Isn’t Child Loss Enough?

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Very difficult these days to find the time to write. First off, the week before spring break, although schools were still open, we had decided to keep the kids at home. The reasons were because of the rising number of Covid-19 cases in Ottawa and our fear of the variants. So since April 2, we have them full time at home, yet again! Maxandre is struggling with home/virtual school, we might have to revisit something different or an alternative schedule somehow.

On top of that, April is the time that we have to file our taxes. It’s annoying that the government did not postpone the dates like last year. On the Quebec side, their government is allowing an extra month to file their return. But, for us, no time extension granted by the federal government. Yet, like last year, we are again in a pandemic and therefore have difficulty managing things, and have the children at home. They realized this last year and granted an extension, but not this year I guess?

Unfortunately, it is a very complicated tax return this year for us. First, we had to sell our cottage following the accident as it happened on the way to the cottage. The sale of the cottage was another very difficult and stressful event for us in the past year, on top of everything else we had to deal with.

This is considered a so-called secondary loss. The 2019 accident not only resulted in the loss of our sweet Zackaël, but it snowballed with several other secondary losses. I plan to talk more about secondary losses, but for now here is a definition.

Secondary losses are felt after the first loss and can affect many aspects of a person’s life. Grief associated with secondary losses is an emotional response to subsequent losses that occur after the death of the loved one (the first loss).

As the sale took place in 2020, we must then include it in our 2020 taxes. Some will think it shouldn’t be complicated because we are, Carl and I, two accountants. But no, as neither of us specialize in the field of taxation, we’re no more knowledgeable than most people. We need to enter and calculate all of our expenses too because in addition to the sale, we also had rental income from the cottage. Plus all our adjustments for our time off from work, all the medical expenses not reimbursed, etc. And compile it all, in a time of pandemic with the children around!

On another topic, thanks to Carl’s hunt for vaccines, we were lucky to find a pharmacy and so were happy to receive our vaccine on Tuesday, April 20. We jumped on the occasion as soon as we found out about the 40+ age new update. Thanks Carl for contacting over 20 pharmacies! This is a big relief for our family.

The pandemic brought serious repercussions on our already devastated family. This is a topic I will be discussing at some point. Indeed, we are living in anguish for more than 17 months, since for us, it all started in November 2019 and not in March 2020 as for most. So it was a victory on April 20! This is one more step towards the end of this pandemic, reassuring us and also Maxandre who has suffered a lot of anxiety since the accident, which was amplified by the pandemic.

For my next post, I will reveal to you the magnificent painting by Vé Boisvert that I received last week. I just installed it and I want to take some great photos and write a text before I do the unveiling! Here’s a little preview!

I’ve also posted a photo of our beautiful Maxandre in front of the other canvas “Under Zackaël’s Wing”. If you missed the post about it and the story behind it, here’s the link.

Finally, I have updated Maxandre’s video post as I added his latest video “Try Not to Laugh” to it! Please check it out here!

That’s it for now! Thank you for sharing your thoughts in the comments!

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What to Do If You Are Depressed?

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In a previous post about Complicated Grief, you might have read that I had fallen into a depression following the accident. It was probably inevitable given the circumstances of Zackaël’s death, my PTSD, and being in the hospital with my severely injured Adélie.

I eventually plan to write a post about what helped me “survive” the year after the accident: “The 5 things that helped me cope with depression.” This is not to say that I no longer have signs of depression. I am still grieving and suffer from anxiety.

Without disclosing my full top 5 list, I am revealing one today: Something I did that helped me deal with depression was being busy in a positive way. This is even more important during this time of pandemic as we are even more isolated.

Yet, it is also important to give ourselves time and not undertake projects if we are not ready. It took me at least 8 months after the accident to start small projects that I love. In my 23 Myths of Grief post, Myth #3 is “The best way to grieve is to avoid thinking about it too much. The bereaved should get busy by doing other things, such as going back to work.”. It is a myth that the bereaved should get busy right away and do other things. The bereaved first needs the time to be ready to do “other things”. Doing too much after a traumatic event is usually a bad idea. This is why we should first start with simple activities (e.g. taking a walk), before taking on projects.

Small projects shouldn’t be too demanding, and especially not stressful. Ideally, a person who is depressed should work on a project only when they feel like doing so, it should not feel like a chore. Note that returning to work doesn’t fall into this category (of starting a nice project) because it is more of an obligation (for most of us anyway).

