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4 Years Ago Today & Honey Sesame Chicken Wraps

Time passes but not one day goes by that you are not here in my heart.The date you died is not just a date on the calendar, it was the day my entire existence changed forever.

Lorrie Kitchen

Yesterday I had my weekly FaceTime date with my Sister. She asked me if I was ready for today.

The 4th anniversary of Mom's passing.

She asked Dad and I both. We both pondered a minute and then Dad started. All of us put in our thoughts and we came to a conclusion. 

We are sad. 

We miss her. 

We love her and think about her every day. 

We also know that we cannot do anything to change it. This is our new reality. While it doesn't get any easier... it is becoming more accepted.

It just is.

However, there have been points throughout the past year that have wrecked me. I do think about her every day and in most of my big decisions, I still think about what her opinion would be. At first that was pretty easy but now with HBear facing things I didn't even dream about 4 years ago and being in a very different situation with SBean… Sometimes I don't know what her advice would be. I think, "what would Mom say?" Sometimes it is so easy I can actually hear her in my ear letting me have it πŸ˜‚.

Other times it's silent. Silent because we never got to almost 9 and almost 5. It is so unfair. πŸ˜ž

Mom, what should I say to SBean when this happens...

We have a deer problem here in town. A while back we were driving to school and SBean was marvelling at the deer eating by the side of the road. She said, "Mommy do deer die?" I answered, "yes, all animals die at some point." She looked out the window thoughtfully and said, "oh that's sad, deer get cancer too."

That's where I am. My 4-year-old daughter thinks if you die it is because of cancer.

Mom, how should I handle this situation?

HBear likes to put presents for me under my blankets or pillows LOL it's super cute. One night she left a family memories book. It's from BMO 
😳 but I got the hint. She wanted me to answer questions about my history and my "origin story". Then I looked down at my bookshelf and saw the 2 beautiful books my Sister bought me to fill out for my daughters. I pulled 1 out and opened it to the first page,

What I was told about my birth... 

I quickly closed the book.

Because... I can't go there yet.

Besides, what I know is very twisted and muddled. I thought I knew everything but I am not really sure about anything and the only person who REALLY knows is no longer here.

What do you think Mom? What should I do when I'm feeling like this…

I've read about people that have had amputations and apparently they get ghost limbs, where they can feel the missing limb after it is no longer there. Lately, I've felt that... Like I need to call Mom. I'm overcome by the intense need to talk to her for no reason other than I haven't talked to her in 4 years. I get restless like I'm forgetting something. Like I forgot to study for the test. Left my assignment to the very last minute. When I go through the list in my head I realize it's Mom. 

I'm missing Mom.

Or the regrets. Mom, how do I live with the regrets?

I have 4 major, major regrets: 

Moms last Mother's Day. 

Not asking her enough questions or truly appreciating those last 2 weeks. 

Not having 1 last sleepover with her and staying the night in the hospice. 

Not recording her saying some of the phrases she said so often I took for granted, things like, "My Love" "Nana loves you" and "Kristin Mae!"

That would be my advice to anybody, to everybody, if you have the "fortune" to know and to spend that last 2 maybe 3 weeks with your loved one, do it!

I saw my Mom every day, sometimes more than once but I know it wasn't enough. I don't remember all the reasons I had, they seemed huge at that moment or just that… Reasons or excuses. I wish I had spent every minute with her, asking her questions and memorizing her voice.

On Mother's Day I was writing my blog post and I pulled out the external hard drive with all of our photos on it from the last 10 years. All of them. I opened up the hard drive and it was completely blank 

It was terrible. 

I was terrible. 

I was completely panicked and yelled at Ninja. I also yelled at HBear, HARD. I screamed at her to go to bed and she ran into her bedroom in tears. Granted, it was her bedtime and she had been avoiding it for the past 10 minutes... but it was Mother's Day and I hated doing it that way. 

But at the time... I didn't care at that moment. All I could think about was losing all the videos of my Mom's voice.

I was sick to my stomach and MAD. Mad that all I had left was on a stupid hard drive and it was just so easy to lose that last piece of her. My only piece of her.

Ninja got them all back, somehow πŸ’› and I completely lost it. Just remembering that horrible chilling feeling that made my heart thunder in my ears and everything around me look like it was in the distance, brings me back to tears. Once I knew the pictures and videos were there, I broke down sobbing and even when I thought I was ready to stop, the tears refused.

