Monday 30 March 2015

The untold story

As a child I never paid much attention to my family history, however as I get older it has become more important to me and much more interesting.

This is my Fathers story....

My Father has ten siblings,


My Grandparents met just after the war in England. My Grandmother at the time had three children and was unable to take care of them and the decision was to place them into foster care. Those children were Pat, Joan and David.
I never met Pat or Joan, however I did meet my Uncle David once. Just before I was a teenager. I never even knew what had really happened to Pat, Joan and David until this very day.

My Father was born in London, England in 1951. Close to the river Thames, which is alongside the docks of London, in a place called Boddys Bridge. His family lived in south east London which was considered to be the slums. This was a place where ships from all over the world unloaded their cargo and with that came rats and mice. Infestations of mice and rats were prevalent in the area. My father remembers that you could often hear them in the cupboards and inside the walls, squabbling and fighting. They would run around the house looking to eat food and garbage and whatever they could find.

After living at Boddys Bridge a few years his family moved to 16 Ralph street. It was still the slums of London but a much better place to live. Unfortunately they still had to deal with the rats and mice. They lived in a council house (something we would call Edmonton housing). They had 4 boys sleeping in one bed, 2 in another and their eldest sister in her own room.

Their toilet was located outside of their home and my Father said they had to use a piss bucket in the hallway which in turn meant someone had to empty that bucket to the toilet in the backyard.
This is where the saying comes in "Didnt have a pot to piss in" or "piss poor".

My Father often talked about Christmas time when they would walk to a Charity Church on Tower Bridge Road some 2 to 3 miles from home. Their Christmas was nothing like the ones I grew up to know. They would walk to this church to get their presents. They were given used toys and most were partly broken or missing something. Still, to them it was Christmas! I remember hearing this story and I asked for it often. To me, I could never imagine a Christmas without a tree full of presents. However my Father talked about the happiness they all had upon receiving these toys and the joy it brought them. Hearing that always made me happy and still does even writing it.

In 1961 my Grandfathers sister flew from Canada to London and the purpose of the trip was to talk to him about moving back to Canada. He is a Canadian and ended up in England during the 2nd World War where he met my Grandmother. I am sure after much consideration and much hardship and tired of living in the slums my Grandfather made the choice in 1962 to move his family to Canada. My Grandfather flew to Canada ahead of the family and than called for the rest of them to come.

My Father was 11 when they left London in October of 1962. Taking a train from London to Liverpool they boarded a ship "The Empress of England". My Grandmother with 7 kids in tow embarked on a journey i can not even imagine. They hit the tail end of a hurricane and everyone was sea sick due to the rough seas.

The ship left Liverpool England arriving in Montreal, Canada, 7 days later. Upon arriving they all boarded a train for Regina, Saskatchewan. A train ride that took another 3 days. Their destination was my Grandfathers Sisters farm in Watson, Saskatchewan. They lived on the farm for serveral months, during this time my Grandfather was looking for work in Saskatoon. My Grandfather even went back to school to take a motor mechanics course in order to get a job but no one would hire him at his age. My Father says he often thought about what it was like for his Dad to have uprooted his family in England at 59 years old with no savings at all, no house, no job and with a wife and 7 children to take care of. Most people at this time of their life are thinking of retirement not starting life over in another country.

After the time they were on the farm the family moved to Saskatoon where my Grandfather rented a house for $90 a month. My Father recalls when they arrived at the house there was nothing in it. Not one piece of furniture. My Grandfather managed to get a couple bales of hay and spread it on the floor. They lay their coats on the hay for blankets. Remembering back he said that when his mom stepped into the house she had brought a steamer trunk with her from England. It contained all of her wordly possessions, which was not much. She looked around the house and sat down on that trunk and cried. My Father and his brothers would walk the back alleys gathering scrap wood with my Grandfather and bed  upon gathering that wood my Grandfather built my Grandmother a kitchen table. The Salvation Army donated beds and used furniture to them.
My father always donated to the Salvation Army. I remember him saying they helped him. I never knew to what extent.

My Grandfather started work in a janitor business in Saskatoon. They stayed working that business for some years and when my father was about 17 or 18 my Grandparents moved without their children to Cassiar, a small mining town in Northern B.C.

Now when my Grandparents left England to come to Canada my fathers older brother Terry was in the Navy. He was away in service when they left. He was 19 years old.... I can only imagine the day he came home to 16 Ralph street to be told my neighbors his whole family moved to Canada. There was no way to tell where or how to contact them.

I can not tell you how this news has affected me upon hearing it.

I ever knew my Uncle Terry. I had never seen a picture of him until the day I wrote this blog. All I know of him is the heartache I feel inside knowing what has happened to him while he was away. Upon hearing this news I had a million questions. Unfortunately I do not have answers to them. It seems it was a subject not spoken about much and not knowing the news until much after my Grandparents have passed, I have never been able to ask.

I often think about my Uncle Terry whom I have never met. I believe I think about him so often because I hurt knowing how he was essentially left behind.

My Uncle Terry went on to have children I still do not know how many. I know of his son Martin who we found via Facebook. It is amazing that after this many years we can connect with lost family members in such a way. There is a lot of family in England whom I have never had the pleasure of knowing. You see them through their pictures and their posts but you do not really know them as I know my family in Canada. I wish it could have been different. I wish that we were all together.

I hope my Uncle Terry led a wonderful life. I will be forever heartbroken for a man I never knew. We missed out on knowing him and he missed out on his whole family. It is unimaginably tragic and horribly sad.

