Sunday, September 18, 2011

Just Plain Mom

My tv has been bombarded lately by advertisements for a new movie called, "I don't know how she does it." There are clips from the movie, interviews by the actors and actresses and countless discussions on how busy a life the main character leads as a working mother and what a superior being she must be.

The whole thing makes me sick.

First of all I must admit I have never seen the movie, although I have seen enough clips and "teasers" to know I likely never will. I realize it is meant to be a celebration of a woman's strength, an example of all we as working mothers go through every day and the sheer amount of things we are able to accomplish. But to me, its just another example of the often unrealistic demands that are expected of us daily.

Yes, I have been called a Super Mom. But I don't feel super. In fact, I detest that term. It implies that if I don't perform feats of heroism and go far beyond what is expected than I am just simply "mom" and no longer worthy of the title.

I am a mother of three beautiful children. That means I have three separate personalities to raise and nurture, three people to ensure receive an equal amount of attention and love. Three mouths to feed three times a day, three children to clothe and prepare for every changing season. Three dentist/doctor/optometrist/you name it appointments to organize and drive them to, not to mention seeing to the specific needs of each child; one needs glasses, one needs braces, one wants more attention because the other two seem to be getting it for various reasons. There is laundry for three kids, cleaning up after three kids, dealing with a house full of friends of three kids....and on top of all that I work outside the home as well.

I'm not complaining, in fact I love my life. And I do have a lot of help. I am fortunate that my husband is a wonderful father and a huge help with the household, when he is home. Being a military family, however, means that often I can be "solo-parenting" for long periods of time. So life gets busy, sometimes overwhelmingly so, and to be told in the height of such activity that I must be a "supermom" to pull it all off, makes me wonder what I am in the slow times.

Perhaps I am being petty and ungrateful - it certainly sounds that way as I write it out. So I will offer an example: just the other day my husband and I drove our son into the city, which is two hours away from our town, to see an endocrinologist at the children's hospital. The appointment had been made months ago, both our schedules cleared so we could both attend, so off we went. Only to arrive and realize the appointment was in fact for three days later. My blood turned cold, my heart sank to my feet and I felt like a total idiot. There was a lot of waving away of apologies and comforting words from both the nurses and my husband ("Don't worry about it, you're a busy woman") but the truth is, I wrote it down wrong, the fault was mine and mine alone. Being busy doesn't excuse being wrong and still left the hospital staff scrambling. In the end they were able to accommodate us and we did see the doctor (who thankfully was on call and on the premises) but I am still to this day left wondering how I could have made such a mistake.

Upon telling this story to a friend later that day, it was said, "But hey, you worked it out didn't you? That's what us moms do!" But no, I didn't work it out. They did. I wanted to shout, "Don't make me look like the supermom here, I was the dumbass who wrote it down wrong and they were the ones who were nice enough to take us anyway!" Yes I am busy, yes I have a lot on my plate, but isn't it my job to keep everything organized? To always know where we are going and when?

But you see that's the trap. The "supermom trap". By giving me that label I feel I have to live up to that standard and never, ever falter. It gives me the impression that as long as I stay on top of all the laundry, the homework, the school council meetings, the multitude of appointments, than I am doing my job and therefor deserve the "super". But the reality is that I do make mistakes. I sometimes don't get to the mountain of laundry for a week and have my son complain he has no clean underwear. I have work weeks so busy that I forget to sign all three school agendas and don't realize when one isn't completing homework regularly or another has a project on the go or needs a permission slip signed. I have forgotten about birthday parties, missed class trips and realized on the first snow day that one or more of my kids didn't have winter boots that fit them because I simply hadn't found the time to go buy them. I've made my daughter late for dance class, I still haven't sewed all my son's cubs badges on his sash, and if you show up randomly at my house (which is always encouraged) you may very well find it in shambles.

But I have lots of good days too. I am very honest with work and refuse to work a full week. I am open about the fact that working full time takes too much away from my family and I simply cannot keep up. People wave that away and think I'm being modest, but its true. I need a day or two a week to catch up on my housework, my grocery shopping and just being a mom. By being honest like that I am able to have that tea party with my youngest daughter after supper and help my son with his math homework as if I have all the time in the world. I am able to have those all important conversations with my "almost teenager" about who is doing what and who likes who. Mostly I just listen, but the point is, if I'm there she talks to me and at this age, that is golden. I also make it a point to carve out some time for myself, even when it seems impossible (and admittedly its easier now that my kids are getting older and all in school) and I have learned to ask for help when I need it. That was a big lesson that was a long time coming.

