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1. Read more
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3. Run more
4. Love more
5. Give more

And maybe eat a little less chocolate.

Categories: uncategorized
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Dear Liliana,

You turned 10 this year. Double digits! You’ve been looking forward to your birthday for some time now. You love celebrating, and on April 25 we celebrated ten years with you.

You had your party a couple weeks after your birthday and you had so much fun with your friends Evelyn and Layla. You struggle in making friends but those two girls are solid friends. You were nervous about having two friends who didn’t know each other before your party, but the three of you got along so well, and Layla and Evelyn were instant friends. We celebrated as a family too and took you and your siblings to Ruckers. You love that place so much.

You have been working since last year to earn a fish. The rule was that you had to keep your room clean for a whole 30 days before you got your fish. You misunderstood and took it to mean that for 30 individual days you had to have your room clean and you were devastated to find out that we meant 30 consecutive days. But we compromised. I cleaned your room thoroughly and now, with less stuff, you’re keeping it clean pretty well. So you got your fish. You told me that you now feel safer with another living thing in your room. You’ve been doing well feeding it so far, but I know you’ll continue to care for it going forward.

You are such a great sister. You love to spend one-on-one time with both your siblings. I know you’re frustrated that your and Kaylie’s relationship has evolved as the two of you have gotten older, but you two still have fun when you spend time together. Your brother is so excited when you spend time with him. You two can play together for hours.

I mentioned Layla earlier. You two are like two peas in a pod. She moved here from Washington earlier this year. She visited a few times before moving here and the two of you hit it off instantly.

You do so well in school. Your grades are top notch. Your teacher has such fun with you an actually requested you be in her class. She has already asked to have you in her class again next year, since she teaches a 5/6 split.

You love to read. You love to read so much that any time we ask you to do something, we find you in your room reading. Sometimes it’s a problem though, like when you’re supposed to be getting dressed or coming to dinner or doing your chores. But mostly we love your love of reading.

I’m so proud of the person you are becoming, Liliana. You are kind, compassionate, and wise beyond your years.

Happy belated birthday, my dear.


Categories: Birthday Letters


Dear Preston,

Today you turn six years old. I’m so overwhelmed with how fast these past six years have gone. I have enjoyed parenting you every day of your life. Five has been so much fun. Every day you are a blessing to me. You light up the lives of me, your dad, and your sisters. We are so thankful for you.

I often tell you that you’ll always be my baby and you love to hear me say it. You love it when we read Love You Forever by Robert Munsch and you often tell me the story of how Peppa Pig’s mom tells her that she’ll always be her mom’s baby just like you’ll always be my baby.

You’ve come so far in your speech this past year. At the beginning of kindergarten you were struggling in pronouncing your Ls and your Rs and now you pronounce them almost perfectly. You say “incept” instead of “except” and “sumping” instead of “something” and I just love it so much. I know you’ll say those properly one day, but I’m enjoying the time while you say them how you say them now.

You look forward to going to school. You’re excited when you wake up and know it’s a school day. Your best school friends are Mark and Luke and Michael. You also like to play with Pyper and Wong. Your reading and spelling impress me so much. You’ve learned so much and your teacher has such good things to say about you. I hope you continue to enjoy school as much as you do now.

When you’re not in school, you go to Michelle’s house. It’s been a bit of a transition this last month of me working full-time for the first time in your life, and there are often tears when I drop you off, but at the end of the day you’ve had such a great time that you’re often sad to leave.

You love kisses. You say you don’t, but you do. You like one on your left cheek, one on your right cheek, one on your forehead, and one on your nose. You’ll tell me to try to kiss you and then you’ll put your arms over your head and giggle and squirm to try to stop me.

You love to wrestle with your dad and your Big Papi. Your new favourite move is the frog splash. You randomly run up to your dad and start punching him. One day soon you will be too strong to do this, but for now it is perfectly acceptable. Most of the time. You just have to watch where those fists go!

You’ve been big into Uno lately. You just played a couple games with your dad before bed tonight. When you get into a game, you really get into it. It wasn’t too long ago that Guess Who was your game of choice. Your dad is your favourite person to play these games with and you sure love beating him!

Your favourite thing in the whole wide world is video games. Ok, maybe not your absolute favourite thing, but you enjoy video games immensely. You love to get games from the library; the Wii U is your console of choice. You can sit for hours on the game pad, which you get to do on Saturday mornings. You love Saturday mornings.

On Sunday we went to get you your birthday present. A bike. We didn’t tell you what we were there for, and when we first showed you that your present was a bike, you were not impressed. You said you’d rather have video games. But we got you on the bike and you took it for a spin and by the time we left the store you were so excited about it. I hope you love it.

Preston, I love how much you love life. When I wake you up in the morning you just can’t wait to get the day started, though the odd time you’re a little groggy, but even then it takes you only a few moments to jump out of bed and start your day. You’re happy almost all the time, and your presence makes our days so much better.

I hope you have a great year being six. And slow these days down a little, because I want to savour every bit of them.

Happy birthday, buddy.


Categories: Birthday Letters
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Blogging is so 2017

Well, this post is anyway. It’s funny, I think of this blog often, I just forget to write on it. I have posts written in my head that never hit my keyboard. I have drafts started and never finished. It all used to come so easily, multiple posts a week. Social media ruined it all, I suppose.

