"life is the home"

To Live in the 90s Again

Have you seen this?  Supposedly it was released last January, when IE was actually new, but it's resurfaced again.
Oh the 90s.  Best decade ever.  
This is a fairly accurate day in the life of a 90s kid.  Thank you Buzzfeed.
I lived on Sweet Valley High books... stoked I scored a couple at a garage sale this past summer.  Josh didn't understand my connection to those books.  My best friend Erin and I loved watching the show, and gorged ourselves on every page of the books, and wanted to be students at Wakefield so, so badly.  Now I want to collect them all, and read them again.  Diablo Cody, get on it with your remake, please!
Do you have any good 90s memories?

The Perfect Snow Day

This morning we woke up to a dumping of snow.  We knew that we got a decent amount yesterday afternoon and evening, but I didn't know that it was going to continue snowing so hard all night.  We probably got at least a foot of new snow in 24 hours.  I LOVE it.  It's so beautiful, everything laden with a fresh blanket of powder.  The slushy brown roads are newly white again, and it just looks like a white wonderland.  I know it's hard to see in the pictures I quickly snapped while braving the cold, but the snow is pretty much up to our porch, almost even with the trampoline (yes, we're bad and we don't take it down... it's so old, we just don't care anymore), and the pile from shovelling is as tall as our fence we share with the lovely lady next door.  The mountain created at the end of the driveway by the snowplow is almost over our heads!  I can't remember the last time we got this much snow, it's been years.  It makes me love living in this little town even more.  When Josh and I looked at the radar for the expected snow, the system was extremely localized, directly over us.  We aren't even sure if the next town over, just 15 minutes away, got the snow that we did.  This new snow is such a nice way to end of the year, and makes me look forward to what else the new year is going to bring.

Snowy Fire Nights

We got dumped on last night.  It was such a treat, after spending all day packaging up a gazillion orders (THANK YOU!), that 9pm rolled around, and magic, mysterious white frozen fluffs starting falling from the sky.  And fall from the sky they did.  We probably got close to 6 inches in about an hour.

So what's the best thing to do when it's snowing that much?  First, drive through the drifts to the store to grab some late night snacks, then head back home to play in the snow!  We had a bonfire for a little bit, until our bums were too cold, and then we headed back inside for a movie snuggle. 
 There's something magical about capturing the snow laden trees (and everything) at night, and it becomes even more captivating capturing it by firelight.  Thankfully it stopped snowing for a small moment so we could snag some pictures, without totally soaking our camera in flakes.
Our little Taco was very curious as to what we were doing outside.  He was meowing at us through the window, probably trying to let us know that it's cold outside, and there isn't food out there anymore, and we might die if we don't come back soon.  He likes to watch out for us like that.
When he's not caring for our wellbeing, Taco enjoys rocking out, preferably to Impending Doom.  Here's a little video Josh put together, showcasing this hardcore kitty's moves. 

The Lonely Island Birthday

If you read this blog, you'll know that it was Josh's birthday this past week.  Even though he was able to go out and so his favourite thing on his birthday (surfing), it still is so much more fun to celebrate with friends.  We like having kid parties at our house.  For my birthday, we had a snow day, GTing all day.  For Josh's last birthday, we had a great Peter Pan themed party, because Josh never wants to grow up, and just be a kid for life.  This year, we didn't get any more serious or responsible, but did get a little more adult.  (*that was a warning, letting you know that there might be some 'I get easily offended' reactions to both a couple pictures, and the overuse of profanity in these songs.  We don't take them seriously, they were originally made for the demographic of Saturday Night Live, and you can relax a little, knowing that we aren't cussfaces in our everyday lives.  I'm also not forcing you to scroll down, or listen to any of the songs in the links below)

This year's theme was The Lonely Island.  If you haven't seen one of their videos, or heard one of their songs, I'm sorry, but I think that you've been living under a rock.  Andy Samberg and crew regularly would have Digital Shorts on Saturday Night Live.  Sometimes bigger stars such as Justin Timberlake (many times), Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Natalie Portman and Michael Bolton and many more would accompany them on their songs (click names to see some of their fine works with the Lonely Island boys).

We all dressed up as some of our favourites.
Josh was the "Normal Guy"
Chris was "Guy Number Two" from "We Like Sportz"
Steph was "Rihanna" in "Ronnie and Clyde"
Josh was "Dick in a Box" (no indecent exposure, just pure dick-ness, while in a box)
Kathryn was "The Boss" from "Like a Boss"
Kevin quoted "F-ck Land" from "I'm On A Boat"
I was the "Mermaid" whom T-Pain has his way with in "I'm On A Boat"
Darren was just TOO good as "The Creep"

I was pretty pumped that everyone dressed up.  (We're just missing Rob as Natalie Portman from "Natalie's Rap"...his photo didn't turn out badass enough).  We listened to The Lonely Island all night, ate copious amounts of yummy foods, laughed too much, and enjoyed the unusually warm weather.  The evening ended with a huge bonfire and a couple of rounds of Head's Up (seriously, best bonfire game ever, thanks Ellen DeGeneres).  Download that game immediately.  It's so great.

