Thursday, November 28, 2013

Quarter of a Century

A few weeks ago, while prepping for the 1920s Murder Mystery party with my father in-law, I asked him if he was excited to become a grandpa. He said exactly what Nick would have said and stated “Oh, that’s too far away right now”. I then replied and said that before he knew it, spring would be here. We got to talking about time, and why it seems that the older we get, the faster the years go by. He gave me a really excellent explanation. He said that when we’re younger we haven’t lived for very long. So for example, when you’re 8, that year is only 1/8th of your life. But as you get older, one year could be 1/30th, or 1/60th of your life, so it seems so much smaller in comparison to the rest of your life.
Well I am now 25, and I guess that means I’m a quarter of a century old. Already the year has gone by so fast that it’s hard to imagine it going faster. This also marks my last birthday as just a wife, sister, friend and daughter. I’m going to be adding “mother” to that list by my next birthday, which is so exciting.
This year for my birthday I was busy. It started off weeks before my actual birthday with a girl’s night at Cibo here in Calgary. Company was great, the food not so much… Don’t get me wrong, the restaurant and service were good, but I just wasn’t a fan of my dish. It was also the night before the big ultrasound, so my thoughts and mood was elsewhere.
The day that we had the ultrasound (November 5), Nick picked me up after work to go buy my birthday present. For years I have wanted a nice DSLR camera, but had been holding off on the big purchase because of other financial obligations (ie. School, Wedding, House, more School), but with Nick finally finished school, I decided that I had waited long enough. I wanted to get it before my actual birthday so I could use it at the 1920s party.  
Later that week on Saturday we had the big 1920s Murder Mystery Birthday Party (and if you’ve been living under a rock, or haven’t read my blog before, scroll down to see Parts I, II and III for all the party action).
On Wednesday (November 13) Nick took me out for dinner to Halo Seafood & Steak house. For almost the entire dinner we had the restaurant to ourselves and the service was amazing (well it better be for being basically the only customers). They sat us right next to the cozy fireplace and it was actually really romantic. We then went to Target to take a look around and made a final stop to Marble Slab for some ice cream. Perfect night if you ask me!

On Friday (November 15 – my actual birthday) Nick was working that evening, so I went to a Relief Society activity with Whitney and made a little craft. The next day Nick and I went for dinner again at The Keg with the Haddow’s and my second steak dinner of the week – I’m sure that made the baby happy. We were suppose to go to the Temple together, but the weather decided to throw a big blizzard our way and there was no way we were going to make the hr trip up to the North end of Calgary.
Last Sunday, my brother in-law Kris and his girlfriend Paige picked me up after church and we headed over to Grandma Elsie’s house for a family dinner. Mine and Grandma Elsie’s birthday’s are 2 days apart, so we always have a family dinner to celebrate both. Nick worked until 7pm, so he came after his shift and I went home with him.
Finally on Sunday (November 24) we still had one more dinner with my family. We tried to do it earlier, but with so many things going on the last few weekends (Chad's birthday and the Wakeford Christmas Party), we decided to postpone until now.
Overall it was a great birthday surrounded by all of my favorite people.

