Tuesday, December 11, 2012

My 31st Birthday

The weekend before my actual birthday, Dee and Layne offered to take the boys overnight so Chris and I could go out on a date to celebrate my birthday. It was fabulous.

We decided to try a new restaurant in calgary, Tango Bistro . Its a "small plate" restaurant meaning that everything is more like appetizer size and you order a handful of different things to try. Everything comes out at different times- when it is ready rather than all at once. We enjoyed a fabulous meal and dessert and I also found a new favourite wine!

We had smoked duck faltbread with onion marmalade (amazing!), cheesesteak poutine (so delicious!), Lobster roll (not my favourite), Yam wedges (not pictured) and some incredible shot glass desserts- caramel apple pie cheese cake, Rocky Road Mousse and Chocolate mousse with Raspberry truffles. I absolutely loved the apple cheesecake and tried a bite of the other desserts. The truffles were far too rich for my taste. The presentation was beautiful, though!

After enjoying our leisurely and delicious meal, we went to see Argo. I thought it was a fabulous movie and I was on the edge of my seat and tense right from the opening credits til the end. It was suspenceful and interesting while still being historical. I thought it was great.

Then we came home and enjoyed sleeping in without kids giving us the 6 am wakeup call!

My day of my actual 31st birthday was spent with my 3 favorite people. We had a great day and it was the perfect way to celebrate.

It started with me sleeping in, then coming downstairs to see the birthday banner that Chris and the boys made. It was a tradition when Chris was growing up for everyone to sign the banner for the birthday person, and we've tried to carry on the tradition.

My favorite part was the family in the word "happy" and the wine glass at the end.

After breakfast, we took the boys to see Home Alone at the theatre. Every Saturday, Cineplex has a "family favourites" feature for $2.50 admission. We all love going to the theatre and the boys hadn't seen Home Alone. Watching them laugh at the physical humour in the movie was the best part! Luca especially really "got" the jokes and humour and we all had a great time. I recently found the movie at WalMart for $5 so we'll be watching it again for sure!

Then we went to Montana's and enjoyed a night out. It was really nice and we all had fun playing "I Spy" while we waited for our food. Its so fun that the boys are at an age where they get the games and can fully participate.

After lunch we went to Ikea for our Christmas tree. The past few years we have bought our trees there and have always come home with a full and beautiful tree- and only $20 and you get a $20 off your next purchase coupon to use in the new year.  We also enjoyed browsing the store as well. Its on teh other side of Calgary so we don't get there very often.

Here is Levi pretending to be a tree. :)
After dinner, rather than getting the traditional (for my birthday) DQ Ice Cream cake, (due to our "diet"), we opted to go to Menchies for frozen yogurt instead. The boys love to choose their own flavours and toppings and there is always something that each of us like. It was a tasty end to a wonderful day.

And now I'm 31.....

Monday, December 10, 2012

Kid Funnies

I try to remember all the funny things my kids say but it's hard to keep them in my memory just as they said them. Here are a few recent ones that I don't want to forget. I got really good laughs from each of them.


One Sunday afternoon, Levi and I were cuddling on the couch watching Teletoon. Unfortunately, that channel has commercials and some are lenghthier ad/ infomercial.  This day the one that came on between shows was for a hair removal product. I tuned out and was flipping through a magazine but Levi was apparently watching closely because when it was done, he turned to me and in a very serious voice told me "Mom, you should get the No-No. It will remove ALL your hair!"  I wasn't sure whether to think it was cute or be offended (I've decided cute is the way to go) but I sure did laugh.

Another time he told me I needed to have another baby so I could get a baby food maker and "make all my own healthy baby food" that he had seen on an infomercial.

Proof that advertising works!

There is this little girl in Levi's class that he has fallen in love with. He has talked about her nearly daily since September. Apparently the feeling is mutual.

One day as we were driving, our conversation went like this:

L: "Mom, I love Destiny because she is the prettiest girl I know"
Me: "That's nice to say, honey." (not totally listening at this point)
L: "I'm going to marry her when I grow up"
Me: "Oh really?" (my interest a bit piqued)
L: "Yep I am."
Me: "Where will you live?"
L: (said like it was a no-brainer) "At our house with you and Daddy."
Me: "Oh, ok. That sounds nice"
L: "And we will have two kids. A boy and a girl. Their names will be Johnny and Angelina".
Me: (laughing.......)


