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January 1, 2013

A post for the New Year


2012! Reading people’s Facebook status about how 2012 has been a roller coaster ride and thinking the exact same – Highs and Lows.

Moving to Bangladesh was really the start of all the high and lows. As comfortable as I was in Canada, I missed my husband terribly and Sunara hasn’t been as happy as she has since she got her Daddy back but being here has made me very sick, like chronic conditions and I miss my sisters and mom and Canada in general.  Oh and did I mention the Dengue, probably the WORST thing about 2012, which has just screwed up my health so badly, but I hide it all well….only my dear classmates from MPH know what I have been going through. And that brings me to:

Reluctantly starting grad school - being sick, taking care of an attached and demanding toddler while trying to ace all your courses is not easy and I’ve been riding the stress wagon since. However, made some amazing new friends (some of you I know will be my friends forever :) and met wonderful, bright people who support (and CHALLENGE) me through each week of assignments, presentations and tests! And as stressed out as exams make me…the A+ makes it all worth it ;) HIGH!

Wait, add to the Lows – people all over the world losing their damn minds and humanity and doing horrible things. We humans are the cruelest of species – and seeing that was really a low point for the year.

Ahh but the best thing about 2012 – My daughter! Just her…everything about her. Her learning to use her imagination during play time (dinosaur figurines have been in life and death battles, have made homes and taken care of their babies and have danced and pranced all over our home). Her memorizing the Katy Perry Song from Madagascar 3 (Fireworks), which she will always sing at the top of her lungs and it still sounds amazing to me. Her scolding me when I get angry at her Daddy (Momma! This is my Daddy, don’t Boka – meaning scold – my Daddy ever! OK? You promise me?! Promise me right now!). Her getting angry at Sunvi when he upsets me (Daddy! Why you make Momma sad?! You bad boy! You say sorry to Momma OK!). All the little ‘Sunara Moments’ make up the best of 2012.

Now, as for New Year’s Resolutions, not really making any solid concrete ones this year. I mean I don’t put pressure on myself (ANYMORE) when it comes to New Year’s Resolutions, I like to just think on what I can do to be a better ME and so a better Mommy. This year, I’m going to be even better to myself and just set ONE Goal – Remember! Remember to enjoy all the little things and remember to make more time for the things I enjoy and remember to actually do things that I enjoy and remember to just be good to myself above all else (even those A+s). I saw a nice meme somewhere (can’t find it) but it says to be inspired to enjoy the more important things. So yes, I want to enjoy:

More Music
More Crazy Dancing
More Timely Sleep
More Tea
More Good Food (ahem and less eating out)
More Laughter
More Tickles
More Books
More Writing
More Movement (or any movement)
More Creativity
More Day Dreaming
More Hugs More Kisses
More Romance with the hubby
More Playtime
More Love
More Sunara
J
Welcome to 2012  2013 and may you all be happier and healthier and kinder :)


May 25, 2012

Happy Birthday Papa :)

Birthdays were always a special event for my father. Well, his daughters' birthdays were. There was never a  year when our birthdays were not celebrated. Whether it was small and homey or an extravagant party with a huge guest list - we made something of the day. It's my father's birthday today. And last night, I lay in bed thinking about him, and about all the birthdays we celebrated, thinking about his face, his smile when we blew out the candles, I thought about him until thinking about him and missing him no longer became bearable and a cry of anguish tore out from my chest. My daughter got up and rolled over to me and said to me, "Its Ok Momma, don't cry. I'm here". I quieted myself, not wanting her to get scared and I lay there and wondered how to celebrate his birthday today...and of course, I had to do what feels most freeing for me and that is to write. But what do I write? There are so many stories I could write about him.

A couple of weeks ago, I posted a status on Facebook - When I look at my daughter...everything I think and feel seems like poetry in my head ...or a painting before my eyes...she is my work of art, my masterpiece, my legacy...

