Easter 2016 Recap

27 Mar

I don’t know if I have ever taken less photos on a holiday, but you win some, you lose some:-)

I worked night shift this long weekend, so Easter looked a little different for us this year.

When I got home from work on Friday morning, I was shocked to hear giggles and chatting coming from the girls’ room.  The girls that we have to drag out of bed every morning were wide awake, and I discovered them getting into some sisterly mischief. I decided we may as well have breakfast together before I hit the hay.  Chocolate chip smiley face pancakes for the win.

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Gracelyn asked to finish her meal with yogurt "the way Daddy lets me eat it, no bowl" 😂

Tyler was off on Friday, so he took the girls to a movie and late lunch while I slept the day away.  I was joined at the end of my sleep by a very tired Gracelyn Ella, who proceded to nap for an additional two hours after I snapped this shot.

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The Hurricanes are in the playoffs, so Tyler and I left the girls with Nana and went out for a date night.  We ended up seeing lots of friends and cheering the Canes to a 6-3 victory.

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After the game it was straight to work for me. The girls came home loaded with Easter loot from my mother in law and were pretty excited to hear the Canes won.  I love my job, but it is a bummer to have to cut weekends short sometimes.

Saturday morning Lisa and Asheley arranged a park egg hunt for the girls.  These friends of mine treat my little family and I pretty well…not only did they buy and do everything, they even planned it for 9 am so I could come and brought breakfast. 

The kids had a blast finding whatever the magpies hadn’t stolen (poor Greg finally gave up chasing them off!) And playing together.  It makes me so happy to see my little girls working together and so excited.  Gracelyn was pretty much ready to stop after she found an orange egg because she was so jacked she got one in her fave colour.

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Little loves:-)

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This picture isn't from Saturday, but we suck at taking pictures of ourselves. #momproblems

We drove home and I dove into bed for a few hours, and turns out everyone else did too!  A quick change of clothes and we were off to my mom’s for dinner.  Once again, the girls were spoiled with gifts from Grandma, as were Tyler and I.  After a delicious dinner, and a few games of hidden treasure (complete with Abby’s homemade map), Ty and I left for Game 2 while my Mom watched the girls.

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We ran into lots of friends and had a great time, although the game was a bit of a stinker.  Once again, it was straight to work for me, but it was a nice, settled shift and that is always a bonus!

I got home just minutes before the girls woke up, and my heart melted hearing Abby wake Gracie up excitedly when she discovered the candy trail.  Sleepy exclamations of “the Easter Bunny came!  There are treats everywhere!” preceded the girls arriving upstairs and finding their baskets.

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They also opened their gifts from Grandpa and we chatted on the phone for a bit before I, once again, went to bed. Tyler and the girls went to Medicine Hat for family dinner, and I was shocked to discover that I slept until almost 6 pm….a first for me! It was weird waking up to an empty house.

So, although I didn’t have the weekend off, and there were no fancy Easter dresses on the girls or big dinners for me, I still received my fill of good food, good friends and family.  I am blessed to have my beautiful little family, and I am so thankful for all the amazing people in my life.  I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter as well!

Weekending

15 Mar

Thanks to using some of my personal days before they renew, I ended up with a 4 day weekend.  We took full advantage of it and had some great time as a family.  Highlights were:

Friday:
I have been busy organizing a fundraiser and had a bit of running around to do related to that.  Not wanting to waste a beautiful day, I took the girls to the park while I worked away so we could get some fresh air.  A quick stop into my mom’s for a potty break was well timed, because she then made us lunch and we had a visit!

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We left to meet a girlfriend at the park, and Gracelyn informed me on the way there that she ” needs a sleep during the day time”, and then promptly passed out.  I was able to grab coffees and sit in the car at the park while watching Abby play before Kaley got there, so Gracer got in a really decent snooze.

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We went to cheer on the Hurricanes, and the girls were super stoked at all the free swag they got for fan appreciation night.  We are less stoked about having two cow bells in the house now, but you win some, you lose some:-)

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Afterwards we went over to Mike and Richelles for some drinks and a sleepover. 

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Saturday:
We all slept in the next day, had a late brunch, and then went home.  I did some cleaning while the girls played hockey in the driveway with Tyler. 

Tyler and I had tossed around the idea of going to Plum, but weren’t really in the mood so we stayed in and hung out.   I ran out for a bit to pick up these adorable cookies that were a fundraiser for my friend Lisa’s stem cell transplant, and they are as delicious as they are adorable!