In our house, we have always used the proper names for body parts. The boys have always called their penis' a penis and when it has come up, have told them the proper names for female body parts. We haven't made a big deal out of it and they don't usually use the words to be silly or gross (except Levi recently has taken to saying "penis" almost every chance he gets and laughing hysterically). Its (usually) just a name for a body part around here.

But when I got the following text from Dee, I nearly peed my pants laughing....

Not a broken leg or cut or bad heart but a missing vagina! Yes, I can see how that would be a problem!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Quickie

Wow, has life ever been busy lately! It seems like we are always on the go and have something or other going on.

I've been subbing lots- I think this has been my busiest fall ever! I actually had to book time off around Halloween so I could volunteer as a parent in the boys' classes. There have been many days that I have been asked by more than one teacher to work on the same days. Plus the terrible cold/ flu that has been going around has knocked a few teachers out for a few days at a time. Our family was no exception.

Luca is enjoying Beavers on Wednesday nights. He's really come out of his shell this year- definitely not as shy as he used to be in new situations and is really enjoying a variety of friends and activities.

Levi loves school and spending time with his best buddy, Jack. The two of them would be absolutely inseperable if they could. Unfortunately for them, at some point, they have to go to their respective homes!

I started a weightloss challenge at the beginning of November. I have been feeling pretty self conscious about the extra pounds and really not liking how clothes were fitting so I finally was ready to make a change and put in the real effort it requires.  I decided that my plan of attack would be to loosely follow the "17 Day Diet" and to cut sweets and "bad" carbs (bread, pasta, potatoes, etc) out of my diet. I'm also using the app "My Fitness Pal" to track my calories consumed. There have definitely been some really tough days of craving, especially with halloween candy in the house, but so far I have stuck pretty rigidly to my new way of eating and am down 5 pounds! I'm also working out 4 days a week.  I'm starting to feel pretty good and am constantly reminding myself of the $400 pot that's up for grabs at the end of the challenge!

My fabulous husband has also decided to join me in changing his eating habits. I'm so proud of him for sticking with it, especially with no tangible reward at the end. (Of course, our reward is a healthier us, but the money sure helps!) In fact, I think he has had better will power than I have!  Hopefully by Christmas we'll be a bit lighter and healthier.

Luca doesn't seem to care too much about the change in diet- he eats everything, but Levi is really not impressed with some of the things we've put in front of him at supper time. Mashed cauliflower (instead of mashed potatoes) has been by far the worst (and the funniest for us)!  He is a kid that struggled with texture and has a very sensitive gag reflex so you can imagine how that went.....

My Christmas shopping is 99% completed and my homemade gifts are getting closer to being done. If you know me, you know that I love to make and give special gifts and really enjoy putting in the thought and effort to make something specificly for those people on my list.

After my birthday on December 1, the tree will go up and then I can wrap the gifts (one of my favorite "jobs")!

Christmas parties, events, concerts and baking parties are filling up our calendar fast!

What do you do to get ready for Christmas?

Friday, November 02, 2012


This Halloween was busy with both boys having Halloween parties in their classes which I volunteered to help at, the children's library program had a Halloween themed event that Levi and I went to, and of course, there was the Trick or Treating part!

It was a really chilly night and we didn't get to as many houses as we have in the past but the boys still managed to get quite a haul! They were so excited and had so much fun!

 Playing "pin the stem on the pumpkin"
 Really unimpressed with the feeling of the "goo" behind that curtain!
 Halloween at the library!
Luca waiting in his desk for the costume parade to begin
 Dancing to Halloween songs
 Bundled up and ready to go collect candy!
 With all their loot!

I even dressed up to volunteer in Luca's class!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Sometimes what I need to force me to slow down is being sick. But then sometimes even that isn't enough. I've worked this week even though my chest is tight and my cough is horrendous.

Having a little boy puking and wanting to cuddle his momma? That is enough to make me log on to my sub dispatch system and mark myself unavailable.

So today, Levi and I are hanging out at home in our jammies. The puking part is over thankfully but the cuddles and laziness remain.

I'm letting myself slow down and just sit. Near my littlest boy. Coughing and coughing and coughing.

I want someone to come snuggle me and make me feel better too.

I can take sick days from teaching but there are no sick days when Mommy is sick and a child is also sick. I've got to don my cape and get through til bedtime. Then I can rest.

Monday, October 08, 2012

The year is 3/4 over! Goals check-in

In January, I made some goals for 2012. In the summer, I updated my goals here.

Now we are well into fall and its time for another check-in.

