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ten minutes

Cottage living, nothing beats it.  Every summer with Kim and her family, the sites, the sounds and smells are so familiar to me now I can’t imagine a life without them.

On Saturday’s boat ride, coming back from Jeff’s friends cottage where Kim, Meaghan and I had no luck at fishing, Mya, (Kims daughter) sat in my lap for about ten minutes (which never happens – she is a mama’s girl at heart).

Her blond curls were tickling my nose from the cold wind and she was wrapped up tight in a towel around her puffy blue life jacket.  Her head was resting against my chest and I was wondering if she would fall asleep again as she always falls asleep on boat rides! She was telling me stories and pointing at all of the Canadian flags as we sped by.  I gently pressed my lips against her head and closed my eyes for just a moment and imagined when my own sweet boy or girl would be placed in my lap enjoying their new life in Canada at the cottage.  It will be then that the sites and sounds and smells will change – everything will be seen through new eyes – through the eyes of my child.

Mya is around the age my own child will be so having her be so willing to spend her time with me just makes me feel like a kid in a candy store!  I smile a bit brighter and the sadness and aching of not having my own child eases a little, knowing I will have a future as a mother and am right now getting to build my relationships with my extended family and their children.

For the rest of this week, I will hold tightly to the memory of those sweet curls blowing across my face and the warmth her tiny little soul provided me – even if it was only for ten minutes.

Love

Nicole

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The Climb

I am not now nor have I ever been a “Miley Cyrus” fan.  However, whenever I hear this song (the only one by her on my phone) I can’t help but dream off into space thinking of my journey to be a mother…

I can almost see it.
That dream I’m dreaming,
But there’s a voice inside my head saying,
“You’ll never reach it.”
Every step I’m takin’
Every move I make feels lost with no direction,
My faith is shakin’

But I, I gotta keep tryin’
Gotta keep my head held high

There’s always gonna be another mountain
I’m always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
Sometimes I’m gonna have to lose
Ain’t about how fast I get there
Ain’t about what’s waitin’ on the other side
It’s the climb

The struggles I’m facing
The chances I’m taking
Sometimes might knock me down,
But no, I’m not breaking
I may not know it,
But these are the moments
That I’m gonna remember most, yeah
Just gotta keep goin’,

And I, I gotta be strong
Just keep pushing on,

‘Cause…

There’s always gonna be another mountain
I’m always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
Sometimes I’m gonna have to lose
Ain’t about how fast I get there
Ain’t about what’s waitin’ on the other side
It’s the climb

Yeah

There’s always gonna be another mountain
I’m always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
Somebody’s gonna have to lose
Ain’t about how fast I get there
Ain’t about what’s waitin’ on the other side
It’s the climb

Yeah, yeah, yeah

Keep on movin’
Keep climbin’
Keep the faith, baby
It’s all about—it’s all about the climb
Keep the faith, keep your faith, whoa, whoa, oh.

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I’m not sure if this makes any sense to you, I just feel like I have had so many obstacles ahead of me, so many hills I have had to climb and really – regardless of what happens in the end, once I hold my child in my arms – it will all be worth it.

Love

Nicole

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Cottage life is great, but it will be better

People say I am crazy for buying a cottage with one of my best friends.  “It was to much money”, “it’s not worth it”, “it will ruin our friendship”…I have heard every negative thing possible.

What people don’t understand is that it was not to much money – it was fairly cheap for a place you can basically live in for 6 months a year.

It was 100% worth it.  I spend most weekends up there plus a week or two each summer.  I tan, I have amazing times with my friends, I swim, I go boating and I get a lot of reading done.  If I was at home all summer I would be doing nothing – not being social that’s for sure.  I’d be on my couch watching TV and movies.

Finally – and this is a big one – it has not even come close to ruining my friendship with K, if anything we are closer because we are together most weekends for half a year.  We have fun, we laugh, we bicker and we tease her husband – a lot…if anything I am surprised he hasn’t killed one or both of us!

The best thing is that I get to spend a lot of time with her two children C and M.  It gives me a picture of what it will be like when I bring my child home from Haiti and introduce him or her to cottage living.