I can not imagine the struggle my Grandparents had raising 8 children in the slums of London. I know they wanted a better life for their children and they achieved that for them.

I would not be here if it was not for that choice. My children would not be here...

My father and the rest of his brothers and his sister worked very hard to make their lives for their children better than what they had. I wholeheartedly believe they did. My life has been wonderful. I never once struggled to eat the way my father and his siblings did. I never worried about that because my father made it that way and that is a direct result of my Grandparents decision.

I asked my father what his thoughts were about his brother Terry.

His reply

"Absolutely terrible what happened to Terry. We could not understand leaving Terry behind. We often wondered what he thought when he came home and found his family not there. I have thought of my brother Terry lots over the years. He was someone we looked up to as he was in the Navy and all of us boys were excited to see him come home after being away at sea"

I asked my father what his thoughts were about his family moving to Canada.

His reply

"As kids of course we did not have a choice. However my dad had the foresight to see that his family would not have a good future growing up in England and wanted to give us more of an opportunity than what we could have experienced in England. His decision to move us here has greatly benefited all of us in so many ways, it is something we say thank you for every year".

This picture was taken in 1984, but this is us.

This is my Uncle Terry. May he rest in peace

Every family has a story. Do you know yours?


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Saturday 28 March 2015

An untouched beauty

My mother was born in a small town named Telegraph Creek. It is a small town I am sure nobody has ever heard of. When I think about Telegraph Creek it brings back many great memories for me of my family. Lets start with where Telegraph Creek is. Almost every year as a child we would drive to Terrace, BC. It is a 16 hour drive. Add another 9 hours north and you hit a place called Dease Lake. Take a left there and drive for 2 more hours on a dirt road and you hit Telegraph Creek. It is a small community home to Tahltan First Nation residents and non-native residents. My mother is Tahltan and Tlingit making me half Native and the other half the English of my Father.

A wonderful picture of my Grandfather as a young man

I don't believe you can get more remote than this. There is a small general store. Nothing else. 
Now the drive there is a tough one especially if the day before we just made the 16 hour trek to Terrace to meet our family before we head up north. 

My mother has 5 sisters and 5 brothers. When we gather in Telegraph creek it is usually quite a large group who go up. My Grandfather and my uncles and aunts go, their children and their children children. When I tell people I have a big family it is the absolute truth. So when we go up, which is not so often for me, it is almost like a reunion sometimes. 

I can not begin to tell you how beautiful the drive to Telegraph Creek is. The road is a treacherous stretch of road. 112km of gravel and dirt and narrow passages along the canyon walls. 

The Grand Canyon of the Stikine as it is sometimes called. The stikine river is shown below. It the most beautiful landscape I have ever seen and ever been to. The feeling of being completely free of anyone around you. It is breathtaking!

Where we go is just out of Telegraph Creek in a place called Six Mile. I do not know for sure if it is the actual name or if it is actually just six miles out. I have heard it so many times I never questioned it until this very moment :) This is a place we go and set up camp. It is a large clearing, near the Stikine river.

It is no secret I am not a fan of bears, so camping in bear country has never been easy for me. Lets add anxiety to camping in bear country. I have never liked the idea of it. Now that I am older and I can choose, bear country is not at all my first choice to camp. It is not lost upon me now that it is in fact, some of the most beautiful places to camp. I do not get to do this often with my family. It has been few and far between now that I am an adult, but it is truly the most wonderful experience and the only place I do not feel scared of bears. Why? Because of have my Grandfather there. He always has his gun and my tent is always right next to his, lol. In saying this, I have never once seen a bear here or have heard stories of bears coming into six mile. Nor do I want to hear any stories if they do in fact exist, lol.

Photo courtesy of Janice Julseth

Never the less I love being here. Watching my family net fish, even though I do not like fish. It is an amazing thing to see them pull in the net and the biggest salmon you can imagine come out. Some the length of my leg. These are my two cousins Lisa & Janice.

Photo courtesy of Janice Julseth

I believe I am lucky in having the family I have. Being aboriginal we are able to throw the net out in to the river and catch these fish. This is where my family comes from. This land, this area. Without family coming from this area it is not somewhere you usually come to visit. I feel lucky to have experienced this first hand. To have been here, taken it in. And knowing that I will again some day. I miss them all and wish I could join them this Summer as I know they are all heading up north to fish.
Photo courtesy of Janice Julseth

There is something special about this place. The fact that it is so remote it is untouched beauty. It is native land. Although I was not born here, although I do not know it as well as my family as I grew up in the city and am a "city girl", but still it makes me feel.... at home. 

I hope to one day show Enrico this beauty. It is truly unreal! For anyone who is an outdoor enthusiast looking for a remote adventure this is it! It is absolutely gorgeous!

Wednesday 25 March 2015

When one hears music behind the noise

Unless he told you, you would never guess my husband to be a hardcore Heavy metal fan. I do not use this term lightly. To say he is a fan of this music is an understatement. His cd collection is absolutely unreal. I personally do not like the music, I do not like his collection, but that does not negate the fact that it is impressive. Had I known what was in store to invade my house upon moving in together I may have had second thoughts ;) kidding of course.

The first time I experienced the cd overload was when he took me to Italy for the first time. Upon leaving Italy and packing our suitcases he insisted I pack my clothes and on each layer we would pack it full of cd`s. Clothes, cd`s, clothes, cd`s. It was the heaviest damn suitcase you can imagine. Although our suitcases were packed to the max it wasn't that many. This was just the beginning.

