Winners of My Favourite Things Day 4 - Modern Mama

Hello everyone and I am so sorry for the delay.  Yeesh!!  Christmas is in three days!  How did that sneak up on me so fast?  I still have so much wrapping to do! And now, in the spirit of giving and thank you so much to Connie Peters from Modern Mama the lucky winners of the three Modern Mama Membership Perks Cards are:

April F.
Jillian G.
Tara F.

Check your emails ladies,

Connie will be contacting you shortly to send you your cards and we will see you at the next fabulous Modern Mama event!

My Favourite Things: Day FIVE - Tweeling!!

"Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens..." ~Maria, The Sound of Music

I have said it before and I will repeat it again....I am not crafty.  And thus, I love all of the amazing artisans and craftspeople that abound in Edmonton.  Sally Abbott of Tweeling is one of these such artists.  Her medium of choice....socks!!

Yes, you heard right, socks.  And the amazing things this mama can make with a pair of socks is nothing short of genius!  Her staple character is of course the Sock Monkey and these cuddly monkeys come in so many different colours, variations, and themes that are only limited by yours or your child's imagination.

Connie the Garden Fairy Sock Monkey

Here is what Sally has to say in her own words:

I'm a mum of boy/girl twins and they are pretty much the inspiration behind the things that I make. They are also the inspiration in the the naming of my shop, Tweeling means twin in dutch. They both help with the naming of new critters and product testing. Such as if you tie a monkey to your book shelf will his tail fall off or if you hold a bunny by his ear while jumping on the bed will he become a one eared bunny? The answer to both those questions are no, everything is double sewn. They also test for how cuddly a bunny is while watching a movie or reading a book or what kind of food monkeys like to eat at tea parties.

All my sock creations are one of a kind, and I couldn't duplicate them even if I tried. When I start with a pair of socks I don't usually know what I'm going to end up with. The more I sew the more their personality comes out.

I think that everyone is an individual and that children should be encouraged to be individuals. So if you have a one of a kind kid (or grownup for that matter) at home why not consider getting them a one of a kind gift.

Sally also does some amazing custom work and will try almost anything.  I asked her a few months ago if she could make the Natural Urban Mamas Flower Babies for me and she agreed.  They turned out even better than I imagined.  These little baby faces come with me to all my trade shows and workshops and often just hang out with the kids at home!!

Flower Babies!

You can find all sorts of fun and exciting critters at Tweeling's online Etsy shop and here are a few of my faves that she has in stock right now.  I am so loving the fuzzy little bears!

You can find Tweeling critters in her Esty shop HERE, or find her FaceBook page HERE.

Sally is offering a 10% Discount to all of my readers and followers on her in-stock items at the Esty shop until the end of December.  Just enter the discount code 'naturalurbanmama' at checkout.  And for you local mamas, you can pick up your items from her and save on some shipping too.

Now go get one of these great one-of-a-kind gifts to put under the tree for a little someone special!

Happy (8 more days of) Shopping, Natasha~

P.S.  These are the Sock Monkeys that my littles are getting. (Yes, they picked them out themselves and then I promptly took them away when they were not looking and have hidden them until Christmas morning!!)

30 Days of Truth - Day SIX: Something I hope I NEVER have to do.

Like almost everyone else in the world, at this time of year I think about my family.  I get super nostalgic at Christmas and remember all of the little things that made my Christmases so special as a kid.  Mom taking us to stroll down Candy Cane Lane, the Santa Claus parade (when it was still outside!) tobogganing and building snow forts with my siblings, all of us getting to stay up late to watch The Sound of Music on our ghetto TV channel (those of you who did not have cable as a kid know what I am talking about!).  And now I get to start all kinds of new traditions with my kids.  Ones I hope they will look back on one day with nostalgia as well.

But this post is supposed to be about something that I hope to NEVER have to do in my life.  There is a lot in my life that I hope I never have to do, but I keep coming back to this one thing, and it is about my family and my siblings.

I grew up in a family of four kids, me (the oldest), Brother #1, Brother #2 and Baby Sister.   We were your typical siblings, there were fights, teasing, bickering and also a lot of love and laughter.  We grew up in a single parent home and didn't always have a lot of material things, but we always had each other and especially at Christmas that meant the most.

There was also this funny kind of grouping with us as well.  Brother #1 and Baby Sister were the fair-haired children. They were the white blonde children with baby blue eyes that everyone oo'ed and ah'ed over.  And then there was Brother #2 and myself.  The dark ones.  Dark hair, darker eyes and this made us the other pair, the ones who did not shine so bright (on the outside).  Regardless of our looks we were a pretty close family, and even though we technically came from a 'broken home' we all turned out very well.  Not a criminal record amongst us, no one got knocked up and we all graduated High School and then some.  Well, almost all of us....

In the summer of 1993, just three days after his 17th birthday, Brother #2 was killed in a totally freak car accident.  It was a beautiful sunny Saturday in August and he was on his way to see a friend in a local rodeo.  At 10:30 AM that morning something happened, he lost control of his vehicle and crashed head-on with an oncoming pick-up truck.  His vehicle burst into flames and we have been told that he died on impact (I guess this is some kind of solace).

At the time of the accident Brother #2 and Baby Sister were at a Christian summer camp in Northern Alberta.  She was the first family member that the authorities were able to track down and so my Baby Sister, at the age of 15, was the first one to be notified of my brother's death.  My mother and step-father and I were at a retirement party outside of Edmonton at the time and they were dropping me off at my apartment at around five PM.  We were very surprised to see my Baby Sister emerge from a vehicle with two of the camp pastors when we got home.  And then they told us what had happened....

...and THIS is what I hope and pray that I NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVER have to do in my life.

I NEVER want to have to hear the words that my child has died.  I witnessed first hand my mother's heart breaking into a million tiny pieces at that moment and the primal sound that emanated from her body still haunts me to this day.   My mother has a very strong faith and belief system and I know that it is the one thing that carried her through that day and all the days that followed.  And I am pretty sure that if you asked her she would tell you that this is the one thing she never wanted to have to do in her life.

My family was forever changed that summer.  I was now the lone dark one and I felt that.  I missed him...I still miss him.  Especially at this time of the year.  I wonder what he would be like today.  Who his wife would be, how much our kids would love each other.  How good it would feel to have his huge arms wrapped around me for one more hug (he was 6' 2" and 240 lbs when he died)!

These things I can not have, no matter how hard I wish for them.  So, I will take my kids to Candy Cane Lane, we will make the coolest snow fort on our block and we will stay up late and watch The Sound of Music all curled up together on the couch.  And because he is Brother #2's namesake, I will hug my son just a little bit tighter too.

Natasha~

Desmond Hans Hovis
August 11, 1976 - August 14, 1993