Ava Grace's Closet

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Dear Julian : On Being Sixteen

 Dear Julian,
I'm not sure what I was so busy doing in early April but I realized that I missed my favourite thing to do for you - write your annual birthday letter.
Today, I looked at last year's letter - and was so shocked to see how many had stopped in to read.
It was then I realized I hadn't written this years.
So here it is.

I know it may seem silly to you that I write you and your sister's a letter every year but I this I know for sure.
1. When I ask you to read yours (which I will do tonight) - you pretend that you don't like it but I know that you secretly do.
And 2. One day, perhaps when I am long gone, or when you have a family of your own - you might, YOU JUST MIGHT, look back at these letters and if I'm very lucky? They may touch you just a little bit.

You are 16.
You aren't ready to drive just yet. Even though I push to you to get your learner's permit. Mostly because I think it well have you feeling accomplished. 
Your anxiety gets the best of you sometimes but I promise you my sweet boy, that stuff gets much better when YOU are in control.
Do you remember when I suffered so much and would often take the wheel from your dad? Somehow, I felt better when I knew fate was in my own hands.
{now...if we could just do the same thing on an airplane!} 
School has been going much better this year - I know you would still rather be anywhere but there but still, you go. 
You say you're doing it for me. I'll take that.
But really, you are doing it for you.

You still hate to shower.
Hate wearing socks.
Hate anything green.
And have less than zero patience.
You still love playing video games.
Eating nachos.
Listening to the hardest rap imaginable.
And making your little sister crazy.

I still love you most of all.
And I still kiss you every morning when you pretend to be are asleep.
I can still bring myself to tears when I think about how much I love you.
And I still think you are the most beautiful thing I've ever laid my eyes on.
My Julian.
You will do great things one day - of that I am sure.
You just might kill me in the process. #lesigh

Love you beautiful boy.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018


My beautiful Izzy,
I could stare at this photograph all day long.
To me, it represents exactly how I see you - such innocence with just the slightest hint of mischief.

Today is your twentieth birthday.
I can hardly believe it.
Yesterday I told you it was your very last day being a teenager.
You laughed.
But you see, it's true. You will never be as young as you were yesterday {or today} ever again.
Cherish that youth.
Do all that you want to do.
Live with no regrets. 
And remember my beautiful girl, everything - good or bad - is temporary.

I remember when you were 15. 16. 17.
You thought I was so hard on you.
Never letting you go to parties - imposing a pretty early curfew by your {ahem} friends standards.
I was always extra worried it's true.
Trying to protect you from danger but also, trying to ensure that you did things at the right time.
When I believed you were old enough to handle it.
And that you would not regret it later when the time was indeed "right" and you had already exhausted all that fun.
You brought it up recently and told me I wasn't wrong in doing so. That you saw that now.
Saw yourself how quickly young kids grow up.
And how fleeting childhood really is.
I'm so glad for that. 

Today my love - today, you are officially an adult.
And I think if I asked you if it was different than you imagined - wishing back then so desperately to grow up - today, you would say yes.
You might even wish for the days of no responsibility.
When your biggest worry was where to have your next birthday party.
Lord knows I do.
You have your entire life ahead of you - some of the best years of that life still to come.
The chance to follow your dreams. Love who you want. And be whoever it is that you want to be.
 I will encourage you always.
And will be there to catch you when you fall.

A mother's love is like no other.
You have learned this I believe - especially in the last few years.
I may get frustrated - I may say things you don't want to hear - I may even do things you will never understand.
But never, NEVER does it mean that I love you less.
The most important job I have? 
Is the job of being your mother.
And when I look at you? 
I think my work is done.
I love you my sweet girl.
Happiest of Birthdays to you.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Keeping Active with Koral

These days, being a single mom of three, is making working out in a gym next to impossible.
So often times, or when I'm not being lazy, ms. Ava Grace and I take it outside -
She's just learned to ride a two-wheeler (!!) so she's been riding while I run alongside her or else we'll just walk the local neighbourhood.
Over the summer months, I feel like we've all but stopped this routine so we're both pretty pumped about starting it up again now that the weather is cooling down.
She keeps me honest {read: she forces me to go} on days when I really don't feel like it. Truth be told though, don't we always feel so much better once we do get out??

Koral Activewear sent along these ah-mazing leggings made out of their signature form-fitting infinity fabric that fits {quite literally} like a second skin.
With a fun logo'd waist, they easily made the transition from workout to an afternoon of lunch and running errands with the addition of a soft, lightweight denim shirt.
SO all about multi-functional clothing these days.


baseball cap - Lululemon | tank - Gap | leggings - "Aden" c/o Koral Activewear | trainers - New Balance

If you're like me, I always feel better being active when I feel I look good and let me tell you, these leggings hide a multitude of sins.
Available in a range of colours and prints, with free shipping and returns to the U.S., this line is a winner.
Sign up for their newsletter HERE to save 15% off your purchase.

Happy Wednesday friends.

Monday, July 30, 2018

What I Wore : The Jumpsuit Strikes Again

Well now.
It's been a while since I've written in these parts.
Not for a lack of wanting to.
Just time is so scarce these days between mommying, working and occasionally selfieing on instagram.

