Mourning Mamahood

I blinked and he was suddenly three.

 

Mourning Mamahood ~ thoughts on motherhood ~ blog post by Bubblegum Sass
Sam a few weeks old (2012)

This has been a big week. Between bathroom renovations, our washing machine officially dying and rearranging bedrooms to accommodate Sam’s new big boy bed {all in a five day period} I feel like our home was turned upside down and inside out. Or at least, that’s how these changes are making my tummy feel. A little queasy and uneasy. I’m not necessarily a fearless person when it comes to change. I hesitate, I deliberate, I ponder and I get a bit grumpy.

(more…)

When Life Keeps Giving You Lemons

You either get sick of drinking lemonade or

choose to stop seeing things as lemons to begin with.

Small Upcycled Love Catcher by Bubblegum Sass
On the outside, I live a fairly average life. Married. One child. A cat. A house. Stay-at-home-mom. Introvert. Passion for all things crafty & creative. Learning to be a green-thumb. Dive one layer deeper and you discover that I have a very close relationship with my family, keep a small, but tight group of friends, and struggle with all the insecurities & worries that come with being a parent.

Keep going deeper… you learn that both my hubby & I balance our own small businesses, along with that close knit relationship with our family. We’re working on making our big, long-term dream of living on a farm a reality. We have a passion for happy, healthy, locally produced food and a desire to share that with everyone we meet.

Dig deeper… I’ve struggled with the health complications of massive uterine fibroid growths since 2009. Had one, highly invasive, major surgery to remove them. Except they grew back and are now bigger than before.

Keep going deeper… I started my crafty business in 2011 after being laid off from my job in Calgary’s creative tech sector. That same year I finally found myself pregnant for the first time, but sadly miscarried. A couple months later my mom was diagnosed with cancer. A week later I was pregnant again. Five months after that, my oldest brother died.

Even deeper… I witnessed & experienced the heartache of watching my oldest brother struggle with the ugly disease of alcoholism for over a decade. More heartbreaking as each year passed. I’ve gone through the uncertainty of being able to have children (going through it again as we try for baby number 2). I’ve watched my parents suffer the terrible loss of a son (it’s burned into my eyes & heart). I’ve also been watching my mom courageously battle cancer for almost four years now. The joyous birth of our own son in 2012 was seen as a huge beacon of light in my family, after much darkness.

Deeper still… my mom isn’t winning her battle with cancer. This past year her physical & mental health has declined greatly. No more chemo treatments now. Doctors just want to make her as comfortable as possible, for however long she has left. And so, after well over a decade of “lemons” being dealt our way, we go into 2015 with this very real possibility, that it will be the last year I spend with my sweet mom.

Small Upcycled Love Catcher by Bubblegum Sass ~ Vintage Buttons Shabby Chic Home

Maybe not quite such an average life after all.

A lot of people will read everything above (and even below) and question our sanity. Some might be able to relate to a few of the life challenges we’ve walked through. And I’m hoping, that others will see it the way I struggle to see it every day; a blessed life.

Dig deep to my core… you will find my belief in God, in Jesus, in the Holy Spirit. THIS is what keeps telling me to stop seeing things as “lemons”. I truly live a very blessed life. If there is one thing that I can walk into the future with, it is an appreciation for God’s timing, right down to every heartbreaking moment. I will trust in Him. Oh, how I WILL trust in him.

But you caught that part about it being

a struggle every day, right?

Every. Day.

I am by no means running through each day with the wind blowing in my hair, a smile plastered to my face, while I belt out praises and love with grace. I’m just a woman balancing her roles of mama, wife, daughter, sister, and now auntie; wanting to hold my family so close, but knowing I will have to let go one day. I love as best I can. I’m learning to forgive and ask forgiveness. But the greatest challenge of all, is learning to be thankful even in the darkest hours.

It’s how I’m starting to see things, not as lemons, but as part of His blessings. I can’t worry about what tomorrow or next month will bring, but only hope that I come right back to reading this post if I begin to see those “lemons” rolling my way. It’s mostly a reminder for me. I would love if it were a reminder for you too.

Small Love Catcher by Bubblegum Sass ~ Shabby Chic Country Kitchen Decor

Celebrating 500!

Hello there! Welcome to the NEW blog. My sweet hubby breathed some fresh air into my logo and the site design. Whaddaya think? I was feeling like things not only needed a little sprucing up, but that they deserved some sprucing up.