The only other person who gives me a similar feeling is my father. But w him, its not poetry or a painting...its a story, a book, a biography, a history, a legend... because for me, my father is a Hero. Years ago, my answer could have been anyone... Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, Princess Diana, and if you asked me when I was 11 years old, I would have said Xena the Warrior Princess. But today my father is my Hero, he inspires me to be a good person, he is the reason I am what I am. When he was alive, I never consciously recognized all the sacrifices he made or struggles he faced in order to be a devoted father, but I do now and I so wish he could see me as I am today...see that nothing was in vain...that him being my father was the greatest gift I had had. I am nowhere near as kind or as giving as him; life has hardened me, taught me that people can be so cruel but still his soul lives inside me and that is enough to make me good, sometimes even remarkable.

I started doing my Masters last week and during my first day of class, I missed my father so very much. I thought back to the first day of classes during my undergrad. My father accompanied me to every single class; I remember him being the one of the only 2 parents to be there with their child standing outside the classroom doors and our first years classes had hundreds of students. Sometimes it was embarrassing, having my father stand beside me holding my bag and my text books like I was a little school girl. And after class finished, I would come out of class to find him still standing there, an eager look on his face that tells me he wants to hear just how much I must have loved the class.
He stood with me in line for student loans at the beginning of the semester, and all though I was slightly relieved he was there with me, I scolded him for being so overprotective. He pointed out that the line was almost 300 students long and I would get lonely standing for hours on my own. I told him I would have been fine and he could go home. He pointed out that there were other parents waiting with their children too. I looked to the back of the line and then in front of me and indeed there was...maybe a total 10 parents out of 300 had come along with their sons or daughters. I rolled my eyes and I know that was such a disrespectful gesture on my part but my father didn't mind. As we stood in line, my father decided to ask me how I was going to do it all alone? You see my family still lived in Toronto, and I was going to be attending University of Ottawa. I had never been away from my family and I wanted to experience life at university AWAY from my parents. My father of course couldn't bear the thought of being apart from me. He reluctantly left Ottawa after my first week of classes and for the next month, every phone call I got from him ended with the question, "If you need us, just ask. We will leave everything and come to you. Are you sure you don't want us to come? " Eventually, after a month, the silent pleas in his voice broke me and I told him they could move to Ottawa. My father was so happy, he almost cried. A few days later, he had packed up my family and our home and moved to be with me. Almost exactly a year later, he passed away. What I would give to have him there waiting for me outside my classroom, what I would give now to tell him how much love radiated towards me, supported me, as he waited for me in the hallway.

There was a lot of love and happiness in that last year and a lot of heartache and grief but all that for another post maybe. We celebrated his last birthday on earth that year, threw a party and invited all the Bengalis in the neighborhood. As a birthday present, I had given him a bracelet at the time with Papa engraved on it (engraved bracelets were such a fad at the time). He wore it around a lot, to show me that he loved it and only had to stop wearing it when his wrists became to slender to hold the heavy bracelet up. And although he smiled through the entire birthday party, I could see the worry in his eyes. Even with all the hope he had for a recovery, I overheard him telling an uncle that this could be his last birthday. I wish I could tell him now that as long as I live, he will have birthdays...and he will have the greatest gift I can give him - my respect, my love and my memories. I realize now, too late as it may be, that no material gift would have meant more to him than the gift I give him now. The gift of stories I write about him, the memories I honor, the little things I thank constantly him for.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MY PAPA, THE HERO IN SO MANY OF MY STORIES.


My middle sister's birthday :)

January 3, 2012

New Year's Resolutions 2012

How did you guys spend New Year's Eve? I did nothing special, but it was still a fantastic day! The hubs and I went out on our first alone date since he came back here. We went out to eat, then watched Tintin at the movies and then we went out to eat again. We sat there and laughed and talked and held hands, took little breaks to call my mom and check up on our daughters and when we were told she was fine, we breathed a sigh of relief and continued to lavish in moments togetherness.
At night, my mom dragged us to a New Year's eve party and Arissa started getting really cranky at around 11pm. So we took her into the bedroom, all three of us smooshed together on the twin bed with our little angel sandwiched in between us. When we heard the countdown outside the bedroom, Sunvi and I looked up over our daughter's head and smiled at each other in the dark and when the countdown ended we leaned over Arissa and kissed each other and then we gave Arissa a dozen very quiet kisses on both cheeks. It was quiet, it was boring, it was simple, it was wonderful. I don't really get the whole, going partying and getting hammered with a bunch of people watching you be stupid. I like to start the New Year with family, the people that matter the most.
And I love the feeling of a fresh start, new beginning. So every year, I end up making New Years resolutions and thinking to myself, rather reflecting on all the things I would like to improve in my life.

