See You Later, Alligator... I mean... 2015.

Dec 31, 2015

The frenzy that was Christmas is finally over! I love Christmas, and we had a great time celebrating with our families, but the holidays are always tiring... especially when you add 2 small kids to the mix! We're talking a 2 year old with a seemingly unlimited supply of junk food and a 6 month old cutting 4 teeth all at the same time.  It was fun, but I'm glad that it's done!
Now it's time to wrap up 2015! What a year it has been.  What adventures we've had! Though we spent less time traveling than a typical year, we still managed to see some new places and enjoy our time at home... with a new family member!

In summary, here was my 2015:

In January, we took our first vacation away from our baby! I had mixed emotions as we boarded the plane bound for San Francisco without Aaralee. In the end, it was a great getaway and we had so much fun with Heather and Kor, our gracious hosts/tour guides.

In February, we had a bit of time and a ton of airline reward miles, so we went on a trip with Aaralee to Orlando, Florida. We took her to Disneyworld, and she discovered a love for the ocean.  We'd found out that our second baby would be a girl, so plenty of shopping occured on that trip!

In March, Ryan turned 30 on St. Patrick's Day! We had a couple of low-key celebrations with friends and family, involving scotch, KFC, and plenty of green.  I didn't take any photos of the festivities, just of our adorable daughter dressed for the occasion...

In April, we celebrated 3 years of marriage! Since I was very pregnant, we opted to stay closer to home to celebrate.  We stayed at the gorgeous Fairmont Banff Springs and had an amazing, romantic weekend... our last kid-free weekend until who knows when!

In May, I was the size of a house and eagerly awaiting the arrival of our baby.  It was a long, long month filled with waiting, and waiting... but no May baby.  Despite my discomfort and impatience, I loved those last few weeks of showering Aaralee with all of my attention as her only child days dwindled.

In June, we welcomed Briley Amelia! 10 days late, cheeks for days, and absolutely perfect.  It probably goes without saying, but June 15 was most definitely the highlight of my year. 

July was spent primarily adjusting to life as a family of 4, but somehow we managed to make it out for a camping trip... in a tent... with a 2 week old baby and a toddler.  Call us insane, but we had a great time.  

In August, my mom, aunt, myself and the kids piled into a car and set off on a roadtrip to Kelowna!  It wasn't relaxing, by any means, but we still had a great time and the kids did amazing considering how much time they spent sitting in the car. 

In September, my biggest baby turned 2 years old!  We had a puppy themed party and she was still singing "Happy birthday" for weeks afterwards!

In October, my Grandma came to visit from Ontario to help my mom out after her surgery. We all loved having her around, especially Aaralee! 

In November, Ryan was busy working away and I took a bunch of newborn photos, while everyone else had babies. We started decorating for Christmas and we got our tree the day that the tree farm opened!  

December has been a blur.  We've had Christmas parties, a weekend in Jasper, guests from Australia, a weekend in Banff, and Christmas itself! It's been hectic, but I've loved every minute with my little family. 

Tonight we'll stay up until midnight and regret it when the kids wake up bright and early tomorrow morning.  I don't know what 2016 has in store for us, but I'm looking forward to it! When you get to spend your days with your favourite people in the world, what's not to love? 
Happy New Year, everyone! Wishing you all health and happiness in 2016!

festive festivities.

Dec 21, 2015

Christmas week has arrived and we are sure excited about it!  Throughout December Aaralee has found great joy in her daily consumption of chocolate from her advent calendar. She loves to read her Christmas books, play with the tree ornaments, and has recently caught on to the fact that she will likely recieve presents on Christmas morning.  

To say that we've been busy lately would be an understatement.   As per usual, I've yet to complete (start) my Christmas shopping.  That's why stores are open until Christmas Eve... right?! 
We recently enjoyed a relaxing Jasper getaway with Ryan's annual work Christmas party.   With Aaralee and Niko happy at Grandpa's house, we hit the road with only Briley.  Ryan took an extra day off of work and we had a wonderful weekend away, complete with perfect weather, steak and lobster, massages, and great company.  

The day after we returned home, my Australian cousin Jay and her husband Shane arrived!  After 4 years, we were long overdue for a reunion!  It's not often that I have foreign guests, and it's even less often that they visit during winter... in Edmonton.   It was cold outside, but I wanted to make sure that they had the best vacation possible and a good dose of "white Christmas".  They tried out skiing and spent an entire day at West Edmonton Mall.   I even made Christmas dinner!  We spent the weekend in Banff and toured them around our favourite spots, from Canmore to Lake Louise to Emerald Lake.

