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.  

long overdue updates.

Nov 12, 2015

It's nearly the middle of November and it's been a month since I last wrote a blog post. A MONTH.  If you've been reading this blog since my flight attendant days or earlier, then you'll know that it was once a rarity to go even a week without an update.  This crazy thing happens when you have 2 children... life gets busy.  In my former life, I'd use my downtime to update my blog.  I'd grab a cup of coffee, pull out my laptop, and recount the stories from my globetrotting adventures.  I loved to write, and I loved that other people actually enjoyed it enough to read every update.  These days, when I'm gifted with a rare moment of downtime I prefer to use it to eat lunch, or throw in a load of laundry... or maybe even just to go pee, all by myself.  Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't trade my mom life for the world, but having kids has meant putting my once beloved blog on the back burner.  I try to keep up. I love to read my old posts and see how much my life has changed, but sometimes, especially lately,  it feels more like an obligation than a hobby.  It's never good when you start to dread something that you once enjoyed. I took a much needed break, and gave myself time to miss it.   There is something therapeutic about putting your memories into words and I'm happy to be back!

  So without further adieu, here is what has gone on since my last post: 

We spent 2 consecutive weekends in the Rocky Mountains "glamping", as I like to call it.  What is glamping, you ask?  Well, for us, it was partaking in all of the best parts of camping (the campfire food, the hikes, the fresh air, and the scenery) and then retreating to a warm hotel with a king sized bed, a shower and a flushing toilet for the evening.  This was made possible by the fact that Ryan's parents were camping in their RV.  We'd spend the days with them, and return to our Canmore hotel each evening. I'm all for tenting, but let's not forget, this was October and the evenings were nowhere near warm enough to sleep in a tent with 2 small children.  
We went on some long hikes (I kicked butt in the weekend FitBit challenges), ate many campfire pizzas, and Aaralee loved spending time with Grandma and Grandpa.  

On the weekdays I ventured to the gym, took the kids on playdates, went to our mom and tot program, and took a bunch of photos of brand new babies... because all of my friends seem to be having those lately.  Weekdays are often chaotic and I count down the hours until Ryan is home from work, but I love spending my days with my beautiful little girls.  

Last but not least, we celebrated Briley's first and Aaralee's third Halloween!  Aaralee went as a koala, I was a kangaroo, and Briley was my little joey.  Ryan's Halloween spirit was lacking, and he simply wore a pair of jeans and a shirt.  

We started the day off with trick or treating at the mall. Whoever planned that event clearly didn't realize that it was timed just perfectly to interfere with toddler nap time.  I was certain that Aaralee wouldn't be phased by the lack of nap because she would be too excited about the prospect of running through the mall and getting candy. I was wrong.  She refused to walk, and nearly fell asleep on Ryan's shoulders before we called it quits and headed home.  Briley slept through it all, as per usual.

That evening we went out for some real door to door trick or treating, and that went far better.  We'd planned to visit 2-3 houses, but our excited toddler insisted on continuing on.  She especially loved ringing doorbells and pointing out every single pumpkin that she sighted.  We came home with quite the haul. After devouring more sugar than she'd ever consumed in her lifetime, Aaralee got sick and I promptly sent the leftover candy to Ryan's office.
Oh, I almost forgot to mention that recently we had our first tiny dusting of snow.  It only lasted a few hours, but I bundled up the kids to take them outside.  Despite Aaralee's excitement when she looked out the window in the morning, neither of them seemed too thrilled about the snow once we actually ventured outside.  Safe to say, they take after me.  Bring us to a beach, we prefer sand!

That's pretty much all that's been happening around here! The Christmas decor is officially out in our house and I'm working hard to teach Aaralee some Christmas carols. I can't wait for December.  Spending the holiday season with 2 little ones is going to be so much fun! 

I promise to share all about our Christmas fun.  It's my favourite time of year! 
Thanks for reading my updates (consistent or not) throughout the years.  This is where I announced that I was moving across the world, chronicled my travels, shared that I was engaged, and broke the news of both pregnancies.  I've shared my life here, and it truly astounds me that so many of you actually care to read about it!  

thankful and stuff.