Were you sending me a sign Mom?

We are househunting. 
Did I tell you that? We are. I have so many mixed emotions about this. It makes me sick to think about leaving this house. This house was my Nana and Poppy's house. Then this house was my Mom and Dad's house. I have so many memories in this home.

On the other hand I can't wait. I think we need a fresh start.

I remember on Mom's 54th birthday we were househunting. We had been looking for many months and we had found nothing that suited both of us. That day we saw a house that we both actually liked! It had 3 bedrooms upstairs and 2 down in the Inlaw suite. Both the kitchens were nice, the backyard was great, ample parking, in our school catchment, and a workshop for our businesses. We decided that we would go home and talk to Dad and Ninja because we felt… This was the one! That night my Mom's eyesight went wonky. Within a week she had been to specialists, had x-rays taken, and been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. Needless to say we lost out on the house.

I drive by it every day on the way to school and every day I think about going to the house, knocking on the door and asking them to sell that house to me.

One day recently my real estate agent sent us the MLS listings and lo and behold it was back on the market! The people who bought it had business here in town that had gone under and they were looking to sell. It was almost the same price as it was listed at 4 and a half years prior! I asked if we could see it right away. The very next day we looked at it but an offer was put in 20 minutes later. If we wanted it we had to move fast!

Unfortunately we missed our window of opportunity. I have wondered, at such a new venture what Mom would think...

Every year at dance recital time it's always a little tough for me.

HBear and SBean had their dance recital a couple weeks ago. First, my Mom would have loved that shit! Second, the day after Mom died was HBear's first dance recital. I remember sitting there on June 21 at 7 PM as they announced the beginning of the show. I sat there perfectly still, possibly still in shock from what had happened exactly 24 hours prior. I remember looking down the row and seeing my Dad looking so thin and sad as he too sat staring at the stage but not really seeing anything that was going on in front of him. We did it though. We watched, we clapped, we kept our tear soaked Kleenex hidden from all the happy and proud parents/grandparents around us.

This year I bought tickets for my in-laws, Dad, Ninja, me, and the Girls. They told me to. It turned out though you can only watch the first half if your performance is in the second half. SBean's performance was at the beginning and HBear's was at the end. We only needed 1 ticket so I donated the second ticket to the lady at the front. I asked her to please give it to somebody that wanted to come see the show. Right before the lights went out an older lady sat down beside me. I looked at her and said, "great! I'm glad somebody got the ticket!" I told her what happened and she offered to pay me but I said absolutely not! We sat and chatted for a while and then the show started. At the end of the show she grabbed my arm and she said, "thank you. I had a very bad week and I came today to see some children dance in hopes of cheering myself up. Your kindness is truly felt and appreciated." I then said, "no. My mom passed away 4 years ago and I was happy that her seat went to you. On her anniversary we always try to pass her kindness forward. I hope you take this small act and pass it on to the next person in my Mom, Kathy Castle's memory."

Every year we try to pass on my Mom's memory by doing something nice for our community. The first year we did random acts of kindness. We bought lottery tickets and gave them to every person that serviced us throughout the day. We took flowers to the aides at the retirement home and to all the clerks at City Hall, the library, doctors offices, and the bank. We took donuts to the striking teachers and cookies to the hospice. Every time we said, "pass it on for Kathy."

The second year we bought 100 yellow flowers from my Mom's favourite flower vendor at the market. We attached a little card telling people a bit about her and asking them to pass on a kindness in her name. We gave them out at the farmers market.

Last year we stickered 100 books with a message about how much Mom loved to read. We left the book in hopes that someone would enjoy it and pass it along. My Mom had a ton of books so we passed them all on and I know she would've love this idea!

This year my Sister and I thought of something we could do together! We got all the Girls to paint rocks! We added some pictures and some inspirational words/sayings. On the back of each rock I wrote, in memory of Kathy Castle 06.20.17.






We had a GREAT time dropping these rocks off around town. We hope that our words and our bright colours will make people smile when they see them πŸ’•!

While we were delivering rocks down by the creek, just as we were heading back to the van in the middle of the sunshine it started pouring LOL as we began to run, a yellow butterfly flew right at us and directly over our heads and up into the rain!

