Friday, December 29, 2017

Holiday Retrospective

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

My Christmas Song

The weeks leading up to Christmas were always my favourite. I loved listening to Karen Carpenter croon away some holiday classics while I made little shaped cookies. Or watching the Grizwalds while I wrapped gifts. Those weeks were filled with all sorts of special events or gatherings. And then the big day would arrive - December 25th. Despite the fact that I was celebrating the birth of our Saviour and all that represents, there was an emptiness inside me once Christmas finally arrived.

As the years passed, many tears were shed on Christmas. For some reason, this holiday has a way of holding up a big mirror and showing you the things you feel are missing in your life. Christmas is a time for family and although I enjoyed celebrating with my parents, my siblings, their spouses and their kids, it was a reminder that I was alone. More than anything, I desired a family of my own to start Christmas traditions and celebrate together.

This Christmas pushed all of those other Christmases out of the way. With a wonderful husband and adorable red head by my side, we enjoyed all of the festivities together and my heart was full. We finished our shopping in November so December was reserved for Christmas movie nights, LEGO advent calendar, making cookies with Grammie, and gingerbread house construction.

On Christmas morning, Cody crawled into bed with us for some snuggles before we made our way downstairs for Dad to read the Christmas story and open gifts. We stayed in our jammies and had a decadent breakfast, played with new toys, went tobogganing and watched Home Alone. It was the perfect day of relaxing with my family without having to pack up and drive anywhere. Actually the whole week is planned to be the same! Not much on the schedule but enjoying our time together.

As we celebrate the birth of Jesus, I'm reflecting on how God put together my family - like a jigsaw puzzle. It is not the conventional family I had thought I would have, but what a blessing they are to me. I couldn't ask for a more thoughtful, caring or kind husband. And, yes, I have to share Cody with his bio-mom on holidays like this, but I'm the one that gets to tuck him in every night. I get to have neat conversations as we drive together in the truck. I know what he struggles with at school and what makes his heart sing. I am so grateful for the relationship we have been able to forge.

This Christmas my heart is full.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

My Kindred Spirit

This week my very best friend celebrated a birthday. Although we don't see each other nearly enough, this occasion caused me to pause and reflect on our special relationship.

I met Karla Ann on February 25, 1994. I remember this because it was George Harrison's birthday and, well, I have a thing for remembering such things! We met through our mutual friend Leza Bygrove - and all because I had a crush on a boy. Ha ha ha. I thought Mark Colvin was the cat's meow and when I found out that Leza went to his youth group, I arranged to join her. We caught a ride with Karla and her brother Jeff. That was the beginning.

After that we were nearly inseparable and our friendship grew into a true kindred spirit kind of friendship. Since I went to LCCVI and Karla was home schooled, we spoke on the phone every day - to ensure we were current on the goings-on. In fact, since it was long distance (ie: costs money) from our homes, I usually talked on the pay phone outside the girls locker room. Who knew teenaged girls had so much to talk about?

As we matured, so did our friendship. We went on trips together - exploring interesting corners of the world while making great memories together. We laughed, we cried, we had a lot of fun. But the one thing that strikes me about this friendship is the foundation it is built on. Our faith. Through all of life's events - ups, downs and in between, we can share in these moments with a similar lens.

Life was considerably different when Karla Ann got married and started her family. The essence of our friendship remained but we were at such different stages of life, we just seemed out of synch. Opportunities were fewer and further between for us to connect. Until one day when we met in Strathroy for coffee to catch up on life. I shared with her about someone I had met and she immediately knew where my life was headed. What fun it was to once again get together as we planned another wedding - this time it was mine!

As we sat on my porch one day, she said something to me that was so poignant. Jumping into life as a wife and mum might not have been in my plan all along, but God has a way of surprising us. "In fact," she said, "I consider this such a blessing that you have now caught up to where I'm at and our families can now get together because our lives are in a similar spot in life."

Brilliant. I had not considered this, but it was so true!

I recently watched the video from our wedding - including toasts and speeches. The tears trickled down my cheeks as I realized what a treasure I have in this dear friend. Time and distance may keep us apart but I know that she is a forever friend and cherish the memories we have and the foundation those have built.

Thursday, October 12, 2017


I've heard lots of stories about home renovations: they always take longer than you think, they always cost more than you think, etc. Well, it's all true!