During one of those daytime tv interviews regarding this new movie, the co host of the program, also a working mother of 3, said, "My goal is at the end of the day to have only disappointed everyone just a little, because I know I can't do everything right and please absolutely everyone." Well said. I do what I can and when I make a mistake, it only makes me human. I don't need the specter of some over achieving, always perfect, never unwavering...supermom to make me feel less than what I am: a good mother doing the best I can in a busy life.

What ever will I do with myself when they're all raised and gone?

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Fighting Back

When Morgan came to me a couple of months ago and said she wanted to form a team of her friends for the Relay for Life here in Petawawa, my first thought was: I don't have time for that.

It shames me now, to remember how I considered all the things I had on my plate - three kids, hubby away, full work schedule, dance/cubs/soccer, all the things of our hectic life - and decided I didn't have time to take on anything else. Then I looked at her. I mean really looked at her face and into her eyes, and saw excitement, passion and a whole lot of hope. She was standing there asking me to help her continue this journey she started last year, to help raise not only money for a cause we care very deeply about but also awareness among her young friends as to how they too can help. The details of life don't occupy her mind, only the joy of the moment and the enthousiasm she is known for. So my answer was a simple, "Of course sweetheart."

What ensued was two months of awe inspiring behavior. Amid the daily chores and struggles we all contend with, I watched 9 young women learn what it is to give back to the world that has given them so much. I watched them swallow their fear and march up to the doors of perfect strangers to announce their participation in the Relay and ask for their support. I listened to them talk about the people in their lives that they have either supported through or lost to cancer, sad that they have had to cope with such things at this tender age. I have been witness to their hard work on behalf of this team, their determination and above all a level of enthousiasm the likes of which I have never seen...all for the sole purpose of fighting back against this terrible disease that none of us can escape entirely.

The culmination of all our efforts came together two days ago, when relay day finally arrived. I woke up to Morgan's resounding cheer of , "ITS RELAY DAY!!" and I'm happy to say the excitement never waned. The kids hit the field after school, donned their matching shirts and came together in an impressive fashion to show cancer that they are fighting back. We were lucky enough to have Morgan's nanny - my wonderful, beloved mother-in-law - with us as our own, personal cancer survivor. The father of one of our girls is also a survivor, and I will say that having those yellow shirts walking among us certainly put things into perspective.

There are many moments I will never forget, but a few stand out.

While gathered at the stage for the opening ceremonies I glanced over a saw a young boy of about 9 or 10 - much like my own son - swinging from a sign post and giggling. I smiled and was about to look away when he turned and I saw he was wearing a survivor's shirt. My blood froze, tears immediatly sprung to my eyes, and my heart ached for all the things that child has had to endure while my son has led such a happy, normal life. I then looked beside me at my husband's mother, also in her survivor's shirt, laughing with her sister who surprised her and made the trip to our town to see her. She alone has touched so many lives, enriched them greatly and continues to inspire us so much - it terrifed me to realize we could have lost her. I chose this year to run for Steven's little cousin Jaymee as well, who at a very young age began the battle for her life against this monster. I am so pleased to say she is now doing very well and living the beautiful life of a happy 9 year old child.

Later in the night I lit a luminary for a friend back home, who very sadly lost her father to cancer and who still misses him every day. I had a tear in my eye as I did so, thinking how unfair it is that she should be without him. I sent out a silent prayer for him that he might know how much he is loved and missed to this day. Once all the luminaries were lit and we had made our laps to see them, take pictures of how they spelled out HOPE, and commented how beautifully they lit up the whole track, I realized the scope of just how many people have been given that terrible diagnosis in our community alone. It spurred me on, gave me the boost I needed to keep up the walk, continue the fight and to never stop striving for the cure we so desperatly need.

The night was filled with laughter, tears, excitement, fear, love and friendship - but most of all it was filled with hope. There is hope in what we are doing, we can change the world one research dollar at a time, and I for one, will never stop.

I can hardly wait for next year's relay :)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

"Why can't we all just get along?"

