Monday, 20 January 2020

My parents have loved each other for 50 we celebrated BIG time

It wasn't my idea.

Not mine at all. But hey--if you put an idea in my head, I'll roll with it.

So when my dad said he wanted to celebrate the fact that my mom and him started dating and fell in love this time 50yrs ago, I took it on.

A nice, simple dinner at a restaurant is what he had in mind. But this mama of baby twins had other plans. Because, anyone with one baby knows how hard it is to be at a restaurant with that nursing baby--let alone two of them...not to mention the 6 other little kids (my sisters included) who would be with us too. And 50 years together warranted way more than just a simple restaurant dinner. So I told him I'd take care of it, with no restaurant in the plans--but something even better.

So I stayed up late planning. I sent emails out trying to track down excellent musicians, went to millions of stores after the kids went to bed, made decor late into the night, baked cake layers while babies napped, practised little speeches with all of the kids on weekends, planned a meal I didn't have to cook myself and told everyone to show up at our house in their Sunday best.

Because, when two people meet and fall in love when they're teens, it's a pretty big accomplishment to still be in love and actually like each other 50 years later.

You see, my parents are the type of people that we all aspire to be. They adore each other, they adore their family, they always ALWAYS put their family first and they know and have taught us that love means showing up. So they show up for each other, they show up for special events, they show up when their kids need help, they show up with meals in arms, they show up to hold crying babies, they show up when their kids are overwhelmed or stressed out, they show up for no reason--they're just always there for all of us. And always there for each other.

So this celebration of 50yrs of loving each other wasn't just about the fact that they are an incredible couple who deserve all of the praise in the world--it was also a thank you from my sister and I (and our families) to them for all that they have done for us over the years. For the excellent example that they have given us in modelling what a great, healthy marriage looks like--for the years of dedication to their family and grandchildren, and for the unconditional love that they have given us our entire lives.

So in knowing nothing other than they were coming for dinner (and had to be all dolled up), mom and dad showed up that day--and walked into our house to the sound of musicians playing beautiful music right in front of them...and a million grand kids running into their open arms.

And as they continued into our house, they found a table full of memories wrapped in gold frames (since 50's colour is gold, says Google)...

and sitting there tempting all of the kids sat the cake I made wrapped in milk chocolate and the cookies that I wish I knew how to make myself.

And of course there was a little extra for my dad--a booklet full of pages and pages of memories, songs, movies and events from 1969...

and an adorable little sign that my sister made all about my parents love story.

And then, to top it off...a huge over sized photo of them on their wedding day--just for kicks.

Because, you's not every day that you get to take a minute out of your busy life to celebrate people in big ways. So we made sure to do it right.

So the table was set all fancy...

and the kids got their own fancy table too, which they were thrilled about--complete with little plastic wine glasses for their juice.

And we spent the afternoon celebrating together.

Just our family.

Just a small affair, with a big heart.

Because these two deserve all of the praise and love in the world.

So we listened to beautiful music, and snacked on appetizers and treats...

while dancing into the evening...

and decorating cookies to the sound of violins and cello's behind them.

And they ate a delicious dinner with pretty cloth napkins on their laps...just to be sure that they felt extra fancy and proper.

And we finished off the night with speeches from men in top hats, and a little performance from all of the kids, telling their Nana and Papa all of the reasons that they love them so much--which was pretty much the cutest thing ever.

And presented them with a little gift from us all--a photo book including pictures from their 50yrs together and pictures and writing from each of the kids all about their beloved Nana and Papa. 

And we celebrated until the sun went down and babies needed to be put into jammies...because celebrating such a huge milestone is utterly exhausting for two little babes. 

So to our amazing parents--congratulations on 50 wonderful years together.

50 years since that first date when my 16yr old mom was swept off her feet by this tuxedo wearing, dapper guy in the top hat.

50 years of love, patience, joys, hardships, kids, memories, adventures and many adorable grand've been a pretty amazing couple to watch. We love you mom and dad and we are so grateful to you for your constant love, support and help over all of these years.

We love you both to the moon and back. 

Love Erica (and us all) 

Monday, 4 November 2019

We traveled to Mexico with 6 kids--and lived to tell the tale

I still can't believe we actually did it. 