Ummm… not sure how it happened, but suddenly realized this month that I was edging close to 500 posts on this here little blog of mine. This post officially makes 500!! Wowzaa! That feels like a lot of writing. Of course, it’s been spread over the past 4 1/2 years, but still this is a milestone to take note of.

The last time we did a bit of celebrating on the blog, was when I wrote the 200th post. At the time, I shared my top ten fave posts. This time around, I thought I would do something similar, but also include the most popular blog posts. Thanks for walking down memory lane with me. Here we go:

Most Popular Post:

Purses Grow On Trees, April 2011

DIY Purse Display with Buttons by Bubblegum Sass

 

Second Most Popular Post:


Button-spiration, December 2012

DIY Salt Dough Button Ornaments by Bubblegum Sass

 

My favorite posts (in no particular order):

And Then There Was You, March 2012

Baby Samuel Moments After Birth

 

Sad Goodbyes and Anxious Hellos, January 2012

Sarah_Marcus


Little Hands Making Rainbows
, December 2012

Non-messy finger painting tutorial by Bubblegum Sass


Sweetheart Treats, February 2014


Chocolate Dipped Wafer Treats by Bubblegum Sass


A Shirt Story
, November 2013

Upcycled Cuff Bracelet by Bubblegum Sass


Busiest Little Helper, August 2014

Sam_mowing

 

Into The Ground, June 2014

Happiness By the Acre Tree Planting


DIY Candy Cane Ornaments, December 2013


DIY Candy Cane Ornaments Tutorial by Bubblegum Sass

And Then He Turned Three

Three years ago today, we welcomed this cute bundle of warm cries & bright eyes into our life.

Sam as Newborn ~ Bubblegum Sass

The days were long, but the weeks flew by as we kept our Sammy safe, happy, and loved.

Sam at One Year Old ~ Bubblegum Sass

We rediscovered the world around us through the eyes and mind of a toddler;
frustrating at times, but also fascinating.

Sam at Two Years Old ~ Bubblegum Sass

We’ve tried to keep up with this boy of ours, who is always changing and challenging us. This parenthood journey has been the greatest learning curve I have ever found myself on. His smiles still make it worth it though.

Sam at Three Years Old ~ Bubblegum Sass

HAPPY BIRTHDAY SAMMY!!

Best Intentions

Green and Yellow Love Catcher by Bubblegum Sass

It’s funny how quickly the best intentions can go awry. I dedicated a full day and several more hours (that’s a lot of time to a mama) to business brainstorming and planning for the New Year, including a production schedule, goals for social media, and areas to re-vamp & improve. I was feeling excited and energized for 2015, with big goals & even lofty dreams.

And then it hit me this past weekend. I was doing it again; falling into the same trap I have stumbled into each year. Not the trap of “too many expectations” or even “too few”.

I was planning MY year, as though it were my OWN. Here was page upon page of brainstorming & notes, even some of the tactics I would employ to make these goals a reality. It NEVER crossed my mind that the first step should be to turn to the Lord, the source of life & light. He didn’t even have a foot note in all these grand plans. I was completely missing the point. Again.

Here it is January 6th and I haven’t picked up my Bible since Christmas or come up with a reading plan or been praying regularly & intentionally. And yet, “I have made plans for 2015.” How absurd & impossible that seems now.

Blue & Yellow Love Catcher by Bubblegum Sass

Realistically, I’m not throwing all *my plans* out the window, but I’m asking for a re-do to the beginning of the year. Shifting priorities, and mindsets so that the first thing I do is put HIM first.

What would you have me (& us) do, Lord?
My life is not my own.
Mostly, I long to be useful to you.
Show me how to do that each & every day.
Thank you for being patient with me, yet again,
and for your gentle reminders.
Help me to pull back, slow down,
and walk alongside you, instead of racing ahead.
You first. All else will follow.

I wish you all much clarity and patience along your own paths this year.

Commit your way to the Lord ~ Pslam 37:5 ~ Bubblegum Sass Blog

A Year In Review: 2014

Celebrating mama's birthday ~ December 2014

I did one of these last year and decided to share my 2014 tidbits too:

Age: 33

Most enjoyed books:
1. Yada Yada Prayer Group (the ENITRE series was so enjoyable!) by Neta Jackson
2. Surprised by Motherhood by Lisa-Jo Baker
3. The Bible. Yes. It felt so good to make reading the Bible part of my daily routine.

