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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Remembering some highlights in 2014 with a big finale!

There is so many memories and highlights! Here is just a few......
January 2014 I turned 41.
-I made a bucket list. I accomplished three out of twelve so far!
-We celebrated the Chinese New Year! "Xin Nian Kuai le!"
-I saw Keith Urban with my oldest daughter. Keith came over and kissed my daughter on her cheek! 
February one of our sons turned 11!
 -Our first snow fall was February 2014!
-Some of my children wanted to appear as quest bloggers.
- I was introduced to Quantum Meditation. Quantum means energy and it's simply just learning to be aware of it. Quantum Meditation I would like to continue to learn.
March 2014 one of our daughters turned 14 and a son turned 20.
- We had a Christmas celebration in March with birth family. 
- I was sick with a viral infection in my throat for six weeks.
- I brought my oldest daughter to Los Cabos and we swam with the dolphins. When I can, I spend more one on one time with our children going to different destinations!
In April we had a daughter turn 24, a daughter turn 14, and a son turn 8. Also a granddaughter that turned 1.
- I attended a celebration of life for our Grandpa Joe. 
-Our team raised $2000.00 for MS and we ran, walked and rolled 10 km!
- Easter involved too much chocolate "note" for 2015.
- We had a successful spring adoption party!
Support people, after all - that's all we have!
May 2014 we had a son turn 14, and a son turn 12.
-We started looking for new adventures and we found the "Hole in the Wall"
-Emily (our littlest daughter) was riding on her first horse!
-During a routine hike, two of my sons and myself thought we had to fight off a cougar, realizing it was just a scared deer being chased by a dog!
- I read the book, "Learning to keep your love on"
No birthday's in June, except for a dear friend, and my dad's 75th!
- Emily enjoyed the park wheelchair swing for the first time.
-Went with a friend for her birthday to see Les Miserables.
-We visited the Qualicum Cheese Works twice!
-Two of our boys went on a salmon fishing adventure!

-We built another tree-fort.
-I met my two brothers for the first time, reconnected with an older sister all during my Dad's 75th birthday!
- To end June, I left on a road trip with eleven children across BC visiting family along the way!
Above is some of us, and below is some of us stepping back in time!
July 2014 my husband aged....he turned 46. One of our sons turned 14, another 6 and our littlest daughter turned 7.
- Our road trip ended two weeks later!
- In July we went on our annual Victoria trip and having dinner at Red Robbins.
-We spent most of the summer swimming, boating, quading, go-carting, camping and having endless hiking adventures!
-My husband went racing with Rusty Wallace's Race car!

August 2014 our one son turned the joyful age of 16!
-In August we camped at Comox Lake with friends.
-And I went on a hiking road trip across the States.

September 2014 one of our sons turned 21, while a daughter turned 19! 
-In September there was a public school strike, however we started homeschooling promptly involving our public schooled children.
-We continued to swim at our local lakes and rivers in September!
-We launched "Emily's Angels" 
 "Emily's Angels" continue until our goal is reached! Please msg me if you'd like to attend an awesome party Feb 21st, 2015! Judy's 70th Birthday Party! This event needs RSVP's and I hear it's not an event to miss! Live music, dancing and much much more! 
No birthdays in October! YES! 
-For Thanksgiving we farm hopped and roasted hot dogs outside.
-We continued to collect shells for Emily.
-We had a Halloween Party!
November 2014 one of our sons turned 10, and our little man turned 3! No more babies! 
-In November our "Emily's Angels" fundraiser hit its peak!
-We attended two craft fairs.
-We were featured in three different News Papers.
-We continued to hike up Notch Hill.
-I went to see Oprah in Seattle!
-We had an early visit from Santa!
-I shaved my mothers head and three of her friends for positive support, due to cancer.
December went quickly.
-We had a Paddington Bear adventure.
-We had a successful adoption Christmas party with an amazing surprise visitor!
-We celebrated Christmas here with most family.
If you're interested in adopting, please visit your local Children's and Families Ministry office. Adopting children of course, not stuffed bears!

