six months ago : today

Six months ago, this day seemed so very, very, far away.

Six months ago, he was fighting for his life, with machines breathing for him, pumping his heart for him and cleaning his blood for him. 

Six months ago, for the most terrifying five minutes of my life, I was thinking I'd have to plan a different kind of celebration of life. 

Six months ago, he was my tiny baby boy and all I could do was hold his hand and hope that my love and strength flowed into him like the cocktail of medicines did via his intravenous lines. 

infusing love and strength 

Six months ago, he had to learn to walk again. And then run. And then climb. 

Six months seems like forever, and somehow also not that long ago. We have daily reminders of what was and the challenges ahead, but they are getting smaller and smaller as we get further and further away from that time. 

TODAY, he is 8 years old! 

Today, he is wearing the new T-Rex shirt that I got him for his birthday. He made Holiday Rice Krispie treats to share with all his classmates. He ran and jumped in the snow this morning as we took the dog for a walk before school. 

Today, he will swim at his swimming lessons like the fish-boy he is and as usual, he'll outpace most of the other kids in his class.

Today, I am getting everything ready for his birthday party tomorrow and have never been happier to make this many cupcakes in all my life! 

Today, I am grateful for so much. For the immense and wonderful health care team that brought him back to us. For so many friends and family who held us up and provided us the needed strength and support to make it through the past six months. For his teachers and coaches and friends who don't see a kid with a disability and who continue to challenge him to grow and learn and be his very best self every day. 

Today, I am the proud, thankful, and overjoyed mother of this KID!

Birthday Cuddles

Happy Birthday Beautiful Boy!

{I love you ONE}


Being a feminist is hard... or is it?

Staying warm is hard too!

Sometimes being a feminist is hard. I mean outside of the obvious stuff like the continual oppression and marginalization of women, our bodies, our opinions and all that. I am talking about the other stuff. 

The things that I used to be able to enjoy because of a deliberate ignorance or wilful blindness to how it made women look or feel. Oh, yes, I hear you Katy Perry and even you Madonna, and you too, Juliette Binoche. There are days when it totally sucks to be a feminist.

Like when that new song by Maroon 5 comes on the radio, and I really do like that Adam Levine and his ability to pull off skin tight pleather and make it look sexy as hell, and then I listen a bit closer and catch the drift of the lyrics and it all seems rather aggressively stalker-ish to me. And then I watch the video and IT IS ABSOLUTELY ABOUT CREEPY STALKER ADAM! I get that it is art and meant to provoke and blah, blah, blah, but why does so much art always have to have as its subject the terrorizing, objectification, and/or attacking of women?  

Or like when everyone is going on and on about how they can't wait for their annual viewing of everyone's favourite holiday movie, Love Actually, and all I can think of is how every single story line in that movie trots out a tired old misogynistic trope of the female movie character and none of the story lines has a women as the MAIN focus. Not once does this movie even veer in the vicinity of the Bechdel Test. Emma Thompson is the tired housewife whose husband is on the verge of cheating on her and she just has to suck it up like a good girl. Hugh Grant, charming as he is, has a crush on the "chubby" girl from the wrong side of the tracks. The weird and twisted obsession that Andrew Lincoln's character has with his best friend's wife - and then she KISSES him? Laura Linney may have a pseudo-main-story line, but it is just so bloody painful to watch, as she sacrifices any happiness of her own for her brother. And the "I'm going to America to get me some hot girls", well... do I really have to say anything about that story line?  

These days, the only thing that saves the movie just a teeny bit for me is the relationship that Martin Freeman and Joanna Page strike up in the most awkward of circumstances and the fact that little Jojen Reed (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) looks like a ginger version of my kid. So, fine, I'll watch it. BUT, I am not going to like it that much and I will be rolling my eyes A LOT!

Being a feminist is hard when I am trying to watch a Disney movie with my kids. I grew up with Beauty and the Beast, The Little MermaidCinderella and Sleeping Beauty. I know all the words to all the songs for all the movies, I had a MAJOR crush on the Beast when he changed back to the handsome prince and have always loved the idea of having a Fairy Godmother to look out for me. Nowadays though, things are different. And even though I don't actually do this (for fear that they may never want to watch a movie with me again), I feel like I should be pausing these movies every few minutes for short feminist lessons. NO, it is not right that the Beast took Belle away from her father and locked her up - that's called kidnapping and it is illegal. NO, what Ursula is saying to Ariel is not the way to "get a guy to love you". Actually... let's just fast forward this whole bit.... because it is really quite awful. And while Frozen may have it's own feminist issues and is not perfect, Anna is right - you really CAN NOT marry a man you just met that day!

Now, of course I know that these instances of hardship while being feminist are not actually that hard. That there are women who have been murdered because of the simple fact that female is their gender, that being a woman and having an opinion on something makes you a target for threats and hate these days. That there still exists a pay gap between men and women doing the exact same job and that for most girls and women in the world, an education is a privilege and not a right. 

But those little things, they do matter too. The choices that we make every day add up. Not listening to or buying music that is clearly about violence towards women is a choice you can make. Choosing to watch movies with your kids that don't relay the tired old messages of the prince saving the princess or that girls being pretty (or boys being strong and hard) is all that is needed to succeed, is a choice you can make. Saying something to that friend who is making a really sexist joke at a party, is a choice you can make. Supporting organizations that are working to provide education for girls around the world is a choice you can make. 

