Thursday, December 31, 2009

Decade in Review

I am shamelessly stealing this idea from Beth.

2000 began at a random bar with Di in Markham (before she and Mike got together!), involved spending the day with Katie and her Michigan girls, then attending a Hip concert with Dave and the Georgetown boys. Dave and I were not together, but I'd just broken up with Josh and the Mac/Mc reunion took place just over 1 week later. That year, we both finished our undergrad degrees, graduating the same week that Leah was born. In May, I went to Thailand, Korea and Japan for my 2nd study abroad through Michigan State (this time for grad school credit). Dave moved back to Georgetown, Ben moved to Chicago, Beth to Vancouver. I visited East Lansing, MI several times and went to Cooperstown. Leanne (not my maid of honour, the other one) moved in with me and I started grad school, once again at Guelph. Dave started working for the company he still calls his employer.

In 2001, NYE was spent in Montreal with Sarah (before she was with Kevin), Dave and assorted Guelph friends. I was still in graduate school, working as a research assistant and TA and receiving some great scholarships. I was done classes, though, so my schedule was my own. As a result, I travelled A LOT! In February, Dan and I visited Ben in Chicago. In March, I went to Paris with my folks. In April, Dave, roommate Leanne and I went to DisneyWorld (my first time). And that summer, Katie and I embarked on an amazing road trip - NY, DC and Boston - visiting friends and playing tourist. We spent time at the WTC (in line at the TKTS booth) and a couple weeks later, I was a mess when I watched the towers fall. In November, Dan and I headed back to Chicago for Ben's birthday. And at Christmas, Beth and her then husband came back to Ontario. They were with us when we got the call that Dave's grandfather had died after a battle with Alzheimer's.

2002 did not have an auspicious start. Dave and I spend NYE on the couch in my parents' basement, suffering from strep throat and getting psyched up for his Poppy's funeral. The year improved, though. In March, I went to Belgium with my parents. Dave and I went to Michigan several times. I submitted my thesis in June, and immediately went to the DR with Di and Dawn. I successfully defended my thesis in early August, and Sierra was born a week later. I moved back to Georgetown. In September, Dave and I went to Ottawa (I chatted with a future boss at Health Canada), and Jorge got married. In October, I celebrated my 25th birthday with my Nonna in Italy. And I spent the fall doing occasional supply teaching and applying for jobs in the government.

2003 was rung in at the apartment of Jorge and his new wife; they hosted a party. Soon after, Dave and I went on a trip to DisneyWorld. Happily, I was offered a job with the CFIA in February. I worked part of the time in Guelph and part in Ottawa. In late March, I found out that I'd been accepted into the MTP with Health Canada, and waited on details. In June, I found out that I'd start language training in Toronto in the fall, and would move to Ottawa after I finished. With details FINALLY in place, Dave was given the ok to ring shop ;). His Nanny died at the very beginning of July, though, so the ring was burning a hole in his pocket until July 6th. We set the date for the following Thanksgiving of 2004. In August, Dave and I visited Ben and Erin in Chicago. In October, my parents took us on an engagement trip to Baltimore and DC on the -1 anniversary of our wedding. I also left the CFIA and started language training in downtown Toronto. That's where I met Tania (and eventually Mark). In December, Sarah and Kevin got married.

2004 began in Woodstock at the apartment of Sarah and Kevin, who'd just returned from their honeymoon. It was a stressful year, with language training (if I didn't demonstrate proficiency at a very high level, I would have no job - a fate that awaited several of my friends). Wedding planning took place throughout the year, and I took a week of unpaid leave in March to go to Paris with my parents. In May, Blaine and Colleen were married. In June, my bridal party converged in Vancouver for a bachorette weekend; it was amazing. It was also the weekend that my maid of honour - Leanne and bridesmaid Justin started dating. It didn't work out, but it was a riot to see! In early August, my parents and I went to Quebec City, and I went through a stress-related near breakdown as I prepared for my oral interaction exam (I'd breezed through the written ones). I did very well on the exam, though, and got my level on the 20th of August. Plans to move to Ottawa were set in motion. September was a blur of finalizing wedding details and moving and job plans. Di and Mike got married on the 25th. On the 27th, movers packed my stuff. On the 28th, I moved. I started my new job on the 30th and on the 6th of October, I flew back to the GTA to get married. Talk about a crazy week! Our wedding was on October 9th, one week after my 27th birthday. The next day, we flew off to Venice for our honeymoon, a Med cruise. We got back at the end of October, and headed back to Ottawa. Dave started to work in the Ottawa office on the 1st of November. And at the end of December, my father retired.

