Thirty and Thankful

First of all, a big happy birthday to my marvelous momma Brennie the Babe!

Brennie the Babe

I apologize for the pixelated mess that is this picture but I feel like this picture appropriately captures my mother‘s spirit.  Yes, we were born a mere day apart. I’m sure she wanted to make it a same day event but considering she had already been in labour with me for 16 hours, she probably couldn’t hold out another 11 hours. It’s OK mom, I forgive you. I won’t reveal her age because she doesn’t look it, so I will leave it up to you to guess. I love my Brennie very much and I hope she has a beautiful day being the beautiful creature that she is.

Not only is it her day of birth but this post would not be complete without talking about my mom because when I reflect on what I’m thankful for in my life, my mom and my family are a huge piece of the gratefulness pie. I haven’t blogged in a while and I didn’t have a lot of desire to do so until a couple of things happened. One, I have not been feeling so hot these days with my pregnancy. Physically I’m a disaster and still have 10 weeks to go. Two, for some reason I’ve found myself doing a lot of ‘Facebook comparison creeping’ lately. Both of these things have resulted in me being a little down. However, after having a fabulous birthday dinner with all of my friends and reading these amazing and kind words by my buddy Evanoff (which also depict my birthday festivities), I realized I really needed to snap out of it because I have nothing to be down about. Interestingly enough, while I thought about writing this post, the episode of Friends is on where Rachel turns 30. They do a flashback to all of the ridiculous things that the friends did while turning 30. I came to the conclusion that a) they look like they’re 40, not 30 and b) I’m much happier with the state of my life than any of theirs and they’re on TV! So, I must be doing something right.

I’m going to make a little list and if it bores you, please stop reading and start reflecting on all of the things you are thankful for 🙂

1) As mentioned above, my family is numero uno. My mom and dad are still a big part of my life and they are both healthy and young at heart. My mom has always been one of my best friends and she still is. I’m grateful that this relationship has remained stable throughout my life and it did not suffer the ups and downs that usually come with being a teenager. I can only hope the same will happen with me and my babe as time progresses. Speaking of babes, I’m also grateful for my sister. Even though we are six years apart, we get along famously. We have the exact same sense of humour and I think we bring out the best in each other:

Melon and I #2 Melon and I

I am proud of my tiny dancer and am really enjoying the changes that have happened with her over the last year or so. She surprises me everyday, particularly in regards to how good she was with that rifle.

Of course a list of my family would also not be complete without talking about my hubby and best straight, Marko. He really is my soul mate I think. I’m not sure that’s really a concept I believe in, but we’re about as close as you can get.

Mountains 2

And dear Doge, he makes me happy. He’s kind, supportive, sweet, thoughtful, hardworking and generally an all around good person. He likes almost everything about me and tolerates the rest with a patience that has gone unmatched. Most importantly, he lets me be me and I actually think he enjoys all of the ridiculousness that comes with it and that my friends, is saying a lot. I am a difficult woman to love and he does a damn good job. Plus he’s kind of a hotdog, so that’s always an added bonus 🙂 I am so, so grateful he is the person that I am bringing a child into the world with because I can’t think of a better partner for what sounds like a biggest roller coaster of life.

2) My friends. For anyone who knows me, you know my friends are a huge part of my life. I am also very lucky because I have had the same group of friends since high school and in some cases, public school. We are hilarious to us. As Lindz mentioned in her blog, we’re not always hilarious to bouncers but for the most part, we are well received. Particularly as we get older. Although I’m thinking that the older we get we may have toned it down just a bit, resulting in a higher acceptance rate. But then when I look at recent pictures like this:

Emily's bday

….and maybe not so much. Maybe we are just getting older and people feel sorry for us so they accept us in our geriatric state. I’ll take either.

