Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Looking forward to 2019

Well after talking about how much fun 2018 was it's time to look forward to 2019 and what is coming and what I'd like to manifest more of in 2019...

2019 will shape up to be a pretty big year for me!  We are going to Japan in March which I have never been to Asia before so I'm very excited for that and so excited to experience it with the kids.  I'll also graduate with a Masters degree which is so important to me and a big check off my life list.  I'll also turn 40 this year... which I know is only a number, but still probably half my life.  Although it's amazing to think about all of the things I have done and it's only half over!!

Now to think about some specific things for this year.

1. Less meat.  Two-three meatless meals a week, at least and in lunches less meat too.  More lentils, avocados, eggs etc.  Going out, eat less meat, choose meals without meat. The reason behind this is for both our health and the environment. 

2. Less buying stuff.  100$ a month of 'fun spending' and the rest towards savings.  Especially in these first couple months of the year, but overall as well.  More money towards travel.  We have our big Japan trip in March and accommodations there are expensive, so more money towards those experiences that I remember forever rather then sweatshirts that I don't need.  =)

3. Hug my family at least once a day.  Especially Lucas.  Nathan and Darryl are both huggers, so I probably hug them everyday already, but a conscious effort to hug all three of them everyday this year. 

4. Cultivate more of the things you love and don't worry about other stuff.  I think sometimes things I see in social media make me think I should do them...but a goal for this year don't run, don't take baths and don't feel like you should.  Instead do more yoga, eat more chips, go on more vacations, stay home and smile, laugh and relax.

Okay 2019, bring it on!!

Jenn

Friday, December 28, 2018

Reflections on 2018

Well it's the end of 2018 and moving into 2019...  It's the time of year I often reflect on the year that was and look forward to the year that will be. When I look back at 2018 I see lots of travel, school and fun.   January 2018 we went skiing at Lake Louise for Jodie's birthday where Nathan enjoy the best chocolate pudding ever at the Chateau Lake Louise and we had very expensive drinks.  I had the chance to go for a week to Ottawa to help choose questions for the CAMRT exam and ate lots of good food!  I was also able to check off a bucket list item and go skating on the Rideau Canal, which was really much bumpier than I thought, but enjoyed a beaver tail and skated on one leg while I pushed with the other.  =)

February we went to Florida with a big family vacation and to use up the last of the Disney tickets we had bought.  We were able to enjoy Harry Potter World with mom and dad, pool time with the champion cannonballer and Auntie Karen.  Also was excited when Alexis and Bob announced their engagement.

In the springtime, we stayed home and enjoyed a staycation for March break, spent time doing school work and catching our breathe.April I got my hair cut to include bangs, which didn't really work out (again..), went back to Ottawa and Lucas had a blast at outdoor school.  Nathan turned 10 (double digits)

May we had a wonderful weekend for Oma and Opa's anniversary in Invermere.  It was wonderful to celebrate their lives and be with our family.  What an incredible feeling for Oma and Opa to have us all together and be with the whole family they have curated. Darryl and I had a really fun anniversary weekend in Chicago.  It's been a while since we have been away, so it was fun to have a bunch of new experiences together.

The summer included more school, hiking, trips to Kelowna, biking and relaxing.  School was a big busy two weeks where Darryl took the kids to Ontario and Lucas took his first flight all by himself as he went out early.  Nathan did lots of camping with his best friends family while Lucas did lots of biking at COP.  School wasn't as stressful as the first year, but maybe cause I knew what to expect. 

The fall had a trip with Tammy to see the Avett Brothers in Vancouver, a work trip to Ontario where I had an amazing day with my inlaws. Then we had another family filled fun weekend in Invermere for Alexis and Bob's wedding.  Off to Mexico in November for Mom's 60th birthday and some sun and relaxation.

