Thoughts on 30.

Jun 29, 2016

This afternoon while my children were napping, I wasted time and ignored my messy house by browsing Pinterest and scrolling through various websites. While entering yet another contest to win random baby items, I paused at the box that asked me to type in my age.  In case you weren't already aware, last week was my birthday.  My 30th birthday.  I reluctantly hit the backspace button, erasing "29" from the box to enter my new, older age.  I'm not old enough to be 30. 30 feels like full blown adult, and I'm fairly certain that I've yet to possess the maturity and experience to call myself a real adult.  I may or may not currently be in denial.  

Realistically speaking, I'm exactly where I'd hoped to be at this age. I'm married, I have a dog, a house, and I'm raising 2 kids in the big city.  This is what the high school version of myself envisioned my life would be like... minus the stay at home mom part. I was going to have a promising career and make an impressive salary, but life had other plans.  Regardless, I'm happy with where I'm at at this phase of my life and though I joke about not wanting to turn 30, I'm actually excited for all that is to come in this next decade. I'll watch my daughters grow and become their own people. They'll start school, and we will have so many adventures as a family. Maybe I'll go back to work. Maybe we'll move somewhere new. I don't know what lies in store, but that's what makes it all the more exciting.  I'm looking forward to embracing the future as it comes, but it is bittersweet to say goodbye to my 20s... because even though I still have so much to look forward to, they just may have been the best years of my life.  My early 20s were entirely about myself, and the more recent years have revolved around my family.  

In the beginning, I lived with some of my best friends... friends that I still love to this day.  First there was Carley, and then there was Rosie, and finally Kimmy and my cousin Chantelle.  We lived on takeout food and our homes were the central gathering location for all of our friends. 

I worked multiple jobs and saved the majority of my income to fund a trip to Australia. I had my heart set on breaking out of my hometown. 2 of my friends set out on the adventure first, and I promised to meet them there once I could afford the flights. They ran out of money and returned home before I made it there, and it was then that I made the life changing decision to travel solo.  I was so shy, so introverted, and so scared of new situations.  When you move to a foreign country all by yourself, you're forced to break out of your shell a bit. I will forever be thankful that I did just that.   I traveled to Thailand and Singapore with my mom, and then onwards to Australia where she left me as she returned home. I made amazing friends, saw beautiful places, and finally had the opportunity for real self discovery. I even went skydiving.  

Once my visa was up and my bank account drained, I returned home. It was then that I started spending a lot of time with Ryan. We'd been friends for a few years, but we finally lived in the same city. We started going to the gym together and it gradually progressed to movies, dinners, karaoke nights... and finally becoming an official couple.  I was so happy when we were together.

I couldn't imagine being away from my boyfriend, until one evening my phone rang and I was offered my dream job. With Ryan's support and encouragement, I packed up and moved to Dubai to work as a flight attendant for Emirates airline.  I ventured to over 30 countries and worked onboard the biggest passenger jet in the world, the Airbus A380. 

It was exhausting and amazing and through it all, Ryan and I persevered through a long distance relationship.  We went on vacation together at the end of 2010 and he asked me to marry him.  

I returned to Dubai, worked for 6 more months, and then resigned and returned to Canada. Ryan and I took a month long road trip through the States, and then began our new jobs. I was now a Canadian flight attendant, and Ryan accepted a job in Edmonton. That fall, we bought our first home! 
We got married on April 12, 2012, and adopted our puppy Niko in the summer. 

We celebrated our first anniversary with a trip to Japan.  Our beautiful daughter Aaralee was born in 2013! I was a mom! Some days I still can't believe it. 

9 days prior to turning 29, we welcomed Briley into our family.   Life had changed immensely, but I loved it.  

As my 30th birthday loomed on the horizon, I flew away with my mom, my husband and our daughters to celebrate it in Maui.  10 years of amazing friends, unforgettable adventures, and more love than I knew I was capable of deserves to be celebrated.  

30, you have big shoes to fill and I'm not sure that you're up to the challenge, but I'll embrace you regardless. (I also don't really have a choice in the matter.) It's time to set new goals and new dreams, though I have a sneaking suspicion that most of these will involve my daughters.  My selfish days are over and I'm okay with that, but boy am I glad that I took advantage of them! So, here's to 30. Here's to it being acceptable to go to bed at 9 pm, to being a stay at home mom, to real, lasting friendships and to a family that fills me with pride.  

Briley's First Birthday Party!