Now we need to come up with another idea for next year's birthdays!  Do you guys have any ideas?  We like dressing up, being a little ridiculous, and having lots of fun.

Here's a little fishy lady for good measure.

Birthday Blessings

Last weekend, the winds were in full force on the lake.  It was bittersweet in our house, as when the winds pick up, Josh gets major surf stoke, but he was full on covered in poison ivy (more on that later), and we had some lovely friends over for the weekend.  This also meant that he had to miss out on the Gales of November surf contest happening down on Lake Erie.  Since he had so much fun at the last contest, he was pretty bummed.  Thankfully for him, there's going to be another contest happening soon, the Battle of the Great Lakes.

After listening to the wind howling outside all morning, Steph and I couldn't resist running down to the lake Sunday afternoon to snap some pictures and experience the wind for ourselves.  We literally almost got blown away!  The gusts were so strong, that as we stood there we were being pushed back from the lake.  Walking to the beach from the car, sand and leaves whipped at our faces, and we thought momentarily about turning around and booking it back to the car.  We decided against it, cause we really wanted to see what the water was doing!  

The waves were killing it!  I knew that Josh would have been a little sad to see what he was missing, so I was glad that he was too doped up on Benadryl to want to come out to see the waves.  Steph and I thought for a second about grabbing wetsuits and going to play, but then of course we came to our senses, snapped a couple pictures, and ran back to the car.  No matter how bundled up we were, that wind was still cutting through our layers, and cutting deep.  All we could think about were the hot cups of tea waiting for us when we got home.

I know these pictures don't really do the waves justice, but I promise, these are big!  The buoy out on the lake was reading 11 feet, and that's pretty massive for our little bay.
 Tuesday was Josh's birthday!  This is what we woke up to:
A couple weeks earlier we had our first snow of the season, but it didn't last too long.  This snow earlier this week actually has stayed until the end of the week!  It's going to warm up this weekend, so I'm sure it will all be gone soon enough, but it was very pretty while it was here!  The trees all glistened, and at night when it was snowing, it looked so beautiful in the streetlamp light.  

Of course, what brought all this beautiful snow, was cold air blowing in.  And of course that only meant one thing, big winds, and big waves!  Josh couldn't ask for a better birthday present!  He was totally pumped to be able to go surfing on his birthday.  This kid lives to surf.  He eat, sleeps and breathes surf.  You'd think that living on a little lake in Canada wouldn't be totally ideal for a surfer.  But that's why we moved up to the lake when we got married.  We didn't see it feasible to leave the country, since we are Canadian through and through, and we didn't want to move to either coast, cause we love our friends and family too much to move far away.  So next best option, plant ourselves next to a giant lake.  Now, we live within 2 hours of great surf spots, most within 45 minutes.  That makes for a seriously happy boy.

Many people think he's a little crazy, especially since surf is best in the fall and winter around here, and he spends hours in the water looking like this, but he loves every second of it.

Happy Birthday babe, hope you enjoyed your special day.  It ended with chicken wings, so I'm sure that you did.

Surf's Up! Lake Huron Fresh Water Classic 2013

This past Sunday morning, we got up at the ridiculous hour of 4:00am (AM!) packed up the boards and snacks, plus winter gear and warm socks, made a quick stop at Timmies for some morning fuel, and started the long drive over to Kincardine, on the shore of Lake Huron.  It was the end of October, which means that fall surf was in full swing, and the Lake Huron Fresh Water Classic surf contest was starting at sunrise.

I can officially say that surfers are out of their minds.

It was pouring rain, mixed with bouts of hail and icy roads, and the forecast was calling for a high of 6*C.  Throw some 30-40km winds at our faces, and it was looking to be a good day.  At least it was looking to be a good day for the crazy people.  

I really don't understand the desire to get up so early, to put on wetsuits (still cold and wet from the previous day's surfing adventures!) and get into frigid water, while being pelted with giant chunks of hail and rain.  Sounds like the worst beach day ever.  I was completely bundled up in my winter clothes, long johns plus leg warmers, scarf, toque (that's a beanie for all you americans!), mittens, and I stood huddled by the heater in the little tent we had on the beach for the judges and spectators.  All of the competitors happily ran into the water for the whole morning, taking on the rough waves (that weren't really cooperating) with huge smiles on their faces.  I know that Josh and the friends that came with us were totally stoked, so it was kind of easy to take on a little of their excitement while watching from the shore.
Tim, waxing up for the day
Helene, Scott and Josh heading out for one of the shortboard heats
Helene and Josh ripping up the competition
Helene happy to be back in the warm tent with coffee!
Josh just finding out that he made the finals!
Serious swag for the prizes!  That's a 12' SUP for the shortboard winner!
After the event, we all packed up and headed over to a local pub for the award ceremony.  Our friends Helene and Antonio both won Aloha Spirit Awards, and Antonio won the Longboard division, plus placing second in Shortboard.  Tim's friend Matt won the Shortboard division, taking home a GIANT Stand Up Paddleboard as his prize!  That was an adventure to pack into the truck.  It was pretty sweet for Matt, since it was his first time surfing the lakes.  He grew up ocean surfing in Barbados, and his still was definitely visible on our little lake waves. 

