Zackaël’s Soaring Love

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Thank you to everyone who commented on my last post. We currently have a tie between 4 myths. I’m still leaving the poll open in hopes of getting more votes! If you didn’t have a chance to vote, if you can take 5 minutes to pick one or two myths. This will help me chose the one to talk about, I would very much appreciate it! Please share the post if you can.

Today, I am revealing the painting chosen by my mother! As mentioned in Under Zackaël’s Wings post, I am excited to reveal the other painting created in honor of Zackaël. The artist, Vé Boisvert, once again produced a beautiful masterpiece with magnificent colours. The title “L’envolée d’amour de Zackaël” translates to “Zackaël’s Soaring Love”.

The Reveal

Video taken in Hearst Ontario by my parents.

The red symbolizes the infinite love we have for Zackaël and the love he gave us. It also reminds us of his beautiful lips, as well as the red shirts he often wore. The blue unmistakably evokes the radiance of his beautiful sky-blue eyes. The tones of green are very present since it was his favorite colour. We also see bronze-caramel which reminds us of his silky blonde hair. Finally, the abundance of white reflects his softness and the perfection he represented. Additionally, the white represents the peace that Zackaël, from his heavenly kingdom, sends us on his angel wings.

Before and After

Before and After - Without and with artwork from Vé Boisvert
What a Difference!
Vé Boisvert - Zackaël
My mother Yvonne with the painting in her home

Inspiration

After my mother chose the title for the canvas, I was inspired to create a slideshow in honour of Zackaël. As you may already know, my little Zackaël loved to jump and be in the air. I knew he would be a gymnast and maybe even become an airplane pilot. He had a natural talent in trampoline and gymnastics.

The title caught my attention because I imagined my little Zackaël flying. Jumping to soar to the sky, with love and poise. Our little Zackaël shows us his superb somersaults, a beautiful spectacle. I’m sure he’s having fun in the clouds jumping high.

Celebration of his Life

After the accident, I promised Zackaël that I will always continue to talk about him and celebrate his life. This is why I encourage you to view the entire slideshow, even if you find it difficult.

The slideshow may bring you to tears and that’s okay. As such, you might want to find a quiet moment to watch it. It’s normal to take a little break too and pause it. Make sure to turn on the sound to hear the beautiful song.

It’s important that we keep talking about him. The fact that he left this world will always be sad and there’s nothing we can do to change that. However, what we can do is to continue to commemorate him, and to cherish all the beautiful moments we had with Zackaël. At the same time, you get to know him more… he so deserves to be known. Thank you for viewing it and getting to know him.

Slideshow in Honour of Zackaël


You liked the artwork and the slideshow? Please don’t hesitate to leave your comments, I appreciate them very much! I added a Facebook share button if you would like to share this post.

That’s it for now. Thank you so much for participating in last week’s poll and sharing your thoughts in the comments!

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Under Zackaël’s Wings

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Today was a very cold, but very sunny day. A perfect day to receive a beautiful creation. In fact, earlier this morning, I received a wonderful surprise by courier! In my post “20 Ways to Remember our Loved Ones“, I briefly mentioned that we had asked an artist to create a painting in honour of Zackaël.

Last fall, my mom mentioned that she would like to give me something special in honour of Zackaël. I immediately thought of the artist Vé Boisvert (Véro). My mother replied that she also loved Véro’s paintings. Since we’ve always been impressed by Véro’s work, we thought “why don’t we get each our own painting” in honour of Zackaël. I’ve always liked that Véro’s creations are semi-abstractions, as they allow our imagination to dictate what we want to perceive.

The paintings of Vé Boisvert

Before describing the artwork that I received today, I would like to explain the story behind it. For any custom order, in order to ensure maximum customer satisfaction, Véro first creates two canvases. The first canvas is usually the one that contains the colours requested (preferred) by the customer. For the second canvas, Véro brings another dynamic and generally uses a different technique. Once the two canvases are completed, she lets the client choose the one they prefer between the two.

Since my mother wanted me to be completely satisfied with her gift, we had the idea that Véro could paint my mother’s first. This way, if there was a little something extra that I would like for my canvas, it would be easier to identify after first seeing my mother’s.

My mom chose a 36 ”x 48” horizontal canvas for her living room. I decided on a 60 ”x 48” vertical canvas for my living room.