In Italy he had close to 4000 cd`s. But what to do? They were all in Italy, we can not mail them all over right?....... Wrong!

To my dismay those cd's made their way across the ocean to us. I can not imagine the amount of time it took his Sister and her Family to take each cd out of its case and pack them on top of eachother in boxes over and over. But they did it. And they came. Our livingroom consisted of boxes upon boxes of empty cd cases (which he bought here for his cd's his sister sent) and cd's with their covers waiting to be put in the cases.. . .

How I loathed these god damn things. There were so many of them. In time, he had put them all together and they sat in random cd towers and boxes and totes and on the floor of the basement. They were everywhere down there. Not to mention, he was still and continues to this day to buy them. It was a wonderful day when we put a shelving unit downstairs and began to fill it.

This is what his collection looks like in shelves. Now all the doors that are closed, they are filled. The drawers you can pull out... filled!!

Now the picture below does not show the massive size of this unit. Its HUGE. It is taller than Enrico.

This is a close up of the shelf on the left

My first memory of my husband after we met almost 7 years ago is him messaging from Italy and letting me know he wouldn't be able to message for a few days as he was going to play a concert in London with his band. Yup, his band.

Not many people know he was in a band, let alone a heavy metal band. I have to say what they have accomplished is impressive in itself. They recorded 2 cd's and one video. They played many concerts. His band name?

Bleed in Vain

Enrico Longhin - Lead Vocals
Davide Carraro - Lead Guitar 
Enrico Pajaro -    Rhythm Guitar
Giacomo Secco - Drums
Massimo Cocchetto - Bass Guitar

I have met two members of the band. Enrico Longhin and Davide Carraro. They are some of the nicest people I have had the pleasure of knowing. 

This one hangs on our fridge and I have to say I truly love it. 

I once read reviews on their band after they decided to go their own way. This is a few of them. Both in Italian and English.

Damn, dude... I loved your music, guys. I loved for a show here in Bulgaria... Well, things are what they are - the underground stage will miss you alot!! Good luck with the works in the studio and hope one day we'll meet there (you never know what the future will bring us) YOU ROCK! ho sperato fosse un'attimo, un momento di passaggio, mi spiace, per te Ukka e anche x gli altri ragazzi della band, e' stato un piacere suonare con voi... E' un peccato, ma se e' la scelta che ti rende felice come ho detto a Ena, la felicita' nn la si caratta con niente. .. buiona vita!! Alex

Wish you all the best in your future. Pitty that I didnt see your gig becuase I like your music very much. Best wishes from me. 

Peccato... hai perfettamente ragione comunque! stay impure!

It is sad to hear that a good band like you guys is splitting up. You guys were one of my favorties.

Noi a dire il vero ci avevamo sperato fino all fine che non accadesse...
E cmq, siccome si parla di uno stop. . . aspettiamo il ritorno!!
In bocca al lupo a tutto ragazzi!!!

You guys will always be part of the scene of our region. Such a pity. You will be missed

These are the covers of their cd's

This is their video.  Take a look :)

Enrico wrote the music for this song

Even though I do not like heavy metal music. I enjoy watching this video from time to time. He is my husband after all and this is a part of his life I never seen in person. It is amusing and entertaining all in one.  For all the members of Bleed in Vain it is a huge accomplishment. Enrico wrote most of the music for his band. For all of this I have always been proud of him.

As I write this blog, this heavy metal man is quietly singing an "The Itsy Bitsy Pumpkin" song to his two baby girls to put them to bed.. This is where his life brought him.

To them

To me....

I couldn't be happier


Tuesday 24 March 2015

One saw mud, the other saw stars

In my 35 years I have had the pleasure of having two beautiful girls. They bring joy to me everyday. When they were born I was overjoyed, happy, in love with my new beautiful babies. I was the perfect image of a mom.

Well, in all honesty this is what I wished I was. 

Unfortunately when I gave birth first to Abigail I had a small bout of Post Partum Depression. I didn't even know I had it until the day I snapped out of it. I thought I was smart now, I knew the signs. I didn't. When the time came around to have Ellie I never saw it coming. I never even thought about it. Post Partum Depression, oh that's when you cry a little after having a baby, "Baby blues". I will cry a little and than be ok. Or so I thought.

Ellie was about six or seven months when I walked into a health clinic and sat down with the nurse. I walked in with both girls and broke down into tears. I believed myself to be either bi-polar, severe anger issues or I was crazy. I was none of those. I was suffering from post partum despression. I was immediately referred to a psychiatrist and a therapist. I have to admit I was ashamed. There is a stigma attached to depression. Mental illness in its entirety. Not many understand it and not many will try to unless you are diagnosed with it. 

Coming out to your friends and family is not an easy task. I was in complete fear they would think immediately that I wanted to kill my children and that I was not capable to take care of them. That I would need someone to watch me with them. I was afraid people would think I was faking it or think that in fact I was a little crazy. I believe until that day that I walked into the Health clinic I tried real hard to pretend everything was ok. But everything wasnt ok, I felt like I was dying inside.

I let them know through a heavy flow of tears that I loved my children I loved my husband but I don't want to be around them anymore. I am angry ALL the time. I am unhappy, I want to cry, I want to be alone, I want to hide but I cant, I am a full time mommy of two little children. I could put my level of irritability honestly comparable to pms times 10. I was miserable and I was making everyone around me miserable.