Last year, I kept my resolutions simple (read here) and for the most part I was able to stick to them. I am definitely more patient than I was before; still wouldn't be classified as a patient person, I'm getting there. I am shocked sometimes at how patient I can be with Arissa, because sometimes she can do things that would have driven me nuts before, but I find myself laughing or picking her up and hugging her instead of yelling and getting angry.
I am more organized this time around, everything in my room has its place, just sometimes I get lazy and don't put things back in those places and Arissa doesn't help either. Every time I tidy a section of the room and move onto the next, I'll look back and see her taking everything out and making a whole big mess (situations like this I exercise patience :). And my last resolution was positive living - I'm a natural worrier, yet I do believe I try to always keep a positive attitude, specially for Arissa. There are brief, rare moments when things seem too hopeless but I remind myself of the best thing in my life and ask myself if I loved her plenty that day, if I fed her healthy foods that day, if I played with her and read to her...if I have then I forget the bad stuff and smile. It was a good day and I look forward to the next one.

This year I've decided on these resolutions. So here they are, nothing original, nothing special, somethings that can still be improved:

1. Continue being the awesome Mother that I am :p - I'm not perfect or great, but I make an effort. Every single day I make an effort to be better for my daughter. I spend so much time with her, I do my research and make sure the choices I make for her are the right ones. I just want to be present in her life, everyday loving her and making her smile, showing her how to be a good person, instilling good values in her, enriching her life with new and wonderful experiences. My baby comes first always always always.
2. Go Vegan - I've been a vegetarian for almost a year now, and I feel better for it, both with my health and ethically. I feel veganism is the next step for me and if I find it doesn't work for me I'll go back to vegetarianism but I am really looking forward to detoxing my body and losing more weight and just becoming a healthier person physically, emotionally and spiritually. I'm also looking forward to being more active.
3. Read more, Write more - I do read a lot, but there are still dozens of books I have on my shelf that I haven't had the chance to read yet. Write more because I love to write, be it scribbling in my little notebook or trying to get coherent thoughts onto this blog. Make myself wake up a little earlier every morning, so I can get some of these done.
4. Organization - I add this again, because it still needs a little work. I love lists and calenders and agendas. I just need to make a habit of writing down what needs to be done and doing just a little bit everyday instead of too much in one day.
5. Pray - and by pray I don't necessarily mean in any specific way (although that is part of it), I don't need to a religious person to be a good person. I want a more spiritual connection to God, to his creations, to earth (wow that sounds hippy-ish even to me :p).
6. Don't let others put me down for my Choices and never apologize for having an Opinion - most people don't understand me. They don't understand my food choices, my lifestyle choices, my parenting choices. Even when I try to explain it to them, they give me a weird look and you know what? I don't care. I have my opinions, and 99% of the time a lot of thought and research go into my choices. I will share them with the world but if you don't like them then look the other way. If I, in some way hurt you with my opinions then point it out to me in a sensitive and civilized way and I will respectfully apologize. I'm happy, let me be happy, you stay happy with your choices and by all means share them.
7. Appreciate the little things that make me happy and Find more of these little things - heck, not just little things...do something new and exciting, something that fills my life with joy and laughter. Maybe learn something new.
8. Stop shopping for things Arissa doesn't really need in the immediate future - I have clothes and shoes for her for 2-3 years from now and considering I really don't have a lot of money, I need to learn to be more Frugal
9. This year, make more Memories, create new family Traditions, Celebrate every occasion you can and take lots and lots of Pictures

I know I'll be spending most of this year away from my Sunvi but I still plan on making the most of every day of it (oh, also I need to remind myself to not freak out about the world ending this year :s). Happy New Year everyone!

