Thursday, 30 November 2017

The Florizone Family Christmas Tree

Two years ago, we started a new tradition where we would finally stay in Calgary for the holidays and that when we were home, we would cut down a real tree and have that in our family room instead of an artificial tree.  Last time, we did it through the Junior Forest Ranger program which is a really good thing they have going on.  However, this year, we printed out a permit for $5, which is good for 3 trees, and headed down highway 22 and then 66 looking for that perfect Christmas tree.  We ended up parking in the parking lot for Moose Mountain and trying our luck there.


Despite having no snow back home, which was 20 minutes away, there was tons of snow in Elbow Valley.  It was really warm though and Finley was completely overdressed for the occasion haha. 


This was the first tree we came across and joked that it would be the perfect tree for Luci and Pizza haha. 


We came across a few almost good ones but they were either already turning brown or missing big chunks of tree.


So we kept looking and climbing.


Then came back down and looked some more 


But then we finally found it.  It actually didn't take that long to find it haha.   Like maybe 20 minutes from start to finish. 


So the girls watched as Greg started to saw the tree down.  He did make the girls + me  move for safety reasons of course.



But not before I took a photo of him taking the tree down haha. 



The girls were really excited to carry the tree back to the car, which ironically wasn't very far haha. We just took the long way to get it. 


If you follow me on any form of social media, you will have noticed that this year I bought Greg a christmas ornament of a car carrying a christmas tree.  It was a similar style car to his but it was yellow instead of green.  Canadian Tire didn't have any green but the yellow was close.  I thought it was perfect considering we were staying home this year and cutting down a tree.



We made it home and got it in the house after Greg trimmed it.  It turns out it was still too tall for our house so Greg had to do some more trimming.  If you are wondering why the tree looks so differently then the photo up above a bit, it's because it was kinda attached to another tree.  We should have cut both trees down haha.


yay the star fits!!


Greg trying to get the lights just right.  We didn't have any indoor lights so Greg found some random pink lights we bought at Target years ago just sitting in the garage so we used those instead haha.  It is a good thing that I switched out all of my ornaments last year for brightly coloured ones instead of my traditional red and natural looking ones because it definitely wouldn't have worked out.  


Penelope probably did the most decorating out of all of us.  She was really enjoying doing it all too. 


I don't think Pizza remembers all of this from last year but he seems to be staying away from the tree as far as i can see.  Both cats were playing around it Monday morning and a ornament fell of the tree and scared the crap out of her haha. Hopefully she stays out of the tree this year haha.


This is our tree in the daylight.  I hate it but I can't figure out how to make me not hate it.  I have no interest in restringing the lights and you can't find matching ones to add more and so it has been really frustrating.  I told Greg Sunday night that while I liked the idea of a real tree, i hated the idea of aesthetically.  I think when we do this again in 2 years, it will be the tree for upstairs and my fake tree will hang out down here where it all looks more cohesive and consistent.  There is no tree lit up in the dark photo because I hate it even more that way.  Despite my love for the color pink, I am hating on these pink lights.  But the girls and Greg love it and that's what matters most.  Right??

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Love For Lewiston

Love For Lewiston is a foundation that was created by the Olstad family + made official on what would have been Lewiston's first birthday on May 25th 2017.  The foundation was created to raise money and awareness for Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), to help families going through similar tragedies and to make sure that they were aware that they are not alone and to help the Olstad's share the lessons that Lewiston taught them during is short time on earth.  

You can read their whole story and everything that the foundation encompasses at www.loveforlewiston.ca but make sure you have some tissue but tears will be shed.  You have been warned.  

Lewiston danced his way into heaven on November 22nd, 2016 in his mama's arms.  Since then, the Olstad's have vowed to choose movement, bring joy and spread love in Lewiston's honour.  They have openly shared their struggle of dealing with the grief that comes along with losing a child but trying to move forward at the same time and living their best lives each and every day.  I have read instagram posts and cried along with Jessica over this past year and more as she tries to live her best life for Lewiston, for Swayzie, for her husband and her friends and family.  This is not our practice life and we must live intentionally and fully each and every day.  Lewiston and all the other sweet babes taken way too soon have taught us that. 



