David + Jesse are MARRIED!

Aug 31, 2015

Wedding season, like summer, is slowly tapering away for another year.   This weekend Ryan and I attended a beautiful wedding... astonishingly only the second one of the summer for us!  I love weddings, so I was rather excited to make the trek to Grande Prairie to witness Davey and Jesse tie the knot.  Not only because I was in wedding withdrawal mode and excited to attend my first wedding with 2 grooms, but because despite the distance between us and rare visits, I still consider Davey to be one of my closest friends... so close that I can't even type his name as "David" without it feeling awkwardly formal.  
Davey and I met in college, when he lived across the hall from us in our residence building.  Moving to Edmonton was a new start for both of us and we bonded quickly over our love of junk food and pop music.  Back then we'd have laughed if you'd told us that our future husbands would be from our home towns.  Life is pretty funny sometimes.  

Ten years later, I was so excited to be able to attend his wedding! Although we'd only met a few times, I loved his fiancĂ© Jesse and thoroughly approved.  Because Aaralee is incapable of sitting still for more than 30 second increments, we left her with Grandma for the weekend and embarked on the 4 hour drive with only Briley to worry about.  She was a road trip champ and we only had to make one stop to feed and change her. 

We arrived at our hotel to settle in and get ready in our free upgraded room... Thank you, Cute Baby! These days I'm rarely found wearing anything besides pyjamas or yoga pants, so it was fun to put on a pretty dress, and even some mascara!  Ryan put gel in his hair (another rare feat!), Briley donned her prettiest pink dress and off we went!  

The venue was a beautiful bed and breakfast and we eagerly awaited the arrival of the grooms.  Each walked down his own aisle to the meet at the alter where they exchanged perfect vows... and then they were married! I'm so happy that we live in a place that allows for people to be married based on the fact that they are in love and want to spend their lives together, regardless of their gender.  

After the ceremony we enjoyed a delicious dinner and everyone danced the night away.  Briley spent a bit of the wedding napping in the wrap, and a large amount of time being passed around from one baby-loving guest to the next.  She especially enjoyed her time on the dance floor with Davey's mom.    

My personal favourite part of the wedding was the cake.  This was partially due to the fact that I really, really love cake, but primarily because this cake was a beautiful, tall cake with rainbow layers hidden on the inside. A rainbow cake?! So pretty, so delicious, and I must find an excuse to bake my own as soon as possible.  

We got back to the hotel around 11:30 pm.  In all honesty, I can't remember that last time that I stayed out so late!  We crawled into bed, tired from a very long day.  Obviously all of the dancing wore Briley out too, as she had her longest stretch of sleep in weeks!  We woke up the next morning without a toddler demanding breakfast, so we stayed in bed a little while longer.  When it was finally time to pack up and get ready, we all felt well rested and happy!

We stopped in for a post-wedding brunch to say goodbye before we hit the road for the long journey home. After several pee breaks, far too much fast food and one diaper blowout, we were happy to get home and pick up Aaralee. I'd sure missed my little monster! It was a wonderful weekend to wrap up the summer, and I couldn't be more happy for Dave and Jesse. Congratulations to the newlyweds, and thank you so much for the honour of attending your special day!

The End (of Summer) is Near.

Aug 26, 2015

Ahh, Summer.  You came just in time.  You lifted our spirits after a long, cold winter and brought us outdoors in anticipation of barbecues, beaches, camping and sun tans.  You were hot, you were glorious, and just like the summers that came before you, you've gone by far too quickly.
This summer in particular has gone by extra fast.  It was a blur of sleep deprivation, chaos and love after we welcomed our second daughter in June.  They say that with a newborn the days are long but the weeks are short... no words could ring more true.  There have been days that felt like they'd never end.  Days with a crying toddler and a baby who refused to be put down, days in which showering felt like a major accomplishment. There were many long, long days, but in retrospect they really went by far too fast.  I'm not sure how it's happened, but my tiny little Briley is already 2 1/2 months old and her big sister is fast approaching her second birthday.

We've spent the majority of our summer in Edmonton, a change from our usual weekly camping trips. Our free weekends just never seemed to line up with the weather... if I'm going to rough it, I at least want to be warm while doing so.  As it turns out, keeping busy in our city isn't that difficult in the summer.  We try to get out at least once per day, whether it be to a park or the gym, for a walk around the block, or just to wander the mall aimlessly.  We've been to farmer's markets and festivals, showhomes and on several drives to explore the fancy, mansion filled neighbourhoods.  