Best food discoveries:
1. Making & canning tomato sauce
2. Roasting duck
3. Various yummy edible uses for dandelions

Biggest Challenges:

1. Attempting to figure out the new balance of pretty much everything in our life during hubby’s first year of intense market gardening
2. Having to take on the majority of our own gardening & subsequent food preservation (with the help of small toddler hands). In the past, I just played the role of assistant while hubby led the way. Felt like a bit of a crash course this year in everything garden related.
3. Still trying to figure out how to fit in enough crafting & Bubblegum Sass business time on a regular basis so that I can feel satisfied.

Lessons learned:
1. Slugs will demolish a garden in a blink of an eye. Do NOT put off dealing with them or you will be left with nothing but slimy, half eaten beans.
2. Do not be afraid to make changes or tell people when something isn’t working out. If it’s not sitting “right” with you then do something about it.
3. Verbalizing your honest feelings to a two/three year old, is better than yelling at them. (I am frustrated, I am tired, etc).

Smartest decision I made: NOT closing up shop and giving up on Bubblegum Sass, even though I came very close a couple of times this year out of pure frustration.

It’s been a long time in the making, but: my Bubblegum Sass product line and booth design is FINALLY coming together. Four years into this whole thing and I’ve finally figured out my brand and feel like I’m on the verge of a very cohesive collection. Hoping to bring the blog, website, and Etsy shop all in line with that identity in 2015!

Highlight moments/events:
1. Our family dream trip to Disney World and our very first cruise on board a Disney Cruise ship! Our adventures there were chalk full of “once-in-a-lifetime” moments!
2. Two AMAZING craft shows this year that made every effort I put into the business worth it!
3. Getting to see my fave Broadway musical Wicked live, not once, but TWICE this summer!

Glad I finally:
took a vacation somewhere warm, wore a bathing suit, and treated ourselves to lots of little indulgences after the last several challenging years we’ve had. Much needed time away together.

Most thankful for: another year of being a stay-at-home-mom. As much as each day challenges me, I wouldn’t trade it, not if it meant missing out on so much Sammy time.

I am admittedly, not good at asking for help. I’d rather suffer through something than delegate it. This is not a good quality in life or business. I might always struggle to ask for help, but I am so very blessed to have willing, helping hands at my disposal. A VERY special thank you to my hubby, Marcus, for his dedicated support to my business. He helps whenever I get up the nerve to ask for it, and offers even when I don’t. A VERY special thank you to my dear friend Shauna, who enthusiastically volunteered to lend me a hand at craft shows this year, even though it meant a ton of life scheduling & organizing on her part. Your offer of time, big or small, has meant a world of encouragement to me!

And lastly, but not leastly, THANK YOU to all the readers of this blog, my wonderful customers, followers on social media, fellow crafters & artisans. You made it possible to keep going with Bubblegum Sass another year. You inspired, challenged, and encouraged me. I am realizing that small growth, is growth nonetheless and that thought warms my heart as I move into an exciting new year.

A Time For Giving: Simplifying The Christmas Season

Snowflake Button Hair Clips by Bubblegum Sass

December is not far off. Goodness! Where did the month of November go?! At our house, it was consumed by colds, potty training, and more colds. I’ve been squeezing in little bits of crafting time where ever possible, but there’s been very few big chunks of making going on. Market Collective is only 10 days away now. I’m busy simplifying things in my head for the show, knowing what’s possible & improbable at this point.

I’m also being very mindful of what is most important at this time of year. This is the season, that one can most easily get caught up in the expectations of the world and lose focus on the true celebration of Christmas. So I make what I can for the craft show. I make what I love; make what I wish to share with my customers to fill their homes and help them express their love to others.

Christmas Love Catcher By Bubblegum Sass

I also made the point to prepare myself for the coming Advent season. I don’t want to let it pass me by. Over the summer months (our craziest time of year), I managed, for the first time in my life, to make Bible reading and reflection through journaling a DAILY habit. A habit that was sadly broken during our Disney trip and subsequent chaos at home, but I’m really looking forward to committing again with the start of Advent right around the corner. I ordered an Advent journal from Naptime Diaries (I loved their Lent one last year) and even splurged a bit on their Advent calendar so that I could fill our house with mini-devotional prints (and God’s message to us). I might also follow along with the reading plan from Love God Greatly (formerly Good Morning Girls, which I did last year). Advent isn’t about spending money, but I saw the difference it made in my own Bible reading habit to have inspirational resources at hand (purchased or free).