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Sunday:
We had such a perfectly lazy day on Sunday.  Everyone slept in, and the girls and I baked some zucchini bread before we made a big brunch. 

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We ran out of butter so I sent my little assistants next door to borrow some

After brunch just played around the house and stayed in our jammies

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Little BFFs

until we decided to head out to the mall and got a late lunch, and then encouraged Gracelyn to car nap…which she did.  I grabbed a few groceries while Ty sat in the car with her, and then Abby and Ty played hockey in the driveway as she continued her snooze.  We then hit the road for another Hurricanes game.

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We ate too much popcorn, hung out with good friends and cheered hard.  Abrielle realized her life long dream of getting on camera on the big screen.  Too soon it was time to head home, get packed up for school and work and hit the hay!

I truly value my weekends and love when they are jam packed with family time:-)

Proud Beyond Measure

22 Feb

Slightly frustrated by the amount of resistance I receive (and the amount I threaten to throw out toys), and also as an avenue for the kids to make extra money for Disney, we developed a chore chart today.

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Clearly, I did not major in art!

We picked a list of things that they could do for money together.  For the most part, it is now their choice what they would like to do, but the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow has proven to be pretty enticing so far.

Gracelyn is usually the one who complains the most and does the p but so far giving her the option of what she can do is working (I realize this is day one, lol).  So, instead of me saying “clean your room”, she now can put away her toys for $0.50, books for more money, etc. 

Given that the motivation for earning this money was that they could buy more things at Disney, I was completely taken aback today when Abby found an empty jar and told me that she wanted it to be her donation jar.  She went on to say that she wanted to donate it to the shelter, because that is where people who might not have a home go.  This is obviously related to a conversation we had the other night.  She was expressing gratitude for her “warm and cozy house”, and we chatted about how some people weren’t as fortunate as us and didn’t have homes.  We discussed the role of the soup kitchen, food bank and shelter.

I was actually fighting back tears as she casually told me this evening that even though we make money, it is important for us to share it .  I then offered to match her donations…for every chore she does, I will pay the equivalent into her donation jar.

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Abby proudly told me that she is going to fill her jar to the top and then bring it to the shelter.  I am proud beyond measure, and absolutely humbled to be raising this girl.  My biggest fear as a mother is that I will fail when it comes to laying the foundation to help my children become kind and global citizens.  It is my hope that I will instill in them a sense of community and responsibility to treat others as equals and help “fill the cup” of the less fortunate, in whatever form that may take.

I will in no way take full credit for this little girl’s kind soul, because she seems to have been born with her sweet heart.  I am, however, so, so, so proud to be her mother. 

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Mountain Refresh

24 Jan

Last week started off stressful.  I had two very stressful days at work, followed by exposure to a shocking amount of ignorance and hatred by some keyboard warriors on the subject of human rights and equality for the transgender community.  I had boiling blood on numerous occassions related to the absolute poison people were spewing.  I am not one to pick a fight, and am more than willing to keep my lips zipped on a majority of hot button topics.  That being said, I am completely unwilling to keep quiet when people herald absolute rubbish as truth and attempt to lessen another human being just because they aren’t a cookie cutter of themself.  As such, I opened myself up to dealing with some fairly repugnant opinions and barbs. 

A day in the mountains was exactly what I needed to refresh myself and cleanse my soul.  Ty had the idea to head out for a day and do a cookout, and thankfully some friends were free.  We decided to potluck and convoy up on Saturday.

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Ty and I packed up the girls and dog and led our pack of friends up to Beaver Mines, about 1.5 hours away. It was a fairly mild day with shockingly, almost no wind!  We all made it up with no issues, and Tyler quickly started a fire while we all got the kids dressed up in their snow gear.

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Including kids, there was 17 people and 3 dogs.  Sadly, we almost starved to death, we barely had enough food to feed us all.

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Hamburgers, hotdogs, chips, candy, a million baked goods, fruit, salads, juice, coffee, hot chocolate...you would think we were there for a week!

I am not sure what it is about a fire and mountain air, but it is a purifier.  Conversation flows easily, kids and dogs run around happily, and everyone pitches in where needed.   The littles were so happy running around in the snow, and although we could barely get them to eat lunch, they managed to grab more than a few snacks off the table in between sledding and tromping through the snow.

