Friday, December 31, 2021

2021 in Review

I'm never here anymore and then boom, three posts in one week! Oh 2021, it's been a journey , that's for sure! Honestly, I thought we'd be further along the pandemic in December of this year. There is a light at the end of the tunnel but boy, has it been a long tunnel.

For starters, 2021 saw all four of us getting vaccinated, one partially and two boosted. Rapid tests are being used and we've had a couple stay at home situations due to each kid having to quarantine from a possible exposure. We had multiple bouts of school from home. We postponed travel plans once again but at least we were able to see my parents, D's brother and his family, his aunt and cousins. Hopefully 2022 will have us seeing some more family. 

We are still very happy in our home... six years in. We continued with some smaller renos like chopping some trees to fix the sight line from the house, fixing in-floor heating and completing more backyard work. We also are biting the bullet in early (hopefully 2022) with changing flooring, a fireplace and some cabinetry.... It will require us moving out for a week! Hopefully, that's all. We are still very grateful for the beautiful neighbourhood we live in with our  happy "hours", music get togethers, walks and treats shared. We did our very own seafood boil and a chef party for the first time this year. 

C is now in the seventh grade and in a new school... She misses her old teacher but she is doing pretty well with the academics. There are some ups and downs with her peer group and we struggle to help her navigate it. She moved up to yet another level in competitive swim which involves some 5:45 am practices and taking her out of school early. The better your kid becomes at a sport, the more inconvenient they make it for the parents.  She is also still loving her violin and this year was accepted into the City Youth Orchestra.... now she is forced to practice, ha! 

A also switched schools and once again, this kid surprised me with her aplomb. She has found her own little tribe and according to her teachers she is so "zen" in class.... a far cry from her at home dramatic antics.   She is the best little organiser, loves writing out routines, plans and schedules and will someday rule something big... j/k... maybe! She had a rough health year with some unexplained tummy pain. She tested positive for celiac so we cut gluten out of her diet (and largely the rest of ours). We also had to put her on a low FODMAP diet as she may have IBS. It seems to have settled a bit but we will be doing further testing in 2022. She started back gymnastics and dance this year and still plays the piano with immense concentration. 

D is still working 3 out of 5 days from home. I don't know if that's a good or bad thing as he sometimes can't switch off. He is the most prolific binge watcher, loves playing with Toby and enjoys wiping counter tops and vacuuming-- ha! 

Toby is now almost a year and a half. He is still obsessed with A's stuffies, cheese and snuggling me. He is very social and loves both humans and other dogs!  I did some puppy training with him this year and with D's constant training, he was the star student in his class.  He is such an incredible blessing to us all. 

It's been an up and down year for me... Supervising online schooling was not my thing and it was a very worrisome year with A's health issues. I really struggled. Starting back in the corporate world in November though challenging has also been a blessing. The kids seem alright, it's fun to exercise my brain fully once more and it just seemed like the right thing for us all. I can't wait to immerse myself more in the role in 2022. 

We did manage to do a couple much needed Ontario getaways this summer. We went to Blue Mountain for some family fun and then right before school started headed to Picton with some family. Both were awesome little trips and time away. 

Despite all of the tribulations that 2021 brought, we are grateful for the blessings and kindnesses of so many friends and family members. You know who you are and you mean a whole lot!! I am  also grateful for honesty. Parents and friends in my tribe more than ever began to share stories of their own personal struggles and it's nice to know that we aren't alone in our parenting and life issues.

I hope that 2022 brings some more normalcy to us all. I hope to see more family members and travel just a bit more. D has to see his parents!! 

And to my readers and beautiful blog friends, I know I haven't been a consistent blogger AT ALL  this year but I thank you for reading and commenting when I do blog. Istarted to feel that my girls' stories were to not mine to tell anymore but then C told me to start back as it's fun to read...  who knows what 2022 will bring, blogging or otherwise!

Happy 2022, friends!

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

10 Questions at the end of 2021

For the last couple years, I've started to do the questions for the end of the year from Laura's podcast and prompts... it's become an end of year tradition that is a nice way to say farewell to the year 

1- What was it like in the beginning?
In the beginning, it was scary. Christmas was quiet and beautiful though we missed family and friends immensely. COVID numbers skyrocketed after the holidays and the kids were home. A's teacher (and also A TBH)  at the time wasn't the best at online schooling so parent involvement was pretty high. It was rough, friends and I'm owning it. There's a reason I didn't go into teaching LOL. 
Despite it all though, it was a coziness and a beauty to this season. It was cold outside and we hunkered down as a family. We cooked, watched movies, did "online sleepovers" and lots of virtual happy hours :-). 