To end 2014, I now not only advocate for adoption. For large families. I advocate for acceptance of difference. To unleash your true you. To teach your children to be their true self. This is the only way to receive true happiness - Me. "I finished my arm sleeve from a wonderful tattoo artist and friend! "Thank you Andrea"
Our 2014 year was much more then the highlights I shared. I have favorite posts I wrote, including the "Song Bird" 
I have very fond memories. I have some soured ones too but I haven't let those define me. Life is quite mysterious and forever changing on a daily basis. A moment back in April 2014 during Grandpa Joe's celebration of life stuck with me. It was when my oldest daughter read about "The Dash" What does your line mean between your birth and death date? Have you filled your dash with everything you have wanted to store there so far? I know I haven't. My question is, what's stopping you from filling it? Back in November 2014, when I spent the weekend with Oprah at "The life you want" workshop, I learned that nothing stops us. I can say it's having sixteen children, three dogs, a grand baby, and a husband however that's still excuses. We all can do anything if we believe we can, and if we really want too. So I leave 2014 empowered. Even today, December 30th we had our last picnic outside at the beach and I felt rejuvenated, this is what my soul craves..... The outdoors. Nature. Living. Experiencing. My questions for you to ask yourself while we move into a brand new year, "Have you truly started living? Experiencing? Are you your genuine self? Or are you pretending to be someone to please others?  I can guarantee from experience if you're constantly trying to please another, while hiding your true self - you will never be genuinely happy either. For me, I don't want my dash from birth to death to not resemble me. You know, I really really love my forties. I'm finally finally unleashing the true me and it feels good. Scary because some people don't like it. I've always been a people pleaser but I'm warning you, 2015 is about teaching myself, my children and possibly my readers to unleash your true self. Fill that dash with you! Live happily. Jump out of that airplane! You don't want to marry and have children!? GOOD! Don't! Do what makes you happy! I have sixteen children and I'm not afraid to tell them I will love them anyway......."Cheers to a New Year of being you!" To conclude, if anyone thinks I've lost my marbles, or I'm going through a mid-life crisis - who cares! Try saying that out loud, "Who cares" but I do stress - be yourself and live!
AND that's my year end! 

Friday, December 26, 2014

Our 2014 Christmas Photo Reflection

2014's Christmas was another success!

Board Games!
 Our annual Christmas Eve PJ night!
 Christmas morning! AND believe it or not, there is only two presents each!
 Our oldest hillbilly son!
 Grand babe standing in front of her gift from Grandma and Grumps!
 Our littlest daughter "Emily" loves opening gifts. (She had more then others) "oops"
 Sparring equipment for Christmas!
 My two oldest daughters. I swear I look a little crazy here. (I probably am)
 "Daddy's cake" 

Christmas came as fast as I thought. It was very nice spending time with every one in the comfort of our own home. I wasn't able to take many photos. So unfortunately these are some of not many more! Please be safe during the rest of the holiday. For us - it's planning, preparing and moving into January 2015!  

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Moment one.

"Bitter sweet" seems to be my two words lately. I feel very solemn. It's Christmas Eve. Pretty soon I'm turning off the internet for a few days. So I thought I'd write my updated thoughts. I was awake almost all night thinking about absolutely everything that seems to be challenging lately. Christmas we kept simple. A few sentimental "practical" gifts each. Time is an essence, and that's why I decided to turn off the internet. We have asked for spending time together without handheld devices, computers and games. (Unless they're board games) Human interaction definitely lacks with this generation. Christmas Eve.....I missed my other mother due to feeling ill. Chemotherapy just destroys the immune system. It was nice for my father to visit bearing gifts but this Christmas seems to lack some joy. Some health. While lying awake last night, watching the clock every hour I thought about what I'm going to write about. It struck me. I'm going to be as real as I can, sharing my thoughts, my trials as a mother, a daughter - an individual sharing her emotions right here. You're probably wondering why on earth would I want to do this? You might not want to continue to read. I'm going to because this is one of my support systems. Sharing. Writing. Releasing everything. Not just for myself. "I know I'm not alone" Every one has challenges from time to time. I know so many right now as I write. I want them (you) to know that it's perfectly normal and healthy to release. I never was this emotional person. However now as more challenges surface, this is my outlet. I thank you now for your support continuing to read while I share our challenging journey starting now. I'm going to post each title by moments. This is moment one.  I would like to write a non-fiction book one day. In fact I have started. It will take me ten to twenty years to complete however when it's finished, it will be as raw as I can be without causing anyone grief. 
Moment one. Christmas Eve. As we're getting ready for family to arrive; to enjoy each others company I feel definitely "bitter sweet" I missed my mother today. I could see my fathers hurt in his eyes. He was also holding back like I do. Here I am, like my father, the strong one. I have been watching my youngest daughter laughing and enjoying herself lately. Finally after years of sleepless nights, syringing apple sauces and pedialyte our daughter is in a healthy happy space. All I can think of is how we're going to step back in time a thousand times over. I can't stress enough that I do understand our daughter's surgery has to happen to enhance her life. "I know, I know, I know" I wrote in a previous post on how I felt as a helpless mother when our older son underwent his lung surgery. I was strong for him. However I broke emotionally alone in the hallway of the hospital. I lost it emotionally when I didn't have change for a coffee and the debit machine was shut down. We can't control our emotions all the time, and I don't believe that it's healthy too. So this, I will be sharing with you (when I can) to help me personally get through this as a helpless feeling momma. My husband, another strong soul has stressed his frustrations. Life isn't meant to be easy. I know all these "moments" I will share will one day be hindsight. The light always seems to shine at the end of the experience. For now, it's just the beginning of something brighter, it's just climbing through that dark tunnel first. This is about my emotions. Openly raw-fully sharing in hopes it makes a difference to help others release their hearts too for a healthier soul. Then just maybe I will be able to sleep. Now it's time for Christmas......we will have a good holiday, and I hope you all do too.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