We all went on a boat ride Saturday afternoon and watching K hold M in her arms while we sped through Lake Seymour into Rice Lake I could almost feel my child wrapped in my own arms giggling as the water sprayed onto us whenever we hit a bump.   When we stopped to fish for a few minutes I sat on the back of the boat with M dipping our feet in the water comparing toe nail colours (she had pink, I had purple). I so desperately was yearning for my own child in those moments it was almost over whelming.  Bringing my little one home is something I constantly day dream about…I know there will be a lot of tough times…times when I doubt myself and my abilities, but those times when I hear a laugh or see a smile – those will be the times that are worth it.  I can’t wait to blog about THOSE times.  To let you all in on this amazing little person who will change my world in the most epic way possible.

Having this cottage is going to allow me to give my kid memories that will last their lifetime.  Some of my favourite childhood memories exist at my aunts trailer – and we were only there two weeks a year!  Imagine the possibilities when they are up north for days and sometimes weeks at a time!?  My blog and Project Life albums will be so much more vivid and exciting!!

Nicole

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30 will one day be 50 – hopefully

Last night, as I was bawling watching Derek Shepherd die a tragic death on Greys Anatomy, I decided to scroll through my Facebook feed in the hopes of being cheered up!  I found an article I had to read.  It was titled “20 Things To Do When You’re 30 That Will Make Life Better At 50″ by Beth Buczynski. Being 34, and hoping to live a nice long life with those I love, I thought I would take a quick read and see what’s going on.  The article was interesting, not surprising really, but I thought I would digest it here anyway!

1. Don’t smoke. If you’ve started, stop immediately I have stopped smoking.  I stopped in September 2014 and I don’t see me realistically starting again.  It is expensive, it does make me smell and I am already having breathing troubles from other issues so what’s the point.  I may have the odd cigarette now and then, when I am stressed or annoyed or when I damn well feel like it, but I can’t see me ever being a smoker ever again.

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2. Stop eating crap This is my biggest downfall.  I eat crap all the time, everyday.  It is my Achilles heel.  I know this. I have tried to get past it, but I have failed time and again.  I will never give up trying to do better, but so far I am an EPIC failure.

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3. Maintain (or repair) relationships with parents and siblings My mom and I have a great relationship now, we didn’t always, but since 2012 we have been closer than ever.  My father, before he passed, was my best friend.  I am grateful for my parents.  My brother and I are what we are.  That relationship isn’t repairable with a few simple words, but I love him and I love his wife and I will spend as much time as humanly possible with them.

4. Stop going out in the sun without sunblock I wear sunblock all the time.  I am pale – white, with a tinge of pink.  I do tan in tanning beds and that is worse than natural sun so that I need to work on.  I try to only use them before a Caribbean vacation so I don’t burn while there, but they are addicting – even more so than cigarettes!  I love having a bronzed, feel-good body, but it’s awful for me and I am WELL aware of this.

5. Exercise regularly Like, number 2, this is my downfall.  I do not exercise – ever.  I barely walk except the dog once or twice over the weekend and I quit zumba, yoga and everything else I have tried.  I haven’t found my thing.  I want to.  I want to join a gym and have a trainer who will kick my ass Snookie Style, but so far that hasn’t happened.

6. Start saving money. Even if it’s just a tiny bit. I have done this.  I have a savings account, I have some small investments.  I need to work on stopping the spending, but I do have savings!untitled 2

7. Learn to be content with what you have. I have this problem, I always want more…more clothes, more furniture, more stuff…I have a ton of stuff.  I live alone and yet I have fully decorated my house to the point where if someone else moved in with me – you know like a freaking man – I don’t know where I would put his stuff.  I kinda wanna purge, but that takes a strength I don’t currently have.

8. Don’t delay pursuing your life goals. I bought a house, I bought a car, I paid off my debt, I have a great job and 2 degrees.  I want to have a husband, and in lieu of that, a child.  I have been trying with no success to have a baby of my own and I will keep trying.  I have been on every dating website known to man and I have not yet met that someone special, but I have not given up.  I will always pursue new goals.  In fact, one of my “musts” for a man is that he has goals he wants to pursue.

9. Get some sleep. I sleep – all the time.  Enough said.

10. Take care of your teeth I am starting to floss more and I am getting Invisilign to straighten out my bite so I am taking care of them more than I have in the past.  It’s costing me an arm and a leg, but I strongly dislike my teeth and I am excited to have them straight and then get them whitened.  Having quit smoking I can at least hope the yellow stains won’t reappear!