Increasingly, numerous studies demonstrate the positive effects of Behavioral Activation.

A more proactive way of breaking the vicious cycle of depression is to increase our level of activity even if we don’t feel like it to begin with. This approach is called Behavioral Activation (BA) and it is a psychological treatment for depression with one of the biggest evidence bases to demonstrate how effective it is. Behavioral activation for depression is about making your life meaningful and pleasurable again.


As much as possible, we should find projects that bring us pleasure and that motivate us. In a future blog post, I plan to talk about behavioral activation with more concrete examples.

Without going into too much detail, I really think that the projects I undertook over the past year helped me a lot. Some bigger, like this blog, and some smaller. I try as much as possible to choose pastimes that bring positivity to my life. People who have supported my projects (for example, my readers who comment on this blog), have also motivated me to continue them.

This week, I continue with one of the projects that I love. I spoke about it in my last post : The Joey modular couch. With the Joey, not only am I helping the kids to have fun, but it also allows me to use my creativity in many ways! Lastly, I can help other parents (AKA “Roopers”) with their Joey!

The Joey Couch

Many other moms were excited to see this post because I’m revealing most of the colour combinations in one summary table. It all started with discussions in the Joey Facebook Group (CCBR VIP), when I saw that many of us (“Roopers”) weren’t sure which colour to order for a 2nd Joey or the accessories. I was able to help out and I hope this post will be beneficial for many. I also plan in the near future to post our reviews on some of the Joey’s build configurations.

Roopers Q&A

Here is a list of some of the questions I had received on the Facebook group. I share my answers here via a Q&A.

How did you manage to create all those combinations?

I use Photoshop and its “Selection” tool. I first select only certain parts of one couch (for example the pink one), align, and then past them on a couch of another colour. Because of the different angles, I often slightly resize some of the selections in order to perfectly align the two couches into one couch.

Do the combinations below represent the true colours of the Joey?

I work with the photos of Chew Chew Baby Roo (CCBR). I don’t alter the colours, I just “copy and paste” the selected couch sections from a different colour to create the couches with two-colour combinations.

New colours: Mint & Lavender
For the 2 new colours (Mint and Lavender), photos of real couches are not available at this time. For this reason and only for those 2 colours, I used Photoshop’s colour picker to select colours from the CCBR samples. As such, the combinations might not look as realistic as those of other colours. This is because the light effect cannot be incorporated as well. So don’t be discouraged if you are disappointed with the mint or lavender look, because they will likely look better in real life! As soon as I get real pictures of Mint & Lavender Joeys, I will update the combinations below!

I’m afraid the colours in your table below might not the same in my house?

Regardless of the product, it is normal to see various shades and intensity of the same colour. Each of us “Roopers” will have a couch that will appear different in our home vs another Rooper’s home. This isn’t because it’s not the “right colour” or that the colour changed, but rather because the light is not the same from house to house. The reality is that we don’t see the colour that is on the couch, but the COLOUR OF THE LIGHT THAT’S REFLECTED off the couch.

Unquestionably, the biggest factor will be where you place your Joey. Since the CCBR photos are taken with plenty of natural light, they might appear lighter than if the photos were taken in shaded area. As such, if you set your Joey in a basement or bedroom with little light, the Joey will probably look darker in your home. Also, artificial lighting will influences how a colour looks. Lastly, most of us have different cameras (mostly from cell phones) which might not display the colours we see in real life.

Because microsuede is a fabric that reflects a lot the natural light, you will see a lot of depth to the couch and therefore a lot of colour variations. This is why on a sunny day, some sections of the couch will appear much lighter than others.

In the example below, I’m demonstrating how much light conditions can affect colour. Using the Photoshop colour picker, I took 5 different shades directly from the very same couch. See how much box #1 is darker than box #5 even though it’s the same fabric (same colour)! This is the beauty of having a room with lots of natural light; we can see so much depth and colours! If your Joey happens to be in a darker location, you might not see the lighter shades (#4, #5). If there’s too much light, the colour might even appear less saturated or washed out (box #5) on some parts.

Therefore, when considering colours for a new purchase, I suggest looking at the “middle intensity colours”, in this case : boxes (#2, #3 and #4).

Your table displays more colours that what is currently available to order?

I’ve decided to include most of the colours, as many of us have couches with previous colours. Here is a history of when the colours have been available. Note that when colours are withdrawn, it doesn’t mean that they will be gone forever. The Core Colours that will be available of every pre-order are grey, sage and navy.

