Saturday, 31 January 2015

Let's Talk

This week I was inspired to share my journey with mental illness because of the stories I came across during #BellLetsTalk.  I read one post stating how great it was, that everyone is excited to talk about mental health and sickness during this one day but how we need to keep the conversation going.

I agree that the one day promotion is beneficial in creating awareness but we do need to be comfortable talking about mental health everyday.  So, here is my story and some of my journey through mental illness.  I hope you will share yours, share my video if it touches you, comment on this post or listen to someone you know, who may be having a tough time.

Let's talk!

Monday, 26 January 2015

Gratitude Monday - Everyday Extraordinary

Baby Photo Shoot 
Lights On The Ice Rink 
I hope you had a good weekend and took time to enjoy what makes you happy.  We had a great weekend in little Corunna town enjoying time with Luke, celebrating my moms birthday, drinking coffee (I drink it everyday but it tastes better on the weekend), visits with friends and family, eating treats, feeding my soul at church, sharing church with my niece and ice skating on our backyard rink under some Christmas lights.

Do you ever feel so blessed your afraid something bad might happen?  This happens to me sometimes but I am working on it.  I suffer from anxiety but I have developed some tools that help me to live a happy healthy life.  One thing I have learned from my anxiety and fear is that on the other side of it, I find gratitude.  Sometimes I am afraid of loosing things or people, through prayer and the Lords Word, I am slowly learning to leave my fears at God's feet and then be grateful for what I do have in place of worrying about what I may loose.  This has taught me to find true joy and contentment in many of the daily, ordinary happenings. 

I believe that my ordinary everyday can be extraordinary and I am loving every moment of this adventure called life.

Pinterest Perfect 

Happy Heather

The View From My Fall 

Chocolate & Reading In Bed

Grandpa Brown & Luke

Granny Brown & Luke

What are you grateful for today? 

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Family Photos - Luke's First Week

We had a photo session with Shannon Turner Photography when Luke was about a week old.  Looking back at these photos I am so glad I captured this moment in our lives.  I am having so much fun being a mom, and I am more fulfilled than I could have imagined.  Having Luke has awakened the inner child in me, the day dreamer, the creator, a piece of me that I think I had been hiding for awhile.

Time is passing but I am enjoying every moment! 

Thank you Shannon for your great work, my favourite is the third one down, big yawn. 

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Stuffed Peppers

I am trying to get creative in the kitchen by using what I have on hand so that I only go to the grocery store for one big shop a week.  I have been doing this a lot lately with only some success (there have been a few things I have had to throw away).  Regardless of the current success rate, I am having fun with my foodie experiments and I would say these stuffed peppers were a win.  They are kind of like spinach dip meats stuffed peppers.  I hope you like them, let me know what you think, or if you put your own spin on this idea with some other ingredients you had in your kitchen.

One block of frozen chopped spinach
One block of cream cheese 
Four cloves of chopped garlic 
1/2 a carton of chopped cherry tomatoes  
2 cups of chopped croutons
2 tablespoons of Greek or Italian seasoning
4 peppers cut in half lengthwise 
Graded mozzarella for topping

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Blend thawed spinach and room temperature cream cheese with a hand mixer
Chop garlic and add it to the mixture
Cut cherry tomatoes into quarters and add to the mixture
Chop croutons and add them to the mixture
Add seasoning of choice
Top with graded mozzarella
Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes  

Friday, 16 January 2015

Hey Babies

One of the awesome things about CCI Studios is that we are always looking for ways to make a positive impact on our world.  Our company is made up of people who don't just love to develop creative marketing, but  they also  love to develop creative marketing that will make a difference.  We all want to go to work each day knowing that our efforts are moving us towards great changes in the world.  We all hit walls every once in awhile and I don't know about you but for me, a healthy bottom line isn't going to get me out of bed on a bad day.  Knowing that I am helping people while making a living, now thats something to jump out of bed for in the morning.

The reason for this explanation is because with the creative capacity within CCI Studios, we are launching a new company called  Hey Babies.  Hey Babies is a for profit corporation with a social conscience, which means, we want to do good towards a specific cause in as many facets of the company as possible. 

Hey Babies will be an online store for previously loved and practically new  baby and child clothing from 0 - 5 years as well as maternity clothing .  The online store will be updated  daily, and the shopping experience will be smooth, seamless and quick!  The clothing will be donated by you and when you give to us we will give you a gift card for either yourself or someone you know to shop again on Hey Babies.  We will do all clothing pick ups which you can schedule online through the website.  We are working towards launching this company in Autumn of 2015. 

