Excitement fairy 

Hello loves,
If you follow along Instagram or my new Facebook site (whoop whoop!) you already know that I was fortunate enough to have a last minute MRI appointment this week. I know we’ve been discussing The Story of Kate and I will continue to fill in those blanks but for right now we are fast forwarding our story to today. I think its obvious at this point that my Spine Surgery did not have the exact desired result. I have not returned to work, in any capacity, whatsoever. There is still much wrong with me that hopefully we can “manage.” I don’t want to say ‘fix’ because it gives the impression that it’s fixable and at this point I have no expectation that I will regain my former function. One of the many tear-filled conversations with my specialist stuck with me, this time he was awkward and spent a lot of time looking at his shoes, I can see what he’s wearing, he still had the mega glasses he uses for my injections hanging round his neck.  ‘You will most likely never regain the high functioning status you had before.’ That phrase has stuck with me. I got it, it’s not realistic to set those kind of expectations at this point. My hope is that they are able to figure out my pain a little better and I could have better quality of life.
Am I okay with leaving flying? NO. No I’m not. I had more to do, more to offer, more to give, more to learn. So lets skip forward a few therapy sessions, I am working on creating new goals, replacing old visions with new, and focusing on the present happiness. We spend too much time searching for happiness while forgetting to experience what is right now.  Right now I have an amazing family, a beautiful home, great friends (that;s you!) and I have to admit it’s a little scary but also exciting to dive into something new.

Back to my MRI, before I went to the MRI I pre-briefed them that I twitch. My MRI’s always come out with “degraded due patient motion.” This is one of my fabulous side effects. It is probably one of my least favourite side effects. This is where we skip a couple chapters so lets do the coles notes: At some point during the course of my injury my Central Nervous System (CNS) has become “hyper-charged.” The best was I can explain it is have you ever had the rubber hammer reflex tests on your elbows and knees? Well I do not need a special hammer, you can touch it with your finger and my legs react willy nily. Use a hammer and I black out. This hyper charge also makes me very sensitive to just about everything, light, sound, touch, vibration and do you know what vibrates…..?? Cars, subways, the MRI machine!!! (You totally though I was going to same something else didn’t you? You shameless philty scoundrells! lol)

I showed up and the first thing I said to the technitions was I twitch, I’m sorry. We had discussed it the day before and it was suggested perhaps I discuss a mild sedative with my dr. We’ve already tried that and I think that one may have been of worst of them all. The more mellow I am apparently the more I twitch. Jack (small human) has asked me why I kick him when we sleep together. I apologize profusely and tell him I try but it’s out of my control.
This was the fastest referral time, and sweetest MRI I have ever been through, go Toronto!
The MRI room is a nice white room with a giant white donut apparatus.  They were so nice and kind, they gave me a warm blanket and tucked me right in and then stuffed me into the donut.
The MRI itself is just a lot of vibrations, sound, noise, humming, etc. They do a number of scans and it should take about 20 minutes, I think we were double. They were so patient and repeated all the scans that I twitched in until they got them right. The technician was so sweet and after we were chatting as they unstrapped everything. She looked at me with sad eyes and touched my arm and said, ‘You must have had a terrible accident.’ I don’t know why but that moment, those eyes and I broke my game face. It’s those little moments when someone with knowledge, someone who’s seen my scans and drs reports, in those moments I can see it in their eyes and I’m filled with this crushing realization that it is in fact that bad, and the air sucks out of my lungs and tears start to sneak out.  I just want to cry and be held.

It’s not fair.

with love Kate

Adventures in Kingston

This weekend we had the pleasure of visiting Kingston, Ontario. Oh what a beautiful city! 

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Kingston city hall, once the capital of the province of Canada

It’s not our first time to Kingston and it certainly won’t be our last. A huge part of moving to Ontario was to be closer to family and here we are! I spent about half the weekend wandering about saying ‘I live here!!! No really, we live here!!!’ Can you believe this actually happened? It still seems like a dream to me. I am so thrilled to be on this adventure,(p.s. thanks for coming along too 😘) 

This weekend we happened to be visiting Kingston during Blue Fest. Being an east coast gal originally I am a sucker for festivals, it doesn’t matter what, I just love festivals! On every corner, in every pub, down every sweet cobblestone pathway a fabulous band was to be found. 