When I was much younger - as in before the kids - I can remember assuming the hardest part of becoming a parent was getting used to caring for another human being. Trying to figure out how to rearrange my life to accomodate the baby, trying to wrap my head around the very idea of a baby, and of course the most infamous issue of all: lack of sleep. Of course all those things are legitimate hurdles, but as most of us do, I forgot that they are only babies for such a precious short time.

The other day I found myself comparing parenthood to that of getting a new puppy; in the beginning the puppy is little, cute and oh so lovable...and then they grow up. It sounded better than it looks here in writing, but my point is that once the baby is a baby no longer, what remains is a real person with real people problems. We are now way past the baby stage for all three kids. No more diaper changes, midnight feedings, teething pains or baby food. Gone are the cribs, the play pens, car seats and baby swings. How silly of me to assume this was the stage we could "sit back, relax, and raise the children." Haha, yes, I actually said those words once.

As the children grow and develop, I am continually amazed at what wonderful people in their own right they are becoming. I am thrilled to find that Morgan, who's personality has closely resembled her father's for so long, is a writer much like me! In fact, although she has never read any of my writing beyond my ever changing facebook statuses, her writing style is extremely similar to mine. Likewise, I never realized how funny Owen is. Of course every child is amusing and makes his parents laugh from an early age, but I'm talking about real comedic skill. That child is beginning to come out with lines with perfect delivery and timing that puts any comedian to shame. Life at the moment is a constant flow of preteen jargon, an ever changing line up of "best friends", daily accounts of playground shenanigans as told by the instigator himself, and random bursts of energy and song added by Rhian who refuses to be left out but is still living the pure, simple life of a happy 6 year old.

And so it was when this past week an innocent comment made by a curious and caring family friend sparked a conversation that changed a 12 year old girl's outlook on friendship for life. To make a long story short, she had been getting really close really quickly with one of the girls in her larger group of friends and it was slowly beginning to exclude the others. At this age girls, especially social girls like Morgan, tend to herd themselves into large groups, but pair into smaller ones of 2 or 3 from time to time. It may have to do with a project they are assigned in specific groups, the kids who happen to live nearby and are handy to hang out with over a weekend or holiday, or just the way a day happens to progress. But while birthday parties and dances bring out the group as a whole, sleepovers and after school phone conversations (or should I say skype conversations!) are usually done in small, select groups. I was just beginning to notice that everything seemed to be centred around this one girl all the time and never the others anymore, when I learned that she was telling the other girls to leave Morgan alone, that she was "her friend." I was appalled by this and upon bringing it up with Morgan, stunned to find out that not only has she been doing this for some time,trying to control everything Morgan did and said, she had also decided the day before that she was tired of Morgan now, and was moving on to someone else. Thus, a "Fairweather Friend."

It broke my heart to see Morgan's tears, to hear her wonder what she did wrong and then to have her ask, after I explained the concept of the fairweather friend to her, "but that's just not nice!" But you know, these are the lessons of life. As much as we want it to be so, not everyone will be nice to our kids all the time. She is the center of our world, but to the other kids on the school grounds she is but another kid to accept or discard at will. At 12, Morgan needs to learn to spot these kinds of friendships, to be strong enough to know that she is not at fault when someone else is dealing with their own issues, and that you cannot be friends with everybody. We talked about different kinds of friendships, from the acquaintances that come and go in life, to the ones that stay with you through thick and thin. The kind of friendships that can be sustained through all manner of changes, re locations, and through time itself are rare but the most precious of all. She has experienced this, knows its value and is happy to have it to lean on during times like these. After all, at this tender age, the world feels like its has come to a standstill and turned upside down!

As much as I enjoyed rocking my babies to sleep and holding their tiny hands while they learned to walk, I am now over joyed to be experiencing life through the eyes of my growing children. They are all unique, the lessons I have long since forgotten are new again, and I am thoroughly impressed at the people they are becoming.

Lets hope I can still say that in a few years when they are officially teenagers.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

To Sum up a Winter

Added to the the shock of realizing that once again I have let three months pass without a single post on here, I am now wallowing in a sea of guilt. Not only have I gone back on my promise to update my blog regularly, but whereas my last post was all about Morgan and her big birthday, Owen's 10th birthday in March didn't even register a comment on here. My poor, poor, middle child.

Contrary to what my silence infers, we have been very busy since that first week in January. My mother ended up extending her stay to month with us, the details of which I will leave for another time. Suffice it to say it has left me with a lot to think about and has led to some personal changes I am trying really hard to enforce in my every day life.

