Looking Back at 2017

Definitely the biggest thing that happened for us in 2017 was the arrival of Baby Scotch. Its been awesome (even when things have driven me to tears) and I’m so excited about 2018 with him. Lots of other stuff happened in 2017 too but I’d say this year was about pockets of really awesome adventures, with long periods of boring, and sometimes frustrating, days in between. When I’m thinking about what I’d like for this new year that is definitely something I’m going to work on changing. But before we get into this new year, here’s some highlights from 2017.

Adventure

Between the start of the year and May we didn’t go any where. This was the first year we didn’t do something for spring break which turned out to be the best decision when I went into labour two weeks early. Luckily it didn’t take long for us to be able to head out again as a family of three with a day trip to Drumheller, a weekend in Edmonton and finally our two and a half week trip to California.

Beach time in San Diego

Jon and I split paternity leave so he was able to take the summer off with us. We went to the cabin at the start of July, spent some time in Victoria and capped off the summer with another trip to the cabin in August.

Hanging on the beach in Victoria

I went back to work in the fall which generally means no more vacation until Christmas but this year I had a spot at the indoor lawn bowling national championships in Vancouver so we spent a week at the end of October there.

Christmas was spent in the city but we made the long, snowy drive to the cabin in time for new years.

Around the House

Early in 2016 we started on some basement renos, knowing that we wanted to have a guest room down there with the baby room upstairs. We didn’t get to finish them but luckily my father in law came for a visit and wrapped them up for us. Jon also painted the main floor and bathroom and we did some landscaping in the front yard.

Personal and Family

Obviously, the arrival of Baby Scotch changed our lives and what we got up to. He was awesome as a tiny baby but is even more awesome at 9 months. Best thing ever.

Eating dried seaweed

Work for both Jon and I was/is super busy to the point where it is too much. Another thing that needs to be adjusted in 2018.

Fitness and Health

So the first part of the year was about maintaining a healthy pregnancy (success!) and then recovering quickly (success!) but the time after that which should have been spent regaining my fitness just never happened. I’ve lost all the baby weight (and more) but I wouldn’t say I’m fit. We didn’t make it much of a priority.

Outdoors

Prior to Baby Scotch’s arrival we actually got in quite a few outdoor adventures for being so pregnant. We hiked Fullerton Loop again, did a fair amount of cross country skiing and even went on a pretty epic snowshoe adventure at 32 weeks pregnant. I went for a big walk the day I went into labour and managed to be outside the day following (and even during labour I spent some of it outdoors).

Then there was a lot of city walking while we toured California and adjusted to life as new parents which remained the general pace of our outdoor adventures even as we got into summer. We did one camping trip, got out for some short paddles at the cabin and a few easy walks at Glenbow Ranch.

Out for an evening paddle

For the first summer in a long, long time we didn’t get into the backcountry at all.

We had a really warm fall/winter so there wasn’t much snow, then we did get a ton right before Christmas but of course the temperature dropped into the -20s so skiing has only happened twice.

Reading

I crushed the reading this year mostly because I spent a lot time reading when Scotch was nursing/napping. I read 61 books in 2017 which is probably the most I’ve ever read in a year. I didn’t have a favourite book this year but looking at my list I seemed to read a lot of murder mysteries – probably because there were easy and “mindless”.

All the Other Stuff

Lawn bowling was a big part of our summer. Both Jon and I were on the provincial team, and then each of us completed in different national championships in the fall.

I’m sure there was other stuff but my mind is drawing a blank. I didn’t blog as much as I usually do so I feel like I had a harder time keeping track of what we got up to on a day to day basis.

So much time was spent like this – not exciting but great anyways

So that was 2017 (or at least what I remember of it right now). While there was a lot of good in 2017, I wouldn’t say I felt particularly satisfied with how it all went. While I wouldn’t change things, we’ll certainly be looking at how we can make some changes moving forward in 2018!

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Christmas Break 2017 – Part 1

The lead up to Christmas break this year felt ridiculously busy – probably because this is one of those years where we worked until the 22nd – but it is always busy whether it is vacation or not and I’m happy I didn’t lose a week of vacation to all the pre-Christmas chores.

We definitely didn’t do all the usual Christmas things this year. I only made some nuts and bolt and one batch of my Christmas biscotti but I don’t honestly miss the baking. My students were generous in their gifting of chocolate so we’ve got lots around the house to satisfy my sweet tooth.

We went to E’s Christmas party at daycare (where he met Santa), helped some friends decorate their tree and went to a Christmas party where we exchanged unwanted items from our own houses (I got a lovely bird house).

I did manage some Christmas crafting, even if it meant staying up way to late on many school nights. I wanted to make E a Christmas stocking (Jon’s mom made his, Jon made mine and so I felt it was my job to make E’s). I kept it pretty simple but he loves the red pom pom nose and it looks cute hanging from the mantle.

