Back-To-School Giveaway With Tag Along Toys

Last week, I appeared on CTV Ottawa Morning Live to talk about budget-friendly back-to-school supplies. I had some great products on display from Hilroy, Thermos, Pottery Barn Kids, Mabel's Labels, and Tag Along Toys, a local toy store we love supporting.

My boys enjoy shopping at Tag Along Toys here in Ottawa, because the store carries so many great toys, books, and supplies for school—unique items, too, like the backpack I featured on my segment. The best part about this adorable backpack? When you buy one, the company donates a schoolbag filled with supplies to a child in need. I love that.

Tag Along Toys has generously put together the items I talked about on CTV in one package for me to give away to one of my local readers! Isn't that fabulous... and so perfect, since school is days away? (Or maybe your little ones have already started!)

Here's what you'll be receiving: 

The great backpack I talked about, a LEGO water bottle (how cool is that?) and containers to help the lunch preparation a little easier.

To enter:

Leave me a comment below telling me why you're excited about school starting again. Are you looking forward to the routine again? Some "me" time?

Bonus entries:

Follow Tag Along Toys on Twitter.

"Like" Loulou's Views on Facebook.

Good Luck, and happy back-to-school time, friends.


Friday Night Lights

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This past weekend, my family and I had the chance to take a little trip to Toronto (my second home!) to catch a Toronto Argonauts football game, thanks to Old Navy Canada.  

It was the perfect weekend—warm and sunny—and the perfect way to say goodbye to summer. 

We got the chance to wear the new officially licensed CFL Superfan Nation sports shirts from Old Navy which made us feel like true fans. Go Argos, Go! We loved the shirts so much. They were the perfect fit. The best part? They're completely, ridiculously affordable. We're talking under $20.00 for the men's shirts and just $12.00 for the children's shirts. Total score, right? 

(Or should I say... touchdown?) 

Usually sports shirts are very expensive, so it's great that there is an alternative now—so everyone can show their love and support of their favourite sports team without breaking the bank!

These shirts are so cute, we'll wear them even if when we're not at a football game. They're very comfortable, and stylish, too. 

Now can we talk about the game for a minute? There is nothing more summer-like than spending a warm evening watching the sun set while sitting in a sports stadium during a football game! I may have asked my husband if there were three quarters in the game, but uh... let's just say I was kidding, okay? The stadium was packed and we had the most perfect seats. It was also 80's night, so you can imagine how great the music was, too. It was an exciting game, and the kids got totally involved—they loved the football game! We all had a blast. 

Thanks again, Old Navy Canada, for helping us have such a memorable night of sports and fun. And thanks for the letting us show off the new line of Superfan Nation shirts. We're huge fans!


Messy Children

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You guys, children are messy. I don't know what it is exactly, but as soon as you put a clean shirt on a child, it'll be ready to be washed within the hour. Especially if you're brave enough to put a white shirt on your child.

It seems like no matter what your children get their hands on, it'll end up on their shirt. Ice cream, popsicle, salad dressing, cream cheese, strawberries, mud, sand... the list goes on and on. 

Sometimes, their clothes get so dirty it'll leave you in awe... and you'll run to take a picture before you try to figure out just how exactly you're going to get those nasty stains out.

For example:

Of course this indicates a child had a very awesome day, but oh my gosh. I couldn't believe my eyes when my child walked in, huge smile on his face, as if he knew he was wearing a shirt with the world's most terrible/awesome stains!

Sometimes even after I wash my children's clothes, the stains don't come out. I'm glad I now know about the new Resolve Tip Exchange site—it's truly helped me get out the tough stains that otherwise would have had me weeping into a pile of laundry! I love reading the tips other people leave on the site, too.

Do you have any stain-removing tips? Moms and dad usually have some tricks up their sleeves! If you share your tips you'll have a chance to win one of 12 weekly prizes of $250 and the grand prize of $5000. (With that money, you could buy an entire new wardrobe for your children!) Good Luck, parents. As the new school begins, I know we'll be spending a lot of time around the washing machine... here's hoping those nasty stains get out!

Disclosure: I am part of the Resolve® Tip Exchange Blogger Campaign with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.


Back-To-School Giveaway For You And Your Children

The only good thing about summer coming to an end is the beginning of a new school year.