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11. Collect memories instead of things I’m working on it.  I am doing more with friends and I am taking pictures and scrapbooking everything.  I still collect things, but I am trying.

12. Give something back I have volunteered in the past – quite a bit, but I haven’t lately. I will look into it again when I have a child (or children) because I want them to have the desire to help others. I want to teach them the joy of giving back.

13. Be curious and do one thing that scares you every day I am curious by nature and I do new things – not every day, but a few times throughout the year for sure.  I have zip lined through the Dominican, walked around the edge of the CN Tower and swam with sharks!  I like to do things that scare me and I look forward to many more – memories right!!

14. Read at least 10 books a year I have already read ten books this year.  I am in a book club, guaranteeing I will read 12 per year, but I have taken on the #50bookspledge for 2015 and I am hoping to reach my goal – or at least come close!

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15. Travel. As much as possible, whenever you can. I do.  I love travelling!

16. Learn to meditate this is on my summer – to do list.  I feel meditation would help me a lot with my anxiety!

17. Do you Again, I do!  I only have me.  I will have to remind myself of this when I have a child and/or a husband!

18. Keep a journal I blog here and I scrapbook, which is like a mini journal because I use journalling cards for my Project Life scrapbook.

19. Become a homeowner. I am and it’s terrifying!  I love my house, but I don’t know how to do a lot of things and need to rely on others a lot.

20. Take care of your friends I do.  I see my friends regularly and I make a point of texting or reaching out to them as often as I can or remember to.  In fact I think I am gonna go text two of them now whom I haven’t seen or talked to lately!

😉

Seems I’m on a good track to turning 50 with a healthy outlook!

Love Nicole

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Vacation packing must haves

It has sort of become a tradition that every year I go away – at least once, to the Caribbean.  Last year I went to the Caribbean and to Florida thanks to my friend Kim for the invite, so I have become somewhat an expert at packing.

Okay, that’s bullshit.  I am not a “master packer” I am an over packer.  My suitcase always weighs too much coming home (with the added things I buy) and I usually have to throw more in my carry on and whomever is travelling with me – their suitcase and carry on.  It’s sad!  However, I have also learned some great things from my mistakes over the years so todays blog is dedicated to things I must have when travelling!

1 You need to begin with the suitcase (duh!) and while I have always loved the tracker brand, this year I needed a new suitcase and I switched because I wanted one that had four wheels instead of two (trust me, when travelling with a heavier suitcase (see above) its nice to be able to roll the suitcase instead of pull it throughout the airport both in Toronto and the destination.  I also never buy a solid colour like black or navy because everyone and their mother owns this suitcase.  I bought a red one this time that has darker red swirls on it.  I also have a special scarf that I tie around the handle.  It is white with navy and red polka dots!  It was my grandmothers (though I swear I never saw her wear this)  Having a scarf that makes your bag stand out is really important.  When I went on my first trip in 2K7 I had a navy blue suitcase that had white, purple and hot pink designs splashed all over it.  I thought it was really original!

It was taken.  Someone who had the exact same bag saw (mine) and took it, got on their bus and left.  I saw theirs (which clearly was not new) with a blue tag (which I did not have).  I had to go through a huge thing with my travel lady to go to their hotel and get my bag and then they had to bring my bag back to me.  It was drama – about 6 hours of me freaking out!  So now I have a bright scarf wrapped neatly around the handle so hopefully no one “accidentally” takes it.

2. I always bring more clothes than I need because you know what – you never know.  You just don’t know!  So do I bring a lot of stuff I don’t necessarily end up wearing, yes…but has their been times where I have thanked my lucky stars I brought that extra swimsuit (I bring 3 for a week-long Caribbean vacation) or pair of socks I swore I would not wear – yes!

When I went to the DR for my friend’s wedding, I forgot to bring a cardigan or a sweater.  Well at night, after the disco and after my hours of conversation with the best man (long story) I had to do the walk of shame back to my room in a tank top and it was cool.  I shivered while hustling as quick as my flip-flops would carry me to the other side of the resort and while watching the shows each evening.  By the way, I bring 4 sandles/flip-flops and one pair of runners in case I go on a day trip sometimes running shoes are more comfortable and logical for walking on various terrains.