Pre-order #1: Pink, blue, sage, grey and black.
Pre-order #2: Navy, peach/nude, coral and mustard were added. Pink, blue, sage, grey, black, navy, peach, coral and mustard.
Pre-order #3: Same as #2 but peach/nude was removed. Pink, blue, sage, grey, black, navy, coral and mustard.
Pre-order #4: Same as #3 but teal was added. Pink, blue, sage, grey, black, navy, coral, mustard and teal.
Pre-order #5 (the next one!): Pink, blue, black, coral and mustard are removed. Mint, Lavender and Ivory will be added. Sage, grey, navy, teal, mint, lavender and ivory.

Why are Ivory and Peach excluded from your combinations?

Ivory is a new colour and is a tricky colour to work with. As such, I will wait to have a real picture of a Joey Ivory couch before I work with it.

For Peach/Nude, it was only available on order #2, I haven’t received any request yet. If you bought a peach couch and you would like to see a combination, please let me know.

Could you create combinations with 3 colours?

Absolutely. Because there are 12 colours, and you can mix 3 colours in a set, that allows for 220 possible combinations! As such, I’ve created a poll below on which you can add your choice of 3 colours. Please verify that your 3 colours aren’t already listed if you wish to add them. To keep it simple, please only indicate the colours (and not the type pillows you want in a specific colour). The purpose of colour combinations is to see if the colours go well together.

Do you work for CCBR?

No I don’t. I’m creating this post to help other Roopers with colour combinations. For questions about the products, please contact CCBR.

My Two-colour Combinations Table

I haven’t included all the combos since some of them were never asked. Please let me know if there’s any that are missing that you wish to see because you are considering buying.

POLL : Three-colour Combinations – Which ones would you like to see?

Joey Configurations

Stay tuned for our reviews and diagrams of Joey builds! Our reviews will include tips and videos! Coming later this week or next week!

That’s it for now! Thank you for sharing your thoughts in the comments!

What are you thoughts on the colour combos? Any combinations you like that you didn’t think you would have?
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Are Play Couches and Playsets Worth It?

Pour la version originale de cette publication (version française), cliquez ici.

Thanks to all of you who left comments on my last post and viewed the slideshow with Zackaël’s videos. In addition, thank you for your votes on the Grief Myths; I am keeping the poll open for now, in case some of you didn’t have the chance to vote yet.

In mid-November, in the midst of the pandemic and with the onset of winter, we decided to invest in some indoor activities for the kids. We ordered a small gym for Adélie, a “jungle gym” play structure for Maxandre and a modular couch.

Adélie’s Gym

This small gym by Wedanta Kids was recommended to us by Adélie’s physiotherapist and was the first structure we got. Not only does it allows Adélie to burn some energy, but it allows her to practice her balance, flexibility and strength, which is important after a brain injury. The structure can be used during her physiotherapy sessions, which she has 1-2 times a week. Adélie loves to climb the bars and use the slide.

Here is a video with Adélie. You can see how better she got with her right hand which she wasn’t using last year!

Limikids Playground

We also decided to get an indoor playground for Maxandre. This jungle gym set is from the Canadian company Limikids. We opted for the Jupiter model, in green of course. It was a nice birthday present for Maxandre! See below for our review.

Price: prices vary depending on the set, here is the link to the products offered.

Quick tip: We shared the delivery costs with 3 other Ottawa families. All three orders were delivered, to our house and the other families came to pick up the boxes, allowing us all to save on shipping costs.

The Joey Modular Couch

Finally, we ordered the modular sofa “The Joey”. We were lucky to have been in their first pre-order. After more than 4 months of waiting, we received the Joey this week!

Joey Couch in Pink, source:

I know, it’s a lot of expenses in a short period of time. However, we have good reasons. Maybe these reasons will help you (or your spouse!) justify a future order? 😉

8 reasons why we Invested in Interior Activities
  1. We knew the pandemic and the lockdown were going to last and so we’d be stuck at home a lot. Sports and activities had been canceled.
  2. Our kids deserve to be spoiled after the horrible year they had (the accident), and to top it off, a pandemic!
  3. Both the structures and the couch allow Adélie to work on her mobility and do physio exercises.
  4. Maxandre no longer has his brother to play with. We are trying to find other games and fun things for him to do.
  5. They are a great way to get physical exercise and stay away from electronic devices.
  6. The modular sofa can also be used as a comfortable playing surface and an extra sofa. It can even create extra beds, perfect for when we have family staying over or when the kids have a sleepover. Goodbye inflatable mattress!
  7. We are spending less money on entertainment activities (no museums, no travel, etc.) because of the pandemic, which helps to justify higher expenses for our household activities.
  8. Even I can use them for exercise!