I was put on medication and I believed myself to be fine. I had to be. I had no other choice. Life goes on, I have to as well. So I took the medication and following the end of maternity leave I went back to work. I had no idea at that time I was making the biggest mistake in my life. I was on depression medication but I was on nothing to help with anxiety. I grew more anxious everyday. I have always been an anxious person and was put on medication before I even had Abigail. Little did I know the depression medication was great for depression, not so good for anxiety. So I was fixed for my depression and sent off into the work world with a big ol bag of anxiety on my back.

Starting work was fine. I felt fine. I felt great. Like I always did at work. Like I can accomplish anything. But things started to decline. I felt myself always sick. I had never been so sick as I was at this job. It was cold after cold after cold and than Pneumonia followed. I would go to the hospital to check out chest pains. I believed myself to be allergic to some sort of food as I was sick all the time. Throwing up every other day. I thought, how can one have so much food poisoning? I remember telling Enrico, maybe I need to quit this job and get my health on track. Something is really wrong with me. I was holding on by a thread and I didn't even know it.

I spoke to my psychiatrist and told him everything that was happening and that I was even contemplating quitting work because of what was happening. I just wasn't happy anymore. I wasn't me. We spoke long and hard that day and he said that after post partum depression I had become so anxiety ridden I drove myself back into depression. Little did I know this one would be even worse than the first times.

He told me to take short term medical leave and he would put me through courses to better myself. I have to admit this was a hard decision for me. I wasnt sure what my work would say. I was sure they would fire me instantly and than what? We even talked about that happening and if so I could be put on Employment Insurance. But was this the way I wanted to go? I was once again ashamed. Would people see me as abusing the system? Would they think I am just taking time off for a free ride? The internal struggle was deep. I confided in my friends and my family. What should I do. Everyone said to take the time off. I still felt that I was heavily judged. I was sure people around me thought that. Remember I was anxiety ridden and I thought every bad thing all the time.

The day I made the decision to take the time off I visited an old friend randomly and her words were the clincher. She has always been that straight shooter kind of person. The one who will tell you exactly how it is be it if it slaps you in the face or makes you feel like your heart melts. I hadnt seen her in years, but she is exactly who I remember and true to who she is. To me this person has morels and ideals that I envy as she is so matter of fact it makes me wish I could see life that way too. I did that day, through her words to me. I spoke of my troubles and the decision that I was facing. Now, sometimes you just need that one person to put it into perspective for you. Jaimie Kreklewetz I can not begin to tell you how you have impacted my life. How I appreciate it and how I love you for it.

It was not an easy road taking time off work. I delved deeper into depression upon leaving my job. Without the routine of day to day, I was lost. My days were empty and I was back taking care of two little girls while I waited for my courses to start. I had many days where I would just get through the day and be so thankful to see Enrico come through the door so I can give him the baby and turn my back on the world. Dont bother me, dont say mommy, dont touch me, pretend I am not here. It makes me sad to think of the many times I heard Enrico say to Abby "Dont bother mommy right now she isn't feeling good". I felt  horrible inside. But I could not change it. I could not make it better nor did I know how. I just turned my back and ignored everyone.

I think any husband who supports and not only supports but lovingly supports his wife through such an ordeal is a hero. Any woman who has post partum depression and if they were anything like me I am surprised my husband wasn't running for the hills with his suitcase. I would be mad at him at the drop of a hat. I would lay in bed for hours while he watched our girls. He never once said it was hard on him, even though I know it was. I can not even explain the exhaustion. I once asked how can I possibly be this tired. It is like I have been doing stuff all day and I am to the point of utter exhaustion but I have done nothing. Not a single thing. I was told, with your mind in the state it is in, your are mentally exhausting yourself. I have never felt that kind of tired before and hope to never ever feel it again. It takes everything away from you. I didn't clean my house, I didn't do the laundry. I didn't want to do ANYTHING. But I had two little girls. Two little girls under the age of 4 to take care of.

When my courses started routine was again upon me. I was actively seeing my therapist who had me working very hard at getting up and out and doing things again. Be it even taking a shower for the day. Doing one load of laundry or even just taking it downstairs. Just a small accomplishment as I used to think that things had to be "All or nothing" either I clean the whole house or I have failed at it. I can not just clean one room and be happy, all the things that were worrrying me, weighing on my mind, I had to have them done NOW or it just wasnt good enough. They call that All or nothing thinking. Or Black and White thinking. I was a huge abuser of them. I have learnt that it does not have to be that way. Something as simple as that. I didnt even know such a thing existed. A way of thinking that can floor you.

When I started my courses they consisted of:

  1. Stress Management
  2. Life Wellness
  3. Anxiety
  4. Emotion Regulation
These were all group courses. You sit in a room full of people with similar issues to your own and you all talk. I was mortified. I didnt want to do this. But do I want to stay depressed? No! I can not tell you how this changed my life...... I left work in June of 2014 and off and on my courses lasted through December of the same year. I have never dreamed of learning what I did in these courses. I am grateful for the help I received and the people who helped me in these group sessions. It is amazing what you can learn from other people. It is amazing what you can learn from yourself. I dont believe I would be the same person I am today without the help of my psychiatrist. He put me on this path of ...... survival. He is someone I hold in very high regard. 