3. Large shampoo and conditioner and body wash.  I leave whatever I have left for the maids.  Speaking of…

4. I always bring a little tote full of toothpaste, tooth brushes, shampoos, perfumes, nylons, toys, crayons and I leave these for the maids to share after the last day of my trip.  When i dated my ex, he had Raptors and Leafs gear and left it for the guys who drove the trolleys and the guys who filled the fridges (clearly we had beer stocked every day).  It’s just a nice little thing to do for people who work hard to make your week off a breeze!

5. Sun tan lotion. Sun screen is sold at most locations in the Caribbean, however it is very expensive!  They know you need it if you don’t bring it so they jack the price up mucho dollars!  So please don’t forget it, buy it in bulk and bring it with you!

6. A camera – cause really these memories you are going to make are amazing.  I always have a full album worth of pictures and take pictures of everything from the resort to my excursions and the people I am travelling with and the people I meet there!  I always wonder if the staff realize they are made famous on people’s Facebook and Instagram accounts as well as on websites like Tripadvisor?

7. A variety of medications.  I always bring a tray of meds that include Advil, gravol, NyQuil, my anxiety meds and my muscle relaxers.  I have gotten strep throat my last two vacations so I freak out and bring a bit of everything!

8. Something I don’t bring, but I do before I leave is photocopy all my ID.  My passport, drivers license, health card, health insurance card etc.  I leave it with someone who is not traveling with me as well as a copy of my travel plans – hotel name and phone number, flight info etc.

So these are the things that I have found to be helpful with my 7 years of travel experience – I am sure as I continue I will have more and I will update accordingly, so far, I am packed and ready to go for my DR trip this year!  I am so excited I cannot handle it!  My whole family is going (12 of us) and I really just want to get to the airport and on the plane!  Lots of pics and details to follow!

So tell me…what is your travel must have?

Love Nicole

 

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Christmas Music – two blogs in one day

I need to thank the people at CHFI 98.1 for playing Christmas Music all day the whole month of December up until and including Christmas Day. I love it. It brings back amazing memories. Memories that include my dad singing in the living room, me dancing around the tree, eating After Eights (after 8:00 at night of course) and of course flicking the damn clicker on the record player cause it rarely worked right, not dropping the new record! I still have those records and can almost always start singing the next song before it plays because of the many nights and years we kept this tradition going on.

Christmas music is the strongest, happiest memories I have of my dad and it is both a blessing and a curse. It touches me in ways I don’t want nor need to feel, but at the same time it’s so strong and I always hear the right song when I need it – as if HE planned it that way.

I decided since today may very well be my last blog of the year and I have no new baby news or man news or any news really that I would list my top 10 favourite Christmas Songs that bring back the best and sometimes saddest memories.

White Christmas – must be sung by Bing Crosby

This song my dad would sing randomly this time of year, it didn’t even need to playing, as soon as he saw snow I would hear his deep voice bellowing throughout the house and I would cringe knowing that it was snowing and I strongly dislike snow…

Frosty the Snowman – Gene Autry

Every year we watched the movie and every year my dad would get giddy and sing along, as would I (much more off-key then him). It was great.

The Christmas Song – Nat King Cole

Anything Nat King Cole sings sounds like heaven, and Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire is no different. It was quite the song. It always seemed very nostalgic for my dad. I never did ask why.

Here Comes Santa Claus – Elvis Presley

My dad loved Elvis so of course he loved this song and would sing it just like the King himself (without the hips gyrating because ewwww that would be gross…he was my dad!!)

Home for the Holidays – Perry Como/I’ll be Home for Christmas – Perry Como

I have never missed a Christmas at home and I never would have because to me, Christmas is family. Sometimes, when my mom left, I would lie in bed listening to this song knowing she should have been at our home for Christmas and she wasn’t. It was a hard song to listen to sometimes, but my dad always went above and beyond to create an amazing Christmas holiday.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer – Gene Autry

Just like Frosty, this song must be done by Gene Autry because his voice gave me Christmas chills. I associated his voice with Christmas and forever that will make me smile!!!