Really when I look at it all it was an incredible year.  Work wise, which I now do full time (and have done for a few years now..) was a roller coaster.  Lots of change in leadership at the school, a big disappointment not getting a job I really wanted, coming to terms with that and helping to mentor the person who did get the job.  But at the end of the year putting on a big event that was successful despite many obstacles and learning to embrace the job I have and being grateful for all that it offers in my career and life. 

We are certainly in the glory days with the boys.  Travelling with them have been such a pleasure.  They can both carry their own stuff, they don't complain when we modify their sleep schedules and they really enjoy all of their experiences.  Sometimes I wonder about not putting them in a lot of organized sports and spending our money on vacations, but I do think they are getting a lot from those experiences... although I know they would also get a lot from organized sports too, I guess it's a trade off of what we value. Lucas really embraced mountain biking this year, he loves his bike and would go out biking for hours each day.  Nathan is still playing drums and enjoys learning new rhythms.  We have been working with both kids on their school work and being involved in their learning.

School has been a big part of the year for me as I did it full time for the year.  Lots of learning and the school has inspired my love of learning.  I've listened to so many podcasts, reading non fiction books and thinking about where the world will be in the future.  It's been a wonderful experience, although I'm writing this on vacation from school, don't ask me how I feel about school the week before a big paper is due.  But here I am still writing and have gotten so much better at it. 

2018 was a wonderful year in a lot of ways.  While there were some challenges, there were so many more fun and fulfilling events. 

Till next time and looking forward to 2019

Jenn

Friday, April 07, 2017

To Nathan on His 9th Birthday

Dear Awesome Nathan,

Today you turn 9 years old and you have been excited about it for a while now.  Mostly since getting home from Europe, but even a bit in the few months before.  Birthdays are quite fun at this age and we don't have any of your parties until next weekend, but it's a good week of celebrating.



I usually write you and Lucas letters on your birthday although while reviewing I don't think I did it last year.  But back on the saddle again this year.  This year was a pretty good one for both you and the family.  We did our big Europe trip which you did really awesome with and then there has been swimming lessons and camps and summer time fun.   You are at an age where you are really easy to get along with and also really enjoy the company of your family.  I'm lucky that you are such a great kid.



In all of our different activities you are a pretty easy going kid.  You'll have an opinion on something, but rarely is it a sticking point for you if we don't follow your opinion.  "Sure, I'll do that' is a Nathan phrase we hear a lot.  You are quite easy to get a long with.  This means you usually have lots of friends too.



You are quite a loving, trusting and affectionate person too.  You love to give hugs and snuggle.  You are trusting that if we ask you to do something you know it's usually not beyond your capabilities. You may balk at it for a moment, but if we encourage we usually get a 'Sure I'll do that".  You are willing to try different food and be more daring that way.  It'll be interesting to see if as you continue to grow how you feel about more challenging tasks.  

 

Matthew continues to be your best friend, but you play with lots of other kids too.  Sometimes even by yourself, which I may be momentarily concerned about, but you are 'totally fine' with it.   The kid who probably bothers you the most is your brother, which I'm sure all little brothers would say about their big brothers.  You love him, but he can drive you crazy like no one else can.



In school you enjoy your teacher.  You like math and gym and music.  You don't love reading in French, but will do it for me most nights we read together.  You prefer to read in english, so we work on that sometimes too.


You love you tube and videogames.  Soccer is your sport of choice, but you also enjoy skiing, swimming and basketball.


 


 Happy 9th Birthday my love.  I'm so so glad that you are part of our lives and you make me happy and smile every. single. day.

Love Mom.








Saturday, March 18, 2017

Anticipation: London and Paris

Next week at this time I'll be waking up... in Paris!!

I have said something along these lines to the boys and Darryl and yoga instructors and my mother and about anyone who will listen.  I'm so excited.  This is one of my favourite parts, the anticipation of what is coming up.  It's like at a concert.  I love the few minutes before hand when you don't know what the first song will be.  When the lights go down and you know it's coming, it hasn't started yet, but there is such excitement in your chest.