The two canvases

As described above, Véro created two canvases for my mother to give her the option to choose between two. Once my mom’s painting is completed, Véro will work on mine.

On February 11, my mom and I received photos (from Véro) of the two 36 ”x 48” paintings, from which my mother had to pick her favorite. I immediately loved both canvases. They each have their own personality and differ in their colours and techniques; the first was created by brushstrokes, while the second by spatula strokes. Obviously, the green colour and the personality of Zackaël are reflected in both.

My mom and I both agreed that the first one would go well with her décor and was a good representation of Zackaël. The second one would therefore be sold externally.

However, the more I looked at the second one, the more I fell in love with it. I think it was the colours that really stood out to me. It was then that I decided to buy the second one, which was not at all planned! When I called Véro to tell her, she had already put it up for sale online as soon as she knew my mom had chosen the first one. But I couldn’t let it go!

I thought about my own situation and realized that I didn’t have enough art in my house. The canvas would be perfect for my dining room which always had empty walls!

Why I decided to buy the second painting

First, I love the variety of shades of green, as well as white, colours that represent Zackaël. White is the colour of purity and of an angel, my beautiful Zackaël. The iridescent mauve appealed to me greatly because it reminded me of Adélie. In fact, over the past year I have often posted about Zackaël and Adélie, and I regularly put on a little purple heart to represent Adélie 💜. I also often use a blue heart to symbolize Maxandre 💙, a recurring colour in the canvas. Finally, the bronze and silver bring a beautiful shimmering glow. These two colours enrich the canvas even more and they make me think of metallic armors that Carl and I must have to overcome such an ordeal.

Example of Emoticon Hearts I Would Use

The reveal

When I unwrapped it this morning
Close-up
The reveal to the kids

The title of the canvas

Thus, I came to realize that the canvas represented our little family perfectly. The four of us are cradled in Zackaël’s wings, his beautiful angelic wings. This is why I titled the artwork “Zackaël nous berce dans ses ailes” which in French, sounds beautiful as “Zackaël” and “ailes” rhyme and is gentle-sounding. However, the translation doesn’t sound as well “Zackaël rocks us in his wings”. It was important for me to include “us” in the title, because we’re all in it (us five), and Zackaël rocks us with him.

“Zackaël’s wings illuminate your heart forever. Powerful, luminous and sparkling, his wings gently rock you ”.

Vé Boisvert, artist

More to come

Later this week, my mother will receive her canvas. Since she lives in Hearst, delivery takes a little longer. I know she can’t wait to receive it. Véro is currently creating my future 60 ”x 48” vertical canvas, for which I will also be able to chose between two options. This artwork that will measure almost double the other and will be installed above our fireplace, in the center of our house. I will be happy to write a post about my mother’s canvas and the one the Véro will create for my living room!

That’s it for now! I hope you enjoyed the reveal and that you’re looking forward for the other art reveals!

Please share your thoughts in the comments below. I appreciate them so much and your private messages!

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Remembering our Moments Together

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I dedicate this post in memory of my uncle Armand Lehoux

Today has been a difficult day for us. We received the coroner’s report about Zackaël’s death in the mail last Friday. This morning, Carl told me he had read the report earlier in the morning. He said it wasn’t a good idea and he found it difficult. I immediately started to cry. I hadn’t even looked at the report. I will read it another time when I feel ready.

This is one of those days when whatever the situation, emotions are coming out. I cried most of the day. People might think birthdays or special occasions are the hardest days. This is not necessarily the case.

Unfortunately, we have some tough days that appear without warning. Either way, we are trying our best to live normal lives and enjoy the beautiful times. But spontaneously, the pain suddenly resurfaces. And that’s normal. On that note, as I mentioned in a previous post, it’s better for our health to release our emotions than to hold them back.

Sharing our beautiful moments

This Friday February 26, Zackaël would have been 7 years old. In honor of Zackaël, every day this week, I will try to share a beautiful moment that I had with my little angel. There are moments that may seem trivial to you, but to me, they have a certain meaning.

Memory of the day

Zackaël was an observant little boy. He wasn’t the type to talk a lot, rather he liked to observe others. I always found him very visual.