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The kids managed to rope Asheley into taking them across the way to a little hill so that they could sled for a bit.  They all came back very red cheeked, and grinning from ear to ear!

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As an aside, I feel so fortunate that my girls seem to love my friends’ kiddos as much as I love my friends. I remember saying to Ash that I hoped we would be able to show our kids pictures in 25 years to show them they were such good friends, even when they were little. 

I feel so lucky to be raising my girls in such a community of love.  It can be easy for me to get consumed by all the viciousness and ugliness that is in the world.  A day disconnected from it all was enough to remind me that there is so, so, so much good and kindness around, and that it will always outweigh the bad.  I can’t control what others say and do, but I can attempt to exemplify a message of love and tolerance to my own girls, and hope that they will embrace it.

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Exhausted girls

Good for the Soul

13 Jan

I have recently increased my line at work quite significantly.  I have gone from working about 10 days a month, only two days at a time (with two, one week breaks) to 16 days, with big stretches of 4 and 5 and not much time off in between.

I am always grateful to be in a rotation, so I will take whatever I can get.  Working this much more has come with some big changes.  I realized it was very spoiled, but I am used to having lots of free time.  I am almost always able to have coffee or play dates, make appointments, and not only take my kiddos to school, but attend all their special days.

With my old rotation, we needed no childcare.  We now need a lot of that, and I am so incredibly fortunate that my mother in law offered to do it for us.  I asked her to really think about it before I said yes, because she is only letting us pay her peanuts, and it is a lot of driving and a lot of hours.  I have a lot of peace of mind knowing that if I can’t be there for something, she is.  In the past, we have been really lucky that our family,friends, and honorary Aunties and Uncles have done everything from sleeping on our couches at 6:30 in the morning in between Ty’s going and my coming, to school drop off and attending special days.  It is a weight off my shoulders that that is no longer a ball I need to juggle.

Knowing that my free days are a lot more limited, I invited some girlfriends for lunch today.  Sadly, one Mama and her littles couldn’t make it, but last minute another’s day freed up.  Lisa was waiting at my house with her kiddos when I got back from school pick up, and Ash joined shortly after for a quick chat before heading back to work.

Ashelely could only sneak in a quick coffee and lunch before heading back to the office, but as she left, she said something about it being good for her soul.  I have been rolling that around in my head since, because it is so true.

There is something so fulfilling about connecting with friends over a hot coffee admid the chaos that is kids running around having fun.  I have taken a page from Lisa’s book and just leave accessible healthy finger foods for them to grab in between giggles and games.  Everyone gets fed some how, but most of all is my soul. 

I love how conversations take a million tangents, interruptions are plentiful (including “watch this dance”, and “Mama, I accidentally put shampoo in my bum”) and no judgement is passed on the amount of caffeine consumed.  It fills my tank to the brim to be a part of a community where no one gives two hoots how you parent, and will wipe any nose that happens to walk by and need a swipe. 

I feel so blessed to have several different, but equally great groups of friends.  Each seems to bring exactly what I need, sometimes when I don’t even know I need it.  Today I needed a “mamahood”, and I am terrifically thankful for the one I got.

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Kitchen limbo

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I swear I wasn't going to eat her in this picture, but she is delicious

New Year, New Goals

4 Jan

I have been putting in a good deal of thought for this year’s goals.  It is really easy for me to just make weight loss and fitness goals, but while those are still important to me, I wanted to be really mindful about what I am going to focus on this year. 

The theme that has been rolling around in my mind is “kind and gentle”. I have no desire to make a list of unattainable goals and then beat myself up over failing.  As such, here are my 2016 areas of focus:

1. Share more meals: whether it be having people over for dinner, treating friends to lunch or dropping off a meal for someone, I plan on spreading some love through food. Going along with this…

2. Open up my home more: I am terrible at playing host, and all too often we are the recipient of hospitality instead of those giving it.  This year I want to host more dinners, have more coffee dates and more little friends over to play. 

3.  Say “in a minute” less: I am terrible at deferring my kids when I am busy doing things like cooking dinner or trying to get ready, but sometimes that trickles over into times when I am not busy, but more interested in a book…or instagram.  I am trying to be much more mindful of if I actually need “a minute” when my girls ask for something.

4. Declutter more:  I got an a pretty great decluttering kick before the new year and I want to keep it going.  The kitchen, bathroom and hall closet all got done, as well as the playroom received a revamp once we got all the unnecessary furniture out of it.  Our room needs a major overhaul, so that is on my list.  I find the more I clear out of my house, the more I like it!

