Let this be for the whole year, not just September!

This is hard to write today, and I bet it will make a lot of you uncomfortable, and until recently, I will absolutely admit, it was a hard subject to discuss without it affecting me emotionally and mentally, and sometimes even physically.  September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and as we sit here on the last day of this month, let’s not go into October and the rest of our months ahead forgetting about this subject . . . let’s always have it on our minds that we can help bring awareness to this every day!  A small or big impact is still an effort to help people truly know how this affects families all over the world.

“Your child has cancer”

How many parents have heard these scary words?  One, one hundred, one thousand . . . I am going to tell you it is in the millions!  It is a very sad statistic that most of us do not want to hear or face.  The truth is, we really don’t know all of the facts behind childhood cancer so let me share with you . . . and please keep reading, even if you’re uncomfortable . . . these kids deserve our undivided attention.

Childhood cancer affects all children; it does not matter your race, gender, socioeconomic status . . . it affects EVERYONE!  This is a very sad truth, and one that we need to open our eyes to!  It isn’t a “choose one kind of child” kind of cancer . . . it is definitely affecting every child.  And it is nearly impossible to prevent . . . and I am going to be blunt right now, but I am going to ask for anyone to refrain from commenting that one carrot juice, or one vitamin, or one day in the sun, or anything for that matter, will help prevent or cure cancer!  It is not that you are not entitled to your opinion; it is that I have friends who have dealt with or are still dealing with their little ones fighting the battle of their lives, and these sort of comments sting . . . do we not actually believe that if there were an absolutely one hundred percent miracle carrot juice, it would be given to every child and every parent would be sure of doing that?  Sooooo I say this with the most respect, please do not comment on prevention, treatments or cures . . . I know that every parent will do what is right for their child, from the strength they have and with the love in their hearts!

The numbers . . . can we talk about these numbers . . .

1600 CANADIAN CHILDREN ARE DIAGNOSED EACH YEAR

1 OUT OF 5 WILL NOT SURVIVE THEIR DIAGNOSIS

1 OUT OF 3 WILL NOT LIVE OUT A NORMAL LIFESPAN

95% OF SURVIVORS WILL HAVE CHRONIC HEALTH PROBLEMS

THERE IS A 29% INCREASE IN INVASIVE PAEDIATRIC CANCERS IN THE LAST 20 YEARS

4% OF GOVERNMENT CANCER RESEARCH DOLLARS GO TO CHILDHOOD CANCER

2 DRUGS ARE APPROVED FOR THE TREATMENT OF CHILDHOOD CANCER IN THE PAST 20 YEARS

Let all of that sink in.  Can you even process that 4% of government cancer research dollars go to childhood cancer . . . only 4%?  How is this even okay?  How are we not giving more?  These little ones are our future, and I believe that we need to fight for more money, more research, so that we can make sure that what these beautiful little beings go through will not keep happening!  Do you know that in 6 years, 77 new drugs for adult cancers have been introduced and in 77 years, only 3 new drugs for childhood cancers?  (This information was taken from Solving Kids Cancer).  How is this okay?  How is this happening?  77 years?  3 drugs?  My heart literally sank when I read these statistics!

Now the hard numbers to read . . . hold your heart for this one . . . 46 kids are diagnosed each day, that is 2 every hour.  Every time  you sit down on your comfy couch to watch an episode of your favourite comedy show, the opening credits would scream “Your child has cancer” and the ending credits would shout “Your child has cancer”.  Could you imagine that?  No, I couldn’t either but it is a reality and factual and something that we do need to embrace and bring so much more awareness to!  Clearly, childhood cancer research is completely underfunded and it is needed more than 4%!  Every day, every hour, there are children dying of cancer around this world, and we have just given 4%???  I don’t want to see another child lose their life to cancer because there isn’t enough awareness or funding!  We need to keep the awareness going, and there is one person who I am grateful and proud to call my friend, that I believe is bringing this to the forefront of everyone and will definitely change that number!

Mitch, 5 years old

Kathleen Head is a friend, and a fierce hard loving momma!  Her little boy, Mitch, is fighting a battle with leukaemia. He is a brave little fighter, with the cutest smile, and cheeriest of personalities!  He has just started kindergarten, and let me tell you, he is a hero in all of our eyes!  He still has a battle ahead of him for the next two years, and his strength is pushing him through!  We just honoured Terry Fox, and did our annual school wide run to keep Terry Fox’s memory and dream alive, and let me tell you, there were many people honouring our little hero Mitch!  Each student was given a colouring page with a “runner” on it to represent the run and miles Terry Fox ran to raise awareness for cancer . . . and students are able to write a name of someone they are running for on this shoe.  What a heart filled moment it was to walk down the hallway and see these beautifully coloured pages on the wall, with the majority of the students choosing to write Mitch’s name on their shoes!  Wow, just wow!  Kathleen is bringing these statistics to the forefront, and raising awareness for all of us to know that we can make a difference!  We can be the change to these numbers!