Thursday, November 21, 2013


Its official – Nick is a Paramedic! After weeks of waiting, the Alberta College of Paramedics finally posted the exam results, and Nick passed! The past 16 months (or 6 years) has been leading up to this moment, and it feels so good to know that it’s all over. Nick worked so hard and we have made so many sacrifices (both time and monetary) to achieve this goal.
Let me tell you just a little bit about the journey it took to get us here. When Nick was a little boy, his brother Kris suffered a seizure and Paramedics came to the rescue. Ever since that moment, Nick wanted to become a Paramedic and help people in need.
After highschool Nick starting working for his dad at his dad’s store and he took the 4 week EMR course at SAIT (the first step in the process of becoming a paramedic). It was about that time that I moved back to Canada, and Nick and I began to see each other (2007/2008). Nick then began the process of researching and applying to schools to start the EMT program. Nick heard about PMA (a school here in Calgary) and its amazing reputation. They had smaller classrooms, extremely high success rating in passing the ACP exams and all for the same price as SAIT. Their programs were also accelerated, so for example, instead of one year for the EMT program at SAIT, it took only 7 months at PMA (including practicum). The only thing was that PMA had an entrance exam that you had to take, and fewer amount of seats to offer. Well obviously Nick got into PMAs EMT program and excelled. After graduating PMA and passing the EMT ACP exam in 2008 Nick took a job with Coronation EMS at the beginning of 2009 and began to get as much EMT experience as possible.
In December 2010 Nick got hired on with Calgary Metro EMS as a casual employee, and for the next 1.5 years he worked for both Coronation EMS 4 days on, come back to Calgary, work another 1-3 days while here on his 4 days “off” and then head back to Coronation for another 4 days of work. So for all of 2011 Nick was working 6-7 days a week, and we only got to spend about 1 night a week together. There was a reason to all of this madness and insane work schedule. Nick needed the income from his fulltime position in Coronation because we got engaged in July 2011, and had to save-up for an upcoming wedding, honeymoon, buy a home and $20,000 in tuition that it would cost for Nick to go back to school and become a Paramedic. However he needed to start gaining urban experience with Calgary Metro so his resume would be what Calgary EMS was looking for once he completed the Paramedic program and passed the ACP exam. At the beginning of 2012 while wedding plans were well underway Nick applied to PMA once again for the Paramedic program and SAIT as a backup. We both really wanted Nick to get into PMA for so many reasons. First, instead of it taking 2 years to complete the course at SAIT, it would only take 14 months at PMA (and we both agreed that we would hold off on starting a family until Nick completed school, so you can see why I wanted Nick to get into PMA). Second, Nick would have a chance to work more while in school so the blow to our income wouldn’t be so big. SAITs program is Monday through Friday, so Nick would only have a chance to pick up shifts on the weekends, but at PMA they held classes 14 days on, 14 days off, which meant Nick had more opportunities to pick up shifts and bring in more income while also being a student. Thirdly, like I mentioned before, PMA has a higher success in their students passing the ACP exam, which was the most important factor. So in February 2012 Nick wrote the PMA entrance exam, and just weeks before our wedding Nick found out he was accepted into PMAs program (1 of only 10 seats offered).
In June 2012 Nick worked the last of his shifts for Coronation EMS, and Nick began paramedic classes in July. In October and November Nick completed his first set of practicum and resumed classes in December. After months of more classes, homework and studying, Nick finished his classes and final exams in April 2013. In July Nick began his last 10 weeks of practicum which were completed in September 2013. The last few months we have been in limbo waiting for Nick to write the Paramedic ACP exam and then waiting for text results. If you are exhausted after reading this, then just imagine actually doing it! Anyways, as you can see, it’s been a long road, but I am pleased to say that we are done!
So what’s next? Well we are waiting for Nick’s security clearance to come back for then which Nick can obtain a paramedic number. During this time Nick will just continue to work as an casual EMT and once he gets his number, he will get back pay for the hours worked since the exam. Nick will then automatically transfer into a casual Paramedic position, and then he will start to apply for a fulltime positions. This will hopefully all happen before May which is when Baby Irvine is due!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

16 Weeks

How far along? 16 Weeks
Total weight gain: 10lbs. Not too bad in my opinion. I hadn’t weighed myself in weeks, and my last doctor’s appointment was almost a month ago, so I thought it was much more than that.
Maternity clothes? I ordered some dresses online and they finally came in last week. I did have to send one back (it was just a bit too snug), but the three other good ones have will at least help in expanding my wardrobe. I also plan on making a trip to Destination Maternity to make a few more purchases in the next few weeks. Sorry Nick!
Stretch marks? Nope, I’m just continuing to apply my BioOil in hopes that it will help.
Sleep: Just my usual 3am bathroom visits.
Best moment this week: Birthday Party and lots of birthday dinners!
Miss Anything? Cute dresses. I went to the mall the other day and left completely sad. I saw this cutest dress and was so sad that I couldn’t buy it. I also have this amazing Christmas dress that I wear every year (it’s a BCBG dress), but I definitely won’t be able to wear it this year...
Movement: Not yet, but I know it should be happening any day now.
Food cravings: Not really. I have found that my sweet vs. salty taste buds have changed. Usually I’m all about the sweets, but lately I would give up a bowel of ice cream for a bag of chips, which is completely abnormal for me.
Anything making you queasy or sick: Lettuce – in large amounts. I went to Extreme Pita not long ago, and got my favourite pita, but it didn’t taste as good as I remember. It was totally the lettuce (which was fresh).
Gender: Soon – we find out in less than 3 weeks!
Labor Signs: Nope.
Symptoms: Just my growing belly!
Belly Button in or out? In
Wedding rings on or off? On
Happy or Moody most of the time: I feel like I am finally out of this moody/depressed slump I had for about a week (or two). I wasn’t happy about a few situations, but I read this post on Facebook about just loving everyone, and that has helped change my view and not get so worked up over the little thing– which has made me happier.
Looking forward to: The 7th Annual Wakeford Christmas Party. Always one of the best parties of the year!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

