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Monday, December 26, 2016

2016 Reflection with ongoing hope......

I started skimming my 2016 blog posts. Very bleak with my attempts of blogging. Shameful and unlike me. Regardless of illness we had a nice Christmas. Family and friends are everything. We are truly blessed with all the love and support in our life. I decided my previous post wasn't the best reflection and on how I wanted to end 2016.


January 2016 I posted this quote from John Burroughs and it still holds true today. There's nothing more rehabilitating then being in nature. It's great to hike with friends however there's something more powerful being alone and speaking to yourself and or God or our universe.

 This picture from February reconfirmed that storms pass. We have to hold on, keep our strengths within and always remember there's glimpses of calm so we can rejuvenate, recharge so we can battle that next wave because that's life. I never did believe life was meant to be easy with a flat surface. We wouldn't evolve and become who we are today if it were. 
 In March we discovered and started Geocaching. A fun outdoorsy sport looking for treasures!
 April was my last month blogging. As a hypocrite that I can be (ha ha) I decided to end blogging and sharing my thoughts online to start a book. Well.....the book was started but I still missed sharing my thoughts. The chapter I thought I was ending, I could not. I'm not sure if it's my creature of habit combined with my love of sharing, I just couldn't stay away for long. The quote below still remains true, "Everything comes to you. In the right moment. Be Patient. Be Grateful"  Patience is one of the foremost important traits one could practice.
 Then in August I came back!
 Within September our second oldest son came home to stay for a few months after having his femur broken at work. It was challenging physically and mentally for him. He's seen at the end of our kitchen table chalk boarding in this picture below. There was moments (again as a mother) I felt helpless that I couldn't take away his pain. This is the same son that had lung surgeries after having multiple pneumothoraxes when he was seventeen. At a young adult age he's been through lots physically and mentally. However during his stay, we had many moments of connection that I will cherish forever.
 In October I found this book! "You are a BADASS" A book that I love. You can start from the beginning or flip through, you can put down and pick up again. I still carry it around in my purse and I will read when I'm waiting. Jen Sincero writes, "Identify and change the self-sabotaging beliefs and behaviours that stop you from getting what you want" "Create a life you totally love" It's a great book. I love it because it's "real" Realism is how I want to continue to write without worrying about judgements.  
 Throughout 2016 Gerald and I tried to get out more with each other however his health started to deteriorate. Without writing a book, he feels just as bad and if not worse when this all began. He continues to have severe health concerns while we continue to wait for answers with specialists. I won't go any further about this because this is my reflection post with my pictures chosen throughout the year. No negative Nancy! Seen below is Gerald and I in November. I was all dressed up and because he wasn't well we decided to take and share pictures on our staircase. I feel pictures are so important. 
At the end of the day regardless of what challenge happened, we continue to accept and love each other. Seen below in my December 2016 picture, thirteen out of our sixteen children huddled together around our upside down tree. I've learned something throughout my twenty seven years of parenting. Complaining or continually trying to change your child isn't the answer. Acceptance and forgiveness is. Until you can forgive and accept who your loved ones are, you will forever feel challenged. No support group can change what you need to change as a person.  
 Life is too short to procrastinate. Just live as best as you can. Seen below is my Campbell River Father and Mother whom I feel accept us for who we are. I know for myself I push the "being different" envelope. The interesting fact of that is....I feel that I'm here to do just that and to teach people to accept through me. Then to teach my family, friends and children to accept all, no matter what the circumstances are. I truly believe we are all here for a purpose. I've always known and felt mine, have you? And if you have, I hope you're also opening your envelope because our next generation needs to see it, and you need to feel purposeful.  
One reason I believe we are as successful as we are raising a large family is because we aren't afraid to be ourselves. To push the envelope. Also as parents to continually learn, to accept and follow our children. Time has changed. I remember climbing trees. We had no computers. Now it's snap chat. Instagram. Facebook. Texting.  If I have to snap chat and turn into a silly filter to interact with my children through these different channels I will. Keep the connections because once they're lost, it's hard to regain. I learned that one too. So my advise for 2017 is if you aren't doing so already, build on your relationships. Every one in our lives right now means something. Keep it alive. Even if you have to turn yourself into a cucumber doing so.

And just accept and remember it's not your life. You're only the director, and I've heard....we aren't the directors either. 

Heading into 2017 is full of unknowns but we can only do our best. I'm not making any New Years Resolutions. I'm just going to keep open minded, to accept my children for who they are, and to continue to be that "coolest mom" ever. (As I've been told) Remember, it's all about connection. Connection begins with forgiveness (if you need to forgive) while adding acceptance and unconditional love. If "some one" because it doesn't have to be your child (ha ha) is testing your patience, practice in your mind and chant to yourself, "Its just this moment" "Its just this moment" Breathe.....relax, then respond with love. It's so true.....we don't know what tomorrow brings so try to always remember this when all else fails. My thoughts and words I try to live by AND I will continue to share with you. 

May 2017 bring you peace, love, health and happiness.

