Another Year Older.

I was always told life goes faster the older you get but when I was younger I would always wish to be older… when can I be 16 and drive, when can I be 19 and legal, when will I grow up and own a home, have a career, be comfortable financially (still look forward to this!)… I would reach one thing and then instead of enjoying that moment I would be looking ahead for the next “better” moment.

Life changed though, I turned 30 and became a mom. 4 years ago my life changed in ways I wouldn’t or couldn’t have imagined and its just gotten better every day since. I am finally now realizing this is the best… enjoy right now and don’t look for the better. If you are living life right, this is best.

Wednesday was Rowen, my oldest child’s, 4th Birthday. I cannot believe that he is already 4.

He usually sleeps in his own bed, through the night, doesn’t drink from a bottle, can dress himself, plays with other kids and has friends, is funny and so unbelievably caring and loving, can speak, plays nicely most of the time and can concentrate on a task for more than 30 seconds. He is able to be left with family or friends, loves school, can go shopping or out with us and so much more… some of these things may sound simple or like he should have been doing them for awhile but if you had asked me if he was doing these things one year ago my answer and outlook would have been very different. These things have actually reminded me that everyone changes, people grow and that nothing stays the same so enjoy it while it lasts because you might look back and wish you had taken a bit more time to appreciate certain stages.

Birthdays have always been bittersweet for me as I love celebrating a year of growth and learning but I also know aging means another year gone! This year has been a particularly hard one with lots of loss around us. It is true that when people you care about are hurting so are you. Not only have we had a big loss in our own family but we have many close friends who have as well and it has really impacted us as a family and me as an individual.

I really do try to find the “lessons” that surround loss and hardship, however somethings this year haven’t shown me a lesson and have been hard to see meaning behind. They have reminded me to be grateful and appreciate all the good things. SO with that in mind I have a few “lessons” from this year.

Enjoy right now, be present in this moment.

Life can change in an instant.

Tell people you love them and don’t waste time saying NO to opportunities to spend with those you love. When you are tired or haven’t seen someone for a while take the time to call and check in, send a quick text, write a card. You will miss those moments when they are gone.

If its important schedule it in, Make a standing date with your girlfriends, plan a weekly meal you always sit down with your spouse, make a monthly Thursday morning park play with the kids favourite friends. Whatever or whoever it is carve out time. I know when I schedule stuff in it is more likely to happen.

SLOW DOWN. Prioritize, what and who are really most important to you and how do you want to spend your time.

You can feel happy and devastated all at once. This year specifically has brought heartache but I also have moments where I am so incredibly happy in my family life or proud of my kids that I am both very sad and incredibly happy. Emotions are crazy.

I know for certain I work hard to find the positives in our life, some times it is easier than others but I know I feel better when I am positive, I am a better parent, better spouse, better friend, better employee, etc. I don’t just wake up smiling but when I look at how fast my son has grown up or I take the time to stand outside his classroom and hear him saying goodbye to all his little friends. Or ask him about his day and find out he had so much fun with his big buddy it is hard not to smile.

Being happy isn’t constant and it takes work. I have moments where I am frustrated, times when I parent in a way I never want to and am so embarrassed and disappointed. Something will trigger a memory or I will hear something sad about a friend or acquaintance and it is instant tears. Despite all the sadness though my kids, Fraser and the life we have created is full of so much good that I accept when I feel sad and take the time to cry or be frustrated or be mad but I also try to be grateful and appreciative and happy. I try to look at all things I have control over and make choices that I am happy with.

One thing I have always known I wanted for my kids is for them to be happy and to develop meaningful friendships. This is something Fraser and I could always improve on but work hard at our important friendships. Our friendships are genuine, old and deep. We don’t get as much time as we would like to socialize but feel so fortunate for all those people who are our tribe.

For me to know that Rowen has started to develop friendships and play and have fun feels like the biggest success we could have. Fraser and I have worked hard and have an amazing support system of friends and family that mean the world to us and I want my kids to have the same. Friendship is work, but what we get out of them is so much more than the time and energy we put in.