So, my dad was here this past week/end and it was so good to have him. We visited, we played games, we went to the museum, we watched the fireworks.

Papa's visit

He fixed my car. And he took away my nerf bullets. He said I was shooting Noah too much so he took them away. A parent is never done parenting. He also bought me beer. I know one’s parent is supposed to buy one beer when one is underage, not 33, but I was too busy being pregnant when I was underage, so we went with the beer now.

I felt really bad yesterday morning when we woke up to a temperature of -41°C. It’s not exactly what one would choose for a visitor to experience.

This weather, though, I think I’ve finally come to accept it. I don’t like it, but it is what it is. If I’m going to be at peace about living here, I’m going to have to be at peace with being outside in frigid temperatures. Like the -42°C this morning. But that doesn’t mean I want my guests experiencing them.

Dad left yesterday evening and routine starts up again tomorrow. Noah returned to work this morning after 10 days off. It was so good to have him home during that time. On the days I had to work, it was really weird leaving him and the kids at home while I worked. He makes a good house husband though, a vast improvement on my (lack of) housewife skills.

I’ve been thinking about my new year’s resolutions for the last couple days and have a few goals for myself, but one is always the same, and has been since 2012. I want to read a book each week and finish 52 by the end of the year. I have a list of all the books I’ve read for the last five years. There are a lot of repeats. I love Rainbow Rowell and J.K. Rowling and Suzanne Collins and tend to go to them often. I’m likely reading through the Harry Potter series again this year, as Noah got me the illustrated Philosopher’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets as anniversary gifts last year and they’re so beautiful. I can’t wait to go through them.

So anyway, the most books I’ve read in a year has been 22. Three out of the last five years I’ve hit 22. I just can’t beat it. I tried in December, I really did. And I kind of cheated by adding the 22nd one. Liliana and I have been reading through the Harry Potter series and we read 744/766 pages so I counted it. We just didn’t make it and I didn’t want to carry it over to 2017. We finished the book on New Year’s Day.

I’ve been into autobiographies lately and can’t get enough of them. I’m currently reading Andi Dorfman’s book It’s Not Okay. I’ve read all of the Bachelor books that have come out and I love them all so much. It’s so fun reading behind-the-scenes stories. I already have a list a mile long of books I want to read this year, but I want to add more to it. To make it a solid 52.

I always feel bad when someone recommends a book and I just can’t get into it. My latest attempt was Unbroken by Lauren Hillenbrand. I couldn’t get past all the airplane talk. Tell me about the sharks! I tried three times to read it but I don’t want to fight with a book. I want to be drawn in, I want to want to read on. I just finished Carrie Fisher’s book Wishful Drinking and I couldn’t get enough of it.

Do you have any resolutions? Do you have any book recommendations, especially autobiographies?

Categories: main

mosquito garden

It’s so cold out today. I tried to start clearing my garden and didn’t get very far. The cold, how I loathe the cold. We had a cold summer, too. It’s no wonder things didn’t grow well.


I wouldn’t say that I’ve had a successful garden this year. Or, maybe I’ll call it 50% successful. My tomatoes and cucumbers flopped, aside from one plant each. My kale got eaten up by bugs. My peas produced no more than 10 pods. My pumpkin plant is teeny tiny with no pumpkins on it because my seedling died and I had to replant, which happened too late.

My garden did produce some things though. Beets, of which I pickled and got four jars; beans, which I pickled and got 8 jars; carrots I have yet to pick (though two of the four rows produced barely anything); lettuce that produced about 75% of what I planted; onions that about 1/5th of which will be big enough to harvest; green peppers that are producing like mad; and tomatillos I hope to harvest and make into salsa soon.

I can't wait to turn these pretty tomatillos into salsa!

A friend gave me a bunch of pickling cucumbers so I was able to make a couple jars. I did some sandwich pickles and I had enough little ones from my garden to make almost two jars. Why are two of them upside down? Only because I forgot to add the dill and garlic till after the cucumbers were already in the jar. I don’t know if that’s bad for the jar or not, to have it upside down, but it is what it is.

My major annoyance in my garden this year? Mosquitoes. There are so many mosquitoes here. I hate them so, so much. They make being outside not at all enjoyable. They make me want to move to Kelowna where there are no mosquitoes. There’s great weather for gardening there, too, a longer growing season and more heat and I’ll just quit now because it’s just not happening for another couple years at least, if ever.

Another thing is that I’m taking the mulch off the garden. I’m pretty sure it’s hindering the growth of the plants under it, so it is going away. Slowly.

I’d say, though, that my garden boxes were mostly a success. I really need to write a tutorial on them. They were hell to build, but turned out quite nicely.

I really enjoy growing things. I love watching seeds grow into tiny two-leaf plants, and I love watching those tiny green things grow into harvestable fruits. The garden boxes were very low maintenance, and weeding was easy because the composted manure was so light and fluffy. I’m sure it’ll be a bit different next year as the dirt settles, but overall they’ll remain easy to weed.

I have left to harvest some pickling cucumbers, a couple cherry tomatoes, the few yellow onions that have made it more than an inch in diameter, carrots, and tomatillos. Like I said, I’m really looking forward to making salsa. I got a recipe from a Mexican friend, so I’m sure it’ll be delicious.

And that’s it for The Garden Project, 2016 edition.

Over and out.

Categories: the garden project
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