Jun 18, 2016

Today was Briley's first birthday party! I'm sure that by now you've all embraced that fact that I really, really enjoy birthday parties. I plan and decorate and go a tiny bit overboard.  I stress about the little details, vow to never do this again... and then do it again, every time. In the end, it's worth it.  
For Briley's first birthday, I was torn between themes. I loved the look of pink and gold, but I was also drawn to a girly woodland theme. So... we did both.  I called it "Woodland chic" and it was basically just a mash up of pink, gold, and random deer. It sounds crazy, but it worked.  Unfortunately once the guest started arriving I neglected my camera, but I managed to get a few photos to remember the day! 

The birthday girl was initially overwhelmed as she'd never seen so many people in her house, but she had a great day full of way, way too many treats! 

It was an afternoon party, so most of the food consisted of sugary, delicious treats.  We had cupcakes, a candy buffet, and s'mores!  My apologies to all of the parents who had to deal with sugar high children for the remainder of the day. I'll likely repeat this in the future. 

The cake kept me up until midnight the evening prior, but I managed to get it complete without any major catastrophes... a rare feat for me. It was covered in rosettes and sprinkled with edible gold dust. 

Our house was jam packed as everyone crowded around Briley's high chair to sing Happy Birthday. She sat and stared in her typical serious fashion.  

When it came time to eat her cake, however, she got right down to business! She chowed down, ensuring even frosting coverage throughout her hair and across her body.  

Big sister Aaralee was also happy to indulge. I don't even want to think about how much sugar she likely consumed over the course of the day.  

Later on we opened gifts. Briley was so spoiled with so many wonderful presents, but she was far more interested in the bags and boxes that they came in.  Aaralee on the other hand has claimed all of the toys as her own.  One of the favourite gifts among all of the little guests was a brand new water table from Grandma Char.  Most of the kids ended up soaking wet at one point or another, Briley included. I foresee us making great use out of it this summer! 

As the day winded down the guests started leaving, taking a jar of s'mores for the road. Of course, I forgot to take a photo until they were almost all gone. Rest assured, they looked cute and tasted delicious! 

It was a busy, sugar filled day and I had 2 very tired little toddlers (I have 2 toddlers!!) by the time that bedtime rolled around. The weather was perfect and we had so many guests come to celebrate with our lucky and so very loved little Briley.  Happy birthday my baby. 

And just like that, it's over. My baby is a toddler, the party is done. Now to start planning for Aaralee's birthday in September... Just kidding... now it's time to pack for vacation to celebrate my own birthday! We leave in the morning, because our weekend just wasn't busy enough already! 
Thank you to everyone who joined us today! Your presence and your presents are so very appreciated!  

One Year Old!

Jun 15, 2016

Today marks an entire year in which I've had the honour of calling myself Briley's mommy.  52 weeks. 366 days... thank you leap year for giving me an extra day to call her my baby.  It still wasn't long enough.  I will without a doubt be an emotional wreck for the duration of the day. Too fast. It went by way, way too fast.

Briley Amelia, you filled the gap in this family that we didn't know existed.  You came into the world on a Monday evening, 10 days late... it took extra time to perfect those cheeks.
You were quiet and observant, content to watch your big sister run wild.  You could sleep through anything, from the dog, to the vacuum, to Aaralee's birthday party... just not through the night.

You quickly adapted to our schedule and the need to keep your big sister busy. I could wear you in your wrap and you were happy to go wherever the days took us.    As you got bigger, you wanted to join in the fun.  Eager to keep up with your sister, you crawled at 6 months and walked at 10.  There was no slowing you down!

You wiggled your way into our hearts the second that you were born, and every day we fall more in love with you.  I live for your squinty smile and your belly laughs.  I love how much you love your sister and follow her around as though she's your very best friend.

I'll never get tired of your sweet, excited giggle the second that I open the fridge. You love to eat! The messier the food, the yummier it tastes in your books.  You are especially fond of any form of berry, watermelon, and whatever Mommy happens to be eating.

Wanting to distiguish yourself from the rest of the family, you surprised us all with your pretty blonde hair and big blue eyes. You look like your Daddy and are silly like your Mommy.  I'm not sure that I'll ever overcome my ridiculous urge to squeeze you and kiss your chubby, squishy cheeks.

You are too little to understand just how loved you are, by so many people.  You make this world a happier place with every smile and giggle.
Happy birthday, my baby.  I don't know how you are already one year old, but I can't wait for the fun that we'll have now that you have entered toddlerhood.
 Now let's go have some cake!

races and rodeos.