The one person I believe forever changed how I think and how I am, is my therapist... How do you thank someone for giving you your life back? How do you thank someone for changing your life so that you and your husband are in love like you were when you first met? How do you thank them for getting YOU back? She will never know the depth of my appreciation. 

It is now March 2015. I fully believe after much therapy and much much work on my part I have left depression behind me. I now know the tools to see it coming, to prevent its grasp on me. I understand it. I am ready!

Today March 23, 2015 I write this. The day you read this is will be the 24th of March or subsequently later. Today, on this day I started a new job. It is a milestone for me. I feel I have been to hell and back and now, I am back, I made it! I couldnt be happier and to be honest I couldnt be more proud of myself for digging myself out of that deep dark hole. 

Thank you to my friends and family for sticking through this with me. I know it was tough. I know you didnt understand. You can never know how much it meant for you to be there during such a terrible time. 

To those closest to me.... My Husband... I couldnt have done this without your help. Your support and understanding meant the world to me and I am forever indebted to you for this. 

My Sister, my Mom, my Father, I thank you for always being there for me. At the drop of a hat you would be there and from the bottom of my heart I appreciate it.  I love you forever!

My friends... Trenda and Nadine, thank you for your understanding and support. Jane, I know I pushed you away the most and I love you for still being here. Lori, I feel like you held my hand through it all. Kim, thank you for the late night talks. I love you all. 

Thank you all for being here with me while I end my painful journey. I have lost some friends in this journey and I will always hold close the ones who are true to my heart. 

To anyone reading this blog who is going through depression.
There is light at the end, it is just a hard struggle to it and I fully believe it is possible to get there. 
Never give up. 

"Two men looked out from prison bars, one saw mud, the other saw stars"

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Sunday 22 March 2015

There was two in the bed and the little one said

It has been almost a year since I left work to regain my mental health and in that time Abigail has started something that never happened while I was working. She will occasionally come sleep in our bed. This is no problem per say as our bed is a King sized bed with lots of room for Enrico, Abigail, myself and the dog ;) My Father once asked her why she comes to sleep with us and she told him "because Mommy puts her whole arm around me and it makes me feel good". Oh my heart was exploding.

Now don't get me wrong. We are not the perfect picture of three people sleeping in a bed. She will often turn sideways and have her head in my face and her feet on her Daddy's face. She will want to sleep right next to me if not almost partially on me. I am not a fan of being hot and this little girl under all her little blankets is hot! I gradually move away in my sleep and she follows. So in waking up I am right on the edge of the bed usually laying on my side and she is pressed up so close to my back.

Some would say, just move her. Put her back in her bed. Of course this is an ideal situation as I have a much better sleep when this little wriggly girl is not in my bed pushing me out. But I almost see it as I do my with my dog Ryley. He is a Shitzu-Pomeranian and so he is quite small. He usually sleeps at the end of the bed but will also often move around the bed to his leisure. If he is in my way I will 99% not move him. I just love him so much and if he is comfortable so be it. I will twist and contort around him in a ridiculous fashion. Of course there are times that I move him and it is wonderful but for the most part I will move around them both

This is not an every night occurrence with Abby. It happens every so often but I have grown to love it. Having my little baby girl crawl in bed and want to sleep with me makes me feel..... special. I have asked her why she comes to sleep with us believing it could possibly be a bad dream and she usually replies "I just wanted to lay with you. These past few times I have asked again wondering if it was a nightmare. This time her reply was "Because I love you".

My point of the story is that I start a new job tomorrow and I had to tell Abby she can no longer come sleep in our bed. Once I get up and start getting ready she will get up also and this little girl needs her sleep. I am sure on my days off she will come to sleep with us, or maybe while I work this little pattern will cease and this wont happen again. I welcome it as long as I don't work ;) If not, I have thoroughly enjoyed having her come cuddle for the night and I will absolutely miss it. She has a little light snore that I love to listen to. 

She is my first born baby, I adore her. 

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Friday 20 March 2015

Fairytale or Fate? Part 2

For those who read my previous blog about how me and Enrico (my now husband) met, this is a piece to the story we left out. But we feel it is an important step and it was quite a dramatic part of the story.

I had been in a relationship that ended extremely bad. I was single off and on until I met Enrico. In that time I had also been speaking with another person across the world. This person was in Paris. His name.. Sebastien. We had been speaking to each other for a long time. As we also shared stories and our hearts I grew to have feelings for this person. I loved him. When we would talk about seeing each other it was never a serious conversation. Neither one of us ever said definitely that we wanted to come visit. I for sure was not flying to Paris and he never mentioned wanting to come see me. Even if he did, he had a dream of opening a restaurant in Paris as he is a chef. He was in the process of buying a restaurant and starting his dream with his best friend. Our conversations were compiled a lot about his struggles with the politics of the Paris government and the funding to open this dream of his. We spoke for a greater part of 6 months I believe. He was a friend. A great one. I loved him. I truly did. But with him starting his dream in Paris I never ever ever thought anything more. Why should I? he never asked if I wanted to come be with him in Paris. Ever. There was never a hint even to the subject. So as far as I knew he was possibly dating, at the very least looking for someone IN Paris to love. That is where I was. Single, alone, I wanted to find love. With someone who reciprocated it. I found that, with Enrico.

The drama in our story starts when I left for Banff with Enrico.

Sebastien and I spoke mainly through email. So the day we arrived in Canmore I opened my email to find one from him. I had previously written about how I met Enrico and he was coming to see me. To say the least he was furious. He couldn't believe I was with Enrico. For the first time in more than a year he spoke about why it wasn't him here with me. I was baffled, floored. How is this actually happening?