This was me when I was a baby. (I love green for a reason :) No one knew back then who or what I was going to be while I learned my first steps around the age of one. Who would of known I was going to grow up and raise sixteen children and have compassion for individuals health and share our life like I have. You just never know what the future holds.......keep the faith in each other. 

Sunday, December 18, 2016

"Snowed in"



I'm not sure where it went but we persevered through another year. It feels like two years of our life vanished while pressing through day by day. It's like this snow we're getting. We can go places minimally and sometimes we are just snowed in. From one day to the next we don't know. It's become acceptable to a degree. We have been told that some of us are more likely suffering from PTSD (Post traumatic stress disorder) I won't get into details but it completely makes sense. I remember being told by a physician that it's very common and especially for the family members witnessing. Then if the medical aftermath continues (like ours has) every day becomes worrisome. We are always in flight against high winds for survival. I often fear that our children will only remember the illness and not what we once were or what we still continue to try to be. Christmas 2016 we have no outside lights up. We decorated less. Summer 2016 we couldn't camp. Of course we made the best of what our life is and we continue to do so but for us, it's only 50%. We aren't in celebration mode for 2017. Our fight forward continues. For the past year and a half we were advised not to speak or share anymore of what happened because we were seeking a legal law suit. To date, after investigations, interviews and reports our lawyer has told us we have no case unless we can find a specialist to state that if Gerald received the appropriate care within that emergency time frame (because it was proven there was a breech of care) would have it made a difference? So far no specialist can provide this. A year ago we were going to go to the news. They were very interested in our story however we halted due to the fact it could be detrimental to our case. Now closing 2016, moving into 2017 Gerald continues to have more medical complications then last Christmas and not one apology for sending us away not once but four times from emergency departments being septic. Three weeks in ICU. Three months hospitalisation. Operations. Septic again once discharged. IV meds up until Christmas of 2015. Now damaged with serious ongoing medical issues where we are told, "We don't know" "We have never heard of this before" "You will have to be referred on" Then while we wait, referral after referral with no medical support we wonder if he will awake with his two feet on the ground every day and we should remain quiet. Press on. Be hopeful, and be positive. We are. That's the thing.....we are and we are very patient without expressing what it's really like day to day. Anyhow it's just a cheated feeling and with all the unknowns we feel it's terminal with no positive answers. Only if he had the proper rehabilitation and a pain medication that would enhance his quality of life at least. Christmas is six days away. We are completely prepared however it doesn't feel the same. Gerald has been so sick for three weeks and counting, while adding his frustration, it's hard to be joyful. Christmas holidays..?..we would have loved to go up to Mt. Washington but like camping, it's to hard physically. That leaves us breaking up as a family and frankly, I'm tired of leaving the sick behind. The weirdest part for me is seeing men my husband's age and older healthy. I often get glanced at because I think I'm caught watching these guys walk, and physically able to do anything....like run. It puts me back into perspective on how much damage has been done. Then it just resurfaces on how pissed off I really am on how we were treated with no justice. I know....I have to find peace with this however hard when I'm reminded daily with a compromised husband. A father that can't ride a bike with his kids. Daily frustrations due to chronic pain and physical complications. A different family then we once were. So this is why I haven't been able to write as I once did. Well......yet another block - writing. I honestly feel like a three year old wanting to have a tantrum sometimes. During our last appointment I was so excited because we were seeing a internist/cardiologist and I thought for sure (after months of waiting) that he would have the answers. He referred us on. Without swearing up a storm, we left just as fucked up as we were back in 2015 when he was septic. Now we wait. Again. Whew! I'm glad I wrote all of that off of my chest and hopefully it was understood properly due to the fact there's not much sleep happening around here. So normally during this time "on my blog" I post a reflection of the previous year. I think this post gives an appropriate reflection adding that we made it another year with several fun and positive opportunities given our health challenges. Now in a matter of days or it's even over by now, "It's Christmas" I truly hope every one enjoys or enjoyed their family and friends during this magical time of year. Even through loss and challenges, embrace who's around you. Concluding, we don't know what tomorrow brings. None of us do. It's so important to be real with each other, even if it's me writing like this. Foremost as I have always written, love, accept and try not to judge. And if you can, give.   

Monday, December 12, 2016

The end of a great party!

Thank you so much to every one that came out and enjoyed our annual Christmas party! Thank you to every one who helped and supported this year and in previous years! There is always a great turn out every year for the past six-seven years! (If my memory serves me correctly) Reflecting back, I remember how it began in our home then it grew so large we had to start renting the hall. I smile remembering the beginning. The friends. The families. Our community! The magic that happened and continued to happen for all our Island children was truly a blessing. Our Santa's and elves over the years were amazing! We have so many pictures with so many memories and I know our children will grow up reflecting back as I do. We have been giving our event some thought for awhile now and unfortunately I am making an announcement to state that this was our last year. I am apologizing as we close this chapter. If any one wants to take over this event, please feel free however for us as most know, our medical scenarios continue and we need to focus on our health with less outside responsibilities. To our close family and friends, we continue to look forward in seeing you for dinners in our home throughout the year. We sincerely wish every one a Merry Christmas and a healthy happy New Year. Stay safe, keep the magic in your hearts and the memories forever in your minds.  All our love, "The Hohnstein's" 

Here is a few pictures from this year - Dec 10th, 2016

One of my fav photos this year! Food and children!