Oct 16, 2015

Happy October! The month is already half over and it feels as though it just began.  Time is going by so fast, as it always does in the lead up to cold, wintery weather.  
This autumn we were fortunate enough to spend some time with my Grandma who came all the way from Ontario to help my mom out while she recovered from surgery.  We saw her back in June, but at that time it was me who was recovering from surgery and adjusting to life with a new baby, so there wasn't as much visiting as I'd have liked.  This time, we had plenty of time together!  Since the mountains were a bit of a far trek, we went to Elk Island National Park for a day trip closer to home.  We'd arrived at the height of autumn's beauty and the trails were spectacular.  It was a gorgeous day filled with exploring, and we even saw some bison!  

Last weekend we headed down to Red Deer to celebrate my second favourite holiday... Thanksgiving!  Having 2 families to celebrate with is both amazing and exhausting.   We get to see both mine and Ryan's family members, we get two delicious meals, and I get to pick out adorable holiday themed outfits for my girls to wear TWICE.  We even got to spend the day with my Grandma and my brother who was visiting from B.C. On the flip side, cramming so much visiting into a weekend when you have 2 small children is pretty tiring, and eating a huge meal 2 days in a row makes for some snug fitting pants! 
Regardless of the chaos, we had a great weekend and I'm so thankful for our wonderful families, my beautiful children, my awesome husband, and so, so much more.  I could go on for days, but just trust me when I say that my heart is overflowing with gratitude.  

Just like that, Thanksgiving is over for another year.  I know that winter and (dare I say it) snow looms on our horizon, so we've been trying to make the most of our days outside.  We've been lucky to have had mild weather so far this year.  Aaralee is noticeably happier on days that we leave the house, so I try to make it a priority despite how much work it is with both kids.  I can only imagine how stressful it will be once winter arrives.  I've been asking for 4 years now, and still no sign of Ryan giving in to my requests to become snowbirds.  I'll keep trying.  Persistence is key! Happy fall, y'all! (Nope, still way too Canadian to get away with saying that...) 

Another fun Paw-ty!

Sep 14, 2015

As most of you already know, when it comes to planning parties I can't help but to go a little bit over the top.  It's who I am and who I've always been. When I was younger my mom happily passed on the party planning duties to me when it came to my younger brothers' birthdays.  
With a new baby in the mix, Aaralee's second birthday kind of crept up on me this year.  I ended up doing most of the planning rather last minute, but it still came together perfectly and she had a great time! I tried to keep the guest list small after seeing how jam packed our house was last year.  "I'll only invite people with little kids..." I told Ryan. As it turns out, Aaralee has a lot of little friends and cousins. Our house was full of noise and toys and sugar high toddlers.   
She loves puppies and doggies so her party theme was an easy choice.  Contrary to popular belief, I am not a naturally crafty person, nor is baking/cooking my strong suit.  That said, planning a birthday party can get really expensive, really fast, so I try to do as much of it myself (and with Ryan's help) as possible.  
It was so much fun decorating for this party. Paw prints led to the front door, a fire hydrant helped guests find the washroom, and there were puppies and bones galore! 

No party of mine would be complete without loads of candy and sweets.  There was no shortage of junk food here, despite finishing off one very successful week of healthy eating... it was only one day, and it was for Aaralee, so it was a worthwhile setback.  

The cake came together perfectly, no thanks to me! It was my idea, but in the end I think that I decorated an ear before Ryan took over. We were up until 1 am fighting with piping bags and globs of icing that quite literally looked like piles of poop, but when all was said and done, we had a sweet puppy cake.   Most importantly, it tasted delicious and the birthday girl approved.  She was beaming as we sang "Happy birthday" and wasted no time digging into her giant slice of cake. 

After cake, it was time for presents!  Although it took awhile (she needed to open every toy and read every book before moving onto the next gift), she's really got the unwrapping thing down pat this year.  She tore into the gifts with excitement, pushing aside the cards and clothing as toddlers tend to do.  She was so lucky to receive such fun new toys and pretty new outfits!  

As the party died down, her little friends left with their very own puppies and we carried on snacking and playing the afternoon away.  Despite the fact that she'd refused to nap the entire day, she was pretty happy for the majority of the day.   It was a great party for a great little girl!  Thank you to everyone who came and celebrated her turning 2 with us!