January was also a month of job searching for me. I couldn't really say what made me feel the urge to suddenly go out and seek employment with such determination and fire - I was safely on unemployement for another three full months. But for some reason I woke up one day feeling like it was imperative to get my resume out there and let the cards fall where they may. Looking back, I see now that had I not done that at precisely the time I did, I never would have gotten the job I have now. I will never again lose sight of the fact that everything happens as it should.

With Steven still away and my mother having moved on to Kim's in Toronto, February was a long, stressful month of full time training hours and very little sleep. I have started every grown-up job I've ever had in the stormy month of February - I will say again that I don't miss those blustry, cold, slippery drives to work in the dark, early mornings! But it passed, as all things do, and I am happy to be doing the job I love in a new place. February is also the month I turned 34. I have celebrated many birthdays in the past without Steven and so wasn't concerned about this one. One day, however, I just happened to mention to a few friends that the kids and I were going out to eat that day, did they want to come? It turned into 19 of us and a heart warming experience for me that I'll never forget. These people, who didn't even know I existed 6 months before, all came out to make my birthday a special one. Have I mentioned yet how much I love it here?

March brought Owen's 10th birthday and the realization that our boy is really growing up. By then Steven was home from his course and thank goodness because that all-boy sleepover was one of the most stressful things we've done in a while! I am the fist one to point out that Owen is four years older than his little sister and that size doesn't matter, but sadly I continue to group him in with his younger sibling and forget that with his age comes the changes normal to any preteen. Just saying that word - preteen - in association with my son sounds strange, but its so true. One moment he is my little boy sitting on the floor playing lego, the next he is standing there in his "almost teenage boy build" asking me a question far beyond the comprehension of a child. My biggest shock of the month was a few days after he "shaved" with Daddy, as all boys do; I went to kiss his cheek and found it no longer smooth and silky, but covered in soft stubble. Oh God help me!

March also brought March Break and our visit to Aunt Kimmie's to help her and Uncle Silvano move from their two bedroom condo to their four bedroom townhouse. Once again I will leave the details of my familial conflicts for another time, but I will say I was very encouraged by our week there and we're planning another visit for this August.

April is now here, the snow is all but disappeared and we are preparing for backyard cleanups, pool openings, Easter weekend....and Steven going away again. He will be leaving for his course in Montreal on Easter Monday and apart from the weekends he is able to come home, will be gone until the end of July. I am of two minds about this course. It is important for him to have as a new member of this crew and for someone of his rank. He is "untrained" and therefor his hands are tied much of the time. For his sake, and the sake of the fast moving squadron he is now apart of, he needs to get this course completed sooner rather than later. However, I'm really disappointed it is taking him away for half of the first summer we are here. We had a lot of grand plans for pool parties, camping, backyard fires, endless days at one of two beaches here in our town, day trips and scenic drives. Most of that will now have to be crammed into the weekends he can get home - when I myself am not working - and the few weeks left of summer when he returns after the course. Or without him.

The good news is that one of our very favorite families from Greenwood are now posted to Ottawa!! We had suspected it may happen, prayed for it and held our breath all this past year until it finally became official this past month. This is the family we shared everything with, the family we consider family, and we couldn't be happier that we will be continuing the memories with them for a long time to come.

Well this has been more of an update I suppose, than one of my regular "rants" or rare moments of insight. I want to say that I will be more diligent in keeping this monologue updated regularly, but I have not proven worthy of that promise yet so I will keep it to myself for now. For the time being, lets just say that with the warm weather coming, the spring celebrations and the new Relay for Life approaching, there should be many more stories and experiences to share soon!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Day it all began

Today was a special day. Not only was it the 12th birthday of our beautiful daughter and first born, but it marked the day that changed everything for us: the day we became parents.

The birthday of every child is important and I faithfully spend the evening before and the day of each of my kids' birthdays remembering and remarking on the miracle of their birth. I dig out the pictures, tell the story once again to anyone willing to listen (and even to those who've heard it a million times), I hug and kiss them a little more than usual and send a heartfelt thanks to God for the gift of that baby.

But 12 years ago yesterday, we had no idea what we were in for. It was a special time, a time when Steven and I went from a newly married couple to nervous, expectant parents. We were young, totally unprepared and had the odds stacked against us. But we knew two things for sure: we loved each other, and we loved our new baby. 12 years ago today, we went from the two of us against the world to the three of us against the world.

