Tag Archives: Love


Grief is a funny thing. It hits you at the strangest times. There’s the obvious initial response to the death of a parent that is emotional and jarring and raw, but then that gives way to daily life needing to move on and that’s when grief creeps up, bubbles up, bursts forth at the oddest of moments. Seemingly odd at first, but very fitting upon further observation.

James’ dad died in the middle of February. It was sudden and unexpected. He wasn’t the healthiest of people and seemed to be aging rapidly, but no one would have guessed he was going to pass at 62 years of age, not yet two months into his retirement. I’d never experienced anything like that before. My husband hadn’t experienced anything like that before. We’ve lost grandparents and a few people on the outskirts of our lives, but never someone so close and dear and…there. Having to tell the kids their beloved Grandpa, the man who would pick them up and take them for pancakes and read to them was gone was one of the hardest things to do.

I found that because James is the eldest child and his dad was alone and we had children going through their own grieving process I shelved a lot of my emotion. After Pat died, after the room cleared out, I sat there and just thought about the mountain of things that this meant. What this meant to everyone, all of the things that had to be done and taken care of. Maybe it’s because I’m a mom and have been for a long time now, but the list grew instantly and I went into ‘care’ mode.

But now I find it creeping out or bursting forth at bizarre moments like when I walked into Safeway the other day. It was the first time since he died. Pat had called James from Safeway because he felt dizzy and short of breath. It was the last time they talked. The manager had called Pat an ambulance and by the time James got to him he was unconscious. I put Eli in the buggy and walked through the doors and an instant flood of emotion came over me. “He’s gone” I just kept repeating in my head.

It also caught me off guard when I put a dish of rice pudding in the oven to bake. The last time that I had made it was the day he died. The connection to a time when he was here was too profound. The absence of the person is felt so deeply. Too deeply. But it’s good. I need to feel it. I need to care for the people around me during a time like this, but I also need to wade through my own emotions and let them break the surface so that I can work through them.

I imagine it will be a long road of these sorts of things. We will never fully recover from a parent dying, they are linked too closely to our lives. They mean too much to us. Especially if they have been the type of parent, like Pat, who, despite his flaws and our flaws, has loved us greatly and unconditionally.







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Ten Years

Come October 16th, James and I will have been married for ten years. Ten years! Where has the time gone? I can’t believe it. Seems like it was just yesterday that we were anxiously putting the finishing touches on our big day, but pictures don’t lie. Yes, ten years have passed. We are no longer the little baby-faced immature kids that dove into marriage somewhat blindly. We are now the not-so-little (c’mon, I’ve had three kids) starting-to-wrinkle not-much-closer-to-mature 30-somethings that trudge through parenting completely blindly. However, we are still in love and that, my friends and readers, is something to celebrate. So celebrate we did!

Soon after we got married way back in 2004 I had a thought. “Bria” I said to myself, “If you make it 10 years, you should do a vow renewal because that’s something to be proud of.” James and I both come from ‘broken’ homes, so every milestone in marriage is important to us. A few years ago, when my belly was full with baby #3, I attended my step-sister-in-law’s ten year vow renewal and it was beautiful. Right then and there it solidified in my mind that it was something that needed to happen for James and I.

Earlier this year I started sorting the details out and slowly the ball started rolling with planning our anniversary party. The closer it got, the more nervous I became. Last week I was totally regretting ever planning it. A friend pointed out that I was just like a jittery bride. That made me smile. I suppose I was. I wanted everything to come together. It wasn’t anything fancy, but I just wanted our family and close friends to show-up and have a good time. We planned it for this past weekend because we have another wedding to be at in a couple of weeks and with James all-over-the-place schedule, this is what worked.


The weather was wet and cold, but our hearts were full and happy. We packed everyone into my mother’s house, filled it with wine and beer and delicious food, said some very teary-eyed things to each other and our kids and everyone there and went on to have a grand old-time. I even sang a song…after some of the crowd had left of course.

When it was all said and done, I was glad we decided to celebrate. The past ten years haven’t been easy. They’ve been trying and difficult and all over the map. Both James and I wanted to have something to recognize how far we’d come, where we are at right now and where we would like to go as a couple and as a family. I think this was a great way to do just that.

