Holy shoot! He’s TWO!

We’ve been a family of five now for two years. Two years of juggling three babies, two years of figuring out what the heck to do with a penis, two years of breaking all over again and pulling myself back together again.

TWO YEARS.

Things I’ve learned in two years of Isaac:

  • Boys think penises are HILARIOUS and pull-able. I don’t know about you and your penis experience, but from what I knew before Isaac, penises weren’t meant for extreme tugging. Somehow, though, Isaac thinks his can super-stretch. I will leave him to be the expert…it is HIS penis, after all.

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  • Boys LOVE bodily functions. And so do girls. All of our children have a respect (I’m not sure if it’s healthy or not) and certain glee surrounding farting, burping, pooping, boogers, and being disgusting in general. Seriously. Isaac will stop babbling in the mornings to note Ben’s butt trumpeting. If you’re feeling self-conscious or have a low fart self-esteem, hang out with Isaac. He’ll make you proud of every duck that escapes your tush.
  • Boys LOVE construction vehicles. And big trucks. And cars. And tractors. And lawnmowers. In fact, Isaac has a standing date with the landscaping crew that comes to cut our grass every Tuesday morning. They look for him, he stands at our front door and waves and waves, and they smile and wave back. On the walk to and from school, Isaac will yell out the different trucks and vehicles he sees coming up and down the hill.
In heaven.

In heaven.

  • Isaac is a butt. Oh my, he’s super buttly. He loves climbing all the things he shouldn’t, loves getting into the toilet and the bum cream and the pens and the pencils and the groceries you just brought home and the phone you left on the couch while you grabbed him from jumping off the table. Seriously. He’s a jerk. He sees a vulnerability and he will exploit it. Faster than fast. He sucks.
  • Isaac is FREAKING cute. I know all mothers think their children are adorable, but Isaac with his chubby feet and his small bum and his fat thighs, and his irresistible giggle…KILL me. And he knows it. This is why he is still alive. This is why I have not killed him yet for all the buttly things he does.

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  • Loving Nana Jam knows no gender or age. All of our babies have mastered and graduated from the Nana-Jam Suck-Off, whereby they take a piece of toast, smothered in peanut butter and the jam that my mother-in-law, Dianne (a.k.a. Nana), makes, and they suck off all the jam and peanut butter and leave a soggy, sad piece of bread behind.
Nana Jam and chocolate...mmmmm

Nana Jam and chocolate…mmmmm

  • Boys love hard and boisterously. Isaac is the KING of running up to me, smashing his head into my leg, and then going into a full body spasm of excitement, complete with gritted teeth and animal noises. This is how he hugs me. He can give regular, boring hugs, as well, but this one is his trademarked, insane hug that sometimes knocks me off balance if I’m not paying enough attention.
He's coming in!

He’s coming in!

  • Animated films aimed at children can be dissected at a collegiate level. Isaac LOVES Cars. Not just the things that drive around in real life, but the Disney film featuring the voice talents of Owen Wilson, Bonnie Hunt, and, the most beloved by Isaac, Larry the Cable Guy who lends his brand of fun to Mater, Isaac’s FAVOURITE character. Ben and I have watched the movie so many times now that we have in-depth discussions about the landscape, racing as a business, the merits of different racing/sponsor styles, etc. It’s ridiculous. We now preface conversations with, “I know you don’t want to hear it, but…” and then launch into a description of a facet of the movie we hadn’t noticed before. It usually ends with me freaking out, demanding we stop wasting time talking about the plot holes or inconsistencies at length.
  • Three kids is hard. So hard. Harder than two. And when one of them is a outright butt (see above), and when one of them can be more stubborn than any being on the earth, it gets even harder. We knew having kids this close together would be dicey…tricky, even. But knowing now just how hard it is…well, I think we’d still make the same decision. But DAMN. It’s hard.
The first day of school...it was kind of like herding cats.

The first day of school…it was kind of like herding cats.