I did spend a perfect week with Enrico. I loved him to the core. Absolutely. But I won't lie that Sebastien weighed heavily on my mind. I never wanted a "what if". By that I mean I never wanted to feel in my life "what if I was with Sebastien" "what if we met" what if what if what if... UGH

After Enrico left, the days following, Sebastien and I had many fights. Me trying to explain my point and him fighting his that I should have known..... But how? My god how? How does one person read another's mind? You simply don't.

Of course during this period Enrico was not happy with this new  development  However We were happy together. Still in love still talking about him coming here to me.

Sebastien on the other hand, him and I went through many many conversations of anger and hurt. In the months prior to Enrico coming here I received roses periodically on my doorstep from Sebastien.

I have heard girls say "I would love to have two men chase me". I actuality it is one of the most horrible situations one can imagine. Because you know that it is something you have to choose. And when you choose, you are hurting someone you love. It is awful.

The night before Enrico was to board the plane to come here I received a ring in the mail from Sebastien. My mind was in complete turmoil. What to do? .... Do I go ahead and have Enrico come? Or do I do the unthinkable and tell Enrico "sorry, I chose and it wasn't you".

Now to some this may sound trivial. But this was my future. I had been extremely hurt in my past long term relationship and I was looking ahead at my life. What do I really want? ME. Not them. What do I want in my future? Which way should this go? It was a truly awful night.

I made my choice... Enrico

Now I will tell you the reasons why I chose him.

He was genuine. Everything about him. I felt I could trust him with everything I had. He, from the moment he knew he loved me, he told me! There was no hesitation about letting me know and letting me know that if we were to be together he would move, plain and simple! He made the choice to come see me and see if it was love.
Sebastien, we told eachother we loved one another, alot. But he really only professed this love truly about being with me when someone else stepped in the picture. I loved him, god I loved him, I still do love him.  I just couldn't....... I couldn't, bank my future on someone who was... too late.

Enrico came, as said in my previous blog. We were working on learning to live together. Him learning to live in a new culture. He was also hard at work looking for a job that would take a foreign worker. This itself seemed an impossible task. I still spoke to Sebastien occasionally. Enrico was never happy with this idea however my last long term  relationship that ended awful, I had a horribly jealous boyfriend. I vowed I would never let someone tell me what to do again. Now don't get me wrong, Enrico is not a jealous man neither is he someone who would tell me what to do. But he was not happy with me conversing with someone who had an obvious dislike for him and someone who was trying to win my love. I understood this absolutely however things were not resolved with Sebastien and he was still someone I loved, I couldn't just say sorry, we will never speak again. Trust... Enrico had it and that was it.

One day I was at work and I received a phone call. It was Sebastien. He told me to come look out the window. I have to admit I was in complete fear as I walked to that window. He couldn't actually be here could he? Why would he be here? Oh god....

I looked out the window and yes, in fact he was standing outside of my work. We went for coffee that day and he explained that his restaurant dream fell apart and he no longer had it. The funding was not coming through it was all over. He used some of his money that he saved for this dream to take a trip to Canada. To Montreal. And over to Edmonton. For one day... One day.... We sat and talked. It was surreal. We both sat and tried again to explain our parts. We could never come to a conclusion where we were both happy with eachothers answers. Previously that day my boss had given me free hockey tickets to take Enrico to his first hockey game. I had called him earlier that day and let him know and he was super excited. Now I am sitting across from Sebastien. He is here for one day. Jesus Christ what do I do? Bail on the hockey game for the man that moved here to be with me to spend a night talking to the man who flew to see me for one day? Again.... Tough decisions. Nobody will ever really know the pain in my heart from these moments. Once again I made my decision.....

Enrico enjoyed the hockey game.

I went for lunch with Sebastien the next day and again we had long conversations about it all. We never resolved anything. We took a picture together and he left after lunch and I never saw him again...

We have spoken since and still speak to this day. Not often. Messages are few and far between now but there is and always was a special friendship with him. He and Enrico have a mutual respect for each other that I can only imagine has been built through time.

What has happened to Sebastien?

He did find love and he also just recently found his dream again. He opened that restaurant in Paris. It is beautiful and quaint just as he always said it would be. He and his fiance will be married this year.

I am sad that I had to make a choice. I am sad that people were hurt. I am sad that in breaking someones heart mine also broke. I do not believe I will ever feel ok that while he came here to see me I didn't spend the evening with him, at least with Enrico and him together. If someone travels such a great distance to see you but you in a way have to brush them off? But the situation and the time, it wasn't right. It will haunt me the rest of my life....

In saying that, this part of the story had to be told. 
It was important to me, he is important. I will always love him. 

Have you seen Part 1? Click here

Wednesday 18 March 2015

Fairytale or fate?

"How did you two meet"? Always a loaded question that leaves everyone wanting a better explanation however they don't have the time to sit and listen to such a tale.

I fully believe how we became what we are today is quite incredible. It was late 2008 and I received a message from a random stranger on a facebook application called "hot not or ok". This sounds silly. It is.
We always have laughed about the point that we first said words to each other. I received a message and I never had responded to anyone before as it was usually a vulgar comment. I am not sure what made me reply to him that day. We quickly became Facebook friends and I enjoyed that I had a friend across the world. I talked to him randomly and never really thought anything about it. To me he was just some guy across the world and we share a few words now and than.