December 18, 2011

Papa's Lessons - Patriotism and Animosity

I'm probably going to offend a few people with this post...but when has that ever stopped me from writing something that's on my mind?

December 16th. A glorious day for my Motherland - Bangladesh. 40 years ago, Bangladesh achieved victory in the war against Pakistan; She won her freedom. We were Bangladesh, free to love and live as Bangladeshis. Now I won't say I know much about the details or the statistics of the war...especially, considering I spent most of my life in Canada. However, I'm not completely ignorant. I know what took place back in '71. My father would once in awhile get really patriotic and he would take every opportunity he could get to tell me tales of heroism and victory. 

My father was the youngest son in the family, the apple of my grandmother's eye. So when my father expressed his desire to join the war, my grandmother said NO WAY. But my father always had this subtle hero complex, he always wanted to help others in need, fight for justice and for him what better way was there to do that then fight for his country, for the people who were dying. So one day, my father decided he just couldn't sit around and do nothing. He ran away and joined the war. Oh, did I mention he was only 15 at the time. Yeah, a slight 15 year old, wealthy momma's boy ran away from home to join a war. (Would make for a great book huh?...) He was one if the youngest soldiers to fight in the Liberation War of Bangladesh. He fought, no experience, no training, for the last few months of the war and made it home in one piece. 

He was very proud of what he had done. So proud, that a few days before he passed, he asked me for a pen and paper. I knew he was weak and in pain and couldn't speak, but what could he possibly write down that he couldn't verbally express. I later found the piece of paper on the bedside table. He had written in the upper hand case as he almost always liked to but his writing was all shaky. As I traced my fingers over the letters, I could see how his hands shook, where he paused to steady his hands and push on. He had written down what he wanted us NOT to forget to write on his gravestone - "Proud Freedom Fighter in 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War".

My father is the happy teen in the front with BOTH his arms in the air :)

My father had remained close to his battalion, especially the Major general who is also my uncle (mother's brother-in-law). Years later, my parents met for the first time when my father tagged along with my uncle to my maternal grandparent's house. For my father, it was love at first sight :)


Anyways, fighting in a war had left my father with a desire to fight for justice. He realized his passion for politics and country and become heavily involved in student politics at his university. He led marches and protests and gave speeches in the university common room. He wanted to be a politician and change the face of the then young Bangladesh (although I've always wondered if he could have been a great politician - it seems to me being cut-throat and unethical are often necessary qualities and my father was as far from both as one could be).


Then he met my mother, got married and couple of years later I was conceived. When my mother was 6-7 months pregnant with me, my father was thrown in jail. It wasn't the first time either. 
The time before that, he was thrown in jail (albeit for a couple of hours - my grandfather was a very well connected man) for smacking a police officer across the face. He told me this story numerous, always with humorous pride. 

My dad was on a rickshaw when the traffic police put his arm up to stop one side of the traffic. The old rickshaw puller couldn't stop in time and bumped into the traffic police. The traffic police turned around and slapped the rickshaw puller, who apologized for his mistake and pleaded forgiveness, but it wasn't enough, the police officer slapped him again. That's when my father leaned forward and smacked the police officer. I remember my father laughing at this part while he told it to me. He said the look of absolute shock on the man's face was the highlight of his day. The traffic police, still feeling like he needs to prove his authority turned around and slapped the rickshaw puller again, too afraid to do anything to my father. That's when my father demanded the traffic police apologize to the rickshaw puller or he would keep slapping him just as he had slapped the poor old rickshaw puller. Apology was given, but unfortunately for my father, more traffic police joined the scene and decided to haul him off to prison for the public humiliation. My dad didn't care, he had enjoyed putting that man in his place and standing up for someone who could not stand up for himself.