  • Three kids is worth it. So worth it. Having an oldest, middle, and youngest…having the three babies we do…having them close together and crazy-like? All worth it. The other night I was lying on the couch with all three on me. It didn’t last long (fighting for space started, and then Ben sat down on the other couch, opening up a whole expanse of unused lap), but while they were all piled on me, it was heaven. And then it was hot and whiny. BUT. It was heaven for at least a minute or two.
  • Our family is complete. When Lillian was born, in the first few weeks afterwards, the hell weeks, as I fondly refer to them, I felt like it wasn’t enough. I felt like we were still missing someone. I don’t feel that way anymore. People are popping up pregnant all around me, and I’m still happy in the knowledge that I’m done having babies. That the factory is closed and that this family is the one we’ll walk the rest of our lives with. I’m so content here. I’m so thankful there are no regrets. I think if we had stopped at Lillian, I would have been filled with regret over the third baby that never was.
Love this face!

Love this face!

  • Isaac is awesome. He’s the sweetest little dude and I can’t wait to see the big boy and the man he’ll grow into. We were walking towards the school and he was strutting along in his way, and I turned to Ben and said, “One day, he’ll come home and tell us he wants to ask someone to marry him.” It’s a mind-blowing thought that this baby will one day become a man in his own right…but from what I’ve seen so far (penis-yanking aside), I know he’ll be awesome.
Happy birthday, dude!

Happy birthday, dude!

Happy happy 2nd birthday, Isaac! I love you SO much!!

~ Mama (a.k.a. Julia)

Celebrations… without libations

Last week Cody and I announced our amazing news that we are expecting our first baby bean!

It was the day of my girlfriend Kim’s baby shower – the entire day I had felt so sick, tired and dizzy. I went to her shower with my other love, Ashley, by my side, smiled and cooed at all the adorable blankets and stuffies, all the while thinking about the day she would get to hold her baby boy in her arms. She would make an amazing mother, and all these women where there surrounding her and supporting her.

I excused myself early. I was ready for my bed, but had cleaning to do and dinner to make.

As I was preparing dinner, I thought and calculated as to why I would be feeling so crappy…and suddenly it came to my mind…it wasn’t a tumor…It was a little bundle of something growing in my belly slowly exhausting me.

I had planned before how I would tell Cody and suddenly it all melted away, I screamed, cried and jumped up and down, then ran outside to tell Cody the news.

Best. Feeling. Ever.

Cody has always told me he wanted to be a daddy. I remember a conversation when we first moved into our house 5 years earlier about how he could see us having a baby sooner rather than later. I wanted to wait, I wanted to be married and get into the groove of owning a house – but that conversation always stuck in the back of my mind.

To be able to tell him that he was going to be a daddy, and see the excitement flood his eyes will be a memory I forever hold dear.

Now, I am a researcher and I google EVERYTHING – and from previous searches I know that people, doctors, and other baby professionals tell you that you should wait until your 12th week to announce to the world that you are expecting – which I don’t understand.

Well, we didn’t wait. I called my mom and told her to come over. Cody called his dad and told him and then called his mom and told her. We wanted to share our news – and I am so happy we did! My mom has done this before. This will be her 5th pregnancy announcement coming from one of her daughters, but the hug I got was one of the tightest I have ever had. Cody’s mom screamed for joy and still has not stopped telling me how happy she is. I told my sisters right away, because that was one reaction I was BEYOND excited to experience. In our group of friends, we are one of the…actually, we are the last couple to have a baby (2015 will forever be known as the year of love with all the weddings and babies), so we immediately announced to our friends too.

We told our family, and our friends and then when we hit 12 weeks, we announced it to the Facebook world.

The thought behind holding off until the 12th week is because a miscarriage is more common during the first trimester, but for me, I thought if something happens, and this feeling of love and joy (which is also known as nausea) goes away, then I am going to need support. I am going to want to talk about it, I am going to want to try to get through it, and work through it.

Why was I waiting 12 weeks for something bad to happen instead of celebrating something good? The something good right now! I am pregnant! I GOT PREGNANT! Suddenly every neurologist who told me that there was a high chance that this could not happen, it happened. All the doctors appointments and the wishing and waiting – it happened.

This week we announced to Facebook AND I celebrate two years seizure free. I am counting my blessings, and holding my belly tight.