 Some of us!

 Another fav photo seen below......"Our futures sitting right there!"
 Our talent show was a bomb not a hit! However if you don't try, you will never know!
 Santa this year was our children's grandfather! What a memory that will be!
 It's just about a little magic, a little twinkle and lots of fun all built into our memories!

Lots of love.....from all of us!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Celebrating family Dec 10th



I can't believe it's that time of year again. I feel as we get older time passes quickly. That being said, we always coast through the season. December 10th is our annual Christmas party. This is an important year. Without writing too much detail, I am hoping that every one can attend and families that haven't, come out and join the party. We are having a craft table set up making Christmas cards and tree ornaments. We will have a scheduled talent show (our group will be providing “hopefully” laughter with our skit) We will be having a makeup and nail table that two beautiful girls will be running. A photography table so you can have your moments with family and friends captured for a keepsake and share with others. Of course Santa will be arriving, so it's important that you bring a labelled present with your child's first and last names written clearly for Santa's bag! It is a potluck! Bring your favourite dish to share for at least one hundred people! (Just kidding) We will have prizes! Our prizes this year have been donated from our local businesses throughout our community and I have to say, some have been generous! One prize alone includes a family photo shoot worth $175.00! We are also having an adult gift exchange. The idea is any one who would like to participate brings a gift. From there, gifts are stolen throughout the night. The gift you're left with at the end of the night is yours. Older teens can join with our adult gift exchange if they don't want to sit on Santa's knee! Originally we started running this Christmas party for adoptive families. So we can connect, relate and befriend. Lately as years have passed, I have recommended that extended family members attend, friends of adoptive families, interested potential adoptive parents and now we have extended our party invites to all families. I understand on how important it is for adoptive families to connect, to seek support and for our children to seek support with each other. We can relate in ways that some families can't. Many of our children have special needs and including attachment disorders and mental illnesses. However as our adoption journey has come to an end (re-adopting) and we have grown with each other, we feel that we need to just strengthen as a family without labels. With that being said, “we are what we are” we just want to extend ourselves to others that need support too. Raising any child while needing support within our society is a huge undertaking. I believe we should celebrate our unique individuality. Embrace our strengths. Persevere and learn through our weaknesses. Teach unconditional love and acceptance. Meet and support each other through celebrating togetherness. It doesn't matter where we came from. We need each other. We need support to feel we're not alone through whatever challenge it may be. So let's unite! December 10th starting at 4 pm at the Nanoose Place Hall! If you have any other questions and or concerns, please don't hesitate to contact me at hohnstein@shaw.ca We are looking forward to seeing or meeting you! A magical evening for all! 

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

"How we do it"

Many people continue to question, “How do we do it?” “Where do you find the strength!?” I have often thought about this topic. Do I think I'm stronger then any one else? Absolutely not....I have internalized. Feared the worst. I worry. Over a year now I have developed anxiety that comes and goes. Sometimes I have bouts of feeling sorry for myself. Sorry for my husband. Sorry for my children and our family that witness our health challenges. I awake everyday checking my husband's condition. Then once we both have our two feet on the ground, we start walking. One foot in front of the other. We continue on with our daily routines. It gives us strength knowing we are productive every day. I truly believe life isn't too waste. We are human beings with feelings but we don't wallow in self pity nor let challenges consume us. We are thankful we awake breathing every day. We strive for the excellence that we can provide and to show our children that giving up isn't in our vocabulary. That the past is the past and our futures still await when we awake. That's a blessing. I have Instagram and Facebook and I proudly share our family. Some may wonder why? I have even heard, “You're not a teenager anymore” Exactly, I am not hence why I don't have time to waste. I share our challenges and triumphs in hopes to support others. I share some of my personal progress pictures because it's never too late to change and try something new. This life is meant for living. After nearly loosing my husband and as we move forward with all the unknowns with his current health, there is no way, NO WAY we would waste a moment believing we can't or shouldn't do something. When we pass on, I want our children to say, “Our parents were people who taught us to live and to live happily unconditionally” Here is something I fear.....for my child/children to grow up hiding themselves because they were afraid to just live and be themselves. Having suicidal thoughts. Developing so much anxiety because they worry about what others think. Success to me is happiness that comes from within and you're able to show that happiness with what you do without allowing judgements to control you. That's my belief. That's what I teach. And I'm not strong all the time, I have every emotion as any other feels however I continue to move forward productively while accomplishing things that make me happy and that starts with awakening and being alive the next day with two feet on the ground. That's how we do it. We are grateful. Having a large family can definitely be hard. It definitely becomes that much harder with a serious sick parent. I have noticed over the past year that our family as we once knew it hasn't been the same. Now the question becomes, “Can we accept it?” Well.....we have too. It goes back to the forever reminders that we're breathing. That's my answer. You have to learn to accept what is in order to move forward or make steps to change it. A little story. Every couple of months my friend dyes the grays out of my hair and she straightens it. I felt like a hundred bucks! I felt light and that the weight was lifted off of my shoulders. I came home, I dressed up in hopes to go out with my husband. I already knew he was having a horrible week health wise. So what was I thinking!? Right then I felt sorry for him and sorry for me. I hated the fact that we couldn't just slip out for even an hour that night. However I wasn't resentful, I understood, and this has been our life now for over a year! Every week, even every day can look different. So as I stood in a black dress, nylons and with my hair feeling as light as a feather, I asked softly, “Can you change your shirt so we can take some pictures?” He shaved and changed his shirt. From there one of our children took our pictures in our hallway, then we proceeded to take a few “selfies” together. We simply smiled, then edited and shared our evening together. I shared this story because this was one of those moments we felt angry with our situation. Just cheated. Then as we smiled and shared our evening taking selfies in our hallway, that moment shifted and it was embraceable. We felt that could have been the last pictures of us together. Who knows what the next day would have brought us.....but we awoke breathing and thankful to start all over again. This is the mind change, the acceptance and the strength I'm writing about. This is how we do it even when we don't think we can do it anymore. We are learning to accept what is, we changed our approach and our thoughts. We don't care what others are thinking, we just live within these moments. This is my post, semi-tired, distracted by our children (one is banging on the drums right now, two are fighting with a balloon and I have three dogs literally barking at nothing) My grammar and sentence structure is messed up however I was determined to share how we do it. Just like this - posted! ((Hug and continue smiling))  

