later, 2013!

Dec 31, 2013

It's that time again... time to bid farewell to the current year and welcome a brand new one. 2013 has felt like the longest and the shortest year of my life at the same time. Perhaps that doesn't make sense, but I don't know how else to describe it. It's been the calmest year considering the amount of downtime in comparison to recent years... but at the same time the most eventful year in terms of major life events. 
I started the year out pregnant. In fact, I spent nearly 3/4 of 2013 growing a baby. 
I celebrated a year of marriage. I traveled to Japan, Seattle, Maui, Victoria, Vancouver and Ontario, along with all of the other destinations that I regularly visited as a flight attendant. I reunited with friends that I hadn't seen in a long time and celebrated with ones that I've known forever. 
I spent more time with my family than I've been privileged to enjoy in the past 5 years combined.
I spent a lot of time alone as well. Ryan worked out of town more often than he was home, at times reminiscent of our long distance relationship days.
It goes without saying that the biggest happening of 2013 was the birth of our daughter in September. Everything from that point on has been solely about her. For that reason, 2013 wins the coveted spot of "Best year ever".  
I enter 2014 with excitement. Am I sad to see the end of such a wonderful year? Not at all. If I've learnt anything this year, it's that things just keep keeping better and dwelling in the past can make you overlook just how incredible the present is. 
Happy New Year to each and every one of you!  Bring it on, 2014! 

a year to the day.

Dec 28, 2013

Exactly a year ago today, my life as I knew it changed forever.  On December 28, 2012, I found out that I was pregnant! 
I'd bought a test the day prior. It was my first time ever purchasing a pregnancy test and I was ridiculously nervous as I grabbed it from the shelf. Despite my normally frugal ways, I picked the most expensive one in hopes of the most accurate and clear results. As I left the store, the alarm went off. Why wouldn't it? There is nothing awkward about the Walmart greeter waving your pee stick around for the entire store to see. I crossed my fingers that nobody I knew was in the vicinity as they deactivated the inventory control tag.   
The next morning I snuck off to the downstairs bathroom with the test in hand and waited patiently for the results. Ryan knew that I'd bought it but I woke up early so that there was less pressure. I can not pee under pressure. Less than 30 seconds later those fateful words appeared. Pregnant. 2-3 weeks. 
It was a wonderful, terrifying, nauseating, exciting moment.  I was growing a baby! Our baby! 
I headed upstairs to break the news to Ryan. I cried, I laughed, and we struggled to keep our big secret as we headed to Red Deer to celebrate a late Christmas with Ryan's family.
The months to follow seemed never-ending, but looking back now I can't believe that it's already been a year. What a journey the last 12 months have been! Everyday I'm so blessed and thankful for that little stick and for the end result... our gorgeous, perfect daughter.  
I'll never forget today, our preggo-versary! 

christmas time!

Christmas is over. Just like that.  It's time to take down the decorations, clean up the mess of wrapping paper, and get back to the gym after 3 days of excessive turkey and chocolate consumption. 
I'm always sad to see the end of the festive season. At least I can say that of all of the Christmases I've experienced in the course of my adult life, this year was certainly the best one yet.  
For starters, I wasn't working. That is a nice change from recent years in which December 25 was business as usual.  I finally had the opportunity to partake in all of the chaos and madness that is the holidays with family. It was the first entire Christmas Day that Ryan and I have ever spent together. It was the first time cramming in multiple family events in the course of only a few days. Most importantly, it was our first Christmas as parents.  That alone makes the holidays substantially more exciting.  
On Christmas Eve we headed to Ryan's aunt and uncle's house for the annual turkey dinner.  It was a busy day filled with food, family, and children galore.  With Aaralee being born in September and her cousin Evan being born earlier this month, the number of grandchildren in the family has doubled this year, much to the delight of Ryan's parents... particularly his mom. 

Despite the 3 month age gap, Evan is almost as big as Aaralee already. She's got him beat in the cheeks department, but it won't be long before he's caught up to our petite little girl. 


After a long day it was time to head home to get some sleep before an even busier day to follow. Being that it was Christmas Eve, we read Christmas books to Aaralee and left out cookies and milk for Santa. He probably would have preferred chocolate chip (I know that I would have!) but all that we had in the house were Arrowroot. 

The next morning was Christmas! We lounged in bed for awhile because Aaralee had been so kind as to gift us with a little bit more sleep than she typically allows.  Once we finally descended to the main level we were thrilled to find that Santa had arrived and spoiled both Aaralee and our fur baby, Niko.