It must have been only about 1 month before his death. One evening, before the kids went to bed, we were in Maxandre’s room. On the wall of the bedroom, we have a map of North America.

I asked Maxandre if he remembered where Hearst is located. Hearst is my hometown, a small town in northern Ontario. Maxandre could not remember, he took a guess and didn’t point at the right spot. But here is little Zackaël, who suddenly points his finger directly at Hearst on the big map. I was very surprised, I didn’t even remember that I had shown him. He was happy when I said “bravo Zackaël”.

I was surprised, but at the same time I was not. He was a very attentive boy.

This is a photo of Maxandre’s map, where you can see Hearst.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a photo of Zackaël pointing at the map. But I still have the memory of that moment, which will be forever etched in my mind.

💚 Zackaël, forever 5 years old 💚


That’s it for now!
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20 Ways to Remember our Loved Ones

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💙 I dedicate this post in memory of River Newberry. 💙

In a recent post, I wrote about the importance of commemorating those who have left us too soon. Although many people still find it taboo, grief is a natural state that represents the love we have for the person who left us.

You may at some point find yourself thinking about a loved one who is no longer with us. Making a commemorating gesture is a great way to remember that person. In doing so, you recognize the importance of this person and of taking a moment to reflect. Include our children in such a gesture can be a wonderful way to teach them the meaning of remembrance and compassion. Even if you didn’t get the chance to get to know the person well, making a memorial gesture can still bring solace.

If you can share your gesture with the family of the loved one, I guarantee that they will appreciate it. For my part, when someone tells me about a gesture made in memory of Zackaël, it warms my heart, in part because they’ve initiated it.

There are many creative and meaningful ways to keep the memory of loved ones alive. Share these ideas with your child(ren) and let them chose one that you could all do together. You can even ask them if they have their own ideas.

20 commemorative gestures anyone can make

  1. Light a candle.
    Ligthing a candle is a beautiful and easy way to commemorate a loved one. The other day, before dinner, I lit a candle in honor of Zackael. I told Maxandre, “I’m lighting this candle because I’m thinking about Zackaël a lot right now.”
    chandelle en mémoire enfants - candle is memory of children died

  2. Make a donation in memory
    A charity of choice is often chosen for donations in memory of the deceased or someone who is sick. In our case, CHEO mailed us a list of the names of people who have contributed in Zackaël’s honor. We are grateful to everyone who donated to a charity in his honor, plus they are for a good cause!

  3. Share a memory about them
    The sharing of memories affirms the worth of the person who died. In addition, the memories others share are often memories that we have not heard before.

    It was heartwarming to receive messages from the parents of Zackaël’s friends about their little relationship and the games they would play with him. We are also thankful to everyone who contributed to Zackaël’s honour book which is filled with great memories.

  4. Wear their favorite color
    In honour of Zackael’s birthday on February 26th, I asked Maxandre if he wanted to do something special. Again this year, Maxandre wants us all to wear green, as well everyone at the school. It’s a small tradition that we started last year, and we’re excited to continue it.

    As for myself, Zackaël is always in my heart, so I wear his colour as much as I can. You will probably see me wear green way more than before. That’s the Zackäel in me.


  5. Create a ritual
    A ritual is a concrete gesture that we take and which translates into a symbolic meaning that we give it, it could be anything.

  6. Keep a bookmark or photo on display
    If you received a commemorative bookmark at the funeral, everytime you use it as bookmark, you will remember the person. Another option is to display it somewhere in your home. You can also print a photo or cut out the obituary from the newspaper or online.

    When Isabelle, someone I didn’t know, sent me a message about Zackaël’s picture being on their fridge (her picture below), it touched me so much.


  7. Continue to wear something associated with the person

    Here are some examples:
    • For Zackaël, we distributed small green ribbons. When I still see them on the coats, it always warms my heart. Zackaël’s teacher also told me that a friend wore her ribbon on on her graduation hat in June.
    • In hockey, it’s always touching to watch players continuing to use green tape on their sticks.
    • Another option is to add a sticker with the person’s initials on an object.
    • Last year, Zackaël’s best friend wore a picture of Zackaël on his hockey jersey, thank you Alexi.