Cody and I are beyond excited to start the next chapter of our life, and we and can’t wait to share our journey with you all!

~ Jacqui and Baby Bean ❤

Happy birthday, mama

While we are not back to our regularly scheduled blog rhythm just yet, we most DEFINITELY did not want this day to go by without making a fuss over a very special lady in our lives…pretty much the most important one.

Without her, really, none of this would be here. None of us, none of our families. She, our matriarch, our head of household, our guiding star, is our Mama, and today is her BIRTHDAY!!!!!

So here’s to you, Mommy – happy, happy birthday! We hope you know how much you are loved, looked up to, and admired. You hold a special place in each of our hearts, lessons and love unique to each one of us. You’ve set incredible examples for us, helped whenever needed (even when we didn’t know we needed it) and loving us regardless and no matter what.

Mom

Mom

We love you and hope you have the most beautiful day, filled with so much love, light and laughter your heart stays full forever.

Love,

Your baby girls
~ Weather Vane Sisterhood

 

Oh, thank GOD she’s FOUR

Lillian and I have been in a war for the past year. A war of the THREES. Any parent that I’ve talked to has agreed with me on this one point: Terrible Twos don’t exist. TERROR-FILLED THREES are what you have to worry about.

The calm before the storm...don't let the sleeping fool you. Look at the FORM. She's NUTS.

The calm before the storm…don’t let the sleeping fool you. Look at the FORM. She’s NUTS.

Lillian has been three for WAY. TOO. LONG. She’s saucy. She’s opinionated. She’s obstinate. She’s stubborn. She’s given me more grey/falling out hair than anyone. And she’s CRAZY.

All cute.  And innocent(-looking). She's a sneaky, sneaky terrorist.

All cute. And innocent(-looking). She’s a sneaky, sneaky terrorist.

She’s three was my mantra for the whole year. She’s three. She’s three. Don’t kill her. She’s three. Don’t toss her into a snow bank. She’s three. Don’t throw a temper tantrum back. She’s three.

She’s three.

Determination is her middle name. But her first name??? Spider-Man. And don't you forget it.

Determination is her middle name. But her first name??? Spider-Man. And don’t you forget it.

But today? TODAY?!

Today she is FOUR. And I can tell you that I’ve been looking forward to this day like children look forward to Christmas, like Ben looks forward to the first game of the NFL season, like Isaac looks forward to breakfast – with EVERYTHING I’VE GOT.

Because three? Three almost KILLED me. (No, I’m not being melodramatic.) (Seriously.)

Surprise! She's a loon!

Surprise! She’s a loon!

Three was when we started potty training with earnest. Three is when I cried about potty training practically daily. Three was the time where if I had a million dollars, I would have HIRED someone simply to potty train Lillian. Three made me wince when the pediatrician asked me if Isaac was ready to be potty trained (I’m not even THINKING about it at this point. I need a vacation, first. And a stiff drink. Followed by hibernation. Then, and only then, will I consider potty training a BOY.). Three and poopy underwear and puddles and bringing 7 changes of clothing only to have all 7 soiled halfway through our outing brought this mama to her knees.

Who me? YES YOU.

Who me? YES YOU.

Three was when Lillian started her stand-off life view. Where she decided she wasn’t handing over any control over anything to anyone, DAMMIT. Three was the time where Lillian said, “I’m not peeing anymore!” And she didn’t. For the whole day. Three is when Lillian would refuse to eat anything that she didn’t like the look of. “I don’t like it.” And that, folks, was the end of the meal. Three was when Lillian would say, “I don’t want to.” to going to the bathroom, to picking up Sophie from school, to getting dressed in the morning (she’s now the reigning queen of pyjama days because I refused to pick this battle), to cleaning up, to sitting down to eat, to wearing underwear, to wearing a pull-up diaper, to ANYTHING at ALL at ANY moment.

"I don't like breakfast, ANYMORE."

“I don’t like breakfast, ANYMORE.”

Three was when Lillian came into her own with her vocabulary. Which simply means, it’s the time where she could clearly articulate exactly what she didn’t like about what I was doing. Or not doing.

