Ava Grace's Closet

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Dear Ava...Now You're 7

Dear Ava,
Today is your birthday. 7!! 
Last night, as you went to sleep, I told you it would be your very last night going to sleep as a 6 year old. 
Time is going by far too quickly.
And as I look back at pictures of you - I feel like it was just yesterday that you came home with us. Started walking. Started talking.
Started sleeping in a big girl bed.
Started kindergarten.
Started swimming lessons.
Next, I'll be remembering when you started driving. 

You are in first grade at a new school this year and have made lots of new friends.
You love to read and are the very best in the entire class - I can't keep up with what level you are at these days. We are so proud of you.
Drawing is your very favourite thing and you have taken to watching youtube and copying an artist there - filling up your sketch books faster than I can buy them.
Although I have asked you more times than I can count, you refuse to take dance lessons insisting that you "already know how to dance". And yes it's true, you do have the moves. #yougetthatfromme
You and your brother still fight like cats and dogs. I think you enjoy irritating him and he obviously feels the same.
One day, this will all change.

If I had one wish for you on this, your 7th birthday, it would be that you always stay true to who you are.
Do what makes you happy.
And never compromise.

You are truly a special child.
Sent to me perhaps when I didn't realize I needed you most.
And today, we couldn't imagine a life without you in it.
We LOVE you Ava girl.

Have the very best day.
Tonight, we CELEBRATE you.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Surviving March Break + A Giveaway

Ah, March Break. It already feels like just a distant memory.
I was fortunate to be home last week - and we took advantage with a staycation of sorts. 
We slept in, actually ate breakfast and planned our days as they went.
We had my cousin's son from Slovenia staying with us for the first half of the week - nights were late and full of laughter and music. Ava had an absolute blast!
So much so, she didn't want to go to bed each night for fear of missing out. #thestruggleisreal

Julian hung out with friends most of the week - they have an odd fascination with all things Tim Horton's these days.
What's most interesting is that he won't walk to the corner store but somehow, can walk 5kms in -10 degrees to get there. #thingsthatmakeyougohmm
Pizza delivery and a couple of sleepovers later - he's a happy camper.
Does anyone else have a teenage boy in the house? If so, can you tell us when he stops eating ALL THE THINGS? Thanks.

I surprised Ava with tickets to see Disney on Ice on Thursday morning - we had the best experience.
I was pretty impressed with how well organized the event venue was making it a breeze for families many of whom had crazy young kids.
The concessions are INSANELY priced but that's to be expected I guess - as was the $30 price tag for parking. Huh?
Ms. Ava Grace says she thinks we should make this an annual March Break tradition.
I'm thinking my surprise was an obvious hit.
One step closer to that coveted mother of the year award.

On Friday, all of the kiddos, including Isabella, were home and while we had every good intention to go out for breakfast as a family, sleeping in won out.
Honestly, that alone is a vacation for this girl.
Ava and I had a last-minute invite including IMAX seats to see Beauty and The Beast in the city so we took advantage.
It was truly magnificent.
A must-see whether you have kids or not.
Also, did we know that Emma Watson could sing?

Well, sadly, it's over.
As you read this, I am likely sitting at my desk contemplating a second coffee.
We survived.
Our friends at Church + Dwight put together a fun selection of post-march break survival goodies - in case you didn't do as well. 
Open to Canadian residents only.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Women are Easy

Now that I've got your attention...

So, here's the thing.
I've been thinking a lot about happiness lately.
Specifically, what might make me happy.
I've talked to all of my girlfriends and funny enough, there is a common thread to this elusive happiness.
Narrowed down to consideration, kindness and just a wee bit of appreciation.

You see, if you're like me, you come last.
Always doing everything for everyone - and most days, feeling as though no one really appreciates it.
The days continue, and I continue.
But at some point along the way, all the doing left me empty.
A simple thank you once in a while would have gone an incredibly long way.
A small gesture. Something that would have left me feeling like all of my efforts were not in vain.

I grew up in a typical european household.
My mother did everything.
My father worked.
And so it went.
He is an incredible man. Kind. Helpful. Loyal. But I don't know that he ever told her how much he appreciated everything she did and continues to do.
I am not sure if it is difficult for the men in our lives to see this? To see how it makes us feel. To see how it can make your heart ache and yearn for more.
I won't say all, but men have it all wrong.
This idea that women need lavish gifts. Romantic getaways. Big extravaganzas.
When really, all we want is a grocery store bouquet when you've been asked to pick up milk. On a Tuesday.
A compliment when we come downstairs after having spent an hour getting ready for an event.
A "thank you for dinner".
A one-minute phone call to check in.
Maybe a night off where the first line doesn't start with, "I'll watch the kids"? #theyreyourstoo


It goes a long way.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Dress for Success

I've been a long time advocate of the old adage that looking the part is half the battle.
Especially in business. Most especially in men dominated industries of which I am and always have been a part of.
Dress the part and respect will surely follow.
But what if you're unable to afford the pieces that make up a professional wardrobe?
As usual, ms. Oprah to the rescue.