I'm excited to see what the boys think, the Eiffel Tower is incredible.  And to be immersed in french. To see architecture that is so different then what we have here.  To eat delicious food.  To have little sandwich shops and bakeries all around.

I'm excited for them to see London, where people speak english, but it takes a bit to understand.  To be in a big city and see shows.  To go on the London Eye, see Big Ben, walk up St. Paul's Cathedral. To see things older then they have ever seen.  To go to museums (although only one in each city) and churches (again only one in each city)  But such beautiful things.

If there is something you highly recommend please let us know.

And this is it till April now!!  When I'll be able to post pictures and stories from our amazing adventure.

Jenn

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Struggling

These last few months have been pretty challenging for me.  While I mostly post happy and funny things, and if we are being realistic I live a very sweet life, but in reality of my happy and sweet life the last 6 months have been really challenging.  I think last week in frustration I said I'm failing at all aspects in life.  

But struggling with work, struggling with where I fit in and belong.

Struggling with balance.  Working full time is a lot. When do I have time to get things done.

Struggling with what marriage looks like after 2 kids and 15 years of being together.

Struggling with boys who love to do what their dad does, but I'm not always sure how to fit in with them.

Struggling with finding time for myself at the expense of others feelings.

Struggling that in so many environments I don't get to be me.  I'm focused on making a good impression, learning, not stepping on toes.  I miss being me.

Struggling with closing doors on jobs that I have been doing for many years.

Now I know very few people read this, and I don't say this for your pity or comments.  But to record it. Too look back and know life is not all roses and trips and ponies.   Life is the good times and the bad times.  Learning to live with being uncomfortable. Knowing its a period of growth, at least I hope.   Blogging it knowing I can look back in the good times and remember the hard times that made the good times feel so good.

Jenn

Monday, February 27, 2017

We Were in Mexico

Last week at this time I was talking to my best friend.  Which may seem like nothing,  I talk to her all the time.  But were we sitting in Mexico, maybe at dinner, maybe in our room after dinner.  And we had spent the last 4 days talking and eating, swimming and drinking.  But the highlight of it all was the music.  Music that we both love so much and it makes us so happy.

Thursday we headed from Calgary off to Mexico.   On the flight down we didn't get to sit together cause I forgot to my passport to check in at work the day before.  Somehow though I managed to secure a great seat, the exit row, with no seat in front of me.  That may have been a problem, as my tv was very far away, but as I just had laser eye surgery in October, it was no problem at all.

When we got off the flight, we were ushered on a bus and it left right away!  There were 5 or 6 buses lined up, but the bus we were on left as soon as we got on it.  It's like they were waiting for us.  When we got on they were playing the Avetts too.

The resort check in was easy, although Tammy missed a soccer goal and 'lost a BMW'.  Our room was very 'centrally located'.  Which was the selling point, but also very loud.  We had the concerts in our room if we didn't want to go outside.  Generally it was lovely, though, roomy and all the amenities.  That night we got to eat steak, drink mojitos and listen to our favourite band.  We sat is awe of it all.  Lucky that we were there.


The rest of the weekend shaped up pretty much the same.  Beautiful sunshine, more drinks, reading and talking.  There was a waterslide, yoga class, hibachi grill, tequila and concerts.  Many amazing concerts.  Brandi Carlisle was fantastic!  She is a great singer live, you appreciate it more then on her albums.  As Tammy, or Crystal would say "Stop it'.  It was all just so so good.

What a great trip.  Nice to reconnect with my best friend.  Nice to relax and have fun.  Dance and jump till my feet hurt.  Sing my heart out till I almost lost my voice.  Cry when it was almost over.  Cry to hear songs live that mean so much in my regular life.

Thanks to Darryl for giving his blessing for me to go and for having a great weekend with our boys.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Classic Auntie Karen

On Friday Auntie Karen was hanging out with the boys while I was a work.

I texted that I was on my way home.  

Her response

"OK Do you know where the balloons are?"

=)  I knew they must be doing something fun.  Something that would require balloons.