It is in every school, in every neighbourhood, in every community, in every home . . . childhood cancer is present!  Look at Mitch’s face . . . please remember his fight, and let it be a reminder that we can make the difference of supporting the awareness that needs to happen in order for these numbers to change.  If you know of a family who is being affected by childhood cancer, look at their little ones and remember you can change the numbers!  As a community, as a city, as a province, as a country, let’s not let the number stay at 4% . . . let’s move that darn number and get these kids their health and childhood back!

How can I help?

You may be asking this question . . . and I thank you from the bottom of my heart if you are!!!  There are many ways you can help . . .

  1. Donate blood!  The shortage of blood is at an extreme high right now, and we need more donations than ever!  If you’re a viable candidate, please donate; we need you to!  You can click here to find out how you can make a difference!
  2. Write to your political leader!  This can be so impactful . . . it takes a wee bit of time to write to your leaders, and I promise one voice or many voices can be heard and change so many things!  Click here to find out more information on who your elected official is.
  3. Donate to childhood cancer charities! Gaby Davis Foundation   is amazing; it has helped so many families dealing with children who have been diagnosed with cancer.  Another great place to donate is Tour de Coast; police officers and emergency personnel bike for two weeks to raise awareness and money for cancer!  Other great places to donate are Balding for Dollars and Peds Oncology.  Please click on any of these incredible links to donate or learn how to get involved!
  4. Wear a yellow ribbon!  Someone may very well see you wearing a yellow ribbon and know what it means, or might not, and that just may open up a conversation and bring awareness!  A small little yellow ribbon can definitely help!
  5. Do a charity drive or organize a pub night!  You can raise money yourself, and choose which charity to donate to!  Get a few friends and/or families and organize a charity drive or a pub night!  A day filled with fun or a night filled with friends goes a long way in helping out these kids and charities!

Let’s all of us try to change that 4% . . . it takes a village for one child, so let’s take the world for all the kids who have been diagnosed!  We can change it . . . we can do it!!!

Ultimately, people need to face reality.  Childhood cancer exists.  It’s ugly, sad and uncomfortable.  It shouldn’t be swept under the rug.”  Kathleen Head

Those powerful words will forever remain embedded in my mind.  I am the first to admit when I saw the hashtag “#morethanfour” I had no idea what it meant . . . well I do now, and I am grateful to Kathleen for raising so much awareness to this ugly and sad, and definitely uncomfortable subject of childhood cancer.  It is reality . . . and a reality that we can change . . . so let’s do it for Mitch, and for all those brave little heroes so we can see their smiles shine brighter and brighter in this amazing world!

Love love love, LC

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Living Like I’m Going To Die!

Be in love with your life, every minute of it!  Jack Kerouac

Are you truly in love with your life?  Every minute of it?  Kerouac’s words resonate with me, and I can honestly say, I truly am in love with my life, every minute of it!

Is life perfect?  Absolutely not!  If it was, welllllll, that would just be so boring!  Is life adventurous, around every corner, bend and turn?  Absolutely it is!  And that’s what it makes it the most amazing ride ever!  And the only ride you’ll ever be on that the end destination is one that is guaranteed to us all . . . death.

I have had a hard time accepting that one destination . . . death, the very word itself, scares me.  It is a word that has so much sadness attached to it, and so much of the unknown.  When will we die?  Where do we go after we die?  What awaits us?  These are all questions with so many different answers for so many of us in this great big world.  And I absolutely love love love that we each are able to have our own beliefs on where our destination ultimately takes us . . . I love the freedom of choice 🙂

I have seen death and I have felt death . . . my first experience with death was my Zio (Uncle in Italian 😉 ).  He was an amazing man; one of those Italian Zio’s that you love because of how genuine and authentic he was.  I remember I was twelve years old, and I didn’t understand the concept of death, but just understood that it was concrete, and that I would never see my Zio again.  This shook my belief system, and just made me feel empty.  As years passed, and family members and friends died, I started realizing that us humans are definitely not as “untouchable” as I had thought.

I think the hardest part of losing someone, isn’t having to say goodbye, but rather learning to live without them.  Always try filling the void, the emptiness that’s left inside your heart when they go.  sd.