I also worked on my collection of cloth bags. I’d like to green-up (and simplify) our wrapping of gifts and these bags are a great way to do that. I’ve now used up my whole stash of Christmas themed cotton and I think we’ve got enough bags for a while.

My trusty Elna is back in action

Christmas break started on Friday. My sister and her boyfriend arrived in time for some pre-Christmas visiting and we took them to see the lights at Confederation Park as a way to start our Christmas break. We got a huge snowfall last week (yay for a white Christmas!) but along with that have come some very chilly temperatures so we didn’t say out long.

I managed to get my Christmas shopping done before the break started so this past weekend I just had to hit up the grocery store. We kept gifting fairly simple so wrapping wasn’t the huge chore it has been in the past and I wasn’t up late on Christmas Eve doing last minute wrapping. Instead we were able to fit in a short ski (while my sister babysat) and went to bed not much after the little guy.

Christmas morning started bright and early at 7 am but we just let E play with his Santa gift and had a cup of coffee while we waited for my sister to get up. Then we did stockings, Eggo waffles for breakfast, E had a little nap and we worked our way through the rest of his gifts.

Opening his stocking with Dad
Not that into opening the gifts but still pretty excited about all the action

We hosted “luncher” and had family come over at noon for snacks, drinks, gifts, another nap and finally an early Christmas dinner. We stuck with the traditional turkey, potatoes, brussel sprouts, and cheese cake for dessert. Everyone was on their way by early evening and then we attempted to get our wound up child to go to bed. After E was finally down Jon and I finished Christmas by opening gifts from each other.

Boxing day was fairly quiet. The cold temperatures kept us inside other than alternating who took the dog for a walk. We ventured out in the afternoon to exchange a pair of slippers but spent the rest of the day helping E play with his new toys and eating leftover turkey.

Checking out his new ornaments on the tree

We dropped my sister off at the airport today which wraps up the Christmas part of our vacation. The cold snap continues so we don’t have any exciting plans for the next few days but it will be nice to just spend some down time together as this is the longest time off we’ve had since I went back to work.

What We’ve Been Up To – How is it Already December?

Dear November – how are you over already?

Things have been pretty busy since we returned from Vancouver. I keep hoping things will quiet down but then I’m not doing a very good job of saying “no” to all sorts of stuff. Its a bit out of control and leading to a bit of frustration these days. We’ve been up in Edmonton, doing a bunch of stuff around the house and hosting gramps for a week so it certainly hasn’t been quiet!

Of course work is busy (it always is) and I’m looking forward to the start of Christmas break. I’ve got lots of projects on the go in my classroom so its mostly pretty fun but a lot of work.

The classroom goldfish waiting out the weekend in our bathroom at home before moving into our classroom aquaponics system

On the home front Scotch has been dealing with yet another monster cold which means we’re all dealing with the cold. He seemed to get better, we got worse and now he’s got something else.

Sleeping off his cold while we were up in Edmonton. Yet again he managed to match his sleepwear to the hotel linens.

Speaking of the little guy – he turned 8 months on Friday (how did the time go by so fast?) and is so much fun. He’s generally a happy guy but has learned to express his displeasure when he isn’t thrilled with things (tonight he did not like his soup for dinner). I keep thinking he’s going to crawl any day now and he is desperate to be able to move in any way possible. He’s got an official check-up on Wednesday and I’m excited to find out how big he is.

Helping Dad install the new sink faucet

Winter showed up early this year so I’ve been working on adjusting to that. After some dedicated searching on Kijiji I was finally able to purchase a cross-country ski kit for our Chariot and we took it out for test run after the first snowfall. We only skied for about 20 minutes but it was great to be out. Since then all our snow in the city has disappeared and we haven’t made the time for a longer adventure but I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to get out again soon.

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The colder weather has had me in holiday mode since the middle of November. I’ve secretly been wearing Christmas socks and have actually done a large part of my Christmas shopping already. I’m looking forward to getting the lights and tree up (hopefully this coming weekend) and I have a few Christmas crafts on the go.

We’ve got three work weeks left before break and I’ve got a lot of things I need/want to get done so December is going to be busy too! I’ve also started a holiday bucket list and am determined that we’re not going to spend the whole month working!

What We’ve Been Up To – Summer 2017 Recap

We’re well into fall now and I can’t really believe that it is already halfway (or more) through September so this post is a little behind but I figure better late than never.

Summer always seems to fly by – this was my 5th summer off (thanks teaching job!) but I’m still amazed at how fast the time seems to go, even when you have every day as vacation. This summer Jon was off too and that gave us time for some big adventures (California! Victoria!), but we kept it pretty low key when it has come to the smaller adventures and seemed to do less than normal.

Lawn bowling kept us very busy – almost too busy. Both of us earned spots on our provincial team this year and while that cut down on the number of times we had to travel to Edmonton, it meant that we spent at lot of time on greens practicing. We’ve been pretty lucky that the lawn bowling community has basically adopted our child – he’s got grannies and aunties and sometimes strangers who want to cuddle and hangout while we bowl which makes it possible for both of us to play.

end_summer_08

Being on the provincial team meant we had the chance to represent Alberta at the Canadian Lawn Bowling Championships in Victoria, BC and spent a week competing there which took up a large part of August but was a ton of fun!