The heart logo was designed by friends of the Olstad's and is now recoginized around the world of what Lewiston represented and what he taught them and really all of us, in both his short life and even more so after he danced his way to heaven.  The heart encompasses their motto of:

Choose Movement
Bring Joy
Spread Love

For 2017, the foundation set a goal to raise $100,000 for SMA research.  They are SO CLOSE to this goal and have various fundraising options available to get that push over the edge in the next 5 weeks.  They have pins,tank tops and sweatshirts available on their website right now in both kids and adult sizing.  They just finished up a cocktail event where several fantastic local businesses created special Love For Lewiston Cocktails and donated all the money to the foundation.  A local business, Apostle Boutique designed a necklace with the Lewiston heart and had it for sale to help get them closer to their goal.  There is a dance class at The Sweat Lab hosted by Karleen Valencia on Friday night at 7pm.  All proceeds will go towards the foundation and there will be full sizes on all of their merchandise for you to purchase.  There are so many different ways to donate: You can purchase some apparel for your whole family or you can just flat out make a cash donation or you can buy a necklace.  And I know they will have even more great ways to raise money for research.




When I picked up my package from Jessica on Monday, it was so wonderful to finally get to meet her.  I have been following along on this journey for so long and even know we have never met, I felt like I knew her so well.  She has been so open and real as she tries to move forward in her life while dealing with the grief and sadness of losing her sweet baby boy.  Honestly, I have no idea how she does it but every single day she inspires me.  She inspires me to love my kids, to love my husband and to love my family and friends.  She inspires me to not let anything get me down.  She inspires me to live my best life each day.  Some days it is hard to do that but I try really hard. 

There is an old wives tale that says that everything happens for a reason.  I am not sure I have ever believed that until I joined the Olstad's on their journey with Lewiston.  Lewiston was brought to them for such a short time to teach them about love and the value of life and so that they could share these lessons with us.  I am grateful to have come across the instagram site and that I was able to help in some small way by purchasing an item from the foundation to help them reach that goal.  I will wear my shirt with love and joy and think of Lewiston each time that I do.  If you can help out the Love For Lewiston Foundation at all, please go to their website: loveforlewiston.ca or you can find them on Instagram at www.instagram.com/loveforlewiston.  Every little bit goes a long way to help finding a cure for SMA.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Finley Gets Her Braces Off!!

It has been 6 months, 1 week and 4 days since Finley got her braces on and yesterday she got them off.  When she was first told that she would be getting braces, she was sad that her teeth weren't going to be pushed up anymore because she thought that they made her unique.  6 months later and she is again feeling sad - but this time she is sad that she is getting the braces off.  


This was Finley the morning of May 16, 2017 before we left to get her braces on. 


This was Finley right after she got her braces on just before we boarded the elevator.  She has been back to the orthodontist every 6 weeks since May.  Each time they take the wire off and give the teeth a good clean.  They also make sure that her teeth are moving where they are supposed to be.  Then they replace the wire and we go on our way.  At one of our appointments, I don't remember which one, they put on a thicker wire for her.  She never noticed a difference between the thickness of wires. 

Last week, we went in for her final check up before getting her braces off yesterday.  Dr  H just wanted to make sure the teeth were where they were supposed to be and ready to have the braces removed.  They also took a cold of her mouth for her wire to be made.  


We had an early morning appointment at Finley's request and Dr H came and did another last minute check to make sure her teeth were good to go.  


This was when she removed her last bracket from Finley's mouth.  It was a very exciting moment.  


Next up was the wire that goes behind the back of Finley's teeth so that her teeth don't shift back.  At this point though, she was getting her mouth ready and make sure the back of her teeth were clean and dry.  Once that was done, they applied glue back there.


She then stuck foam, or something similar to foam, into her mouth to keep it open while the wire was being attached.  I have no idea how long she has to wear it  but I just tell her it is forever.  This changes the way she has to floss and it's gonna be a struggle for both of us until we get it under control.  


Once the glue was dry and the wire wasn't gonna go anywhere, they started the process of getting all of the glue off of her front teeth.  This was probably one of the longest parts of the process. 


Then they had to do another mold of her teeth with the braces off and the wire in place so that they could a retainer made for her to wear.  This takes like 30 seconds to do. She then got to pick out what color she wanted for her retainer and to nobody's surprise, she chose rainbow sparkle. 



The bracket that was in Finley's mouth.  You can see chunks of food in it which did not make me happy haha.  It looked far larger on the table then it did when it was in her mouth.  


And before we could leave, she had a photo shoot where they took photos of her mouth in every possible position and angle.  She felt really cool to be having a photoshoot haha.


Finally a smile with her braces off.  I can't believe how much different and older she looks with her braces off.  She has been obsessively checking herself in a mirror and is beyond happy when people notice her braces being gone.  They gave her a congratulations card for being finished and a gift certificate for a movie and snack at Landmark Cinemas.  What a super nice thing to do. 


After school, we headed back to the orthodontist office so we could pick up Finley's retainer.  She picked the sparkliest retainer and case she could find in true Finley fashion haha.  She has to wear the retainer a few hours at home after school and every night to bed.  It took awhile to get it to fit right in her mouth and to make room for her 2 teeth that are incoming.  She is to brush it before and after use and never ever wrap it in a paper towel because that is how they got lost and thrown out.  