Life is short. Break the rules, forgive quickly, kiss slowly, love truly, laugh uncontrollably, and never regret anything that made you smile" 
 "Enjoy life today, yesterday is gone and tomorrow may never come"
"It is not too uncommon for people to spend their whole life waiting to START LIVING" - Eckhart Tolle.

"Make your breath count - me."

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Live Big (New Title)


I've been so focused on my family that I was starting to loose sight of myself. My husband. My children. Homeschooling. My other home – “the kitchen” was consuming me. Now of course these are my responsibilities, my dedication and my journey but it's not my personal path in which I believe every one should have for themselves in order to be a well balanced happy individual. My time is limited having a sick husband however I still manage to find the time to not only write, but to read, to get outdoors (where I feel the best therapy is) and I have continued with pole fitness which brings me back on that wagon of maintaining a healthier lifestyle. Now I know I have written about this before although I wanted to remind you and any new followers that you should purchase, “You are a badass” I highly recommend this book for every one. The Author Jen Sincero is a success coach that now travels the world helping others transform their lives. I love how this book is not only an easy read, it's a book that you can carry around and resource back too, to remind us what we sometimes forget when we need it! A bit of insight inside “You are a badass” is in Part 1: How you got this way. Part 2: How to embrace your inner badass. Part 3: How to tap into the mother-lode. Part 4: How to get over your B.S. Already. Part 5: How to kick some ass. For me, I don't have the time to procrastinate. I have decided that procrastination is being removed from my vocabulary. In order to personally grow and make changes in our lives, it's only up to us as an individual being proactive. So once again I decided to make some changes for myself. One: no more referring us as an “adoptive family” We are just a family living a big life. I have sons, daughters, dogs, a husband and a granddaughter. Simple. Two: yes I have a sick compromised husband however it's not going to consume nor halt our daily living. Our future is two feet on the ground every morning, taking one day at a time moving forward. Three: me, myself and I always has room for growth. I choose to continue to grow, change and be challenged. Hence why I started pole fitness. I may have many “pole kisses” that are known as bruises however personal achievements comes with practice, hardwork and dedication. Dedication is a trait I definitely have. So I added some responsibility and dedication for my personal well being, which is not loosing me as an individual in the midst of raising and looking after my big family. I have recently changed my title of my blog to “Live Big” It's not about having tons of children, three dogs too many, it's about living. Living as big as you can stretch yourself. After all, life is too short to waste. “Live Big” to me means too not only live, it's to love big, unconditionally love big, make a difference somehow every day. It means to stop procrastinating, stop judging and experience life while you can. That's what I want to write about, that's what I preach to my children, that's what I want my family to be about..... not a label. We were brought together for a reason, and I sense that reason is to challenge our odds, to accept individual identity and to live as big as we physically and mentally can! So I haven't been on my head since I was a child, now I am. Who would of known I could be capable of doing a handstand on a pole? Who would of known our family would have grown as large as it has, or how we CAN carry on against all odds!? That's all about living big. It's a cognitive conditioning that every one should start working towards because life wasn't given to us to waste. To conclude, my thoughts today is to practice reconditioning our brains, and those thoughts that potentially hinder us, rewire and start living BIG! Beyond what we think our potential is while remaining positive ~ Me.