It was so nice to see the community between all these surfers, even though they all live so far apart!  We had people from all over, including Sudbury, Rochester, NY, Toronto, and although they live here now, a few guys from Peru and Barbados!  Everyone was so nice and chill (do you expect anything less with surfers?), and I'm looking forward to going to more contests.  I just hope that the next one isn't so cold and wet.


A little table set up a quilt show.
One of Taco's usual spots.  Cardboard is his favourite.
Evening watercolour session.  New brushes are the best.
Practicing with my Nikko G and Sumi ink, and practicing scripture in daily life.
Spaghetti squash from Heather's garden.  Butter, salt, pepper, parmesan is all that is needed.
Painting backgrounds.
Treated my boy to some cajun shrimp, to accompany his southern sweet tea.
Strawberry sprinkle treats with many episodes of Parks and Recreation.
'Tis almost the season.

The Intimacy of Friendship

Last weekend was Thanksgiving here in Canada, and I was blessed enough to share a beautiful Saturday with some pretty amazing friends.  I just wish that days like these could last longer!  

Our Friendsgiving was spent sharing monsterous amounts of sushi at lunch, followed by a play in the park.  Then we made the trek back home for some homemade chocolate cupcakes, pumpkin pie, butter tarts, and Moose Tracks ice cream.  I seriously think that these kinds of food are the way to people' hearts, because even though we were still stuffed from lunch, everyone downed their desserts.

It's refreshing to have a different kind of Thanksgiving with friends, rather than just the traditional turkey dinner style one we share every year with family.  Not to knock the family and turkey, but sometimes it's just less stressful to be around the family you choose.  The intimacy of friendship that I share with my friends just isn't the same as that with family.  I feel like there's less criticism, better listening, and more laughter.  We can be serious when needed, and get into deeper conversations that I feel like I've ever been able to share with family.  I love my friends in a different kind of way than I do family.  It's totally from God that people like you close friends enter your lives.  How could it not be? 

The relationships built with sincere friends help you through the good times and the bad times, and all the times in between.  They let you cry without feeling awkward, they let you get vulnerable.  I think that's one of the most important parts of a relationship, otherwise it's not genuine.

So this is a post of thanksgiving.  Thanks for the friends that I have in my life, because I wouldn't want to change it for the world.  I'm thankful for the precious 'niece' and 'nephew' that I get to have through these lovelies.  If you can't tell from the photo of Josh with the stroller, we are content living vicariously through these littles, and enjoying just having our little kitty Taco as our only child at the moment.

Oh and a little bonus treat?  This beautiful family below just sold their house, and are moving only half an hour away from Josh and I!  That's a big different for visits, since we used to be 2 hours away!  I'm so looking forward to being more present in their lives, more often.  But I really am going to miss their fully stocked garden and chicken coop.  Those are the best eggs I've ever had, and I just had one of the spaghetti squash I snagged from the garden last night, and it was fantastic!  I can't wait to build another garden with Heather at their new house.  I need to get on that on our house too!  

Sept 27: An Anonymous Letter to You (You Don't Know Who You Are)

Friday, September 27: An anonymous letter to your Facebook friends. Be as snarky as you'd like. (but don't include people's real names.) 

Facebook is really getting on my nerves lately actually.  Every day I'm tempted to delete my account, but then I remember that there's fun opportunities on it to catch up with people's lives from my past, and share pictures of life with friends that are far away.  It's also a nice way to contact people if you don't have their number or address.  But I think that people seriously abuse Facebook.  And frankly, some posts definitely get on my nerves.  So here's a little letter to all you Facebookers, and why I think that some of your Facebook actions are ridiculous.  Sorry if you think this post is ridiculous, but I don't care.  All the culprits of the following make me want to delete you.

1. Vaguebooking.  This practice has created a new word.  Not sure if it's a legitimate word, but I know that it's a realy practice, that people just shouldn't do.  What's the point of Facebook, if you're just going to say really vague things, and then avoid answering anyone's questions about it?  Attention is what you're seeking, and attention is what you're getting.  Why not give your readers a little boost of excitement too, and just let us in on the 'secret'?  Either that, or just keep it a secret, instead of shouting from the mountain tops, 'Hey! I have a secret and you don't, and I'm not going to tell you anything about it, but I just wanted you all to know that I have one!'

2.  Creeping.  Yes, creeping is what Facebook has been made for, but why not let your friends know that you're creeping them.  Hit that little 'like' button, leave a comment, or if you want to be more private, send a little message.  We're called Friends on Facebook for goodness sake, I think that you could share some kind of relationship with me online.  Facebook has even set it up where you don't have to actually say anything, but there's that little 'like' button which lets me know you were interested. 