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cobblestone alleys

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Behind every corner something magical awaits.

In the heart of downtown we found free horse drawn wagon rides. 
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beautiful horse drawn wagon rides

And of course we visited the Saturday morning market. 
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Market Square

I always meet the most wonderful and interesting people at the the market.  These flower/produce vendors we’re so cute! 

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one of the many adorable vendors at the Kingston market

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How sweet are these two?

Our next plans are for my Sister-in-law and I to go dress shopping while grandma takes all the littles on trolley-bus ride. We’re not sure that’s going to be quite as magical as she thinks, lol. It’s a 4 to one ratio of smalls humans to grown up but honestly neither SIL or I really wanted to parent  soooooo….”Good Luck Grandma!!!” 👍🏻

While grandma has the smalls, sister-in-law (who we may as just refer to as ‘sister’ I do adore her so), so sister and I will basically be free to do as we like, sigh………Heaven! Honestly, I feel like I’m on vacation and then every once in a while I feel this ‘rush’ and I realize oh my gosh we live here! There’s no airplane ride home, there’s no panic of trying to fit everything and everyone in at once. Theres just a little car ride and we can come back whenever we choose. Total bliss! 

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mama time out

So that’s been our week. How is everyone doing? I hope you’ve been having a fabulous summer. If not you’ve got about a week left up here in Canada before school starts so get going and summer hard! Pick a new town and explore! Or better yet pick your own town/city and explore! Buy yourself a little donut or unicorn floaty, you deserve it, and get your tush to the beach! 

with love Kate xoxo

New Kids On The Block

So what is it like to live in a tiny condo in the city with a family of five? To be honest, it’s lovely. The last home we lived in was 3200 square-foot century home, THIS is quite different!

I know you’ve been dying to see it finished, me too!!! I’m on it, I swear!

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Peek into master bedroom. Layers upon layers of white peacefulness

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Funny Bunny

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My little scientist

Things are pretty settled and almost tidy enough to start taking photos. I’m in love with the entire space. I actually realized the other day that this is the most settled I’ve ever been in a home. Husbands parents are machines! They tore through here hanging pictures and mirrors. They patiently waited while I agonized over which sheets to pick. They took out boxes, ran errands to Home Depot. I honestly couldn’t have done it without them. Now I know we had the cottage as a bit of an ‘out’ and we’re able to keep a couple things here and there with family, but when I look around our home OMG WHERE IS ALL OUR STUFF?!!! In the city the only things we have chosen to store are our beautiful harvest table, Lily’s gorgeous white bed frame, and our photos. That’s it folks! Can you even believe we downsized from 3200sq ft to 960sq ft? It is so crazy to think back over.

I think when undertaking this big transition the biggest question I had was, will I miss it all? Now that we are here and settled, no, no I don’t. Stuff is just stuff. We as a couple had been holding onto so many things we didn’t need. I feel free, happy. The only things I have now are my favourite things. My favourite furniture, favourite dishes, decor. Everything here is what I want to be surrounded with. Every day I wake up excited, I honestly cannot wait to open my eyes and look at the view. I’ve stopped sleeping in because as soon as I open my eyes I’m too excited to go back to sleep. Husband wakes me up everyday before he goes to work and gives me my pills, I’m usually asleep again within a second but lately I’m too excited!! This has caused a little bit of adjustment stress as I’ve been quite uncomfortable and not sleeping well so I’m pretty tired all the time. Last night I slept so well though, so today is a great day! I even got flowers from the big guy. 

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pretty little gifts

Life here is exciting yet simple. We take the subway or bus almost everywhere. I think I mentioned before I wasn’t feeling comfortable driving the kids. I have to choose pain meds or drive and that’s no fun. Our days here are pretty simple, I’ve been letting the kids play iPad in morning, we tidy the house (they help) and then I drink a cup of tea blissfully and we decide what we are going to do with the rest of the day. 