5. Take more “us”-ies: I am pretty much a pro at taking pictures of my kiddos, but not so much my husband.  Despite the time we do spend together, we took a grand total of nine pictures with just the two of us.  Nine.  Yikes.  I am definitely looking to improve that this year.

6. Challenge myself professionally: I have reached a point in my career where I feel like I need a big push to learn something outside my comfort zone.  It is easy to continue to focus of peds alone, and although I have no intention of leaving the unit, I think I need to broaden my knowledge about “grown ups” too.

That is it!  Hopefully 2016 is just as wonderful year as 2015 was.

Christmas 2015 in Review

2 Jan

I realize this is the time that I should be posting about NY resolutions and what not, but I am barely wrapping my head around the fact that holidays are coming to a close.

Christmas this year was full of families, festivities and feasts.  We are lucky to have most of our family close by, so that involves some juggling of schedules.  Sometimes it feels like we aren’t going to fit it all in, but we do for the most part!

My Dad came into town on the 23rd and we opened gifts with him before heading out for our traditional Chinese food dinner.  I believe this is his 52 nd year buying it for his family (he has been doing it since he was 8!).

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After we stuffed our faces, we headed home. I had to work that night and was hoping to catch a few winks!

After working the night, we joined my sister at her house for a Christmas eve brunch with my Dad before he went back to Edmonton.  I had to do a double take at one point when I saw my niece Bailey next to Abby.  We have commented a lot that Abby looks a lot like Bailey did when she was little, but I felt like I was looking at her in the past and present!

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Gracie also started her own Christmas tradition of cleaning Sara our of her avocados!

I napped throughout the day (in preparation for working the night again), and around 5 we went over to my in laws to open gifts.  Santa always comes a night early there, because they use to travel on Christmas day. 

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After some snacks, I took the girls home for a bit to open their Christmas eve gift from my mom (always jammies and a book).  They got changed and then set out the good for the big guy, and sprinkled the reindeer food on the lawn.

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Ty took them back to the party at his parents and I showered and got ready for work.

I had a lovely night at work, and my co workers and I managed to make it through a night with no patients on the unit (a first for me!).

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Christmas morning I snuck in a quick nap before the girls woke up.  I had popped breakfast in the oven before I went to bed, so we are after we opened gifts.  I was very spoiled, but my absolute favourite was watching the girls open the gifts they got each other.  Both of them seemed a little touched by the thoughtfulness of the other, and it was heartwarming.

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Gracie has covetted this minion waterbottle from superstore for eons. She was shocked Abby got it for her!

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After breakfast I lay down for another nap.  We then all got dressed and went to visit with Tyler’s family for a few hours before making our way to my sister’s to do our gifts and dinner.

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More avocado eating

We WERE going to go home, but several bottles of wine later we decided to gunk in.  Gracelyn went MIA for a bit, but Ty found her after a quick search.

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We headed home the next morning full, happy and a little sleep deprived!

Boxing day we had drinks with friends, and then got ready for our trip to Edmonton.  Tyler’s team had a tourney up there, so he left on the bus early, but we stopped by Beckett’s bday party for a few minutes before hitting the road.  Rachel and Craig are moving for a few years, so it was extra hard to say goodbye.

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We hit the road with some coffee and a few too many stuffed animals.  The drive was easy with only one stop and we made it in good time.

We spent the next few days swimming, eating too much, hanging out with my Dad and cheering the team to victory.  Well, that is a loose “we” because while Abby cheered, high fives the guys and screamed, Gracelyn slept through every game.

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Gracie loved the smoothie shooters at the breakfast buffet and would pack back 6-8 every morning

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Abby decided that after a whole summer of refusing to swim without a flotation belt that maybe she could swim…and did.  She also decided she would jump off the side of the pool even though a mere 3 months ago this brought her to tears if we even asked her to. 

The girls did some shopping, and we were back home in Lethbridge on the 30th.

New Year’s Eve we went to a party with friends, drank too much, practiced our flip cup skills and basically decided that we still aren’t too old to stay up until 6am. 

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Thankfully I didn’t pay a price for it the next day (pro tip: mix your drinks with water) but we lay pretty low and napped!

So, after a busy Christmas we are ready to start a new year!  Next step…put away the rest of Christmas!

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