Jenn


Saturday, January 28, 2017

January 2017

Well the resolution was to try and post twice a month, so as January is coming to a close I thought it would be a good opportunity to reflect on the month.   This month has becoming a lot of intentional reconnecting.  I had some great dinners with my family and friends who I only get to see once a year. Finished a course, put work into starting a new one,



I finished one of my Athabasca courses, which I was happy about completing.  It taught me about some of the buzz words around management and leadership as that is where I find myself immersed in now.  I also submitted my application for my masters graduate program, which is both exciting and scary.   This year moving to working full time has been a large transition for me as I work to find some balance in my life.  But I'm slowly getting there.  Work has been a month of learning, which I am grateful for.  I have been struggling with my new role, but I see some real positives with the new boss we have.  He is different then any other boss I've had a really visionary and leader, rather then a manager and while that is a transition for me I feel like I have a lot to learn from it.   Learning about who to trust and when, how to make people feel important and heard and how to look at the big picture, rather then day to day.

Home here has been pretty fun as well.  We had a week with no devices, which was quite successful. Darryl suggested it one Thursday night and most of us jumped right in.  Nathan wasn't sure about it, but he did really well too.  It was fun to have a week of play and togetherness and hopefully it will help to balance the rest of the month with learning there are things other then screens.  Generally I feel like we are pretty good as a family with the balance, but it's good to experiment.



My dad retired this month and it was his birthday.  I'm really happy and proud of him.  I have been leaning on him more over the last month with the kids and editing my writing and grateful for his help in both of those cases.  Nice when space opens up for different things.

Darryl and I also spent lots of time this month talking and supporting each other.  I'm grateful for his support as I learn to navigate this job as well as finding a balance in my life with the increasing demands.


Till next time

Jenn



 

Sunday, January 01, 2017

2016 and 17 Resolutions



Well its the yearly blog post to see how I did at last years resolutions and make some new ones for this year. 2016 was not my favourite. Although I did some fun things, overall in the world and in my world it was not the greatest.



Update for 2016 Resolutions



Be more present with my kids. To make this goal a little easier to qualify and see if I accomplish it my plan is to take the family to a non chain restaurant where we get to try new food once a month.

This goal I did pretty well with this year. Although not a total check mark, but all in all we did some really fun things together as a family and I feel like we connected more as a family too. I did better at engaging with the kids for activities, but also stopped feeling bad about not being engaged with them all the time. All in all I think family was my highlight of a more difficult year. I feel like I'm doing a good job as a mom and day to day having Darryl and the kids around keep me happy and sane and feeling loved.
With Darryl I would like to plan more date nights. I have a great husband and person to spend my life with. He's a great dad and partner, but it's easy to get caught in the mundane of everyday life. I would like to make more effort to do reconnect and do things together.

I would say this is a no for me and something I need to keep working on for 2017. More fun with Darryl! As the kids are getting older they can be by themselves for a bit while Darryl and I reconnect. As I said last year we often get caught up in the mundane of everyday life or we have spent years dividing and conquering parenting that we need to remember what it is to spend time together and not divided.
I have been doing a regular yoga practice for a couple of years now so I want to continue with that. Maybe work on doing more practicing at home. Although I do love my studio.

Continue to love and practice yoga. Doing it at home a bit more, but love to practice anywhere. I practiced at Soul 192 times last year, so I want to keep that up. 
 
We have a trip to Hawaii planned for this year and I'm heading to Halifax for a work conference, probably going to Kelowna this year too and maybe something else in the summer. Plus it's Darryl's 40th birthday and our 15 year anniversary, so hopefully something fun for that.