Ontario Science Centre?

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tiny pilots in the making

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Pretty in Pink


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CNE Midway

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I think he likes it

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No words

CNE, CNE Midway, Toronto, exhibition Ontario, Canada, laser show, innovation garage, food trucks, food building, food truck frenzy, Kate Shaw, This Lovely Day, Toronto, blogger

the view from here

Or just a walk about the neighbourhood. 

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this lovely day

Maybe in search of berries 

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Summer Perfection

In our home despite the massive downsize and slight panic after selling all our furniture, I actually feel as if I have more space here than I did before. I know it sounds crazy but the set up of this home is fabulous. The bedrooms are all so close, putting away toys and clothes has become so easy for us. The kitchen island is a dream! If you recall in the old house we had a galley kitchen and I would draw a line accross it and say ‘stay out of mommy’s cage !’  Here I am protected from small human groping, they all sit at the island politely (or floppily like wet fish). The love the first class service they receive and I love the no tripping over bodies flopped along the floor under me. 

The city is lovely but I am missing the beach so we are going to hit the road and visit grandma and beach it up. I think we might even check out a couple beach communities I’ve had my eye on. Just in case. You never know what we’ll do next year…? 

Xo love K

one week city, one week happy

Hello my beautiful friends how has your week been? If it’s anything like mine you are hot, sweaty, exhausted and happy. We have successfully made it through our first week of city life. Not to say we haven’t had bumps but we have come through, with a bit of hot mess but made it through nonetheless.

I think we are on the right path, we’ve sorted out the fastest route to school, the best buses to take, the best fruit markets. Oh my gosh how had I forgotten about the little street markets? Flowers for sale everywhere!! I had forgotten how lush and beautiful Ontario is. How fresh the produce is and how gorgeous flowers are everywhere.

One of my regrets from living here in college was that I never visited the St Lawrence market. I have fabulous memories of my roommates mother visiting us and buying gobs and gobs of garlic and then making incredible spaghetti. Well we can check the market off my list! What a fun place to visit. It was crazy busy but full of happy friendly market goers.

Some bits felt a little tourist trap-y to me but honestly, aren’t I really just a tourist in my own city?

Lily and I are we’re walking home after the market and saw a man holding the most gorgeous bouquet of flowers, he was pacing back and forth in front of a restaurant and as we passed I said ‘she’s going to be sooo happy’ and he blushed and said ‘I sure hope so’. I didn’t see how those flowers were received but I was able to give these beautiful blooms to a beautiful friend.

Such a sweet happy vendor.

On the way home we were Lucky enough to spot a wedding at the amazing beautiful Fairmont Hotel.

She was so gorgeous I couldn’t help but snap a picture. I hope she doesn’t mind. Isn’t she just breathtaking?! Swoooon….. And then we found a magical cake

Our building continues to be amazing. I’ve been trying to learn the names of all the staff, they are so kind. There are so many things I love about the building, not climbing stairs being one of them. Another thing I’m loving here is I made a pledge when we were moving here that I would start dressing the way I want to dress, not the way I feel I “should” dress. Dress the body you have, not the body you want. (What not to Wear) As it turns out it seems when I wear high-heeled shoes it changes how I walk and I am much more comfortable. Isn’t that the funniest thing? Guess I’d best go shoe shopping and pull all my favs out of the storage locker. This probably also means I’ll have to actually find the storage locker, so far it’s been delegated as blue task. Darn!

Other amenities of the building ~ Our grocery store is amazing and can be accessed without walking outside. It is a touch of a dangerous place as there are so many delicious options at our fingertips. I am trying my best to control myself and as a family we are trying to shop European-style, ala~ ‘day by day.’ We can shop fruits and veggies from the sweet little market stands, flowers from wherever I find them, and everything else falls into place. I even bought one of those old lady wheely shopping carts to bring with me. I know I know I’m fabulously old! 

The kids are still adjusting and there are tears almost daily, but our days are mostly happy and I’m hopeful a few days of chill will settle us in.

