Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015: A Year in Review Link-Up Party

Hello friends!!
Welcome to the Blogging Besties' 2015: A Year in Review Link-Up Party! 
We are ready to show 2016 who's the boss, but before we do, we want to give 2015 a proper send-off. The highs, the lows, the smiles, the tears, the trips, the holidays, the birthdays, the anniversaries, the babies…whatever it is that made 2015 special, we want to know about it!
Visit the hosts, and link up your post about what 2015 meant to you!


Hosts: Kristine: The Foley Fam // Megan: Absolute Mommy // Kate: The Colbert Clan // Lena: Lena B, Actually // Renee: coffee-n-ink // Kara: Chasing Zoie // Laura: Bits of Sweetness // Kassi and Kayli:Kassarie & Kayliray

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I started the year by sharing a motivational post about NOT going on vacation


My favorite snack of the year was my husband's homemade hummus... you can find the recipe here


I also shared my thoughts as an autism mama after a story about a 9 year old autistic boy broke on the news... 


By April the weather warmed up and I was able to get some outfit posts on the blog!

original post...this one actually has a funny story!


Ruby even joined me for some #Passion4Fashion posts!


original post
I was really on a roll with outfit posts in June!

original post
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I shared our morning routine here.


In September I finally got around to sharing what I had been living most of the year, when I shared this post: Stepping up when your partner breaks down.
UPDATE: although he still isn't back to work, he sees a therapist weekly and finally had his medication under control. He even has a job lined up this Spring at a local garden/nursery! Yay!

I only blogged once in October and that was a Thanksgiving post about everything I was thankful for in my life.


A few weeks ago I share #LifeLately... the kids each celebrated birthdays recently and I was finally able to get some Halloween costumes up on the blog!




Really looking forward to blogging more consistently in the new year! I miss it!

Have a safe NYE everyone!

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Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas (Eve)

via

Looks like it will undoubtedly be a green Christmas for us here in Western Quebec... but the lack of snow has definitely not put a damper on our Christmas spirit!
Gifts are bought and wrapped. Cookies are baked (okay, so I didn't bake them... my mom did... but still!). Plans are set. Christmas music is blaring... 

Only half a day at the office and then I'm off until 2016! 

From my family to yours, happy holidays!
Have fun and be safe!


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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

A Quick Recap Before the Holidays! #LifeLately


Wow... I haven't posted anything since early October! To be honest, it's not that I didn't want to but because I just never found the time. Life, as for most of us, have been very busy.
Between October & December we celebrate all of our birthdays, Thanksgiving, our anniversary and Halloween. Throw in a full time 9-5 job and a very busy photography season and well... I end up not blogging for a while.

My "plan" is to get back at it in the new year. Take a few minutes every couple of days to sit down, share my stories, my fashion and my thoughts... but for now, I thought a quick recap of the past few months would be a good start!

For starters, my BABY turned 10! TEN, you guys!? I've had this kid for a decade now, really? Where does time go!?


Memphis is a good kid. He's come a long way and every day with him is still a challenge... but he's doing great a school, loves to read and is passionate about the things he loves! I wouldn't trade him for anything in the world! 

Just yesterday he received a principal's award for perseverance! Way to go, buddy!


After Memphis' birthday, we celebrated Thanksgiving. And a couple weeks later, it was Halloween!
Ruby went as a sorceress and Memphis was a weiner hot-dog!
It was the first year I didn't bring them both trick-or-treating together as Ruby was invited to go with some friends... I was heartbroken... but she reminded that we've had "7 good years of trick-or-treating together"... move on, mom, get over it. sigh.


We also celebrated our anniversary, Remembrance Day, my birthday and my husband's birthday before putting together a little bash to celebrate Ruby this past weekend.

Okay, so my other BABY is going to be 8. EIGHT! Sheesh, I swear someone must have hit the fast forward button... 

 
 

Ruby is an amazing little girl. She's so sure of herself already, it's amazing. She loves being unique and she sees the good in everything! Such a sweetheart! So happy to call her my daughter and my best friend!


I guess thats it for now! As I mentioned, I do photography on the side and I'm horrible at updating THAT blog (shocker, right?) but if you're interested in what I've been doing, you can follow along on Instagram or Facebook!

Happy holidays!

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Monday, October 12, 2015

Thankful


It's never a bad idea to sit down and remind yourself of all the things you are thankful for. As we near the end of our Thanksgiving long weekend, I thought I should do just that...

My family. My Husband for not giving up, my children for being healthy& confident, my parents & my sister for always being there for me no matter what.

My job. Even though I couldn't have stumbled into a less glamorous field (insurance), it's close to home, it pays the bills, it's rewarding and keeps me very busy.

My hobby. Photography is something I love and I still can't believe so many people have entrusted me to capture their special moments. My hobby is something I love to do and it has helped us keep our heads above water these past few months that my husband hasn't been able to work. 

Our health. A co-worker was recently diagnosed with the dreaded "C" word. And it's really, really scary.  It just brings home the fact that we are so lucky to have our health. Minor scrapes, bruises and tummy aches aside, our family has been blessed with good health. 

Netflix. The best $8 I spend every month. I love watching TV, but can rarely sit down in time to actually watch something when it's actually on. I haven't picked up on PVR yet, so Netflix allows me to watch ENTIRE series at my own pace!! Love it!

My home. Even though we only rent, it feels like home to us. And again, it's near work and school so I don't have to worry about time wasted in a lengthy commute. Also if anything does break down, we don't have to worry about replacing it! Throwback to Christmas Eve a few years ago when our water heater died... our landlords had it replaced and up & running in a couple of hours!

Cool Apps. Especially the ones like Ebates, Checkout 51 and PC Points that help us earn back money when we spend it! Cha-ching!

