling anymore. I was super emotional and stressed all the time. On the plus side, Pat and I reconnected with one of my girlfriends from Uni. We celebrated my niece’s first birthday and continued to enjoy the company of friends and family (though many disappeared for 2 weeks that month for various vacays). Near the end of the month I discovered my job was the victim of a restructure and I would be out of work eventually (first guess was the beginning of Sept, ended up being November)

Celebrating our niece's b-day!

September was busy. I continued to work without any clear date of when I was going to be downsized. I learned I didn’t get the reception job that would have been my only way to stay. My best guy friend was in town for almost two weeks for a visit. We went on an incredible horseback riding trip in the country and had an amazing time. Family and I fought like crazy and then suddenly they started acting much better and we actually got along. On the downside, my car started acting up badly. Looks like we bought a lemon. Great.

October an up and downer for me. Things returned to normal with family. I had a massive garage sale for Mum’s stuff and it was so not worth it. It was cemented when I didn’t attend Thanksgiving, despite only receiving an invitation shortly before. We attended a good friend’s annual pasta night and had a blast. I started an online art course which I really enjoyed.

November was mostly lovely. We had our honeymoon which was incredible. I started knitting again. I found the amazing hoars in LSG on Rav, and finally had a place that made me laugh and made me feel at home. Some drama with the house. Found out one of my best friends is pregnant with her second baby <3

December was almost completely internet free. We spent a lot of time reading, seeing friends, baking, cleaning and setting up the guest room for my sister. My sister visited and we celebrated Yule together and with my in-laws. Made some new great internet friends.

And here we are. A full year, lots of ups, downs and zigzags (Leigh, that one’s for you ;)). Seeing that all there, in front of me, I can see some really valuable lessons in it all.

1. Family is what you make of it. The people who will stand up for you and support you through thick and thin may shock you, but they are the people who make life beautiful and fill it with love and support. Work on those relationships. They are so worth it.

2. Love is work and needs to be cultivated. Pat and I spent a lot of time this year working on us. We had to make some changes, had lots of big talks and lots of decisions. Today, sitting here, I know that I love him more now than ever before, and that he has my back no matter what.

3. Self-awareness makes such a difference. This year I opened my eyes to so much. I started respecting my body more and taking the time to research what I put in it. I acknowledged my weaknesses and my illnesses and am starting to work on them.

4. Good food is so worth the time and energy. Also, Nigella is my Queen.

5. Everyone makes mistakes. It’s how you make them right and what you learn from them that makes the greatest difference.

So, from all of that, I’ve been pondering Dark Mother Goddess‘ idea of the word for the year. I think the best one for me in 2011 is Acceptance.

I am not entirely proud of myself in 2010. I reacted a lot, without thinking. I hurt people and allowed myself to be hurt. I had no idea how closed off I’ve been. I want to accept the things I cannot change, including the actions and words of people outside of myself. I want to accept was has been and move forward. I want to be more accepting of those around me, and the differences we have. I want to be accepting of who I am.

Acceptance for me is to listen without judgement. It’s not taking things personally. It’s looking at a situation and accepting it for what it is and moving forward. This is my goal for the year. Act with an open heart, and be the kind of person that others feel that they can come to for support and friendship.

And now, before signing off, these were my goals from last year. Lets see how I did:

۞ Becoming more active, in this case, being active at all. I need to get back to the gym. I also really want to get back into yoga. I miss it muchly. Not so much.

۞ Eating better. I want to be a lot more careful about what I’m putting into my body. A bit yet, a bit no. I comforted myself with junk this year, but I also started to enjoy cooking for the first time. Balance maybe?

۞ Taking care of my outsides too. After a really good talk with the people of Earth to Body, I think I’m going to try, at least for a few months, to use only organic products when I can. The only exception to this will be makeup and some hair products. Hopefully, this will give me a break from my eczema. With my family history, I need to stay away from carcinogens as much as possible. I definitely gave organic a try. In some cases I stuck with it, but in others, I went back to my old products. I think its important to know what’s in your products but in some cases, you don’t have to give them all up.

۞ Build my family. This means something different than what one would think, though I do mean that too. Basically, I want to surround myself with my chosen family, that special collection of people that i love and who make me a better person. I want to nurture these relationships and make them stronger, and focus on them rather than the toxic relationships that I have with others. This was definitely accomplished.

۞ Keep working on my insides too. I want to keep healing, keep improving. I want to get back into therapy, work on the Artist’s Way and strengthen myself at the core. Yep. I continued with therapy, did a healing art course, and did what I could to be as self aware as possible.

۞ Value my time and my hobbies. It’s ok to play video games if it calms me and I needn’t feel guilty for that. Nor do I need to feel guilty for not going to parties if I don’t want to, or turning down other social events. It’s ok to knit, to sit on the computer, to make a webpage. It’s ok to do what makes me happy. Work on my expressions and creativity. I want to get back into The Artist’s Way, I want to nurture my creativity and begin expressing myself again. I want to feel like it’s ok to spend time in my little craft room, plugging away on a project. While I didn’t get into the Artist’s Way again, I did focus on my hobbies, my art and my free time. I’d say a success.

۞ Reboot maevan.com. I want to completely remake the website from scratch, using the skills I learned. I want to get Dirty Pretty Things up and running and I want to feel confident about what I put out there into the world. Nope. Definitely not a priority. Think I may just get rid of it all together. I did, however, start this lovely blog, which is more the direction I wanted my web presence to go.

۞ Figure out this whole blog thing. I need to find a balance between the personal and wanting to meet new people and share things with the world. I miss having comments, and having people see my creations. LJ may not be the best place for that. Not sure. I do want to give this journal a new look too. Hee, yep. Here I am!

۞ Find a job that meets my criteria. It must keep me interested, without making me anxious. It has to make me proud, without taking all of my time. Once I do this, I want to get our finances back in order. Pretty close to there, with this new job at the college. It does take a lot of my time, but I think once I adjust, it’ll  be great.

۞ Settle in. I want to make this house a home. I want to paint, unpack, put things away and get rid of the clutter. Thanks to Phil, I plan on recording some of this progress to share. Certainly started, but we have a long way to go. I will say that my guest room makes me tremendously happy.

Cheers, to 2011. Here’s hoping it’s great.