Right here

Dear Grandma,

How unbelievable it is that you’ve been gone for 5 years now. I know I’ve said this every year, and I’ll continue to do so until the end of time, but it still seems like it was just yesterday when our hearts were broken as you left this world all too soon.

 

A little less than a year ago, I had the most vivid dream about you. Mind you, it wasn’t the first, but I was at some kind of public place – I don’t remember if it was a mall or an amusement park – and I was searching everywhere for you. I was starting to panic when suddenly, you appeared wearing the same pink dress you were wearing when Kyle and I got married. You simply hugged me and said, “I’m right here.” I woke up after that I honestly haven’t had a dream about you since. I don’t know if that dream was some kind of closure, but I felt a great deal of peace afterwards.

Just because I don’t dream about you anymore doesn’t mean I don’t think about you. I’ll never forget all the wonderful life experiences I was able to have with you (and Grandpa) and every so often something obscure will bring back a flood of memories. A blue lupine flower. Whiskey jacks. Nachos. Palm trees.

The moments come and go, sometimes with a smile and others with a tear, but I cherish every single one of them regardless of how much it hurts sometimes. It makes me remember how important it is to make those memories regardless of how simple or routine the occasion may be. 

I’ll forever be thankful for how unconditional your love was. No matter what kind of personal BS any of your family or friends were going through, you always seemed to stick by them. Whether they needed the biggest hug or room to breathe, you offered it with open arms and an understanding that you’d always be there. 

I like to think that mom is following in your footsteps in being a grandma to Isla and Norah. Many things that I was able to experience with you, such as camping and hot tubbing, Isla has been able to experience with her, and I know Norah will also be just as fortunate. Thank you so much for being such an amazing role model, because I’m so grateful that my girls are able to make memories with their grandma, just as I was able to make them with you.

I love you, Grandma, and even though I no longer dream of you I’ll never stop thinking about you. You’ll always be right here in my heart when I need you.

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Road Trip Recap

Warning: This post is wordy!

Once a year my mom and I try to make our way down to the Vancouver area to get some solid family and shopping time in. This past weekend we loaded up half of my house our stuff and headed out for a fun, four-day visit!

(Seriously though – I drove our truck down because we had SO MUCH STUFF. Between our regular luggage and everything I needed for Norah, it was necessary to take the truck.)

The girls did great on the ride down only having to stop twice, once just to stretch our legs and the other time to have lunch. We were lucky enough to have great driving weather and once we got down to the Fraser Valley the traffic wasn’t even that bad. When we arrived at my grandpa’s we were welcomed with margaritas! Can’t say no to that ;)

After dinner we went for a short walk up to the park where the girls had some fun on the swings and teeter totter. Soon it was time to walk back and turn in for the night, as Saturday we had a busy day planned out!

My grandpa drove us to the Skytrain station where we hopped on the train to go right into downtown Vancouver and meet up with my brother! He met us at the stop closest to his apartment and we picked up some lunch from Freshii (which I’m still drooling over) on our way to his place.

After lunch we headed out towards the Seawall and walked along there until we got to the Aquabus dock. We hopped on the cute little ferry and went across False Creek to Granville Island and checked out the Public Market and Kid’s Market! Isla was having a ton of fun and she was SO sad/upset when it was time to leave, but we had a lot of walked left to do to get back to the Skytrain station and head back into Burnaby. (I think my brother said we walked just over 15,000 steps, according to the app on his phone.) I’m so glad I was able to borrow a Sit & Stand stroller, because Isla wouldn’t have survived the trek back to the station.

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Sunday was our shopping day and we headed out to Ikea (conveniently only 10 minutes away from my grandpa’s) to BUY ALL THE THINGS pick up a few items. I bought a bookshelf for Norah’s room and some new dishes, as well as a couple odds & ends because Ikea. I was also able to meet up with Callie, which was wonderful as we don’t get to see each other very often! (Especially in her neck of the woods!) We all went back to the house afterwards for some lunch and then my grandpa dropped us off at the Skytrain station so we could hop on the train and head to Metrotown to do some more shopping!

Old Navy just so happened to have an amazing sale on baby and kid’s clothes (BOGO free!), so I stocked up on some summer gear for Isla and Norah. We also visited the Disney Store where Isla REFUSED to leave, (can you blame her?) and I got suckered into going to Lululemon by my brother:

Him: Don’t you want to go into Lululemon?
Me: I don’t really need to. I don’t need anything.
Him: Well, I want to look at shorts for running.
Me: Okay, fine. 
(I buy a new bag, my brother buys NOTHING.)

It was time to head back to the Skytrain, and that’s when the hilarity begins. First, we ask Isla if she needs to use the bathroom, which is at the complete opposite side of the mall from the Skytrain station. (Of course.) She says no, so we head towards to station. We get to the exit, and what is Isla doing? The potty dance. I walk/run allllllllllll the way back to the bathroom with her, then we walk/run allllllllllll the way back so we can get on the train. One just pulled up when we got to the platform, so we rush and get on the train only to realize after it takes off that we got on the headed in the OPPOSITE DIRECTION of where we needed to go. Ugh. So we get off at the next station, get on the train going the RIGHT way, only to realize that we were on the train going to SURREY, not our stop. We rode that train until we couldn’t anymore, then FINALLY got on the train that would take us to the station where my grandpa was picking us up. Thankfully the Skytrain “regulars” could tell that we were total newbs and were so wonderfully helpful in making sure we got on the correct trains.

Needless to say, I was happy when my grandpa busted out the margarita machine when we got back!

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Isla would’ve rode the train all day if we let her.

Monday morning we loaded up the truck (which took some planning out due to all of our shopping) and we were on our way home. It was bittersweet leaving because we had such an amazing time, but the girls were starting to get a little restless and needed to get back to their normal schedule. They did SO well though – especially Norah – and neither one of them made me regret driving all the way down to Vancouver for a few days.

We can’t wait to do it all again next year!!

Chicken Soup and Mac n’ Cheese

Dear Grandma,

It’s hard to believe that it’s been four years since you so suddenly departed from our lives. It’s been tough – so tough – and not a day goes by where I don’t think about you.

Memories of you sometimes come at the most peculiar times; I may be doing something mundane and routine like changing a diaper or watching TV, or perhaps it’s something more specific, like making homemade soup or attempting to replicate your famous mac n’ cheese. (You made the best homemade chicken soup and mac n’ cheese, hands down, and I don’t think what I make will ever come close to how good yours was.) They never fail to put both a smile on my face and a tear in my eye at the same time.

I never thought someone would have such a significant influence on me, and it’s unfortunate that I’m only truly realizing how much of an influence you had after you’ve passed. Your “isms” speak loud and clear in my head a lot: “Treat others the way you want to be treated!”, “Come on in if your nose is clean!”, or “Kitchen Witch!” Whether silly or serious, I’ll never forget your words of wisdom.

I wish you were able to meet your great-grandbabies. I know Isla and Norah would have adored their Nana. It hurts so much knowing that you passed just a few months before Isla was born, especially because you were so excited to meet her. I’m thankful that you got to “meet” her while I was still pregnant; those moments will forever be etched in my heart.

I really want to thank you for being such an amazing grandmother not only to me and my brother, but to your 16 other grandkids as well. Your love and devotion to you family has influenced us all in so many ways and we can only hope to be as great as you were.

I miss you so much, Grandma, and one day I know I’ll be sitting down with you again to enjoy a bowl of chicken soup and a plate of mac n’ cheese.

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