Monday, October 13, 2014

So much thanks!

This is not your typical thankfulness post, my friends. I'm thankful for- wait for it- my JOB. Obviously I'm also super grateful for amazing family, friends, country, church, opportunities, things etc etc, but this is about work.

Ever since I was young enough to have thoughts, I dreamed of being a stay at home mom- just like my own mommy. I wanted to want to be a career woman, but my heart was never there. After high school, University was a natural path for me. I didn't know WHAT I wanted to do, but I knew it would involve university. I wanted something under my belt before a husband and kids arrived on the scene. My mom mentioned that a cousin of hers was a speech-language pathologist so I set up a job shadow situation, wasn't repulsed by what I saw, and pursued. I assumed I would complete my schooling and have a potential career.... I just never dreamed I would actually work it (much less ENJOY it). I felt like the least driven/Type A/ambitious/confident/competent speech student of all time... but I finished. And I even got jobs afterwards (what? Bills? Student loan payments? FINE, I'll work). I have always enjoyed my colleagues and clients, but still never felt completely confident that I had found my occupational niche in this world. I presumed that once babies came, any and all career aspirations would be put on hold... then I learned that we had a minimum hours requirement to maintain our certification. Groooooooaannnn. I wasn't about to throw 4 years of undergrad and 2 years of grad school directly out the window. Fiiiiiine. I'll keep pursuing work.

It was during my maternity leave with Stefan that I had an aha moment that WAIT A SEC- perhaps I HAD pursued the right path. An amazing job fell in my lap (thank you, Deb), but it got even better.

Enter Michelle- my speech assistant. One of the most hilarious, competent, hard-working, beautiful inside-and-out women you will ever meet. Right away we clicked. She's 10 years older than me with five kids ranging from ages nine to 21, and she's LDS (my Mormon friend!)... but I feel like we're completely in the same stage of life. It must be my intense maturity perhaps? Yes I think that must be it. We laugh our faces off  constantly (like, kind of literally in the sense that our tears of joy smear off any remnant of make-up we may have taken the futile effort to apply that morning). Sure- by the end of the day, our tear-stained faces could be the result of breathing each other's CO2 all day. Or perhaps it's the kids we get who can hardly string two intelligible words together then give us detailed information about their poop medication- CLEAR AS A BELL. Or perchance it's that every single kid thinks that I am five to 85 years older than Michelle (which- believe me- Michelle takes GREAT pleasure in). Or possibly it's simply because we're using every ounce of our energy to be animated and interesting for these children and we are so exhausted and ridiculous that we have no other option but to laugh. Hard. All day every day (well, the two days a week that I work... which is also a pretty sweet deal that I am VERY thankful for). Not a week has gone by where someone hasn't said, "You guys have too much fun!" or "You guys laugh too much!" or "You shouldn't be allowed to have so much fun at work!" And it's true. If you know Michelle... you laugh. She's a delightful ball of wit whose voodoo magic/queen of manipulation tactics to make people love her definitely worked on me.  I am now the only speechie for the preschool kids at our school. That idea scared me initially, and I miss Deb (my now retired fellow SLP) a lot... but I have embraced my role as solo speech path, and have really surprised myself with how much I enjoy the work/home balance. I do believe I have Michelle to thank for that- I would not be as confident or effective as I am without her by my side. Plus, she makes work FUN. The kids respond to us, laugh with us, and light up when we lather them with attention. We're also lucky to have super supportive admin, teachers, and staff... but this is all about Michelle.  My number one girl, my right hand woman, my partner in crime, a big sister figure, and my close friend.  I am one lucky speech-language pathologist!

Pretty thrilled about a lunch time bike ride in work attire!
We also thoroughly enjoy Michelle's family, and we had the honour of attending Baylee's mission farewell and snapping some photogs of Baylee and the whole fam jam. Talk about a super photogenic family... I fall asleep dreaming about all that HAIR!
Baylee again. ;)
Super speedy Michelle.
 Love ya, Michelle- thank you for being you!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Stefan's one year video... only 6 months late.

Ever since Stefan's conception, I've been determined to keep things equal between the first and second pregnancy/child (which has taken a lot more effort the second time around, believe me). Weekly pregnancy photos/updates, special occasion photo shoots, and generally over-documenting the heck out of the poor souls' lives. Over the past six months, I have been painfully aware that Stefan's one year video was going to be late, but I hadn't realized that it was also going to be vastly minimal. Digging through the ol archives revealed that apparently Fraser has videos for his first six months, second six months, long AND short versions of his first entire year, and a time lapse video made with weekly photos over his first year. Plus some other randoms. Suuuuuure... because that's an obtainable standard to set.

Well, I'm just proud that I finished Stefan's one year vid in time for his 18 month birthday and not his 18 year birthday. So hopefully Stef will be happy with that too... right?!

PS if you're not Stefan's grandparent and you don't watch this, I won't be offended. I can't guarantee that I would watch a 10-minute video starring your child either. ;)

Stefan is one!