Small changes quote by Bubblegum Sass

Peering into December, it’s easy to see Christmas as a looming deadline. With chaotic parking lots, busy, busy malls, and the pressure of getting just the “right” gift, it’s no wonder we all get stressed out and miss the point of the season. Each year, hubby & I make another small step in avoiding the crushing chaos of December. It started years ago, when we began making the majority of our gifts. Then we incorporated Gifts of Change (gift certificates to World Vision & such, where recipients could choose the way they would like to impact the lives of others). Christmas craft shows start in September and this year I attended several before the shopping season was in full swing. It allowed me to support local businesses & feel a wee bit more prepared for the giving season. I also discovered the ease of ordering locally and having it delivered directly to my door (shout out to Cedar & Sparrow for the lovely natural beauty products, all made in Canada, that will be gifted to friends this year). Making small changes to simplify the season.

Natural Products From Cedar and Sparrow

Throughout the entire year, we purchase & collect items for Christmas Shoe Boxes. I have a little cubby in the sewing room where I squirrel away items to donate. We make organizing half a dozen Christmas Shoe Boxes a priority every November and we try to volunteer at the Operation Christmas Child warehouse each year, when possible. I’d love to volunteer there more than just one shift. Perhaps in coming years. I also really want to do more random acts of kindness during Christmas. We managed to do several last year and I’ve collected more ideas on my Christmas Pinterest board. I’m not trying to boast, but trying to encourage you. Our season of Christmas is becoming less about the pressure of giving and more about the experience of giving and ultimately, the deeper enjoyment of it. It is well worth the time to take a look at your own Christmas season and see if there are any changes, big or small, that can be made to embrace the true meaning of this most wonderful time of year.

A Time for Giving Quote by Bubblegum Sass

Happy Halloween!

Hope you have a very spooook-tacular Halloween! Thought I would share some pics of the Halloween festivities we’ve indulged in this year. It’s been a good one for us and love that we got to experience Halloween at Disney World with the “Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party” and also on our Disney Fantasy Cruise with “Halloween on the High Seas”. A very special year indeed!!

Happy Hallowishes! A magical Halloween, in a magical place.
Happy Hallowishes! A magical Halloween, in a magical place.
Of course Magic Kingdom, especially Main Street U.S.A, is all decked for Halloween. Loved the cheerful light posts!
Of course Magic Kingdom, especially Main Street U.S.A, is all decked out for Halloween. Love the cheerful light posts!
Sam's very first time trick-or-treating... and it was at Disney World during Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween party.
Sam’s very first time trick-or-treating… and it was at Disney World during Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween party.
What it must have been like through the eyes of my little boy...? Sammy watching the spooks and villains take over Cinderella's Castle in a special light show at Magic Kingdom.
What must it have been like through the eyes of a little child…? Sammy watching the spooks and villains take over Cinderella’s Castle in a special light show at Magic Kingdom.
This is the Halloween Tree on the Disney Fantasy cruise. It develops through the course of the cruise. When you board, it's just the smiling tree. Later, jack-o-lanterns appear and towards the end of the cruise, the jack-o-lanterns light up. There's Halloween story-time around the tree on various nights.
This is the Halloween Tree on the Disney Fantasy cruise. It develops through the course of the cruise. When you board, it’s just the smiling tree. Later, jack-o-lanterns appear and towards the end of the cruise, the jack-o-lanterns light up. There’s Halloween story-time around the tree on various nights. Disney doing it up right, of course.
Now that we're home, we get to celebrate *actual* Halloween, starting with pumpkin carving. This one was requested by our dino-crazed boy and lovingly carved by his daddy.
Now that we’re home, we get to celebrate *actual* Halloween, starting with pumpkin carving. This one was requested by our dino-crazed boy and lovingly carved by his daddy.

Happy Halloween, from our little spooks to yours!!!

Countdown to Disney Vacation

We're actually only THREE days away now!!
We’re actually only THREE days away now!!

Yes, we are firmly in the countdown to our Disney Vacation! This week has been entirely dedicated to getting ready for the trip. So much to organize for both our stay at Disney World and our week-long Disney Cruise. It’s a little overwhelming, when the basics include pirate and Halloween costumes, plus we’ve never taken a beach-type vacation before AND Sam has never flown before. A lot of firsts packed into this trip.

I’m hoping to post more about our trip after we get back (with plenty of photos), in case you’re dreaming about your own Disney vacation. In the meantime, I thought I would share a couple of pre-trip tips with you. I’ve been collecting tips, cruise secrets, packing list suggestions, and the like on Pinterest, so head over there to get a helpful links to other blog posts.