The city views continue to amaze me. When I can’t sleep at night I’ve been experimenting with the camera.

I love how the street almost looks to be on fire. So I hope everyone is doing fabulously well. We should have some amazing adventures to share this week, starting with the eclipse today.

Check our Instagram feed for more updates and have a beautiful day wherever you are. IG @withlove__kate

Love K

Well Hello TO

OMG OMG you guys I am soooo excited!! The city condo is absolutely incredible. We’ve been here less than a week and it is already so amazing. I haven’t even discovered the full amenities of the building because I’ve been so in love with our space. Husband’s Uncle and Papa (aka Grandpa) set up all the furniture before the children and I arrived. They did such a fabulous job I cannot thank them enough. It made it so easy to move in. 

OK so let’s talk condo in the city; this place is the bomb!  It’s so f#*king cool that I can’t describe it without cursewords. There are a few glitches with how much we brought.  I have heard that when people move to a small space that they undestimate just how small it really is and this is true. It’s a learning curve. Things I didn’t expect ~ the kitchen actually has more storage than our old kitchen had. We had such shallow cabinets in our old house. These new ones are amazing! So much room. I also underestimated the angles of the condo, it’s slightly shorter than I had thought but also wider. A couple of pieces of furniture had to become a little more versatile than we had planned. 

Pictures have come out of their boxes, I’m trying to decide where it should all go.

 My bedroom, oh guys my bedroom!!! (Swoon). I  go to sleep and wake up gazing over the city at the CN tower. My room is a pristine white dream. I was thinking of buying the IKEA Malm bed that lifts up so we could have more storage but honestly I think with the storage room we have already we won’t need it. 

Today we popped over to Pottery Barn Kids. Did you hear that? I just ‘popped over’ to Pottery Barn kids!! It’s a little bit of a dream. We went for sheets but obviously couldn’t just limit ourselves to that. We found the most adorable bunny and just had to bring it home. 

I’m so sorry I’m not keeping you in the loop more. Please check out my Instagram feed for more frequent updates. As soon as I get everything out of boxes I am going to bombard you with so many posts!! You just wait, you’ll be like ‘oh my gosh lady enough already’! Lol! 

So please know that I am happy. So so happy. Everything else is status quo, I will tell you all about work, art, Banana Republic behind the scenes sneak peaks, citylife with the smalls, plans of amazing visits to Montreal, Dublin, Christmas markets, just so many things to tell you!!!  

And let’s not forget about the view….

Have a beautiful adorable week 

Love K

The Story of Kate Part III

The Story of Kate Part I

The Story of Kate Part II
Fall 2014~ish

 I currently have a my super shitty MRI, which quickly become MRI’s. If you are truely broken you get to the front of the MRI line. 

On the right one you can especially see where my spinal cord is losing its long beautiful straight line.

I have 3 small humans, and a flying position posting, which is currently gold in a sea of ground jobs urgently being filled. At this point all I care about is getting my aircraft upgrade to captain. That process is a complete other story, what matters is that I kept trying despite obstacles unrelated to me. 

My doctor was deployed to the xxxx with the xxxx, an issue with the military. I was given another doctor who assured me he’d seen much worse with no surgery required. 

On the family side that was the year grandma wanted us all to go to Disney World. She planned this incredible trip and I loved it. Top to bottom I loved it. But I was in so much pain. I couldn’t ride the rides. I was eating Advil and Tylenol like tic tac’s and drinking in the day. In hindsight a trip to the emergency room might have provided some safer pain control options. I felt like I ruined that trip. I was a complete and utter asshole. I was in so much pain I could not get a grip on it. I still feel poorly about my behaviour. My sister in law assures me that she had a hangry (hungry/angry) melt down and was forcibly removed from the Disney Christmas parade by her husband. Put it on the family regret list I guess! 