And obviously a million other things too, but I'm almost finished my coffee and I need to get ready for the day!

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!


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Thursday, September 24, 2015

Stepping Up When Your Partner Breaks Down


If you're a loyal follower you've seen the lack of post and original content on the blog... it doesn't make me happy, but unfortunately life has been really demanding lately and the blog has (and will be) taking a back seat. 

Earlier this year, I think it was late January or early February, my husband suffered a huge mental meltdown and ended up quitting his job. I wasn't worried... I thought he would be quick to dust himself off, shake it off and get back to work... but that didn't happen.

He has always struggled with depression and anxiety, but he spiraled downward really quickly. He'd have good days but more often than not, they were bad. He would sit home all day and spend money online that we didn't have... he knew it was wrong, but he couldn't help himself. He'd feel guilty about it, which would make him more depressed, but then he'd turn around and sell something to make up for it (he's a musician and has spent years collecting instruments and gear, so he had some to spare)... but although it helped get bills paid, it was a vicious cycle.

So I took it upon myself to support our family. I work in insurance and don't make a ton of money, but with careful budget planning and some photography jobs on the side, I've made it work. But even more stressful than our money situation, was having to keep it together and not let anyone know how much I was struggling... putting on a brave face day in day out is harder than it looks.

Not only was I worried about my husband's well being and paying our bills on time, but I also had to keep our house cleaned, show up to my 9-5 job and take care of the kids. Memphis, our oldest, is high functioning autistic and Ruby is a typical 7 year old... no lack of drama in our house, I tell ya!

But I'm tough. And I don't give up on anything or anybody.

Earlier this summer, things got really bad with my husband and I did have to rush him to the hospital... I guess it was the proverbial "rock bottom" we all hear about. It's true when they say that things usually have to get worse before they better. 

Since then, he has stopped spending irrationally, he's doing more around the house and his doctors are finally taking him seriously. He is in the early stages of being diagnosed as bipolar as well. So now we are working on getting the right medication and weekly therapy sessions with a psychologist. It's all coming full circle... I hope. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel... it's small, but it's there!

He's happier, we're happier.  At this time, he's still not ready to go back to work, so I have a while yet to go as sole provider, but I'm willing to do whatever it takes to get him healthy again.

If you've been through a similar situation or are going through something like this, I'd love to hear from you.  It's nice knowing that we're not alone in our struggles and it's important to not be ashamed to have a mental illness... or love someone who does. 

Hugs!

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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

What Children Can Do At A Wedding

Children can have just as much fun at a wedding have fun altogether as the adults. But sometimes little guests feel it hard to hide their emotions, they can get bored or capricious, for spending an entire day at a wedding can be a serious emotional and physical challenge for them. Thus, you have to take measures to keep them entertained and happy, right?

The ideal option would be to hire a nanny for the whole evening. The nanny should be provided with pencils, paper, and extra supplies to keep the little ones busy. You can also take a laptop with cartoons. If there is an animator at the wedding, most likely his program will include all the necessary things to amuse the kids.
The girls in tutu flower girl dresses can scatter flower petals before the bride to appear at the ceremony. But you should consider if the kids are doing it for the first time ever, they can get confused or nervous and not make it down the aisle as envisioned.
Discuss with the photographer the possibility of making a kids’ wedding photo session. A lot of children really love to be photographed. This process can gain their interest for a little while. Don’t hesitate to take part in such photo session with kids. The bride’s picture surrounded by some little fashion-mongers in tutu flower girl dresses can be extremely cute and creative at the same time.

The kids’ menu at the wedding is another important issue. Children under 7 or 8, as a rule, do not eat the same meals as the adults. That’s why you will have to order some child friendly dishes. You must find out beforehand with their parents if anyone of them has got allergy or any other taboos (maybe even religious) for some certain products. More often, the universal festive meals for the kids are the following: pancakes, fruit salad, French fries, sausages. Even though you may not assume sausages a festive meal, children just love them!
The older girls in simple flower girl dresses can actually prepare a complement for you, with a help of a nanny or animator, and declare it at the feast.  This can be some painting on a Whatman paper, a song learnt by heart, or anything the child’s fantasy is apt for. Usually such performances, if they are properly done, touch everyone’s heart.


Children are the flowers of our lives. Choose some beautiful and simple flower girl dresses and boy costumes for them and they will beautify your wedding day.

Disclosure: I was compensated for this post and it was prepared by a contributor.


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Friday, September 11, 2015

Back2School Small Style : Passion4Fashion Linkup



The kids just finished their second week of school and it's going great! I still find it hard to believe I have a 4th & 2nd grader... where are my babies!?
As usual, they were excited to wear some new duds on their first day back. Unfortunately, the first week was a H-O-T one! Probably the hottest week of the summer... so they couldn't actually wear the new "Fall" stuff I bought them. Nonetheless, they looked pretty cute I think.

Ruby: Dress & flip flops from The Children's Place
Memphis: Shorts & Tee from Giant Tiger, shoes from The Children's Place

I'm really looking forward to checking out all your fashion posts this week! Be sure to grab a button for your sidebar & spread the word!  Feel free to tag me on Twitter & Instagram (@lenabactually) and use hashtag #Passion4Fashion so we can find you!

Lena B, Actually

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Friday, September 4, 2015

#Passion4Fashion Linkup

Every week I co-host an "anything goes" style linkup with Rachel The Hat. Every week I have every intention of taking lots of outfit pics... and then reality sets in.  First week back at school for the kids and I didn't even think about what I was wearing. Oops!  But as usual, I'm really looking forward to checking out all your fashion posts this week! Be sure to grab a button for your sidebar & spread the word!  Feel free to tag me on Twitter & Instagram (@lenabactually) and use hashtag #Passion4Fashion so we can find you!

Lena B, Actually


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