Not only do I have fantastic friends who have been a part of my life forever, I also have some amazing new ones that have become a part of our ‘group’, as well as some new beauties from the college. On that note, I am very grateful that Durham College started hiring lots and lots of instructors born in the same decade as me 🙂 That’ll do Durham, that’ll do.

I really could go on and on about the topic of my friends but since they are an integral part of my blog, I’ll leave it to you to do some exploring 😉

3) My career. This section is going to be a little long because I’ve never explained how I got where I currently am but it has been a series of really, really fortunate coincidences on my part and I feel they need to be discussed in detail. Yes, I have gone after and taken every opportunity that has come my way but lots of people do this and they have not been as successful. I know how lucky I am. I applied for a job as a learning facilitator at Durham College while finishing my Masters degree in 2011. Instead of being a successful candidate for this position, they hired me to teach. I would be lying if I said my whole life I have wanted to teach. Really, I was out of options in university and so I applied to Teachers College during the double cohort year. Not a wise choice but somehow I got in somewhere. I only got into one out of three choices, but I got in! After this I was again lucky enough to learn of a full time job in Calgary and for two years I taught in the elementary system out West. There were no jobs here and yet I was hired over the phone in Calgary. Lucky, yes. This gave me the experience to get into grad school and the experience that Durham was looking for to hire me. After only one semester as partial load at Durham, I was eligible for an interview for a full-time Communications position. I interviewed being told not to get my hopes up as I had limited experience and at first I did not get the job. However, through yet another series of fortunate events for me, I became the first choice and received full-time within four months of being hired. I’ve been told this doesn’t happen. I don’t know why it happened to me and not one of the dozens of other qualified, hard-working individuals I work with at Durham everyday but I am so grateful that it did. I love my job and I love Durham College. My boss has been the most supportive administrator I could have ever hoped for, not only through my hiring but into my pregnancy. I also have AMAZING colleagues. As I mentioned above the ‘face of Durham’ is changing and I work with so many talented, young and dynamic instructors who teach me new things everyday. Loving the people you work with at all levels is key in job satisfaction and I’m not sure I would be able to top this elsewhere.

The icing on the dream job cake was when I happened into a sessional instructor position at the university. This occurred a year after I received full-time at Durham. I will not go into detail but landing this was even more coincidental than Durham and it is pretty much my dream job. I teach teachers, how to teach. Somehow they let me do this. It’s pretty mind-blowing for me. I have been doing this in conjunction with Durham for a year and honestly, if it stayed like this for the rest of my life, I would be happy. Sometimes I complain about marking (really this is the only downfall to the job) but I know how lucky I am. Sometimes writing it out though really fills you with a sense of gratitude. I think more people should do this and they might realize things are a little better than they perceive them to be. Our generation LOVES to complain about their jobs and I really think this attitude is only going to get worse. Flashback 100 years ago to these children in their coal minery best and I think we can probably put it into perspective:

I am going to stop my list here. There are other things I am grateful for but I read a quote the other day, “If you want to feel rich, just count the things you have that money can’t buy” and this list pretty much sums it up; Fab family, amazing amigos and a satisfying career.

And just to round it out because this post has been far too serious, lately I’ve been thankful for:

Doge


Just look it up. Having a little Shiba ourselves, Mark and I are dying right now for this somewhat despised meme. It’s been around for a while but all of a sudden it’s exploded all over the internet.

Home Alone 1 and 2:

I love Christmas and I love hijinks. These movies bring together the best of both worlds. Somehow I can pretty much find one of these movies on TV everyday in the month of December. It makes my heart happy. Side note: Ignore Home Alone 3 and 4. They are terrible and I pretend they don’t exist.

Jack Sparrow:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GI6CfKcMhjY

This music video makes me want to die. It’s old, I know. But Mark and I didn’t even discover it until a year or so ago and it is my go-to whenever I need a pick me up. I’m sure we all have that picture, image, song, etc. that can take us out of any terrible mood, this my mine. I love The Lonely Island and Michael Bolton is a straight up joke bag, so much like the Christmas/hijinks combo of Home Alone, this video does not disappoint.