Strong. And shy. Until she knows you. Then watch out.

Strong. And shy. Until she knows you. Then watch out.

Three was when she fell in LOVE with Scooby-Doo on Netflix and Spider-Man in daily life (“No! My name is NOT Lillian! My name is SPIDER-MAN!”).

Her super hero identity

Her super hero identity

Three is when conversations like this happened EVERY morning:

Me: What would you like for breakfast?
Lillian: —
Me: Lillian. What would you like for breakfast?
Lillian: Toast.
Me: With what on it?
Lillian: Banana and peanut butter.
Me: Perfect!
Lillian: NO! I don’t want anything on my toast. I just want peanut butter. And banana.
Me: So nothing, but peanut butter and banana?
Lillian: NO! I don’t want anything on my toast! I just want peanut butter and banana. And honey. And apricot jam.
Me: Okay.
Lillian (after receiving said toast): I don’t WANT toast. I want CHEERIOS! (Cue sobbing because I’ve ruined her life).
Me: Kill me now.

Dirty. Happy. Nutty. Buttly.

Dirty. Happy. Nutty. Buttly.

Three was a war zone of wills, a battle to the death of the most basic of things, like socks and a coat and snow pants and mittens in -30 degrees Celsius weather. It was a knife fight, where I brought a soft plastic baby spoon and Lillian brought the weapons of mass destruction that Bush dreamed up in his sleep.

This is how she watches TV. No, really.

This is how she watches TV. No, really.

It was a painful, brutal, exhausting year, because my ferocious, energetic, stunningly smart, heart-breakingly strong baby, the one who ripped IV’s out of her arm and bounced back from implant surgery, the one who went from no hearing and no words to NEVER FINDING AN END TO THE CHATTER, the one who has been dealt a tough hand and has cleaned out the pot and all of the players, found her inner THREENAGER and OWNED it, like she’s OWNED everything ever in her life. She refused to be born. She refused to be knocked down by a hearing loss. She refused to use the BLEEPING potty. She refused to give in. EVER. She refused.

Sauce-pot to the max.

Sauce-pot to the max.

And yet?

She’s still the best hugger I know. She’s still the sweetest when I’m hurt or sick. She’s still the one that covers me with her special, Lillian-only blanket when I nap in the afternoons. She’s still the kid that wants to help all the time in the kitchen. She’s still the fiercest lover, fiercest runner, fiercest fighter ever. She’s still awesome and incredible and smart and tough and strong and crazy.

Chatting the ears off Grandpa...he never has any clue what she's saying or why she's saying it and she will never let up.

Chatting the ears off Grandpa…he never has any clue what she’s saying or why she’s saying it and she will never let up.

But ONLY when it’s her idea.

And today? Today, she is FOUR.

Isaac used to hate waiting for me to get the stroller inside after the walk home from school. Every time, Lillian would lie there with him, making him giggle, making me less likely to toss her out a window.

Isaac used to hate waiting for me to get the stroller inside after the walk home from school. Every time, Lillian would lie there with him, making him giggle, making me less likely to toss her out a window.

So, my dear second baby, my dear troubled middle child, my dear girl who puts the butt in buttliness, the girl who demands to be treated with the respect that Spider-Man deserves, happy happy day. Here’s to another year, where we will go to school, and tackle the world, and win all the battles all over again.

Being herself. Her awesome crazy brilliant tough self.

Being herself. Her awesome crazy brilliant tough self.

Because heaven help your teachers and your classmates if they get in your way. And Godspeed to them. They have no idea what’s coming for them, and there is simply no way to prepare them…except to hug them and thank them for taking you off my hands.

Oh, my heart.

Oh, my heart.

I love you, Lillian. With everything and through everything. Always.

My monkey-butt

My monkey-butt

Love, Mama

~ Julia

Knowing more

This past year has been a crazy one: moving away, finding new passions, trying new things, falling down, picking ourselves back up, engagements, wedding planning, moving back, and just generally trying to figure out what works.

This has been a year of learning for all of us with the blog, and in life. We are just living, and life always has a lesson to teach.