A couple of weekends ago we packed up the car and the kids and drove to the Villeneuve airport for the Edmonton air show.  As a family of aviation geeks (even Aaralee has come to have an obsession with "ay-panes"), we were rather excited! As we approached the airport, there were very few vehicles to be seen and certainly no huge crowds as we'd anticipated.  I was initially disappointed at what would likely be a rather lame event, but thought that I'd double check the ticket dates as sleep deprivation sometimes gets the best of me these days.  Oops.  As it turned out, we were a week early. I apologized profusely, and thankfully Ryan laughed it off.  It was just a trial run to ensure that we knew how to get to the airport!  
We returned the next weekend (after triple checking the dates) and it was an entirely different place.  Cars and people everywhere! I'd pre-purchased tickets online, but Ryan won us an extra pair. We decided that instead of giving them, we'd go both days.  The first day was a bit chaotic with long lines, a mess of traffic and a bit of disorganization... we gave the event the benefit of the doubt... after all, it was the first show in 10 years.  The next day was substantially better and we had a great time watching the amazing performances and chowing down on food from the food trucks.  Aaralee enjoyed herself, and Briley slept through the majority of it.  As long as the show returns, we will as well! 

These last few weeks of summer we plan to spend plenty of time outside as well as taking advantage of everywhere that is free for kids under 2.  I'm cheap, and sadly Aaralee is about to actually start costing money to bring to fun places! If anyone wants to find us between now and her birthday, we'll be riding the carousel at the mall over and over and over again.  
I hope that you all enjoy the remainder of your summer and that it goes by super slowly... unless you live in Dubai and are praying for more bearable temperatures.  There is still time for adventures and summer fun! 

A 2 under 2 Roadtrip!

Aug 12, 2015

Over the past few years, it has become somewhat of a tradition for my mom and I to take a road trip each summer.  Each year has come with new challenges and increasing difficulty.  I thought that I was crazy going at 31 weeks pregnant, but the next year I realized that it was a lot more work to take a baby. Turns out that bringing an 11 month old Aaralee was a piece of cake in comparison to making the journey with a toddler and an infant.  I'm not one to let much slow me down, so I packed what felt like our entire house into my moms cramped vehicle, and off we went!

This year we were joined by my Aunt Michelle, which helped even out the child to adult ratio.  I wasn't too concerned about Briley.  She hates her carseat but once we are driving she tends to sleep for most of the journey as long as her belly is full.  Aaralee, on the other hand, is almost 2.  She has discovered boredom and fights sleep and sometimes screams for no good reason besides being a toddler.  Oh, and it just so happened that she was busy cutting her 2 year molars which made her just a bit more fussy than usual.
Thanks to Elmo on the iPad, a backseat full of snacks and frequent stops to feed Briley, we got through our first day of the trip.  We called it a day in Revelstoke, BC.  It was Briley's first time leaving the province!  

We were all happy to be out of the vehicle. We checked into our hotel room, loaded up the stroller and headed downtown for dinner.  We were all fairly indecisive when it came to finding a place to eat, but eventually we settled on a restaurant with a nice little patio near some live music to drown out my inevitably noisy children.  The meal was amazing!  After dinner Aaralee happily danced as the band played. She was having so much fun that she didn't want to leave, but alas, we were all tired from a long day of driving.  

After a rather sleepless night with everyone crammed into one hotel room, we packed up and headed onwards... after stopping for coffee, of course.  We drove into the gorgeous Okanagan, stopping along the way for fresh fruit, photos, and the usual diaper and nursing duties.  Aaralee boycotted napping and was rather miserable for the duration of the drive. 

Eventually we made it to our destination... Kelowna! We checked into what would be our home for the next 4 days and admired the beautiful lake views. 

  Once we'd settled in, we headed to visit my mom's boyfriend's sister (my Fitbit competition) and her husband... confused yet?  They fed us a delicious meal and we made use of their swimming pool to cool off in the 35 degree heat.  

The next few days we kept busy by touring wineries, shopping, and lazing on the beach. We had the freshest fruit, the most scenic walks, a nice dose of sunshine and some ice cream.   I'd be lying if I said that it was a relaxing trip because the reality is that I have 2 kids... one of them sleep deprived and the other who wanted nothing other than to constantly be held. Despite this, it was a fun few days and I was thankful for the change of scenery and adult company.  

The week came to an end and it was time to bid farewell to Kelowna and begin the journey home.  The beautiful lakes sparkled as we drove away, making us long for more time.  Vacations are never long enough!  

We spent the night in Golden before the long, boring drive home.  When we finally approached my mom's house in Red Deer, my legs were sore from sitting in the cramped backseat and Aaralee was in full blown tantrum mode.  We spent the night at her house before continuing home in the morning, and despite the end of our vacation I was relieved to be home.  I'd missed my husband, my dog, consistent toddler nap times and most importantly, the magical baby swing that lulls Briley to sleep. It was a hectic week, but I love exploring new places with my girls and can't wait to do it all over again next summer.