Life has been small

Flora drew this for me a few weeks ago:

It was a quick doodle, done while waiting our turn at an appointment. Something to occupy her that didn’t involve a screen. She didn’t want me to look at it initially. She had drawn it in the middle of my notebook so I’d be surprised when I found it. 

I couldn’t resist peeking and I looked for it later that evening when she was hanging out with Sean and I was doing post-dinner cleanup. 

The love – and joy – pouring out of this little doodle brightened up my day in ways she can’t understand yet. 

Her mouth is a heart! 

I went up, told her I’d peeked and thanked her for her drawing. I tried not to let her see me tear up. 

Life has been small lately: work, parent, eat, sleep, repeat. It’s still cool and rainy with just enough occasional bursts of sun to keep everyone from losing all hope. I’ve been working too much and feel like I haven’t been doing any more than the bare minimum for my family.

I often feel like I’m failing everyone, and everything, in my life.

Yet my daughter still loves me. So does Sean. They love me anyway. 

And I love them.

And it’s reminders like this that get me through the hard stuff.

And that makes me think, maybe I’m not screwing everything up.

Buckley

Buckley, Buckwheat, Mr Bucklesworth, Bucky, Wheat, Buck. It’s amazing how many names one cat gets.

Back in July, we lost Buckley, our beloved family cat. At nearly 15 years old, he had had a long life, but a sudden illness paralyzed the back end of his body and we had a difficult decision to make.

Buckley was a crabby little kitten, and was actually returned to the pet store by a woman who said he didn’t get along with the cats she already had. Sean overheard her and thought “That’s the cat for me!” and promptly brought him home. When someone picked him up, he’d take a flying leap out of their arms. He eventually settled down but I’d say he adored Sean and tolerated the rest of us.

When Sean and I lived in a first-floor apartment many years ago, we came home one night to see a little black cat wandering around.

“Aww. That cat looks like Buckley.”

“That cat is Buckley.”

And the chase was on to get our indoor cat back inside before he got lost or was run over. When he escaped the house, he liked to hide just far enough under cars so that we couldn’t reach him.

Buckley generally avoided Flora. Like many older cats who suddenly have to share their home with a baby human, I think he was horrified by all the new noises and activity. Flora was taught to be gentle with Buckley from a young age and remarkably, she didn’t chase after him too much. I caught him sleeping on her bed when she was away on at least two different occasions. I like to think he loved her from a distance. I know Flora loved him too.

We all loved him. He was a good cat and an important member of our family. We miss him.

What I did on my vacation

May they always look at each other like this
The crowd I spent my vacation with.

Team Mitchell was on vacation last week. We laid low at home and it was wonderful.

Highlights of the week include:

Sean’s birthday. We picked up dinner and had our neighbours over for dinner. I made a cherry cheesecake and it was pretty good for someone who doesn’t bake. I made it from a box, but still, I made cake! I should have made him wear the Dora party hat we have in the cupboard from Flora’s 2nd birthday.

Our ninth wedding anniversary. We didn’t do much to celebrate it, but we did acknowledge it.

I read six novels.Β  I have completed my challenge for 2013 to read 35 books. Now I need to up the number since there’s a lot of 2013 left. Some novels were trashy, but that’s what summer reading is all about.

I played with Instagram video. I’m not sure if I love it yet, but it is fun.

Embedly Powered

Embedly Powered

I took Flora to the ROM. The train trips to and from were big adventures, but an unexpected highlight of our trip was the bat cave. I was convinced she would be terrified of it, but we walked through that thing at least six times in a row.

Train ride
Pink Teddy enjoyed the trip too.

Lots of time spent outside. We went to the park, the splash pad and spent lots of time in the backyard. My favourite afternoon was spent in the backyard just enjoying my family, talking, hanging out and playing.

We’re back to our regular routine today – Sean and I at work and Flora at her school for summer camp. I think our return to routine was almost welcome, but I’ll still look forward to the next backyard party this weekend.

New design for hellomelissa.net

I did a little redecorating around here this weekend. (If you’re reading via an RSS reader, click over and have a peek.)

This redesign is actually a bit of a big deal. I actually purchased a theme and modified the CSS myself to make it look more like me. I learned the basics of CSS years ago, but my skills got rusty as websites got more automated. I’ve been taking lessons at Codecademy to catch up to how things are done today, and it’s coming back to me bit by bit.

(I designed the new logo and background too, but I usually do that so that’s not really news.)

For me, blogging is writing, design, and technical skills coming together to create something interesting and usable. Since I’m a hobbyist, anything I pay for comes out of my pocket. I don’t have the money to hire a pro to do it right the first time.

I’m doing this for love people. Like a sucker.

I’ve learned a lot about patience and have built my skill set by doing my own website for the last 13 years*.Β  To be clear: I’m not a pro developer at all. To say otherwise would insult so many talented craftspeople and I don’t want to do that. I’m a print designer by trade so I understand the importance of making content visually appealing. I’m always surprised at how much easier it is to create websites that look like real websites – not the Geocities-style stuff of the late 90s and early 2000s I produced. It’s honestly getting easier and easier in a lot of ways. It’s more complicated in other ways, but I love learning how to uncomplicate it.

I got this site completely redone in less than 24 hours. I did a lot of other things in those 24 hours too – I wasn’t completely glued to the computer. It’s the fastest revamp I’ve had in years, if ever. The future really is amazing.

* There was a period between 2007-2009 where I was on a web service that provided pre-made templates that didn’t allow for much deviation. Whenever a customization feature was introduced, I always tried it out. I discovered I liked having more control over the output.

Someone who makes me happy

Someone who makes me happy
Someone who makes me happy

Via Flickr:
I took these pictures of Flora for the #aprilphotoaday challenge taking place right now on Instagram. The theme was “someone who makes you happy”. When I told Flora that I needed her help and explained the photo challenge, she shouted “Me! I make you happy!”

And she does.

For the pictures she decided she wanted to twirl like a ballerina. The actual twirling pics are a bit blurry so I’m glad I caught her up close. πŸ™‚

I’m also very grateful to know that she is very, very loved.

(The one on the top made the challenge. You can follow my Instagram feed here, even if you don’t use the app.)

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada
This work by Melissa Price-Mitchell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada.
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