The Hey Babies cause will work towards ending violence against women.  A percentage of all profits will be donated to organizations such as One Spark to assist them in their efforts.  We will also look to provide women fleeing violent living situations with careers that allow them independence and freedom from violence.  Hey Babies is also going to work with One Spark to create a fund where women in need of emergency financial assistance to get them out of a violent situation, can go to get the dollars they need to get themselves - and possibly their children - to safety.  Violence against women is an issue that we can all take action to eradicate and CCI Studios' step is starting Hey Babies. 

I am sharing all of these details with you now because we would like to begin building our inventory so when the website launches in Autumn, we are ready for shoppers from across  Canada.  All initial clothing donors in this phase will be recorded and prior to the website launching, donors will receive a notification with a gift for assisting us in getting this company off the ground.

Now, I know some of you may not be ready to part with your baby clothes, I know I am not because I am not quite sure what lies ahead for our little family.  For those of you in the same boat as me, I would ask that you just keep your eyes open for the site launch and take advantage of the great deals when you have clothing needs for your children.  For those of you who are ready to start clearing out your baby clothes, please send me an email Heather Lapier and either Luke and I or a CCI Studios team member, will schedule a time to pick up your items and collect your contact information.

I appreciate your time reading this article, we are all extremely excited about this company!  We believe we can help bring an end to violence against women and are hopeful that the communities that surround us, will support our efforts while benefiting from its offering.

I look forward to hearing from you. 


Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Everyday Can Be New Years Day

I have been giving lots of thought as to how I can work towards a better me everyday and live each day like New Years Day.  The reason I went into this year looking at each day as a fresh start is because that is exactly what it is.  I am imperfect, I have amazing days, in-between days and really bad days but thats my life and I try to ride each of those days for what they are.  If I did something yesterday I am not happy with or feel bad about, I give it some thought and try not to do that thing in the future.  Even with this thought process, there will still be bad days because thats life.  So, heres to a new day!

Here are some of the things I am working on.

1.  Reading More

I am a binge TV watcher and since getting pregnant and signing up for Netflix, it is becoming increasingly difficult to go to bed at a reasonable hour on the weekend.  I am not giving up TV completely, I am simply trying to read more and watch less TV.  I am currently reading "Darling You Can't Do Both And Other Noise To Ignore On Your Way Up".  I got this book after attending a presentation by one of the authors, so far it's an interesting read.  You can grab a copy at Sarnia Bookkeeper.

2.  Get Motivated

While reading my book I thought "I need a book mark!".  In place of bookmarks I have written inspirational quotes and Bible verses on a bunch of que cards and am using them as markers in anything that requires one around the house.

3.  Get Up Earlier

The motivational markers are also geared towards getting my behind out of my warm bed on cold mornings before Luke wakes up.  He is a great sleeper and I want to start taking advantage of his schedule and hitting my yoga mat, reading the Bible and praying before I start my day.

4.  Improve Our Diet

I don't believe in diets, I believe in balance; putting good things in your body, treats, movement and habits that are realistic for my lifestyle.  I am just trying to put more good things in our bodies to keep us fuelled through the remainder of the winter.   I am finding endless food inspiration on Pinterest, you can check out my boards here My Pin Boards.

5. Keep The Creative Juices Flowing

I made some of my Christmas gifts last year and decorations, and I found that working with my hands really helps to free my mind.  I have some new home decor projects planned for the next few months which I will be sharing here as well as some sewing, knitting and crocheting projects.

What are you working on?

Friday, 9 January 2015

Happy Friday

TGIF folks! It's the weekend woohoo! Sure, I don't work 9 - 5 but I still love the weekend because it means:

1. Dad is around more during the day! 

2. I get to stay up late! 

3. We get to eat big breakfasts! 

4. I normally get to fit in a Saturday morning yoga class! 

5. We get to go to church! 

And the list goes on and on. I try to make lists for each day and this weekend I would like to spend a little couch time reading some new blogs I discovered this week.  If you have a chance, maybe check them out too. 

Bella The Blog

I will also be hunting for baby food recipes and pinning them here because I think Luke is ready to start trying real food, I am so excited for this.

I will also be hunting on Pinterest for some lunch box inspiration and pinning my finds here.  Tyler is getting sick of sandwiches and I don't blame him so its time to get creative and rock his lunch box!

I would love to hear if there is anything you will be checking out online this weekend or if you have any ideas for my pin boards.

Happy weekend friends!

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Luke - 4 Months Old

Happy Four Month Birthday Luke!  Here are some awesome moments from the last month.

This month you had your first real giggle. Charlie was running around on the floor being a little crazy because he hadn't been walked for a few days and you thought it was so funny.  Your dad and I were both there to see it.

Your getting better at tummy time.  

You met Santa and you loved him!

You were officially sick this month for the first time with a bad cold and fever.  I was a little scared at first but your happy demeanour through it all, let me know that you would be just fine.

You enjoyed your first Christmas and were officially spoiled with love and gifts.

