Mom’s 60th Birthday and BRCA results!

Hey everyone,

Hope the first week of February is treating you well? Although we’ve received a couple dumps of snow, here in Ottawa, the weather has been milder and so enjoyable. #grateful for this week’s weather and being able to enjoy some fresh air!

Last weekend, we celebrated my mom’s 60th birthday. As most of you now know, it’s been just over a year since she was diagnosed and underwent her debulking surgery 2 days before her 59th birthday. I remember her saying that she just wanted to be able to make it to her 60th. Well, I’m SO happy to report that she did, that she is doing SO well and was eager to celebrate her big day. Her 60th Birthday!

My sister and I decided to throw her a surprise party and invite her childhood friends. Some of whom she sees regularly, others only a few times a year. Little did we know, most of them had already set the day aside for her.

Chels and I made dinner reservations at the Big Rig Brewery, as per her request, and our immediate family kicked-off the evening by doing our first escape room at Jigsaw located in the Byward Market. If you haven’t been to Jigsaw, you totally have to check them out. The venue is really nice offering lots of seating with board games and they even have a bar.

As for dinner with her friends, we had asked her guests to bring an old photo of mom and to let us know which song best reminds them of her so that we could put both in a journal for her to read afterward.

Have you ever thrown a surprise party? If so, you know it presents some challenges but if not, *WARNING* it is not easy to do lol My mom is by nature a total control freak (as are we). She has always been the caregiver, planner, organizer etc and she likes to be kept in the loop about everything…and I mean everything, so planning this party was no easy task. A month before, she started asking a million questions. Are we going to big rig, will it just be the 6 of us, what time should I be ready for etc etc etc She absolutely hated not knowing what the plan was and not being in control.

Before getting into the evening itself, I thought I’d share with you a couple of the gifts we bought for her. As previously mentioned, we bought her this beautiful black Journal from Chapters that says “she was one of the rare ones: so effortlessly herself and the whole world loved her for it.” For those who know mom, you KNOW that she is totally one of a kind. The amount of quality friends that she has and the love that they all have for her is amazing and shows how incredible she is.

I also knew that I wanted to pick up a tacky gift, making fun of the fact that she was turning 60, so when I saw the cane in the picture below, I had to have it lol The cane came equipped with glasses, a horn, fan (for heat flashes), a pill container and a caution old lady crossing sign lol so funny, right!

You’ll also notice that I picked up a small pink book entitled “what I love about you and me.” It’s 50 pages long and you have to fill in the blank spaces and note 50 reasons why you love that person. For example: “I like the way….when you…” or “if we were a ….. we would … ” and “I’d love to … with you.” This was such a fun gift and got me thinking about some of my favorite childhood memories. We also treated her to a beautiful bottle of Cognac, the game, cupcakes, board games (her fav) etc.

As for the evening, it was so much fun. We met downtown in the Ottawa Byward Market and surprised her with an escape room. We choose the cabin and it was amazing. I knew that we had to find our way out but I didn’t think that it would be as hard as it was. These games are clearly well thought out. The cabin was a tough one. We all started in handcuffs and the room was almost pitch black. Although we worked hard and really well together, to bust our way out, we didn’t 😦 Apparently we were very close to winning but unfortunately couldn’t crack the last few clues. For those who are looking for a challenging escape room, I highly recommend this one as it has a 15% success rate.

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Jigsaw

Next up was dinner at the Big Rig. We walked in shortly after 7pm and everyone was already there, waiting for her. Watching mom walk in was priceless. She had no idea that we had planned to have her childhood friends there and, although she was pleasantly surprised, I think she was totally shocked. We spent the evening going through childhood pictures, listening to stories of her in her teens and enjoyed a good meal. Below is a pic of mom and her friends. How lucky is she to have friends that she has known for over 50 years.

