The past decade had moments of heartbreak and intense emotional strain. In 2010 I lost a parent to suicide, in 2011 we faced infertility, and in 2012 I gave birth at 29 weeks followed by 49 days of uncertainty in the NICU.
But when I think of the past 10 years, I don’t focus on those moments as all bad. I think of them as times when I drew closer to the Lord, was reminded of the fragility of life, and dig deeper in my faith in the Lord.
Moreover than the challenging times, the past 10 years have brought so many experiences that made my heart burst with gratitude. I am overwhelmed when I think of the countless beautiful blessings from above that have made my life more full than I could have ever imagined.
And while there are SO many memories I could share, here are my top 10.
- Becoming a Mom – Finding out I was pregnant after gli through IVF was a moment I will never forget! I had just pulled into our driveway when the phone rang and the nurse told me the amazing news. Then less than 5 weeks later we found out it was not one baby, but TWO. My journey to motherhood did not go the way I thought it would. Those first 7 weeks in the NICU were HARD! But they also taught me so much about trusting God, advocating for my child, and cherishing every moment…even the most mundane and exhausting ones! The day we brought the twins home is etched in my mind as one of the best days of my life. How exciting to officially start our time at home as a family of four! Then just 2 years later we were blessed with a third boy. I never saw myself as a “boy mom” but I love it so very much! And I am eternally grateful that I get to me a mommy!
Embracing the challenges and joys of “the early years”. I always knew I wanted to be a mom. I had no idea the emotional rollercoaster the process would be. I dreamed of cuddling, playing, watching them learn to walk, and teaching them to cook with me in the kitchen. I didn’t know that I would feel anxious, exhausted, and ill-equipped for the demands of parenting so often. But I soon learned that this was the package deal and the amazing moments strongly out-weighed the hard times!
- Celebrating “firsts” and cherishing “lasts”. I have vivid memories of cheering the twins on during tummy time. I remember the first time they turned their heads from one side to another. The first time they crawled, walked, played with me on the beach, swam without a puddle jumper, and rode a bike. I remember the first time they helped me in the kitchen, slept through the night, slept in their “big boy beds”, and walked away from me on their first full day of school. I also remember the last time they slept in their cribs, breastfed, drank from a bottle, and used a soother. I have a vivid memory of the last time I held Wes in my arms. It was during a church service and he was super heavy to hold. I remember thinking “Will this be the last time I pick him up and hold him?” I don’t know the last time I held Clay, but I do know it existed as they are too old now for the need to be carried. I am aware that there are more “lasts” to come. In the coming 10 years there will be a last time I cuddle them before bed, a last time they call me “mommy”, and many others. I have learned to cherish the season we are in because tomorrow is a gift, not a given.
- Traveling – It is no secret that I love to travel. We kicked off 2010 at Sandals Resort in Cuba. It was our first time visiting an all-inclusive resort. I remember at the time hoping that we would soon have children to explore and travel with. 😉 That fall my mom and I took a train trip to Montreal and the following February we spent a week in the Bahamas. These are vacations I will cherish forever as life has not allowed for me to get away alone with my mom since. The summer before we started the process of IVF we enjoyed a week-end away in Chicago. It was a short, but much needed, breather during an emotional time. There was a lull in travels following that but within a few years of having kids we traveling again to Florida and Collingwood for simple family getaways and eventually to Beaches Resort in Turks and Caicos, Moon Palace Resort in Jamaica, and Bayview Resort in Muskoka. Some of my absolute best memories of 2018-2019 are from times we had at these three resorts! I also had the incredible honour of taking University students to Tokyo, Japan twice. All of these adventures were filled with memories I will hold forever in my heart.
- Enjoying Activity – I love being active, especially outside. Some of my most glorious memories of the past 10 years are times when we have gone for family bike rides, played at the beach, golfed, hiked, and swam together at home and on holidays. I also loved the years of taking the boys on stroller runs and more recently I have had amazing runs on my own again….simple, beautiful moments that bring both physical and mental growth, strength, and clarity. And I can’t mention activity without thinking about hockey. We have already spent countless hours in arenas as the boys learned to skate, went to Shinny’s to practice hockey skills, played on the same Tim Bits team, and now the twins are playing competitive hockey…and Rhett will be doin too!
- Bringing Business Dreams to Life – After selling my first business in 2011 I wasn’t sure what my future in business would be. But in 2015 I had full clarity that it was time to start something. I did not start Motherhood and Meals with a business model in mind. I started it reach out to other moms who may have been feeling as overwhelmed as I was. I started it to show simple ways to make healthy meals as a mom. I started it to build community. But over time it has exceeded all expectations and is now a successful business. I now have a business plan and a vision for growth. I can’t wait to share more soon! In addition to Motherhood and Meals I was able to start a new clinic, “Nourished Beginnings”, with one of my closest friends and one of the best RDs I know! This was something we had talked about for years and was truly a dream come true. Ange and I have amazing plans for 2020 at Nourished Beginnings so stay tuned for that coming soon!
- Building Friendships and Community – The first few years of motherhood were lonely for me. I was home with preemie twins and then just as I felt that I could enter back into the world I had three kids 2 and under. I was lucky to get dressed, let alone go out anywhere! But over time the Lord blessed me with the most incredible group of friends. I now have a circle of friends that I am walking the journey of motherhood with and each one holds such a special place in my heart. I look forward to building into these friendships more in the coming years. I don’t take them for a granted for a moment!
- Writing my First Cookbook – From the moment I became a dietitian I wanted to write a cookbook. The opportunity came this summer to pursue that long-time dream and I could not be more excited about it. It combines my passions of eating more greens and getting kids into the kitchen. I hope it plays a part of increasing kids interest in preparing food and nourishing themselves well all over the world! If you haven’t seen it yet, you can find it here as it is on sale for pre-order now!
- Completion of our Home Renovation – I can’t talk about top moments of the 2010s without mentioning the amazing renovation we completed this past year. We had dreamed of this for years! And it isn’t just about the material aspect of the changes. It’s about the transformation of our home from dark to bright, from “set up for 2” to “set up for a family”, and from feeling cluttered to feeling spacious. I am overjoyed for the memories we will make in the space in the coming decade.
- Becoming More Decisive – I have always had a hard time making big decisions. My grandpa always said “what’s the worst that can happen?” And I could often think of all the worsts! But over the past 10 years I have made some really big decisions and I have learned the value in looking at all sides, making a choice, and boldly looking forward. This may sound like a simple thing not worth while of a “TOP 10” spot, but for me it’s been a big deal and accomplishment to grow in my decision-making abilities and confidence to follow through. My three top decisions over the last 10 years were: to sell my first business before becoming a mom; to put 2 embryos in when going through IVF; and to turn down a huge job offer when the boys were 2 and 4 because I knew it was not going to leave the best of me for my precious family.
So that covers my highlights from the 2010s. Thanks for reading. If you have any questions feel free to let me know. I would also love to hear your top moments in the comments below!