More 1920s Murder Mystery Photos!

- Part III -

Last post of the 1920s party – I promise. There were just soo many great pictures (between mine and Ashley’s camera we had over 500 pictures), and though I narrowed it down, there were still lots that I wanted to share.
These pictures are mostly from Ashley’s camera, and there are some gooders (I’m aware that is not a real word)! Again, it was such a great night, and I want to thank everyone who helped put this together, and to everyone that came. Definitely would love to do this again.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

1920s Murder Mystery Photo Booth

- Part II-

Back when we were making plans for the Murder Mystery Party, I stated that I really wanted to incorporate a Photo Booth. I am so glad I did, because I think a lot of people (especially my husband) had a lot of fun with it as you can see:
My prego bump!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

1920s Murder Mystery Birthday Party

- Part I -
About a week leading up to any party that myself or my friends put on, I start to get thoughts of “oh why do I do this to myself?” and I’m sure my friends feel the same way. Parties are a lot of work, but the end result is reward enough. When people arrive and are taken back with how great everything looks, have a great time and then leave with smiles on their faces, then I know all the hard work was worth it in the end.
Mine and Bianca’s birthdays are only 10 days apart, and with lots of common friends between the two of us, it’s a great excuse to throw a party. Back in the summer I saw the new Great Gatsby movie (twice) and was blown away. The spectacular costumes, the awesome music, and the huge parties gave me lots of inspiration and I just knew I had to have a 1920s party. So I meet up with Bianca and told her my idea, and see seemed very interested. With Crystal’s help we decided to add a Murder Mystery into the mix. To give it a cool vibe we called it a “Prohibition Murder Mystery Party”, as the title “The Great Gatsby” didn’t exactly fly with the guys (too girly I suppose?).
So planning went underway, and Crystal ordered a 1920s Murder Mystery package online and we began to invite people. It was a little unique inviting this time around, because even when people RSVP, there are always a few who don’t end up showing up, which is okay.
With it being a Murder Mystery, everyone has a vital part, and if someone doesn’t show up, it could mess up the whole plot! So we were pretty adamant that if you said you were coming, that you had to come (I know – we are so mean making you come to a party).

When trying to think of a place to have the party, we had a pretty tough time coming up with a plan. Though my place was an option, it’s a little small, and not only is Bianca having the Christmas party at her house, but she also was moving around the same time (turns out her possession date ended up being the day before the party). Finally I thought of my father-in-law’s place/restaurant, and it ended up being the PERFECT place.
Once basic plans were made and RSVPs were received, Crystal started assigning characters and invitations went out in October. It was fun reading your character profile and finding out a little bit about others as well. I seriously think Crystal did an amazing job in matching up profiles with everyone’s personalities.

