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:


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:

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?


Protected: Blue Mountain Birthday Babes – Part II

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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:


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:


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:


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… 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:


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:


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


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:


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

Who Wears Short Shorts?

I started my weekend off with a little fun in the sun. The weather was GORGEOUS.  The first part of the day I cleaned the rim of the pool and the liner. I also cleaned up some of the random pool accessories that were left behind by the previous owners. For example:

Pool chair

I also got out our new lawn chairs and set them up. They are my absolute favourite colour and they were a super steal from IKEA. I can’t say I’ve had a chance to actually lie in them yet but I’ll keep you posted on their functionality.

IKEA chairs

Around 2PM my Momma Bear, Brennie, and my sis, Melon showed up and we had a lovely girl’s day in the sunshine.

Melissa and DawnMy mom even set herself up in my tiki hut and had her own little spa day.

Brennie the Babe

Melon brought over my fur nephew Rocky and he had a lovely little play with Miyou. They’re so awkward with each other because Rocky weighs three times as much as Miyou but they try and I admire their spirit.

Rocky and Miyou

Mark arrived home and tested out the durability of the the waterfall:


Fortunately he wasn’t completely silly and decided to jump in off of the side and not the waterfall.

Jumping in the pool

My fam went home around 5PM and Markus and I had some dinner. We had one of my favourite recipes that I haven’t made in ages; quinoa with feta, sun-dried tomatoes and spinach. I will reveal the recipe breakdown on Friday.

Quinoa Dinner

After dinner I went out for a swim and we both did our own thing for a bit and then came together to watch a movie. Mark’s X Box had a free movie rental on it this weekend for some zombie apocalypse movie and Mark and I love, love this genre. So we definitely had on our happy pants but unfortunately, whatever it was called (it was that memorable) will not be receiving any accolades anytime soon. It was a nice rest for my brain though.

Saturday, the daytime was filled with laundry and cleaning and I fit in some laps in the pool before it started pouring. After a  little BBQ with my main man we headed to my sister’s house. She and her beau Kyle were having some people over and kindly invited myself and all of my friends over as well. They just moved into a new condo and it was the first time I’ve seen it all decorated and clean and it looked just beautiful. We watched the hockey game, hung out and had some pops. Melon was looking very festive, although I’m not sure she realizes it is now June, not March.

Brooklin Fair Melon

We headed over the Brooklin Fair around 9:40. We got there a little before 10PM, which is a good thing because this is when they close the gates. Unfortunately, not our whole party was there on time; we still had to wait for Julie’s boyfriend Rob and Kyle and a couple of his friends were also missing in action. It took a lot of sweet talking and Melon basically standing in the way of the man closing the gates but they did, by some miracle, let Rob in at 10:10PM. Last year we showed up at 10:05 and were denied entrance and then ended up a much less desirable location than the fair. But this year, not to worry. We paid our $10 to get in and walked around and visited with some goats and other barnyard creatures and then headed over to meet everyone at the ‘New Beer Garden’. Now, I take umbrage with this title….yes, there was beer but there were no gardens. As someone who now appreciates a good garden, I thought this was an inappropriate moniker. It was beer being served in a tent. Hence why the name Beer Tent is always the way to go. No need to class it up. It is what it is.

When we arrived at the entrance of this magical Beer Garden, the line was easily 100 people long. Mark and Corey were already inside and our friend Lisa was half way up the line by herself, so really not an ideal situation. They were only letting in a few people at a time and by the time we were half-way up the line, Emily had to go home with Corey. So we lost them. Melissa, Kyle and friends also didn’t want to wait in line and apparently Melon was also sleeping on benches and they questioned whether she would be granted access. Considering the dozen or more cops patrolling the tent area, my guess is no.  So FINALLY, Julie, Robin (aka Khaki) and myself got in. It was another $2 to gain entrance into the Beer ‘Garden’. They then gave us wrist bands with four little tags on them. Once someone consumed their four beverages they were effectively cut off. I’ve never seen anything like this before. I mean, it’s a good attempt to cut down on drunk driving and fighting but honestly, it would be pretty easy to work your way around this system and I think they lost out on some revenue.

Once we got inside we caught up with Lisa for a bit.

Julie, Lisa and Dawn

However, she left pretty soon after this since we spent so much time in line.

Since there wasn’t a lot to do, the night then progressed into taking pictures of all of the interesting characters in the vicinity. We also discovered a disturbing new trend for guys in their early 20’s; bright, short, shorts. Not really sure what was going on there. We kept snapping pics ‘without people knowing’ but I tried to take a picture of the photobomber in the next photo because he was wearing lime green, short shorts but he and his friends (including creepy Harry Styles) caught me. They seemed to be OK with it though because they wanted to be in a picture with Mark.

Harry Styles

Then we spotted this beautiful creature and he was MORE than happy to let us pose with him.

Short Shorts

His face makes me die. Just a winner. He was so excited to pose for this picture too.

After this short short hunt, we decided to all just catch up and have a chat. We haven’t hung out with just Julie and Khaki in a while, so that was really nice. We left around 12:30 and headed home. Overall, I would give the Brooklin Fair experience a 5/10. Having to be there before 10PM and then waiting in line for half an hour was not fun. Then having to pay to get into the fair and then paying again to get into the Beer ‘Garden’, was a little much. They were also overkill on the police presence. I knew I wasn’t doing anything wrong but it didn’t matter, I just felt nervous. I will not be returning, as I think the Brooklin Fair is getting too big for its britches. You’re not running a night club. You’re running a mud pit in Brooklin and you need to get back on board and get back to your roots.

Overall, I definitely don’t regret going. I got to see a lot of my friends and I also got to see some really ridiculous shorts….I don’t need a lot more in this world.

I’m off to Kingston for three days of professional development, so I may or may not be blogging. If not, you have yourselves a fabulous week and we’ll all catch up soon 🙂