This has been an amazing, eye-opening experience for me.

I always knew my sisters were talented, amazing and beautiful women, but reading their thoughts has shown me new bits about each of the sisters.

I feel like you can find out a lot about people through their writing, and it holds true to this experience.

I mean, in all of our very first posts, there were timid steps as we each set foot into blogging, but we found our way, kept going, and the sisters and the readers all ended up inspiring me more than I had thought humanly possible.

This blog has been a new push through everything, and when I re-read all the posts, I realized how much we all changed, or at least I have changed. I realized how much I have been able to still keep pushing through all the negative that can come with change.

Change usually scares me, but this time, I’m not scared at all! I’m excited and can’t wait for the next blogging year for our sisterhood!

#WVSisterhood #Giveaway !!

#WVSisterhood #Giveaway !!

And now, without further ado, my giveaway is hand-crafted jewelry and a survivalist bracelet made from parachute cord made by my friend Kate, and a tea wallet so you can have that fresh tea anywhere made by Kate’s awesome Mama!

Survivalist bracelet, beautiful hand crafted ring, and necklace, and a tea wallet!

Survivalist bracelet, beautiful hand-crafted ring and necklace, and a tea wallet!

I want to thank you, dear readers. You have been a wonderful and captive audience, and we owe you lots of hugs for the past year! And my question I pose to you is: What is the one accessory that you’d feel naked without? 

~ Andreah

Celebrating with a little country

I have a terrible time with timelines. Seriously, I do. I think that what happened a year ago actually happened a month or even a week ago, so reflecting on this past year? How do I do that? Was it even a year? Did anything even happen? Did we have Christmas yet? Where am I?

I took a trip down memory lane to try and help me out and I have to say, we really are a one-year old. We are on our feet now – it took a while for us to get our balance and to actually start standing on our own, but we are stumbling our way there. I like to think we have our legs beneath us.

My take away from blogging? It gives me a reason to write. I love writing so much so I am looking into creative writing courses. I suck at spelling and I like to add punctuation where it doesn’t belong??:,’; (because it makes sense and they are fancy!). It has also introduced me to new bloggers from which I draw inspiration. I love reading what other people are blogging about and the blogging community in general.

The biggest takeaway I get is connecting with my sisters. I know we all have our own voices, and that they are loud! Just ask my niece Sophie when there is more than two of us at the dinner table, as she shoves her fingers in her ears because we are…and I quote…”Way too loud!” She is one to talk, but she is right! We are loud and boisterous and I get to be a part of that EVERY week. Even If I don’t get to see them physically, I still get to read their blogs and get a piece of them for that day.

#WVSisterhood #Giveaway !!

#WVSisterhood #Giveaway !!

For my portion of the giveaway, I have decided that I want to give you a little piece of me. But because that is frowned upon, and might gross people out (after all we are trying to gather followers not push them away), I have decided to give away a home decor piece. These are my favorite pieces and I have a total of three in my house (so far, there will be more I am sure of it):

The rustic star! You see them on barns, sides of houses – they are the perfect bit of country!

One of my closest and dearest friends, Kim, runs a small garden and home decor store, Ayr Country Gardens. It is in the heart of our small downtown core, and it is one of my favorite places to visit. Other than the fact that I get a little Kim session while I am in there, they always have something new and exciting to look at. It is pretty dangerous to go in there because you are sure to leave with something EVERY time. It takes real strength to leave with the same amount of money you came in with.

So now my question to you is: what is your favorite piece of decor in your home? Is it family photos? A motivational sign? Maybe it’s a couch where you spend family time. Let me know what it is! Remember, every comment on our blog gets you an entry in the giveaway. Our mom is one of our avid commenters, so come on people! Get a-posting! Can’t wait to get a glimpse of your homes. You never know, if I get lucky enough to come to your house, maybe I’ll keep my eye out for those candlesticks you love so much!

~ Jacqui

This first

You will always remember your firsts.

First love, first car, first job, first time, first heartbreak, first real love, first accident, first kiss – all of the firsts.

