Earlier this week, Garrett’s lovely Nana Helen passed away peacefully in her sleep. It’s been a sad and trying week for his whole family, but it’s also been a great chance for us all to reflect on a life well lived. I’m very lucky to have such a lovely mother-in-law, which I know is in part because her own mother raised her to be a kind, good person.

Garrett’s mother sent us some pictures of her from over the years, that we plan to show our own children someday and tell them about her. I can’t help but see the resemblance between his mother and grandmother in these photos.

She grew up on the same lake that I did, only five minutes down the road.

When I look at some of these photos, I wonder if I’ve been on that same street and same shoreline at some time or another.

In the spring, when she is put to rest, in the same churchyard as her husband and parents, we hope to take a little drive around and have Garrett’s mom show us more of the area and share a few stories.

This picture made me laugh a little seeing Garrett’s grandmother, mom and uncle (in full retro getups) with two little dogs that bear a striking resemblance to two of my in-law’s dogs right now.

I feel so lucky to have had the chance to meet such a kind and warm-hearted lady as Nana Helen. The last line of her obituary really sums it up perfectly:

In memory of Helen, hug someone, buy a stranger a coffee, show kindness to others, and appreciate the seniors in your life.

Happy Friday! Thank you sooo much for all your kind comments on Wednesday’s post. After a scary couple of months, I feel like I’ve come out on the other side of this surgery with an even greater appreciation of all the wonderful people in my life, and my good fortune. I’ve been spending most of my time this week on our sofa bed resting up, but I thought I’d pop in this afternoon with a little Friday Favourite posts, for some of my favourite things that happened in the past week.

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A Big Thank You to all the family, friends and readers who have reached out to me while I’ve been recovering. All your messages, phone calls and visits have been keeping me very upbeat and positive! I attempted to take the dogs outside today and get a little fresh air, but it didn’t go so well. I’m very thankful for in-laws who live 10 minutes away and could pop in to take the dogs out (and bring peppermint tea and a muffin too!). I got another surprise later in the afternoon when my mom and brother stopped in with a pizza to catch up for a bit. Being laid up isn’t so bad when you get lots of company and yummy food!

Side Note: The last thing I remember from the operating room before I started to go under was Taylor Swift’s “Style“. The doctors turned up the radio when it came on – ha! It was the first thing I had in my head when I came to after the surgery, and the chorus has been in my head every since. For THREE days.

Valentine’s Day: We kept the holiday low key this year by planning a quiet dinner in (chicken fajitas!) and a movie. Garrett surprised me with flowers at work on Friday and I decorated up the house with cheesy dollar store decorations for when he got home too. The only thing that I had really planned out was making pancakes and I even remembered to buy new maple syrup…but I forgot milk AND eggs. I was all set to go to the grocery store when I woke up on Saturday, but Garrett suggested that we treat ourselves to a Valentine’s Day brunch out.

I know that some people are just really not into the whole Valentine’s Day thing, but I’ve always loved it. Strip away all the commercialism and greeting card nonsense that gets people worked up – and you’ve got an excuse to celebrate the friends and family that you love, during one of the otherwise coldest and more boring months of the year…and you get to eat chocolate.

The week before Valentine’s Day, Garrett and I went on the Vermont Nut Free Chocolates website together and picked our favourite things to share, rather than buying each other chocolates. They seriously have the best truffles…and don’t even get me started on those raisin clusters. We only get stuff from them a few times a year, but it’s seriously the best splurge.

Ice Sculptures: Monday was my last day of being able to truly walk around (or more like hobble), so I made the most of it by going to a couple of outdoor Family Day activities put on by our town. It was ridiculously cold out, but it felt nice to get some fresh air and feel the sun on my face. My favourite display was the ice sculptures. I’m so impressed by artists who can do this!

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It’s comforting to know that there is nothing on the agenda this weekend and that my only job is to give myself time to rest and heal. I’m starting to walk around the apartment more already and even the pain feels good, knowing that it all is leading me back down the road to walking outside with the dogs again and hiking through the woods with Garrett. Little by little, every day! I hope that you all have a lovely weekend that gives you the time to rest too!

The past few months I’ve been dealing with something that I never expected in my twenties – a cancer scare.

I had surgery yesterday to remove a small tumour on the middle toe of my right foot and thankfully everything went well. I didn’t want to worry anyone until I had a better idea what I was facing. They are confident that it is a benign tumour and I’ll get the biopsy results in the next couple of weeks.