  8. Update your Facebook frame in the person’s honour
    If a Facebook frame has already been created, you can add it to your profile photo. If not, you can create it yourself or even with your children, it’s a great way to use technology and be creative at the same time! Here’s our latest frame!



  9. Grow a plant or a tree in their honour
    You can dedicate a tree or a plant in the person’s honour.
    Our front yard tree is getting old and sickly, so when we replace it, we will choose a beautiful tree in Zackael’s honour. A lovely tree at was planted at the school in which we installed some little green lights. The plant below is once I received from Madame Claudine at the anniversary date (Nov.17 2020).


  10. Personalize a gift
    Personalized gifts are always very touching. There are several online options to order gifts that can be personalized: keepsake pendant, memorial lantern, memorial frame, christmas ornament, etc.

  11. Share their name, memories and comment
    The sharing of pictures and stories is an obvious way to remember our loved ones, but let’s not forget that a comment that someone adds to the picture is a commemorative gesture in of itself. By mentioning their name or reading about the deceased and also leaving notes and messages, you demonstrate your compassion the life of the deceased.

  12. Organize a vigil
    You can offer to help organizing a vigil, which can also be held several years after the passing. We had one last year in Zackaël’s honour, and I’m sure we will continue to do so. It was a very nice event. Carl and I needed this and I think it was good for Maxandre to see everyone come out to remember his brother as well.

    I have not yet taken the time to share some of the beautiful moments and music from the evening with you, but I promise I will in an upcoming post!
    Zackaël Vigile Memorial

  13. Name something in their memory
    Some objects (or even people) can be named in honor of the deceased. This can be tricky, so it’s best to discuss it with loved ones first.
    For example, if a friend named his stuffed animal Zackaël in his memory, that would be a touching gesture.

  14. Visit the monument
    In our case, we have a monument at the site of the accident as well as the monument will we have at the cemetery. In addition to a moment of reflection, many people add a little something (photo, stuffed animal, lantern, candle, ribbon, etc.). Some will even help with the maintenance/upkeep by removing snow etc.

  15. Support the bereaved’s project
    The bereaved will often need a project to help them cope with the bereavement and move forward in their journey. I know other grievers who have published a book, become an entrepreneur, or some who blog like me. I know how important it is to show our support for their projects.

  16. Create a memory box or commemorative wall
    You can create a memory box with: photos, memorials, their funeral bookmark, letters or messages you write to them, etc. Another option is to have a small mount on a shelf or a wall with framed photos.
    As I started this post, Charlie’s mom Krista sent me a picture of a box they created in Zackael’s memory, so adorable!


17. Create a photo slideshow or a photobook
If you have some photos of the loved one, you can create a photobook with an online tool. This also allows you to make copies for others. If creating a photobook is not up your alley, don’t forget to send the photos to the family. They might not have seen those pictures before and will be so happy to get them.

Another option is to offer to help make a photobook or a slideshow as a memory gift for the family. We will be forever grateful for the help we got with the making of Zackäel honour photobook.

This picture shows one that created by Zackaël’s daycare teachers, we love it!
Album souvenirs de Zackaël à la garderie

18. Write a card
A card can be addressed to the deceased person or to relatives of the deceased person. It’s never too late to send a sympathy card. Someone gave us a card a year after the accident with a nice message.

19. Hang an object in a tree

With a memorial tree, a small decoration or a battery-powered light, can be added to it. We even saw some people had put green ribbons in their Christmas tree, even this past Christmas.

20. Be creative or have something created

One beautiful way to commemorate is to create art in honor of a loved one; whether it’s sculpture, music, photography or writing. It is also a great way for yourself or your children to be creative and pass the time, especially during Covid-19 winter months!

I am so excited about a painting in memory of Zackaël that will be done by a talented artist Véro Boisvert (a distant cousin who is also from Hearst). Check out her Instagram for her latest work, you won’t be disappointed! To ensure you don’t miss my post about the painting she will make, be sure to subscribe to my blog!

Thank you

I want to sincerely thank everyone who made commemorative gestures over the last 15 months. I wish I could have named everyone who did, but I want to tell you that we are forever grateful.

I was planning to share a little story about Zackaël, but as this post is already on the longer side, I will share it in my next post!

That’s it for now!
Please share your thoughts in the comments below. I appreciate them so much and your private messages!