It wasn't long before the living room floor was littered with wrapping paper and noisy baby toys. Aaralee may have been oblivious to the entire process, but Ryan and I loved every minute of it.  

As far as presents go, I couldn't have asked for much more than what I already had.  That said, I was pretty excited to indulge in a breakfast of chocolate from my stocking.  

Once we were showered and ready, it was off to Ryan's sister's house, where we had a roast beef lunch and the kids exchanged gifts. Aaralee was spoiled, yet again.  Next on the agenda was to drive to Red Deer to celebrate with my side of the family.  I was thrilled for turkey dinner number two. Between both families it was a long and busy day, but I wouldn't have had it any other way.

Getting our overtired and overstimulated baby to bed that evening was a bit of a challenge. There had been far too much excitement for her to take in. She finally fell asleep for the night at 1:30 am, much to this tired mama's relief.  
As adults who have no need for any excess junk to occupy space in our house, Boxing Day was far less of a thrill than it had been in our younger years. We did, however, have yet another turkey dinner awaiting us with some more of Ryan's (large) family.  We ate, we visited, and Aaralee was passed around for cuddles.  When it was time to go home I was sad to see the Christmas festivities end, but relieved to be home where we could relax and catch up on sleep. 
Farewell Christmas, until we meet again next year!

The Most Wonderful Time

Dec 17, 2013

There are only 8 days until Christmas! 8!! I suppose now would be a good time to finish (start) my Christmas shopping. It was bad enough in previous years without having to haul a baby around the busy mall.  Believe me, we've tried to shop. Usually we end up in the food court. Fast food gift cards are looking like a rather promising present for everyone on my list. I know for a fact that my husband would be the happiest man on earth.  
Having a new baby makes this season all the more exciting. Thanks to said baby, I'm also on maternity leave and off of work, in Canada for the first Christmas in a long, long time! I'm finally able to do the things that I've always imagined doing in the month of December. I've decorated the house. I've baked delicious goodies and regretfully consumed more than I should have. I've sang Christmas carols to my baby and in return heard her first few giggles...  causing my heart melt into sweet blissful mush.  I've dressed my daughter in Christmas outfits nearly every day of December and taken approximately 3,450,803 photos of her.  She's met Santa, and spent hours gazing in awe of the Christmas tree. This Christmas loving mama is in all of her glory. 
I can only hope that every else is enjoying their December as much as I am. I'm feeling so blessed as I eagerly count down the days until my first Christmas with my beautiful baby and my amazing husband! 

oh the weather outside is frightful...

Dec 5, 2013

Every year since Ryan and I first started dating, we've went away to celebrate December 2.  We officially became a couple on June 2, so December became what I refer to as our "Half-iversary".  
The first year we headed to Canmore for a bittersweet getaway. Only 10 days later I'd move to Dubai and this was essentially our romantic farewell. The next year we jetted off to Mexico and I came back with a ring on my finger and all of the excitement in the world.  In 2011 we returned to Canmore and enjoyed a cozy stay in a fancy hotel suite.  Last year I was surprised with last minute vacation time, so we booked a trip to Mexico and a few weeks later we found out that I was pregnant.   Although we are married now and have a real anniversary date to celebrate, we still continue with the tradition.  
With a new baby, we decided to put the tropical trip on hold until she's a bit older, instead returning to our second favourite getaway spot... Canmore.  We booked a nice hotel room and Ryan took a couple of days off of work to make it a long weekend. 
It was a weekend full of my favourite things... Ryan and Aaralee, romance, mountains... and so much food.  We consumed an embarrassing amount of chocolate, cinnamon buns, and other delicious treats. 

4 1/2 years later, I still love Ryan just as much as I did the very first year... perhaps even more.  We are a boring old married couple, but I'd rather spend my days lazing around the house with him than having adventures all by myself. 

He gave me the most beautiful daughter and I'm thankful everyday that he is not only an amazing husband to me, but also an amazing father to Aaralee.  She's a lucky little girl, and she doesn't even realize it yet! 

We spent a good deal of our weekend watching movies by the fire, with no timeline and no place to be.  It doesn't get much better than that!

We did of course venture out on a few occasions.  We were in far too beautiful of a place to spend the entire weekend indoors! Our first adventure was to Lake Louise.  Aaralee had never been, so it was obviously necessary.

We had an overpriced lunch in the Chateau and then headed outside for a few quick photos before seeking shelter in the warmth of the car and returning to Canmore. 

Instead of an expensive dinner out that evening, we took advantage of our hotel room's kitchenette and barbecue and made our own delicious meal. 

The next day we ventured into Banff, where the weather was far more pleasant than back home in Edmonton. 