And my how far we have come! Morgan brought us an immeasurable amount of joy right from the beginning. I don't want to say that parenting came naturally to us, but she made it easy. She became the centre of our worlds and changed every fibre of our beings. Morgan made us a family, she bound us together in a way noone else could and we will forever be grateful to her for that.

12 years later I look at her and am awed by the person she has become. She is beautiful, confident, kind and giving....and a wonderful role model and positive influence on her younger brother and sister. Sometimes I look at the family we have produced and I all of a sudden wonder where they came from! At times it feels like we went from two crazy in love teenagers trying to figure out the world to two deeply in love adults with three children, completely overnight. But when I take the time to really sit and think - to remember - all the cherished memories, the first steps, the tiny giggles, the scraped knees, the highs and lows both, I become humbled at the blessings we've been given.

Its a good life, with great people to live it with. And to think it all started 12 years ago today...

Happy birthday Morgan, you'll never know how much you mean to us xoxo

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Its my party and I'll cry if I want to

So another year is here and in our house that means one very important thing: birthday season is in full force. Rhian starts our family's celebrations on December 18, then we run headlong into Christmas and all that that holidays brings. By New Years I have to be planning Morgan's party, as her big day is January 11, and invitations generally go out the Monday they return to school. Steven's birthday is 3 days later on the 14th, then its mine in February (shortly after Valentines Day) and finally, Owen's on March 3rd. Add several grandparents, cousins and uncles birthdays in between all those and it makes for a busy but exciting few months. This year, however, it seems its not so exciting for at least one of us.

This year Morgan and I are having a "disagreement" over her party preparations, and I am not sure if this is the pre-teen rearing its ugly head or the case of the spoiled child who all of a sudden realizes that growing up means changes she may not be ready for. When the kids were little we always went all out to make their day special; we would have a party, invite family over and make them their choice of a birthday meal. We always said at some point we would tone it down, shorten the guest list and make the party side of it more low key. For Morgan, this time has come and she's not having any of it.

I shouldn't paint the picture that she is being ungrateful and mouthy about it, thats not fair and not Morgan at all. That would almost be better, in a way. Instead she is sullen, has lost interest in planning her party and dragging her heals about telling me who she wants to invite, what food she wants and what they may want to do. When we first started talking about her party, she began naming off all these grand ideas: a boy/girl outdoor snow party, a Rock Band Party (also boy/girl, of course), a day a the spa for her and her girlfriends, etc, etc. I immediately nipped that in the bud and told her it would be a sleepover - with no more than 5 girls - a movie, some pizza and a cake. More than I had when I was 12, I tell you that! But this is a girl who has never had a restriction on her guests, has always had her choice of venue and has enjoyed many long talked about parties in her day. She even had a kick-ass Halloween party with 10 girls overnight right after arriving here. Now I see I have done her a disservice.

There were tears when I broke the news to her, and talk about not wanting to get older. I believe I even heard the words, " its not fair." Of course I gave her the lecture about being 6 years older than her little sister (who just had a big party), reminded her of her 6th birthday party when she had 14 little girls over for a tea party, complete with princess costumes - when I had a 3 week old baby no less. I talked about how there are both pros and cons about getting older and didn't she enjoy the perks of being the oldest with her very own laptop, her cell phone, her later bedtime and the babysitting money she makes?? All very good points, which of course she conceded to in the end. So how come I didn't feel any better when she dried her tears and walked away with her head hanging down?

I know in my heart its time to tone it down in the birthday party department. I know if I keep up this pace it will get away on me very quickly and we will never be able to pull it back. I know that I just don't have it in me to pull off a gigantic party right now, after the busy holidays while Daddy is away, my mother - who is not used to a house full of preteens - is here and I am beginning a serious job hunt. This time of year money is tight, time is short and nerves are frayed. But none of those things are her fault and I hope I am not simply making her suffer for it all.

Over all, I don't feel like our kids are spoiled. They know there are people worse off than us, but there are many that are better off. They understand that we both have to work to pay for the house we live in and the cars we drive, they know money doesn't grow on trees and that with three of them they can't possibly participate in every activity out there, so they choose one. But then I look around the house we live in and see the multitude of electronics, the 5 tv's versus the 1 we grew up with, the piles of toys, the 4 computers, the inground pool...and I wonder if we're setting them up for believing life is easier than it really is. We always want our kids to have a better life than we grew up with, but our lives were pretty great growing up so have we taken that too far?