It’s good to take time to celebrate love and life and family. We need to be reminded of why we do what we do day-in and day-out. We need to be reminded of why we work through the valleys and the really hard times. It’s so that we can get to those mountain tops, take a big breath and see the spectacular view of the life God has given us and appreciate the fact that we did it, together.

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Life With a Toddler

I’ve found that living with a toddler is exhausting. Horribly and wonderfully exhausting. I’m sure that wouldn’t surprise anyone. One minute I’m at my wits end wanting to run run away to Mexico because he’s having a tantrum and the next I’m melting into a puddle while he steals my heart with an adorable smile.

For those of you who don’t know what it’s like to have toddler in the house, let me put it this way: combine a playful puppy, a curious monkey, a jolly gnome, a squirmy octopus and a ferocious banshee. Mix them all up and then let that mutant run amuck in your home with all your stuff, never knowing which one of the personalities will appear from minute to minute or if it will be snotty, pooping or throwing food. Sounds crazy, right? Trust me, it is. But it’s also one of the most entertaining things to watch.


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Little Guy

One day of being busy plus one day of the stomach flu makes for an overwhelmingly messy house. So messy. What a disaster.

Thankfully, one early morning with just me and my little guy restores my spirits and makes it all worth while.


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The Last of the Babies

So there we were, having just woken-up to tiny squeaks for attention, gazing onto our third child’s wrinkled face.

All of those years of saying we were done, all of those months of stress and worry and frustration all amounted to this; a perfect little baby boy named Eli.

He was just hours old, lying in-between James and I, trying to focus on the faces in front of him.

“I love our little boy” I whispered to James.

“He’s a good boy” James replied.

That first morning with him was one of the sweetest moments of my life, one that I’ll always hold close to my heart.

Eli turned one today. I’m glad that we survived the first year and that we’re moving onto my favourite time…toddler years ( it’s actually my favourite, I’m not being sarcastic), but I’m also sad to see this chapter come to an end. I didn’t think that I’d be able to handle another kid and I feel like I’ve done a good job. I helps that Eli is such a darling. I couldn’t have asked for a better baby…but for real now, I want this one to be my last!

Words can’t begin to describe how much the four of us adore this little boy. He was clearly meant for all of us.

I get excited thinking ahead for our family, especially now that Eli is in the picture. I’m glad to have a buddy to keep me company and on my toes while the kids are busy at school. I’m looking forward to seeing his silly personality shine and watch him explore his world. I just love him so darn much.

He brings so many smiles to each and every day, how could I not gush about him?



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I’ve Arrived (read: I’ve been booted off the 20’s party bus)

So this is it. I’m finally here.


It simultaneously feels weird and strange and like nothing at all. I’m now officially grown up…or at least I should be. There’s no pretending, no falling back on twenty-something excuses. The welcome and dreaded change has come.

My 30’s commenced with me wearing my pj’s, accessorized with a friendship bracelet, a Hello Kitty tattoo and a having a venue stamp on my hand from a Leif Vollebekk concert a few nights before. I woke-up too early to a baby who needed to be fed. I was promptly barfed on. James ordered me to go back to bed (where I perused glorious Pinterest home decor) so he and the kids could bring me cards, coffee and a muffin with a candle in it. Eli was furious that he couldn’t eat the muffin and Amelia’s card read, “I love you soy moth”. Nothing has changed.

Today I feel the same as I did yesterday, and the year before and the year before that. I feel like I’m trying, sometimes succeeding and sometimes failing, to navigate life while taking care of my family.

Looking forward to the next decade of my life is exciting. I’ve started a 30’s bucket list of things that I’ve always wanted to do or try (or do again). I’m hopeful that these next years are going to be great.

I won’t settle for life just passing by when there are so many adventures to be had. The fun doesn’t stop when you reach a certain number.

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This Girl

Who has an amazingly awesome husband?

This girl!

Who gets to celebrate their 30th birthday and 9th anniversary with a surprise trip to Vegas?

This girl!

Who is beyond excited to spend six days on an actual child-free vacation?


(Seriously though, what a guy! All I have to do is pack a bag because he took care of everything else! Eeek! I can’t wait.)

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