The next time he went to jail, he had been at a rally, protesting something (can't remember what). The whole bunch of student were thrown in jail together. My father was soon given bail, however, he refused to leave. He said he wouldn't leave until every single one of his peers were released as well. So my stubborn father spent the night in jail. The next day, they sent my pregnant mother to the police station to convince my father to leave. I remember the look on his face as he would tell me this part of the story. He said my mother had walked in with food and a huge belly, teary eyed that he had chosen to stay in jail and left her all alone. He had tried to justify his actions to her, he told her it would be wrong for him to be released just because his family, it would not be fair. My mother didn't want to hear any of it, she left the police station in tears. When my father did eventually come out - he made a life changing decision. He realized that if he stayed on the path he was on, his wife would be unhappy and if he stayed in Bangladesh there would be no way for him to steer himself of that path; he didn't want to put his wife and kids through living a 'political' life. So he left behind everything he was so passionate about and immigrated to Canada with the thing that mattered most to him - his family.

So I grew up in Canada and when I was 9 years old, I came home and told my parents about a new girl in class who I had befriended, she was from Pakistan I told them. My parents were very happy I had made another friend and my father asked me to be nice to her and show her around school since she was new. Eventually this girl became my childhood best friend. One day, at a Bangladeshi party, I heard some people talking about how terrible Pakistanis are and that we Bangladeshis should hate them with a passion for what they did; how they are all cheats and brutes. Needless to say, I was shocked and upset because...well...my best friend was Pakistani! I still kept my feelings to myself and few days later, my father came to pick me up at my friend's house. I was extremely nervous, my friend's father was home and I didn't know how my father would react to meeting him. My father came up, shook his hand, exchanged pleasantries, said they should meet up sometime and we left. No drama, no fighting, no name calling. I started crying when we got home and told my father everything I had heard and asked him if I should hate Pakistanis too. He sat me down and said NO. He then told me about the war, his involvement in it, the crimes the Pakistanis committed (although he appropriately left out few of the extremely horrific details). He then explained to me that I should feel hate and anger towards those who committed the crimes...Anyone who commits such hateful crimes against innocent people doesn't deserve anything less. However, I should NOT hate those who had nothing to do with it, like my friend. He asked me if I would like it if people hated me for the crimes my grandparents or parents had committed. I said No. He asked me if each new generation should be given the chance to be judged as they are, not as they forefathers were. I said Yes. He asked me if my friend or friend's parents had ever been evil or shown/done anything wrong towards me. I said No. Then why should you hate them, he asked. He told me that we should judge people as individuals, we aren't in the war any longer and there are new innocents being born in every country who don't deserve the hatred we carry for the previous generations. With that, my father had managed to erase my fears of losing my friend and change how my young soul would grow - without hatred or prejudice. Hatred breeds more hatred and that viscous cycle hasn't done this world any good.

So what was this whole story about (yeah, I know...I can never get to the point)? Well, over the past few years, I've come across many people who carry around great hatred and don't have a problem expressing it on their Facebook status'. As I told a friend of mine, everyone is entitled to their opinions and I don't feel I need to change anyone's, I know where I stand and I express my opinions, you can express yours. However, when I saw those stats the writer in me immediately accessed those wonderful files logged away in my memory. And I each time I think of my father's story, I feel like it needs to be shared. Because it is not only a story about war and sacrifice but also about forgiveness, tolerance. Patriotism does not have to equal perpetual Animosity.



December 7, 2011

Lights...Camera...Dancing! - A Good Day :)

Most days I wake up happy and I go to sleep happy; that's because I wake up beside my beautiful baby and I go to sleep with her nuzzled close to my body. But some days, the in-betweens are bad. I go through what ever other mom goes through, I get frustrated, stressed and overwhelmed. So when I get a day when the start, middle and end are all good, I treasure that day in my heart. My Good Days :)

Days that remind me how much I treasure being a (mostly) stay-at-home mom and feeling the joy in all the little wonderful things that happen. Days that make me run for my camera, pray that the batteries haven't died so that I can capture moments of absolute adorableness.