Jun 1, 2016

Hello, June.  It's nice to see you... kind of. I have mixed feelings on this month.  June is typically my favourite month of the year. It's the beginning of summer. It's my birthday. It's my baby's birthday! While I look forward to a summer full of fun, I'm currently in denial about the fact that not only will my baby soon be a year old, but by the time this month is over I'll be a 30 year old. I know, I know, you are all going to tell me that 30 is young and wonderful and that my life is just beginning.  Whatever.  I'm sure you're right, but for now, just let me mourn the loss of my 20s.  I've really enjoyed them.  
Before we get too far into June, let's talk about the last weekend of May.  Is there anything better than a warm, sunny weekend filled with fun?  Let me answer that for you... no. No there is not.
With Ryan back from his work trip, Briley feeling much better, and far less rain in the forecast, I was determined to make up for the disapointment of the previous weekend.
Friday night was off to an exciting start. I spent the evening creating a chalkboard for Briley's birthday, erasing said chalkboard and starting over. By the third try, I was finally satisfied... or maybe I'd just stopped caring as much.  It never fails.... I sacrifice hours of my time on parties for my kids, get in way over my head and forget that I'm actually not very good at DIY projects. Will that stop me? No. Not unless I end up with a whole bunch of children with birthdays every single month....and even in that case I'm so birthday obsessed that I'd probably still go overboard.   
This project carried into Saturday morning, and was FINALLY complete as Briley awoke from her morning nap. It was time for all of us to get out of the house.  
We drove to St. Albert to meet my mom and her boyfriend at the Rainmaker Rodeo. I'd never been, but figured the kids would enjoy the loud noises, bright colours and overstimulation. The excitement started on the park and ride bus.   When you are 2 years old, riding a bus is a pretty big deal, and Aaralee was thrilled to watch out the big windows and describe eveything that we drove by.  
Once we arrived and forked over the cash for admission, we made a beeline for food.  What is a midway without tripling your reccomended daily calorie intake?  We chowed down on hot dogs, mini donuts, corn dogs, beef brisket, and fresh squeezed lemonade, because fruit is important.  We watched a few lame attempts at bull riding, took the girls to the petting zoo, and spent way too much money on games that are impossible to win.  Grandma spoiled Aaralee with a few kid games, and the carny at the ring toss was nice enough to let her throw a bucket full of rings.  She left with a decent haul of ugly stuffed toys.

 Once we were full and the kids were tired, it was back to the bus. We got dropped off at the mall parking lot, so we decided to let Aaralee run the halls with her toy stroller to get some more energy out. Unfortunately, the mall closed at 5:30 and our fun was cut short. 
My mom and Justin invited us to Red Lobster for dinner, because somehow they figured we hadn't already eaten enough. The food was delicious, but our kids were tired and miserable and quick to remind us of why we prefer to eat at home these days. Back home we went, and off to bed the girls went!  
The next morning I woke up and longed to go back to sleep, but forced myself out of bed. For some crazy reason I'd signed up for a 5K run that started at 9 am. I ate breakfast, got dressed, and put some clothes on the kids.  Ryan tagged along to hang out at the finish line and to document the race as my own personal photographer.  I made a vow to myself to at least come in second last, not last.  As I shuffled towards the start line, I was left in the dust but chugged along.  I thought that I could just pace myself, but my competitive side took over and I felt the need to pass people that were running the same speed as me. By the turnaround point I was exhausted, but Ryan and the girls were on the sidelines waving and I couldn't quit in front of them. I kept running, and running. 

I regret binge eating on the midway the day prior, and accepted that I'm just not a runner and that this would be the last race I'd sign up for.  And then it was over. I made it. I survived. I shoveled watermelon in my face like I'd never eaten before, and high fived my husband and toddler. Oh... and I managed to come in as first place female.  At first I didn't want to mention it at the risk of sounding too braggy, but after some careful consideration I've changed my mind.  When I first started dating Ryan (exactly 7 years ago tomorrow!) my fitness goal was to run 1 kilometre without stopping. Just one.  It seemed borderline impossible at the time. Here I am 7 years and 2 kids later capable of running at least 5 kilometres without so much as a stop for water.  It might not sound like a lot, but to me, it's more than I ever imagined I'd be able to do. So you know what? I'm bragging. I can do whatever I set my mind to, and that's a pretty good feeling. I don't even care how lame and cliche that sounds.  Sure, it was a small race and I kind of lucked out (I'm really not that fast), but I still conquered it and went home to sign up for another. 
I got awarded my snazzy little medal with my baby asleep on my chest, which was nice as it deferred the attention from me to her.  

Afterwards it was off to lunch to cancel out the workout with meatballs at Ikea!  We ate, we played, and then headed home to relax. My mom came over to visit while Ryan went to his own race... car racing, that is. We had supper and watched my silly little people until it was finally bed time.  Another weekend had come and gone, but it was spent with my favourite people and I was as happy as a girl could be.  (Can I still call myself a girl?  Am I too old for that now? Is "woman" more appropriate?)  Bring it on, June... and summer!