We messaged back and fourth and our conversations became more personal. We talked about our lives, most of all we shared our hurt. Our conversations became longer and more frequent. Still even now I never looked more into it. He was in Italy after all. We were worlds apart.

It had become we were talking every moment we could. I do even remember a few phone calls and his accent was thoroughly entertaining. He often mentioned coming to visit and I brushed it off several times as I honestly believed, you're in Italy and am here, that's it! Nothing more. What could more be? Really?

It was late October in 2008, every waking moment we were in touch with each other be it via text, facebook or msn. He was my morning noon and night. He again mentioned visiting me. This time, thoroughly enthralled with this man, I absolutely was a fan of this notion. In the time leading up to this visit I knew I loved him. From the bottom of my heart I felt I knew his heart more than anyone. When you are at such a great distance and all you can share is words it is amazing how you can express to each other your life, your love, your hurt, your dreams. We shared a lifetimes worth I am sure. 

Dec 9, 2008 is the first time I set eyes on him. The second I saw him we hugged. He was here!!!!

I can only tell you I was filled with immense happiness and excitement. I remember the silly little things a lot for it is what we laughed the most about. That day for some reason the parking at the airport was atrocious. I could only find a spot on the roof. It was -21 and windy that day. To us, cold sure but to an Italian who has never experienced anything less than -8 it was a shock to say the least.
In Italy they do not remove their shoes in their houses. Something that is still very foreign to me but also to Enrico as well. The first time he stepped foot in my house he clomped in with these big hiking boots he bought for the trip. With all the snow all over them I remember thinking, what in the world are you doing? I even remember suggesting, you can take your boots off. He politely said "no that's ok". I laugh even writing this because I remember thinking, man this guy must have smelly feet or something if he doesn't want to take off his shoes, but in actuality it was normal for him. 

We spent the first few days introducing him to my family and friends. I showed him things like Downtown as he had never seen a skyscraper before and walking around downtown was new for him.  We went to West Edmonton Mall of course like every tourist :) The big part of our trip was that I was taking him to Banff. My boss at the time owned a condo in Canmore and he let us stay for the weekend. The morning we left, as always I was not in any rush. That was until my father called with the news that there was a big snowstorm coming that afternoon and why were we not gone yet? I remember running around the house like a chicken with their head cut off trying to pack while this poor Italian man watched with complete confusion. Thankfully my father upgraded our little rental car to a large SUV. We left and the weather was perfect. Until we hit Red Deer. The blowing snow had started and there were cars in the ditch. We took the backroad down to cochrane and down to Canmore. I can honestly say I have never driven in anything like this before. It was a complete white out and in reality we should never have driven in it. If I was scared driving in this you can only imagine the fear poor Enrico was having as a passenger in this horrible blizzard. Since I am writing this we made it, obviously :) the condo in Canmore was beautiful. Homey and woodsy. It was perfect!

It is humorous now but it was the coldest winter we have had in a long time. The temperature was -41 with the windchill. The second that Enrico got out of the car and breathed he coughed. I remember thinking it was quite funny. My poor Enrico his lungs so foreign even for the cold, they couldn't take it. It was truly a wonderful weekend. He had tried peanut butter for the first time ever in his life. We walked around a grocery store with him telling me there is a spread you put on sandwiches and he had never tried it. We were in the mayo aisle first until we finally figured out it was peanut butter he was talking about. It was truly exciting standing there with a jar of peanut butter and a spoon watching someone try something you have eaten your whole life and I am sure equally exciting to try something new. He also tried pancakes for the first time ever. He was fun to be around and I was the happiest I had been maybe ever. We took our very first picture together in Canmore.

We spent one perfect week together and he went home to Italy.

What now... A perfect week and now what? We talked about him actually coming to live with me. it was a topic much talked about. But how do you uproot everything you have ever known. Your family and friends and leave them behind. We decided that he finish his courses in University and in June when he graduates he will come. That lasted about a week and we were on the topic again. He had thought a lot and decided that why wait another 6 months. What if he comes in six months and we decide we can't take each other at all and he waited 6 months to find that out. Lets find that out now. He decided to get his affairs in order and we set the date. The date was February 11, 2009.

That Christmas I received probably the most romantic gift ever! It was accompanied by the following letter. 

Hi my love.... Merry Christmas

It's December 9th, 1:30am. This means I'll leave in less than 3 hours to go to the airport and the trip of my life will start. You are reading these lines when I'll already be gone and it's strange to write to you just trying to imagine what happened in the week we spent together.

I won't  try to describe what I still don't know right now; I just want to write what I feel in this moment, knowing that it should sound somewhat "different" when you'll read it on Christmas.

The painting you have found is one of my all time favourites; yours is a close detail of the two lovers, but it's the most important part of it, of course. The missing part shows that the kiss is set in a spaceless and timeless atmosphere, completely out of any known earthly setting. The same way I feel about our love baby: I still haven't met you, I've never seen your town, your house, your family, where you work, your friends.... I just know you through your soul, your heart, your emotions and feelings. But that was enough to fall in love with you; and I am, beyond all explanations and rational contexts. I love you because you are the most amazing girl I ever met, you gave me something worth living for when I lost almost all hope in finding the love of my life.

So my love for you is the same you can see on the picture: pure love, absolute love, the love that needs no reasons and no material features to be true, the strong and transparent love of two should that met in a place that belongs just to them... A golden place where love melts bodies and there is just a kiss to be recognizable.