Anyway my dears, that’s all for today and probably for a couple of weeks. Although I do have my next blog floating around in my head which makes it much easier to write. Perhaps I will surprise everyone, including myself with another posting soon! Thanks for reading and a question to prompt your genius; What are you most thankful for?

Melon’s Tantalizing 23rd

Yes, there are a lot of birthdays going down these days. As I mentioned yesterday, it was my sister’s b-day and obviously that needed to be celebrated.

To get a little healthy eating up in this blog, I started my morning off with this little gem:

Egg Omelette

I didn’t want to eat a lot because I knew the food consumption that evening was going to be spectacular.

Melon came over and we hung out a bit in the sunshiney weather for a while before my parents arrived around 5:30. As predicted, the food was dericious. That is not a typo. This is what we envision our dog Miyou thinking while she chows down her dinner in 9.7 seconds.

Thai Food

If you look to the left you can see that little pig. I know she was sniffing the air thinking, ‘dericious’.

It really was very, very good. We got it from Thai Hotspot, where I went with Mubeen and Alex last week. In fact, I think it is better than Azian, which is our usual standby. Sorry to rain on your parade Azian but it was cheaper, fresher and we had more leftovers when we were done.

We then got down to present opening because we wanted to delay the birthday cake serenading until Melon’s man arrived at our house.

Mel got some real gems, including a bacon card from my mother:

Bacon Card

Because she knows that Melon loves bacon:

Melon Bacon

My mom and dad also gave her some moolah and a gift certificate to her favourite boutique in Port Perry. I gave Melon the stupid part of her gift on the weekend, so tonight she received a very serious Kitchen Aid hand mixer, a book on the psyche of dogs (because she’s as much of a dog lover as me) and a BBQ lighter. She was the most excited about the lighter. Haha. She is afraid to use the mini lighters to light her candles so she was pretty excited about this easy to use version. I told her it was from the Dollar Store and I’m pretty sure I can afford to give her another one in the future.

GiftsAt this point Kyle arrived and gave Melon two gifts, one thoughtful and one hilarious. He gave her tickets to Medieval Times because she has never been; thoughtful. He also gave her this little beauty:

Ship for the Pool

Hilarious. It is an inflatable pirate ship for the pool. It has a gun on the front that collects water from the pool and shoots it out at all unsuspecting bathers. Kyle topped off the gift with a couple of swords. This was basically Melons dream.

Once we got finished singing Happy Birthday and Melissa did an attractive job of blowing out the candles on her Dairy Queen ice cream cake:

Birthday Candles

…..Mel decided it was time to test out her new water vehicle:

Melon in her ship

She is the most beautiful pirate I’ve ever seem.

Now on a final note and perhaps my favourite picture of the evening, we also celebrated Father’s Day with Melon’s b-day, as we have often done in the past. My parents were in Guelph this weekend and it just seemed like a good idea to do a combo. My dad removed his hat to be a gent during dinner and he revealed the most gorgeous tan pattern I’ve ever seen on a semi-bald head:

Bald Head

It looks like an arrow! We were all dying. The picture really did it justice too. I want to convince him to keep it up and perhaps make it even more prominent. What do you think? Is there another pattern you would prefer to see on my father? I’m sure he could do something in a diamond or a flower.

I love my little Melon and she loves moustaches, so this makes her a girl after my own heart. I’m glad I got to celebrate her b-day twice this week!

Melon

Do you have any siblings? Are you super close? I’d love to hear some sibling stories if you’re willing to share with the world.

Blue Mountain Birthday Babes – Part 1

The birthday celebrations for Emilio may have been in full swing last weekend…but it didn’t mean we were done! We headed up to Blue Mountain in Collingwood this weekend for Emily’s b-day round 2 and my sister’s 23rd birthday celebration.