You love chewing on your hands right now, I am not sure if you are teething quite yet but I think this phase is on its way.

We call you Lukey, I don't think I have mentioned that yet.  It was very natural for this to be your nick name.  Everyone calls you Lukey as soon as they meet you, even the people who don't know that  is what your family and friends call you.

A few mornings ago you woke up chatting and just didn't stop making noise.  I think you get your chattiness from me and your dad, we are not quiet people so why would we expect you to be.

Keep the good times rolling little man.

Love your mom,

I Am Second

Volume 1

I really want to look to God first in everything I do and put Him first in all my decisions, choices and actions etc.  I am learning that when I am mindful of Him first, I really am happier in the end. 

Anyways, this is a struggle sometimes as a new mom because instead of looking to God to ask "Am I doing the right thing for my family here?" I look around me at my friends, their families and the way they do things, and then I am filled with doubt and confusion. 

When it's me, God and my family, I am not worried about how anyone else does things but as soon as I take my focus off Him, I start to compare and then I am left bewildered. 

As I drove to the doctor this morning, contemplating some of my dreams and how different they might make my life look, from some of my friends, I then began to doubt myself. Then I remembered that I just need to be worried about what God thinks about my dreams. If my dreams are in line with His will, things will work out.  That might make my life look a little different from others but that's ok, and who am I kidding, I have always been a little different anyway. 

While most of the time I am ok with my uniqueness, I would be lying if I said I am never self conscious or doubt myself. But I can honestly say this, the more I base my choices on the Lord's Word, the less and less I doubt myself. 

So in conclusion, it's time for me to really just keep my gaze fixed on God because in the end, I just need his approval and guidance. 

Monday, 5 January 2015

Luke's First Christmas

On Christmas morning Luke fell asleep after his first bottle and I had time to reflect on the events leading up to his first Christmas.  I have said it before and I will say it again, mornings are my favourite time of day, quiet still mornings when you can collect your thoughts before the day begins.  This Christmas morning was one of those morning and I was so grateful to be able to jot down some thoughts.  Here are some of my memories about this years Christmas.

Karli and Adam got a huge Griswold style tree from Sloans when we all went together to get our trees.  They had to cut the top off their tree to make it fit in their living room.  The tree was really beautiful and I will have secret happy laughs about its grand size forever.

I have never felt as close to the Christmas Story of Baby Jesus as I did this year.  I shared my thoughts about my empathy for this story in My Christmas Story.  I am filled with so much love and joy from this Christmas, I think it will be easier than ever to really keep the Christmas spirit in my heart all year.

Luke represented Baby Jesus in our church's Christmas Eve service and while Rev. Blaire held Luke he said a beautiful blessing. I continue to become more proud of my son, husband and our entire family everyday. 

Our 4 year old niece, and Karli and Adam with their 1 year old Violet, were in church with us as well. It was sweaty and kind of crazy trying to keep everyone happy through church but even the caos makes my heart smile.

It rained on Christmas Eve and Christmas day.

I always have dreams and cool ideas for parties and gift giving but often run out of time and don't complete everything I want to. I literally got everything done that I wanted to this year, had a blast doing it and didn't feel stressed for a moment! 

Tyler and I watched a bunch of Christmas movies together. There is something so peaceful about a house with a sleeping baby in it. And, Ty and I sitting on the couch together at the end of the day has a whole new specialness to it. As we watched the Christmas movies we could not help but giggle and chat about how excited we are to share all the magic of Christmas with our son when he gets old enough to understand. 

On Christmas morning I was awake about and hour and a half before Luke, Tyler and Charlie, I am just a big kid.  When Luke did wake up we sat on the couch together, watched CMT Christmas, drank coffee, snuggled and prayed, before we got dad out of bed.

Luke is so sweet at his current stage, he is a happy, snuggly little baby that fills my arms with the best weight when he is in them. His weight on my chest, his little snorky nose in my ear and his soft fuzzy head against my cheek is truly the best gift I could ever receive.

For the past few years Tyler and I have spent Christmas morning at home with Charlie and this year was the same except even better having Luke.  All Christmas I kept thinking to myself "it just feels like Luke has always been here, it just feels right to be a little family".

During the middle of the day on Christmas, Luke had a perfect nap in his little bouncy chair on the kitchen table while I finished prepping the food for our Christmas party.

Last Boxing Day is when Tyler and I found out we would be parents. I remember attending our holiday parties, with the big secret, of a tiny baby, between the two of us. It was kind of awesome looking at eachother, being the only ones knowing what our smiles were really about.  At that time I had absolutely no idea how much love this little person could bring into my life, our lives and the lives of our families.  Family is the best gift ever!

This post may seem a little scattered but it was challenging to make my memories cohesive when I just wanted to get all the moments recorded.

Wishing everyone the love of family and the joy of Christmas all year!