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5 Reasons to Remember our Loved Ones

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Before I begin, I would like to apologize to those of you who tried to open the emails with posts starting with “DAY 1” and “DAY 2”. I just began a course on grief and I thought I put the posts to “Private”. Oops! I’m also trying to figure out how to exclude them from the email notifications. Thank you for your patience!


February is Zackaël’s birthday month. We would have celebrated his 7th birthday on the 26th. Thus, for this week and the ones to come, I would like to share more about my beautiful Zackaël.

5 Reasons why it’s Important to Remember our Loved Ones

It is sometimes difficult to talk about a deceased person, especially a child. Throughout our grief journey, the more we can “tell the story” of the death itself and share our memories of the person who died, the more likely we will be to reconcile our grief.

Last November, we made several commemorative gestures in Zackaël’s honor. It’s important to continue commemorating his life throughout the year and the years to come. Here are a few reasons why :

  1. Suppressing emotions is bad for our health

    Talking about the deceased can provoke all kinds of emotions, some that we would like to avoid. On the other hand, we must remember that if these emotions exist, they must come out. So sometimes it’s better for them to come out today, rather than in a few months. Several studies have shown that suppressing emotions can have harmful effects on the human body.

“Suppressing your emotions, whether it’s anger, sadness, grief or frustration, can lead to physical stress on your body. The effect is the same, even if the core emotion differs. We know that it can affect blood pressure, memory and self-esteem. ”

Provisional Clinical Psychologist Victoria Tarratt.

2. Celebrating life allows us to heal

Continuing to talk about the deceased helps us in our grieving process.

“Grief experts agree that taking steps to appropriately remember loved ones is actually essential for healing. Individuals who keep the memory of loved ones alive almost always fare better emotionally than those who don’t.” source

3. Celebrating memories together

We must celebrate the life of the deceased by sharing the beautiful moments lived together. Imagine if tomorrow, an accident happens and you die suddenly? Yes, there will be funerals and other events in the near future. But would you like to be forgotten after 1 year? That we no longer talk about you? Time goes by, but the loss is always as big. Finally, nobody deserves to be forgotten.

Speaking and sharing our stories requires other people who are willing to listen to them. Celebrating the memories together will bring family and friends closer.

Zackaël Vigile Memorial
At the vigile


4. To support those who are grieving

As mentioned in #3 above, support from others is essential in commemorating a loved one. If a bereaved shares about their loved one, it’s important to listen and encourage them in their sharing. If pictures are shared and then no one comments, it’s disheartening because they will feel that other people don’t care about the deceased anymore.

The worst is to ignore that the deceased is no longer with us. If you want to support the family members who endured a great loss, be sure to include the deceased in the moments. This is a topic I will be covering on this blog at some point; the “how” to include the deceased.

5. His life is worth something

Zackaël is dead, he was only 5 ½ years old. Most people didn’t have a chance to get to know him. His life was taken from him altogether. His life, even if it was short, is worth something. I promise my Zackaël to always talk about him.


My next post will provide examples of commemorative gestures that anyone can make!


That’s it for now!
Please share your thoughts in the comments below. I appreciate them so much and your private messages!

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Goodbye 2020

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Goodbye 2020

2020 hasn’t been an easy year for many. For most people, 2020 represents the pandemic, loneliness and restraint. For us (Carl, Maxandre, Adélie and I), 2020 represents the first year without our little Zackaël. We have no memory with Zackaël in 2020.

In 2020, it was only in my dreams that I could see my Zackaël doing new things. I dream of him almost every other night. Last night, I dreamed that he was on a school bus, happy as always. In the dream, I knew he was gone, but I had the opportunity to go and see him anyway. I had to go through the small window of the bus to reach him.

Dreams are a topic that I will cover in more depth at some point in this blog. I don’t dream of him during the day. When I think of him, they are not dreams, but memories.

On December 24, I was preparing little treats for the kids’ stockings. My heart really ached when I realized Zackaël’s will be left empty (no treats). I started to cry. I then decided to write him a little note to put it in his stocking. It is gestures like this that I must do to go on, to help cope with my sorrow. Each year, I will insert a little note for my little angel.