The plan was hatched long before these two tiny babies were born. Long before the sleepless nights and utter exhaustion had set in. Long before NICU stays, C-sections, paediatrician appointments and tandem nursing around the clock began. Long before finding out we had not one, but two babies with acid reflux, and where days filled up with diaper changes, rocking crying babies to sleep and keeping up with our four other kids. 

Our plan to take our family to Mexico once the twins were born actually came to fruition a few weeks ago, and in my own mother's words..."It feels now like it was just a dream". 

Six kids, all 8yrs old and under at the time. Twins who weren't even 12 weeks old yet. It was like the time we took our 4 kids to Dominican with a newborn--but you know, a million times more exhausting. 

In the wise words of our paediatrician..."You're safe and fine to take the twins and everyone to Mexico, but I think you're crazy for wanting to try to". 

Maybe he was a little bit right--but it didn't stop me one bit from trying.

It's hard to believe we were actually able to pull it off, to be honest. 

I mean, the airport and air plane alone with that amount of little people could have put us all into a tizzy--and that's just getting us there. But with a TON of planning ahead of time, a lot of research into resorts and lots of snacks and prayers, we did it. 

And I'm so glad that we did. 

We invited our family to come along with us, and my parents and Terry's mom bravely agreed, knowing full well that laying by the pool with drinks in hand actually relaxing would not be on the menu. 

But sun, sand and palm trees? Yup. 

Lots of delicious food? Definitely.

Tons of swimming and fun? You bet. 

Tired adults? For sure. 

So we spent our days at all of the pools, swimming after all the kids, while scoping out the best shaded spots for the babies and all of us everywhere we went.  

We took turns holding babies and sitting in this one particular spot by the pool that was completely and fully shaded, so the baby holder could at least have his/her feet in the water while snuggling babies and watching everyone splash around.   

And we soaked up the fact that off-season travelling meant that we had many of the pools all to ourselves each morning...

and first dibs on all of the water slides each afternoon. 

*insert picture of Terry on the slide graciously volunteering to take the big kids to the huge water slides each day so that Mya and Carter could have fun--thank you for the sacrifice. Thank you. 

And we danced pool side to music each day...

and snuggled babies on the beach for two seconds until mom got too sandy to nurse, and we all left cranky and hot.

But the good news about the Mexican heat is that it was always remedied with cold drinks around every corner...

and kind bartenders who took care of our every request.

But you know what I'll remember the most from this trip? The thing that I'll never forget above all, is the joy that I got to witness in others as they enjoyed our family.

I wasn't quite prepared for it, to be honest.

We could barely move from one spot to another without curious, loving strangers wanting to know all about the babies and our family. Millions of questions about how many kids we have, how old they all were, how we were managing this trip with all of them--and the most frequently asked question...are they all YOURS? We had people counting us as we walked by, snapping pictures of us on their phones and always offering a lending hand when our hands were full. We had groups of women swarming us at our dinner table, gushing over the kids and wanting to hold our babies. We had other vacationers coming up to us all day long, smiling ear to ear as they looked us over and cooed over the twins and kids. I had women pulling me aside in the pool asking me how I did it--how I was managing it all day to day at home and how I actually looked so happy doing it.

And my response was the same every single time...
"I am SO happy doing it, the happiest I've ever been...and it's the hardest thing I've ever done".

Because that, my friends, is the absolute truth.

So I'll remember this trip for all of the fun and all of the laughs and all of the exhaustion...

for all of the experiences that our kids were given...

and for all of the love that our family gave to them.

I'll remember the day that our boy turned 7yrs old that week and breakfast turned into a birthday celebration... 

followed up by drinks and presents at the sports bar, at this little 7yr olds request. 

And I'll remember the look of pure joy as our kids ran along the beach and splashed in the waves...

because those experiences, those memories that we the end, made it all worth it.

And I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat...well, maybe 4yrs from now :)

'Til next time, Mexico.

'Til next time.

Erica xo

My parents have loved each other for 50 we celebrated BIG time

It wasn't my idea. Not mine at all. But hey--if you put an idea in my head, I'll roll with it. So when my dad said he wanted t...