After an early morning swim, I packed up, picked up Melon and headed to Leons. We were on our way to our big weekend before 11 am. Even our new buddy was along for the ride:

New Friend

You may remember my grandma cuddling him.

We made some friends along the way who enjoyed the assortment of goodies we had in our car:

Boys in Cars

We also drove past a rather witty restaurant that had some personal relevance to us all, as Leon has called her hubby Davey Crockett for quite some time:

Crock Block

We arrived in Collingwood around 1:30 and were immediately amazed by the beautiful chalet that Emily had booked for us. Melon and I got a beautiful room all to ourselves:

Chalet Room

We also had a lovely view of the mountian from our room.I think in the winter it would have been a spectacularly beautiful.

Blue Mountain

While we waited for the other girls, we posed for a family photo in front of our roaring fire:

Fireplace

After Lindz and Sara arrived we headed out into the town for some lunch. I have never been to the Blue Mountain village before and it was so cute! It was also really busy because they were having the Met Con Blue Mountain Adventure Race that day. There were lots of different teams dressed up in matching ensembles, which made for some great people watching.

Met Con Blue

Some of the participants were so hot in the blazing sun they decided to jump of the restaurant docks and go for a little impromptu swim:

DSCN0283

We walked around and admired the views while trying to find a place to eat:

Downtown Blue MountainDSCN0281

Like I said, super cute village.

We finally settled on a little Irish Pub, MJ Barnes, for lunch and Lindsey decided to have a few drinks:

DSCN0284

When we got to the restaurant there was only one patio table big enough for our posse and the table was absolutely rammed with empty glasses. For some reason it took our waitress about 20 minutes to clear our table…..so we took advantage of the time for some photo ops.

Girls at lunch

Lunch was definitely sub par, one of the meals was returned and the service was horrendous and when I looked the pub up online, I see that we are not the only group to receive the same treatment.

But oh well, the sun was shining and the company was spectacular so it wasn’t all bad news.

After lunch we headed to the hotel pool and hung out in the sunshine for a couple more hours, again, the views were just beautiful:

Spa CollingwoodIt reminded me a little of being in Banff. Obviously not quite as picturesque but for it being in Ontario, I was very impressed and can understand why everyone always raves about Collingwood.

After our spa date we headed back to the hotel room and had cozy, family dinner, Jersey Shore styles.

Family Dinner

The pasta salad that Leon brought was absolutely amazing. I’m pretty sure almost everyone ate too much of it and we were extremely full afterwards so we decided to save dessert for a little later. After dinner we relaxed for a bit and Julie tried to dethaw from the pumping AC Slater in her cape:

DSCN0290

I also gave Melon the silly part of her birthday gift, a Ninja Turtle’s surprise bag. Contained within was a colouring book, markers, puzzle and balloon. These goodies came in VERY handy later on in the night. Emily liked.

Ninja Turtle

After we put on our big girl, party dresses, we decided to have a little beverage to say a festive happy birthday to Melon and Emily:

Girls

Since we had now digested, we also sang a  happy birthday to Melon with her really appropriate ‘birthday cake’:

DSCN0294

At this point it was definitely time to head out for the second part of our adventure but I’ve decided that that is a whole ‘nother post. I’ll give you a little sneak peek though:

Fun

Stay tuned! And if you want to check out another take on the night, I’m sure this guy will have a good one.

Exquisite Emilio and Her Dirty Thirty

A big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to this guy right here:

Image

I love me some Emilio. She is just an absolutely amazing, supportive and wonderful friend. She has always had my back, as long as I can remember and we have had some HILARIOUS timones together. Case in point:

Image

I feel like we have almost the exact same sense of humour and I can really talk to her about anything and everything and she will always, always support me. Her generosity with her friends really knows no bounds. This is why I was so excited to celebrate her thirtieth birthday this weekend!!!