 Feliz Navidad – Jose Feliciano

This song was great because no matter how many times I have heard it I have NO IDEA what the words are as I don’t speak a lick of Spanish but my dad and I would fake it until the Chorus and then scream out the lyrics that we did know!

Jingle Bell Rock – Bobby Helms

The ultimate Christmas party song, another that I happily sang (horribly) with my dad over and over again for the past 20 years.

Christmas in Dixie – Alabama

Not as well-known as the above, but if you haven’t heard it, download it…its beautiful and makes me just relax and think of how wonderful my life is.

Toyland – (might be Perry Como)

I love this song because of this set of lyrics right here:

Childhood’s joy land

 Mi-istic merry toy land

Once you pass its borders

You can ne’er return again

I actually witnessed my dad tear up on more than one occasion the older he got and the less able he became when this song came on. Every time it’s on I either need to sit and reminisce or leave the room because it hurts so much knowing his last few years were those in pain and discomfort and he didn’t get to see all his grandbabies grow.

Okay so before I start crying, I am going to end with honourable mentions…songs I still love and that remind me of him, the best friend and dad a girl could ask for:

  • Joy to the World
  • It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year
  • Silver Bells
  • C.H.R.I.S.T.M.A.S
  • Blue Christmas
  • Santa Claus is Coming to Town (My fav. song to dance to)
  • Up on the House Top (another great song to dance to)

Thanks for taking this emotional journey with me and if you are looking for the above songs, I suggest Time Life Treasury of Christmas 2 CD set (or pretend I didn’t just recommend paying money for music and download it illegally from the internet).

Love Nicole

 

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Bye bye Scarborough – officially

My parents bought the Scarborough house in 1971. The story goes like this: 

Lil Webb lived at the house next to the one my parents would eventually buy. She was my grandparents age *late 50’s at that point I believe* and her and her husband knew my grandparents briefly. They told my parents to buy the home because a young “colored” couple had viewed the home and as the neighborhood was all Caucasian – it would be an issue to have a colored family move in next door.

Now I pause and ask you to not hold it against Lil or her husband for these remarks, being ignorant on race and religion was a lot different in 1971 than it is now and those comments would never have been acceptable to my parents.

My father liked the house enough as it had a pool (which was torn down in the 80’s due to wood rot) and a basement with a big enough room for a ping pong/pool table. This was what my father required. My mom liked it because it was still along the bus path and she didn’t drive at the time. The only thing missing was a garage. However after looking at other homes – a garage would have cost them a couple of thousand dollars more and the house was already at the top end of their budget – $28,000. YA I SAID $28,000. They carried a mortgage. Good grief, my car cost me $30,000. I still shake my head like crazy when I picture a home costing $28,000.

They moved in and quickly got to know their new neighborhood and their new neighbours. They soon got pregnant with son Paul who was born in 1973 and 8 years later, little me came along in the beginning of 1981. Our family lived their together in the Scarborough house until 1994 when my mother moved out and my parents divorced, but my father continued raising us in that home until his untimely death in July of 2013.

This home, the Scarborough home, has been the place where my brother and I could always come back to no matter how many times we left (and we both left at various times for various reasons) and it was my only home. Nowhere else had felt like home to me, not even the apartment I shared with my ex or the homes I lived in while I was attending University. However after my father’s passing, the heart of the home was gone. I came back to the house on July 21st after our final hospital visitation and this place was no longer my home. The soul of this $28,000 home was gone. I knew I would have to continue living it for some time, to catch my breath, to heal, to grow and to make my plan B, but it was now the place I was living. It wasn’t my home, it was my house. There is a massive difference.

I bought my home, as you all know in March and without even putting the Scarborough home on the market, I have received word that it has now officially sold. New owners will be taking over this house and creating their home in its four walls. We got what we wanted – a lot more than $28,000 that’s for sure – and as of July 23rd, it will no longer be the place my brother and I can come back to when life doesn’t’ work out as we feel it should. This thought hurts…I have no safe zone. It really makes this whole past year VERY real to me.

The new owners are so fortunate to have my neighbours and my schools and my stores and sidewalks and roads and trees…it really is a beautiful street and a nice neighborhood – even though it has changed A LOT in 42 years.

It’s time…to say goodbye and focus soley on my new home.  My new memories…building dreams within my four walls of Ajax.

Love

Nicole