3.  Creeping, and then sharing that information with others behind your friends' backs.  Have you ever had that situation that someone has read or seen something on your Facebook, and then they've used that information to essentially tattle on you to someone else?  Well I have, and frankly it's really annoying.  Sorry that I haven't managed to tell someone you know to your face what I did last weekend, or that I dyed my hair, or that my husband got a tattoo, or that we bought a new car.  I didn't think that I needed to, but thanks for letting someone know, so that they can come back and question me about it.  Question me as to why THEY weren't informed of adult decisions that we are completely capable of making on our own.  Sorry, didn't think I needed to alert you to these seeming meaningless happenings in our lives the second they happen.  Maybe if you just wait, perhaps until the next time we see you in person, we will let you know our good news.  But in the mean time, please, continue to phish for information through your more Facebook savvy intel.  Oh and intel person, you can let us know that you're sharing this information, ok?  Cause that only seems like the polite thing to do.

4.  If you're going to post rants, statuses, or anything really, please make a little effort to use proper spelling, punctuation, full words and grammar.  Bloggers, this is a shout out to you too!  When we are living in a word of type, creating letters our there for others to read, the decent thing seems to be that we should share these letters in legible, comprehendible formats.  I don't respond well to 'u' and 'r' as real words, because they're not.  Please don't become a generation that has thrown real language and writing out the window.  Our kids are going to be complete idiots if these bad habits continue.

5.  Stop inviting me to the 'Birthdays' app.  If I have my birthday listed on my Facebook profile, get out a calendar and right it down.  Or, I don't know if this has been noticed or not, but Facebook has this little widget in the top right corner that alerts you to people's birthdays.  It's like magic, and it will tell you if today is my birthday.  If it doesn't say that today is my birthday, chances are, it probably isn't.  What a miracle of technology.  This is even more infuriating when I get these invites from A. people who I know don't really care if it's my brithday, or B. close family members.  I mean, how did you remember my birthday 10 years ago, when you didn't have Facebook?

Sorry if you think that I went overboard on my Facebook rant.  Hey, at least I didn't post this rant as my Facebook status today.  Yeah, rants on Facebook can be pretty annoying too.

(this post is part of Blogtember

Sept 20: Comfort

Friday, September 20: React to this term: comfort. 

Comfort.  It's really easy to be comfortable.  Stay comfortable.  Get stuck in comfortable.  I know sometimes for me I just want to stay in the cloud of our bed, because it's comfortable.  That sometimes I don't want to go out, but it's not comfortable.  To wear yoga pants and wooly socks and sweaters day in and day out, because it's comfortable.  To avoid high heels in any sense possible, because they are torture weapons for feet, and, not comfortable.  To snuggle up with a nice cup of tea, layers and layers of blankets, and a classic movie for each date night, because it's comfortable.

But if we constantly stay surrounded by comfort, we aren't going to take any risks, try something new, or change any routines.  And therefore, we will become stagnant, and probably really bored.  Sure it's nice to stay in bed all day, but when you finally do get up, and realized that you've missed a beauty day that reminds you it's still summer for one more day, it sure can be a downer.  When you stay in all the time, because you like what you know, and don't feel comfortable being social, you miss out on making new friends, who soon enough, you will feel comfortable with too.  You'll miss the flowers in bloom, the changing of the leaves, the chance to learn something.  

Taking risks can be fun!  Being spontaneous is so freeing.  So be free, and stop planning.  Planning everything down to the minute, because then you won't feel any stress, just causes more stress anyway.  Planning around your comforts doesn't challenge you, doesn't let you grow.  

Every once in a while, it's nice to be comfortable.  To stay in, and nest.  But don't forget to escape that comfort too.  It'll be so good for you.

Sept 18: Imagery

Wednesday, September 18: Only photos

Sept 17: To Remember Again

Tuesday, September 17: A memory you would love to relive.

As cheesy as it may seem, the memory that I would love to relive, is my wedding day.  Well, more specifically, the whole morning process of getting ready with my girls.  
Thank you Stephanie, Jen, Heather, Ali and Caitlin for being my lovelies.
It's such a fog in my brain, as I'm sure most people's wedding days are, but I wish that I could have been more present.  I wish that I didn't have a hundred questions being bombarded at me minute after minute about where we are going to have the ceremony (it was planned for on the beach, but it was pouring rain), going to look at other options, running around all morning, instead of staying in my room, with my lovely ladies, visiting, sharing the moment, and getting ready in less of a rush.  I feel like I missed out on the fun that my girls had, making their last minute bouquets, because the paper parasols they were going to carry just weren't going to work in the rain.  I missed watching them get ready, transforming into the fancy updo-ed bridesmaids that they were, looking so, so beautiful.  I missed laughing with them, and instead got stuck with some tears, alone on my bed, because I was starting to feel just too overwhelmed.  I missed giving them the second part of their gifts.  I want to share breakfast with them, instead of having my sister force almonds and cheese and grapes at my mouth while I was getting my hair done.  I want to do my make up at the same time with them, because then maybe I wouldn't have forgotten my eye primer, and had to start all over again.  Or maybe I wouldn't have been trying to stick my head out of the bath room while I was applying my liquid liner to see what they were laughing about, only to mess it up and start all over again, for the third time.  Maybe I would have remembered, or been reminded, to pluck my eyebrows, because someone might have seen the mess that they were, if my face had been in front of theirs, instead of outside looking at a covered picnic area as a ceremony back up.