This time last year I had just finished a parent meeting at preschool with a big list of concerns from the teachers as well as my list of concerns, and had my Paediatrician suspecting Rowen had Autism. Fast forward a year later and Rowen has a big list of accomplishments, we headed into a school meeting on Friday where it included a big list of accomplishments. In addition our circle of friends and family has grown to include a team of people who not only support Rowen but also us. These professionals have become like family and are so incredible in helping us all to have more success day to day.

Wednesday was a pretty great day. Rowen woke up to a lot of excitement and it was adorable to watch all three kids unwrap and play with Rowens mound of new goodies. The thing is most of his gifts had been bought with intention and help from his OT in fun stuff that he can play with and it will also work on developing his fine and gross motor skills as well as help him to regulate his body.

That same morning Rowen went to see his OT and he was so excited to bring in a Starbucks for him and a hot chocolate for himself, birthday treats. Then he had ABA and he took in a big Texas Donut to celebrate with everyone. We ended the evening with Nan, Grandpa, Uncles and Aunties and of course his cousins coming over for cake. It was so great.

My mom commented later that night at how far Rowen had come and what a great night he had. The thing is last year Rowen’s birthday had been a bit of a tough time. We had been struggling with lots of tough behaviours and we were all trying to understand what was going on for Row and how to best support him. Fast forward a year and Rowen has figured a lot of stuff out (with lots of support and help), he knows when things are overwhelming and can express himself so much better and more appropriately. He feels so much more comfortable and safer with his people. He is able to listen and follow some direction, he was good at slowing down to do his gifts and even thank whoever gave it to him. It was truly a great birthday.

In addition to Rowens Birthday going well he had a few other super sweet days celebrating. On Monday he celebrated at school with cupcakes and it was one of his best days to date at school. He loved getting to go and share with his friends. He is really find his place at school and learning to play and participate with his class.

He also celebrated tonight with his friends at his Birthday party. Birthday parties are something I have always loved and have been known to possibly go a little over the top… I believe its a matter of opinion, but Fraser is the opposite end of the spectrum when it comes to birthdays and parties and all that good stuff so we are often not in agreement. The thing is last year was a good reminder to me that the party and birthday aren’t about what I want but what each of our kids want. This year Rowen got to pick something he wanted to do. I gave him lots of ideas or suggestions and showed him some pictures. Then it was up to him to pick who he invited. This is hard for me as I often like to invite my friends (with kids) and I usually feel the more the merrier but his party package was for 12 kids and we limited it knowing he does better in small groups. The night was a huge success and he was so happy.

Rowen is a year older, and I am so excited to see what this next year holds for us all. He brings me so much joy and is so incredibly caring. I am grateful that he has made me a mom and that he has made our lives fuller. To another year of growing with Rowen. ❤️

Raising the Patient Parent.

Just over three years ago we had just become parents for the very first time. November 21st is not just our sons birthday but its an anniversary of the day our lives changed in the most amazing and unforgettably life altering way.

Here is the thing, previous to our babies we had jobs, disposable income, uninterrupted sleep, proper personal hygiene, hobbies, friends and more. But despite our best efforts we were selfish, judgmental and rigid people. Nothing has the ability to effect you like a baby. No amount of online research, parenting books and babysitting can prepare you for the rollercoaster of emotions that parenting is.

Sometimes (or a lot of the time) Fraser and I joke about not having kids or at least getting rid of a couple of them. But most of the time, when we are at home and everyone is finally asleep or when we see one of them do something amazing for the first time or maybe they are just being funny and say the right things at the right time we have a moment where we look at each other and feel more love than you can ever even imagine you deserve or will know. That is why we would never change it and we accept the bad with all the good and we change a million diapers and we are never rested and we leave our house in a constant state of disaster… the list is endless! We absolutely are thankful for these little people and all that they have taught us and continue to teach us.

