Posted in family

🥰 Feels so Good 😊 Gratitude 🙏🏼

I remember when Rich and I first started living together, my grandmother had recently just passed away. Her house was going up for sale and a lot of the contents came to me. I remember that feeling so clearly. The feeling of relief. I had known a lot of young people that had parents or relatives that had the ability to help provide for their young adults starting out which was amazing but neither of our parents could do that. They were going through their own personal struggles being recently divorced and having to start over.

It makes me smile thinking back on how wonderful it felt using my grandparents furniture and dishes. It was a very comforting. It was like they were there with me, helping me on a daily bases. I’ll never be able to express how grateful I was for that help.

So now, almost 40 years later, I want to pay it forward. I want to provide that feeling of relief that I had. Over the past 5 years I’ve been trying to do just that. Whenever I used to have used items I needed to get rid of, I would post it on marketplace or Kijiji. I always made sure it was at a reasonable price as my purpose was to just get rid of it. Then I found a local group called “Pay It Forward”. It was online and you post/donate any used items that you have then you chose who you give it to. It gave me such a good feeling to be able to look the person in the eye while giving them an item that they really needed or wanted. Usually I chose the first person who commented on my post but sometimes people would tell their story on why they want or need the particular item so it can be a judgement call.

All I really know is that giving feels really good. And now that we are in a position to help and pay it forward, it’s worth a lot more than the small amount of $ we’d get for our used items.

Below are photos of a couple of items I still have from my grandparents house.

Have a wonderful day.

Grandparents Mirror
Grandparents Chair
Posted in family

👒 The Hope Chest and Memories 🐰

Maybe you know, maybe you don’t know but I’m not the greatest at keeping in touch with people. However, this past year I’ve been making a real conscientious effort to keep in touch with my older family members. I really don’t stay in touch with my Dads side of the family so it’s been Moms side that I talk to regularly. A year apart for younger people may not be a big deal but for those older individuals, a year unable to see family is a really big deal.

As our days to retirement are quickly approaching and our moving around and being posted are behind us, I’ve done a great job of weeding out needless “stuff” and clutter in my life. (Literally and figuratively) Most of the things I’ve kept or collected really mean something to me. Most of my baby/children’s mementos have been given to the kids in memory boxes. The few things I have left won’t be going anywhere. They are here, either displayed in my cabinet or in my hope chest or shelf to be looked at during those times when I fear the memories are fading.

This morning Rich and I both sat in our living room, listening to Casey Kassem Top 40 from 1983. It plays most weekends on our local radio station (103.9 MAX). 1983 was the year we both graduated from high school. What a trip down memory lane that was. Every time a song came on, we’d look at each other with an impish grin. So hard to believe that was 38 years ago. 🤦🏻‍♀️ Geez, I don’t feel that old.

I read a long time ago that in general life is a collection of memories. I think that’s why my hope chest that my Uncle Bob made for me so many years ago was so important. I saved so many memories in it. From letters I wrote to Richard when we were teenagers, to letters I wrote when he was deployed (yes we actually wrote letters back then) to my wedding dress and photos. I just knew this “stuff” would be important some day, if not to us then to our children or grandchildren. At least I hope so. 😬

So tomorrow is Easter Sunday. 👒 I believe this is the first Easter ever we do not have any family or friends over at all. Last year we still had Becky and Jordan around and when we were in Italy, all of us Canadians/Americans would get together. But you know, what do I expect? We’re empty nesters in a pandemic.

Love you all!

☘️🐬🐻

Posted in family

♥️ Parenting 👨‍👧‍👦

From the day I got pregnant 34 years ago, till today, my feelings about parenting have never changed. I certainly know a lot more now than I did 34 years ago so don’t confuse my feelings with education.

One of my most vivid memories of being a Mom was my first night home with my first baby. I had hemorrhaged and acquired an infection so I was kept in the hospital for 10 days. During that time my baby was kept in the nursery. With all the lights and noise in the nursery, he was stimulated all night so his days and nights were reversed.

Needless to say, my first night with him at home was awful. He cried so much. I fed and changed him. He continued to cry. I rocked and rocked and walked and rocked. Nothing made him stop crying. What was wrong with him? All I kept thinking was that I didn’t know how to care for a baby. And I’m responsible for this human being and I have no idea what I’m doing. He cried, I cried.