I'll share with you parts of one of my good days :)

This girl's got some serious moves! :p

She's got the hands and the feet going!
Then she does her whats-goin-on? dance move...

Now her Shakira-esque moves 

Shakin her little tushy!
Shake Shake Shake!
Getting up close to her feline audience.
My sister joins in on the dancing...
Arissa decides Mr. Red Teddy needs to join too...

And my sister decides, her niece is insanely adorable! Look at this picture and tell me you don't agree =)

After her dance session, Arissa wanted snacks. 

Now I am all about feeding her nutritious healthy whole foods, I'd rather she had a little of the good nutrient packed stuff than lots of the bad sugary processed stuff. So I don't give her cereals that have too much sugar. Froot Loops may seem like a not so bad snack, but really it isn't that great and I've never given Arissa any. But she spotted my sister's hidden stash, and was absolutely adamant about having some. Once she tried it, she demanded more :S Anyways, she hasn't had any since, but it was fun to watch her almost inhale the cereal I used to eat 2-3 times a day when I was pregnant with her (hey, I didn't know then what I know now!).


And then I made these, perfect yummy goodness! Vegan Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups!!!!! They were so good... Granted they are high high in calories...but you have to consider where the calories are coming from... good stuff! Organic dairy-free dark chocolate, organic coconut oil, vegan butter (only not so good ingredient), organic peanut butter (1 ingredient peanut butter), raw agave syrup (natural sweetener instead of sugar) and organic coconut milk. Yum and not processed junk like Reese cups (which I was once addicted to). 
Hehe...Look at her little fingers :)


November 28, 2011

My Papa's Lessons

A man's worth is measured by how he parents his children. What he gives them, what he keeps away from them, the lessons he teaches and the lessons he allows them to learn on their own.

My father was a special man, he had a way about him - a grandness of heart and kindness of character and wisdom I now know was beyond what most men his age have. He was the kind of father who would sit you down on the table, and while he fed you or put your socks on for school, he would tell you stories. Stories that end up buried in your soul, forever shaping you into the adult you are to become.
He told me countless stories - incredible ones, real ones, fictional one, ones you wanted to hear over and over again and ones you, at the time, thought were entirely pointless. 

 When I was maybe 8 or 9 years old, I remember eating something, something really really good, something I knew my dad really enjoyed too. Don't ask me what it was, I don't remember that detail. We shared a bit of it and half way through finishing it, my father no longer wanted any. He told me I should finish the rest of it. I felt bad, I knew he liked it just as much as me and boy, did I love my dad. So, I was willing to share the rest and insisted on him having more. And he insisted on refusing; kept telling me he was full and that I should have it. I told him I didn't believe him, how could he possibly be full. He said, "Every bite you take, makes me feel like I'm eating it too, so I am almost full!" How absurd, I thought. He kept insisting that as long as I was happy and full, he would be equally happy and full. He asked me if it would make me feel better if he pretended he was sharing with me. Oooook, I said, although none of his explanations made any sense to me. I continued eating and he took the opportunity to tell me a story. 

There was a man in prison once, a wrongly accused kindly old man of course, who ate the same tasteless boring food every day that he spent in prison. One day, the warden took pity on the old man and decided to move him from the cramped quarters he was in to one much bigger. 

The old man refused. The warden, astonished, asked him why on earth he would want to stay where he was. The old man told him it was because of the window high up on the wall. 

"But the window is so small and much too high for you to reach and get a view!" 

The old man smiled and replied, "Yes, but it doesn't stop the wonderful smells from coming in. You see, there must be a restaurant near by as everyday when the wind blows this way, it brings along with it the wonderful smells of the kitchen. When I gulp in the smells, I can feel like I am in the outside world enjoying a hot plate of delicious food. It keeps me going."

As interesting and quirky as I thought the old man was, I put this story in the pointless file and moved on. Today, that file resurfaced. 