Wednesday, October 5, 2016

If you fall, I'll be there - Floor



In the midst of our forever changing, challenging and busy life I decided to do something for me. I have been contemplating this for weeks. Finally I decided to stop procrastinating and I just went for it! I will say I landed on the floor more then ten times! People might suggest that I'm going through a midlife crisis and actually they could be right! I'm definitely perimenopausal! Anyhow there is worst things I can be doing then landing on the floor! I have always been the type to spread my wings, do things that are different and challenging in one form or another. Probably why I have sixteen children and three dogs! For me, I always need to be busy. I feel my best when my day has been productive. I also believe if there's anything that scares us, or we're afraid because it's out of the "normal" or physically it just can't be manageable in our own minds, we need to open those four walls and somehow build an octagon. Challenging ourselves is up there with changing ourselves - it takes dedication, determination and believing. I've always been afraid of failure. However if you haven't failed, you haven't even tried. Lately I have been noticing that my nights are a continuation of my day if I'm not switching it up. I'm not normally a television watcher except for Survivor, and I don't normally go out anywhere unless it's to an occasional movie. I started feeling a little lost. So I joined and had my first night at Pole Sisters. Pole fitness and dancing. It's as hard as it looks and it challenges me in every area. Including being under dressed, having bare feet, swinging and climbing up and around a pole with other woman. Becoming dizzy. And yes, falling on the floor over and over again. It's amazingly fun! After my first night I could barely function physically for two days BUT I'm ready to return! I thought I would share because as crazy as you might think I am, if I can do this, you can do whatever is calling out to you! Just keep telling yourself that you're not going to procrastinate anymore, you are not going to doubt yourself, that you can do anything and you can make the time to do it. This is how we all become who we are and this is not only something for ourselves, it shows our children who we are too, and that's not just a parent, that we're individuals and individuals teaching our children to reach for those stars and that anything is possible. For me, I see stars when I hit the floor but that soon shall pass too! Whatever it is - go after it! If I can, you can!

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear. Nelson Mandela

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Dec 10th Christmas Party!


Once again we are hosting our annual Christmas party! All adoptive, families interested in adopting, and family and friends are invited! It's a potluck, and you need to bring a labeled present per child  (first and last name) for Santa's bag! There will be prizes, crafts, dancing and a scheduled talent show! Practice your talents and we will practice ours! Please RSVP and msg for anymore details! We continue to run our party because of its success and we want to see more friends and family this year! It's an event not to miss! December 10th! Mark it on your calendars!

I'm also looking for some feedback. This Christmas party has been designed around our children. I was wondering if the parents attending would be interested in some gift changing themselves? A friend mentioned that we could play the gift stealing game. So I was thinking, (to make this easy) any one interested could just bring a gift under $10.00 and the stealing can then begin with the participants during the party! Let me know what you think!? Sounds like fun to me!

I would love to know roughly who's attending, so if you could, please comment your numbers. This includes not only yourself, your children, this includes any one that you want to bring, a grandma or a friend. AND lastly please share this event! More the merrier! Until then, I leave you with this...... 

"By choosing to be our most authentic and loving self, we leave a trail of magic everywhere we go" 

Friday, September 23, 2016

The Hohnsteins = The Munsters


We are not quite like the "Brady Bunch" or the "Partridge Family" So if  I were to compare us to a sitcom television show it would be "The Munsters"

When you are walking down the street at night
And behind you there's no one in view.
But you hear mysterious feet at night, 
Then the "Hohnsteins" are following you.

If you should meet this strange family
Just forget what some people have said,
The Hohnstein's may shake your hand clammily
But they're not necessarily dead.

Behind their house you mustn't be afraid
To see a figure digging with a spade.
Perhaps someone didn't quite make the grade
With the Hohnsteins, with the Hohnsteins.

If when you're sleeping you dream a lot,
Ghoulish nightmares parade through your head,
And then you wake up and scream a lot,
Oh the Hohnstein's are under your bed.

At midnight if creatures should prowl about,
And if vampires and vultures swoop down.
And werewolves and fiends shriek and howl about,
Oh the Hohnsteins are out on the town.

One night I dared peak through their window screen,
My hair turned white at such a crazy scene.
Because every evening its Halloween
At the Hohnsteins, at the Hohnsteins. 


These lyrics date back from the original "At home with The Munsters" in 1964. Credited to Bob Mosher. 




I'm slightly being a bit theatrical about comparing ourselves to the Munsters however there is never a dull moment around here. In the first picture above we were celebrating our oldest sons twenty third birthday while wishing him all our best. He recently moved to Toronto with his girlfriend. During this day we learned to cook a Norwegian dinner tradition called Potato Klubb or also known as Potet Balls. A yummy staple dish consisting of carrots, turnips and pork ribs. We did make a vegetarian batch for us non meat eaters! Our family dinners are always on schedule, and our kiddos always have their own spots at the table. This solves any beheading that could emerge. (Just kidding) Speaking of family tables! I am very excited about our new look! Our table was looking pretty shabby so we purchased black paneling, then we designed our own spots with chalk. Then we added plexiglass to protect the art. The ultimate beauty is we can change the design whenever we want and or add the changing of the seasons. Fun! In conclusion it's not just about "spots" or "ownership" it's about connection. Feeling and remaining a part of a family. That's why our home is uniquely designed with our photographs, art and culture. Keeping it real always.