We rang in 2005 at Tania's apartment, dragging Jen and Greg along. By early in the year, it was becoming clear that the spot I was working at Health Canada - a place I thought I'd be doing my dream job - was more of a nightmare. I spent months trying to come up with ways to improve the situation, but I was thwarted at every turn. Happily, I was on a developmental program and was able to leave without too many problems, although I stuck it out (fighting depression) until August. I started a job in another policy shop, but soon realized that policy was not for me. I did some soul searching and realized that maybe, just maybe, I'd like Human Resources. And one of my acquaintances -- also on the program - called me out of the blue because she was in an HR assignment and thought I'd be a great fit to replace her. Dave and I did some travelling, too. In April, we went to Quebec City to vouch for Jen and Greg so they could get married in that province. In July, we had a big trip to Michigan for Ben and Erin's wedding and to visit Katie. In August, we celebrated Jen and Greg's wedding in Quebec. And over Labour Day, we went to Las Vegas to celebrate Dave's 30th. I expected to tolerate Vegas, but I LOVED it! We celebrated our anniversary in Vermont. In November, we went to Nova Scotia (I went to a conference and Dave tagged along) and Beth came to visit us. Oh, and in family news, my Mom retired in March, and my parents moved to Almonte, only 45 mintues away. They love it and we are so happy for them!

2006 began in our apartment, once again celebrating with Greg and Jen. And two days later, I began my new MTP assignment, one that would change to course of my career. It was baptism by fire - running recruitment campaigns and job fairs, then taking over as coordinator of an elite recruitment program all in 6 months! My director was amazing and I clicked with the team. I was exhausted, though -- from January to May, I worked 7.5 weeks of OVERTIME (you know, in addition to my normal work week). Dave and I managed to squeeze in a trip to the Caribbean in early February. Jacob was born at the very end of that month. And then, things started to go off the rails. My Aunt Flo had what we then thought was a stroke in early March. It turned into a series of brain bleeds that completely incapacitated her and forced her to live the rest of her life in nursing homes. Beth's marriage fell apart, and her long-awaited PhD defence was blocked by a vindictive external examiner. Dave and I had booked our trip to Vancouver already, though, so we headed out to distract her. In April, I went to a conference in St. John's and my parents came out to play tourist with me. And in June, Dave, my parents and I went England and embarked on a cruise of the Baltic Sea. Russia was amazing, and my parents fell in love with cruising. In August, I flew back to Vancouver for Beth's rescheduled defence. We celebrated my 29th birthday and our anniversary on a cruise to Bermuda. And we wound down the year with the decision that we wanted to start looking for a house - in Blackburn Hamlet.

2007 began quietly in our apartment. January was my busiest time of year at work, and the overtime was nuts. As usual, I had strep and/or a sinus infection for the better part of 2 months. At the beginning of February, we headed to Vegas for a week-long getaway, including a side trip to Utah and one to urgent care for my illness. And we started looking for houses with our amazing agent, viewing everything that came on the market in the area. In early March, we were outbid on the first house we'd liked. At the end of that month, I flew out to Vancouver to see Beth. Several days later, we flew to Calgary to meet up with Dave and hang out with Justin for a week. Calgary isn't my favourite, but the Rockies are amazing and we liked Drumheller too. In May, we found the house we ended up buying and made an offer right away. We celebrated with an already-planned trip to Vermont. We spent most of June trying to pack up the homes of my Aunt Flo and Nonna - both pack rats - after my Nonna sold her houses in what had become the Queen's student ghetto. We helped her move to a much nicer neighbourhood at the end of that month, inheriting a great deal of Flo's furniture and her amazing book collection. That all went into storage as we prepared for our move in August. And right in the middle of the move, I had to go on a mandatory MTP graduation course outside of town. It was an amazing week! In July, we visited Dave's family in Newfoundland and attended Tania and Mark's wedding while in September, we went to Edmonton for Deepa and David's big day. And we celebrated my 30th birthday in Vegas with Blaine and Colleen. In November, I flew to Chicago to see Katie and for Ben's 30th birthday. And in December, I suffered a miscarriage at 12 weeks. Happily, Beth came to visit us after Christmas!

2008 was another quiet night at home as I prepared for my busiest time at work. January was brutal and I was once again ill, but a treat was around the corner. On February 1st, Dave and I flew to Auckland for a cruise of New Zealand and Australia. It was AMAZING! We met awesome people, too, and we flew to Atlanta to meet up with them in July. By then, I was pregnant with Teddy! In August, I flew out to Vancouver to see Beth (poor Dave was out of vacation time) and my parents joined me for a cruise to Alaska. As the year wound down, it was clear that big changes were happening at my work, but I didn't feel right changing jobs with only a month or two left to work before my maternity leave. The horrible transit strike in Ottawa was the straw that broke the camel's back; I went off on leave at the very end of the year. And at Christmas I made a sad prediction - that neither Flo nor my Grandma would be with us at Christmas 2009.