I want to relive this memory, because it's a moment that can't be recreated.  I can't have my wedding day again.  I can't laugh the same at my nine months plus pregnant maid of honour sitting on the floor so she could buckle up her sandals.  I can't watching my little flower girl niece playing in the tub with the little bride and groom cake topper that was scrapped (she still loves them!)  I can't have my dad come in and see me getting my hair done, while I watch him slowly tear up, for the first time of many of that day.  I can't have these moments again.  At least I was able to share in some of them, and have those memories to hold onto.  Definitely somethings I will cherish forever.  

*portrait from KPushStudios

Sept 16: A Love Letter to A Best Friend

Monday, September 16: Write a public love letter to someone in your life. (It doesn't necessarily need to be romantic.)

Dear Heather,

I love you.  Not in that ooey gooey, save it for my husband kind of love, but a love that still just as deep.  You are the best friend a girl could ask for.  Anyone could ask for.  And I'm so grateful that you've let me be a part of your life.  Of your husbands life.  Of your kids' lives.  I honestly don't know if I could have found someone better.  We were 'friends' through school, and have a lasting joke that you always thought of us as friends, where I thought of us more as acquaintances   My mistake on that one, I should have pursued the friendship more way back then.  High school came and went, and we both left for university.  Then one weekend I started dating a certain boy, who happened to be your fiancé's best friend since childhood.  Our friendship was forced upon us, definitely for the best.  Not sure if we would have had the opportunity otherwise.  I remember that one night, when the boys went out for a snowboarding adventure two house from home, in a huge snowstorm.  We were to meet at your apartment, at a certain time.  I showed up, and they didn't.  For a few hours.  I was kind of nervous, but we worked together in the kitchen, making spaghetti sauce for dinner.  And then when it was all prepared, we moved to sit on the kitchen floor, because really, that's where the best friendships happen.  Suddenly my nerves were gone, and we were able to share with each other like we'd known each other forever.  

Fast forward a few summers of working together, gardening.  All day, everyday, spent together.  I was officially in love with you, friend.  The way we could make each other laugh, hold each other through tears, and get serious when it needed.  The way that we were glued to each other by the hip, and days were sad if we were separated onto different teams if need be.  Didn't our boss know that we work super well together?  Even through all the chatter?  How could we even find enough to talk about?

Fast forward again to your first little coming into this world.  I was busy painting your house while you were busy pushing out the most beautiful baby girl.  I knew that you were going to be such a great mom, because I saw how much you had helped me grow.  I remember days filled with constant crying coming out of that little mouth.  You handled it with such grace and patience.  You handle everything with a grace that I somehow can't muster.  Sometimes, you remind me of what a proper princess would be like.  Maybe it's the porcelain skin, or the way you handle stressful situations, but I'm so in awe watching the way you get through the trials without freaking out.  (I usually freak out, and don't really know how not to.)  

Then the night that I got to call you to tell you I was engaged.  You were the first call.  Not to my sister, or parents, not to any other friends, just you.  I only wanted to tell you, and the others could wait.  I remember there had been many times when I had weekends away with my boy, where you called or texted as soon as I came home asking if it had happened yet.  To be able to call you to say that a cold random December night that it had finally happened, was such a treat for me.

Thank you for standing by me at our wedding, even if your belly was fully ready to pop out little number two (he's a complete gem by the way.  You make such beautiful kids.)  It meant the world to me that you were able to be there and share that day with me.  You were so beautiful.  You are so beautiful.  

Thank you for being the greatest friend, and loveliest lady in my life.  I can't wait until my family starts to grow, so that my littles can call you Auntie, just as yours do to me.  I thank God that He brought us together, under circumstances that I could have never planned.  I'm so glad that I have you in my life.

I love you.


Gardening will forever be the glue that holds us together.  Look, I didn't kill these!
*portrait from KPushStudios

Sept 12: How Blogging Has Changed Me

Thursday, September 12: Discuss ways that blogging or social media has changed you.

A few Sundays ago, Josh and I escaped, and took a little trip to Sauble Beach.  This is what it means to slow down life.
Before today, I never really thought that blogging had 'changed' me.  But when I start to really think about it, I guess it has.  Even though some days it seems as though blogging might add a little stress ("ahh! I haven't posted today, or taken pictures" type thoughts often occur,) I've realized that blogging causes me to stop and reflect.  Reflect on my life, my feelings and emotions, my thoughts of the situations and people around me.  It causes me to to slow my life down a little, take some adventures, open myself up and be more vulnerable.  I feel that blogging makes me recognize my feelings, and put words behind them.  Blogging allows me to share my life with people I don't know, don't see often, or haven't talked to in forever.  It also lets me share moments with family and friends near and far.  Some days, blogging makes me be more creative, to come up with things to write about, or make new projects to share.  I think one of my new favourite things about blogging is that I've now taken the time to learn more about my camera, Photoshop and coding!