We browsed the shops and fought the crowds before heading to have lunch at the Old Spaghetti Factory.  Eating out with Aaralee used to be rather intimidating, but as with all things, it has gotten easier with practice!

After a great weekend it was time to head back home. We picked the absolute worst day to travel... the entire province was in the midst of a blizzard. We took it slow and eventually made it home safely. Perhaps next year we'll have to go to sunny Mexico instead. 

a week in ontario

Nov 24, 2013

Bliss is watching your husband and daughter cuddle, fast asleep on the couch. I finally have time to blog now that daddy is home! After the longest time apart thus far, our little family is reunited with the exception of our puppy, who is still at Grandma and Grandpa's house for one more night.  
Ryan returned this morning from Oklahoma, where he had been away working for nearly 2 weeks. 2 weeks is a long, long time when your baby is only 10 weeks old.  Fortunately, time went by faster than it usually does, as Aaralee, my mom, and myself jetted off to Ontario for a week to visit some of our family out east.  

We spent most of our time visiting and everyone had ample time to cuddle the newest family member.  Aaralee even met her great-great grandma, and we enjoyed some quality time with 5 generations. Not many people are fortunate enough to have such an opportunity. 

We took a day trip, starting with a stop in Niagara Falls.  Between the wind and the mist, it was a cool day, but it was essential that we stopped for photos seeing as how it was Aaralee's first time at the falls!

We stopped briefly and then carried on with our day. With passports in hand, we headed for the US border!  

We spent the day shopping before indulging in dinner at the Cheesecake Factory.  Aaralee was completely oblivious, but it was her very first time leaving the country! 

The rest of the week was spent touring the glamourous city of Hamilton with my mommy and my sweet happy girl. 

It was a great week with weather far better than the massive snowstorm back home, but we are happy to be back in our own home, and especially to have Ryan with us!  

single-ish parenting

Nov 7, 2013

Lately I feel the need to start every blog post with an apology for the length of time between posts. As it turns out, I'm quite busy these days.  Taking care of a baby tends to be rather time consuming, particularly when you are the only person to do it 24 hours a day.  Ryan has been working out of town for the past month, coming home for only a couple of days at a time.  While I'm thankful that he has a steady job, it's not always easy being alone for days on end. I've got a gorgeous baby girl and a sweet puppy, but I miss my husband when he is gone.  I'm sad for our baby not being able to cuddle her daddy. I'm sad for him missing out at a time when she changes so much each week.  I'm sad for me, because I've changed all but maybe 5 diapers in the past month.  On those rare occasions in which he is home, I'm a very happy wife. Aaralee... well... she's 8 weeks old and I'm not certain she knows any difference, but I can tell that she loves her daddy and is happy to see him when he is around.  

Aaralee is only days away from being 2 months old, which is crazy. If only the last 2 months of pregnancy had went by this fast!  She is a happy baby... unless she is hungry, which is often.  She lets me sleep a decent amount at night in exchange for constant binge eating during the day. We are homebodies, as she has made it very clear that she does not enjoy trips to the mall, grocery store, or Walmart. We've yet to take a trip that does not involve her screaming and me scrambling for a place to feed her. I may be one of the rare people who can honestly say that having a baby is saving me money.  My daily Walmart trips are a thing of the past.  I miss shopping, but I'd rather spend every day with my baby anyways. 

What have we been up to lately besides sitting at home? Well, last week was her first Halloween.  Do you know how impossible it is to find a costume for a 7 week old?  She's still very petite, and was swimming in the zebra costume that we received as a gift when she was born.  

We put it on for some photos before changing her into her cozy and much better fitting Sully onesie.  She was the cutest monster that I ever did see.  

Halloween was otherwise rather uneventful. A quick visit and photo op with her cousins, and we were back home to eagerly await the arrival of trick or treaters as it was the first Halloween that Ryan and I were both home.  We had a grand total of zero children, leaving me with a large bowl full of chocolate to consume.  At this rate, soon people will be asking me if I'm pregnant again. 
Last weekend we attended a shower for Aaralee, which (despite the weather forcing several people to cancel) was great fun.  Unlike our shower prior to her birth, this one was a wonderful explosion of pink thanks to Ryan's aunt Helen and her creative decor.  Our baby was very spoiled once again! 

After the shower Ryan headed back home to head away for work yet again. This time I opted to stay in Red Deer, where I've been all week. My initial plan was to visit with friends and family here, but a combination of bad roads and getting sick has resulted in me spending my days lounging around with my mom's house. My mom is around in the evenings to keep my company so it still beats sitting at home!  Tomorrow it's back to Edmonton to eagerly await Ryan's brief return.  I used to be the one to work out of town... things have certainly changed! 