As we sat in the van waiting for it to stop raining like five yellow butterflies circled the van! In the middle of a downpour LOL 5 minutes later it all stopped! Totally amazing. At every stop we saw a yellow butterfly! When we went up to see Mom and take her up flowers, just as we were going to pull away there was a huge yellow butterfly flying directly over her stone!

The ONLY place we didn't see a yellow butterfly was at the Rose Garden. I ran up to the gazebo to drop off a rock and inside there was a woman sitting there. She was wearing a pink shirt with a GIANT yellow butterfly on the front.


I love you Mommies and I miss you so much. I wish you were here to give me advice and to see the Girls growing up. You would be SO proud of them. I hope I am making you proud.


We have had to do quick meals lately because June sucks. This is a go to for our family. Super easy, super tasty and somewhat healthy. It's Broccoli slaw coated in a creamy honey sesame dressing wrapped with crispy chicken for a quick and easy meal.

Honey Sesame Chicken Wraps
Adapted from Dinners, Dishes and Desserts

1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup mayo
2 teaspoon dijon mustard
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
teaspoon sesame oil
10 frozen chicken fingers
5 flour tortillas
1/2 bag broccoli slaw
1/4 cup sliced almonds

Cook chicken tenders according to the package directions. Let cool slightly before assembling wraps.

In a bowl combine first 5 ingredients for the dressing, whisk until smooth.

Toss broccoli slaw with the dressing until well coated.

To assemble, place about 1/2 cup of broccoli slaw in the center of each tortilla. Sprinkle with about 1 tablespoon of almonds and a chicken strip. Fold in the ends and roll up like a burrito.

I served it with Mom's famous Mandarin Almond Salad.

This week we had HBear's End of the Year School Carnival at LocoLanding. It was a blast like usual! SBean made it across the red balls!!! Well, actually she made it across the balls and then missed the super close exit jump πŸ˜‚. Still impressive! HBear climbed to the top of the rock wall this year πŸ’›.




The end of the year sports day was this past week as well. I volunteer every year because it is such a ton of fun! 


The Girls had their regular dentist check up and this time it is SBean that has a cavity!! OMG!! I brush her teeth in the morning and Ninja brushes them in the evening! It is a major battle. Every. Freaking. Time. She is dreading it. We got referred back to the Dr that did HBear's dental work. Grrrrr.

On Friday was my 2nd last Hot Lunch πŸΎ. Ninja being the Sweetheart that he is, delivered tasty parties for me and all my hot lunch helpers πŸ’•. They went so fast this was the only picture I got πŸ˜‚.

On Friday HBear's KBestie slept over and we all went to Cars 3!! HBear was a HUGE fan of the first 2 and we watched them, ALOT. It was OK.

We enjoyed the Farmer's Market on Saturday morning.




Each of the Girls brought money. HBear chose to spend it on Mini Donuts while SBean gave it to the Buskers πŸ˜œ.


This week SBean finally caught on to Jenga and now she wants to play it ALL the time.

This week Ninja and I podcaster from the backyard by the fire. It was awesome!

If you would like to hear us discuss basically everything you read in this blog πŸ˜œ you can check us out at How Was Your Week, Honey? Episode 20!!!!! WOW! 20 all ready?!?! Crazy!

Sunday was Father's Day. I suck at Father's Day. I spend the 2 weeks before reflecting on the time of the year and basically just being... off. I never have the... energy to plan anything. Then the day comes and I spend it angry at myself for not showering my Dad, my FIL and Ninja with a perfectly planned day πŸ˜ž.

The weather sucked so we brought hotdogs and salads over to Ninja's Parents house for lunch and a visit.

They opened up there gifts. Dad got nuts and jerky from the Girls and we bought him a set of the Canada 150 coins. Dad collects coins πŸ˜.

Grandpa got a variety of old school candies and a bottle of Legend Distillery Gin!


SBean painted Ninja a beautiful rock and made him a great card! She also picked him out a new pair of shorts, in Oilers colours of course πŸ˜‰.

HBear made him fudge and a beautiful card plus she picked him out a new pj shirt.

I got him all my winnings of the past month πŸ˜‚. I won a pass to Summerland Golf and Country Club in the SORCO silent auction. I won a pair of Saxx underwear from Peaches Lingerie in the Preschool silent auction AND I won the Father's Day contest on the local radio station, $100 GC for Canadian Tire and $100 GC at Husky Gas Station!


We drove to Kelowna and had a very good dinner at The Yellow House.






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