Today, I'm featuring a brand I've worked with before - and am blessed to have the opportunity to work with again.
SmartBuyGlasses remains one of the world's largest AND fastest growing online eye and sunglasses retailers (which comes as no surprise when you check out their selection and pricing!) - 
I'm wearing a pair by Jimmy Choo and though it's a tad difficult to see by these photos; they are actually a very dark charcoal. The shape is perfection and they feel light on the face which is always a plus with acrylic frames, n'est pas?

jumpsuit - c/o Magnolia Boutique | sunglasses - c/o SmartBuyGlasses | blazer - Zara |
shoes - Calvin Klein
Where do you shop for your eyewear needs?
Happy Monday.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Dear Ava...Now You're 8

Albeit late, I didn't want ms. Ava Grace's 8th birthday to go unnoticed.
I envision her one day reading through all of her letters - not unlike both Isabella and Julian have.
They don't say much but I know they get a kick out of reading about themselves and what they were like year after year.
I know I do.
And so, I continue.

Dear Ava,
You were counting down the days to 8. 
I think mostly because you knew it meant getting rid of your car booster. The moment I did so, you told your brother you were officially no longer a baby. And that he couldn't make fun of you anymore.
I'm not sure that alone will do the trick. 

You are in grade 2 and you love school.
You could read and write all day long - and right now, like myself years before you, the library is one of your favourite places to be.
You choose so many books that you are literally struggling to carry them all out.
But you don't waiver.
And you get through each one of them before reminding me 10x that it is time for them to be returned.
You are my own personal assistant.
My calendar.
My watch.
Sometimes I need to remind you that I have done all of this. Twice before.
You don't seem to care about that.

As you might have guessed, you are ALL about unicorns right now.
Sleeping with Crystal, your beloved little stuffed unicorn, every night. 
No, you haven't forgotten about Bobo but for now, he's sharing space.
I surprised you with a real live unicorn at your birthday party - you and ms. Lily became fast friends.
I will never forget how you stopped mid-party to come over to me for a hug telling me how thankful you were.

Ava, you have the kindest heart.
I learn both about being free-spirited and patient from you every day.
Your will to learn is unmatched and you will be the master of anything you set your mind to.
Of that, I am sure.
I knew from the minute you made your appearance that you were meant to be here.
Each year, this belief grows stronger.
I am blessed to be your mother.

I love you more than chocolate.
{and I reallllly love chocolate}

Friday, February 23, 2018

Stealing Memories : A Giveaway with Canvas Factory

I will say, it's not technically stealing per se since I am the one that took this photograph in the first place.
But I did secretly do this for my girl.

The day of her high school prom, we took what some might consider a ridiculous amount of pictures.
But this one?
It stood out for me.
The pure innocence of it combined with the pure joy on my Isabella's face.
Still makes me melt every time I look at it.
And if every picture tells a story - this one tells one of my favourites.

Canvas Factory made it so simple for me to create this keepsake for her - which she may or may not have received on the morning of her 19th birthday.
Tons of available options for sizing, colour and effects; but somehow, I always go back to classic black + white.
{you may notice my Julian's canvas in the background #creatureofhabit}

The team at Canvas Factory is giving you a chance to win a canvas of your own.
Sized {like the one above} 16 x 20.
And perfect for gift-giving to someone you love or better yet, keep this one for yourself.
Open to residents of Canada + the U.S.

Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.
                                                                                                                 - Dr. Suess

Monday, January 29, 2018

Life Lately

Some days, I feel like my life is just a whirlwind of waking up, frantically getting everyone ready for school, downing a coffee, rushing out of the house, drop offs and then, starting it all over again the next day.
Oh yes, there is pick up and dinner at some point.
Although the latter seems to be scarcer as the days go on.
Don't get me wrong - we do actually eat.
It's just not as thought out as it once was.
I told someone recently that I always overcook.
So used to prepping for a family of five - and now, between work and school for all - it's not often enough that we all sit down at the same time.
Some days, I just give up.
Others, I pretend to be super domestic and cook for days ahead.
It's a delicate balancing act.
But it works.

Isabella is in her 2nd year of university and is so dedicated to her schooling - honestly, she makes me so proud.
I can't say I had that same dedication.
I often think life should be lived in reverse.
Today, I think school would so be my thing.
Then, not so much.
My girl is driving. Working. Helping with her younger brother. Super independent.
I try to teach her every day not to rely on anyone.
She will learn that on her own I am sure; but raising strong girls has always been top priority for me.

Julian spends his days at school, gaming and making his little sister crazy.
Not necessarily in that order.
He is in 10th grade - almost half way through high school.
I remember Isabella telling me how quickly - too quickly - those years went. And how often she wishes she could go back to what now seem like such carefree years.
In just a few short years, at the tender age of 17, these kids need to decide the course of their future.
Even when they can barely decide what they want to eat for breakfast.
Just way, way too young.
My boy still feels he's going to be either a pro gamer, you-tuber or a rapper.
And I want him to be a dreamer.
At least for a little while longer, non?

Oh, Ava.
This child is something else entirely.
I've always said she was sent here for a reason - meant to be here among us.
But she has been here before.
Of that I am sure.
Her vocabulary rivals that of a 25 year old. The things that come out of her mouth amaze me on the daily.
Currently, she's obsessed with all things dance.
Watching episodes of The Next Step likes it's her job.
And making comments like "Mom, I can't believe Jacquie likes Noah. Do you see his side profile? His nose?!"

Me? I'm just trying to slow things down.
Not worry so much about everything getting done.
I've found that no matter how hard you try, the laundry will still pile up. The ironing will still sit for days. The dust will come back. And the to-do list will always seem never-ending.
The now however, we can't get back.
So my goal this year?
Appreciate the little things. They truly are the big things in the end.

Happy Monday.

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