I'm happy that I started blogging again.  I used to do it many moons ago, and even took a class all about blogs in university.  Looking back, I feel like I've learned SO much more about blogging in the last three months (since the birth of this here little blog) than I ever did in that class.  I'm glad that I'm pushing myself to write more, as I haven't really done it much in the last 8 years (before that I have hundreds of pages full of my words in dozens and dozens of journals.)  I feel challenged to share more of myself, and to really put myself out there, for all the world to see.  I'm thankful that technology has offered this opportunity, and I hope that it continues to be just as great as it is now.  I love learning about myself through blogging, and learning about everything else that comes along with it.

Sept 10: When Life Takes a Turn

Tuesday, September 10: Describe a distinct moment when your life took a turn.

Some goodies on my desk lately: The Watercolour Flower Artist's Bible, happy birthday cards in the works, seeing one of my baby announcement digital pieces in real life, and cute little fox card from my friend Alex (see her etsy here!)
I remember the night, the moment that my life took a turn.  January 13th, 2013.  Around 2am.  It was the moment that I listed my first item in my Etsy shop.  I knew I was taking a risk, wanting to start this new business adventure, with the support of my husband.  I figured that I was only going to lose a little bit of money if nothing ever was purchased, and that it wouldn't be too much of a big deal.  I went to bed after that long, late night, thinking maybe after a little while I'll get my first purchase.  Or maybe I'd wake up, and Josh will have sneakily purchased a piece from my shop, so that I could be excited when I woke up in the morning.  

It was a scary night, totally putting myself out there, putting my art out in the world.  I felt totally vulnerable, and pretty freaked out.  But for some reason, I totally jumped in.  I had been thinking about leading up to Christmas, a couple months before, as I was starting to make my own wrapping paper, gift tags, and Christmas cards.  I was enjoying making all this stuff so much, and thought back to Etsy, and wondered if other people would be interested in the stuff I'm making too.  Josh told me to go for it, and so did my friends and family.  At Christmas when people opened their gifts and cards and loved them, I decided that in the new year, I would make a few things, and photo them, and finally open my shop.  I spent the first week on the new year on a last minute trip to North Carolina, and my shop opening was dangling in the back of my head the whole time.  When we came home, I was in a mad rush to get stock finished, and photographed, and finally listed in the shop.  Then on that late night in January, I finally published all my listings, made a little note about it on facebook, and shut down the computer for the night.

In the morning, I had my first three orders!  I was over the moon!  It was totally not what I was expecting.  The first sale was a friend of a friend, the second was from my dad, and third was from a stranger.  A stranger!!  I felt that what I did the night before was a good idea.  Opening my shop, has been a great adventure, and I'm so glad that I took that leap.  I feel like my style has definitely developed, and my skill has increased.  I've been getting so many custom orders from people who like my work, which is really exciting.  I can't wait until I can see what the next months bring. 

If you've supported me in my shop, I was to say a huge THANK YOU!  It's been amazing and exciting and challenging in the best of ways.

Sept 6: A Story of Fear

Friday, September 6: A story about a time you were very afraid.

I'm not going to share about a time I was very afraid, but just about a fear of mine.  I guess I could talk about my fear of my favourite animal, sharks, or how swimming in dark water totally freaks me out.  But I'm not going to.  I want to address a fear that I have that I really want to overcome.

Singing, by myself (not as backup vocals) in front of people.  I don't even do it in front of my husband.  Or family.  Or any friends.  But I want to.  

I love singing, and I think I'm pretty good at it.  I've done two solos in my life, and I was shaking with nerves, and fears of totally messing up.  I start to sweat and my hand shake, I feel flutters in my stomach, and I'm scared that my voice is going to crack, or come out of tune.  I don't sing out with my full voice, and am too scared to go hard with the power that my voice has.  This fear reminds me of my fear of public speaking, but somehow I make it through speeches or presentations more easily that singing out loud for others.  

It really bugs me that I'm too afraid to do it!  I have no reason to be afraid.  I know I can hit the notes, and hold them without my lungs feeling totally deflated.  I know that I can carry the melody with strength and power.  I know I don't have a rational reason for being afraid of singing, and that this fear is so minimal compared to major things in the world that I could be afraid of.  (But really, why do we need to be afraid of silly little things on earth?  There should only be One who I should fear, for He holds my life in His hands.)

One day, hopefully soon, I will overcome this fear.  I want to stand up in front of a crowd, or even a couple people, or even just one other person, and sing my little heart out, the way I do when I'm in my car by myself.  And when I do, maybe I'll let you know.  But I can't guarantee that I will be able to show you.  I'm not sure I'm ready for YouTube just yet. 