I could seriously live in flip flops and tank tops all year, but I do love fall clothes and boots a lot, too. You know what else I love? Back-to-school shopping! The pencils, the pencil cases, the lunch boxes and the notebooks... oh, the notebooks! Shopping for school supplies was always my favourite thing to do when I was in school, and now I get to experience it all over again with my children.

I came home to an amazing package the other day, and I was as excited as a school-girl—a new binder, tools to keep me organized (like an expense tracker—totally necessary as the school year starts and my boys start registering for their activities!) notebooks, and so much more... here, have a look:

Seriously amazing stuff. I am a huge fan of practical, well-made products that my children will use during the school year, and products that'll help me stay on top of things as we begin another school year.

And here's some exciting news for you: if you weren't already excited for back-to-school, this giveaway will do the trick:

I'm giving away an amazing back-to-school package to help you and your children return to school in style!

This package contains a lot of what your children will need to start the school year off on the right foot (new lunch bag, binders, notebooks) and products to make YOUR life easier (a card organizer, a spending tracker, and a calorie tracker) and the best part is? It's easy to enter!

Here's what I'm giving away:

Organizher Loyalty Card Organizer
Organizher Spending Tracker
Organizher Calorie Tracker
Hilroy Glitter Glam Notebook
Hilroy Printed Binder
Hilroy Printed Notebooks (Large and Small)
Hilroy Neon Nature Notebook (Small)
Hilroy Colour Splash Pocket + Prong
Hilroy Safari Pocket + Prong
Mead for Home Dry Erase Monthly Calendar
Notetote Pink Binder
Hilroy Safari Lunch Bag
Hilroy Safari Pencil Case
Zwipes Notebook
Zwipes Binder
Five Star Wallmates (Locker Size)
Five star Multi-Access File Binder

These products will help make the transition back-to-school a little sweeter for the little ones, and will help the adults stay a bit more organized as the chaos begins all over again! Everything in this giveaway can be purchased at Walmart, Target, and Staples, too.

Here's how to enter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good Luck!


Back-To-School Shopping With Sears

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It's almost (wait... it is!) back-to-school time. With only a couple of weeks left to enjoy all that summer has to offer, we are all getting a little excited to start a new school year.

One of the things I loved about back-to-school time when I was younger was the shopping—for things like new boots, new sweaters, new dresses and skirts... it was pretty much my favourite time of year.

Although my school days are behind me, I get to enjoy it all over again with my two children. It can sometimes be challenging to get my boys excited to go shopping, (seriously, what's not to love about shopping?!) but once we're in the mall, they're troopers. It helps that I know what they like, and what size they are—I'm a pretty efficient shopper!

I'm thrilled to be part of the Sears Back-To-School Blogger Campaign with Mom Central Canada, because, well, I love to shop and my children are constantly growing—so we need to fully stock up: running shoes, pants, sweaters, socks... the list is endless!

I took my boys to Sears for some back-to-school a couple of days ago, and it was such a fun experience. (Yes, truly!) Once we got to the children's section, we instantly spotted the coolest t-shirts: Angry Birds, Batman, Super Mario Bros. and Minecraft! Yes, Sears sells Minecraft t-shirts, you guys!

We stocked up on these essential t-shirts, and bought some new pants and long-sleeved shirts, too. My boys were really happy with our new purchases, and now I'm happy to report they are almost totally ready for school to start. (We just have to work on going to bed before 10 p.m. every night. Ahem.)

Sears has a great selection of both boy and girl clothes, including backpacks, socks, jackets, and running shoes, and they have a great selection of ballet outfits for little ballerinas going back to dance class. I have a three year old niece who is starting ballet again in September, and my sister has already stocked up on some of these cute ballet suits. Adorable, right?

You know what else is great about shopping for your children at Sears? The KidVantage Lifetime Wear Out Warranty! If the item you've bought wears out, Sears will either repair or replace it. As a mom of two active boys, I think this is great news that makes shopping there even more worthwhile.

Sears also has a Price Match Guarantee,  however, I was very impressed with the prices on all the items we bought. For instance, the Minecraft shirt? $12.00. The exact same shirt, at another store in Ottawa? $26.00.

There is an amazing Sears "Back We Go" Facebook contest going on right now, and I wish I could enter. I can't—but you can! You can win one of five weekly $500 Sears gift cards or one of the 35 daily $50 Sears gift cards for your back-to-school shopping.

To enter the contest, just "Like" the Sears Facebook page, and click on the contest tab. That's it!

Happy back-to-school shopping, friends. May the journey back be a happy one, and may the shopping be stress-free!

