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Fiona’s Fourth Birthday Bash

Today was Fiona’s fourth birthday party and it was a complete success, by her standards and mine. Yes, she got enough Frozen themed party paraphernalia and stuff to satisfy all Frozen itches for a decade. And I got to bask in the knowledge that me and my daughter matter to all these lovely people.birthday flowers on Shalavee.comFiona's 4th party on Shalaee.com

Fiona and Emma at the party on Shalavee.com

birthday girls on shalavee.com

The reason I go to such efforts to decorate and to heap yummy food on my kitchen table is a tribute to the love that these people have for and show me and my family. My gratitude runs very deeply. I am almost speechless but then, not quite, right?Frozen Birthday party cake by Steve Konapelski on Shalaee.com

Fiona and Emma at the party on Shalavee.com

Fiona and Emma at the party on Shalavee.com

birthday flowers on Shalavee.com

Aunts and Uncles, real and respected, grandmothers, cousins, neighbors, friends, and kin came to celebrate my miraculous daughter’s birth four years ago. And in a puff and a whoosh, it’s all done. Only a dirty kitchen, drooping streamers, and falling balloons to tell the tale. But we’ll remember this fondly for many years. Another year passed and another successful party.

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter orPinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

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Living the Freelance Family Life

My freelance family life is a little unconventional. When my husband’s full-time job disappeared less than 10 years ago, he went freelance. And this is still not an understood way of life. The days of trusting the corporation to take care of the family through pensions and retirement are long gone, vanished with the unions and plowed down by corporate trading less than 30 years ago. Yet freelancers are still regarded as oddballs without a 9 – 5 lifestyle.

Freelance means that my husband has multiple sources of income. He accepts jobs and works them. He brings his own tools and makes his own schedule and payment arrives according to the agreed upon contracts with the contractors. We pay for our (unpaid) vacations and we worry about our workers comp . We have to save for our retirement. We pay our taxes plus those that the employer would have paid. When we can’t pay our taxes, even after throwing as many deductibles into the mix as we can, we just plain owe. Living the Freelance Family Life on Shalavee.com

And we pay our own healthcare, or not depending on if we qualify for state assistance. We use a different line on our tax forms when determining what sliding scale fee we need to pay at the Y or to determine our eligibility for State paid healthcare. When I discovered we were eligible for the State insurance, our first reaction was happy. No more $500 healthcare bills ! But my husband had to relinquish his primary care physician who did not take that insurance and we felt the pinch of having privilege stripped.

The upside to being freelance would be that you can create your own schedule. My husband can help me out on days when he would otherwise be working. It also means that he has to be available at the drop of a hat. He truly enjoys the challenges of the different opportunities and the camaraderie of working with other freelancers. It’s a creative way of living and it’s what we know now.Living the Freelance Family Life on Shalavee.com

There’s a sleazy trend for employers to call their employees freelance when they’re truly not responsible for the what, when, and where of the job. By denoting them as self-employed and refusing to give employees full-time hours, the employees must pay their own taxes and healthcare. It’s a loophole that is being obscenely stretched. There are lawsuits beginning, workers are fighting the companies who are taking advantage of their employees’ fears. My husband is currently represented in a civil suit against the government for just this.

The world is based on a capitalistic system. And as long as greed is present in man’s heart, everyone must fight for their own justice and fair treatment in their workplaces. Our family would not say no to the right full-time job were it to come along for my husband. But until then, we just have to keep the faith that the freelance jobs opportunities keep presenting themselves and that the company he started to supplement those opportunities continues to grow. As my husband says, “You’re only as good as your last gig.”

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter orPinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

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We’re All An Event Planner for Christmas

Since the season is about to be fully in gear for 2016 and I may need to keep my eyes on that road, I’m reposting some of my favorite past Christmas posts to keep you entertained if you are in need. Enjoy this wrap up from 2015!

If you were told you’d been volunteered as an event planner and decorator for a royal ball, you’d laugh your butt off right? But regular people across the globe did their best to plan and execute a special event, otherwise known as Christmas, on their own this past month mostly without professional help. And I’m darn proud of all of them.tree and mantlepiece on Shalavee.com

feather wreath and teacups on Shalavee.com

Christmas dinner table on Shalavee.com

We pulled it off you and me. That once a year special event for which we have to send out a hundred invitations, cater quantities of food, and decorate huge floral centerpieces for (aka Christmas trees). We spend lots of time and/or money to gift everyone we know with the right present as if we’re all having a birthday at the same time. It’s truly a miracle we all don’t lose our minds feeling overwhelmed and incompetent. But then the end comes and you sigh with relief that it’s over and think perhaps there’s a better way to execute it next year. Until the next year comes and you have the same game plan as always.paper houses on the mantle on Shalavee.com

the top of the tree on Shalavee.com

At my house, I make it all look so easy to accomplish. Deep down I do love it. But I also would love if anyone could do the majority of it so I could just make the wrapped presents pretty and decorate the house for many many uninterrupted hours. The cleaning and card sending and even the cooking I could farm right the heck out. Alas this year, I accomplished the musts but fell short of the wannas.