Here's a little amazing song that I want to sing out....and have been doing so over and over again in the car, in my head, or humming along as I work.  

Sept 5: A Piece of Advice

Thursday, September 5: Pass on some useful advice or information you learned and always remembered. 

Some advice that I learned from my mom, when I was going to visit friends, for dinner or the weekend or whatever, was to always bring something, usually food.  I never really understood why, but still I usually followed through with either a call asking if there's anything in particular to bring, or else I'd just grab some chips or make a quick little dessert to share.  As I got older, and more of my friends had their own places, I tried to put this in to practice even more, as I realized that these couples or friends were no longer living at home, and generally had more expenses than me, still at home.  So I definitely wanted to contribute, to offset their costs of hosting me.  Now that I have my own home, and it seems to be host to many days of friends over to visit, I understand why my mom was trying to make this a habit for me.  We've had lots and lots of visitors come to our house over the last year, and the cost of food definitely starts to add up quickly.  Especially when you have guests that stay for a couple days.  I'm not trying to sound like my friends are a burden, or that I hate hosting people, I actually feel the opposite.  But it's so refreshing when someone calls ahead and offers to bring the bacon for our breakfast, or some burgers for dinner.  When I'm constantly feeding beyond Josh and I all the time, it's not always in our budget to do so.  Josh is of another mindset, where he's a total giver, and it doesn't really bother him as much.  I guess because I have the practice engrained in my head, I sometimes hope that friends wouldn't constantly come empty handed.  This past weekend definitely tested me on this way of thinking.  We were expecting three or four people over, so I shopped accordingly.  Then last minute it was four more people, then another two, then five more again!  I was definitely feeling the pressure.  That's a lot of people, a lot of toilet paper, and a lot of dirty dishes.  Thankfully some of my friends pitched in and brought food and drinks, or contributed financially to some of the purchases (KFC for our one year housiversary!).  I don't expect people to bring stuff when they are invited over (I'll even let it slide sometimes when people invite themselves over!), but when it's for a whole weekend, and multiple days are involved, and little help here and there sure is helpful.  And I'll definitely do it when I come visit you too!
If you can snag them before the squirrels, we have free strawberries at our house.  You are welcome to whatever you can find!

Sept 4: Escape This Life

Wednesday, September 4: If you could take three months off from your current life and do anything in the world, what would you do? 

Wow.  Three months off my current life?  I don't even know what I would do!  Sometimes I feel like, in other moments of my life, I would have taken them off to live the life I'm currently living.  I really love it!  But for the purpose of this challenge, I'm going to try and think of something different.

If I could escape my current life for three months, I think I'd go somewhere far, still with the beach, and with Josh, but this time to the ocean.  Can I bring friends with me?  I'd paint and draw, just for me, (my etsy can wait), and create huge messes everyday.  I'd have this ginormous studio filled with natural light from windows all around me.  One or two walls would be able to open up like garage doors, to let in the fresh air and breeze off the ocean.  I'd have all the supplies I could ever need, and a huge table to spread out my work on.  Josh would have a wall filled of surfboards, and a giant shelf of yummy smelling surf wax (have you ever smelled surf wax before??? Oh my goodness, it's so great.)  We'd escape into the sea to paddle out into the sunsets, snorkel the coves, and play on the beach.  Ok, I don't feel like I'm changing much of this dream life from my current life, as the foundations are still the same.  Everything would just be a little improved.  

I'd have hair to my butt, full of mermaid colours, and a flower crown on my head.  My closet would be filled with flowy things, bringing out the beach hippy in me.  Wed eat food from our yard, and less from the store.  Actually, we wouldn't go to the store, just to the little market down the road, so we'd ride our bikes instead of driving.  We'd have outdoor BBQs with friends, and just spend the evenings around the fire, sharing life.  Oh, and there would be lots and lots of palm trees.  Yeah, I think I could do that for a dreamy three months.
Photo snagged from Steph, on our trip last winter to Domincan Republic.

Sept 3: Who I Am

Tuesday, Sept. 3: Describe where or what you come from. The people, the places, and/or the factors that make up who you are.