I came home from the trip and first stop doctor. I was refered to a Orthopaedic Surgeon and put on the rush list and given the first appointment after the Christmas break. It was a painful Christmas. Husband came to the appointment with me, I didn’t take pain meds because I wanted to be able to explain what hurt and how it hurt. I made it half way through the waiting period and the room became so bright I had to take them. The first step was an intern/resident/dr helper monkey who did a full examination, said yes that’s shit, you need surgery (but nicer) to which I said oh no thanks. This moment, this is the moment where I lose my priorities. I didn’t even give him a chance to explain. The resident left and husband and I could slightly overhear the conversation outside the door. “She…surgery…doesn’t want to…non surgical….yada yada…” Basicaly, I said no thanks, I’d like to treat this without surgery, what can we do? I was referred to ‘The Pain Clinic’ and again it was quick, because I’m a ‘Jet Pilot.’ I shut up and let it pass. I was in so much pain.  My real road of drugs starts here! (Jazz hands) I was restricted in what I could take because I was still flying. There are approved and non-approved drugs. Some are ‘As or with co-pilot’ stating you cannot fly a single seat aircraft, I found this unacceptable. Part of my plan was that we could potentially end up back in the training world. I’m good at training, I liked training, it would be a pretty big loss for me and I simply could not have that! My medical status is immediately changed to ‘As or with co-pilot.’ Scowls.  
We tried drugs, drugs that made me fat, drugs that made me blurry. I did Physio, acupuncture, massage therapy, marriage counselling. (Like how I snuck that in there?) Pain is hard on a person, but it’s also hard on those around them. I had a spinal injection that worked so well, for about 2 months. They refused to do it again until I had another MRI. At the same time I was also asking around who is the best doctor, what should I look for. It was decided a Neurosurgeon was the best fit for this surgery and I had a consult with the one I chose end June. He came in, I instantly liked him, he assessed me, he asked me about airplanes, I think he liked me and he said okay surgery it is, tomorrow or a month from tomorrow. I should have chosen tomorrow but silly me still really wanted that aircraft upgrade and I was so close. I thought just one more month, I can do it! 

I couldn’t do it. 

One day I kissed sweet Lily goodbye, she was standing on a stool, a tiny ginger 2 year old, reached out from her stool for a kiss and a hug and jumped into my arms. Her hands around the back of my neck and as she touched my neck the tiny sweet baby and I collapsed to the floor. I never flew again, not from the pilot seat anyway. It had nothing to do with my sweet baby, she was a tiny little thing and my damage was long done but that was my breaking point. I showed up to my docotor on the base mid afternoon (this is just not done), I showed up in tears, sobbing and he knew. He saw me immediately and I said, “I know I don’t usually ask this but could you please drug me?” I gave in. It was just too much pain. He responded with something along the lines of, “Oh yes, thank god. It’s time!” You’ll remember I’d been fighting him on leaving work and medicating for so long. 

That month was the longest month. I wished to god I’d chosen to have the surgery the next day. My feet became droopy and I shuffled and tripped along and could only walk at the slowest pace, I’m not even sure we’d call it ‘walking.’ Elderly people lapped me with walkers, not joking. I would shuffle along holding walls and hands and husband and curse at old people kicking my ass humping along with their super speedy walkers. Every movement, every shuffle, every breath hurt. Every night husband would set me up in bed with a glass of wine and a movie and I would cry. Why did I wait so long? Things in this month become very blurry. I remember my sister in laws came to visit and I forced them to take me yard sale-ing at the cottage but could only make it a street or two (in the car). We made strawberry jam, in that they made it and I sat in the corner of the sofa very, very still. I can’t remember who and when or if I told people about my surgery. Some of you would be better judges of that. I know I kept my cards pretty well hidden until that point. Mostly I remember pain and tears, husband helping me climb stairs on hands and knees, missing my children, more tears, emergency room visits when I started losing feeling in my legs, and other strange neurological developments, discussing if we should do emergency surgery with another surgeon before mine returned from wherever he was for that month, and deciding to wait, and then sitting very, very still. 

One of my bosses said to me later, ‘I know this has been a difficult year for you’ and I did one of those psychotic uncontrollable completely inappropriate laughs which turned into tears running on my cheeks. Yes. It was ‘difficult,’ you have no idea. 