Here is the thing I have learnt in these short 3 years as being a parent. A lot can change in 3 years. You have no idea what you are about to learn pre-kids. Babies and kids are the best teachers you will ever meet, stay open to it and these little ones might actually be more of a role model and mentor than anyone else in your life will ever be. We think we are here to teach and raise our kids but I actually think its the opposite. The young are here to teach and raise the old. Our selfish, judgemental and rigid ways have slowly over time evolved into selfless, empathetic and flexible ways. We are forever learning and forever tested.

One of my favourite moments is listening or watching Fraser deal with Rowen (usually during a distressing moment). Sometimes its because the yogurt is in the wrong bowl, the lego broke and he cant get it back together just right or whatever and these are moments PK (Pre kids) Fraser would have been frustrated but to listen to this super laid back, totally in control Papa just deal with these moments like a pro! Makes this mamas heart flutter. Because in these moments I know we are both growing from all the lessons these kids are teaching us.

We celebrated Rowens birthday with as much of his favourite stuff as we could, this year was evident how much Rowen has taught me because despite my inner party planner I went with stuff I knew the birthday boy would enjoy and resisted my planning temptations. SO instead of an over the top celebration we had a day of friends, family, fries, pizza, donuts and even Nans house! He was so excited… it was a perfect day! He took Delta Bakery donut holes to school, met up with a few friends and cousins for a McDonalds Birthday Party (***Best cheapest easiest thing ever) and then off for more presents and cake at Nans house!

Now, on to Graces Birthday… we are doing a birthday breakfast at home! I am trying to convince the family we should do matching PJ’s but so far I am loosing:( I guess you gotta pick your battles!

What do you do for your kids birthdays? Any favourite traditions you have? Do you get sad around children’s birthdays, or use it as a time to reflect? I am thinking about celebrating half birthday instead (easier for party planning and helps to spread out gifts and not do soooo much around Christmas), anyone do this?

Beginning of a new Decade…

First I need to say HAPPY 30th BIRTHDAY to my youngest sister KP!  Now I couldn’t think of a better way to wish her Happy Birthday than to write about it on the blog, my sister may not agree but I hope she likes it (better to beg forgiveness than to ask for permission)!  

Welcome to your 30’s Sis… this decade is going to bring so much joy and success to you and to our family.  Although I have only been in my 30’s for 3 short years I can tell you they have been the best.  The 30’s have been when life really starts to get good.

With your 30’s come confidence and life experiences that have shaped you into the decisive and strong woman you are.  You may be our youngest sister but you are no baby anymore.  Gone are your wild and crazy days (or more like nights), replaced with trips, parties and creating traditions spent with friends and family that can only be developed after years of memory making moments.  You have always been the outgoing sister who knows everyone, but by your 30’s you now have quality friendships and I am so proud of the people you choose to spend your time with.  Not only do your 30’s mean you are decisive about the people you surround yourself with but you somehow become busier and learn to do only the things you want to or like to do.  I hope this is true for you this decade, hopefully you are no longer afraid to say no to stuff because you know by saying no to something you are also saying yes to something else.

For you specifically your 30’s will have a wedding, which we cannot wait for. This means your 30’s has officially brought you a whole bunch of new family.  Selfishly I love that your 30’s brings us a brother!  It is also the decade you are going back to school to get your BA, this is something I am so unbelievably proud and inspired by.  I hope this decade not only brings you a husband, a degree but also advances in your career and family life (make me an auntie again!).  

Whatever your 30’s bring you I hope they bring as much happiness as your heart has room for, more fun and adventure that you knew possible and just enough sorrow or pain that you appreciate how full and blessed your life is.  I cannot wait to see what the next 30 bring, as your first 30 were a pretty great start!  

Hope Vegas with your fiancé and friends is fun and Palm Springs with all the aunts, mom and sister are relaxing!  Great way to start off your 30’s. 

Cheers to your 30’s