So our 6 week visits to Dr H's office are now over and we are due to go back in March for a check up to make sure her teeth are still good and the retainer still fits.  

After we left our last appointment of the day there and were in the car, I gave Finley a bag of ju-jubes and she was so excited to have gummy candy again.  She also can't wait to eat popcorn and chips and meat with bones and liquorice and all the other fun stuff I wouldn't let her eat with her braces on haha. 

If anybody is looking for an orthodontist, I highly recommend Harfield Orthodontics over on Southport.  They are fantastic in so many ways.  The front line stuff are very friendly and accommodating and the ortho assistants (not sure of their correct name) are seriously so awesome.  They do such a good job of keeping the kids calm and explain why they are doing what they are doing.  Dr H is also really good at putting the kids at ease and talking to them about their interests and school and stuff.  I didn't shop around to look for a better price and perhaps I should have.  But at the end of the day, I was so comfortable with Dr H and his staff that I was happy with our choice to get all of Finley's work done.  And should any problems arise with Penelope, you can bet it will be Dr H who will be seeing her. 



Monday, 27 November 2017

A Bonus Christmas Tree

Usually the upstairs tree is the last to be decorated but since we are getting a real christmas tree this year, we did this one first.  I brought up the tree last Monday on our only free weeknight of the week to get it done.  


Finley + Penelope were tasked with the job of fluffing the tree since that is something that both Greg and I don't like or enjoy.  Turns out they don't really like it either. 


Every year the girls pick out new ornaments for this christmas tree.  This year, Finley picked Groot since she was super obsessed with all things Groot and Penelope, of course, picked a glitter poop emoji with a santa hat.  


The girls decorated the entire tree happily except for one thing that Greg insists on doing every single year.  


He got a squirrel or maybe it is a mouse that sits on top of the bonus room tree.  It is ugly and I hate it but I relent because I am very anal on our main floor tree.


Greg and I almost never ever get christmas ornaments anymore but this year, I bought a him a little yellow car with a tree strapped on it since that is what we will be doing (or already did based on when I am writing this haha) and I got a really pretty starbucks mug ornament.  Penelope was pretending to drink out of it while we were decorating it. 


Instead of using a traditional tree skirt under our tree, we, or I guess I really, decided to use a table cloth that belonged to my Aunty Sandy.  My Aunty Leslie had given it to me last Christmas but it doesn't fit on our table and want to have it displayed.  I think it is perfect and the girls really love it. 


And here is the finished product.  I love Christmas so very much and I especially love Christmas trees.  Although the random decor on this tree drives me a little crazy, I love what a reflection of our kids growing up it is.  It is fun to look back at the ornaments they have picked out each year and remember what they were once obsessed about.  Stay tuned for a post about our main floor christmas tree!!

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Altra Running Torin 2.5s

Saturday, I went downstairs to my workout area to go for my run and I was putting on my Altra running shoes when I noticed that the heel on one of them was so cracked and starting to shred.  The weird thing was that I didn't notice when I ran on Tuesday so it either happened during that run or during the few days where I didn't run at all.  Every pair of Altras that I own have done this except for my Lonepeaks (knock on wood) but none were as fast or as bad as this pair.  For the record I own 6 or 7 pairs of Altras because I love these shoes so much.  I started wearing these shoes on March 25th and have between 6 + 700 km on them which would mean time for retirement but the Altra rep told me I could get about 1000km on mine since I am so small.  I have never gotten this many km on any shoes I own but the problem with these was that I wasn't feeling like they were wearing out and they weren't causing me any pain so I thought I would be good for a little while longer.  And, we all know that my heels rarely ever touch the ground when I run haha so you would expect the damage to be on the front of my shoes and not my heels.  


This is the damage on these altras.  The other shoe had no damage anywhere.  Some of my altras have it on both heels and some just on one.  It is a frustrating problem to have.  One pair did it super quick but Altra wouldn't help me out because I bought them from Amazon and not them or one of their retailers here in Canada.  And while Amazon Canada was easy to deal with, these were purchased from American Amazon and I gave up trying to deal with them.  I have come to realize that they are not the greatest company to deal with in any form. 


Luckily for me, Greg had found these Torin's back in August for me at a good price and they had been sitting in our closet, just waiting to be loved by me and now they have that opportunity to do so. I actually had forgotten what they looked like since I hadn't looked at them in about 3 months and was especially happy when I opened up the box and saw how beautiful they were. 