A childhood friend of mine passed away a few days ago, and now in my forties (yes this will be the one and only time I admit my age . . . maybe 😉 ), I am grateful that she gave me the reminder to live life to it’s fullest, and truly keep being in love with my life!  Every moment that passes, we have a choice to make . . . will it be to choose happiness and let things go, will it be to choose misery and let everything bother us, or will it be to choose a balance between living with happiness and misery, and accepting it all as lessons we get to go through?  I choose the balance of life itself . . . I love love love choosing to be happy, yes choosing to be happy.  Some days you wake up and stub your toe . . . what do you do?  You could curse and be miserable the rest of the day because darn it, that bed post got in your way, and the world is miserable, and why did this happen, and blah blah blah!  Orrrrrr you can choose to see it as the stubbing of your toe was a little reminder to show you that you’re alive and well, and that thank goodness it was your toe and not your knee cap and that you can still walk and get to where you’re needing to go . . . and still appreciate all the moments!  It is amazing how one moment of your day can shift all emotions . . . happy or miserable!  You get the choice!  So today, and onwards, I choose to honour my friend who has passed away, and all those who have left us far too soon, and choose happiness . . . happiness for the rest of my days 🙂

Death is very real, and one day I will face it too.  Let’s hope not anytime soon because this girl here is still wanting to make waves and move mountains soooooooo world, hold on to me a little longer, I’m coming for you 😉  As Margaret Atwood stated, “In the end, we’ll all become stories.” I want to make sure mine is a good one!!!

Love love love, LC

 

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Fantabulous Nonni!

“The best part of getting old is having nipoti”

These words spoken are from my wonderful parents!  Those words have never been more true to witness!  I see the love that my parents have for my kids, and I see it on a daily basis!  They could spend the whole day with the kids, and the minute they leave, my parents miss them like crazy!  That is love, deep and fierce love!  My boys are so lucky to experience this love!

Grandparents Day is a special day that allows us to celebrate those who have had the privilege of growing old and seeing their families grow!  I believe grandparents should be celebrated every day . . . I am grateful that my boys have their Nonni to support them, love them, encourage them and spoil them!  It is the most amazing thing to see – the bond between my boys and my parents is one that can never be broken, and one that will definitely live on for many many many years!

I love love love that my kids get spoiled by their Nonni!  We love seeing the appreciation that they have when they are around their Nonni . . . there is no expectation, just appreciation!  That is the key – always reminding the future generation to most definitely appreciate what they get, rather than expect it.  The world doesn’t owe them anything . . . rather, the world is there for the taking!  And I love that my parents have a part to play in teaching my boys this!

Nonni ti vedano nascere sapendo che forse ti lascera prima degli altri . . . forse e per questo che ti ama piu degli altri!

Grandparents see you being born knowing that they may leave you before all others . . . maybe that’s why they love you more than all of the others!

I have enjoyed these last 14 years watching my parents become Nonni, and enjoy every minute!  The moments they have had that have turned into memories have been priceless!  All the moments like Nonno teaching all about the garden to Nana teaching all about the cooking . . . it’s incredible to watch!  I appreciate all the time and energy, and patience, given and I will never forget it! Here is to many more moments and adventures . . . I love love love that we have the opportunity to create them together!  

Love love love, LC

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And just like that, it was over!

Summer is over . . . time to officially remember what day of the week it is!

Goodbye summer . . . hello school routines, packed lunches, early mornings, and taxi mom!  LOL!  Wow, summer just flew by in the blink of an eye!  It feels like we had a super long spring break, not a summer vacation at all!  I just can’t believe today was the first day back at school!!!  Well, not exactly the first day back . . . today was just attendance 😉

I always love the first day back; I love love love seeing the boys with their friends, their smiles and their energy!  It is pretty great!  I also, selfishly, love love love seeing my mommy friends and seeing their smiles too!  It is such a great feeling being surrounded by an amazing community!  Love it here so much!!!

I have to admit, the frantic mornings aren’t my cup of tea, but that’s what makes the memories!  We are that family that strives for the routine and structure in the morning, and almost get it 99% of the time!  LOL!  The other 1% is the “hurry up and brush your teeth for the seventeenth time!”  It never fails that the most used sentence in our house is . . . wait for it . . . guarantee you have all said it . . . “We are going to be late!!!”  LOL!  We always make it on time, or earlier . . . I believe time should be respected to the highest level!  And so far so good with our timing, but it’s a habit that we always say it!

Now the packed lunches . . . if there was a super power that I could have, it would be to pack lunches in my sleep so that they would be amazing, healthy and ready for us in the morning!!!  They truly are the thorn in my side!!!  It sometimes is a challenge with what to pack; I totally understand that appetite mood swings are real and exist!!!  Have you ever packed a sandwich in the morning because you felt like it but noon comes around and you look at it and think, “Hmmmmm, don’t really love you right now . . . kinda wish I packed that leftover pasta from last night!”  Ya, all the time!  LOL!  So I get that my little humans have those appetite mood swings too!!!  I am determined this year to make sure that I can find some healthier snacks and meals that will be easy to make, and loved by my boys!  I will keep you posted 😉  And if you have any amazing suggestions, please leave them in the comments . . . I would love to learn!!!