  •  Run 5K. I got close this past year but in 2012 I am going to do it. Along the same lines, I'm going to make an effort to walk more rather than hop in my truck. To make this measureable- I'm going to choose walking or another "healthier" option 3 times a week.
PASS!!!  Last weekend I did the 5K in 37 minutes. I did have to stop and walk for short periods but I finished and am happy with my time. And it was for a great cause- the Crossfield Food Bank. And I am walking more than I am driving in Crossfield. We walk to and from school almost every day. I know that this will change once the really cold weather hits because I'm a cold weather baby but I'm happy with our level of activity so far.

  • Donate blood. This was also inspired by Tasha. Both of us are 30 and up until last week had never donated blood out of fear- of the unknown maybe. Tasha did it on New Years Eve and said it was no problem. Donating blood is something that has always been at the back of my mind as something I should do, especially since in 2005 I was the recipient of 3L of donated blood when I had emergency surgery.
FAIL. I had every intention of donating when I went to visit Tasha in July. However, a call to the clinic to make an appointment resulted in me not being able to donate blood until at least April of 2013. Because Chris and I had been in the Dominican Republic and they don't screen for Malaria, I have to be back in Canada for a full year before I can donate. This will be a goal for next Spring for me.

  • Blog more frequently. I know I've been sporadic and I hope to blog at least once a week, if not more this year. (Tom and Lisa- hold me to this! If I'm not blogging, email me and kick my butt in gear! For those that don't know, Tom and Lisa are my brother and sister in law that live in Ottawa and are probably my most frequent visitors to my blog. Its the source of much of their information on our family. :) )
PASS/ FAIL. I'm trying and I have spurts of frequesnt blogging and then I stop. Still a work in progress.

  • Keep a Thankfulness Journal. I saw the idea on pinterest about 2 months or so ago and marked it as something I wanted to do. Then I was gifted this beautiful journal by a client and knew that I would reserve that book for this project. I started it today and my goal is to write in it daily and have 365 entries by this time next year. (Since its a leap year, I can miss 1 day over the whole year.) I think it will be a great activitiy, especially when I have days that I am frustrated or feeling down to force myself to sit and come up with at least 1 thing to be thankful for.
FAIL. As stated in my last review.

  • Allow my children to do more activities and projects that may create messes. I tend to disuade them from doing certain activities due to the mess it will surely create, but I'm going to try not to be so uptight.
PASS. I'm still letting the boys do crafts, etc even if I cringe at the mess it will create. This is a big accomplishment for me!

  • Start saying no more. This past year, with my doula business picking up, I found that I was getting overwhelmed with the commitments that I had taken on. I'm always eager to volunteer for something and then end up regretting it when I stress over getting it done and trying to fit it into my other daily activities. I'm going to choose my commitments more carefully.
PASS. As fall is here and the time of year that things tend to get really busy, I am less stressed and far less committed to things. I even said no to quite a few potential doula clients for July because I promised myself and my family that I would take July off to spend family time together. That being said, I am still subbing frequently, taking on doula clients and volunteering on the Library Board. I'm still busy but not overwhelmingly so.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Fun Run

Yesterday was the Crossfield Fun Run for the food bank. It was the 5K that I had been training for. My first ever 5K run. I was excited, nervous, eager, proud, anxious....

In addition to the adult 5K, there was also a kid's 1.2 km run as well. The kids chased the vintage firetruck along their route and were rewarded with a medal at the finish line. Both Luca and Levi took part.

The 3 of us before the run
The kids ran first and then the 5K began. We definitely had fun and it was for a great cause. I am proud of myself for finishing it (in 37 minutes) and have officially met the goal I set for myself this year (and the last few years)!
 Luca and his buddies warming up with the Jazzercise ladies
 Getting ready
 And the kids are off!
 Here comes Luca!
Here's Levi!
 Levi getting his medal

Luca, Levi and Jack proudly display their medals!
Dee and I before the run
Dee and I coming in to the finish! We did it!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Things I'm Into Lately

I totally stole this post from Tasha, and I have no shame. ;)

  • The amazing fall colors and the even better weather we've been experiencing
  • The Cinnabon coffee creamer I found yesterday. So good. It makes having just one cup of coffee really tough.
  • Hearing about my boys' days at school. When I can get more than "I don't remember" out of them...
  • Scarves. Its that time of year again!
  • Dresses and skirts. I love to wear them when I go to work. I'm going to have to start wearing tights with them soon though.
  • Planning our next trip to Disneyland- 4 months away!