I wish I was there to read these lines together, but this one is for your eyes only, those beautiful eyes I love so much. we will have lived a week together when you'll read this and I don't know what will be in your mind right now.... Don't know if you're smiling, crying, sighing or laughing... I just want you to know that while writing these lines my heart is filled with love and I still can't believe that "later" I will hug you for real... Something I have dreamed dozens and dozens of time.

You are my life, my everything. What I feel for you was unknown to me until I met you... I would have explained to you with many details the way I spent the first part of my life about love, so I think now your are fully aware of what's inside my heart...

This gift is another way to thank you for being such an extraordinary girl and for having made everyone of my days since the one we met, in good and bad moments. Our life has begun my love... My future will be focused on your happiness. 

Ti amo tantissimo... More than words

He showed up on Feb 11, 2009 as scheduled with one suitcase. One! That was his whole life he was moving here with packed in there. I wont begin to say that this was all easy and it all fell into place. It was a tough go. We have had our fights and also many many lovely moments. The process of him getting a job, being able to stay.. It was the hardest fight of all. Without the wonderful people who helped us along this journey we would not be where we are today. He has so proudly accomplished, after much hard work, his permanent residence. Next step citizenship. I could not be more proud of all he has done. His struggle was a hard one and he persevered

We married March 6, 2010. Bow Falls, Banff

Neither of us being religious we wanted to marry somewhere that meant something to us. Banff was where we spent our first happiest days. *And of course in the winter not summer ;) I had never been a person who wanted a large wedding. I wanted small, simple and the smallest gathering of close friends and family as possible. It was a beautiful day for a winter wedding and it even snowed a little. It was all I had hoped for. 

I would marry him every day again and again.

We had Abigail June 30, 2010

We had Ellie  November 8, 2012

He has been the most romantic man I have ever known. He stood by my like a rock while I battled through postpartum depression twice! Although I know it took a large toll on the whole family he stuck through it with nothing but love and support. His words are kind and his actions are nothing but love. He is truly a dream come true. He gave me two beautiful daughters and a life of undying love. 

My life is complete. Because of him.  And what next? 

I guess its to be continued....❤️

Tuesday 17 March 2015

Don't grow up. Please

Bath time can be a annoying task and it can also be a fun one. Today I look at my first born baby girl, growing so fast before my eyes. Even though she gets bigger by the day she is still only 4 and I think it is important to take a step back and enjoy the moment of the present. She will never be this age again, she will never be so innocent as it fades with each passing day. Her brain works at an amazing pace and sometimes it is hard to keep up with her questions. Some of which I have no answers and the fact that she asks such brain teasers makes me smile.

As I watched her play in the tub with only the joy a child can, it fills my heart. As we grow, the baths become less and less of a playtime for us. I do remember though the wonderous time it is to have your toys diving into the water, splashing about in the bubbles and the warm towels from the dryer my dad would bring. I watch her today and it makes me smile to know that I have once known that joy as well.

I am saddened thinking of the day I am no longer privy to these moments and she is able to do it all herself. My little girls are no longer babies... with each passing day they become more beautiful. It amazes me the amount of hair they both have. Abigail's hair astounds me in the mass of it as well as the length. It has a curl to it that I find so beautiful and I hope that as she gets older she embraces it rather than seeing it as a hindrance. At four years old it had grown all the way down to her bottom. Amazing!

Ellie on the other hand has never loved bath time. It is a time of tears and a time of screaming. There is no toys being dipped in bubbly water, there is however a little girl wet and slippery trying to escape the tub :)

From the start this little baby had amazing hair. She looked like a doll and was every bit as precious. I regret to say my mom gave her a mullet in attempt to cut her bangs and it has never been right since. But we will get there one day :) her hair is also growing fast and is quite a bit more curly than Abby's.  These are Enrico's girls to a T. This is a picture of him at the same age as Ellie and they are so very similar and that is where she gets those curls even though her daddy no longer has any ;)

Monday 16 March 2015

Buon Appetito

With my ragu sauce being a success I decided to tackle another recipe from Enrico's sister. Lasagna!

I went to the store to buy my essential ingredients lasagna noodles and béchamel.

I will include the recipe for the ragu and the lasagna.


1/2lb of beef
1/2lb of pork
1 carrot
1 onion
1 celery 
1Tsp garlic
Olive oil
Beef bouillon pkg
1 bottle of Passata *use half only
(tomato sauce found in Italian store)

Mince carrot onion and celery. Put in pan with oil and sauté. Add garlic. Mix in meat and than tomato sauce. Add bouillon and mix all together. Top with water and bring to a boil. Turn down to simmer and simmer with the lid on for 2 hours. After the 2 hours take the lid off and simmer for another 30 min uncovered.

I used non pre cook noodles. I didn't mean to buy them however it is what I bought :) 


Non pre cook noodles
Parmesan cheese

Grease your pan. I used a 9x13. Take the béchamel and spoon a ladle full on the bottom. Spread your ragu to cover. I used approx another ladle full. Add a layer of noodles. *add a ladle of béchamel and than another of ragu amd sprinkle with Parmesan. Repeat this step* until you reach 5 layers. According to the box is should say how long to cook. Mine was 20 min at 425'. 

 after it came out of the oven


I usually do not like my own cooking but I have to pat myself on the back for this one. It was damn good!

 I would love for you all to try this and let me know what you think. 

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