Christmas morning faces on Shalavee.com

Christmas morning on Shalavee.com

Christmas morning on Shalavee.com

But the kids were treated to a Christmas just as they should with sweets for breakfast and Santa gifts and stockings brimming with stuff. They played with their stuff, bickered about sharing each other’s stuff, and played at a couple playgrounds.

Playground post Christmas on Shalavee.ccom

Christmas movie watching on Shalavee.com

Oh and watched multiple movies. And there’s still one more holiday get together to go.

Pooped out for Christmas on Shalavee.com

Hoping you made sure to get your needs met during the siege of the event season. That your gratitude for being surrounded with the ones you love surpassed the anxiety of cookie baking and clean toilets. I’ve found relief and rest finally after the chaos and look forward to having the brain room to get back to regular creativity. And exercise for this ever growing bloat. Next time I talk atcha, it’ll be a New Year so Happy New Year !!!!!!!

Thank you for reading a flashback post from last year’s Christmas. Both Fresh and evergreen posts can be expected for the rest of the holiday 2016 season.

If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

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Thankfulness

I dare say I take everything for granted . Intentional thankfulness almost takes a little effort. But I know this so I slip free from the grips of guilt if I sit back and have a think.

And recently Fiona keeps saying “thank you”. Why am I surprised to hear that from my three year old. I am elated and suspicious all at once.ThaThankfulness on Shalavee.com

If I were to round up my gratitude, it may include these topics I feel grateful for:

  • After 5 years, my husband’s business has taken off
  • Bills are being paid off
  • Good food and wine was bought, cooked, and devoured
  • We have Great Friends and Family
  • My family is all healthy, for now
  • My creative muse is being entertained regularly
  • I have immense Freedom to create
  • I have a great therapist who has moved me on in ways I thought were fantastical
  • I love my life Thankfulness on Shalavee.com

Honestly, I’m not sure I could come up with anymore than this now and I’m OK with this being good enough.

Happy Thanksgiving Y’all from Shalavee.com !!!

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter orPinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

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Hallelujah it’s Halloween 2016

And lastly, Halloween wraps up my month straight of posts in October, 2016. I used to really celebrate this holiday when I was younger. Even way into my 30’s, Mark and I had a great time dressed as a pirate and his cabin boy. And a pimento loaf and cheese sandwich. Kids came and its now all about them and their fun and costumes. I made sure I decorated this year 4 days ahead to make it real and Fiona babbled with excitement when she got home and saw the decorations.halloween-at-turnbridge-point on Halloween 2016 on Shalavee.com

fiona-and-juliet-at-the-trunk-or-treat

In a wonderful article by fellow blogger Rae Ritchie here called “Forget Bah Pumpkin! Hallowe’en is just a handy excuse for life’s good stuff”, she gives a fabulous reflection of how this holiday is being embraced in Britain, previously skeptical of a holiday which seemed so American (or is it Irish?). And she insists that this holiday kicks butt because of three factors. For her it’s friendship, time to hang out and play with friends. For us it’s Family time. I so agree with her that it’s also Community involved fun. People get to dress up their houses and then visit one another. And thirdly, it’s creative as heck. From those house decorations to costumes, it’s fun to make stuff and be whacky with décor you’d otherwise be worried about being perfect.Halloween 2016 on Shalavee.com

bonfire-boo on Halloween 2016 on Shalavee.com

We try to carve pumpkins close enough to Halloween so that they won’t rot. And then on the night, after trick or treating we usually have grilled cheese, potato chips, and tomato soup for dinner and watch a scary movie. This year’s trick or treating night date however is on a Monday which is a school night. So we may enjoy our TV frightfest on Sunday night. Saturday night we did a bonfire/fire pit and I think that may become a part of the holiday traditions when the weather permits. So much fun opportunities this holiday provides.

Halloween 2016 on Shalavee.com

A Search for Halloween on the blog gave me this for 2012. This for 2013. And this for 2015. Soon to be 2016 under our belt. I might have fought the decorating a bit. And Eamon didn’t decide what he wanted to be until two days prior. But darn it, we had fun and played and created. Community and family and creativity and friendship was what Rae Ritchie said it was all about and I would agree! Happy Halloween!!!

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter orPinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

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