One of the best suggestions I came across was pre-ordering baby & toddler items from Babies Travel Lite. What a stress-relieving solution for mamas (and papas)! Our little (ok, not so little) Sammy is not yet potty trained. In my mind, that meant we had two options: packing all the diapers, wipes & such we would need for an almost two week trip in his suitcase (including swim diapers) OR bringing just enough for a couple of days & trying to get to a store during our short Disney World stay to purchase the rest. Both options seemed a bit stressful. Who really wants to use any of their precious time at Disney World to go diaper shopping?! And that’s when I came across Babies Travel Lite. They’ve got diaper packages based on the number of days of your vacation. The packages are very customizable (choose your sizes, brand & type preferences). And it’s not just diapers, they have lots of stuff for meal time, bath time, and sun time. Even little potties for those that are in the potty training process. Place your order, and they will deliver it to your Disney hotel or cruise. We put together a diaper order and included some handy toddler snacks that we can bring along on our port adventures (since prepackaged snacks on cruises cost extra anyway). The beauty of it all is that now, we just walk onto our cruise and our box of goodies will be waiting in our stateroom.

We didn’t book our trip waaaaay in advance like a lot of families, but I’m sure it’s felt like a looong time for Sam. When a single day can feel like two or three to a toddler (and his mama), waiting four months for an oh-so-special Disney trip might as well be a year. As the day of departure grew closer though, I really wanted to do a simple countdown calendar, so Sam could have a more tangible way of seeing the passing of time and experience the excitement building up. I found several options, but went with free, printable design from 505 Design Inc. Just pick your design (Disney World or Disneyland), print, and cut. We hung ours in the kitchen and each morning we put up the new number and then count to it. Sammy can only count to 12, so I didn’t start the countdown until day 13. I think it’s a pretty fun pre-trip activity to do with kids!

That's little 'ol me with my big brother during our first trip to Disneyland, 1986 (I was 5 years old). I still have those mouse ears.
That’s little ‘ol me with my big brother during our first trip to Disneyland, 1987 (I was 6 years old). I still have those mouse ears.

Ok, that’s all I’ve got time for right now. Gotta get back to making lists, checking things off, and getting packed. Also still have boxes of tomatoes ripening in the basement that need to be made into sauce. See you when we get back from what will be an awesome family adventure!!!

Fourth Blogoversary!

Cupcake (photo credit Veer)

FOUR YEARS! Yep, this little blog of mine has been going for four years now. A short time, really, in the blogosphere, but still feels like quite the accomplishment. Posts have been few and far between this summer, sadly. I have an inkling that might happen again in coming years. Winter months, though long here in Alberta, make for great writing & blogging. Summer months, not so much. The growing season is far too short to spend in front of the computer. That doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten you! This blog and its readers are very much on my mind as I go through each day and I’ve stored up some good content for posts to keep us entertained in the winter.

Until then, I think a Fourth Blogoversary calls for some celebration! This post marks 477 blog posts in that four year period. I’m crawling my way up to 500 posts (another milestone that will call for a bit of celebration later in the year)! And a BIG THANKS to all the wonderful folks you take the time, not only to read the blog, but to leave a comment! You guys rock and it makes my day every time I see a new comment come through!

So, let’s see, the best way to celebrate… with a GIVEAWAY, of course!! It might only be September 1st, but there’s already a crispness to the morning air. I’d love to help keep you cozy this autumn, so I’m giving away one of my crochet cowl scarves. All you have to do, is leave a comment on this post, and your name will be entered into the draw. Giveaway will close on Friday, Sept. 5th at midnight MST. Winner will be announced Saturday morning. Comments closed.

85% Wool, 15% Mohair Cowl Scarf
85% Wool, 15% Mohair Cowl Scarf

AND how about a sale in the Etsy shop, just to show my great appreciation of all your support! I rarely have sales in my shop, so you’ll want to take advantage of this one. All items 15% off!!! Whoot! Sale ends Friday, Sept. 5th at midnight MST.

THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU for all the love and support over the past four years! Made the journey worth it! Hope to be around on the blog more once we get through the craziness of September (canning season, you know) and go on our Disney Cruise (over-the-moon excited about that). Until then, take care and good luck to all the giveaway participants!

(and before anyone asks, I did not make that lovely cupcake in the top photo… I turned to my good ol’ friends at Veer for a stock image)

———–
And the winner is…

LISA!! Congrats Miss Lisa! I will be in touch with you shortly.

Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway!!Looking forward to continuing to write & share good posts for you! Have a great weekend!