Trick or Treat!

Oct 31, 2013

Aaralee's First Flight!

Oct 24, 2013

Standby travel is arguably the best perk of a job as a flight attendant.  Sure, it takes patience and flexibility, but few crew members that I know would ever pay full fare for a flight.  Do you know who has it even better than flight attendants? Babies. Babies are free.  
As aviation geeks, Aaralee's first flight has been an anticipated event for Ryan and I since long before her birth.  The weekend was approaching and for once we had no plans.  We made the spontaneous decision to fly to Vancouver... a short flight, a familiar city, and warm enough weather to spend the majority of the day outside with a baby.  I checked the flight loads, listed us for standby, packed our bags, and found a friend to take care of Niko.  
On Saturday morning we woke up bright and early and headed to the airport. When traveling with a baby, leaving the house takes careful planning.  Wanting to ensure that I was able to shower before we left meant waking up extra early.  When the time came to leave the house, Aaralee was still fast asleep. We put her into her carseat in her pyjamas and made a mad dash for the car. She was very cooperative that morning, letting us check in for the flight before waking up and screaming for food and a diaper change.  We happily went through the family line at the security checkpoint, grabbed ourselves breakfast and then sat down to feed the baby and wait to board.

I hadn't been on a plane since June, which by my standards is an extremely long time. I can't tell you just how wonderful it was to fly and no longer be pregnant.  I only had to use the lavatory once, as opposed to every 10 minutes.  It was a far more enjoyable experience. As for Aaralee? As it turns out she is an amazing flyer. Perhaps I can credit this to the 7 months of my pregnancy that I worked. She slept almost the entire time. Armed with years of experience listening to babies scream in pain, I tried to force her to eat during take off and landing to help with the pressure in her ears. She was too lazy for that.  My own ears were popping and she didn't even flinch.  

We landed in Vancouver and took the sky train to the city. It was still too early to check into our hotel, so we dropped off our bags and headed out for a day of walking, eating, and taking photos. 

The only difference between traveling with a baby versus our usual Vancouver trips was the extra stops to feed our hungry child. She'd cry, and we'd head for the nearest coffee shop. Lattes for mommy and daddy, milk for the baby.  On one occasion we had to resort to feeding and changing her on a park bench. When Aaralee is hungry, she means business.

We headed to Granville Island for lunch. Aaralee slept the entire time, but that didn't stop us from taking her to the kid's market... who are we trying to kid? We were happy to finally have an excuse to browse the fun shops. 

On the way back towards downtown we stopped for a few photos. British Columbia is fortunate to experience autumn in all of its glory for more than the 2 weeks that we are teased with in Alberta. 

Aaralee loves fall, I'm sure of it. 

Since this was her first vacation, Ryan and I decided that Aaralee needed a souvenir to bring home.  What better gift for a little Canadian baby than her very first hockey jersey? Ryan has been an Edmonton Oilers fan for many years. I cheer for the Calgary Flames. Our dog, Niko, is told that he is a Winnipeg Jets fan based solely on the fact that his middle name is Jett. (Yes, our dog has a middle name. ) Obviously it was only fair for Aaralee to have her own team as well. We made the controversial decision to raise our daughter as a Vancouver Canucks fan. 

Next on our itinerary was to head to English Bay for a little ocean dosage. Us landlocked Albertans don't get to the beach very often. Our baby did what she does best, and slept through it.


I was starting to get rather hungry by this point, so we set off in search of dinner while we still had a sleeping baby.  I've improved my skills of eating while nursing a squirmy baby, but it's still far easier to enjoy a meal while she sleeps.  Being in Vancouver and no longer pregnant, our dinner choice was easy... delicious. fresh sushi.

We continued on walking through a busy downtown, passing by groups of people dressed to the nines, preparing for a Saturday evening full of partying.  We were a stark contrast in our grubby clothes, pushing our stroller. My, how life has changed! We searched for some beer for Ryan, and a slice of pizza for me, and we were both thoroughly satisfied.  
Tired from the early morning, we retreated to our hotel room for the rest of the evening.  Aaralee slept cozy in a makeshift crib... my suitcase.  

We left for the airport early the next morning, crossing our fingers that there were seats available on the flight.  Luck was on our side, and we flew back home with our baby.  Once again, she was great on the plane. What a proud flight attendant mama I was!
It was good to be home from another wonderful weekend with my amazing little family.  I'm already looking forward to our next adventure!