What are you into these days?

Saturday, September 15, 2012

30 Day Mom Challenge

I saw this on Pinterest today and loved the concept. I'm going to print it out and hang it somewhere I will see it every day. Its a good reminder to slow down and be conscious of our parenting.  Who's with me?

NOTE: to enlarge, simply click on the picture or visit the iMOM site.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Friday Night Leftovers

  • The boys are finishing up their second week of school. Levi has school one Friday a month and today's the day. I am so happy to report that they both LOVE school! They are always eager to go- although Luca likes me to stay with him and hold his hand til the bell goes rather than join his friends in the lineup. I'm cherishing those few minutes of hand holding and the hug and kiss that comes as soon as the bell rings and he runs off to join his class. Levi often needs to be reminded to come give me a hug and kiss before rushing to join his little friends on the carpet at preschool.

  • Yesterday I subbed at Luca's school in the classroom directly across the hall. I peeked in a few times to spy on him hard at work without him knowing. I'm so proud of my boy. A quick chat after school with his teacher to see how he was doing confirmed what I already knew- he's doing just fine. He's a great reader (she said she actually needs to sit down with him again because he zipped through all the sight words she had for her assessment!). She told me a cute story about their work yesterday. The class was supposed to be drawing pictures to tell a story. They are focussing on using pictures to tell stories rather than words at this point. She looked over to see Luca leaning over his neighbor's desk writing sentences in his friend's journal. When she asked him what he was up to, he told her he was helping his friend because he didn't know how to write the words that he wanted. Mrs. M explained that while that was a very nice thing to do, he shouldn't do someone else's work for them and that they were just drawing pictures right now. Turns out his book was full of words and sentences too! Keener.

  • Levi always cracks me up. Earlier this week my mom was here for a few days. On the drive home from preschool, Levi was looking at an Avon book and showing my mom all the different makeup. He asked her which color she wanted. When she responded that she didn't actually wear makeup, Levi replied without missing a beat "Well, maybe you should." I nearly died laughing. But that would be bad since I was driving. 

  • To celebrate our 10th anniversary last weekend, Chris and I went for dinner at Smugglers- a delicious restaurant that serves amazing prime rib. We both had prime rib with garlic mashed potatoes and veggies and the wonderful salad bar. It was so good and we left with very full bellies. BUT, currently Blizzards at DQ are Buy 1 Get one for 99 cents.....SO, even with our very full bellies, we stopped and got dessert. And we even got home a full hour before we told the sitter to expect us. The boys were just brushing their teeth so we tucked them in and intended to snuggle up and watch a movie but as soon as I layed down, my eyes got droopy. A full belly and a cozy bed had me asleep in no time. Chris watched a movie alone. Haha

  • The 5K run is just 2 weeks away! On our last run, Dee and I logged 3.8kms. Getting there!

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Summer Bucket List review

Well, summer is done and its time to check in on how we did with our bucket list.

  • go camping
  • go on a hike
  • make bubbles
  • make our own sidewalk paint and draw masterpieces on the driveway We did draw masterpieces, but not with our own, homemade paint.
  • go bowling
  • have a picnic lunch
  • visit the splash park
  • go on a road trip
  • go to the beach
  • have a weiner roast with friends
  • visit 5  new parks in the city
  • make our own playdough
  • go to a drive in movie (there happens to be one in town in August!) Sadly, it got cut short when a thunderstorm blew in. :(
  • go "fishing" in our kiddie pool
  • watch fireworks
  • play mini golf
  • stargazing/ watch a meteor shower
  • make and enjoy our own popsicles
  • run through the sprinkler
  • read a chapter book as a family

  • We did manage to get lots done but not everything. Guess we'll have to carry those over til next year!

    Saturday, September 08, 2012


    The other night, after being asleep a little more than an hour, Levi walked out of his room and stopped in the hallway where he began to pee. In. The. Hallway!

    There was nothing I could do to stop it but wait til he was done then guide him to his room to get cleaned up. I went to get something to clean the carpet and when I returned to his room, he was standing there with wet shorts and had put a sweater on!

    The poor boy was so tired and confused and didn't remember any of it in the morning.

    Just a little story to save for his wedding day....

    Friday, September 07, 2012

    The First Decade

    Today is our 10th wedding anniversary. Wow. Where does the time go? I can remember our wedding day like it was yesterday but then I think of all that has happened since we've been married and it seems like a lifetime ago.