This blog, my first time contributing to a personal blog, this first real and very public project with the sisters, turns a big huge ONE today. The Weather Vane Sisterhood celebrates its first anniversary. A pretty big first in my books.

I kind of can’t even believe it.

It feels oddly similar to the first birthdays of my precious nieces and nephew. I’m bursting with pride, but struggling to understand where all that time went.

It really does just seem like yesterday that we sat down at Jacqui’s house, gathered around her kitchen table, to determine what we wanted this to be, where we thought it could and might go.

I remember then feeling nervous and unsure if I had any writing chops at all – especially compared to my genius sisters. Somehow that feeling never truly goes away and I feel it flutter through my stomach at the scheduling of every post. Some posts are raw and honest, some are lighthearted and maybe even funny, and some may be deeply personal.

This blog has taught me that I am usually not alone in how I feel – not only through connecting with you, our fabulous readers, but also reading the insightful and inspiring stories from my sisters. I’ve learned so much about our sisterhood in this year and, as Julia expressed yesterday, no matter how small our readership may be, I am so thankful for you following along on this crazy journey of our sisterhood. I’m so excited to see what year two holds.

Now that the mush, love and gratitude has been expressed, I get to be Oprah and give away cars!* (here is where I will use the Julia-coined  *Oprah Clause: The word cars in this case represents small tokens of our affection and not actual cars or automobiles, or vehicles of any kind…please don’t sue us. We’re not actually Oprah.)

#WVSisterhood #Giveaway !!

#WVSisterhood #Giveaway !!

When it came time to choose what I’d like to give you, I had to reflect on the sudden, incredible, completely exhilarating love in my life: my Yoga practice and the incredible community of Moksha Yoga Cambridge.

I have chosen to give away an RBX yoga mat in honor of my passion for the practice of yoga. Between the peace it has brought me during the past few tougher months, to the inner growth I’ve experienced, I cannot put into words what it has done for my life. More than that, until you’ve tried it and let go enough to let it work its magic, I will never be able to describe it to you unless you’ve felt it. All I can say, with 100% conviction, it it’s totally worth it.

To keep you moving

To keep you moving

In addition, I would like to invite you to Moksha Yoga Cambridge  on Friday nights for their Karma practice. It’s $5, a great way to stretch out from your crazy week and, even better, all of your $5 goes towards a different charity on a rotating monthly schedule. This month the proceeds of the Friday evening Karma practice are benefiting The Bridges – Cambridge Shelter. So, even if you don’t win this mat, please grab one and join us at 8:00 pm every Friday to participate in a little good karma.

In order to enter any and all of the giveaways, all you have to do is leave a comment answering the question for that day. You’ll receive one entry for every comment on that day’s giveaway – you can leave one comment or 100 comments, just make sure you’re answering the question. Be sure to enter all of the giveaways before 12:00 am EST on Saturday, February 14th in order for your entries to be considered.

I’d be honoured to share my love of Yoga with you! To get started, all you have to do is answer the question: what is your favourite yoga pose and why? If you’re not a yogi per say, what is your favourite exercise and why?

I look forward to hearing from you, our dear readers. My heart is grateful for this, our very first year.

~Toni

A year of blogging

This week is BIG for us here at the Sisterhood. Big because it’s a birthday week (Toni’s on the 12th!). Big because it’s Valentine’s Day week (Hello, LOVERS!). And BIG because we have our first anniversary of blogging.

Last year, on February 10, 2014, we published our very first post and introduced our blog to the world (mostly our family and friends).

We wanted to dedicate our posts this week as odes to the blog, reflections on a year of blogging and then, of course, giving you, our readers (family and friends and THE WORLD), gifts for hanging out with us, reading us, supporting us, commenting on us, and letting us share our Sisterhood with you. To celebrate our very first anniversary we’re going to hold our very first GIVEAWAY.

#WVSisterhood #Giveaway !!

#WVSisterhood #Giveaway !!

OH YES.

We are OPRAH. And EVERYONE GETS CARS*. (*The word cars in this case represents small tokens of our affection and not actual cars or automobiles or vehicles of any kind. And the word everyone means select winners chosen at random, not every single person in the world. Please don’t sue us. We’re not actually Oprah.)