Arissa's been sick; the changing seasons, a night outside all lead to a fever. She's Ok, but she had NO appetite the last couple of days. She just couldn't eat even though sometimes she wanted to. So, today when I made some vegan bolognese pasta, I made very little thinking she wouldn't have much. She ended up eating an entire bowl full. I tasted some from the little bit I had put aside for myself and thought it was pretty delicious. And just as I was about to start eating my portion, I stopped, covered the bowl with a lid and put it in the fridge. I really did want that pasta, especially because now that I make mostly vegan meals for myself its still hard for me to make one well enough that I don't miss the cheese or non-vegan aspect of the original dish and I could always make something else for Arissa tomorrow. But I put the bowl away and out of my mind. I kept it for Arissa, since she seemed to have enjoyed it so much. Then we had the last few squares of organic dark chocolate for dessert and I let her have it all, even though I was having a bluesy sort of day (I could have used some chocolate love) and even when my generous little angel kept offering me a bite.

As I thought about these tiny tiny sacrifices that I had made today, I realized I didn't crave the pasta or the chocolate, and I truly was happier and 'fuller' not having eaten them. That's when that memory of my father came back to me.

I wish he were here today, so I could remind him of that day and tell him how much I appreciate and understand that small sacrifice. How I now know he wasn't absurd for telling me he would be full if I finished it. How that story really didn't belong in the pointless folder because it helped me remember that one can be happy with what he has, appreciate what he has and make the most of what he has. It reminds me about positivity. Positivity and Sacrifice - both so crucial in wholehearted parenting.

Thanks Papa.

November 3, 2011

Halloween 2011 with my Pumpkin

Man oh Man! Another 4 months... a really had not planned on another break, it just happened. I've just been so busy since I moved back to Canada at the end of July and I had spent all of July packing and shopping and preparing for the move.
More on how Arissa and I spend our days here later.

Now - Halloweeeeeen! :{} Here's a whole bunch of pictures for you guys.

Arissa's first pumpkin carving!

Mr. Pumpkin gets a face!

And then we murdered him - Hannibal Lecter style :S

My sister looks way too happy to be pulling Mr. Pumpkin's 'brains' out!
Arissa wanted to help...
She thought it was gross!
Guess what we did with the 'brains'? We roasted them! Yummm... roasted pumpkin seeds :P

Mr. Smiley Face Pumpkin :)
After we put it out him out on the front porch, Watch Arissa's reaction...she wasn't certain whether she wants to touch it or not
Look Mummum!


"Wait...am I allowed to touch?"
Getting the little bits of pumpkin of her hands


Our halloween decorations






Photo session out in the front with Mr. Smiley Face Pumpkin...she thought the little pumpkin candles were tiny tea cups :p


Offered me some :)



 Another photo session in her costume - pink kitty cat!




We had TWO cats in the house that day :) Arissa really enjoyed her cat costume.




When I told her to meow like a cat - she took her 'paws' out and went "MEOW!" lol ..look at that smile. 

Soon after, trick-or-treaters came around and one kid in a the-white-masked-killer-from-Scream costume scared Arissa and she flipped out! Like completely flipped out and she refused to wear her second costume - Winnie the Pooh and she refused to go outside. Poor baby was so scared she kept screaming "Cry Cryyy" every time she saw a scary costume and then she would start crying. (I love that she decided to warn me before each cry session). So we went home and gave out candy; every time a scary costumed kid came around we blocked Arissa's view and when a cute costumed kid came by we let Arissa get up and say hi, which she happily did. Here are pictures from the rest of the night.





Trying to see if there's another masked monster at out door :(
Serving the stash of candy-JUNK (yes its yummy, but its still junk...Arissa will get a handful at most) my sister brought home for their niece.



She so cute... she only asked for the smarties because she recognizes that as chocolate ...she just played with the rest of the candy. She thought these were regular balls :p
 Then she started sorting all the lollipops...just for fun... she has never had a lollipop in her life.. It was adorable watching her search through the candy to find them...she found all of them too :)
In case you have the patience to go through even more halloween pictures, I'll be uploading them to facebook soon and will post a link here as well.

* https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150917382535022.757042.561090021&type=1&l=25078b041d
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