Family is everything!

At the end of the day we are thankful we're still here and connected to each other, even if it's in mysterious ways! 

Thank you for being patient with me and accepting all my grammar mistakes! I'm going to persevere and hopefully find my writing again! 
AND some sleep! 


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The other side of illness

It's been a year since my husband survived MRSA that went through his complete system causing sepsis and a magnitude of life changing physical and mental challenges. I was hoping to come back and write all the positives that I used too. I smile when I see the sparrows dancing in the sky, it reminds me of that post where I watched these beautiful birds flying and that triggered an enlightening and good story. I often look at pictures from our past, and reflect on how we once were. Illness changed us. I was really hoping by now that we could move forward. Don't get me wrong, we continually move forward day by day however my husband suffers from severe chronic pain, serious heart and organ complications. His brain damage has given him memory loss adding daily frustrations. There is nothing that we can do. I feel sorry for him. I feel sorry for our family. I feel sorry for our children. Every morning I check to see if he's still breathing. Today, I had my own doctors appointment. He told me that I need to stay healthy due to all the unknowns with my husband. Our doctor teared up stating he realized how important it is for me to remain healthy and strong. What does that mean? For my husband he continues with his weekly blood tests and ongoing MRI's. The MRI's have shown no change. His blood levels every time are escalated. For us we don't know what the next day will bring. There's days where he can't get out of bed due to his spinal damage and his nerves are creating spontaneous partial paralysis. When I was speaking with our doctor today I said it's very sad for a wife, and for our children to witness his daily struggles that limit his quality of life. How do we remain positive? How do I not check to see if he's breathing the next day? I was told today (not that I haven't heard it before) that what happened to my husband no one survives and to date they are baffled onto why his body isn't recuperating. Anyone that knows my husband knows that he is strong, determined, stubborn and has a high pain tolerance AND here is a man I see cry because he can't walk properly down the hallway due to dizziness some days. Now....as we remain "positive" we also know what the doctors keep telling us, "It's unfortunate" As I first aider I keep taking his blood pressure and he's completely in hypertension with a rapid pulse, I keep hoping it keeps going up and down so it doesn't cause a heart attack. AND no, there's no point going to emergency, because at this point it's not an emergency. Kinda waiting for that.... Waiting.... When.... What.....and where..... In the meantime (truthfully) this is the other side of illness. The core to everything - monitoring. I always try to have a smile on my face. When I pick up our kids from the public school or activities, I stay in our van catching up on emails, and people watching. I watch healthy people and once again feel sorry for my husband that struggles daily. I can't help it...it's not fare. We are persevering, we are continuing to experience and live our lives as best as we can but it's not a life I would wish onto anyone. Hence why I haven't written. However now that I've reopened this door and I have received a huge response to write again, I am. It has and is therapeutic. Regardless our health challenges, I still truly believe that everything happens for a reason. I'm not sure why this has happened to us and maybe the reason will never become clear. I don't know yet. I do know with every experience in our life, it's used to learn. Then to support. Then to teach......

For example, this summer our second oldest son was crushed in between a hydraulic picker and a cement wall. His groin was crushed and his femur was broken completely in half. When he called me from his work site while waiting for the ambulance I was so distraught. So so so upset and I think that's because of everything else we have been going through. Anyhow he underwent surgery and he asked to come home for his recovery. We set up a bedroom with an adjustable bed and to date he's still here getting around comfortably with his crutches while receiving physiotherapy. Now I don't wish this on anybody and especially my own child however since he's been here it's been so calming for my own heart. We also have been rekindling the past, talking more and spending time with each other that might not have happened if this unfortunate event didn't. So I have at least perceived this as a bonding time with our second oldest son, and I think he can conquer, even though this is a life changing event physically. 

Sometimes, (like my husband's condition) we don't know the outcome and we don't understand why this is happening. It's frustrating and draining on ones stress. I just can't help but believe that what we're going through is meant for a reason, our pain and suffering will be understood later and hopefully our children can understand this too. It has to be.....because what else is the other side of illness? Other then a lesson?  

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

HELLO!




August 3, 2016! 

I left my blog open just in case I changed my mind. With some time off I am reconsidering however I would like to know your input. Would you like to hear from me? 

"We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us" - Joseph Campbell

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Good Bye



I've been thinking a lot lately. Have you ever felt bitter sweet about your decisions? Neither decision is right or wrong? But somehow you knew you were making the right choice even though it put a knot in your throat? Yeah, that's me. Life is meant to challenge us, life also isn't meant to do the same thing over and over again. We need to evolve. Our path lead is just one branch on the tree. I've been struggling with this decision for awhile and while still not 100% decided, I am writing to say, "Good bye" to blogging. We have had a rough year. I wanted to keep writing and focus on recipes but I can't. I am always trying to keep positive. I'm always advocating for others and for everything that my heart and soul believes in. Family. Experiencing. Unconditional love and acceptance for differences. I'm very much that same person. However our life has changed. We take one day at a time, every day is different and unfortunately difficult. I'm emotionally walking on a tight rope and my mind has many mixed feelings. I've always believed in writing from my heart. The truth. I always have written what's on my mind and it's not posting my blog with recipes. I love cooking, I love sharing but if I can't sit down with a clear mind and write like how I used too, I can't continue. My readers that have been following and know me personally know that I'm as real as one can get. Some of you might be thinking not writing on my blog isn't a big deal however it's been years of my life and time. A journey that I loved to just sit down with you and share. So for me, for this decision, it is a big deal for me and I'm sorry. 