Disclosure: I am part of the Sears Back to School Blogger Campaign with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

Celebrating 30 Days Of Beauty

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Summer and fall are especially busy times for most of us. From family vacations to weddings and anniversaries, there is always something going on, or something to celebrate. Shoppers Drug Mart is my primary shopping destination for so many occasions: sunscreen for summer vacations; new mascara for a night out with my best friends; a new perfume to wear when I celebrate my anniversary with my husband... the list goes on and on. I love that Shoppers Drug Mart is celebrating 30 Days of Beauty right now—because no matter what occasion you're celebrating, Shoppers has you covered—literally—in some of the best beauty products you can get your hands on.

If you're even a little adventurous, or if you totally love to take a walk on the wild side, the 30 Days of Beauty is something you'll love: Shoppers will be showcasing 30 unique looks for 30 different occasions: beach day, high school reunion, first date, wedding, and more. They're offering some amazing in-store offers as well on a huge variety of beauty products, as well as FREE 5 minute make-overs in store. Why not pop in and get your eyes done before going out for dinner one night? They also have awesome makeover videos and instructional "How-To's" in-store and online, too. With  over 50 brands participating, including Lancôme, Biotherm, Lise Watier, Clinique, Benefit, Elizabeth Arden, Clarins, Cover Girl, Revlon, and more, you're certain to find your favourites and add even more "must-have" products to your shopping list!

Every day during the Shoppers Drug Mart 30 Days of Beauty they'll be promoting one look and the specific brand and make-up to achieve that look. On you'll even be able to get your hands on instructional videos and tips outlining just how to achieve the look yourself at home PLUS get access to month long offers and exclusive one-day only, print to redeem coupons!

Doesn't this sounds fabulous? I can't wait to try some new looks myself. I tend to stick to the basics, and have a pretty simple beauty routine that I stick to every day. I'd love to try different make-up for different occasions!

Shoppers is always my primary destination for all my beauty needs.

Oh, and a total bonus? You'll receive an exclusive gift with purchase from August 24th to the 30th when you spend $75 or more. This includes an adorable silver cosmetics bag filled with over 25 beauty and fragrance samples.

I don't know about you, but I'm totally on my way to Shoppers right now!

Disclaimer: I was compensated for this post. All views and opinions are my own. 


Getting Carded With Hallmark: Challenge Accepted!

As much as I love Twitter and Facebook (and if you know me, you know this is very true—I just cannot stay away!) I miss communicating the old school way—I miss sending and receiving cards and letters in the mail on a regular basis.

After high school, when all my best friends scattered across the country for university and moved to different countries like Australia and England, we all stayed connected through mail. I'd look forward to going to the mailbox every week to see if a new letter or card had come for me. Eventually, the frequent mailing of cards and letters was replaced with email. Email became addictive right away, yet, I still sent out cards as often as I could. I never forget a birthday, and I often send out cards to friends just because. I'm also a huge fan of sending out thank you cards to those people who deserve some extra thanks. I love surprising friends with the unexpected card, too.

I was so happy when Hallmark Cards asked me to take part in their Get Carded Challenge—a fun challenge designed to help people reconnect with their friends and with the people they love.

I've always loved Hallmark Cards and this year, I'm even more excited, because my mom is now an official Hallmark Cards artist! Her new cards will be in stores very soon, and I can't wait!

Hallmark sent me a pack of awesome cards, and gave me a challenge: send out seven cards in seven days to seven people who are important to me.

Easy, right?

I sent one out to a thoughful friend, one to my best friend, one to someone who is always helpful to me, and one to a friend who just had a baby.

I had so much fun writing and mailing cards to my friends! My favourite part was writing and sending out the cards, but I also loved it when my friends emailed or called me to thank me for the nice surprise they found in their mailbox.

Are you up for this Get Carded challenge? Hallmark would love to send one of my readers a pack of Hallmark cards to make this happen!  If you accept this mission, you'll have to send out seven cards to seven people in seven days. They'll even send you stamps to make it even easier for you.

Just leave me a comment below if you're interested in taking part and I'll pick a winner randomly on August 20th. 

And if you're looking to stock up on even more cards, I've got a discount code you can use online, too: BLOG30. You'll receive 30% off your purchase. Happy card shopping and happy card writing, friends!

Disclaimer: I received a pack of Hallmark cards as part of this challenge. All opinions and views are my own.