My little note to Zackaël “I love you Zackaël. I think of you. Christmas 2020 – Maman xox”

In November, I was shopping for clothes so that we could all wear green for Christmas. Green being Zackaël’s favorite color, I wanted our family photo to reflect that Zackaël is among us. It wasn’t easy to find, but after a few hours of searching online, I had found some nice green outfits for all of us. For Maxandre, I even ordered two shirts, one for this year and a bigger one (the same) for future years!

Zackaël will always be with us (Shutterfly ornament)


For Adélie, the green and black dress (see below) was given to us by friend from Zackaël’s class, a dress that belonged to little Lillian. Thank you Shauna (Lillian’s mom) for this beautiful green dress!

We wish you all health and happiness for 2021.
May 2021 be a better year for everyone!

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Zackaël’s Roadside Memorial on the 323

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Zackaël’s Roadside Memorial on the 323

“Memorials tell the story of lives taken too soon. They are personal statements bearing witness to a life lost and they act as a memento to others both to offer a moment of quiet reflection on the significance of the fragility of a person’s life, and as a heeded warning of dangers we have become too complacent in noticing.

Roadside memorials are folk art created out of love and grief. Unfettered by regulations or cost, they are creative acts, restorative acts in the face of destruction. They allow the remembrance to be matched with the death; the death happened in public, the memorial needs to be public, in the very venue that is so intimately connected with the deceased, the place where he died. And since the death was sudden, unexpected, and maybe senseless but not unique, roadside memorials let people know that a particular person, an individual, was alive. They say, we will not let you die unnoticed, you are valuable, you deserve to be remembered. And they invite the world to join in.”

A quote Brigitte found from http://www.debate.org

After looking online for examples of memorials, Brigitte came up with a design to honour Zackaël at the site of the accident. Our good friends Aris and Andrew generously offered to help us with the coordination and installation of the memorial. Brigitte forwarded the design to Aris who took the lead and coordinated with her friend Chris, whose company Ercon Welding was able to create a metal structure that would be solid enough for the side of Highway 323.

On Saturday November 7th, after picking up the structure from Ercon, Andrew and I drove to the site. I had found the accident site on Google maps with information from the accident report. When I got there, the surroundings looked unfortunately familiar. In case there were any doubts that we were indeed at the right spot, in the ditch I found the plastic shell of one of the rear view mirrors and a piece of the roof rack from our van.

Two more friends, Tony and Mike, met us at the site to help with the installation. This was no minor undertaking as the iron monument was very heavy and even had rebar at the bottom of the legs to allow it to be poured into concrete, keeping it stable. Andrew’s engineering skills and general know-how came in very handy. A huge thank you to Aris and Andrew for helping us with the creation of the structure and to our friends for the installation.

This was my first time back at the accident site and it was great to have the support of my friends. We are very happy on how it turned out. Brigitte did an amazing job with the design and planning of everything, including little details like solar lights, lanterns and glow-in-the-dark pebble rocks so the structure will be visible at night. It really all came together very nicely. She also had a large printed photo of Zackaël, with a different photo on each side (see pictures below).

If you ever drive on the 323 and have time to stop and/or take a photo, especially at night, please let us know. We would love to hear your comments. Click on this link for the exact location of the memorial. Please note that it is eastbound, so it will be on your right if you’re going towards Tremblant. (If you stop and see any snow on the solar lights, we would appreciate if it could be removed so the light can absorb the sunlight.)

Green Glow in the Dark Rocks are underneath the years.
This is the view from the back of the structure (westbound).

Zackaël’s Honour Book (Mixbook)

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I can’t believe we got the books today of all days! They were supposed to arrive on Thursday. Maybe Zackaël made it that they arrived today. This honour book about Zackaël was ordered last Monday on Mixbook. The book displays 77 beautiful coloured pages and includes stories, souvenirs, letters, poems and lots of pictures. We ordered 17 books in total.

Thank you so much to everyone who has contributed to stories about Zackaël and to Adelaide for her immense help with the book; without her we wouldn’t been able to make this beautiful memory book.

I plan to write a review of Mixbook and creating a memory book. Make sure to subscribe to my blog if you don’t want to miss out that review!

That’s it for now!

Please share your thoughts in the comments below. I appreciate them so much and your private messages!

If you would like to receive my next post, you can click “Follow by email”.
Or you can send me a message and I will send you an invitation!