To conclude this branch, I'm finding it really hard having a sick husband. I'm always on guard for what tomorrow might bring. Now adding a few other health challenges to our family I feel numb most of the time. That's truth. So it's time to eliminate a few tasks that I keep, and one is my blog. I will write that this doesn't end my writing path because I have plans for a future book and I won't delete my blog but keep it open. You never know when my mind might wander back. 

All I can say (write) is be real. Whatever branch you're on right now, live, love, and experience it because you will never know when it might break, or when you will have to make decisions to climb onto another one. Nothing is a guarantee that's for sure. So as much as I would love to keep writing, I wish all of you health, then happiness. AND I can't express enough to make miles in your life! If you have a dollar to spare, give it away. Make a difference. It starts at home.....and it's amazing on how one dandelion can spread to make a field of brighter colours - me.

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Thank you so much for your dedication and support all these years........be safe and just love.




Tuesday, April 12, 2016

We just exist

Our weekend was good. It's nice that we can talk without hiding in the closet or stating we will talk later however later never happens because by then we forget. It was nice to just exist without cleaning up after somebody. We were able to get tickets to the ZZ Top concert. A couple couldn't go due to their child's illness which opened up an opportunity for us. Believe it or not, we have never attended a concert together. ZZ Top sounded exactly the same. Very talented musicians. We went out for dinner (as seen above) and just simply existed.  It's interesting looking back at a picture. We look happy and healthy. Honestly.....you never ever judge a book by its cover. ZZ Top was great to see however Gerald was struggling sitting, struggling standing and not only was he struggling physically, whatever is going on in his brain, he is on and off dizzy. Every day can be different. So while I (maybe we) were looking forward to getting away, that's all it was....just existing. His chronic pain is 24/7. The spinal damage he has affects all four of his limbs, and whatever is going on Neurologically, it's not only frustrating and exhausting for him, it is for me. So it's difficult. It's aged him probably forty years. Then there's me. 2015 was traumatizing. I knew my husband's recovery was going to be very long and difficult. I just never thought that it would change our lives like it has. I feel so sorry for him. He wonders sometimes on why I'm staring at him and I can't tell him that I'm deeply sorry for his pain and suffering because he also doesn't want to be seen this way. I waited and waited almost selfishly for this weekend to come. I wasn't sure what I was thinking......because his condition has changed our lives. A weekend away isn't no miracle cure. His life is a continual struggle not witnessed in any picture. No time away is going to change what is. Our stress. The tension on what's next. Our future. That question, "What does tomorrow look like?" We just remain hopeful and take one day at a time. Trying to remain positive. I hear many saying, "Keep positive, we made it this far" You're right, we made it this far but with a cost. So for now, we just exist......doing what we can do as each day comes with two thumbs up. 

Now lets get back to food! We had to cancel some outdoor field trips with our home schooling group due to weather. Seen below some of our kiddos made their own recipes using the dough I make. The dough is really easy to prepare. Then from there, you can literally make anything including bread, pizza, any food pocket you want, buns, cinnamon buns.....the sky is the limit with this yummy bread dough!

The dough is three cups of warm water. Two table spoons of margarine. Two table spoons of sugar. One table spoon of salt. Two table spoons of quick rising yeast. Two eggs. Seven to eight cups of flour. Mix and knead all together until smooth and snapping. Only add the eighth cup of flour if the dough is still too sticky. Let stand to rise for one hour. 

Our kiddos had a blast!

Koltyr and Zachary's Bun Shop!
 Emily's Buns!
 Byhonis Pie Crusts!
 Jenna's Zebra's Buns!
 Teesha's Apple Castle!

Food, in the end, in our own tradition, is something holy. It's not about nutrients and calories. It's about sharing. It's about honesty. It's about identity. - Louise Fresco


Monday, April 4, 2016

Just our kids, and the kitchen BUT next post not so much!

We have been geocaching like crazy! We have found 29 so far and we have met some friendly geocachers helping us along the way! We successfully planted our first geocache called, "Home school trading adventures" and we will soon send off two trackables! The picture below is three of our sons and what's really funny, our two sons out front found the cache! Our little man (featured as the photo bomber in the background) is still looking! Now that's dedication! 


 We went to the "Koba's Great Big Show" starring Max and Ruby, Mike the Knight, Backyardigans and Franklin! Emily screamed and cheered for an hour and a half! Apparently she LOVES live theatre especially when they're off of Tree house!


