Monday, 23 February 2015

A Letter to the Mother of Elijah Marsh

This story has shaken my core. If I think too long about little Elijah, outside in the cold, with his diaper and boots, it's impossible to keep the tears from trickling down my face. My breath catches every time I see the picture from the security footage of Elijah walking out of his apartment. When I think about the cold and the dark he was wandered through, my heart physically hurts for him. And for you. I am so profoundly sorry for your loss. Parents are not supposed to bury their children. The circle of life just isn't supposed to go that way.

As mothers of young children, there is something special that binds us. We are together living in a place that is simultaneously chaotic and full of love. Moving from tears of anger to fits of laughter in seconds, there is nothing quite like parenting a baby or toddler.

I never met Elijah, but I see him in my son. I see him when he laughs. I see him when he plays. I see him as my nearly three-year-old pulls on his boots. I see him as my toddler grows tall enough to open the locks on our doors. I see him as my own son looks at me with his big brown eyes because, as independent and determined as he is, he still needs his mama. I see him as I hug my little one just a little bit tighter this week. He doesn't know why, but I do.

This story could have easily been us. All that separates my son from the cold outdoors are locks I know he can open and a baby gate that he hasn't, yet, mastered. My husband and I are already talking about what else we can do. I'm sure I'm not the only parent thinking these thoughts. Elijah may be gone, but his spirit will save of another toddler out there. Maybe more than one.

John O'Donohue writes the most beautiful blessings, and I send this one now to you.

For a Parent on the Death of a Child

No one knows the wonder
Your child awoke in you,
Your heart a perfect cradle
To hold its presence.
Inside and outside became one
As new waves of love
Kept surprising your soul.

Now you sit bereft
Inside a nightmare,
Your eyes numbed
By the sight of a grave
No parent should ever see.

You will wear this absence
Like a secret locket,
Always wondering why
Such a new soul 
Was taken from home so soon.

Let the silent tears flow
And when your eyes clear
Perhaps you will glimpse
How your eternal child
Has become an unseen angel
Who parents your heart
And persuades the moon
To send new gifts ashore.

May strength, courage, and love fill the space between us.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Julep Valentine's Day Box Review + Get your own box free!

Julep Maven is a monthly beauty/nail polish subscription box. I first tried out Julep nail polish on New Years Eve when I was looking for something glittery, and I found this one at Sephora. I loved it! When you first join Julep Maven, you can get your first box free. You just need to pay $2.99 for shipping. So, when I saw a picture of their Valentine's Day welcome box, I was super excited to join and get these goodies to wear for the week.

My Valentine's Day Welcome Box included 3 polishes (Fifi, Myriam, and Heartleigh) as well as 1 beauty product (lip gloss in Charming).

The lip gloss is exactly the type of colour I love, and Heartleigh is the perfect nail polish for Valentine's Day. Just something super fun and girly. I tried it out yesterday and showed it off on Instagram.

Each of the nail polishes have a value of $14 and the lip gloss is valued at $20, so I can't believe I got $62 worth of goodies for $2.99!

The only catch is now I'm signed up for a $25/month subscription. Since I'm trying to save more money this year, I'll probably call and cancel my subscription before the next month is charged, but I am so happy with my welcome box and would really encourage anyone to try it out. Plus shipping was wicked fast!

The Valentine's Box offer is over, but you can sign up for the February Birthstone Welcome Box instead. See the pic below for a peek of what you'll get in that box. Just make sure you use the code ONYX when checking out.

Find out more information about the February Birthstone Welcome Box here or there are a couple of other welcome box options here.

There is also a Snow Day Winter Welcome Box or a Red Carpet Welcome Box.


Monday, 2 February 2015

A Foot in Both Worlds - Guest Post!

I'm so excited to have Amanda from AZmomma writing a guest post for us today. I hope you enjoy her thoughts on balancing work with being a stay-at-home mom.

I recently added another child to my family. My husband was worried about adding another child as we are already busy as can be. Running around trying to keep a 2 year old entertained while juggling around a newborn can be trying at times, but if you plan ahead and stick to a schedule you can get through it.

With the third being born we threw around the idea of putting our recently two year old in some type of daycare/preschool for a few hours a week. I don’t like calling it preschool because preschool doesn’t start until they turn three so in my mind it’s really just daycare. But I also don’t like calling it daycare because I am a stay at home mom so why would I send my child to daycare if I am home! As you can probably already tell, I have not settled into the idea of sending my two year old to daycare/preschool. Some days I’m more for it than others, but here’s my dilemma and I’m sure many others have the same.

I’m a stay at home mom. That’s what I do. But at the same time I have my masters degree and it’s hard knowing that it will be very hard to make money after being “off the market” for a long stretch of time. So do I send my child to daycare part time and try to keep one foot in each door? Or do I stay at home and try to do what I can to keep myself marketable? For myself I am leaning towards trying to find a job that I can do part time from home to keep me somewhat up to par. It’s not really about adding income to my family now (though it doesn’t hurt!) but it’s more about my well-being and future, but I also don’t want to give up staying at home.

Now on the other hand my daughter just turned 2 and is pretty smart. Some days she drives me crazy following me around the house, attached at my leg, asking to help with EVERYTHING, including changing the babies diapers! (I only wish she could ) So it’s obvious she needs something more than being mom’s sidekick. So what have we been doing to try and bridge going to daycare and staying at home as far as helping my daughter learn? Lots of classes!

There are so many free classes and programs out there you just need to find them. There’s also some really cool ones you can pay for. I have found some free story times and creative play classes at the local library. In Arizona they have a super cool program where you can check out culture passes and get 2 free admissions to the local zoo or children museum or science museum, but you do have to get to the library early to get them. (Jenn's note: The Toronto public libraries have this too!) But be sure to look at several libraries not just the one closest to you since they all have different programs to offer. I have also enrolled her in some low cost classes through parks and rec where we participate in an art class and gymnastics class. One class that is through a private company called Musicology in Phoenix is a really cool class we go to. It’s an hour long class where she can sing along, play instruments and do hand motions that help make new connections in her brain. Maddy really likes this class and I enjoy watching her participate. The benefit of paying for a class is that the class size is limited. When you go to some of the free classes sometimes there are a lot of people.

So for now I will try to keep my foot in at least both doors. Sometimes I only work 1 hour a day which sounds ridiculous, but that is hard to fit in. No matter what you chose for your kids, you know your kids best, and we all do what we can to make things work. SO hang in there mamas and keep chugging along. Our kids are worth it!