To enter our giveaway, all you have to do is leave a comment. Every comment gets you one entry into that day’s giveaway. That’s right. I said THAT DAY’S GIVEAWAY! We’re doing FOUR giveaways and a GRAND PRIZE GIVEAWAY. Because we’re CRAZY in LOVE with you! Each regular blogging day this week, a sister will select and introduce a prize. Leave a comment on the blog post, answering the question the sister poses to you! Each comment you leave gives you one entry into the draw for that prize. You can leave one comment or you can leave 100 comments, just make sure you’re answering the question. All the comments from all the blog posts this week will be put into the draw for the grand prize giveaway. Only comments posted before 12:00 a.m. EST Saturday February 14, 2015 will be considered.

We’ll make the draws and announce the winners on Valentine’s Day because we’re CRAZY in LOVE, remember!? We love you. You love us (we hope). And because it’s our BLOG-BIRTHDAY!!!

Questions? Worries? Concerns? Let us know. Love notes? Wishes for our 2nd year of blogging? Hopes and dreams for our future together? Let us know.

And sincerely – THANK YOU – for reading with us, hanging out with us, and cheering for us. Thank you. ❤

Okay. Enough Oprah. It’s time for me to reveal what I am giving away!!

For me, this year of blogging has been a test of sorts. A test to see if I had it in me to stick with a writing project longer than five minutes here, four seconds there, an hour there…and then nothing for MONTHS. I’ve been fairly busy getting knocked up and having babies…which isn’t full of bon-bon eating and story-watching like it’s hyped up to be. It’s actually hard, mean, rewarding, tricky, exhausting, energy-sucking work. It takes a lot out of me every day…and that’s just getting out of bed. 😉 So to commit to a blog, even one with my sisters who are my most favourite people on earth (besides all of my other favourite people on earth…really gotta work on this list, otherwise my Oscar speech for Best Adapted Screenplay is going to SUCK), was a huge deal for me.

Will I get overwhelmed?

Will I suck at writing because my brain is mush and my babies are sucking me dry in all the ways?

Will I have interesting things to say besides I have babies, babies poop, babies, poop, babies, poop?

Will I hate it?

Will I resent it?

Will I be able to form coherent sentences every single week?

Apparently, no, not so much, not so much, no, no, and sort of! 😉

This blog has let me write about my life in ways I haven’t been able to commit to before. It’s helped me reawaken the part of my brain that is writerly, the part that speaks in narrative and sees everything as it would be described on a page. It has given me the chance to look through my crazy, zany, nutty, chaotic day and find the threads to write about.

It’s made me sit down and write for at least an hour every week. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but when your whole day is usually spent counting down the hours until you get to go back to bed every day, spending solid time, regularly, on writing is a giant gift.

So for me, this blogging year has been about writing again, putting words out there again, and reminding myself that this is the reason I went to the fancy school and got the fancy writing degree and want to be a writer when I grow up (Ha!).

When thinking about what I’d like to give to you, readers of all the words, I immediately thought about giving you MORE words (because I’m classy that way).

I’m giving away a short story collection from my author-hero, Alice Munro. She is so many things to me. She represents a strong, Canadian female author, something I’d like to be considered as. She is a mother of three children and yet still writes. She had her first story published in university and her first short story collection published when she was in her mid-30s. As someone in her mid-30s, this is very encouraging. And she won the freaking Nobel Prize in Literature. She’s incredible. And awesome. And I want to be her. And I love her stories.

The collection I’ve chosen is called Too Much Happiness, a beautiful book full of well-spun stories, and quotes, like, “Always remember that when a man goes out of the room, he leaves everything in it behind… When a woman goes out she carries everything that happened in the room along with her.”

Too Much Happiness by Alice Munro

Too Much Happiness by Alice Munro

I really love this collection. And I love what it represents for me as a writer, a mother, and a Canadian woman. I love all of the things. And I’d like to share it with you! All you have to do is answer this question: What is your favourite book? Or who is your favourite author? 

And thank you, again, for this year. It’s been awesome. ❤

~ Julia

‘Tis the Season to Indulge

It’s no secret that I love food.