"Please Help"

The below story is written from a friend. She's given me permission to share her post. Please if you can, (anything helps) donate so this family will not stress over financial needs. Please donate on the side bar of this blog. "Thank you" 

Another diagnosis for our family :-(

I have always tried to limit how personal my posts have been for my children's privacy.  I also try to post pictures that aren't identifying as some of my children have safety issues with people from their past.  Today I am going against those ideas in the hope of bringing awareness to a health issue my youngest granddaughter was born with.  On Oct 30 my son and daughter in law gave birth to a beautiful daughter, Naomi.  Shortly after birth, like many infants she became jaundice however her jaundice did not go away with conventional treatments.  Quickly she was referred to liver specialists and many tests were done resulting in her being diagnosed with Billiary Atresia.  All of the testing and treatment is done at Children's hospital which requires a day of travelling to get there.

There is a temporary treatment for Billiary Atresia that can be done if the disease is caught before the child is 9 weeks old.  Fortunately for Naomi this was caught in time and she was able to have a surgery called the Kasai procedure.

Kasai Procedure

The Kasai procedure involves removing the blocked bile ducts and gallbladder and replacing them with a segment of your child's own small intestine. This segment of intestine is sewn to the liver and functions as a new extrahepatic bile duct system.
The operation is performed by a Pediatric Surgeon who has had special training in the management of surgically correctable problems in children. The surgeon may be able to operate through many small incisions (laparoscopic surgery) instead of one large (open surgery) incision. The surgeon will determine the safest method of operating and will discuss this with you before the procedure takes place. The operation will take approximately 4 hours to complete.
Naomi was not able to have a small incision and had an incision from one side of her little body to the other side, also her surgery took much longer to complete being in surgery for 6 hours.  After the surgery Naomi was in the hospital for 10 days and just recently returned home to continue healing.  Naomi will require being on medication for the rest of her life to reduce the risk of infection and help with the removal of the bile in her tiny body.  Unfortunately just 2 days ago Naomi broke out in a terrible rash which is felt to be an allergic reaction to the strong antibiotics she will require throughout her life.  Currently the physicians are looking at what options they now have.  It will not be know how successful the surgery was for 3 months, however the surgery, no matter how successful is not the end of the treatment.  This surgery just buys time before a liver transplant is required. 

Naomi is the first child for my son Curtis and his wife Meredith.  This diagnosis has been extremely hard on both of them both emotionally and financially.  Meredith is currently on maternity leave however it appears she will need to become a stay at home Mom to support Naomi with her tremendous needs.  Curtis has had to take extensive time off work during the critical times of Naomi's life.  The costs of travelling and staying near children's hospital are adding up and it appears they will be spending a lot of Naomi's life going back and forth.  When in comes time for a liver transplant they will need to relocate for months to another province where the transplant is performed.  Recently we were informed if they can not financially afford to relocate and survive, their daughter will not be put on a transplant list.  
As a family we are looking for all the support anyone is able to offer, we have started fund raising including an online crowd funding option (on the side bar of this blog).  I am asking anyone that is able to please share our crowd funding page or make a donation if you are able.  All prayers for my granddaughter, son and daughter in law are also greatly appreciated.  