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Overall, mom had a wonderful 60th birthday. Not only did she have a great time celebrating with her childhood friends and family, she was and is feeling healthy again. What better gift to receive for her 60th bday than the gift of feeling healthy 🙂 I’m so grateful for this and for her 🙂 Happy birthday Moomoo!

BRCA 2 results:

In a previous post, I shared with you that I would be undergoing BRCA 2 genetic testing for breast/ovarian cancer. After a 3 month wait, I’m happy and relieved to report that I do not carry the genetic mutation and, as a result, neither do my children. This news was and is such a huge relief for my family and I. The results showed that I’m not considered high risk. The general population’s risk of having breast cancer is 11% and mine has been calculated at 18%. As a result, and lucky for me, rather than waiting until the age of 50 to be screened, I will start annual mammography at the age of 37. For this, I’m also grateful.

For anyone with a close family history of breast and ovarian cancer, I highly recommend undergoing genetic testing. It isn’t for everyone but for those who woukd prefer to know and like to have control, like myself, I say go for it. These results have brought me much comfort knowing that my children and I aren’t at high risk and has allowed me to put in place the necessary steps to ensure that I will be properly screened.

For those who have undergone similar testing and would like to share about it, please feel free to leave a comment. Otherwise, I hope that everyone has a wonderful weekend and I thank you for taking the time to stop by my blog and read my posts. I truly appreciate your support.

Remember to “look for something positive in every day, even if some days you have to look a little harder.” Life is great :)!!!

Talk soon,

Ash

Baby girl’s 1st Birthday

This weekend we celebrated our daughters first birthday. Like most moms, I can’t believe that a year has already gone by. It feels like yesterday that we brought her home and were trying to navigate our new life as a family of four. Julien, we made it 😉 thank you for being the incredible Papa and husband that you are. Below, is a picture of her shortly after she was born.

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Unlike our son’s first birthday, we decided to have a small get together with just our family. We will throw her a bigger bash for her second birthday.

We celebrated at my in-laws home on the river. It is such a fun place for both ourselves and the kids. They have a beautiful view of the river and the kids love spending hours playing in the water and hunting for frogs. It’s also a playground for adults as they have a hot tub, hammocks, beautiful gardens, decks and Adirondack chairs.

Lucky for us, my sister flew home the morning of the party, from out West, to spend a couple of weeks with mom and the family. As you can imagine, the kids were beyond excited to see her especially our son who really misses her. We are a super close family and she used to stop by our place 3-4 times a week before she moved when he was one and a half years old. He adores and misses her so much when she is gone so it was so nice to have her with us to celebrate her niece.

My parents and sister arrived for our daughter’s party at noon. It was an emotional reunion as we hadn’t seen my sister since mom’s debulking surgery in February. Being apart has always felt wrong so it was so nice to just have her home. This time it is particularly wonderful since mom is feeling more and more like herself and has the next 3 months chemo free.

We had an awesome time celebrating baby girl. We dressed her up in an adorable dress I found at the Children’s place for $10 (parent win ;)). She also wore some adorable black shoes, given to her by our friends, and a necklace that was gifted to her by family friends when she was born.

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Once everyone had arrived, we sipped on some celebratory cocktails, rose bubbly of course, cheersed to having survived the last year with two kids 😉 and then opened gifts. The kids both nap in the afternoons so we decided to do presents and cake before they went down. To those moms out there who had a son first and daughter second, I am sure you’ll understand this next piece. Prior to her birthday, our daughter didn’t really have any girly toys. She had a few stuffed toys and books but not much else. We have an abundance of toys, most of which our son never plays with so there wasn’t really a need to buy any for our daughter. Until now…She is no longer a little baby anymore so when people asked what they could buy her we practically begged them to buy something girly lol Something other than trucks. All she knows are trucks (vroom vroom) and cars. She absolutely loves them but a girl has to have some variety, right?! And variety is what she got. She was spoiled with the cutest girly toys.