Finally a couple of days later, we had a visit with our public health nurse. That visit was exactly what I needed. I needed to hear I was doing ok. I needed to hear my baby was “still” healthy after (what I thought) the horrible care I was giving him since he wasn’t content and kept crying. The nurse explained that chances are the lights in the nursery had stimulated him so much through the night that it would take time for him to start settling at night. This is one of the reasons they started having the babies “room in” with the moms.

That nurse is also responsible for the parenting thought process that I have carried with me my whole life. She said. if it doesn’t “feel” right, then don’t do it. Your the Mom. Follow your gut feelings. I may not have been taught how to be a Mom but I loved my babies with my whole heart. So it was my heart that I listened to. Once I knew for sure that there was nothing physically wrong, I then relaxed and followed what my heart was telling me to do.

But this was the 80’s. The mentality was “Don’t spoil” your baby. Let him cry! Why are you giving him that soother? He needs to learn to self sooth. And your baby should never sleep with you. 🙄

I did fall into some of these traps and try to let him cry himself to sleep. It didn’t work as my heart broke in a million pieces. Again, it didn’t feel right, I couldn’t or wouldn’t do it.

This is how I continued to parent through all my 3 children and through every age and every stage. I led by my heart and muddled through. By no means am I saying I was the perfect mother. Lets be honest, there is no such a thing. We are human and we are all flawed and make mistakes. But my mistakes were definitely made because I thought it was the right thing to do.

Now my babies are all adults. Out of all the stages as a parent, I find this to be the most difficult. Even though they are all grown up, we never stop loving our children. We can’t just stop wanting to care for them. If they are hurting or sick, the desire to make it better is still there and very strong.

I remember when I was preparing to move to Italy and although I was excited, I had so much apprehension of leaving all of my kids in a different country with no family nearby to rely on. Someone I worked with told me that it was time for me to “cut the cord”. That my children were all adults and needed to learn to be independent. This comment totally rubbed me the wrong way. I abruptly yet politely informed them that my children were independent and successful members of society. My “cord” will never be cut as it is attached to my heart. I figure that this particular individual was also the type of parent that boots their kids out on the street at 18 because “they be adults y’all” lol (no offence to those who say y’all)

Anyway I could ramble on forever about this but this post is getting too long. Thanks for sticking with it and reading till the end.

Remember, always follow your heart. 💖

Love you all.

☘️🐬🐻

Posted in family

⛔️ Boundaries ⛔️

There are a few poignant “ahhhaa” moments in my life. These types of moments can not be taught. They must be experienced.

With so much time on our hands over the past year, Richard and I have gone down memory lane (over a bottle or two of wine) on numerous occasions. One of our fun memories we recall was our time posted to CFB Calgary. It was our first posting, we were very young, had a newborn and very little money. However, we made the best of it and in turn made some lifelong friends in the process.

Although we didn’t have a lot of money, we still managed to get a sitter once a month and have a date night. I was always told and till this day, agree fully, that a happy family begins with a happy couple. Parents should always make the well-being of their relationship a priority.

Luckily CFB Calgary had an amazingly fun (and cheap) mess. (LDSH) For our date night, depending on funds, we usually went to a movie or out to dinner and then back to our mess for a few drinks before heading home. We could also bring a friend or two if we wanted. All we had to do was sign them in. Obviously if they misbehaved then it fell on the person signing them in to take responsibility. This one particular night, I remember inviting a girl I worked with to join us as there was an event happening which included a live band. She always complained about being bored, was single and was a lot of fun at work.

Anyway, we got there, ordered some drinks, listened to music, danced and was having a blast. We were both getting a little tipsy and she had commented to Richard that she wanted him to introduce her to some of his friends. He did.. and then she took off. She was socializing and dancing with random guys, while we were socializing with a few of our couple friends at the table. Every now and then she’d come to the table to grab money out of her purse or just put her drink down on her way to the dance floor. I was happy she was having a great time. Then later on in the evening I noticed she was dancing with my friends husband. The next time she popped by the table I said “Hey, sit for a minute!” She sat and I said “I just want you to be aware, the guy your dancing with is married.” She said “I don’t care. All the best ones usually are! It doesn’t matter to me” She laughed and walked away.