Friday, December 19, 2014

"Life is too short, be yourself"

It was a bitter sweet day today being the last day of school. I love holidays. I love the more relaxed routine. However after our holidays while starting a new year, I will be taking our littlest daughter for her hip surgeries. 2015 will start challenging. In the meantime while preparing for our new year challenges, we have been busy. To date we've raised $3000.00 dollars for our daughter's stroller. We managed to smoke fish! AND I managed to check off another bucket list adventure. I don't know if I'm going through a mid-life crisis (ha ha) or I'm just "on a roll" living in my forties. Loving myself, and openly sharing it. Recently I went on a photo shoot. A photo shoot that went from fully clothed to not so much......My main reasons for modelling was to build confidence within myself. Then to be brave enough to share it. To have the courage to come forth and express a piece of me that I hide A LOT. My love for tattoo art. As the quote states, "Don't judge a book by its cover" well - that's definitely me. Here I am, a mother of sixteen. I home school. I can save lives. I advocate for adoption, I support families and I'm compassionate to everyone. Believing that we should all accept each other and our differences. Our uniqueness makes our world so interesting. So here I am, this rebel that influences my children to live their lives to THEIR fullest. To be happy. It doesn't matter if some of my children grow up and love the same sex, or if they get tattoos (like their mother) or they become a tattoo artist, or a operation room nurse. As long as they're not harming themselves or others, and are living respectfully and compassionately - I've accomplished raising successful children. I hear too often "I won't be happy if my child is...or does..." doesn't matter, does it? Life is too short. Here I am in my forties "FINALLY" able to feel comfortable in my own skin. How I want to be and not to care so much what others think. I want my children to witness their mother independently living her life too. Courageously. I'm in the public eye. I think being a mother for so many children there is this expectation that surrounds me. I have to be this perfect roll model. Then I question it...."What is the perfect roll model?" I honestly believe that no parent is perfect, however I truly believe a parent understandably should stand by their child no matter their life choices. Sometimes we might not agree but even as a parent, it's not our life to lead. I've learned from the moment a baby is born, it's our baby forever but it's their life. All their trials, tribulations, mistakes and triumphs is theirs and we are here as parents to embrace. "That's me" Other parents might not agree, I don't know..... I've also noticed either individuals love me or dislike me and I've learned that that's ok too. I know why I'm here. I'm here to lead. To teach. To educate that individuality needs to be accepted. If all us parents thought this way, there would be less suicides. There is so many teenagers, and young adults committing suicide because they're "different" and are afraid to just love and be themselves. It's so very sad and our world can be more forgiving and understanding then this. This is one reason why I've stepped out as I have.... I'm not worrying about judgment anymore, and I will advocate for others to be themselves too while I'm being "Carrie" and a unique mother to my children living and experiencing life to our fullest. Here I am. Tired of hiding. I have the best husband in the world because he loves everything about me, my independence, my beautiful tattoos which represents my husband and I, my life, my children - our story, and that's just the outer exterior.  

Monday, December 15, 2014

2014 Christmas Party!

Here is a few pictures from our annual Christmas Party! 

Please adopt me for Christmas! We made 85 boxes of stuffed animals to adopt for Christmas!
For a free children's draw!
 The potluck dinner was a success! SO much food to choose from!
 Emily's Angel's table!
 Silent Auction Table!
 Cute healthy fruit Christmas tree!
 Adopt a stuffy! 
 Talent show! This is our son playing "Jingle Bells"
 Our Santa (that has known me since I was born) and our littlest daughter!
Thank you for everyone who came out and enjoyed our annual Christmas party! It was a success! Thank you to every one that helped before, during and after the party. We really appreciate the extra hands! Most importantly, "Thank you to our Santa" He's the genuine Santa Claus. A individual I've known all my life, now almost forty two years later he's still that magical person I remember from my childhood. We all love you Santa! 

From our family to yours, "We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a happy healthy 2015!" 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