When we moved into our house it had an unfinished basement. At the time, it didn't seem like that big of a deal. We could finish it the way we wanted and expand our living space. After nearly a year of unpacking and settling in, we decided to tackle the project.

We got a couple of quotes from local contractors that left my mouth gaping. Surely we wouldn't have to pay that much just to finish the basement!?! Well, no. We wouldn't. Because we found Mike. Mike is our neighbour who is very handy and has endless energy! He has quarterbacked this project - putting in countless hours at our house and he has had great ideas and suggestions because he's done this type of thing before. Devin has been helping out - which saves on our cost but he's also learning a ton along the way. A win win!

We started out with a mountain of boxes haphazardly strewn about the entire lower level. We had not unpacked all of Devin's stuff when we had to vacate my house. It was the hottest day of the summer when we moved my stuff so all of my belongings were shoved into the basement for the sake of "getting it done". After that, it seemed like an enormous task each time we went to the basement... a mountain of boxes to make our way through.

Slowly but surely we eliminated some boxes - unpacked for our use, donated to Goodwill, sold on Kijiji or just plain garbage. We still have plenty left to go through, but we at least had a manageable sized mountain to deal with. We moved all of these boxes into our "unfinished" area and Mike got to work on framing some walls. It was amazing to see how quickly things changed in the early stages. It went from a big ole empty room with insulation and vapor barrier to walls with drywall and eventually paint. Then came a bathroom, lighting, flooring and a fireplace!

We are nearly at the finish line and are so excited to have this new space to use as a family. The countless hours of working down there is now about to pay off. Although, it has me holding off on the pending kitchen renovation!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Our Maritime Adventure

It all started when my Uncle Doug asked me last summer "When are you coming out to see us?" This started the wheels moving to get our wheels moving!

What a wonderful adventure we had on our trip to the Maritimes. It was a perfect two weeks of just the three of us and the open road. We traveled through Quebec and into New Brunswick. I felt compelled to stop in Hartland, NB to get a photo with the longest covered bridge in the world. Our family had stopped there 32 years earlier and it just felt like a "must do" thing to get our photo with the same bridge!

We carried on to Moncton where we did an Urban Quest by the waterfront. Then spent some time with Devin's Aunt Pauline and Uncle Steve and cousin David & his wife Cathy. We walked on the ocean floor at Hopewell Rocks and carried on to Nova Scotia, eventually ending up at Uncle Doug & Aunt Carmelle's place right on the ocean. What a wonderful few days of relaxing and enjoying their company. And an added bonus, my fruzzin Carol Ann was home too!

We ventured into Halifax and set sail on a pirate ship and watched the buskers around the waterfront. We even tried our first beavertail! But the real gem of the trip was Cape Breton. What a gorgeous spot! Each turn was breathtaking and Devin loved driving those winding roads made famous on tons of car commercials. We didn't see any whales when we went whale watching, but did spot some seals and dolphins. Cody even got to hold a lobster when they showed us how they trap them.

Perhaps my favourite part of the trip was our "perfect picnic" purchased through Parks Canada. We saw it on the website and thought it looked like a great idea. The photo was a couple with a beautiful picnic basket with a baguette sticking out the end. We joked that it would likely be in styrofoam take out containers in a plastic bag when we picked it up. We were pleasantly surprised to find it all tucked neatly into a special cardboard box with the Parks Canada logo. The food was delicious and so was the view that Devin found for us to eat our picnic! What a wonderful day.

Two weeks was the perfect amount of time to actually get away and relax before feeling like it was over and we had to head back to work. We all had a wonderful time and made family memories to last a lifetime!

Wednesday, September 06, 2017


For the past year, I've been jotting down notes on my phone whenever I have a "Cody moment". I'm sure all parents have these moments when their kid says something profound or hilarious. I knew that if I didn't write them down, I would eventually forget and I didn't want that to happen.

Inspired by a Cody moment last night, I thought I'd share them in a blog post - for future reference. Here is my list in no particular order:

Devin and I were stealing a moment to kiss in the kitchen while Cody was headed for the fridge to get a drink. He paused and said "I'll just let you have that moment".

While discussing my wedding dress and how much I loved it, Cody piped up to say "you know me, I love pretty".

While listening to McCartney's Jet in the truck, his fist clenched, he exclaims "My hand is always ready". (This followed me telling him that when you see Paul McCartney in concert and he sings this song, you pump your fist in the air each time he sings JET!)

When deciding what to make for lunch Cody declared: "I would like two examples of sandwiches please".