Grand Opening of Mastermind Toys And A $100 Giveaway!

I love that Ottawa is home to several fine independent toy stores. Although we have spent more than enough time in Toys R' Us, I prefer spending time in smaller toy stores that carry items I know my children will love—namely, educational toys and books of amazing quality.

Mastermind Toys—Canada's largest privately-owned specialty toy store—is opening their second store in Ottawa this weekend! They've been around for over 29 years, so they know a thing or two about quality toys and what kids love. The first Ottawa store opened in May in Kanata, and I was there for the grand opening.

Mastermind Toys recently sent my children the amazing and popular Swiss-designed Kickboard maxi kick scooter, and my oldest son loves it so much. Our new daily routine is scooter rides around the neighbourhood right after breakfast, and I can't even keep up!

This Saturday and Sunday, you're invited to celebrate the grand opening with Mastermind Toys! The new store in Ottawa's east end is located at 1091 St. Laurent Blvd. 

There is going to be a beautiful balloon decor and free cupcakes on Saturday as well as free party favours, and a Mastermind Toys coupon with  25% off any item of your choice in store.

This is going to be one party you're not going to want to miss! Mastermind Toys also has free gift wrapping all the time, so it's a great place to buy all those birthday presents without having to worry about wrapping them yourself.

Some of the toys we love at Mastermind Toys are Snap Circuits, LEGO Minecraft, the Maxi Kick Kickboards, as well as the large book section. I'm so excited to have Mastermind Toys so close to home, finally!

Here's even more awesome news: Mastermind Toys is giving away a $100 gift card to one of my readers to use in their new store on St. Laurent. How amazing is that? 

If you'd like to win this gift card so you can do some shopping for your little ones, just enter below!

Good Luck, friends! Winner will be selected on Wednesday, August 14th.

Disclaimer: I received compensation for this post and I received the Kickboard scooter for review. All opinions and views are my own.

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Relaxing In Massachusetts


I have really enjoyed writing about all the amazing things that Massachusetts has to offer travelers. One of my favourite things is how short of a drive it is to get to Massachusetts from where I love in Ontario, making it a perfect family travel destination. 

I enjoyed learning more about the many things Massachusetts has to offer and writing about everything from island hopping to the arts and the great outdoors. 

One of the things I love about traveling to Massachusetts is how you can be one with nature without really having to "rough it", if you know what I mean. I personally don't consider sleeping n a tent relaxing. (I'd be up all night complaining about how much I missed my bed and I'd be scared of a bear attack!) 

In Massachusetts, you can enjoy both a big city vacation when you visit Boston, and still get away from it all on the same trip. Massachusetts has such beautiful, natural surroundings, offers peace and quiet to people wanting to re-connect with nature, and has great inns and hotels with stunning ocean views.

Here are some places that offer travellers a bit of everything, including peace and quiet for the perfect relaxing vacation: 

The Berkshires: If you're looking to get away from it all, check out the Red Lion Inn Meadowlark Suite. Meadowlark is a rustic getaway where guests can enjoy some quiet alone time, and connect with nature. It's located in the fields and woods of the bucolic Berkshires and is absolutely beautiful.

Cape Cod: A great place to stay in Cape Cod is the Lighthouse Inn. It is located on nine oceanfront acres, and has a private sandy beach, heated pool, and tennis courts for vacationers. There is also a children's activity program and a full service restaurant with gorgeous ocean views. Accommodations are provided in classic Cape-style guest houses and one, two, or three bedroom cottages. This is my number one choice!

Greater Boston Area: The Inn on the Horse Farm in Sudbury is an 1880 "Queen-Anne Victorian Farmhouse" that's on nine acres of woods, pond, stream, beautiful willow trees, and rolling pastures. It's near the village green and churches, and looks very much like it did in 1683. How great is that? 

Whatever you decide to do and wherever you decide to go in Massachusetts for your next vacation, it's sure to be a memorable, beautiful, happy time. 

Disclaimer: I am working with Visit Massachusetts, and I am being compensated to write  a series of blog posts about vacationing in Massachusetts. All opinions and views are my own.

Eleven Ways To Get Out Of A Blog Funk

I've been blogging since 2007. At first, blog posts were easy to pop out, because I would write without a care in the world, about whatever topic popped into my mind. As a new mom, most posts were about my children, but now that they're older, I find myself writing more about other things. Sometimes, though, I'll find myself in a blog funk, and it can sometimes be painful to get out of. What happens when you get writer's block, or when you're stuck in a blog funk?