"Wet" Coast with Paddington Bear

Vancouver Island weather is wet and several parts of the Island are flooded! For a home school field trip we decided to take Paddington Bear out for a wet adventure! Paddington was really excited to join us, he was the first one out the door! 
When Paddington went outside he was astonished! His yard was flooding, and there was huge mud puddles everywhere! His mother said, "No stomping in the mud puddles Paddington!" Paddington had to grin and "bear" it!
During the car ride Paddington started arguing and complaining about how his car seat was too tight! I explained over and over again that he needed to be safe! After careful thought, Paddington didn't want to stay home, so he had to "bear it" again to continue on our wet coast adventure!
 AND what an adventure it was! Paddington didn't realize he was going to go river rafting! He had so much fun in his white rubber basin that he wanted rides over and over again! Paddington wanted to take off his under "bear" and "bear" it all to go swimming!  "Oh Paddington, we only have two hours for this adventure, so we must travel on", I said. 
 Our first stop was at our local swimming hole called Top Bridge. Paddington jumped out of the van and started jumping in the puddles! I yelled, "Naughty Bear Paddington!" "I told you no puddle jumping!" At least Paddington was wearing black rubber boots because some of us were not! Paddington announced loudly that he's a bear with hair and he wouldn't suffer from hypothermia!  I quickly reminded him that he needs to be a role model for the rest of us and "obear" all the rules!
Paddington was looking to where the nose once was. The top of a tall rock cliff that everyone jumps off of. It was covered with a raging angry river! Paddington felt excited learning about what a storm can do, but he was also sad witnessing his favorite swimming hole SO impacted with fierce running water.  

 Paddington tried to climb the suspension bridge to get a better view. While he was climbing a strange woman with a camera was taking pictures of him. AND it wasn't Paddington's friends! Paddington felt worried that his picture was going to be stolen and posted all over the Internet. He started to cry. We reassured Paddington that we will protect his identity, and he won't get in trouble for climbing all over the suspension bridge! We did mention to be very careful while viewing the river! Safety is always first while having a "bear" of a time!

We were all pretty cold and soggy. So before our next destination, we decided to order candy cane hot chocolates! Of course Paddington wanted donuts, tim-bits, bagels and even a big mac.... so I had to remind him that we packed a picnic and we're only having candy cane hot chocolates for a treat. Paddington was confused and questioned why isn't there pictures of a big mac!? "Paddington, Paddington"......"This is Tim Horton's" "Not McDonald's" I explained. Paddington sighed quietly whispering, "I'm "beary" hungry"
We pulled over on our way to our next destination. There was caution signs everywhere! (As there was road flooding) So good ole Paddington checked it out. He wanted to make sure the road was safe enough for us to drive on. Paddington can be behavioural and demanding sometimes but then his true bear colors comes out and saves the day! Such a great bear most of the time! 
 We finally arrived at the Englishman River Falls! Paddington stayed out of the puddles and gracefully posed smiling for the camera. He could hear the raging falls from kilometers away and he couldn't wait to see what the storm created here! Paddington was "bearfully" careful  to stay out of the mud puddles this time! 
 "Oh no" cried Paddington. "Someone destroyed and ripped off the tree branches!" "Why", Paddington asked while tearing. Paddington was so sad that it made us all tear. I explained that it wasn't just anyone, it was our weather and that our weather can be very dangerous. Lately our Island has been hit with several rain and wind storms that heightened our rivers and knocked down trees. It's left people homeless due to flooding. Paddington was correct to tear, mother nature can be strong and unforgiving. However we are strong too and will survive especially if we help each other through difficult times. 
 During our trail walk Paddington loved balancing on the fence rail. Only Paddington was allowed to walk the rail because he's mastered gymnastics and can quickly revive himself if he falls. As seen in the above picture while climbing the suspension bridge, Paddington is an amazing gymnast!  When he grows up he wants to join the circus. I told him that it would make me proud as long as he's happy and healthy! 
 Paddington was smiling ear to ear listening to the roaring river and seeing the mist come off of the raging water. What was even more amazing was seeing huge logs being tossed from side to side. Paddington said, "I see now how nature works" "Nature is cleaning up the loose logs along the river side so when we come back in the summer, we will have somewhere to sit, eat our picnic and swim" I smiled, "Good point however we won't be able to swim here Paddington, it's too dangerous!"  
 Paddington had many emotions running through his bear brain today. From being somewhat naughty, to feeling sad, to feeling happy but most importantly feeling grateful to be alive. To witness what an amazing world he lives in. How beautiful it is. How magical. While Paddington looked at the forever changing river, not only seeing, not only hearing but physically feeling the mist in the air, Paddington was just besides himself in "awe" Then Paddington asked, "Can we fish in there please!?" A "bearful" thought! 
 Paddington was so happy to be home. He felt great from all the excitement and fresh air! It was his lucky day! He received another hot chocolate and a yogurt granola bar while cuddled up in a cozy warm blanket watching Backyardigans. Soon after, Paddington fell asleep......dreaming of what a wonderful world we have after all......and he had a "beary" fun adventure! 

Author - Carebear
A fact - Believe it or not, my nickname when I was a kid was "Carebear"