It all started about a year ago. I was painting my toes and found a small bump on my toe.  It felt almost like the bone had been broken a little bit and mended back together a little crooked on the top. There isn’t much that you can do for a broken toe and it wasn’t bothering me so I left it and forgot about it. Then this past fall it started to really bug me and hurt depending on what shoes I wore.

In November I was at a regular doctor’s appointment about something else and mentioned it in passing. My family doctor thought it might be a bone spur, so she sent me in for an x-ray, which came up with something but they weren’t sure what, so a CT scan followed. From there I was referred to an orthopaedic specialist who said that it could be one of two things, including a tumour. I went into the holidays knowing that there was a chance that I had cancer and that I would be having an MRI before New Years to get a better look at it.

The next Saturday morning I got an urgent call from my family doctor to come see her immediately. When Garrett and I got there she said that the radiologists’ report came back suggesting that it could be a rare type of bone cancer that is usually found in women in their twenties and that I was being referred to the Sarcoma Unit at Mount Sinai in Toronto.

It was an agonizing week leading up to that appointment. By this point the bump had started to grow and was putting pressure on the tendons in my foot. I couldn’t walk the dogs, could barely drive to work without pain and had to stop running and biking at the gym. I called the hospital every day to see if there were any cancellations and put everything on stand by in case I needed to leave at a moment’s notice. When I got there, they started off by going through the worst case scenarios for this type of bone cancer – most definitely surgery, possibly chemo and the chance that part of my foot would be amputated. The next two hours of waiting to see the surgeon was painstaking. What would I be walking out of here with?

When the surgeon finally came in the room, he had a big smile on his face and said that he had some promising news. He didn’t believe that I had the rare bone cancer that they’d previously thought, but rather an even more rare benign tumour called Nora’s Lesion (or BPOP). They would be able to remove it with surgery, leaving my toe intact, and they would still be doing a biopsy of the tumour after it’s removed just to be sure that it wasn’t anything else. It felt like a huge weight came off my shoulders in that moment.

Next came the four week wait for surgery. My activity level dropped as I stopped walking on my foot and limited how far I would drive. I could hardly wait to get this thing out!

With nothing else to do but wait, I took the time to get myself as prepared as possible. I am potentially off for the next two weeks, depending on how my recovery goes and I wanted to be as prepared as I could be. I filled our freezer with lots of homemade food so that I wouldn’t have to cook for at least a whole week. I worked long hours to catch up on my full time and part time jobs so I could take the time off without worry. I visited family as much as I could. I started swimming lanes again (even just for 20 minutes) to stay somewhat active. Keeping myself busy seemed like the best thing to do, because as soon as I slowed down I thought about all the “ifs” and “whats” that fill your head before something like this. As the surgery date got closer I felt like my mind was in a fog.

Yesterday I headed down to the hospital with my mom and mother-in-law. It was just a day surgery so I was in at 10am and out by 3pm. The only job I have for the next few days is to keep my foot bandaged and propped up, and keep the good drugs coming and drink lots of water. I just hope that everything goes well and I can recover quickly, because I am so ready to get active again. Not being able to do everything that I love and move around as I usually do has been a real eyeopener to how others live. I’ll never take my mobility or good health for granted again.

My posting might be light for the next few days while I take the time to recover. I hope this explains why I haven’t been blogging as much as usual the last couple of months. I like to keep this blog a happy place where I can share and celebrate all the good things going on, but it’s been increasing hard to write during this time. I was torn about even writing this post, but I realize that maybe there is someone else out there who has something that has been bothering them that they haven’t had checked out. If you do, please call your doctor up and book an appointment. Don’t rely on google for your diagnosis!

I better get back to resting. I’ve got two little doggies who are happily taking advantage of all the couch time on the sofa bed with me right now. Please send some good vibes my way. It’s greatly appreciated!…and any movie suggestions too!

Today is Family Day here in Ontario and I’m spending it relaxing and checking out some local events, but I thought I’d pop in with a quick post and say hi! I’ve seen this survey on a few blogs lately and I thought it would be fun to share it myself.

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Household chore I actually enjoy:

Laundry…especially when it’s just come out of the dryer and is still warm. I don’t mind folding laundry when it feels so cozy! The machines in our apartment building’s laundry room are really bad (and expensive!) but thankfully both of our parents live fairly close by and we’re able to do laundry whenever we visit.