So let’s call it there. I feel like I’m starting a pity party for myself and I hate for you to think of me like that. 

Positive updates, we are T minus 2 days for the move. Can you believe it? I’ve been thinking about how crazy this year has been, not like it’s any less crazy that previous years, lol! But how crazy is this?! We sold/donated/purged at least half of our belongings, we sold our house, we’re moving to Toronto! Oh my gosh I am looking forward to this new chapter. I think we are going to be amazing. This is my year and I am going to love it and live it! Have a fabulous day. Be sure to check Instagram for updates on the move. Once I’m settled the plan is blog posts Mondays and Thursdays regularly with you tube updates periodically. I wanted to share this summer but it turns out not to work well from the cottage. Just in case you were like hey lady you promised us You Tube! It is coming. It’s a tech problem. I’ve notified the tech department (husband/small human boys) and they are working on it (ie said wait til you have a computer in Toronto, hah) 💕 

Now no one is feeling sorry for me, I have a beautiful life, and I am off to have a beautiful day. 

Love always K 

Darling Escapes

During the summer I try to keep my appointments to an absolute minimum. What with husband being away so much for the move and work it’s been difficult but then if you add in we sold our house…. it’s about an hour drive each way so I tried to stack appointments and keep them to a minimum. This week as I was leaving for a day of appointments Husband encouraged me to stay the night in the city. Now you all know I’m a big fan of time to ourselves, despite being parents we deserve a little time alone, right?! But deserving a little time alone and staying in a fancy hotel in the city are not necessarily the same. When he mentioned I should stay I thought I probably won’t, it’s hard to justify spending money on yourself frivolously. I think as parents we sometimes forget that we need it. 

It just so happened that at the time of my departure the littlest small human threw a fit larger than life, sobbing and crying, which resulted in me crying. She wanted to come with me, and a part of me so wanted her to come, but a) I don’t know what she’d do all day and b) I a little bit (LOT) wanted to go by myself, don’t tell her, shhhh. Husband shoved me out the door with only the barest of essentials. I waited the appropriate mom time, texted and she was completely fine, eating waffles. I didn’t even get a cup of coffee in the exit 😾.

In the city I didn’t actually break down and admit I was staying until late late afternoon. I thought of driving home for an hour and I still had so many things to do in the city, and then I thought, I would love a break. Big giant sigh….oh how I would love a break. So I went against all my sensible judgment and I booked a room at a hotel I have been to many times for events but ever had the opportunity to stay in. I chose The Fort Garry, a former Pacific Railway hotel built in 1913. I’ve always been a huge fan of the railway hotels, they are so incredibly gorgeous. 

 I find every last detail to have so much thought put into it, it’s the old world charm I love and have visions of sparkling black dresses, elevator assistants, fancy balls and men dressed in tux’s. I’m told the amazing Palm Lounge is the place to be for night owls looking to be starstruck! It was such a pleasure to stay there. 

Unfortunately for me during my “great escape” I only made it out of the house with: 

Mascara:BUXOM is still my fav

Eyelash curler:those who have been on basic training or any survival course can attest that under no circumstances do I leave home without these two items. 

iPhone charger, wallet, sunglasses, pounds of medication, pjs and a change of clothes. It’s amazing what you can fit in a good purse. 

I took the time between appointments to visit a couple of my favourite shops Mad About Style and Chapters Indigo Polo Festival. We are leaving with only suitcases in less than two weeks and it was sooo hard to control myself. I restrained myself for all but these two gems. 

Comfortable black pumps and a new coffe cup. So gorgeous! 

I spent the evening with a fabulous friend. We ate Indian food at my favourite Indian restaurant in the city, East India Co, and we drank wine and chatted. We’ve been friends since I joined the military, before we had husbands and babies. She brings me peace and mindfulness, she inspires me when I need it and soothes me when I’m overwhelmed. Excellent qualities in a friend. And then in the morning I was met with tea and a cookie

A perfect end to a perfect escape. 

Love K❤️