  • Moonana (my mom) bought her a black doll which came with her own bassinet, bottle, sippy cup, change of clothes and purse. SO cute;
  • Papa G bought her a leap frog dancing mat which I know she will love since she already moves to any and all beats she hears;
  • Auntie bought her a high chair so that baby girl can feed her black doll;
  • And Mimi and Papi bought her a lovely doll which came with a beautiful pink dress, a change of clothes and a tea pot set that our daughter fell in love with while we were in Florida in May.

Overall, our baby girl was truly spoiled. A big thank you to all of our loved ones for the beautiful gifts. She loves them.

Next was cake. I don’t think I have shared this with you guys yet but my father-in-law makes the worlds best cakes. OMG. They not only taste fabulous but they are always beautifully decorated. He made baby girl a pink and white three tiered almond flavoured cake decorated with whipped cream and pink, white and silver decorations. It couldn’t have been more perfect. I’m super girly as well so I was very excited by it and the perfect shade of pink that he achieved.

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The birthday girl also agreed that the cake was a complete success. It was evident as soon as she dove into it with big eyes and without hesitation. Once she tasted her first bite there was no going back. She grabbed her slice with both hands and went for it lol. Can’t blame her though. It was her first taste of cake and it was one of Papi’s so we knew she would love it.

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After two hours of playing, opening gifts and filling up on sugar the kids we ready for nap time. They both went down without hesitation and gave the rest of us a couple of hours to enjoy the property and river. My mom, sister and I took this opportunity to head out for a kayak ride. This mother daughter time was greatly appreciated and so much fun. We don’t get to spend time just the three of us so it was nice to head out on the water, laugh and of course race back since we all have a competitive edge.

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The kids woke up shortly after we returned so I took my son out for a swim in the river. It was just what we needed after an hour of kayaking and following a cozy nap. The water wasn’t too cold and the air was so hot so there was no shock effect when we got out. By this time it was 5pm so we said goodbye to my parents and sister, packed up our things and left my in-laws in time for dinner and bedtime at our place.

I ended this weekend exploding with gratitude. I am thankful for our beautiful and healthy kids and for our family and for being able to share these moments with them. Also grateful that my mom is feeling like herself again and that we are having so much fun together!

How did you celebrate your son or daughters first birthday?

Talk soon,

Ash xo

 

Birthdays and dinner parties

Saturday night we celebrated my friend Chelsea’s birthday at her place. Her husband hosted a lovely and quaint dinner party for six. We often go to their place with the kids but this time the party was sans enfants and it was so nice to catch up on our own. Yes, this does mean that the kids were left with a babysitter and NO, our toddler didn’t go to sleep when he was supposed to lol but it was still worth it.

Chels and George’s home is absolutely stunning and equipped with a beautiful resort style pool, fire pit, and outdoor dining area which made it the perfect setting for a summer birthday party. It facilitates both relaxation and outdoor parties.

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We spent the entire evening out back enjoying amazing bubbly, wines and eating good food. Isn’t it so nice to be able to finally enjoying meals outdoors? There’s nothing like it. We started our evening off with some foie gras, cheese, and Louis Buillot bubbly. If you haven’t tried foie gras OR Louis Buillot’s bubbly, both are a must, especially together. We can thank the French for both. Merci ;). We first started drinking Louis Buillot about four years ago, with Chels and George, and we haven’t turned back. My favorite ones are their Rose and their blanc de blanc. If you dare try them 😉 please leave a comment and let me know what you think of them. I don’t think you will regret it. Luckily for us, they are usually available at the LCBO in their vintages section.

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Next, we enjoyed an awesome BBQ dinner. We ate three different types of steaks along with a few beautiful salads. It was not only fresh but very flavourful. To go along with our meal we enjoyed a bottle of Monasterio De Las Minas Gran Reserva 2007. Delicious!

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Of course, with a pool like theirs, the night ended off with a late night swim and like most nights, we had an amazing time. A huge shout out to George and Chels for hosting. The evening was a huge success and so much fun.

Happy birthday lover!

xo