"My tummy reminds me when it's time to eat. It gurgles when I'm hungry. Mummy's tummy sounds like an earthquake when she's hungry."

While discussing interruptions in the classroom, he claims: "He makes me forget things. Because, I have a beautiful mind when  I'm not being interrupted".

"I'm so thirsty, my throat is dripping it's so dry." (what?!?)

"I'm just going through my brain because I have 300 words I have to memorize for school."

While saying grace before dinner: "Thank you God for Mummy. I've been waiting my whole life for someone like her".

Watching Grammie curl her hair: "You look like George Washington".

He caught a glimpse of the wire on the back of my teeth and was fascinated that I have one the same as Daddy's. Then he exclaimed "You really are meant to be together!"

Cody: "When you're old Daddy, I'll take care of you."
Me: "What about me?"
Cody: "Maybe, but you're tough."

While on our East Coast trip, Devin was explaining to Cody that we were far from home and it took us three days to get there. His response: "We can get it down to two if we really work at it."

Also on our trip, while eating lunch one day - I asked Cody if he was having fun. He agreed that he was and then added "If we didn't meet you, we wouldn't be here right now."

Rounding the corner at Costco, he sees a sample display and sings (with vibrato) "my dessstinnnyyy"

When tucking Cody in, I was explaining how special he is to me and how he's changed my life. He smiled sweetly and snuggled under the covers and then pointed out "If you didn't meet us, you would just be sitting around your house talking to shadows."

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Swiss Chalet ...OK

The following text exchange actually occurred between Devin and myself on April 1, 2016. It was April Fool's Day and Swiss Chalet sent out an email announcing they were retiring their chalet sauce and introducing a new recipe.
What ensued was pure comedic gold. Everyone in the office was following along as Devin replied. The longer it went on, the more he got fired up and the funnier it was. I shared this at our family Easter dinner because I thought it was so hilarious and Jo-Anne liked it so much she "performed" it with Karla Ann at our wedding reception.

Thought I would share it here, along with some pics we took on this year's family vacation. Enjoy.

Janice: Just sent you an email

Devin: K thanks.

Janice: It's about Swiss Chalet. Did you hear about the merger and such? My parents might be devastated.

Devin: That is without a doubt the stupidest thing I've ever heard of in my life. I'm not going there anymore.
Devin: I can't believe how betrayed I feel right now.
Devin: To put this into perspective, The Keg might as well stop serving steak.

Janice: I know! I cannot believe it.
Janice: My cousin Josh will be devastated. He would drink the stuff if he could. And he's not even in Canada to have it before it's gone.

Devin: I'm actually a little taken aback by how angry I am over this right now. I probably should have waited to the end of the day to look at that.
Devin: Don't be surprised if they go out of business over this. There are literally people that will travel across the border from the states, like a pilgrimage, to go to Swiss Chalet for that stuff and then bring home 5 gallon buckets of it. I heard about it on the news one time in Buffalo.

Janice: It's a terrible marketing plan. Like new Coke or McPizza.

Devin: Where do people and companies get off doing stuff like this? They create a product and provide it to people for 60 years and then just take it away. It makes no sense to me. McCartney might as well start doing ghetto rap music.
Devin: Or Target? Where are they now?

Janice: I'm wondering if it's related to the merger with that Quebec chain. Heard it on the radio this morning while getting ready for work.

Devin: What Quebec chain?

Janice: St. Hubert Chicken.
Janice: Never heard of it before, but apparently it's a big deal.

Devin: I knew it! The food is crap. Why would they do that?
Devin: I've been there and it's a crappier version of Swiss Chalet.
Devin: Literally after eating there, I kick myself for not just going to Swiss Chalet.

Janice: Oh dear.
Janice: That doesn't sound good for Swiss Chalet.

Devin: There's no way it will last. There will be way too much push back from the public. They'll do this for a while and then have a grand welcome back to the old sauce as another marketing ploy for more cash.

Janice: Well, sorry to fire you up. But I thought of you right away.

Devin: St. Hubert chicken used to be in Ontario but it's gone now and there's good reason for it because it's swill. What a waste of perfectly good chicken.
Devin: Fired up? I am literally this mad. (anger emoticon)

Janice: Ok honey. Settle down. Life will go on.

Devin: No way! It's what we always do in this country - we settle down and take it. People need to speak up and tell St. Hubert's chicken to keep their poison in Quebec where it belongs.