    On this day, 10 years ago, I was anxiously waiting to walk down the isle to meet my groom at the altar. I wasn't nervous, just excited. I knew that getting married was the best decision of my life.  At the top of the stairs of the church, after my 5 beautiful bridesmaids walked down the isle and my 2 adorable flower girls rang crystal bells to announce my entrance, I waited with my arm linked in my Daddy's. I think he was more emotional than I was.

    Finally, I heard the Bridal March begin to play and we rounded the corner into the sanctuary. The pews were filled with our loved ones. Everyone stood and turned to watch me, but my eyes only sought out one other pair- Chris'. We locked eyes and I was so calm as my Dad and I came to the front pews and my Mom joined us. We walked the few feet that seperated us from Chris and my parents hugged both Chris and I and my dad put my hand in my groom's.

    I remember standing on the steps, only half listening to what my cousin, Wayne, was saying as he welcomed the congregation to the day of our union. I was just so happy to be there, my hands in Chris's, looking into his eyes. The ceremony was great, and it was so special to us to have so many loved ones there to witness us joining our lives. We could hardly wait for that first kiss as husband and wife and jumped the gun a bit so we got to do it twice!

    Finally, we were Mr. and Mrs. Graham! After exiting the church and hugging and shaking hands with those that came to bless us with their presence, we went outside to where my family and I had arranged to have a Corvette waiting as our "get away" car. Chris loves Corvettes and it was so fun to be able to surprise him with that as our ride for the day.

    As our wonderful day came to a close and we headed to Edmonton to spend our wedding night at the Fairmont Hotel MacDonald, we began our lives together, full of joy, optimism and most importantly, love.

    Over the last 10 years, we have walked through heartache, loss of loved ones, loss of pregnancies, health scares, moves, job changes, financial worries and the stress of post secondary school. But through it all, we have done it hand in hand, side by side- together.

    We have also had so very many moments of pure happiness, and it has been those great moments that have allowed us to get through the darker moments together.  We have travelled together, had 2 wonderful, adorable boys together, have bought 2 homes, have supported each other in our ventures- whatever they may be.

    Us at a University function, Spring 2000
     19 days before Luca was born, June 2006
     Us, 5 days after becoming parents
    2 weeks before we would become a family of 4
    And new baby Levi makes 4!
    There is no one in the world that I could imagine spending my life with. We've seen each other at our worst and have celebrated together at our best. We're comfortable to sit in silence together or to stay up late, laying in bed talking, long after we should have been asleep.  We love to travel together and also love to stay home and just hang out.

    Chris is my rock, my best friend, the one I want to tell things to first and the one I need a hug from when I'm having a bad day. He's the one I miss when I'm away for a weekend without him. He's my other half, he completes me.

    I'm so proud of the marriage that we have. Its by no means "perfect" but its perfect for us. We love fully, we are comfortable to disagree with each other but we talk things through respectfully. We hug and kiss in front of our kids. We hold hands.  We are happy to show the world that we belong to each other and that we are proud of that.

    I am so proud of the father that Chris is and the amazing provider and husband he is to me.  He always puts his family first and makes decisions in the best interests of all of us. He makes me feel special and beautiful.

    He's respected at work and works hard to be professional and knowledgeable. He doesn't take his job lightly, even when it frustrates him to no end. He displays integrity, no matter what the situation.

    I'm looking forward to everything that our future holds- the good and the bad because I know that together, we will get through anything. We are far better together than we are as seperate units.

    Happy Anniversary to the man that has known me for half of my life. The one that has seen me at my worst and still chooses to be with me. The one that makes me feel cherished, even after 10 years of marriage and 13 years together. I love you more than anything. Ten years down, many, many more to come.


    Thursday, September 06, 2012


    Summer has come to a close and school has started.

    Both boys were so excited to begin school- Luca in Grade 1 and Levi in Preschool. They had new clothes, new shoes and new backpacks and lunch kits. They had been wearing their indoor school shoes around the house in anticipation.

    In the last few weeks of August, I was counting down til school was back in. The bickering, whining and fighting were really getting to me.

    Then September 4th came- the day we'd all been waiting for.

    The boys ate and got dressed in their First Day outfits, had faux-hawks gelled into their hair, backpacks on and out the door.

    Chris went in to work late so he could join me in taking the boys to school.

    First to be dropped off was Luca.  Hand in hand, him and I walked to the doors. The Friday prior, we had gone to meet his teacher and he had chosen a desk and a coat hook. He was ready and eager.  Before the bell went, he hugged and kissed me and ran to join his friends in the line up at the doors.