    In order to make all this safe, particularly with Adélie’s mobility issues, we have surrounded the equipment with gym mats to cover the floor.

Our Experience with the LimiKids Indoor Playground

The structure was a fair bit of work to install. If we had a drywall ceiling, it could be installed directly from ceiling and floor with pressure (no need to drill holes). However, with a drop ceiling we needed to install particle boards on the ceiling studs to create a solid surface. Carl’s mom Judy helped us install the ropes for the ladder, rings, trapeze and spider web when she was in town.

LimiKids customer service has been extremely helpful as some parts of the installation were a bit tricky.

At this time, the LimiKids playground is mainly been used by Maxandre. He loves to use the trapeze as a swing and also likes to use the rings. He finds the monkey bars a bit rough on the hands, but I’ll encourage him to use gym gloves.

Our ceiling (in the basement) is a bit low to take full advantage of the monkey bars since Maxandre is not able climb on top without bumping into the ceiling. A higher ceiling would be ideal, but is not possible in our basement.

We also bought the parallel bars kit, which allows us to do more exercises. I plan to start using it more for myself.

Here is a video with Maxandre:

Our Experience with The Joey Couch

Last year, I had heard great reviews about “The Nugget” modular couch. But as Nugget’s inventory was completely depleted due to the pandemic, I was happy to hear about another similar couch on the way “The Joey”. Best of all, it is from a Canadian company, called Chew Chew Baby Roo (CCBR)! Helen, the mom and creator, along with her team have been offering outstanding service with regular updates about shipping and their products. They also have a Facebook Group to allow discussions between parents about their products.

What is The Joey?

The Joey is made up of 7 pieces and can be ordered in 9 different colours.

  1. The Base
  2. The Support
  3. Half-Moon Arm Rest Pillow
  4. 2 x Small Wedges
  5. Waterproof Liner
  6. Single-Brushed Microsuede Suede Outer Cover
Joey vs Nugget vs Foamnaisum

Price: The price of the Joey with taxes and delivery is approximately $ 338 CAD. For the Nugget and Foamnasium, they cost around $ 400 CAD.

Protection: The biggest difference between the Joey and the Nugget is that the Joey comes with a waterproof protective liner between the foam and micro-suede.

Pieces: Aside from the protective cover, the Joey comes with an arm rest pillow which is not included with the Nugget.

My first impressions:

We chose to order 2 Joeys to offer more flexibility in the configurations we can build. They were ordered in November and we kept it a surprise for the kids. We were hoping to get them for Christmas, but only just got them last week! Here’s a video that shows the kids the first time they saw their Joeys:

First of, no installation is required! The quality of the product seems fantastic and the zippers look solid. The micro-suede was a bit wrinkled at first, which isn’t surprising considering the cushions were all compressed in a box. But I am happy to say that they have quickly smoothed out. One of the half moon cushions was badly scuffed and appeared to be faulty, but after 2 hours it became full size!

Sage is a lovely subtle colour, but it’s a bit pale so care must be taken to keep it from getting dirty. Fortunately, the covers on the couch are completely removable and washable, in addition to having a waterproof liner! If I could re-choose the colour, I think I would go with the navy. However, navy was not available when we ordered. CCBR continues to add colours and is adding teal to the next pre-order. The colours are all gorgeous, I am a little jealous to see some of the new colours!

Since the couch offers endless possibilities, I had fun creating some configurations last weekend. This is right up my alley as I’m a creative person and I also like the kids getting excited over new builds! In my next post, I will display some of these configurations.

I will also share Maxandre & Adélie’s “tests” on the different modular configurations, and ratings for each! Finally, I plan to provide my opinion on the different pieces and whether any I think any additional pieces would be useful. Subscribe to the blog to not miss our Joey posts!

Adélie in the Joey couch
Next Pre-order

Their next pre-order is on April 3 at 3pm, don’t miss it if you’re interested! Due to the pandemic and containers shipping delays at sea, it can take about 90 days to receive the order. We are all patient at this time!

Do you have indoor gyms or modular couches, or would you like some? If so, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments!

That’s it for now. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts in the comments!
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