Friday, December 30, 2016

Best of 2016

I did a Best of 2015 post last year, and I just love looking back at it, so I thought I would do one for this year as well! We've made some wonderful memories this year, and once again, we have so much to be thankful for.

2016 was a good one. We have been blessed with good health, happiness, and the love of our family and friends. I am so humbled and grateful for all of your incredible support and encouragement this year. Thank you all for reading this blog, and for sharing in our journey.

Here are some of my favourite photos from this year:

And Brennen's school photo. He rocked it!

For me, 2016 will forever be a year to remember. We welcomed the sweetest girl into our family (see update HERE), and while we have always tried to make the most of each day, the days since her arrival have been particularly special.

We are a family of four. Andrew and I tuck two children into bed at night, kiss their cheeks, and feel an enormous weight of gratitude that they are both here. That they are safe, and happy, and oh so loved. There will be days ahead, I am sure, that will not be so blissful. There will be mountains to move and valleys to cross. There will be tears and battles and unanswered questions, but today there is celebrating. I wouldn't trade this life for anything in the world, and we are looking forward to what the future will bring!

What a gift it is to get to enjoy another year with those we love so deeply.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Celebrating the Season

This Christmas season has been a busy one, and quite possibly our best yet! I just love this time of year, and how it forces us to reflect on the year that has passed, and also bask in the enjoyment of the moments here and now. I like to focus on the beauty and the magic of Christmas, and not on the craziness. Things aren't always perfect, but we try to enjoy every minute together as a family because among the chaos, there are perfect moments, and those are worth treasuring and remembering!

We kicked off the festivities this year with the Janeway Christmas Party:

We had Breakfast with Santa at Easter Seals:

We had a blast at an Ugly Christmas Sweater party and potluck with a fabulous group of special needs Moms and Dads:

I went for a beautiful brunch at Mallard Cottage with my Mom and Mom-in-law :)

And we were so thrilled to be able to 'Celebrate the Season' once again with Séan McCann and our friends at Easter Seals! Séan said recently on the CBC St. John's Morning Show that this Easter Seals event is a very special one for him, and that volunteering with people of various abilities at Easter Seals has fundamentally changed his life. He spoke about how he first got involved, and said "My experience there had a huge influence on my path today, and working with them just filled my heart." Of this Christmas fundraiser, Séan said, "It is my favourite show. I've done 72 shows and events this year, and this is the one I look forward to the most because I get to work with these beautiful human beings."

Here is Séan having a personal little session with our dear friend, Brooke.

With two actual snow days this week, and another on the way, it really is beginning to look and feel a lot like Christmas! Our tree is up and decorated, and gifts have been wrapped. On that note, these are our Christmas gift tags! I can't get over the cuteness! (Ordered HERE.)

With most of the big holiday events behind us, we are looking forward to enjoying this next week before Christmas spending quality time together as a family. This Christmas will be a very special one for us, and we are cherishing every moment!

I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas!
So much love!!


Monday, December 12, 2016

A New Beginning!

This post is to get you all caught up on what has been happening with us personally, and to let you know about some big changes in our home!

I shared the story of how Andrew and I originally started our child care program HERE. Early in Brennen's life, we recognized the need for a quality child care program for children with disabilities. We saw the limited options that were available, and we wanted more for our child. We knew there were so many other parents in situations like ours, with children who required extra care and attention, and we were compelled to do something about it. We started Little Tulips Family Child Care with the belief that all children, including those with complex or high needs can thrive in a home environment that is stimulating, nurturing, and adapted to suit their individual needs.

We've had an incredible 4 years, working with some wonderful children and their families. We created an environment that would directly address each child's emotional, social, and intellectual development, and created a specialized program that would both challenge and support them individually. It has been difficult at times, but also incredibly rewarding. Over the past four years, we have witnessed our children achieve many milestones in their lives, including learning to crawl, walk, communicate, and gain independence. We've had an amazing little group of children and we are thankful for the opportunity to work with each and every one of them. We've even had our very own Janeway Miracle Child!

We are thankful to the many individuals who have been a part of our success over these past few years. We are extremely grateful to the parents who trusted us with their most precious belongings - their children. With their support, we worked in a collaborative effort with physiotherapists, occupational and speech therapists, early intervention specialists, and developmental and behavioural practitioners. Great things happened here every day, and we have witnessed the remarkable things that can happen when people work together!

We helped children recognize ways to be happy, to learn, to make friends, and to find reassurance in their own abilities. We offered children experiences that will shape their minds and prepare them to enter a much bigger world of adventures.

We put in some long days and a lot of hard work, but the hard work doesn't seem so bad when it involves good things and good people!

We have been very fortunate to have some truly wonderful opportunities present themselves to us, and we know when to take them. With that, Andrew and I have decided to close our child care program at this time.

While I am a little bit sad to be closing the door on this chapter of our lives, Andrew and I are incredibly excited about what is coming next! Andrew has taken a new position as an Inclusion Consultant with the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, and we are thrilled to say that we have recently welcomed a foster child to our family! There are no words to express how much love we feel for this little girl already, and how excited we are to be able to offer her a stable and loving home. I really feel like this is the happiest we have been in a long time, and I thank all of you, especially our close friends and family, for sharing in our joy!!

Things have really been changing here over the past few weeks! Our child care license has been removed from the bulletin board, and over the next little while I will take down the colourful projects and pictures that line the walls of our playroom.

Already, the emptiness speaks volumes about the fullness of activity that has been here for the past four years. Name-tags that personalized the children's cubbies are gone, and the schedules and lists of daily activities have been safely tucked away for safe-keeping. I will remember these days forever, and I will remember them fondly, but we are excited to create new memories in our next adventure as a family. We know that going forward we will only grow with a tremendous sense of fulfillment, as Andrew and I continue to work with children in a profound and meaningful way!


Saturday, December 10, 2016

Mummers Parade 2016

We have been anticipating this year's Mummers Parade ever since last year! Andrew and I had been down to watch the parade several times before, but last year was the first time we dressed up and actually participated (see photos HERE).. and we couldn't wait to do it again! This year, my Mom joined us and we had such a blast!! The Mummers Parade is growing every year, with hundreds of people coming from all over the island, and from all parts of town to take in the events of the Mummers Festival.

It is really awesome to see so many incredible costumes, and I can appreciate the amount of time and effort that goes into creating them. I also love to see that so many little ones get involved, all decked out in their silliest gear for the occasion! There is a series of workshops leading up to parade day, including a hobby horse workshop, ribbon rig workshop, and ugly stick workshop, so there is plenty of opportunity to get prepared and learn more about the tradition of Mummering in Newfoundland.

Anything goes with regards to your costume, but as per tradition, the key is to have your face and body covered or distorted so that you are unrecognizable.

In the midst of holiday parties and stuffy Christmas dinners, it was so fun to just pile on layers of clothes that didn't match and not have to worry about perfecting hair and makeup. Throw a doily over your head and you're good to go! We had the best time, and can't wait to do it all again! I already have my outfit planned for next year!

Huge thanks to Ritche Perez for letting me share his photos!

I totally lost it at this Don Cherry Storm Trooper. Best Costume Ever!
To learn more about the Mummers Festival, visit