Last year, O, the Oprah Magazine, together with Talbots launched the Dress for Success program.
Allowing women to donate their gently worn professional attire to help others.
Donating to the worthy cause of empowering women in the workforce.
Last year, together, they raised over 1 million dollars AND received over 4,000 boxes of clothing across Canada and the U.S. helping over 20,000 women!
This year, they're doing it again with a limited edition collection perfect for the office or anywhere. 

  So, shop the collection here.
Donate your gently used work wear in Talbot's stores between March 2nd - 5th.
Or just make a small donation.

Happy Friday.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Four Eyes

I have a secret.
I wore glasses even when I didn't need them.
I've always loved the way the looked - making the face that much more interesting.
Now, that I've {ahem} graduated from loving to needing glasses, I still enjoy the process of choosing the perfect pair; really, just an excuse to shop for accessories really.
Am I right?

I've never bought eyeglasses on-line.
I really didn't think it was possible to get the right pair, in the right size, with the right prescription.
I truly thought everything would just be, well, wrong.
And boy was I ever. {wrong that is}
GlassesUSA.com is on a mission to change this stigma. To show us that you CAN buy eyeglasses without ever leaving your house.
With their Virtual Mirror feature, I simply uploaded a picture of myself to the site and tried away!
I may or may not have tried every pair. And then, let Ava Grace try on all of the sunglasses.
I settled on a smoke grey, almost translucent plastic frame in a size larger than I normally wear - and I am loving them. 
I was able to quickly order my glasses in the size I needed WITH my reader prescription {included at no additional charge!} intact.
And shipping to Canada and the U.S.? 
Always free.
Price points at GlassesUSA.com are significantly lower than anywhere I've shopped and selection is on-point with favourite brands such as RayBan and Muse {which I'm wearing above} available to suit ever style and face.
The site is worth a peek, even if you just play with the virtual mirror.

Disclosure: GlassesUSA.com sent me a pair of glasses at no charge for the purpose of this review. As always, all opinions are strictly my own.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

New Normals

It's been a long road but we're finally feeling somewhat settled.
I'm not really one to get attached to a house but find myself missing things.
Creature of habit type things - like where the garbage is. Or the full-length mirror that I had in the perfect spot between the master bath and the walk-in closet.
I think these things take time.
Time to make the new normal comfortable.

Of all the kids, Julian is definitely taking this the hardest.
Boys are funny. They don't talk very openly - but are oh, so sensitive.
He has shed tears for what was.
He misses his old house. The old neighbourhood.
It breaks my heart.
But I also know, he will get better. 
I've started to see glimpses of it already.

He is in ninth grade.
A tough year for any kid, especially one who ahem has already long ago decided that school was just not his thing.
To say it's been a challenging time is an understatement.
But I continue to try to help my boy the only way I know how.
With the most patience I can muster and with time.
He loves soccer with a passion and plays daily.
Our late bloomer.
I swear he is going to do great things one day.
And not just because he's going to get by on his good looks. 
Isabella is at university, commuting to and from home into the city.
She is taking driving lessons. She has a boyfriend. And a part-time job that she is really enjoying.
She has always been intuitive - far more mature than her age. And a common sense thinker.
She is so beautiful.
I know I shouldn't say that about my own kid but it's just amazing for me to watch her transform.
The best part is she doesn't know it yet.

And then there's my little Ava. A pure joy.
A gift from God.
Sent here, likely, to save her mother.
She is my best friend. My constant sidekick. And the reason I see the light on dark days.
Although she is only in first grade, she is wise beyond her years.
Strangers tell me so all the time.
Others tell me she has been here before.
It used to freak me out but now? Now I know they're right.

As 2017 moves forward and January turns into February, I am committing to really being there for my kids and trying to squeeze in at least a little solo time with each of them.
Putting away devices and having a bath with Ava is a new ritual. And board games? Who knew how much fun they could be.
Julian and I like to leave early sometimes when I drop just him off to school - I get coffee, he gets some frozen concoction and for just a few moments, he talks to me.
For this, I will gladly lose sleep.
And Isabella? We have our Wednesday evenings. The younger two are with daddy and we get to catch up. Which usually means we eat. We shop. Or, we eat AND shop.

I feel lucky. Blessed even.
2017, bring it.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

What Ava Wore : My little Yogi

We were blessed to be able to attend a local event in honour of Jordana's Rainbows - a little girl who lost her life at the age of 10 to an aggressive form of childhood cancer, DIPG.
BlissOm was one of the key sponsors and held an incredible group yoga session that was nothing shy of moving.
To see her family there pushed me over the edge but I got through it.
Mostly because I had my little yogi by my side.
She gives me strength. Just like I'm sure little angel Jordana gave and gives her own mom strength.
And hope, that one day they will be together again. 

Onzie "Namaste" T-Shirt | Moto Jacket {Winners - option}| Onzie Pebble Track Leggings | Skechers "Flutter Up" Shoes
Ava, quite obviously, had no fun at all taking these photos following our class.
She's decided that yoga is her thing.
I'm in.

Use code AVA15 to save 15% off your regular price purchase on-line or in-store at UgoSporty.

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