2009 began quietly at home because I was VERY pregnant. I spent early January nesting and on the 20th, Teddy was born. After his tongue-tie became apparent - and the release didn't really work - I began my romance with the pump. The thrush and mastitis made that romance short-lived, but the expressing continues to this day (nearly a year!). By February, it was clear that Flo was fading; she died in early March. We brought Teddy to meet Great-Grandma Mary and Great-Grandpa Jack in April, and they weren't looking well. Grandpa died in August and Grandma in October. And our dear friend Greg - husband of Jen - fell ill in the Spring and took his own life in July. I hope that I attend far fewer funerals in 2010. In August, my job evaporated. The job functions moved elsewhere and 3 people (who make more $) are now doing the job - no wonder I was so stressed! In a positively providential turn of events, I found another interesting job - one for which I was their number one choice - 2 days later! At the end of August, Teddy was baptised. In September, we flew to Vancouver to visit Beth, Deepa and other friends. My parents joined us and the 5 of us embarked on a cruise down the coast to LA, visiting Maggie and Katie en route and celebrating my birthday and our 5th anniversary. We welcomed lots of new friends into the world. And we had a lovely Christmas.

2010 promises new challenges. I head back to work on Monday the 4th of January and Teddy will be off to Daphne's every day. We'll have several weddings - Katie and Nathan in July, my cousin Erin and Ashley in August. And we've a big trip planned in April/May. I am sure that there will be more surprises, too!

I wish all of you a Happy and Blessed New Year!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Teddy's first Christmas

Teddy's first Christmas was a lot of fun. The action has dragged out over several days, so I am late in posting about it!

Our trek west began after Teddy's morning nap on the 24th. We loaded up the car and drove to my parents' place in Almonte, where we had lunch. Teddy had his afternoon nap, and we opened a few gifts. Once Teddy awoke, he opened several, too. He was mystified -- I do what with this paper? - but he generally enjoyed himself. He also spend hours toddling around holding on to Grandpa's hands and taking a few shaky steps.

My parents' parish in Almonte isn't huge, so they only have 2 masses on Christmas Eve (and one at the mission church some distance away) and one - late - on Christmas Day. The daytime mass was not an option (for reasons that will become clear later in the post) and the 11 o'clock (not midnight - lots of elderly folk), our usual haunt, would be too late for Teddy. As a result - Dave and I braved the 5 pm mass, complete with the pageant. We arrived half an hour early and had to stand in the vestry. If we'd had any other option, we'd have exercised it, but we didn't. The children were adorable (we couldn't see them acting, but we saw them processing in), and Father Lindsay was wonderful with them.

We couldn't see much or hear very well, so that was a bit of a bummer. In the entire liturgical year, though, this mass is the one that I know like the back of my hand. From the age of 4 until I was 26, I think that there was 1 year that I wasn't involved in the Christmas mass - singing in the choir for almost all those years, but I've read both the 1st and 2nd readings numerous times, have read petitions, and have proclaimed the gospel about 5 times. It started when I was 5 or so - I was one of the few children confident enough to read aloud. By the time I was 7, I was the only child who could reliably pronounce "...while Quirinius was governor of Syria". As a result, I can recite all three pieces by heart. Seeing the kids and hearing those readings, we got excited thinking that in the next few years, Teddy (and any future children) will likely be involved in the celebrations at our own parish. How fun!

Anyway, after mass we had all had dinner (pasta and meatballs), then let Teddy open a few more gifts. He headed off to bed, and we opened the rest of the gifts. My parents were incredibly generous, as usual. Thanks, guys! We headed to bed and my parents went off to the 11 pm mass.

On Christmas morning, Teddy got up around 7:45 (his 7th and 8th teeth are starting to come through, so he'd woken up in the night). We had breakfast (cinamon rolls!) and opened our stockings. Then we packed up the cars and headed to Kingston during Teddy's nap. The 25th is also my Nonna's birthday, and this year she turned 80!

We arrived in Kingston just after 11; we were the first to arrive. Within the hour, my Uncle Sergio, Sally and the kids arrived from north of Kingston, and my Aunt Pat, Fred and the girls arrived from Brampton. We had a HUGE feast - antipasto, lasagna, chicken, turkey, salads, other vegetables - the usual. Teddy ate like a champ, and we had a great time. It's not that often that all 15 of us are under the same roof, so it was wonderful. We exchanged gifts - everyone was so generous once again - and had cake. Then, we packed up and continued west.