Most importantly, we introduced them to our favourite places to eat.  We had hot wings on a daily basis, and of course, beer, Beavertails and poutine! As we drove them to the airport for their departing flight, we were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the Aurora dancing away.  It was a perfect send off as they headed off to their next (much warmer) destination.  I suppose that next time it's our turn to make the journey to reunite!  We'll see them again in Australia... one day.

In other news, last week our baby Briley turned 6 months old! Already! Half of a year!! She's such a sweet, happy girl. She's always full of smiles and she's determined to crawl as soon as possible.  Until she figures out how to move her arms and legs at the same time, lunging forward towards objects will have to suffice. It's a slow process, but she always manages to make her way across the room to obtain her goal... typically dog toys or the Christmas tree.  We love her so much and can't wait for the next half of her first year!  

As Christmas approaches, here's hoping that you all have a safe and happy holiday surrounded by the people that you love the most.  I've got amazing, happy, healthy, little girls and a loving and supportive husband. That's all the gifts that I could ever ask for!


'tis the season! 2015 edition.

Dec 6, 2015

It's hard to believe that December is here.  I say this every year... but this time I mean it more than I ever have before.  I have absolutely no idea where the time has gone.  It feels like just a few weeks ago I was announcing my second pregnancy, when in reality it's already been an entire year and Briley is nearly 6 months old.  I watch videos from only a few months ago and can hardly believe how much Aaralee has grown up.   When we brought Briley home from the hospital, Aaralee still seemed like a baby.  She said very few words and constantly walked around with a pacifier in her mouth.  These days, she sings, she chats, we carry on basic conversations.  She just learnt to do somersaults, give fist bumps and to play "Simon Says".  Looking at old photos and videos is a great reminder to cherish these moments.  Before I know it, Briley will be singing me the alphabet as well. Time won't slow down, but we can.  I've been making a conscious effort to spend more time playing and less time cleaning.  To put down my phone and read my girls a book.  To create new Christmas traditions rather than stress about finding the perfect gifts.  I can honestly say that I don't remember any of my Christmas gifts growing up. Not one thing stands out in my mind as the best item that I'd ever recieved.  What do I remember?  Decorating the tree, eating my mom's macaroons, opening a present before bed on Christmas Eve, getting to stay up late to go to midnight mass, and having chocolate from my stocking first thing on Christmas morning.  The Christmas season is my favourite time of year, and I hope that I can make it just as special and memorable for my kids.  
We started out the festive season this year with a rather important component... our Christmas tree!  Ryan and I love having a real tree, but this year we did something extra special.  We drove south of the city to a beautiful tree farm.  We walked through rows and rows of trees until we found "the one".  It was big, beautiful, and perfect.  Ryan sawed it down and we tied it to the roof of the car.  We drove back to the log cabin to pay for it and put it through a baler so that it would survive the journey home.  It takes up half of our living room. It's perfect.  It's the best Christmas tree we've ever had! 

That night when the girls were in bed, I strung the lights on the tree so that it'd be ready to decorate when they woke up.  Aaralee was rather excited and spent the majority of the next day hanging out beside it. 

We decorated the tree that day... and by "we" I mean that I decorated the tree and repeatedly asked Aaralee to stop throwing ornaments.  In her defence, we have a lot of airplane ornaments, and airplanes are meant to fly.  She had fun, so I suppose that's all that matters! 
Our weekends have been crazy busy with Christmas parties and baby showers. We've consumed our weight in food and I've baked many, many cookies.  I've also had an excuse to dress up my girls on multiple occasions! 

We also met Santa a couple of weeks back! Aaralee talked about it all day long as if she couldn't wait.  Our main dialogue the entire day consisted of: "See Santa! Sit knee! Cheese!"  Even while we stood in line, she was full of excitement.  That all changed when Ryan set her down on Santa's knee. She was certainly less of a fan in person. Briley on the other hand, was not phased whatsoever.

We've been keeping busy not only on the weekends, but also on the weekdays while Ryan is at work. He's been working a lot of extra hours lately, so it's just been me and the girls from morning until bedtime many days.  I'm continuing on with last year's tradition of posting one Christmas photo each day of December until Christmas.  Aaralee is a lot less cooperative this year, but conveniently I now have Briley to make up for it! 

Christmas will be here before we know it, and so will my cousin, Jay! She's visiting (with her new husband!) from Australia and we can't wait to tour them around and give them a little dose of the Christmas season in Canada.  If anyone would like to temporarily donate warm clothing, please let me know! 
I hope that all of you are enjoying your December as much as we are! If I don't update again in time, Merry Christmas from my little family to yours.