The weather has been great (now that spring break is over) One thing we enjoy most is cooking our own on an open fire. Even if it's in the middle of our driveway! 


 After any holiday it's hard to get back into routine. Monday's are definitely the worst and the busiest! I myself always feel better once Monday is over! The picture below is my daily kitchen life! Always around 3 pm I'm starting to prepare and cook dinner. While I'm cooking dinner, I prepare our public 
school kids lunches. 


Sometimes I make two dinners. Like today, I have a roast cooking in the oven with all the trimmings. And seen above I have already made Friday nights casseroles. Do you want a night off from cooking? Cook two dinners in one night. The freezer is one of my best friends! 

Now this Friday is different. My husband and I won't be here. We have an important meeting and I've turned it into a much needed time away. It's crazy how excited I am to be without children and no responsibilities but ourselves! The last time was in January! 

So....this week is all about prep and when we get back I will write all about it!

This quote below, "Everything comes to you. In the right moment. Be patient. Be grateful." I kept reading it....eventually everything does come to you. We should always be grateful for life, we should always be patient with it, and when the right moment comes, whatever it is, whatever you were waiting for, it either comes or it doesn't and within that right moment, you'll know why. It goes back to that statement, "There's a light at the end of the tunnel" and you have to learn to embrace what surrounds you first before getting to the end. Whatever that end is. Funny, it seems like lately we're never at the end of anything but there is always those moments that remind us, it will be worth it when we do. 

"Be patient and stay strong" - Me.




Sunday, March 20, 2016

Geocaching and Chinese!

I have found the pork tenderloin at Costco is the most economical deal for a larger family. Regardless if you're making pork chops or seen below cutting cubes, it goes a long way! AND I always love to have left overs for the teenagers with bottomless pits!
 Food preparation is hard work! So I sometimes talk nicely (lol) and I find myself a meat cutter! This was happening at 9:45 pm on Saturday evening in the picture below. I wanted to get the meat cubed and into the marinade!

 The marinade consists of - one cup olive oil, pressed fresh garlic (8 cloves), two good squirts of lemon juice, 4-5 caps of soya sauce, seasoning salt, pepper medley and 1/4 cup mustard. Mix and leave marinating over night!
 For the garlic batter....it's approximately 4 cups of flour to 4 cups of water. Make sure you're starting to heat your oil. Add garlic powder, seasoning salt, fresh pressed garlic and the spiced pepper medley to your flour and water. Mix. I have this theory.....you can never use too much garlic. In fact, we are all healthy because I use tons of garlic every day!
 I don't use the deep fryer very often. Obviously not a healthy choice but it's a nice change for a different flavour and texture. We bought this double deep fryer at Cabela's. It still isn't big enough and it's very time consuming. We can't seem to find a deep fryer that meets our needs unless it's commercial, then it's too big and too expensive! Anyhow, as soon as you can, start deep frying your meat by dropping spoonfuls into the oil. 
 This is where you're going to do several tasks at once. I call this "Carrie's chowmein" In a separate skillet melt 1/2 cup of butter, fry 1 large onion, a bag of broccoli, one cauliflower, one red pepper, of course - tons of fresh garlic and green peas. While this is happening, start cooking your chowmein in boiling water. Approximately two minutes! 
 When the water is boiling, add the chowmein, boil only two minutes until soft, drain!
 Mix together, add soya sauce (if you want) You can always omit the soya sauce with everything. Add more seasoning's like garlic! lol 
 While you're mixing your chowmein, doing dishes, telling the kids it's not ready yet, keep checking on your pork balls. They're usually cooked when they have a nice brown crunchy look to them. Once cooked place on a cookie sheet and sprinkle garlic powder and the spicy pepper on top!
 Bon Appetite! These are dried garlic pork balls but if you want a sweet n sour sauce, no problem. Make your own with ketchup, brown sugar, vinegar, salt/pepper to taste and yes, of course garlic! Use it for dipping!
 For the non meat eater like myself, I baked a piece of salmon in rice vinegar, soya sauce, fresh garlic and wasabi!  Sounds disgusting but it's amazing!
 Va va va voom for me! 
 Now.....before all this home made Chinese food started happening today, we went geocaching. A new hobby we have recently picked up. We have found nine in total. There is microchips, (harder to find) there is logging and there is trading caches. Geocaching is all over the world. Millions! It's absolutely everywhere! I have an app on my phone that locates the caches and we use the GPS to find the treasures. Then you log yourself into the app once you've found a cache! It's very cool. It's a outdoor treasure hunting mapping adventure! You definitely need to add the app to your phone, you need a pen and you need a bag of trinkets to trade. You need to be prepared! Also when you're out looking for geocaches, you want to be unseen. You don't want people that aren't geocaching ruining the outdoor hunt. Believe it or not, there is caches in cities, parking lots, in trees, you name it - if it can be hidden it's out there!  AND I apologize because it looks like I'm fingering people in the below picture (some one pointed that out) I'm not. I'm holding up a microchip! In the other two pictures with my sons, they found the logging caches in the trees where you write your name and date! Cheers to outdoor adventures! Get out there and have fun!