It is not actually that hard to be a feminist. Because if you believe that all people are entitled to the same civil rights and liberties and can be intellectual equals regardless of gender, then guess what? You are a feminist. 

Yes, some issues or habits or things that you used to not really care about, or perhaps didn't pay attention to or think about that deeply are going to come up right in your face and make you question both yourself and whatever that thing is. And while this may suck for a bit, trust me, in the end, we will all be better for it! 


Feminist Fare Friday: The Christmas Gift Guide Edition

Everyone's got one.

A Christmas Gift Guide that is.

I've got a few ideas that I hope you'll like, and that may make that someone special on your list very, very happy this coming Christmas morning.

So, without further ado, I am going to don my helper shopping elf hat, put on my sparkly shoes and get to it!

(Disclaimer: I have not received compensation for any of these recommendations, they are simply products/people/companies that I think are awesome.)

1. CanvasPop

CanvasPop is a Canadian company that will take any digital file (Instagram, Facebook photos, or from your camera/computer file) and make it into a brilliant piece of artwork for your walls. Get those great shots off your camera and Instagram feeds and display them on your walls. You can make a collage, do a tryptich of canvases, or think big and do a whole gallery wall or series of canvases. They even include the hanging hardware and those little bumper thingies with all of their canvases (it's the little things that make me such a fan). I have one huge wall in our Natural Urban Home that will soon be covered with 6 new canvases and I can't wait to see how it is going to look when they are all hung! And did I mention that their customer service is beyond exceptional? I had already received 3 of the canvases and while the quality of the printing and craftsmanship was excellent, I wasn't 100% satisfied with the size that I had ordered. I called them to see what could be done and within minutes, I had new proofs to approve, a small charge to my Paypal account and new canvases being reprinted for me, exactly as I want them!

If you use this link to order from CanvasPop you'll get a sweet little discount too!

2. Lostmy.Name

For the past few weeks I have been seeing the Facebook ads for this company popping up all over my timeline. I eventually clicked on it one day and it took me to the website where I discovered these super sweet personalized story books. 

I love that this is a company of dads (and an uncle), that they started this as a DIY project, and that they are making magic and memories for kids all over the world. I have ordered one for my daughter and one for my nephew and can't wait to see the look on their faces when they realize that the books are about them! And bonus feature for bilingual kids, you can also order the books in French, Spanish and Dutch. You've still got a few days to get your order in for Christmas as the cut-off date is December 9th. 

3. Salgado Fenwick

I have been a fan of this local #YEG company for years. They are one of the main reasons I visit our downtown Farmer's Market so often in the summer and because of those visits, The Consort and I have a nice little collection of their wearable art in our wardrobes. The two talented women behind Salgado Fenwick make t-shirts, sweatshirts, leggings and pillows featuring their original hand-drawn artwork. Everything is silkscreened in small batches right here in Edmonton, Alberta and sold online, at craft fairs, and at their newly opened brick and mortar store as well. I love that each season they create a new and limited edition collection and I know that I'll continue to add to ours as the years go by! Local, wearable, art - the trifecta of reasons to shop with them!

I call her Zena, eagle warrior.

4. BroBrick Soap

Last weekend I attended the Royal Bison Art & Craft Fair and stumbled upon these soaps. The Consort is a notoriously hard man to buy for, as he is always saying things like, "I don't need anything" and "Don't worry about me"... Why doesn't he understand that I LIKE TO GIVE GIFTS! Anywho.... the one thing he does like is soap, nice smelling, manly soap. And you can't get any more manly then these BROBRICKS. With names like Cedar & Beer, Barber Shop, and Leather Scrub and a tag line that says "Smack the Filth Off!", you really can't go wrong putting a few of these in your man-dude's stocking this year!

BroBrick Soaps

5. One Red Bead

My friend Mandy is an inspiration to me and many others as well. She is also one of the driving forces behind the India Nepal Yoga Project, a grassroots organization that is working to heal the wounds of trafficked girls and women in that part of the world. One of the missions of the INYP is to assist in the creation of sustainable means for the financial future of those effected by trafficking and HIV/AIDS. On her most recent trip in Nepal, Mandy had a dream one night about one red balloon. The next day, after some brainstorming with the INYP group and the residents of an HIV/Aids hospice, they came up with the idea that blossomed into ONE RED BEAD. 

One Red Bead

The red tibetan healing bead is crafted from yak bone and is representative of the precious girl, affected by the devastation that is human trafficking and HIV/AIDS. Not only do the women feel a sense of pride and purpose in hand-crafting these wonderful bracelets, but the bracelet itself offers awareness, hope and support. 100% of the profit from the sale of these bracelets goes directly to help those living with HIV/AIDS and girls rescued from trafficking. This is the kind of giving that truly makes Christmas wonderful. Give a beautiful gift to someone you love and give the gift of hope to a girl or woman a world away. Order HERE. 

There you have it folks.

The 2014 Stay at Home Feminist Christmas Gift Guide!

Now, go get that shopping done so that everything arrives in time.

Merry, Happy!