Tomorrow is the first official day of school for my kidlets . . . I am excited to get in the full swing of things again, and know that they will have their friends surrounding them every day for the next 10 months . . . but I am counting down until the next summer vacation 😉 LOL!  I will miss my sleep ins . . . until next year 😉

. . . and all at once, summer collapsed into fall

Love love love, LC

 

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“Donut” Worry, Be Happy :)

“Donut” let anyone tell you that summer is almost over!!!  I am going to live in denial for a little longer, and not believe that the first of September has approached us so quickly!  And to celebrate this denial, I decided a little adventure would do the trick 😉

Cartems Donuterie . . . have you heard of them?  If you haven’t, well, let me tell you, you soooooooo need to get to one!  I can’t even begin to put into words just how incredibly delicious these donuts are . . . but I will try!

It all started when Jordan Cash, owner of Cartems Donuterie, had a dream of opening up a donut shop!  Simple as that!  I, and many millions of others, are grateful that he had that dream because there are now three Cartems Donuterie locations for us all to enjoy these delicious creations!  All of Cartems donuts are made daily from scratch, are free of trans-fat, and even their glazes and fillings are natural!  They even have vegan and gluten-free options – seriously, they are incredible!!!

What’s even more amazing?  The vibe the space gives you . . . we walked in and right away it was instant happiness!  Yes, I saw the donuts first, and that made my smile huge, but I promise, just being in there for a few seconds, it was pure joy!  I looked around and the coolest thing was there were so many different people of all different ages!  That’s when you know you’ve come to the right place; it truly is for everyone!!!  Cartems motto is about three things: “smiles, conversations and donuts” and all three definitely were happening when we walked in!  There were two little old ladies as sweet as the donuts, hanging out choosing some donuts!  There was a younger girl on her laptop, probably finishing up a blog, or a paper for school, and there were a variation of all other ages of individuals around, smiling and having conversations while eating a donut!  It was awesome!!!  I met Patrick and Nathan, who worked there, and they were also just so wonderful!!!  They were so kind, helpful, and so patient while we made our choices of which donuts we wanted to try!  As we were drooling, they were so sweet, and never made us feel like we needed to hurry!  We decided to buy a dozen . . . you will too once you go there 😉  And oh my goodness, I promise we didn’t eat them all . . . we had a family of five that day 😉

So we each chose ones that we wanted to devour, and then had a few to “take home” and eat after the children go to bed!  LOL!  I chose the Salted Caramel Donut . . . oh the flavour of this donut . . . you taste the chocolate, and then the hint of salt, and then boom, it all comes together like a beautiful firework in the sky!  So so so bang on in flavours!  (No pun intended 😉 )

My hubby Garth chose the Apple Fritter (which is Jordan Cash’s favourite) . . . he described it as being excellent, with crispy caramelized sugar and fresh apple with cinnamon!  It was perfection for him!  I snuck a bite, and let me tell you, it absolutely was perfection!!!

My mom came along for the adventure and she chose the Smoked Maple Walnut; her description was the best!  She told me it had a nice fresh taste, and it doesn’t taste stale like the “other place”!  LOL!  I totally know exactly what she was talking about, and I bet you all do too!  I love my Italian Mama!  No filter!  She ROCKS!!!  She said that this donut would be a great addition to any coffee!  That’s awesome!!!

So my boys – they are the most unfiltered and will tell me if they LOVE LOVE LOVE something, or if they really dislike something! Love their honesty 😉  So my oldest chose the Original Donut . . . he described it as “original” and so good!  Great words from a teenager! He said, “Knowing that this isn’t ‘bad’ for me makes it even better!”  Yes, he is already planning our next trip to Cartems!  LOL!  He said it had a slightly different taste, but in a really good way; it didn’t taste “fake” or processed!  Super good insight!!!  Loved that he was able to tell the difference!  My youngest chose the Chocolate Glazed; of course he did!  He loves anything chocolate!!!  When I asked him to describe his donut he said, “It is very chocolatey, very messy and you said it was healthier for me so can I please have two?” LOL!  Again, love the honesty from my kids’ mouths!!!  He said it tasted like an explosion of good taste in my mouth!  Yup, he hears me and my descriptions a lot 😉 So even kids LOVE the healthier donuts!  Win win!!!

Other flavours that we chose were a Coconut Cream Stuffie (this is by far the most delicious of all . . . it is filled with vegan coconut custard and coated in a lychee glaze – are you drooling yet???), Earl Grey Donut, White Chocolate Peach and a London Fog! Seriously, I just want to go back right now!!!  LOL!

I have to say that these donuts are the best I have ever tried!  We hit a bunch of donut shops last summer and tried a few here and there and nothing even comes close to these!  I am so grateful that we had the opportunity to go check out Cartems!  “Donut” ever think we are going anywhere else . . . Cartems, we will be back for sure!!!

Love love love, LC

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