Teddy slept for almost all of the drive to Georgetown, through the dark and rain. We arrived at 6 and headed straight to the home of Dave's Aunt Mar and Uncle Gerry, where the bulk of the family were gathered. We had some food, we waited until the end of an EPIC Texas Hold'em game, then moved over to Nanny and Poppy's house. Teddy and the nieces opened their stockings, then we all exchanged gifts. Once again, we were bowled over by the generosity displayed by the family. And my inlaws were thrilled by our surprise for them - a Wii. My mother-in-law LOVES it and has played for hours every day since Christmas. It's a hit!

We took it easy on Boxing Day, glad to be here since Ottawa was getting pounded with freezing rain. We went visiting with Nanny and Poppy, seeing other members of the family, and I popped out to pick up some essentials. That evening, some of the Aunts and Uncles came by to watch the Leafs' game (gag) and play with the Wii.

The 27th was a Sunday, so off to 8:30 mass we went for the Feast of the Holy Family. It will likely be the last Christmas in the old church (sob!) as the new one is due to open next fall, and it was lovely to see the church all decked out one last time. After mass, we came back to the house and puttered around. Barry, Wendy and the girls stopped by after lunch, and we they had a great time watching Teddy toddle around. Later in the afternoon, Dave and I headed to Toronto to visit Jorge, his lovely wife and their adorable daughter. They hosted us for dinner (thanks, guys) and cleaned up after we bailed -- we had tickets to Jersey Boys! It was a great show and we're thrilled to have seen it. Teddy was a superstar for his grandparents, too, so that as a relief.

Today is our last day in Georgetown. We'll be visiting my Aunt Pat and the crew in Brampton and seeing Blaine and Colleen. Teddy spent the morning walking from person to person - he's made amazing progress! His record was 14 steps and his balance is just so much more stable. Good work, button!

I hope that you and yours are having a wonderful Christmas season!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

From our house to yours...

...we wish you a happy and blessed Christmas and a magnificent 2010.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Teddy's Big Weekend

Teddy had an action packed weekend!

On Friday, we spent the morning at his future caregiver's house, and we had a great time with Daphne and the other boys who'll be there.

On Saturday, I finally acquiesced and Teddy had his first haircut. We went to a place called 'Melonhead' at the local mall; it's a spot that specializes in haircuts for children. Chelsea, who cut his hair, has a 14 month old little guy, so is used to cutting the hairs of munchkins. Teddy sat in a Thomas the tank engine, played with a school bus during the cut and then rode a mechanical horsey as a reward. We also had an official photo taken and they gave us a certificate and his hair. Best of all - no tears. Here are the before, during and after shots. It should be noted that he HATED the cape.

Goodbye, comb over!

On Sunday, we had Dave's corporate Christmas party for kids, where Teddy held crayons for the first time (and didn't eat them) and saw Santa. Once again, no tears! Here's proof.

He said his first 'word' - Uh oh! - over and over on Sunday, too.

And why has it taken me so long to post this? Well - he got his first case of the Croup on Sunday. He woke up from his afternoon nap struggling to breathe, and with a barking cough. A stint in the steamy bathroom cleared up the stridor, but he's had a few snotty-nose and leaky-eye filled days. Poor kid. He's on the mend, though, and he had a great morning with Daphne again today -- without me this time. I spent that time running errands, which included procuring the least flattering passport photo of all time.

One final note -- it's been twenty years since I was in my one and only wedding party. Happy 20th Anniversary, Aunt Pat and Fred. I'm so glad that it's not as cold today as it was twenty years ago!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Holiday movie FAIL (sort of)

Tonight, all I wanted to do (after mass, dinner and Teddy's bed time) was to have a rum and egg nog and to watch a holiday movie. I had hoped that one of the 'on demand' channels would feature one, but no dice. We cased our DVD collection (some of my movies still reside at my parents' place) and the only movie I have? Is 'White Christmas', which is great but needs to be watched further into Advent.

Aside: Gunther just knocked Dave's (now empty) glass off its coaster. It held rum and egg nog with a dusting of nutmeg. We'd forgotten that Gunther is NUTSO for nutmeg. His equivalent of kookoo for Cocopuffs, I guess.

We started watching 'Fan Boys' on demand (I am powerless to resist Veronica Mars aka Kristen Bell) but I realized that we have Die Hard on VHS. And I've never seen it. So I'm writing this as Dave is setting up the VCR. And boy - VHS on an HD TV is spectacle.

My parents, bless them, are bringing holiday movies with them when they visit tomorrow. Copies of 'You've Got Mail' and 'Love Actually'. I should probably break down and buy copies of 'Meet Me in St. Louis' and 'It's a Wonderful Life'.

Any other recommendations? What am I missing?