I found out later that this girl actually sought out married men. This was the last time I ever went out anywhere with her. That night I learned a very valuable lesson. I learned that you can work with people for a long time and never really know them. And when it comes to relationships or marriages, for some there are no boundaries. Her reasoning was that if they were happy then there was nothing to worry about and it takes 2 to tango so she never felt responsible.

As I said, this was a poignant moment in my life. It wasn’t about not trusting my friends husband (or my husband) This was in fact the moment my eyes opened and I realized there are people out there just waiting for our relationships to fail so they can pounce.

Call me jaded. Call me overly protective. That girl did me a favour 30 years ago by teaching me that when it comes to relationships, not everyone is nice.

Posted in family

🟨 Life as it is 〽️

Monday is family day here in NB. Richard drove me to work and picked me up today as he could as he worked from home. He knows how much I hate driving especially in the winter. Once he picked me up, I was so happy as I left my computer at work. I said “No work (or work from home!) for me for a full 3 days!” We were both excited about the long weekend. Then he said “I want to go somewhere! I got this incredible urge to just drive to PEI! You know we’ve been in NB for 8 months and have yet to have gone to the Island!” I responded with “YES, I know!! but I want to see our baby girls first!!”

Yup! We’re both struggling with this whole COVID bullshit right now. I mean FAMILY DAY is on Monday and again it’s just Rich and I. That’s it. Not even any pupper dogs to spoil or walk with. 😰 Excuse my language.. but this sucks so much. ~ sigh!!

But I need to be thankful. I got this guy. Who always puts a positive spin on everything and puts huge smile on my face. 🥰🥰

I love you babe! Thank you for traveling this journey with me and always being ridiculously supportive 😁

😘
Posted in family

🐶 Puppy sitting – Lady and Rocky 🦮

I found this while cleaning my phone.

It’s my notes that’s I’d give my puppy sitters. I don’t know why I want to keep it. But I do. ❤️ I miss my pups so much.

Puppy sitting – Lady and Rocky

1/2 (plastic) bowl of food in the morning and at night or just 1 full one in the evening is fine as well. The bowl is always just left in the bag of food.

I only give them bottled water.

Toys and bowls are in the blue beach bag.

White is normally their food bowl, stainless steel is their water bowl.

Since Rockys surgery on his right knee, he goes up and down stairs very slowly.

We have medication for pain and inflammation in the PEI bag. It’s literally just extra strength Advil in pill form. It doesn’t need to be mixed with food. You just put it in the palm of your hand, and he will smell it and eat it immediately. 1 pill is good for 8 hours.

— No need to do this unless you want/need to. (PEI dirt bag)

Rocky has skin allergies. You will notice him scratching a lot in two specific spots. Under his chin and his bum. I constantly thought his anal glands were dirty as he dragged his butt but they are fine. It just get itchy. Haha

I use a special soap which helps lessen the itching. It’s concentrated so a little is all that’s required. It is mixed with warm water. I let it sit for 5 minutes and rinse it off then dry it. I do the night before we go anywhere.

— No need to do this unless you want/need to. (PEI dirt bag)

If Lady or Rocky’s ears begin to get itchy, I have a ear cleaner that I use. A couple of squirts in each ear, then rub them. Rocky’s tend to be worse than Lady’s. Again, I did it just before we go anywhere.

— No need to do this unless you want/need to. (PEI dirt bag)

Lady has fallen down our stairs 3 times which is due to hair on the bottom of her paws. It needs to be groomed regularly. She is now traumatized and goes down stairs very slowly (sticks to the right side of the stairs). She also needs encouraging to go up the stairs. If she hesitates, just walk up behind her. She gains confidence with someone behind her.

Lady will sense bad weather or if there is thunder and lightning. She will begin to pant heavily and shake. She will hop up on you and turn into a lap dog. She is fine, just very scared. Once the weather clears, she turns normal again. If it thunders and she’s alone, she’ll get into garbage or chew any paper that’s around. (Not furniture or shoes!) If there’s a mess, I promise it’s Lady not Rocky. Haha!

Lady and Rocky both sleep in their beds at night. They both go out right before bed and first thing in the morning. If you are going somewhere first thing in the morning or for a long car drive, they will “pee on demand”. Look right at them and say “Go pee” Neither pups have messed in the house in years!! So no worries!!