    I anxiously waited for him to file inside, and put his shoes on the rack. I waited until I could no longer see him. Then I turned around and walked to the truck where Chris and Levi were waiting. I barely got in and got my seatbelt on before the tears began to fall.

    I don't know why Grade 1 was difficult for me. Luca had already done a year of preschool and a year of kindergarten, so why was this transition so much harder for me? The only reason I can think  of is that he is away from me for 7 hours a day- more hours than I will spend with him during a regular weekday. He's old enough to have lunch at school, and navigate a day without me helping him.

    Part of me really does feel like "Grade 1 today, University tomorrow". Its such a cliche but really, WHERE DOES THE TIME GO?!

    Anyway, back to the day. With me wiping my tears, Chris began the drive to Carstairs, where Levi attends preschool. Levi chattered the 15 minute drive and was also very eager to rush into school.  Chris and I both walked him up and into the class. 

    Without any hesitation, Levi hung up his coat and backpack, put his lunch kit on the shelf and went to sit on the carpet and put on his shoes. I followed, thinking he may need his Mommy a bit, but no. He immediately started visiting with the friends he already knew and no doubt making new ones. I hugged and kissed him goodbye and was dismissed with a little wave.

    Holding hands, Chris and I walked down the hall and out of the building, a brand new chapter in our book opened. And again, I fought tears.

    Its a strange feeling to be without children playing in the background. I went to Dee's for coffee first, so it didn't really hit me until I arrived home to a quiet house, alone.  I ate lunch alone and in silence.

    I was eager to pick up Levi and hear about his day so I left early and sat outside the school until it was time to go in. I just needed to be there.

    I was greeted with a huge smile and a bear hug and tales of how fun preschool is. He told me of the dragon story they read, the hockey they played in the gym, snack and lunch at the tables and the dressup clothes he wore while playing with friends. He said he didn't really feel like drawing a picture when the other kids did so he just didn't.  He was disappointed when I told him he'd have to wait until Thursday to go again.

    We got home with just a little while to play before we walked to get Luca from school. Luca also came rushing out with his arms open for a hug, a big smile on his face. He said Grade 1 was awesome but couldn't remember what he did except for the "jitter juice" they made to take their jitters away. (juice, pop and whipped cream apparently).  Later he said that he had fun at recess, played playdough and decorated writing books.

    Both my boys had a fabulous first day and are excited for school. Now that I've had my little cry sessions, I'm excited for them. And I have a feeling I may just enjoy my 2 mornings a week kid free.... ;)

    Wednesday, September 05, 2012

    30 Years

    Yesterday was my mom and dad's 30th Wedding Anniversary.  These days, getting to that point is rare.

    It would be a fairy tale to say that for them to make it to 30 years was easy. There were hard times- financially, emotionally and relationship-wise. I'm sure that there were times that it would have been easier to walk away and give up than to keep working through the mud to make their marriage work.

    If I'm perfectly honest, there have been times that I have thought myself that perhaps it would be easier for them to be happy if they were apart. I'm so glad to say that they have proved me wrong.

    The last few years have really been different for my parents- when I see them, they are happy. There is laughter, smiles, hand holding, holiday-taking. They seem to be falling in love all over again.

    Perhaps its because their beginning was rough. It wasn't like the movies- there was no romantic, sweep-me-off-my-feet kind of courting. They dated in high school and got pregnant with me as teens. They could have gone their separate ways and seen each other at my birthday parties, Christmas, etc but they didn't. Nine months after I was born, they married in a church ceremony with their family and friends present.

    The next 20 or so years would really test them in so many ways. There were some really tough challenges that they had to get through. There were times they almost didn't make it through together. But they persevered, humbled themselves to each other, asked forgiveness and moved on.

    As their daughters grew up, moved out and began to start families of their own, mom and dad were able to spend more time on their relationship.

    It warms my heart to see them now. When at times I have questioned it, now they genuinely enjoy being in one another's company. Do they annoy the other and fight at times? Of course. Who doesn't? But what impresses me and what I want to learn from them is their conscious  decision to make their relationship work, even at times that it seemed easier to walk away.

    Mom and Dad, I'm so proud of you and want to thank you for giving Chris and I a real marriage to help model ours after.  I'm happy that you two have overcome some really difficult hurdles in your 30 years and that you have gotten through them together.

    Happy (belated) anniversary and here's to many more!


    The whole family, Christmas 2011