Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Review

Oh 2013, you may have not been the most exciting year in my book (it is hard to beat 2012 when so much happened last year), but there has been pivotal moments that occurred that will set up for an amazing year to come (um...baby!).
Don’t get me wrong, lots of exciting things happened this year, but the best way to sum up 2013 for me is: work. Nick and I worked hard  in the years leading up to 2012, and we basically did the same thing this year. We’ve been working our butts off this year in knowing that it’s going to pay off years to come.

In January, our wedding bliss continued. We got finally got sealed in the Calgary Temple for time and all eternity. I had wanted to do it a few months earlier, but sometimes you can’t control everything, and if anything, it was a nice way to begin the New Year. We were sealed on January 19, 2013 followed by a small open house in Okotoks.  

A few weeks later our family secretly planned a surprise 75th Birthday Party for my Grandpa. He had NO idea, and I was amazed at how many people showed up! Family and friends from all over Alberta came, and for the first time in awhile my Grandpa had all of his siblings in one room!

We had a nice break of events in February, but I needed it so I had time to plan and prepare for my crazy spring plans! At the beginning of March I hosted a Baby Shower for my sister Danika. She was having a little girl which was perfect because I knew exactly what kind of theme to throw for her – pink & leopard! If you know my sister at all, you know this party screamed her name. 

A few weeks later Danika and Chad welcomed little Alexa Rosa into the world on March 20th and our whole family was thrilled! She was so perfect and I was so excited to become an Aunt. 

That same week, Nick and I left for Fernie with Crystal and Bianca for our Ski Trip! It was seriously one of my favourite trips we went on this year, and I can’t wait for next years!

In April Nick and I celebrated our 1st Anniversary. For our actual Anniversary I just made dinner, ordered peonies (the flowers I had in my bouquet) for the table and had a night in because Nick had to spend the rest of the time studying for finals. We ended up truly celebrating at the end of April. I planned a trip to the Columbia Icefields, followed by High Tea at the Chateau Fairmont in Lake Louise before arriving in Banff for dinner and a night at the Delta. It was good to get away for the 2 days and spend some quality time together before Nick got busy with school again. 

Halfway through April I had the chance to go up to Edmonton with some of my best friends to celebrate Bev’s birthday. We went for 2 days (1 night), and it was seriously one of the best trips to Edmonton that I have ever had. Lots of bonding took place, and I found a new favourite restaurant in Edmonton – The Red Piano Bar. It was such a good night and I didn’t want it to end. Hopefully we can do something similar this year, but we’ll have to see what kind of condition I’ll be in, being 8 months pregnant and all.

On May 5th, Alexa had her Baby Blessing performed by my dad. Lots of family came including Nick’s mom, and after we had dinner at my parent’s house followed by lots of family pictures.
That same weekend, celebrations kicked off for Crystal and Andrew’s upcoming wedding in June. Crystal hosted this beautiful High Tea Bridal Shower at the Palliser downtown Calgary.

Oh June. What a crazy month it was! Here in Calgary we had that big flood (with a current price tag of 6 billion dollars!) that caused a lot of issues. Obviously the biggest excitement of June was Andrew and Crystal’s wedding, and the craziness that surrounded that day. I don’t want to go too much into detail because I’ve already written a whole blog post on it, but in the end it was still a beautiful day (click here to see more stunning photo’s by Guenard Photography), and everyone that needed to be there was there. I saw some amazing strength from everyone involved, and was taken aback by how humble and composed Crystal was that entire day. *Girl Crush* 

July brought the Calgary Stampede, which I didn’t plan on attending at first, but my friend Whitney wanted to go, so just the two of us ended up attending. It was great because Whitney and I love the exact same stampede activities, so that made for an excellent day!
 I held a little birthday BBQ party for Nick’s 25th birthday, and invited all of our close friends and family. Nick doesn’t really like celebrating or being put in the spotlight, but it was his 25th, so I had to do something. I think next year, I’ll just keep it simple and just between the 2 of us.

Due to the flood, I got to attend 2 benefit concerts here in Calgary in August. I guess it was the silver lining to such a tragedy, as we got pretty lucky and had some big names perform for us here in our city. Between the Color Me Rad race, a bachelorette party, a wedding, a birthday party and a few girl’s nights, August was pretty heavy with events.