Biggest house disaster:

Our bedroom. One side is nice with the headboard, picture frames and bedside lights, but the other side is our messy bookshelf and storage boxes. You can’t see it from the doorway, so only we see it, which I can live with for now.

Before company arrives, I hide: 

All the clutter. If we have company coming over quickly and I don’t have time to organize all the odds and ends or put them all away, I take our laundry basket, go around and grab everything out of place and then tuck the basket away in the bedroom and close the door. After company lives, I can take the time to go around and empty the basket to put everything back where it belongs.

Most recent music download: 

I can’t remember the last time I downloaded music. I usually listen to Songza and can always find some kind of a playlist that I like on there.

The last thing I bought online: 

I recently signed up for Fabletics and I’ve been loving the outfits they send. It’s a monthly subscription company co-founded by actress Kate Hudson. The fabric is so soft and designs are stylish. My first order came in and the sizes were off, but they let me exchange it easily and for free. The second order got here two days after I ordered it and everything fit perfectly. If you’re looking for some workout clothes that are fun and casual, check them out!

I hate to shop for: 

Clothing (hence the online shopping above). I find malls boring and full of all the same things. It’s even worse if I know I need to find something specific like a dress for an event. I would love it if perfectly fitting clothing that I love would just magically appear in my closet.

Favourite family ritual:

Neighbourhood walks. We haven’t been able to go on them very much lately with all the cold weather we’ve been having, but the rest of the year we try to do them often. We live in such a lovely historical neighbourhood and it’s always fun to go around and admire the big houses.

I sleep in:

Long sleeve t-shirts and yoga pants. Lately I’ve been bundling up in a sweatshirt too – it’s just too cold!

I have a style crush on:

Jennifer Aniston. Her style always comes across as simple, casual and effortless, but still classy. Even in just jeans and a t-shirt, she manages to make it look nice!

I’m currently reading:

Waiting on You by Kristan Higgins. I’ve mentioned before that I have a soft spot for romance novels and this one has been a fun read so far. The kind of book you can read for a few minutes here and then put down. I tend to go back and forth between books like this that offer entertainment value and then more serious books.

How did I ever live without:

These little family we’ve started. I can’t remember what it was like before Garrett and the dogs came into my life. We have so much fun together and I love them all to bits. I’m always happy for days like today when we get to spend some time together, even if it’s just piling up on the couch together for a movie.

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Now I’d love to know a little more about you! Pick one or two of these questions and leave the answers below in the comments. I look forward to reading them! 

Happy Friday the 13th! We’re heading into a nice long weekend for Family Day and I’m looking forward to the break. They’re calling for an awfully cold weekend here but I’m hoping that we’ll get to go out and do a few things. It’s Valentine’s Day weekend too…and honestly we haven’t figured out yet what we’re going to make together for dinner. Although we do agree on pancakes for breakfast!

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The Beauty of Winter: As much as I dread going out in the morning to scrape my windshield or shovel the steps to take the dogs out, there is a beautiful side to winter that I’m trying to appreciate too. The sight of a snow covered barn in the distance or when snowflakes cling perfectly to the branches of the trees in our neighbourhood. It’s easy to just say “I can’t wait until spring” but it’s a whole lot nicer to take the advice of Punxsutawney Phil and make the most of those six more weeks of winter. Even if it means rushing back inside to warm back up again!

Goodbye Target: I went to Target one night this week to pick up a few things and I got sad thinking about them leaving Canada. I remember being so excited when they came here and I really wish that it had worked out for them to stay. At least I can still shop down in the States when I visit family, but it’s not the same as popping in on the way home.

The liquidation sales are 10%-30% right now, so not much different to the regular sales they’ve been having. I spotted this rustic wood and metal cubby that I really like and maybe I’ll be able to catch it when the sales get better.

Medical Marvels: I go to acupuncture regularly and really love it, so my practitioner suggested giving cupping a try. Have you heard of it? You leave with these dark circles (and look like an octopus attacked you), but man does it ever feel good. Like a deeeep tissue massage. I’ll definitely be trying this again soon (just not any time that I’m going to be wear a strapless dress or heading to the beach!).

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Any big plans for the weekend? Is it a holiday weekend where you are?

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