Our house always has at least one home repair going on and this summer we tackled some outdoor landscaping projects. They started quite small and grew into larger projects that we still haven’t finished. Luckily Jon is off this September and has been working to finish them! Then he’s got a huge list of indoor projects to keep him busy…

end_summer_02

After a disappointing start (I had to plant my bean seedlings three times before enough grew) our garden finally kicked it into gear in August and was overflowing the beds! While we have nothing like we used to have at the old house was enough stuff growing now that we had big leafy salads, fresh beans, herbs and lots of sautéed greens.

Our back alley raspberry patch and our sour cherry tree were also super productive. We managed to harvest almost all of the raspberries but our tree just has so many cherries that I wasn’t able to keep up. We definitely had some delicious raspberry pies and sour cherry cobblers more often than we maybe should have.

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And what about that summer bucket list? We managed to do almost everything on it at least one but I would have liked to spend a little more time hiking and camping since we only did those once.

  • take the little guy camping – check! One night at Bow Valley was all we squeezed it but I’m still pretty happy we got out.
  • Go for a paddle – I’d hoped we get out for an actual trip but I’m still happy that we did lots of paddling at the lake this summer.

  • Go hiking – we did a very short hike while camping but that was it.
  • Use the smoker – and try something new (I’m thinking a smoked cheese?) – sort of since I did smoke a brisket (and it was perfect)  but not a new item
  • Play in the river – we did a little bit but it was often too hot to walk down
  • Get our front flower beds redone – nope
  • Finally chop down the rest of the apple tree – nope
  • Have a camp fire – while we were camping we managed to cross this off but then the fire ban sort of put an end to this one
  • Take another family vacation at the cabin – yes! it was lovely and relaxing
  • Have a picnic – finally! We had burgers and slurpies (see below) in the park by our house.
  • Drink all the slurpies – I had more this year than I’ve had in a while and my favourite was definitely this apple cider one from Sea Cider while we were in Victoria.

And while I’d hoped we do some more adventurous things, looking back we had a pretty fun time. I know next summer will be totally different (a mobile little one will make a few things more challenging) so I’m glad we all got to share this first summer together as a family.

Random Friday Thoughts

Man, I feel like I have some much that I need/want to do and there just are not enough naps in the day to get everything done. Besides a hundred things around the house,  I’ve got a ton of blog posts waiting to be written about our trip, how Baby S is doing these days and our home repairs. While those are in the works, here is a quick catch up about everything else that I’ve been up to and what I’m looking forward to.

I finally started working out again post-pregnancy.

It’s been over 10 weeks since the little guy joined us and I finally got my act together enough to start working out again. While I was able to walk right up until he was born (I even went for a 20 minute dog walk during labour to help things along) and started walking again the day after, it has been quite a while since I’ve worked out (some time in the third trimester I gave it up).  My workouts are still a far cry from my pre-pregnancy workouts but are definitely a step in the right direction.

My plan for June is to work out at least every second day doing weights and a ride on my trainer. In July and August I’ll start adding back in some P90X and hopefully by September be back to running and working out consistently 5 days a week. Then we’ll have to see how I can fit it in while being back at work and a mom. Right now I’m fitting my workouts in during naps so sometimes it can take me all afternoon to fit it in.

I fit in (most of) my pre-pregnancy clothes!

Working out (and so many other things) are easier because I fit in my pre-pregnancy clothes again! They don’t fit exactly the way they used to (I’ve still got about 9 lbs hanging around that I don’t really want) but I’m OK with that. I haven’t tried everything on and I know there are some things that won’t be wearable for a while but having most of my wardrobe back has been great.

I got our garden planted – for the second time

Before we left for our vacation I planted beans, lettuce, chard and kale and set up my sprinkler systems to look after everything while we were gone. Three weeks later and only the kale and some of the chard has sprouted. I’ve been using the seeds that we bought in 2012 so I think that maybe they have reached their expiry date!

Last weekend we went to the garden centre and I bought a few packages of seeds to fill in the gaps and a couple of mature kale and squash plants. We’re keeping the garden really simple this year – just lettuce, two kinds of kale, swiss chard, two kinds of bean and a spaghetti squash. These tend to be the veggies that are most successful and that we use the most of so I figured they would be the best bang for our buck with the limited space and time we have.

In just a few weeks Jon will be off with me for the summer

He doesn’t normally get the summer off with his job but we decided to take concurrent parental leave and have a summer together. We’ll both go back to work in the fall but for the next few months we’re going to enjoy it! Yes we will be as poor as we were when we were students but having two months off together isn’t something we’ll probably do again for a long time. We have no big plans (California was our big trip for the year) but we’re hoping to get out camping and hiking during the week to avoid some of the crowds.