2- What worked well and what didn't? 
I let go of a lot of things re: screen time ... I was winding myself up about lots of things with the kids and their online schooling, their screen time and all the things involved with us all being at home. I'm now choosing the things that matter to me more than before....let's see how that's working come 2022

3- What were the most important conversations and connections?
Someone close to me mentioned that she tries to only worry about the things that she has actual control over... it's something that I'm really trying my best to adhere to going forward. Coincidentally, this person who I've been close to for many years is possibly the most important connection I've had for 2021... more on that later. 

4- What was the best entertainment?
The thing that comes to mind is our Modern Family Netflix watching all year round.... It's become awesome bonding for me and the girls many weekday nights. 

5- Who mattered?
Everyone! It was nice to start getting together with our nearest and dearest slowly as the summer began and we all began to get vaccinated.

6- What Changed? And Why?
I started working full time in the corporate world once more... What started off as contract job a favour to my friend and old manager became a blessing for me. I threw my hat in the ring for the Brand Manager position and after meeting/interviewing with several key individuals at the company, got the job. It's been such a change for us all, at times overwhelming, at times crazy, at times fun but I LOVE IT! 

7- Where did you find happiness and fulfillment?
I am finding LOTS of happiness and fulfillment going back into Marketing Management. I work with a Canadian Candy company and it's such a fun industry to understand, take ownership of and grow in... It's awesome interacting with colleagues on a personal level as well and it's an awesome organisation... If you're Canadian and you know Bearpaws then you know where I work. The people are very kind and helpful, the organisational culture is phenomenal and it's still work from home -- so I can wear joggers and no shoes, ha! When I do have to go into the office, it's six minutes away :-). Oh and my kids think that my job is the coolest as they get to sample Candy and learn industry terms like long bite and short bite. 

8- What did you actually learn?
That parenting a pre-teen girl is hard and I need to be less reactive and take things less personally :-). 

9- What is actually ending?
It's a big change for us for me to go back full time into the corporate world. The reason I left in 2013 was because of the kids. Mom doing so many things had to stop. Kids have to become more self sufficient and not yell if Mom is in a meeting, ha! D had to step up (and willingly did) with all the many drop offs; grocery shopping  and extra curricular.

10- What do you want more of?
I want good quality family time, kindness and laughter... less screens apart and more together :-). Road trips, little adventures and visits ... And I really, really want to see family in 2022, our parents, brothers, aunts, uncles and cousins. 

What about you, friends and family? What beautiful things did you learn in 2021. 

Friday, December 24, 2021

Merry everything and happy always!

It’s been such a long while but I just want to pop in to a little space and wish everyone the most festive of holiday seasons. May health, peace and love be yours always. 


Thursday, July 8, 2021

Last Day of School 2021

Happy Friday, friends! School's been out for the last couple weeks but I figured better late than never has been the motto of this blog (and in some ways our lives) these days so here we go :-)'

Both girls are leaving their school. C is going to middle school and I decided to pull A out of the current school as well and put her in her actual school zone in the same school as her sister (the elementary goes to middle school) . I'm really hopeful that they both get a peer group in their neighbourhood and I'm looking forward to not being their school bus anymore. 

A said goodbye to  Grade 3, her friends and teachers. This has been a tough year for A. She was diagnosed with celiac and was really suffering with tummy pain for quite a while. It still lingers and is quite worrisome. She is a bright kid but wasn't a huge fan of online learning as she is so social. She did her work but towards the end with her tummy acting up again, things fell through the cracks and I was okay with it. This is also the first year I really didn't pay much mind to grades... We were still pleased with them though. 

C said goodbye to and graduated from sixth grade with a virtual slideshow...our region decided on no awards and no graduation ceremony for the graduates which saddened me but we did our best to make it as festive as we could with our balloons, dinner out and a few friends over to celebrate her. We also said goodbye to her very favourite teacher EVER  ( and possibly mine though moms aren't supposed to have favourites) . She sobbed like it was her job many times that week especially when she said goodbye to Madame. The kids were allowed to go into their school, drop off gifts and pick up their stuff. She was the last person to do a drop off that day  and Mme said to her "C, you are my last student here today but you are definitely by no means my least." Well that set ALL of the waterworks off... It's a good thing I was wearing massive sunglasses and a mask. She also wrote the most beautiful things in her gift to her.

The tone of this post is a bit dismal as it really was a not to fond farewell to this school year! But off we are to new adventures. I'm so proud of my girls for getting through this school year, growing and learning. It was a tough one.  I'm so hopeful that the kiddos get a brand new, fresh start come September.  I really hope masks are no longer part of school life and more and more people get vaccinated.... In the meanwhile, with three out of the four of us fully vaccinated, we are slowly opening up our lives to others, activities, outings and really making the most of this summer sunshine. 

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

What's Up Wednesday- June 2021

Happy last Wednesday in June and yes to the end of the bizarro school year.... it's been a long one, friends. However, C told me that I had to blog soon as my last blog post was a little bit of a cliff hanger (!), so here I go....