Technically, I came from my mom and dad, in a hospital in Calgary, in the cool month of March.  My mom said I interrupted her lunch, but that was ok, cause I was her first babe, and I think the labour wasn't too bad.  I also know that my name comes from my mom's bunkmate at camp when she was a kid, and that she fell in love with the name Reva.  Turns out my dad wasn't the biggest fan of the name at first, but after watching my mom go through labour, he let her name me whatever the heck she wanted!  I'm pretty stoked on my name.  I don't think that I've ever hated it (except maybe when doing touristy things as a kid, and I couldn't find my name on anything!)  
Hi! I'm born!
We lived in Calgary until my sister was born, 4 years after me.  I thank my babysitter from Calgary for my love of hair.  She taught me to braid (french, fish, inverted) on My Little Ponies and my little Sheera doll.  I also fondly remember the snow.  We had the biggest yard on our street, as we had an irregular corner lot, and I remember walking around in the snow with my dad to spell out all our names.  Calgary is also where I learned that I can be really good friends with boys.  My best friend Nick lived behind us, and we spent lots of time climbing over each other's fences to play.  
My moms famous ski jacket, easiest person to find on the rink and the ski hill.  Plus a cutie little sister. (stole this from Ali's instagram.)
When my dad got transferred to Edmonton when I was 4, we made the first big move of my life.  Thankfully, there were other families who got transferred to Edmonton too.  One of these families included one of my oldest friends, Erin, and we quickly bonded.  I remember lots of time spent at her house, specifically lunch time, with Itchiban soup and grilled cheese sandwiches on placemats we collaged ourselves.  I remember playing in the sickest snow fort ever that her dad would make us every winter from shovelling off the back deck, and hosing down the fort when it was all done so it was solid.  I remember watching Rock-a-Doodle-Do constantly, and reading Sweet Valley High daily.  We actually blew through hundreds of books through the library program (cause we would win POGS for every book we read!)  And we started a secret club, with a code for writing notes, and handshakes and everything.  I still have my little box that we each have, with my notepad and pen.  I miss adventures at West Edmonton Mall, spending the whole day floating down the lazy river at the water park.  I miss sleepovers and playing dress-up in the basement, with an overflowing tickle trunk.  And I really miss all the cardboard boxes, which we painted and made windows and doors, and played for hours in.  I can't wait to do all the things I remember from when I was a kid, with my kids.
1993, all dressed up to go see Joseph and Technicolour Dreamcoat.  I loved it so much, I went with other friends again the next night.  I still know most of the words to most of the songs.  Josh also stole this picture from a family album and has it hanging by his desk.  I also think my mom made my dress, with matching headband.  Woot woot shoulder pads!
When I was in Grade 4, my dad got hired my a company in New York.  It was the hardest thing to leave all my friends, move not only thousands of miles away, but also to completely new county.  I was the weird Canadian kid, with the weird accent.  It was a hard three years in New York, but I wouldn't have changed it.  Again, I found a best friend in a boy down the street, where countless nights were spent playing Man Hunt in the court, days swimming in the pool, and chasing the ice cream truck (Vinny!) down the street to snag some AirHeads and BlowPops.  I remember bailing hard one day on my bike and totally tearing up my leg, and Vinny gave my friend and I free rootbeer float popcicles.  I remember sitting in the hammock in our backyard (the same one I now have on my porch!) singing My Heart Will Go On by Celine Dion at the top of my lungs, over and over again.  But New York wasn't always the nicest to me, and therefore I wasn't always the nicest kid.  I was sneaky with my friends, nasty to other girls, getting in fights in the hall at middle school (which is pretty much like high school here in Ontario) and had such a foul mouth.  I definitely needed the break from that whole culture, so it was a good thing that after only three years in the States, we moved back to Canada.

We moved to Ontario, to a little town and I started grade 7.  It was pretty weird going back to a school of a couple hundred that was full of little kids, compared to have been in a high school type atmosphere in the states, full of 1800 grade 6, 7,and 8s.  Thankfully I wasn't the only new kid in class that year.  It was a hard year, as I went back in the French Immersion program, which I had missed out on the last three years, so I was so behind.  But I eventually found some good friends, and learn how to live life in a small town, after living in three big places all my life.  My little town totally changed my life.  I made the greatest friends, whom I'm sure I'll keep forever.  I realized the potential of my faith through church and youth group and these friends.  I stopped being afraid to be more creative, and started working hard on artistic creations.  All of my friends were interested in the same things, and I learned about hardcore music.  These friends took my to my first Cornerstone Festival, which completely changed my life.  I stopped wanting to be part of the popular crowd, and started to feel comfortable being different.  I finished high school and went to university, started dating the man that would become my husband, and try new things artistically that I never had before.  I learned that I don't do well with roommates that are girls, and that it's hard to make new friends that measured up to all my old friends.  I graduated, and eventually went to school again, and then a third time!  I couldn't narrow down what I wanted to do.  I got engaged to a wild stunt man after an around the world trip to Australia to see my sister graduate, got married to the man of my dreams, and moved to our little beachy town.  
Little Josh, the first year we started dating.  I miss those huge earrings, and my stretched ears.  I don't miss the skater hair on the boy as much though.
In the last year, I don't feel like I've changed too much, but I've learned tonnes.  I've learned to snowboard, to (almost) surf, to skateboard, to keep a home.  I've learned to be a momma to a kitty, to cook for a troubled stomach, and to host lots and lots of friends and family.  I've learned how to love in new ways, to understand my faith better, to communicate in new ways, and to push myself in new ways.  I've realized the work that I want to be my job, which is nothing I would have ever imagined before.  And now, looking back on all of these factors that make up my life, I've realized what kind of woman I have become.  And for that I am forever thankful.
We are homeowners, and didn't get a good picture of it!  Josh is already ready for a life at the beach.
(this post is part of Blogtember)