Here are some tips to help you get out of the blog funk you're in:

1. Take lots of pictures. There is always a story to tell behind the pictures you take.Take one picture you took this week, and blog about it. What were you feeling? What happened right after you took the picture? Did you drop your phone in the toilet because you were taking another bathroom selfie? Did you finally manage to take a great picture with your children, with all of you smiling? That's totally a blog post right there!

2. Get inspired by others. Although we're all so busy, try to find time to read the blogs that made you start blogging in the first place. I find inspiration to blog all the time from other posts I read. If you're writing about the same topic your friend just wrote about, make sure to give credit where it's due. I also love Mama Kat's Writing Prompts. Every week, she lists topics you can blog about, so all you have to do is write!

3. Stay current. What's making headlines in the news? Write about that. Make it personal. I often write out my feelings after a tragedy, or share my views on a controversial topic. These types of blog posts are always well-received, even if people don't see things the same way you do.

4. Offer tips to your readers. If you've been to several blog conferences, write a post dedicated to the people who are attending for the first time, with advice on what they can expect. If you've just returned from a really fabulous vacation, write about why it would make a great travel destination for other families.

5. Get someone to contribute a guest post on your blog. If you can get one of your favourite bloggers to do this for you on your blog, bonus. (Hi, Marinka!)

6. Interview someone you love who also blogs. I used to interview my favourite bloggers back in the day, and I plan on getting back into this soon. I love featuring my friends on my blog.

7. Email a friend and ask for help. I often email my friend Ali and ask for help or an idea if I'm especially stuck. "Help! I have nothing to blog about!" Sure enough, she'll give me an idea, and I'll blog about it.

8. Be terrible at something. I suck at baking and cooking. I suck in the kitchen, in general. Making fun of yourself can really be fun.

9. Be good at something. If you're awesome as making cupcakes, tell us why. What's your secret, Martha Stewart? If you're awesome at finding the best deals, write about that. Share what you're great at with your readers. I'm great at spending money, but that's not really going to help anyone... unless it'll make them more responsible with their money by learning from my mistakes!

10. Leave comments. I miss the old days when we all left comments on everyone's blog posts. I love Twitter, but Twitter really did kill comments on blogs. Try to leave comments on every post you read. Even if it's only two a day.

11. Be honest. Most important of all, be honest. Write from the heart. Tell your story. Share your fears.

That's my advice... happy blogging!

Back-To-School With Old Navy (And A Giveaway For You!)

It's August, so that means it's officially time to start thinking about a new fall wardrobe! Okay, perhaps not an entirely new wardrobe—but it's certainly time to make room in your closet for a few new pieces, right?

When I was in school, my favourite part about going back (along with seeing all my friends again) was the going shopping part. From school supplies to clothes, it really was the happiest time of the year.

Now that I'm no longer a student (I miss those days!) I love taking my boys back-to-school shopping for all the new things they need to start the school year off to a great start.

We do a lot of our shopping in Old Navy because of the stylish clothes and the really, really affordable  prices. I love working with Old Navy for their annual Family Day event, too! Whether you're a high school student, starting university, or going into the third grade, Old Navy is full of amazing, stylish, clothes for everyone. And? The Old Navy back-to-school sale that's going on right now is out-of-this-world awesome—we're talking jeans for $12, tops for $10, and tanks for $8. Time to stock up! I've already got my eye on a few dresses, sweaters, and tank tops (for layering, of course.) And for my boys? New pants, and cute shirts so they're ready to start the new school year looking as cute as ever.

Now here's even more exciting news, you guys:

Old Navy just launched the AIR MILES reward program in time for all this back-to-school shopping! 

So now when you shop, not only are you getting amazing deals, you're being rewarded even more for your purchases. You'll earn one reward mile for every $20 you spend on in-store purchases at all Old Navy Stores across the country. To celebrate the launch, Old Navy is offering 10 bonus reward miles on purchases of $50 or more from now until August 14th.

And now here's even more fabulous news:

I'm giving away a $50 gift card to Old Navy, so YOU can go do some awesome back-to-school shopping for yourself or for your kids! 

Not only that—I'll also be giving you an AIR MILES reward miles card with 500 points! So now you're ready to shop, and start planning your next vacation, too.

Here's how to enter to win:

Leave me a comment below telling me why you love shopping at Old Navy.