All things food.

I love it so much that while cresting the hill of 25 and preparing to face the inevitable metabolic slow down that was about the rear its ugly head, I began working out religiously just so I could maintain my eating habits – for the most part. Of course I’m wiser with what types of foods I injest for my overall health’s sake, I’ve just managed to make sure when I do indulge it is at least a little less guilt free.

As all good food lover’s know, the best foods seem to be more delectable, more delicious and more sinful around the holidays – especially at Christmas time. I am pretty sure the increased enjoyment stems from being surrounded with people that you love (for the most part), the indulgent tendancies of the season of the adult juice type variety and the magic of the lights dancing off the tree.

There are even some foods that just don’t seem right to be caught enjoying at any other season or time throughout the year and some that just don’t taste the same when not reserved for the holidays. Some of my favourite foods, flavours and treats include:

1. Gingerbread: this goes for men, houses, stars, snowmen and the flavour in general – especially whilst being enjoyed in a hot beverage. Gingerbread is exclusively a Christmas taste and is not transferable to any other season or combinable with any other offers.

Source: Deviant Art

Source: Deviant Art

2. Coquilles Saint-Jacques: this is a dish that we traditionally eat during our Christmas dinner with Michael’s family and if you have not had it, I suggest you find a way to experience it soon. Michael’s mom makes the best version I’ve ever had and as with the majority of her dishes, has ruined it for me everywhere else, ensuring I only eat hers. It’s SO good. Mashed potatoes? Yum. Scallops? Yum. Lobster? Yum. Shrimp? Yum. (Sorry, JQ). It’s is literally my favourite things baked together in a decorative shell. Don’t believe me? Here’s a recipe that is closer to Pina’s then I have traditionally seen.

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3. Eggnog: Seriously, only good at Christmas. It doesn’t matter who you are, you cannot drink the stuff after December leaves us. I’m pretty sure there is a clause somewhere that changes the taste of all eggnog served outside of the last month of the year.

Yum.

Yum.

4. Chestnuts: I know, I know – a Portuguese that loves roasting chestnuts, how original. However, chestnuts, especially roasted are only enjoyable near Christmas. I am sure some crazy person once decided to roast chestnuts in July, but I’m also pretty sure the reason you’ve never heard a song about them in the summer is because they’re not nearly as enjoyable or even required at any other occasion.

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Delicious

5. Candy cane: small, medium or large, cane, stick or crumbled, traditional candy cane flavour or flavour shot of peppermint in your hot coacoa – candy canes are not a year round item. They are a short lived item on the store shelf, which is good news for people like me that get headaches when they injest too much of the candy cane’s sugar.

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Pretty

Whatever your favourite foods, tastes and treats are this Christmas, I hope you enjoy every delightful bite you may take, drink you may sip and embrace you may steal. Merry Christmas, everyone!

~Toni

Happy Birthday, Julia!

If you’ve been following along, you should know by now that the sisterhood is a big ball of mush when it comes to the people in our lives that mean the most to us, so it should come as no surprise as you read on.

My dear, Julia.

My innocent, kind, sweet, brave, overachieving, magic making, Julia.

Happy, happy birthday!

I am not sure there will ever be just the right word in the English language to describe the immense amount of gratitude I have for being granted the privilege to bear witness to the beautiful, crazy, meaningful and wonderfully messy life that you are creating.

Gratitude for the amount of helping to – let’s be honest – rear me, as livestock terms are much more suited for my younger years. Gratitude for the friendship we have been so blessed with the opportunity for, and the brains to know it’s worth it. Gratitude for you.

Between birthing three of my life’s greatest blessings, to being a beacon for all those who are struggling by bravely telling your story of triumph so others will feel a little less alone in their own heads, to reminding me that we have fought to grow into women that have the strength to do so – and as you do, once again providing the most incredible example a girl could ask for in a big sis.

As Lillian would say, “you’re a rockstar” and I hope you truly feel that way today as we continue to celebrate another year of you on this your day of birth.

<3

This love.

We love you an incredible amount!

~ Toni