These are a newer model then what I had previously but still not the newest model available.  Because of my insistence to buy these shoes on sale or clearance, I am usually a model or two behind depending on how good a deal I get and how many pairs I buy haha.

These feel much more stiff and tight then my previous pair but that could be because they are new haha.  Most importantly, they feel really good when I run in them as I just tested them out this morning on my treadmill and I don't feel like my feet will be blistering at all, not they really have previously.  

Despite their less then great customer service or social media interaction and the wear in my heel, these shoes are super amazing.  I recommend them to anybody looking for new shoes.  They are a neutral shoe and are zero drop shoe which is a must for me when running.  They used to be really hard to find here in Calgary but more and more stores are popping up with them!  Even if you end up paying full price because you are not cheap like me, you will still be satisfied with the product.  

Time to start looking for my next pair.....hopefully at a great price!

Friday, 17 November 2017

Friday Favorites #8

It's been awhile since I have done a Friday Favourite so this one is long.  My MacBook died last month and I had no idea how much I used it until it no longer worked.  My reading of blogs and writing my own blogs are done primarily on that device while watching TV with Greg after procrastinating all day about reading and writing haha. 

The theme this week is a mix of new things and "new to me" things.

1.  Well this doesn't really fit the theme but the rest do.  Finley started the school year in Grade 3 and then was moved to a 3-4 class.  In an effort to get the students comfortable with one another, her teacher had them write a Facebook page and talk all about their likes and interests.  I have noticed that she loves all things math, Taylor Swift and being active whether it is outdoors or indoors.  It made me happy to read all about her likes and interests.  None of it was at all surprising though haha. 


2.  My fellow lulu-loving friend Alex has been obsessed with scrunchies since they first came out in the 80s or whenever it was.  I made fun of her constantly for having them even when Lululemon came out with a bunch last year.  I bought 2 scrunchies for the girls at SeaWheeze in Vancouver and liked them a lot.  I had cut my hair in August so it is too short for the massive ones so I couldn't borrow theirs.  Last week, I was in there and bought the blue one and I loved it so much, I bought another one this week when I was in there.  If you have super thick and heavy hair like me then you will love these.  These make me so not afraid to grow out my hair again because they can handle the weight of it. They cost $8 which is a bit pricy but trust me, if you have hair like mine or Finley's, it is well worth the expense.  


3.  I have wanted a pair of reading socks since I saw them at Chapters a few years ago.  However, they were always way too big for my small feet.  Every season they would come out with new ones and every season I would try them on and every season I would leave empty handed because they were always too big to wear.  Last winter, they released kid versions of the reading socks which made me very happy.  However, despite finally fitting my feet size, they were too tight in my massive calves thanks to all the running i do.  I officially gave up hope on ever owning a pair.  Until Monday.  I was at Walmart grabbing something and saw these hanging in the seasonal section at the front of the store.  I tried them on, not expecting them to fit and to my surprise, they actually did.  They might not be as pretty as the chapter ones but they fit and they are pink and they were only $8.  I can't wait to spend cozy mornings and days in my reading socks!  Maybe I will actually get some reading done haha.


4.  A week ago, Taylor Swift's new album came out and three out of four of us were dying to hear it all for the first time.  Can you guess which one wasn't? I have been a huge TSwfit fan since the very beginning and by default so have my kids.  Or at least since their beginnings haha. It was the longest break between her releasing albums ever and it was worth it. I love this album even if it doesn't sound like anything she has ever done.  It's hard to pick a favorite song because I love them all so much!!!!  Haha I am starting to sound like Finley but seriously go find it on iTunes or Apple Music!


Now to the "new to me" portion of this Friday Favorites.

5.  I purchased this Lululemon CRB for $6 on the Facebook auction site.  Yes you read that right, $6 and there is nothing wrong with it either! CRB's are my favourite workout tank and I have a bazillion of them (ok not quite but I think last count was 32).  I have a lot because sometimes I can wear 2 or 3 a day depending on what my activities look like.  


6.  I have begun to notice that every time I bake or cook I make huge messes - mostly on myself and I have started to notice marks on some favourite clothes which does not make me happy at all.  So I found this apron on the Facebook auction site for $1.  It says Born To Shop Forced To Cook which made me laugh.  So far I have only worn it once because I keep forgetting about it until I notice I have crap all over my clothes. Hopefully I remember to wear it come Christmas baking season.


7.  I love the look of winter boots but hate winter boots on me.  For some reason, I cannot find this style or Sorel style of boot that fits me in my heel.  It is so frustrating and has left me without any boots for awhile now.  I found this on a Facebook buy n sell site for $20.  They still are not as snug as I would like on my heel but they are the best I have ever found thus far.  Well worth the money.