New year, renewed hope

I blinked, and 2013 kind of vanished on me. It’s a blur, a seemingly endless stream of activity that rarely relented long enough for me to appreciate any of it. I have pictures to prove it, sure, but I have to struggle sometimes to remember the date, or what else might have happened.

I’m fairly certain this isn’t (solely) a result of age. It’s parenthood. It’s a rigorous schedule that keeps the family machine moving at quite a pace. Between work schedules (which alternate such that Alex and I resemble “ships passing in the night”), school schedules, various after school activities, and the family activities, there’s very little time for much else.

Like, say, writing a blog.

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New Year’s (Eve) Tea

By tradition, our family does afternoon (or high) tea on 1 January, and thus far it has always been at a Fairmont hotel (which, frankly, does excellent afternoon tea). This year, almost exactly one year ago today, we had our tea as planned. But last week, we came to the realization that we could not effectively hold to our traditional date, as Alex has an evening shift, and getting back from Banff in time was nigh-impossible without rushing.

Local? The Palliser doesn’t start until 2pm, which makes rushing just as much a problem. And no-one else in Calgary seems to be open on New Years Day. For afternoon tea, that is.

And it wasn’t for a lack of looking. I even went to my internet compatriots for suggestions. I got the name of nearly every tea house in Calgary, but no others that served afternoon tea. It seems harder than it should be…

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Happy 3rd birthday, Choo Choo!

It’s one of those funny things you sometimes run into as a parent. In one moment, you’re nearly panicking at the seemingly rapid passage of time, that your tiny infant is suddenly racing around the house, reading books far too advanced for her age, and threatening to debate logical positivism. Then you look down and see that one child is adorably cute and had been so for, also seemingly long, forever.

Today, dear Choo Choo, you turned 3. And while the world seems to be spinning around me beyond my control, you sit there at the centre of the storm, giggling and playing and singing songs and making faces and smiling, smiling, smiling. Oh, how I cannot believe how much happier my life is when I get a big hug from you.

Like this morning, when you got up…

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2012, A Year in Review

For me, 2012 was a bad year. Between a host of medical issues (brutal chest cough that led to pulled muscles, to appendicitis, to strep throat, a couple nasty colds-cum-killer flus, and a minor outpatient surgery), ridiculous amounts of stress, the ever-present struggle of being a parent to young children, a general malaise, and an unfulfilled burning need to travel, it’s truly a wonder I got out of bed in the morning.

So it wasn’t with any reservation that 2012 walked out of my life on Monday night, yet it still managed to leave me rather depressed. Sadly, 2013 woke me up looking already a lot like 2012, so I’m not sure if I’m able to look at this new year with much hope yet. Instead, I suppose I shall have to try harder to make things work more my way.

This not to say that I “didn’t like” 2012. It’s hard not to like an entire year in one’s life, especially one that brings so many new things to learn and experience. I just wish it hadn’t been so darned painful…
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New Year’s Tea, 2013

Gingerbread Banff SpringsPhoto by Geoff S.

Every year, so far able to be said to be “like clockwork”, we have Afternoon Tea on New Year’s Day. So far, every time has been at a Fairmont hotel (three times at the Banff Springs, once at the Hotel Vancouver), and I don’t suppose that tradition is likely to change any time soon. Though we’re definitely needing to branch out to other Fairmonts, and my sights are definitely set on the Empress in Victoria.

This year’s event was quieter, being just the four of us. Whereas last year we had more guests than the combined attendance of all previous NYTs, we intentionally kept it light and simple.

In fact, this year’s annual Tea almost didn’t happen.

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Christmas Blitzkrieg

When I have those moments when I think I’ve gotten too old, and I think I’m starting to feel like my age, I’m thankful for sudden sustained bursts of activity that remind me that, really, I just lead a much duller life than I used to, and my exhaustion is usually due to lack of sleep than from trying to do too much.

Heck, it even makes me feel a bit young! Ish. Sort of.

Except for the prolonged yawning, anyway.

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Happy 5th Birthday, Monkey

Today was a big day, Monkey. A milestone — yet another of many to come. Another year has passed, but it’s an important one. You’re past infant, toddler, and now preschooler. You’re a real kid, now. You’re going to school — real school.

You’re not my “little” girl anymore. You’re a big girl now, really. (You’ll always be little, by the way. Just accept it and let’s move on, shall we?) I still find it hard to see you growing up, almost like you’re slowly getting away from me with every day.

I can’t believe you’re 5 already, Monkey.

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A walk in the (amusement) park

Kids, we missed the Calgary Stampede this year. That was partly intentional, to be honest. Yes, it was the 100th anniversary, and Choo Choo was old enough to actually do some of the things there, but … well, it was kind of crazy this year, and maybe the 101th anniversary won’t be quite so crazy. And you’ll be older, and slightly more … how can I put this? … controllable.

That said, you both like rides, Monkey especially. (We found that out last year.) So denying you two a trip to an amusement park, especially during what’s turning out to be Calgary’s best summer in a long time, is just plain criminal. So with Mommy’s acquired coupons, we packed you up, dragged out Grandpa, and all headed to Calaway Park.

In a word? “WHEEEEEEEE!”

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Vacation 2012, Day 2.5

Well, kids, this vacation is certainly having some ups and downs. I’m taking that as a good thing, by the way, since without variation things can get a little dry. That’s also a joke, incidentally — “dry” isn’t a concern around here. It’s rained every day so far (we have thunderstorms as I’m writing this), and not far away, flooding is so bad that highways are being washed out.

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