The Best Birthday Gift. Ever.

On March 3, I turned thirty. Seriously, the big 3-0. Ugh. I have a serious aging issue and this just makes it seem like life if going way too fast. But, through an amazing gift from my mom, I’m getting over myself and realizing it has been 30 years that most people can only dream of!

The gift wasn’t expensive, it wasn’t wrapped in a huge box and didn’t include diamonds.

It was 30 of her memories of the last 30 years in 30 days…and 30 chocolates to go with them.

Best. Gift. Ever

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This is how it came – in a lantern. Except each of the cards were individually wrapped. I opened one envelope a day for the other 30 days in the month (and ate a chocolate too!). It was the most fun I’ve had opening a gift in all of my 30 birthdays!

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Topics were from every corner of my life: infancy, toddler, being a big sister, my travel, sports, university, Rob, the boys, my friends, my dad and her

Some of my favs:

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I had an amazing birthday with my friends and family. It’s truly what birthday are about – celebrating your life and who you have (and have had) in it. It’s about the memories you’ve created throughout the years with those who think you are just as special as you think they are.

Thanks mom, for the amazing gift of memories, but even more for the most wonderful 30 years a daughter could ask for!

30 Days as a Mom of TWO!

Well, I’m still alive.

From day one of pregnancy, I had a couple of lingering anxieties: how will I be able to love Drew and a new baby? How is Drew going to react to becoming a sibling? How will I handle two kids? A few times during the pregnancy, I remember asking Rob “What the hell are we thinking?”

For those of you who know Drew, you know he is very active. He doesn’t stop talking and/or moving from the time he gets up in the morning until the time he goes to bed (and sometimes he is quite the mover in his sleep!). He has been the centre of our world since the second he made his appearance. The day we found out we were expecting baby #2, we started prepping Drew for siblinghood. He would be 3 when baby came, and we found it pretty easy to explain things – what he’d get to do with baby, how he couldn’t body slam mommy anymore, that he was going to have to share toys, and that this was going to be so much FUN! He was pretty excited for most of the pregnancy, but 33 weeks seemed to drag on to an impatient toddler.

The day Blake made his arrival, Drew was so excited. It killed me for him to see me in pain at home, so I sucked it up and put on a brave face during contractions. On our way out the door I had to stop and think – “oh my god, this is the last time I will see him as my only baby”. I also couldn’t help but think “what if something goes wrong”. I hugged him like it would be the last time and told him I was going to get his brother.

He came to the hospital – my first visitor. I couldn’t wait, but a part of me was panicking about how he was going to react now that baby was a reality. He was AMAZING! He wanted to hold him, kiss him and tell him all about his day with Gramma so far.

My last four weeks have been very different than my first four with Drew. I remember sleeping a lot during the day. I remember being anxious about every decision I made. I remember being so grateful that I was living at home with my Mom and had her support 24 hours a day! I don’t know if it was because of the natural delivery (that story is a whole other post) or just because my body wasn’t/couldn’t be exhausted, but I feel so much better this time. Drew goes to daycare 3 days a week, which gives time for Blake and I to bond, do groceries without bathroom breaks, and watch what we want to on tv. Mondays and Fridays are usually planned to the max to keep Drew busy, which in turn makes him happy. I try so hard not to say things like ”we can’t because of Blake” or “wait for Blake to be ready”. We do almost all of the same activities we did before Blake, and Drew actually wants to include him more.

I won’t tell you it’s been easy…there are definitely days where I still say “what was I thinking?”, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I have to hand it to all you mamas (including my own) who have kids closer in age. I find it easier that Drew is independent, potty trained and fully communicative.

So far, so good. I know there will always be ups and downs, but the relationship that these boys have and will grow into is one of the greatest accomplishments in my life so far.

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Life, Death & Everything in Between

This is pretty heavy for a first post, but it’s the biggest reason I started blogging -I needed to write it down.

Five years ago, my life changed forever in so many ways.

The summer of 2008 brought a lot of new things to my life – planning a wedding, changing jobs, moving to Ottawa, buying a new home, and the word cancer.

I will never forget the phone call from my dad. He never called. It was short. He was positive. He was fighting tears. I was fighting tears. He had colon cancer.

Everything was so positive. He would have surgery and maybe a short round of chemo or radiation and everything would be fine. We’d get through this as a family. It was a long 6 months of setbacks and bad news, before his pain finally went away. Forever.

I had lost friends over the years, a cherished uncle, but never anyone who had such a direct and huge impact on my life. My dad was gone.

I don’t go a day without thinking of him and wishing he was here. It usually is triggered when something major happens in the sports world, I need something done at the house, my kids do something hilarious, or someone tells a corny joke on tv. But lately, I have been finding myself thinking a lot more about what he’s missing, and how I am TERRIFIED to miss anything in my sons lives.

Since having Blake, this anxiety over death (my own, my husband’s, my children’s, other loved ones) has increased. It could be the hormones. But I have decided to take a stand on it. I have decided that I need to live my life so that my kids know that I had an awesome one when I pass away. I realize that my dad had an awesome life – and gave us everything we ever wanted: education, experiences, family fun, friendship and love. My dad wasn’t one to say “I love you”, but we knew. We know his stories, we have our memories and I am so grateful for that. Drew knows my dad as Grampa and we have his photo around the house. I can’t wait to tell him the stories. I want him to know him as if he were here.

If there is one amazing thing that has come from my dad’s death it is how close it has made important relationships in my life. My husband and I have been through the worst and know we can survive anything; my mom and I are closer than we ever have been; my brother and I are best friends; my friends mean the world to me; any time with my extended family is time to be cherished, not wasted.

I wish it hadn’t taken such a terrible thing happening to make me realize how precious life is. But from now on, I won’t let the thought of death scare me. I will do everything I can to live a long, healthy and awesome life.

SL