, What’s Up Wednesday {12.18.19}

What we're eating this week?

Monday: Lamb skewers and leftover Greek salad. Kids also had greek potatoes and rice
Tuesday: shrimp/crab cakes with a lobster stuffed portabello with garlic scapes and asparagus. Kids had potatoes and chicken also.
Wednesday: shimp/crab cakes with a 1/4 lobster stuffed pepper and a salad. (can you tell that I went to the fishmonger this week.
Thursday: Canada Day food--- burgers et al.
Friday: hmmmm.... who knows?

What I'm reminiscing about
Summers past when I spent at least a week in NYC with my family. One of my favourite people turns 6o today and I'm not there to celebrate with her.

What I'm loving
Sweet C graduated from elementary school. We had a tiny get together for her with four friends (our limit in Ontario at the time was 10. Actually, in the Waterloo region it still is ten until mid July)

What we've been up to…
A bit of gardening... things are starting to look lush and green.

Check out the baby zucchini

Peonies from my neighbours' yard make us so happy.

What I'm working on

Getting this little lady her second vaccine- so far, I've managed to move it up by a week but I'm hoping for sooner.

What I'm excited about…
We went to the farmers market for the first time this year and it was good to do a random summer outing. 

What I'm watching/reading…
I've not been watching a whole lot except for the final episodes of Felicity when I get a chance but boy have I been reading. I just finished Jennifer Weiner's new one and it was very good. I seem to be gravitating to  contemporary mysteries these days. I'm also going to reread some of my old Elin Hilderbrands like I do in the summer. 

What I'm wearing…
Summer dresses- this year is the year of the shirt dress! I'm obsessed but only have two, ha!

What I'm doing this weekend…
Canada Day is on Thursday so it's just a small get together with a couple neighbours. Other than that, A has a couple playdates and I'm going to see a sweet friend who has pancreatic cancer. 

What I'm looking forward to next month? 
Some summer fun with the kiddos. A couple day trips here and there, A's birthday, some low key  playdates and maybe a couple get togethers with family and friends. Looking forward to people again LOL.

What else is new?

My neighbours' son had a wedding the other day and it was so beautiful. We weren't invited but D didn't want to be in his shorts while the guests were all around...

Also, this dog is obsessed with A while she is eating. Maybe because she passes him along some food. 

So that's what's been going on! Hope you have a wonderful day, lovelies. 

 Linking up with  Shay and Shaeffer

Friday, May 28, 2021

May Favourites!

Happy last Friday in MAY!!! It's been a long month, filled with home schooling, parenting, indoor and outdoor stuff, a very big little celebration and I am spent! I miss my little blogging space though. Here are a few little highlights:

1- First off, guess who is finally vaccinated?! I waited my proper turn in queue but it was taking extra long and I was experiencing vaccine jealousy LOL so I headed to a mass vaccination clinic in Mississauga to expedite it (with my 21 yo niece in tow). Special thanks to Abby, one of A's school friends' moms who told me about it.  I'm slowly getting calls now for local shots (I did the day I got my vaccine as well but decided to go to the one I was scheduled for as it would be a long time before my niece would have been called).  I did not respond too well as I had some minor flu symptoms but I'm still so thrilled to have gotten it and being one step closer to normalcy.

2- It's planting season... this year I did my usual plethora of herbs and also kale, lettuce, spinach, chard, broccoli, cauliflower, loads of peppers, tomatoes, zucchini and cucumber. It has been so cold these last few nights though, I really hope my plants survive it...I've covered them but who know?!

2- Mother's Day brought lots of spoiling with beautiful flowers and presents, a little down time, brunch, a family walk and my favourite dinner (king crab legs)

Sidenote, a certain eight year old "picked" these red tulips from the neighbour's yard.

D knocked it out of the park with the most beautiful flowers

4- Pool season is here... well it was, ha! It's so cold today!

One of those rare moments mama got in..... few and far between.

5- Hitting those trails still... now more than ever.

6- It's snuggle season with the most beloved pet in the history of the world... lol, everyone says that about their pets... and kids, ha!

7- And finally, our very favourite turned the big 5-0!!!! It was a low key celebration just like the birthday boy wanted it with a family blessing in the morning with a priest, his family, his mom and my mom, presents,  takeout, a neighbourhood walk by to bring him a drink and many cakes!! A couple family members also surprised him with a takeout meals! Such a great idea for lockdown in Ontario.

One of the many bottles he received from very generous loved ones!

I ordered the very best mango mousse as well as a few other treats as when I asked him what flavour of cake he wanted, he asked how much was he allowed to have..... many, my dear but in teeny tiny quantities.

A feminist, a fairy and their father!

And that's a wrap for May!!!

Linking up with Andrea and Erika.

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