Emily is known for being the Party Mama of the group. I love to host and entertain but I do not put nearly as much effort into the festivities.  When she told me she had left her 30th planning to her man Corey…I was a little concerned. Sorry Cork, but you do no scream Domestic Diva.

However, when arrived at 5:30, everything was looking pretty much the norm in the Party Mama’s abode.

Party tableCorey, smart fella that he is, enlisted the help of Emily’s mom and sister and therefore, the Party Mama legacy lived on. Corey was of course on hand to festively hand out beverages and this is all we can ask for in our men.

Birthday Shots

Dinner and the unreal amount of salads and other appetizers went unpictured but imagine the best BBQ you’ve ever been to and you would kind of get the point. If I had of taken a picture it probably would have looked like this:

Source: http://farm5.staticflickr.com/4035/4480602128_819d9dcce2_z.jpg

You can see Corey wore his new black sandals for the occasion.

Anyway, after an unreal dinner, Emily cut the cake, which was lovingly prepared by Costco.

Birthday Cake

Unfortunately, the sparkler candles missed the memo that it was Em’s birthday and burnt her finger pretty badly. For some reason Emily decided to not rinse the burn under cold water as suggested and instead showed her very red and puffy finger to everyone for the next couple of hours with a sad face. However, we were able to turn the night around with some present opening.

Emilio and Gift #1

Emily really enjoyed her new hat and the rest of the presents contained within the creepiest gift bag ever. Ever. I found these bags at a dollar store near my old house and have been using them ever since.  To truly appreciate them I have provided a close up:

Creep Bag

Emily also got right into reading one the new books that I gave her:

Book Present

I gave Emilio some ‘serious’ presents but I also gave her an assortment of smaller items that I thought might come in hand as one begins the aging process the inevitably speeds up after the age of 30:

Old Person Gifts

Emily was actually really excited to get a shower cap (wrong) but her sister Sara was visibly saddened when she found out that I gave Emily a knee-board as an ‘old person gift’ because she loves her knee board for use in the garden. This really made me laugh hard but I do apologize Sara….I guess I just come from a genetic lot with really hearty knees.

After presents, the hi-jinx commenced with a little bit of cape wearing from my friend Julie’s dad, Kenny. Kenny is a bit of a legend around these parts and I think the following picture will demonstrate why:

Kenny and the Girls

And if him wrapping himself in the plastic table-cloth doesn’t convince you, Kenny happily accepted the challenge of ‘the boot’:

The boot

For those of you who are not aware of the boot from Beerfest, click here. It never ceases to amaze me when our parents become the life of the party.  I’m not really sure when this shift happened but there was a lot of this going on at my wedding in Jamaica last January.  One day I shall write a post on this and I believe it will be magical.

For now, let take a look at all of the fun times to be had at Emily’s b-day.

Glasses time in the basement:

Dawn and Mark

Glasses

The classic glasses switch with Corey’s Uncle Keith:

Uncle Keith

We also had some good old fashioned rough housing with the birthday girl and our high school buddy, Joella:

DSCN0205

Overall, it was a really fun night with my amazing friends and family (yup even my parents were there in full force until about 1am). There were quite a few shenanigans that went unpictured but I’ll tell what I couldn’t let go without being immortalized on this blog, the hideously creepy, birthday drop cloth that Emily and Corey used to keep their basement floor clean of spills. If this doesn’t give you nightmares, I don’t know what will!

Creepy Clown

You’re welcome.

Fortunately for us, Mark and I were feeling fine today and were able to accomplish a lot of work that needed doing in the backyard. I spent most of the afternoon cutting grass and edging everything out, while Mark created a beautiful little gate so that we have easier access to walk the dogs in the field behind our house.

I just thought I would share the sunshiney results of my efforts and hopefully brighten your day on what is supposed to be a very rainy Monday.

Pool

I  hope everyone’s weekend was as eventful and friend-filled as mine. What did you do to enjoy the sunshine?