At the end of August I planned a big camping trip for all of our friends. 25 people ended up coming, and it was nice to just get away from it all. Nick was also able to come, which was a huge bonus and kind of lucky to say the least. The day after we got back from the camping trip, Nick and I also found out that I was pregnant! It was so exciting to break the news to our family and close friends, as they were all aware of my baby fever. They were glad it happened so quickly and Nick’s parents are excited to be grandparents.
September was a little slow for us, which was a good thing, because I got my first taste of pregnancy. The nausea hit full force and eventually I made a trip to the doctor’s office for some relief. My appetite went up almost immediately, and sleep was my best friend. The biggest newsworthy moment was Nick finished his LAST day of practicum on September 15th. We were finally able to take a breath and celebrate. It was bitter sweet because Nick grew close to his last set of preceptors (he worked with them for 10 weeks, which equals to almost 500 hours!) and he was almost sad to not work with them anymore. Originally I thought it was a little mean that his preceptor Nicole was making him come in for his last day of practicum as she told Nick that she wasn’t going to sign his book until then. However, it was to make sure that Nick would come in so they could give him a proper send off. Nick had built a relationship with the whole fire hall and had “proven” himself (won’t go into the whole story, but let’s just say that some arrhythmic gymnastics, pull-ups, juggling, and other competitions were involved), so they threw Nick a little party complete with steak dinner and ice cream cake. Finally after being hosed down by the firefighters he was sent home to me.

In October Nick and I found ourselves with a little bit more of unexpected free time. It was nice to have some time together and not work so much. One of the biggest highlights for Nick and me in October was going behind the scenes at the Calgary Zoo. Earlier this year I bought tickets for a special and private tour of the Penguin Plunge at the Calgary Zoo for Nick’s birthday in July. Then the Calgary Flood happened and the zoo was heavily damaged and we had to postpone our little visit. Finally at the end of August I got a phone call saying they had reopened the Penguin Programs and asked when we would like to rebook. We decided to wait until October when Nick would be done classes and we would have a little more free time. It was such an awesome experience that will stay with us for a very long time. We learnt so much about the penguins, see what goes on behind closed doors and then go inside the exhibit and be up close with the penguins and feed them. We both left with huge smiles on our faces and agreed that it was well worth the money. The most important thing was Nick had a lot of fun and loved the entire experience.

November was an extremely busy month for us. Nick went up to Edmonton the first weekend to write the Alberta College of Paramedics exam for two days, and I spent some time with my parents. The next weekend I hosted a big party (read Part I, II and III) for mine and my friend’s birthday. It was a lot of work, but it turned out to be such an amazing night. The week following my birthday party was filled with lots of birthday dinners and activities with friends and family (yeah, my birthday tends to extend over several days, if not weeks!)
After weeks of waiting, the ACP exam results were posted and we found out Nick passed and officially became a Paramedic. Our whole year has been leading up to this moment, and it was such an awesome feeling to know that all of Nick’s hard work and sacrifices paid off.
The last few weeks of November continued to stay eventful with 2 Christmas parties and a wedding.

December was very emotional for us. While lots of exciting things happened, it also brought some sensitive and unexpected news. On December 10th, we found out that we were expecting a little girl, but they also detected a congenital heart defect (read all the details here). While we have received so much love and support (everything from phone calls, messages, texts and comments) from family and friends, it was still a little hard to take in. We knew our lives were going to change when we decided to expand our family, but with this diagnosis, the changes feel a little overwhelming. I’m trying to stay positive, breath and take it one day at a time. I pretty much have at least one medical appointment a week already, and there is so much information being thrown our way. I’m so glad I have Nick by my side, and I just pray Heavenly Father will give us the strength we need to be strong for our daughter.
Some highlights from December are the Ugly Christmas Sweater Fondue Party, the 3rd Annual Girl’s Christmas and my cousin Ryan and Devonee's wedding

Writing this post made me realize that 2013 was a really good year. I guess I just need a big vacation! We got to enjoy a few small trips around Alberta, but the beach is calling my name. Yes, I still consider 2013 a year of work, but I know hard work pays off in the end. Nick worked so hard to complete his Paramedic program at PMA, and he did it in 14 months (the normal program is 2 years). He spent almost every waking moment either working, studying, in class or on practicum. There were months that he was working 48 hours per week unpaid while working an additional 24 – 36 hours a week just so he could bring home a pay check. I too was working full time with not many extra days off so our mortgage and bills got paid. Though we didn’t struggle too hard financially this past year, it was only because of our hard work and dedication. My mom often tells me that we don’t know the definition of a poor student, but we still had our sacrifices. We often had a roommate living with us to give us a little extra change in our pockets. Big vacations and fancy gifts were out of the question, and we lived within our means. Don’t get me wrong, I still went shopping, and I have a few nice dresses sitting in my closet as proof to that. I think the biggest sacrifice we made was time. Nick and I really didn’t get a lot of time together (which we made up for in October and November). When I wasn’t working I distracted myself with plans and coffee dates with friends to make up for the fact that Nick was at work/practicum or studying. We just learned to cherish and savour the moments that we did have together.

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