For now I feel like we're doing the right thing in cutting down her party, its not like we told her she couldn't have one at all. Something tells me, however, that when it comes to teenage tears and disappointing the kids...this is only the beginning.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Time flies when you're having fun!

Can it really be 3 months since I last wrote?

I am going to use the oldest excuse in the book and blame it on our overloaded schedule, our busy household, the hectic holidays...and it'll all be true. I had the best of intentions to write a very touching, heartfelt post about the magic of Christmas and the joy of family and friends over the holiday season, but said family and friends kept me distracted all December long!

In actual fact, I did write that blog - and many more. The truth is that I blog each and every my head. I have come to realize that I don't think like most other people; I think in article form. Every time I see a character on tv with the power to read people's minds I tell myself they would give up on me as soon as they realized I don't think in sentences but rather full paragraphs! As I go about my day I compose my thoughts in essay form, correcting as I go, and sometimes scrapping an incomplete thought and starting all over again. Strange? Probably, but the point is that once I've "written" it all out in my head, it never makes it to paper. Or computer, as it were. The same happens when I get all fired up about something - my first thought is to blog it all out, much like I used to journal all my emotions when I was young. But then I rant and rave to my hubby - or the nearest unlucky individual who happens to call or be present - and I lose all interest in hashing it out again in print.

This blog, however, was all about stretching my writing muscles and having a little "me space" in this crazy life, so I am finding myself missing it. Apparently I am not alone either - I have had several people ask me just this past couple of weeks when I am going to post something else. I can't tell you how that warms my heart. I thought it would be enough to just write out all my thoughts and fears and send them out to the universe, but it turns out I love the feedback and knowing that I am actually speaking to real people out there.

There is one subject I would like to vent - I mean, talk - about, and this is family. After a wonderful, loving holiday you may think I am talking about how important family is or how much I am missing them...but you'd be wrong. I am talking about family issues.

You may or may not know this, but I have a sister. I say that because when I mentioned last month to many of the people in my everyday life that we were going to visit my sister in Toronto, the resounding response was, "you don't have a sister." Sadly, it took me much of the Fall to convince Rhian I had one as well. She of course knew her name and had spoken to her on the phone from Nanny and Grampie's, but had never seen her or heard me speak of her. The fact is, we are not close. If we go way back, you know why. If we don't, trust me the story is far too long to get in to. Suffice it to say, its been a while. Morgan remembers her well though, and Owen has been curious about her for years so since we are only a few hours away we decided to pay her a visit. All in all, I would say it was a very successful trip. The kids had a great time and were spoiled rotten, there was no tension to speak of and if you were an outsider looking in you would swear we were all one big, happy family. I think we'll stick to one night trips all the time!

Now my mother is coming to visit. I am looking forward to it, frankly. Its no secret that my mother and I are quick to play on one another's nerves but I love her dearly and she is missing the kids terribly. It will be company as well, as Steven is now gone for his much overdue course in Borden. There is some comfort in knowing he is only 5-ish hours away in case he is needed, but with the winter roads and his heavy course load, we likely won't see him until late February. In one fell swoop he will miss Morgan's birthday, his birthday, my birthday and Valentines Day. It is very typical, however, for him to be away this time of year, so we'll muddle through :)

This coming year promises to be an exciting one. Our big changes came in 2010, but 2011 is going to bring about some big changes for close friends of ours - and bring them closer to us! You may recall my heartbreak over our friend who left for Afghanistan in June, about how he, his wife and son are like family to us. Well fast forward 7 months and he is coming home in a matter of weeks....and moving the family to Ottawa this summer! Obviously, we are over the moon. To have them a mere hour and a half away is like a dream come true. Now we just have to get our friends in Edmonton here in a few years and we'll be all set!

In the meantime we are still plugging away, still very much enjoying our new home and this new town. The kids are finally all doing well in school and fitting in beautifully. We have been fortunate to have played host to many friends and family members throughout the Fall, and look forward to all the people who are planning to head our way this summer. When I look back on last New Years - which I rang in at work in the emergency room - I find myself happy to be where I am.

My wish for you all is that you all follow your hearts this year. Take a chance, make a change, fulfill a your life to the fullest. HAPPY NEW YEAR and much love xo