Monday, May 23, 2016

BANOCONUT!

I love baking. I also love eating baked goods. I generally consider myself quite good at both.

I bake a lot - it is my "cooking" contribution to this family. It's also my contribution when we have friends for dinner - Jordan takes care of the meal, I take care of the dessert.

We were having friends over for dinner (one being an award winning chef - no pressure!) and Jordan requested a pie to go with the tropical flavors of the meal. I love pie. I don't love making it however. I definitely don't make terrible pastry, but it's not something I generally feel confident about. Gulp. I decided to go for it.

Since I don't make pies all that often, I decided to document it in photos. Jordan wanted banana cream, I wanted coconut cream, so we compromised. I give you BANOCONUT!

1. Crust - baked with dried beans as pie weights.


2. Layer in the bananas:


3. Cover with coconut custard (made on the stove top) and let cool:


4. Top with whip cream and toasted coconut:


5. Devour


Anyone who knows me well knows I can't stand food photos because they RARELY look as appetizing as they taste. Pretty sure this fits that bill. But I don't care....that pie was GOOOOD! And look at those flakes in the pastry - just look at them!

Pastry credit: my sister Janice, along with some great pointers from chef April Bloomfield
Pie recipe: here

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Rio's 10!

This little love is 10 years old today. Rio, we love you and are more proud of you than you will ever understand. You are an amazing daughter, sister, friend, and leader. You will do great things my sweet, you already are.


Sunday, April 17, 2016

Renovation - Exterior

Finally! Almost 18 months since the renovation ended, we're ready to share the exterior of the house!!

It's been SO much work getting it to this place. SO MUCH CLEANUP! Followed by landscaping, landscaping, landscaping; painting; waiting for grass and plants to grow in. There is still so much more to do outside....but if I waited to be "done" before I showed it off, it would probably be in a decade. So here it is. Just a couple of photos to whet your appetite...the rest can be found in an album here.


Front entrance - yard re-graded for access to the house and accessible parking




Back of the house from the yard

Don't forget, if you haven't seen the interior before and after pics, you can find them here. Any questions about doing an accessible reno? I'm your girl, so fire away!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Enter the Stander

STANDING: something most of us get to take for granted. Mostly, because it leads to walking - something else we take for granted. But do you know that when your skeleton was developing throughout childhood, standing was incredibly important to proper bone development?!

Standing is something that has been on our minds every day since Asher was a wee babe. Because if you are unable to stand on your own - but you want your hips, spine and legs to develop properly - you better find some way to support you in doing it.

Enter this little number. 


Asher has borrowed a standing frame since he was a year old. Standing has always been a big part of his routine, and currently, he stands for up to an hour a day at school. But we've finally decided he's old enough that we no longer want to borrow an "ok" one - we want to buy a "good" one.

So for the next few days we're trialling this one. It comes in at the low low price of about $3500 - which is a STEAL OF A DEAL compared to the nearly $8000 model we first looked at. We really want this one to work (because HELLO! price tag!) so can you shoot us some good vibes that this stander is the winner?

So far, Asher's hips have been doing GREAT. So great that at last hip x-ray his doctor said he'd never think they were the hips of a child who is in a wheelchair full time. But it's work, oh boy is it work. And no matter how much we get him standing, it does not mean he won't develop hip problems, or he won't inadvertently break a brittle femur doing a transfer one day. So don't take your ease of movement for granted ok? Cause I have a little dude who works his butt off every day for all the things that come naturally to the rest of us.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Homecoming - 6 Years

Celebrating this day will never get old. It was the happiest and most overwhelming day of our lives. After more than 5 months separated from our babies we were finally reunited six years ago today.

Boys, you have been writing your own story from the beginning. With the start of each new chapter, the circus that is our love and laughter-filled lives never ceases to amaze me. You are wise, brave, hilarious, beautiful, smart, annoyance-inducing, potty-talkers and I wouldn't change a thing about you.

Happy homecoming boys. You deserve to be celebrated.


Thursday, March 24, 2016

Happiness is an Inside Job

Normally I hate bumper stickers. Mostly I think they're cheesy, but partly I'm not sure I support any one thing strongly enough to permanently attach a sticker about it to my vehicle. (Ignore the Canucks sticker on our van. Probably wasn't the best choice to feel passionately enough about them). 

Yesterday however, I saw a bumper sticker I loved. Don't get me wrong - I still wouldn't have bought I because the font was horrible. But the message. The message was beautiful. 

"Happiness is an inside job."

Aren't those the truest words ever?!

If I have learned anything over the past few years, it is that happiness is a state of mind. Full stop.

Happiness is a choice. There is no way around it. I have had to make that choice time and time again. Would it be easier to sit around and feel sorry for myself? Most of the time yes. But I made a choice not to do that. I chose to look for happiness inside of myself, and by doing so, I open myself to all the happy things around me. 

There is a reason that we all look in amazement at very happy people who happen to have so many fewer material objects, yet so many more legitimate troubles than most of us. Because happiness to them is where it is most important - in their hearts. And by having happiness within ourselves, we are able to not only give happiness to, but receive happiness from, others. 

Little boys in Peru playing soccer with taped on sandals and a rolled up bag of garbage for a ball. Defining their own happiness right there. One of the most joy filled things I've ever seen. 


There are a whole lot of true victims out there who choose to be survivors by seeking their own happiness, often without any means of support other than their own fortitude. There are also, sadly, a lot of people who choose to succumb to their not-so-great situation and wallow in the victim category, when their lives are actually incredibly full if they'd open their eyes. (I should hope it's obvious - I'm not talking about someone who is suffering from the depths of depression. I know that isn't a choice.) But under normal circumstances, choosing to be a survivor is always an option. 

Happy Easter weekend, friends. Go find the love and happiness and fill your bucket with it! (Also - fill your bucket with some easter candy. I plan to.)

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Hard Work Pays Off

This little cutie (and his brother) spent hours and hours and hours and hours doing therapy.



And seeing specialist after specialist after specialist.

I spent hundreds (thousands?) of hours researching every way we could possibly help Asher reach his fullest potential.

Obviously all of that paid off. But man oh man was it some work.

Today, I had the day "off" work with the kids on spring break. I use "off" loosely, because I was just reminded how much work my life with the boys used to be.

This morning we had an at home visit with Asher's school aged therapists. This afternoon we had an appointment with the seating clinic, followed by a social visit to their early intervention therapy centre. I spent the hours in between researching charities that may help us with the $4000 the government won't cover of the $7000 standing frame Asher needs. After that I dealt with the start of rush hour, and now here I am drinking a late afternoon coffee to help me prepare for the regular activities of the evening.

I am exhausted. And I am absolutely blown away by the fact that this used to be my life.
EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

That realization helps put my exhaustion as a working mom into perspective. Yes, I still have just as much on my plate - but it is different now. I do something during the day that is fulfilling for me. Although Asher still is, and will remain, physically dependent in many ways, his independence grows and astounds me daily. The kids and life in general keep me busy and tired, but it is not the same. A type of tired that going forward I will be a bit more thankful for - comparatively at least.

To those moms currently in the trenches with young ones with some extra challenges - hold on. You'll get there. I know you are exhausted. I know you feel like you're not going to be able to hold together all the stress and appointments and life in general. I know your life feels more chaotic than you ever imagined - because it is. But one day, it'll ease off, if just a little bit. And if you're like me, it'll happen without you even realizing.

This life. Happy, challenging, ever-changing and enlightening. And I wouldn't trade it for anything.