Today is Stefan's half birthday.... 18 months already. Unbelievable! His adorably goofy personality has exploded over the last few months and he's simply hilarious. He loves to take out the garbage (and in fact melts down when denied such luxuries), he's a fearless risk taker, and his doofy laugh is incredibly infectious. The chunky monkey wears his brother's clothes and communicates in semi-intelligible two to three word phrases (and even uses plurals and possessives appropriately.... the speech pathologist in me is swollen with pride!!). He's a rock star sleeper/napper, he idolizes big brother "Raddo" (when toy thievery is not taking place), he has an endearingly squeaky inflection, he enjoys cleaning the drain with my toothbrush, he rocks a somewhat curly blonde mullet (which I absolutely can not bring myself to cut), and he weasels his little way deeper into our hearts every day. Don't you worry- he's still a typical little boy who seems to take pleasure in causing gray hairs to sprout on mommy and daddy (well, just daddy so far.... knock on wood), and he can melt down with the best of them. Fortunately, the good definitely outweighs the challenging, and we love the kid to bits. Happy half birthday big boy!

See? Dare devil. Not to be outdone by the big boys!

Doing one of his favourite things- carrying a poop bag (sans poop... although he would probably enjoy it even more with poop)!
And in the words of Stefan.... BUH-BYE!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Post-Ottawa summer shenanigans!

There was pre-Ottawa, there was Ottawa, and now this is post-Ottawa... we managed to soak up another wee summer getaway, folks.

Our friend (and Lowell's former colleague), Kabir, paid us the absolute honour of including us in his son's traditional Bangladeshi wedding. There was one other Caucasian lady in a sea of beautiful Bangladeshi folks, so it was a good thing we had some Indian clothes to blend in as much as humanly possible (which wasn't much- haha)!

Lowell wore his kurta from our friend Zab's wedding. Truth be told, we lost the pants and made a desperate last minute stop at a store that sells such things in Calgary. PHEW. Pantsless husband averted. Thanks to Zab & Ruth for getting married and including Lowell in the wedding party so he had such fancy duds on hand!

The sari I wore was lent to me by my friend, Saara. I neglected to receive a tutorial and felt overly confident that You Tube videos/instructions would help me out no problem. Well, after 30 minutes of Marti and me attempting to have some semblance of success wrapping me in the sari, I realized we were getting nowhere fast and I'd be better off pleading with one of the many Bangladeshi women at the wedding. When we arrived, I sheepishly sauntered into the venue with yards of sari randomly draped about when a very kind bridesmaid came to my rescue. She scurried me upstairs and did me right up nice. She even went so far as to pull bobby pins out of her bridesmaidy hair to secure my outfit. For me. The little white girl who had no clue what she was doing. I assured her, however, that I had some safety pins in the car, so her lovely hair do remained in tact... but how nice was SHE?!

Seriously. How beautiful is this bride?

I loved all the colours. All the women were so vibrant and stunning (but especially the bride of course).

We thoroughly enjoyed being a part of their wedding day, and considered it a privilege to be acquainted with so many wonderful people. The Indian feast didn't hurt either (I loooooove me some butter chicken and naan bread). Thanks so much, Kabir!

This is apparently a very culturally typical couple pose.
While we partied Bangladeshi style, our boys were busy exhausting Uncle Lando & Auntie Marti on what turned out to be their busiest day of the summer (they own and run the Sled Parlor). Haha- oops. Sorry guys. And THANKS!

At Lowell's old stomping grounds, we got some serious family visiting time in.

Like, with Grandma & Grandpa T as well as Great Grandma...

Grandpa teaching his grandsons some essential tool skills.

Lowell used to play with those Tonka toys, and they were lovingly passed along to our boys for much fun sand play!
Big smiles with Great Grandma!
Story time with Grandma!
Grandpa made the boys a toy box! I painted it (a white-ish/vintagey/distressed look), and now it's a perfect fixture in our living room. Remember us when you become a millionaire toy box maker, Grandpa!

I just think it's adorable that the boys have a toy box made by their Grandpa. And also, Auntie Erin gave that giant bear to Fraser when he was born, and it seems to appear in a lot of our photos! Well done, Erin.

 As always, we enjoyed catching up with Uncle Dave, Auntie Lori and their passel of adorable and goofy gals...


Remember Evelyn? Who got kicked in the head by a horse and scared the daylights out of all of us? Well, she's fine. She's juuuuuuust fine. xox


Carmen and her mom playing an impressively lovely duet!
Before heading home, we enjoyed a slew of other aunties and uncles including Uncle Stephen- one of the admirable men Stefan was named after. Stephen, his wife Tricia, and their three kids live in Zanzibar, so this was the first time that Stephen & Stefan met. And cute it was... they even matched!

Stephen has a son named Ian, and the T family name rests on the shoulders of these three cuties...

Jubilee & Hope are delightfully adorable big sisters!

We had a very idyllic afternoon of playing around Uncle Lando & Auntie Marti's property, and picnicing at their little lake.

Some of the clan even ripped around on jet skis. Fraser was a total poser...

But Auntie Joni? She's the for real deal. She is Stephen's mom (Lowell's for real aunt), and a GRANDMOTHER. Sooo speaking of hot Grandma's...

And thus concludes our summer traveling. We also had tons of fun and project time at home sweet home this summer, but that's 10 other posts for sometime in the next 10 years!

Now to embrace leaves, boots, sweaters, scarves, and most importantly... the pumpkin spice latte.