Since we moved to Italy, I haven’t been walking the dogs. I found it too stressful with the stray dogs. But after all the “Eurofor” guys leave for the day and all the cars are gone, I let them out of our white gate and run threw the vineyard and our parking area. Rocky tends to not go down to the vineyard as he gets confused and can’t figure out how to get back up. Lady has no problem finding her way back. Both dogs will come if you call them. Lady may take her time but if your tone of voice turns angry, she’ll come quicker. 😉

If you have questions, just message me.

💜 Lady and Rocky 💙
Posted in family

✨Dreams✨

I had a dream last night, which really isn’t uncommon for me. I dream every night and normally I wake up thinking so “why did I dream that?” I can usually answer my question because of certain situations being on my mind, stressing me and effecting my sleep.

But last night was different. All I had on my mind was Ellie, our brand new healthy grandbaby girl. She was born on 23 January 2021 @5:46pm. Full name being Elizabeth Lena Mayne. She is our 3rd grandchild, 2nd granddaughter. Absolutely gorgeous. I knew what her name was going to be months ago and was so excited to meet her. It was a beautiful shock to have a child named after me and also Sophie’s maternal grandmother’s who name is Lena as well! This making the meaning behind the name even more significant.

Now last night when I laid my head on my pillow, I was not stressed. I was happy, relaxed, and stress free. The only thoughts I was having was of Ellie and her sleeping pattern. And if Sophie and Matt would be comfortable enough to get any rest. That was it.

So when I fell asleep and started dreaming I was weirdly in my Casselman house. Sitting in our day room with my Dad. Most of you know, my Dad and I were not close. Growing up I was raised by my maternal grandmother, my grandmother’s sister (my great Aunt Dida) and extended family. It’s important for me to say that this doesn’t mean I didn’t love him. It just means he really wasn’t involved in my upbringing. I believe, at the time, he wasn’t interested in being a father. So having said that, I remember in my dream I was surprised to see him. He was sitting on the daybed we purchased for him during his visit at Christmas in 2008. He was looking at me with tears in his eyes and said “Oh my GOD Lena, she’s beautiful! I’m so happy they named her Lena”

I honestly forgot that when Mom and Dad named me Lena it was after my Dad’s Mom — that I had never met as she passed away in her 40’s from pneumonia. I remember Dad telling me the story of his Grandmother being pregnant with his Mom and during her pregnancy reading a book called Lena Rivers. She then decided to name her baby girl after the heroine of the book.

This all came back to me during my dream last night. It was like Dad wanted to remind me of all this information. So whether my Dad really came to visit with me or it was all just subconsciously on my mind after Ellie’s birth, we’ll never really know.

All I know for sure is that my Dad definitely would be happy that little Ellie carries on his Mom’s name.

Posted in family

✨2021✨

Happy New Year!

2020 was a year I’ll never forget, as I know is the same for a lot of other people. For me it was a year of changes, a year filled with many inter perspective lessons. A year filled with fear, joy and sadness.

Over the past few days I’ve reconnected with many old friends and relatives, touching base and getting caught up on how we are all doing. This is normal, as every new year most of us slow down and start discussing events that have occurred threw out the year. I love getting caught up because I truly love my close friends/family.

I think by now, most of you know I pride myself on being transparent. I believe it’s healthy, not only for me, but for others. When I share with people and when others share their life experiences, it helps us all grow and feel we are not alone. So many times I’ll read someone’s blog or watch a vlog or just a status update and think “omg YES! I feel exactly the same way!” Or I’ll think “wow, I never thought of it in that way”

I’ve always wondered why sharing life experiences makes people feel uncomfortable. Some people are very private. They don’t like sharing their life — online or otherwise. But I think – do they really believe that their life is so different than others? Trust me when I say that your experiences in life right now is not unique. Someone out there has gone through exactly everything that you have. Someone out there has felt exactly the same way you have. We are all human, traveling in circles around this big beautiful sun — trying to live our best life.

