Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Eight is Great!

This little guy turned 8 years old today. I told him this is where he stops getting bigger! He's at such a fun stage - exploring and discovering new things, his is personality starting to form, he still loves giving and receiving hugs and kisses... I want him to stay here forever!

I never dreamed it was possible to love someone else's child as my own. But that is exactly what happened with Cody. He has become such a huge part of my life, worming his way into my heart and grabbing hold!

I love the moments in the truck when we share a favourite song or when he recognizes a Paul McCartney song. I love it when we see a Beetle driving down the street and we call out "love bug" and blow each other a kiss. I savour the moments cuddled on the couch with a book. I am so grateful for the tender moments we share, the times he grabs my hand and tells me he loves me or wants to run and jump into a bear hug. I am blessed to have this little life to pour into and it spills back onto me.

So, today we celebrate this wonderful redhead that God has blessed us with. He is truly special and I can't wait to see what's in store for him.

Friday, January 06, 2017

Banff for Christmas

What a wonderful place to spend the holidays! This year Devin & I flew to Banff for Christmas. A number of factors came together to make it a reality: Cody was spending Christmas with his mom, Devin & I both had nearly a week off work without taking "vacation" time, we had wanted to do a delayed honeymoon at some, the decision was made.

We stayed at Buffalo Mountain Lodge just outside the city. It was exactly the feel we were going for. The lobby was totally decked out for Christmas with a roaring fire in the fireplace. We even had a fireplace in our room!

This trip was the perfect blend of relaxation (puzzles and Christmas movies) and adventure (snowmobiling up a mountain). The views were so spectacular we felt that we were in a snowglobe! It was cold - I wore an insulating layer the entire time I was there - but gorgeous. The layer of snow on top of everything was breathtaking.

One of the moments I had anticipated the most was the "one horse open sleigh" ride on Christmas Eve. I'm a real sap sometimes and the thought of doing this in the mountains on December 24th was just too much for me to handle! It did not disappoint. We climbed into our sleigh and were covered by a buffalo hide for warmth. We made our way through some open areas and even spotted a herd of elk. As the snow softly fell, I tried to take a mental snapshot that I could savour in years to come. What a unique experience!

Another one of my favourite moments was our full day of snowmobiling in BC. Wow! What an adventure. It was amazing to wind our way up the mountain and see the fantastic views along the way. We stopped a few times at particularly breathtaking vantage points - including this frozen waterfall. At the top, we stopped for lunch at a cabin - giving us the opportunity to warm up. After lunch, it was time to rip around the "powder bowl". That was what Devin had been anticipating since we booked the trip :) However, when you're on the BACK of the snowmobile, it's much different. With each bump, my bum came right off the seat! I was really getting jostled around and thought I might just fly off the back and Devin would never know. So, I had a time out to take photos while he raced around like a maniac.

We both returned home sick with a cold, but we had such a great time, it didn't seem to matter! What a great first Christmas as Mr. & Mrs.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Better to Have Loved and Lost...

Grieving the loss of someone you love is relatively new to me. Fortunately I have not lost a lot of loved ones. I was only 6 when my Grandma Mills passed away and the loss was much different as a child. My Grandad died when I was 18 but we didn't have a close emotional attachment so the grief was different, yet again.

Losing my Grammie in November was like nothing I've ever experienced. I am so fortunate to have had such a close and loving relationship with this special lady. Not only was she my Grammie, sharing stories of her youth and from the past, but she was also my friend. A confidant. Someone I could talk to. Someone I could LAUGH with. We laughed a lot. She was quite funny.

I feel that I have mourned in gradual stages. Several years ago, I started to see signs of her aging. It became more difficult for her to get around and our trips in the car were less frequent. As superficial as it sounds, she stopped dying her hair and started to look older. She moved from her home of 60+ years to an apartment, to a retirement home and then to a nursing home. Our phone conversations were not as long and our visits were shortened by required naps. All of these stages gave me time to process what was happening and what was inevitable. Although I could not imagine what it would feel like, it wasn't as overwhelmingly crushing as I thought it might be. I'm grateful for the gradual grieving.

However, you never know when an emotional moment will hit you. While putting up the Christmas tree this year, we carefully removed ornaments from the box and hung them on the tree. And then I opened a box that brought out the tears. It was an ornament I had given Grammie many years ago. Last year she returned it to me to hang on my own tree. As soon as I saw it I was overwhelmed with sadness and started to cry. Cody wanted to know what was wrong, so I explained to him that this ornament was very special. I had given it to Grammie and she had given it back to me last year - as if she knew that she wouldn't be with us this year. He rubbed my arm and said "I'm sorry you're sad Emmy."

Today would've been Grammie's 90th birthday. The last two days have been difficult. Yesterday a memory popped up on my Facebook feed. It was a video I had put together for Grammie's birthday 2 years ago. As I watched the photos fade across the scene, I started to cry - right there in my office. Fortunately, no one else had arrived yet so I was alone, but it was a full out "ugly cry" as Oprah would call it. I think I'm lucky to have loved so much to have lost so much.

I will always miss this special lady but am incredibly grateful for the memories I will always carry with me.