Well the day of the party finally arrived and it started very early for me. I was up early icing cupcakes and gathering things that needed to be loaded into my car, and sending off my print order to Staples. Once Nick was up, I had him load my car with everything including those damn mason jars! (Side note: Since my wedding I have used those mason jars for a few other parties, and they aren’t exactly easy to deal with, and so Nick has grown to hate them.) Finally I was ready to go. First I headed to the McKenzie dollar store to pick up last minute cups and plates and a cap gun for Nick. I then picked up my print order from Staples and headed to Okotoks to meet my mom. We first went to the salon to get my hair done, and then to Michael’s for some feathers to add into my hair. My last stop was Wal-Mart for juice and pop. I originally wanted to be in DeWinton by 2pm to begin setting up, but I didn’t end up getting there until 3pm (I blame this on my mom for saying she just needed to pick up some groceries too, but clearly  we have very different views on what “a few groceries” means). It ended up being okay because the party didn’t start until 7pm (I originally thought the party started at 6pm). Nick was suppose to meet me there around 2pm, but he also got very behind in running his errands (he got stuck in line for over 2 hours at Future Shop for a game swap...). It ended up being fine, because his dad Ray ended up being such a huge help. First we had to de-Hawaiian the place from last year’s rehearsal luau dinner. So we took down many of the masks and flower pictures and replaced them with more fitting decor. Then we had to dust and clear out the space of tables and chairs as it was going to be more of a standing party. Ray then brought out the bar stools and helped put up the fabric for the photo booth backdrop. Eventually Nick got there and began to string up lights while I had Ray cut up the photo booth props and hot glue them to sticks (I’m not afraid at telling other people what to do, even my own father-in-law! lol) In the meantime I set up the food table, blew up balloons, added gold tinsel, and placed mason jars and candles all over the tables and piano. One of my favourite things was Ray had this actual old phone sitting in the corner that looked like it came straight out of the 1920s.
Ashley and Calvin arrived around 6pm to set up the camera for the photo booth and help me with final touches. Finally 7 o’clock rolled around and everyone began to arrive. Crystal handed out packages to all of the guests containing 2 letters, one to open right then, and one to open after the “murder” took place.
As everyone arrived, I was so blown away with how great everyone looked. I loved that everyone made such an effort to look their part and the excitement they had for what was to come. Everyone commented on how great the place looked, which helped me feel like it was worth all of the effort. Soon everyone got into their role and the Murder Mystery began. I played the big mob boss’s (Carus) little sister in love with my brother’s enemy Southside Sal (Nick). My best friend Dina Diva (Danika) was trying to get into a movie that Hollywood Hal (Chad) was producing, but had some competition with Molly – the mob boss’s girlfriend, whom I despised. Flora (Breanne) who was my brother’s ex-wife was also going after my love interest. There were a few other stories happening, but these were the main ones pertaining to my character.
Carus’s character was the one who got murdered, and lots of people thought I was the murderer because I was the sister who had lots to gain financially and so I could be with the one I loved.
At the end of the night it ended up Andrew, who played the cop/sheriff who was the murderer, and not one person guessed him. In all seriousness, I had NO idea who it was.
Danika ended up winning best dressed, but it was definitely hard to pick because everyone looked so great. Nick won best character, and it wasn’t hard to see why. Nick was very into it, and was very in character the whole night.
Spencer won “richest player” as he collected over $1800 in fake money (he played the mayor).
It was a great night, and lots of people stayed to help clean up. I know we left the place cleaner then when I first got there, which is great because Danika is having Chad’s birthday there in a few weeks, so the place is all ready to go!
I would just like to thank everyone who came and participated – it wouldn’t have been as fun otherwise.
Thanks Bianca for being my birthday partner and helping clean at the end.
Thanks Crystal for being such a great host and organizing the whole Murder Mystery portion.
I was would also like to thank Ashley for coming a little early to help, and letting us use her camera.
I know this is silly, but thanks Breanne for doing such a great (and much needed) sweep.
Thanks everyone for bringing such amazing and impressive appetizer and dessert dishes.
And last, but not least, thanks to my husband and Ray for being major helps in setting up.

Without further ado, here is the first half of pictures I would like to share. These were taken with my new camera throughout the night. Later this week (or early next week), I’ll be sharing the Photo Booth pictures from Ashley’s camera. Enjoy!
Jenn, Amanda & Ashley
Spencer & Whitney
Sean, Matt, Melissa & Bianca
Jordo & Nick
Whitney & Ashley
Calvin & Ashley
Bianca & Danika
Amanda & Melissa
Love these three!
One of my favourite pictures of the night
Funny story about this picture - Andrew arrested Kris halfway through the evening, but then lost the keys to the handcuffs. It took over 30 minutes and lots of help to break him free.
Chad and Danika
Carus & Nick
Such a cute couple!
Breanne & Kevin
Breanne, Crystal, Jenn, Sherri & Bianca
Amanda, Matt & Nick
Nick, Joe & Melissa