I remember an experience I had this summer, when the pandemic was in full swing and we were in lockdown. From March till around the end of June, my husband had been going out and getting all the groceries and essentials we needed. At that same time, we were also in the process of getting our house up for sale so we were both incredibly busy. This one particular day I had said to him that we needed to pick up a few things at the grocery store. He said “ok then can you go?” When I heard those words “can you go?” I froze. My heart started beating faster, I actually started to panic! Let’s be real, my husband just asked me to go to the grocery store. He wasn’t asking me to do something unreasonable. But I hadn’t been to a grocery store in months and right now, I was actually scared shitless and he recognized it. After a great pep talk, a review of the safety protocols all groceries store have implemented, then gathering up my mask and hand sanitizer, I was off to get groceries. But in my mind, I felt like I was off to a war zone and the enemy was the virus. My mind was racing.. I can do this. I can do this.

I get to the parking lot. I shut the car off. I sit and watch. I cry. I hyperventilate. I eventually get my shit together and go in. I’m careful, I follow the arrows, I stay 6 feet apart. I get what I need and go to the cash. I use debit, I tap. I walk to the door. I sanitize. I think I’m good! I evaded the enemy! I get to the car. I’m so relieved! I survived!

I drive home. Bawling my eyes out. What the hell is wrong with me? I’m just going to a grocery store! OMGGGGG I’m officially insane.

I shared this experience with not just my husband, but also my daughter, and son in law and close friends. Some said they had similar experiences. Maybe not as dramatic but the feeling of panic was definitely there. But if I never shared this with anyone, till this day, I would still be thinking there was something mentally wrong with me. Sharing helps you release pressure — like a mental pressure.

I understand that some people feel that if they share their experiences or choices they’ve made, that others will not agree and they receive backlash or will be made fun of, gossiped about, laughed at. I am selective on who I verbally talk to. There are people that are mean spirited out there however, they are not the majority. When I’m writing, I don’t write to them. I am directing my words to those who need to hear it. Those other people, the ones who gossip, judge and are mean spirited are just noise in the background. If we don’t tolerate their behaviour and pettiness then they just go away. Helping people, loving each other, having compassion and patience with each other is what always wins.

Let’s make 2021 a year of healing. A year of us always being there for one another. A year filled with positivity, joy and light.

2021! Will be the best!

Posted in family

😑😤😕 Update

I’ve never had so many people reach out to me in concern as I have since posting my previous blog post. I truly love you all and from the bottom of my heart, I want to thank you for caring. But most of all, thank you to the people who let me know that you relate! That as a military family, we all go through stuff after being up hauled during a posting. Truly I’m ok. Definitely not 100% but I know I’ll get there

Putting this out there on my blog was unexpectedly the best thing for me!! Richard and I had a fantastic conversation after he read my post. He admitted to having similar feelings as I’ve been having. He said the last time he’s felt like this was during our posting to Italy. However with Italy, although expensive, we could hop on a plane and be in Canada in 9 hours. Now if something happens, it’s unknown. It’s incredibly difficult for parents who have children living away from them during this pandemic. Both him and I have come to the conclusion we just need time to adjust and focus on us and our little family that’s here in maritimes.

A couple of things I do want to clarify. I’m not normally a depressed person. I’m not taking any medication. I rarely take Advil but when I do, it’s for a headache or my arthritis. I’m not saying medication is bad. However, I know after many attempts, it just isn’t for me. I do have moments of anxiety but lately they’ve been rare. I have no intentions of going to a doctor or a physiologist or psychiatrist. I know there is help out there as I’ve seen a therapist before and I loved it. However right now what I need is just time and patience, quiet and a few really good nights of sleep. I need (which he does, thank goodness) my husband to understand what I’m going through with these ups and downs. I need regular contact with my beautiful grandson. Seeing his smile makes my heart literally sing!!! ✨💖✨ And of course with his Papa and Momma too.

I really need regular contact with my Ottawa kids! I know when I lived in Ottawa, we had contact but it was spontaneous. It happened when it happened. I don’t think that’s going to cut for me anymore. I especially need “Becky fixes”!! When I go too long without talking to my daughter, I literally start panicking. I’m gonna say that’s normal for a Mom but what’s normal?

So I want to end this by saying again, thank you for reading and thank you for caring. Life and emotions aren’t always predictable. But for me, I look at it as a natural part of my life. Something that communication and the understanding of my family and friends will help me maneuver. There are no rainbows with a little rain, right?

Love you all SO MUCH!