Trips this year went pretty well, there just was not enough of them. And Darryl's birthday was probably the most memorable with the new car. We had a great day on his birthday and like I said earlier my family continues to keep me happy and sane


Resolutions for 2017

  1. Focus on the positive.  I am so grateful for the life I lead and I found this year I thought about what I was missing rather then what I had.   Generally I think of myself as a really positive person, but it slipped away a bit on me this year.  I'd like to get back to that mindset this year.  I think there is a balance between being content with where you are at and striving to get better.  Still looking to find that balance.  
  2. Blog more. 2 times a month. 
  3. We have some pretty great trips planned this year, it's going to be a good year for creating those memories. Looking forward to that!
  4. Stop being so hard on myself, especially when it comes to work. Give myself time to learn. It's hard having come from being excellent at a job to having to learn everything again, but give myself time to get there. 
  5. In yoga I'd like to get better at wheel and handstand.
  6. Continue to cultivate all of the good practices in my life. Continue to embrace opportunities. Embrace fun times with my kids and my family. Continue to do awesome stuff with Darryl. Keep practicing yoga. Drinking tea with Tammy. Smiling at strangers. Having good conversations with my mother. Overall I think I'm pretty good at this, I love life and love to do fun things. I want to keep embracing all of those opportunities that come my way. I'm hoping to start working on my masters this year. Which will be a lot of work, but again what a great opportunity to complete it.
Till next time

Jenn

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Reflections on 2016

Ahh... the last day of 2016.  As I sit here on my couch drinking tea, having had an awesome last week and a half of Christmas break I take time to reflect on 2016 and what it has brought into my life. Mostly 2016 has brought challenges into my life.  It's interesting as I read through a lot of social media and articles people overall were not happy to 2016.  It was a tough year for the world.

But what a lot of these challenges this year have also taught me about it growth and the importance of focussing on what you have.  I think this year I focused too much on the negative things in my life. What I was missing or was wrong with something, instead of focussing on what is right.

So lets focus on what was right!  Here are the highlights of 2016:

Hazel and Harvey

This summer we adopted two super cute and fun kittens.  Harvey has personality coming out of everywhere and Hazel is calm and cuddly (especially with Lucas)  Of course this helped us to heal and be happy again after loosing Emma.  But those two are certainly my favourite part of 2016.

New Job

Anyone who has talked to me in the last 6 months has heard about the struggles I've had transitioning to my new job.  But you know what:  I got the job!  That is something to celebrate.  I remember when they called to ask to call my references I was with Lucas at Chinook and we had just bought Orange Julius.   I say the number on my phone and took a deep breath, knowing that the phone call would change things for me.  And it did.  I remember I couldn't pick up my drink after because my hand was shaking so much.   Lucas thought my physical reaction to something mental was pretty funny.   Really the job has been a hard transition, but I'm getting there and I'm learning.  I'm trying to look at it as an opportunity to learn and to improve the environment.

Trips:

Hawaii:  Beautiful and lots of fun learning to boogie board.  I know Hawaii is one of most people's favourite places, but I learned it's not mine.

Halifax: Tammy and I went and presented at a conference and had oodles of fun.  Driving to Peggy's Cove, eating seafood, being awesome, hiking up and down the hill, meeting East Coasters on airplanes, taking one of my favourite pictures of the year, reconnecting with colleagues from around the country.

Kelowna with Tammy and the Kids: Learned what a funny accent Shaun can have, glad a kangaroo didn't squeeze Nathan to death, kids can fish in the rain, Matthew had an awesome swan song, Nathan laying on Matt's boat and it blew up.

Kelowna with Darryl: The kids having a great time on the boat, mountain biking through the train tracks, mountain biking in Panorama, eating great food in Panorama.

Winnipeg: Seeing John K Samson and most of the Weakerthans, feeling a work sense of belonging again, meeting new colleagues and them becoming friends, eating delicious food, lots of laughs and smiles, working really hard.

Yoga

Continues to be a wonderful constant in my life.  Helps me to stay calm and level headed.  192 classes this year, which is good considering my balance has been off since working full time.   Continued to grow friendships and have many new great teachers there as well.

As usually here is the video highlights of a lot of those fun highlights.
Till Tomorrow and the resolutions for 2017!

Jenn