Bonus entries: (Leave a new comment for each one for extra chances to win!)

Follow @MrsLoulou on Twitter.

Follow @OldNavyCA on Twitter.

Follow @AIRMILES on Twitter.

Like Loulou's Views on Facebook.

And guess what? I am also giving away a $50 gift card and AIR MILES on my Yummy Mummy Club shopping blog, too. So what are you waiting for? Go enter! Just click here.

That's it—good luck!

I'll randomly pick a winner on August 9, 2013.

Disclaimer: I was given an Old Navy gift card as payment for this post. All views and opinions are my own. Thanks to Old Navy and AIR MILES for providing the gift card and AIR MILES card with points for one of my readers of this giveaway. 

Island Hopping In Massachusetts: From Nantucket to Martha's Vineyard And More!

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Summer is going by way too quickly for my liking, and I find myself already dreaming about next summer and where we'll go for our family vacation. I have amazing memories of my family vacation in Cape Cod and Boston, and I know my boys will love vacation in Massachusetts, too.

Massachusetts is the perfect place to go if you're planning on doing some island hopping. 

I've always wanted to visit Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket because these islands are absolutely beautiful and offer so much for families to do during the summer months, and also because these islands are so well-known and loved by locals and visitors, year after year.

There are other islands to explore when vacationing in Massachusetts, too:

Bridge Island Meadows: You can only reach this island by canoe or kayak, so if your family is especially adventurous, this would be the perfect choice for you.

Boston Harbour Islands: Did you know there are 1,600 acres and 35 miles of undeveloped ocean shoreline on the islands? From hiking to swimming or kayaking, the Boston Harbour Islands offer activities for everyone—of all ages. The islands are also easily accessible from Boston, too.

Plum Island: Plum Island is named for the wild beach plums that grow on its dunes. I would love to go for a long walk on the wooden boardwalk and take in the true beauty of the New England landscape of dunes and marsh grass. I know the kids would love this, as well.

Crowinshield Island: This 5 acre island in Marblehead Harbor is considered a saltwater playground for locals and travellers. With plenty of shallows, a sandy beach, and lots of aquatic life, there's plenty to do as a family, especially if love the water and exploring. This is also one I can't wait to visit!

If your travel plans include Massachusetts, what islands do you look forward to exploring?

Disclosure: I am working with Visit Massachusetts, and I am being compensated to write a series of blog posts about vacationing in Massachusetts. All opinions and views are my own. 


The Power Of Eight

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Last year, my oldest son, my baby, turned seven years old. 

Today my baby boy is eight years old.

Eight. Years. Old.

In two years, my oldest son will be ten.

It is amazing how much my life shifted from before, to after, the second my son was born and placed in my arms. Life changed for me in ways I'm still trying to wrap my head around.

Life changed for the better, and my eyes were opened to an entirely new world. This new world made me much more vulnerable than ever before, much more afraid than ever before, and much more emotional than ever before.

Often, I have thoughts of wanting to fast-forward time, to see where we'll be in twenty, thirty years. I feel that only then will I be able to exhale.

At the same time, I want to freeze time, because even though I absolutely cherish every second, I feel like time is going by way too quickly. Looking back at pictures of my son and seeing the boy he's become, and the baby he was, makes me emotional. I remember it all so well, yet... eight years have already gone by.

My eight year old is the sweetest, most kind-hearted child. He's gorgeous, beyond words. He cares for everyone, and he's a peace-maker. Everyone (parents, teachers, camp counsellors, friends) tells me what a loving, sweet, person he is. I am always so proud of him.

I'm my happiest when I see my big boy with his little brother—their love and friendship always brings a smile to my face, and my heart feels like it is literally going to explode when I see them together. (In between wrestling matches and brotherly fights, of course.)

My boy is such a boy—he loves Minecraft and Animal Crossing and Despicable Me 2 is his favourite movie ever—yet he's so unique, with his collections of rocks and gems and special gold coins and his love for sea creatures and the Discovery Channel. He would rather be learning about history or what exactly lighting is than be playing sports. I love his thirst for learning, for always asking the hard questions (that I often can't even answer.) He's always been wise beyond his years.

Eight years... this boy of mine makes me proud every day and today I will celebrate, along with my family, the happiest day of our lives. The day our world changed for the better. Becoming a mother was the most incredible (exhausting, wonderful, emotional) experience of my life, and every day, I am thankful.

Happy Birthday, baby!

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