My Tribe

I don’t even know where to start with this. I just know that I need to share. I’ve always been fortunate enough to have had a Tribe, a group of close friends, an inner circle, a #bestfriendtier. There’s some that have been there since the beginning. Some who were only there for specific periods in my life, and others who have just recently shown up. Let me tell you about them, my Tribe.

These are the people who have been with you at the lowest of lows and the highest of highs. The personal cheerleaders when you need it, or the voice of reason in the middle of a storm. The ones who get excited for new opportunities that come your way. Celebrate with you. Are genuinely happy for you, and look at you like you are the best thing to happen since pickle juice Caesars. The ones who have the nicknames, and that’s the only way you identify each other. The inside jokes, the deep bellied laughs, the memories, the stories, and the finishing of sentences. They share memes, new music, shoes and even food with you.

But not only that. They pick you up, sometimes literally, off the floor. They cry with you, weep, sob, dry heave, and sit in silence. They listen. They hold you, and they pray (even when they’re not the praying type). They know exactly what to say, or not to say. They send you all of their love, and you know that they actually mean it. They check up on you, and ask how you’re doing. Usually it’s out of the blue and when you get that text you’re always relieved that they sent it. They hold your hand, and feel all the feels with you. They keep your insecurities, and your deepest of secrets close to their heart – and it’s ok, because they are your people, your Tribe. They have seen the ugly and they have made the choice to stay anyway – because they love you.

Sometimes you need to talk to them everyday. Sometimes weeks or even months pass before a text is sent or a call is made. But the thing with your Tribe is that it doesn’t matter how long it has been, you pick up right where you left off. There will be something that reminds you of them and you’ll have to share it. A song. A meme. A pet peeve. A situation. An allergy. You name it – if it reminds me of someone in my tribe – they are getting it sent to them or told about it. And chances are whatever it is that nudges you to share with them will either make them laugh out loud or smile (and not just a regular smile – one that you feel in your heart – and gives you a warm fuzzy feeling).

Everything that I’ve mentioned above has at one point or another been done for me. I would do all of that and more for any one of my Tribe in a heartbeat. Some are family, and some are friends who are family, but my love for them is fierce. And I am so thankful, and grateful for this Tribe. And I truly hope that you were thinking of your people, your tribe, your besties when you read this. Tell them you love them, or send them a ridiculous meme (if that’s how you show love). They will smile or laugh depending on what you sent them – and they will appreciate it.

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A different perspective.

Two days left in 2018 and all I can say is – thank goodness. I mean really – did anyone have an amazing, super awesome 2018?!? If you did – good! I’m glad someone did 😂

Maybe it’s because I’m getting “old”, (I’m hitting my mid-life stride, even though I still feel younger than what my age says) but after the craziness of this past year, and who am I kidding 2019 will still be crazy, I’m wanting to be more intentional with my time, and my space. So here are some of my musings as we go into this next year.

Live more. Go on more adventures, by myself, with friends, with family. Explore more and see more of this beautiful country we live in.

Take it all in – the good, the bad, the in between. Life is full of lessons – what we do with them and how we learn from them is up to us.

Read more, learn more, listen more, love more.

Be more aware – of who and what gets my time, energy and attention.

Give more – more compliments, more smiles, more hugs.

Worry less. About other people’s opinions, and things I can’t control.

Less stuff, less clutter, less things, less social media.

Be present. In the lives of those who mean the most to me. More meaningful conversations, more memories made.

Sounds like quite the list – but I like a good challenge and I’m looking forward to see what this next year brings.

Just your average Hockey Mom

You’ll see them pulling up to the rink in their black or silver SUV’s or navy blue, silver or red Minivan – Bass pumping – 99.9% chance it’s AC/DC’s Thunderstruck you hear that’s making the sliding doors on the van vibrate. The back hatch opens up and all you see is doors flying open, kids climbing out and a whirlwind of hockey bags, sticks and water bottles making a beeline to the door of the rink. The team bus van pulls into the closest parking spot, the two front doors open (because Hockey Mom’s LOVE to carpool) and there is your first look at the classic Canadian Hockey Mom. Chances are she’s still singing/humming Thunderstruck (or my personal favourite Down With Webster’s – Time to Win), travel mug filled with Coffee and Baileys creamer in one hand, fleece blanket draped over one arm, the “Mom Bag” slung over one shoulder, and her kids forgotten water bottle in the other hand.

If for some reason you don’t see her pull into the parking lot – walk into any small town Manitoba rink (and I would speculate it is very similar in any province) and you will be able to pick her out. She will be wearing the official hockey mom attire – skinny dark jeans or black leggings, paired with either knee high brown leather boots, Blundstones, or runners, hoodie, puffy vest (Columbia winter jacket if it gets really cold), and the ever present black leather mittens. Accessories vary – she could be wearing an infinity scarf, touque, and if you are lucky you will find one who is wearing a pin-on button with a picture of her little hockey cherub on it. They will almost, always be standing in a circle talking about the weather, how cold/hot the rink is that they are in, any new ideas on how to get rid of the “hockey stink”, and if they should get a mocha to drink before or after the 1st period, and the quality of the rink coffee.

Black leather mitts ✔️ fleece blankets ✔️

If you want to know anything – ANYTHING – about hockey in rural Manitoba just ask a Hockey Mom. Best food, worst food, coldest rink, rinks that are licensed, cleanest dressing rooms or just rink cleanliness is general, best tournaments to attend, where not to stay on overnight trips, where to stay on overnight trips, driving times to any rural rink and/or Winnipeg sports complexes – ask a hockey mom. She will tell you about her experiences and will bring into the conversation reliable witnesses (other hockey moms, and occasionally a hockey dad).

Each team also has specific Hockey Moms
The Medical Hockey Mom who is basically a walking pharmacy and is probably a nurse in real life. Tylenol? check – Advil? check –  Bandaids/Polysporin/gauze/splint/eyedrops? check, check, check, check, check (and that’s just in her purse – crutches are in the vehicle)
The Backup Hockey Mom who has thrown in extra socks, jock, under armour, elbow pads, water bottle, skates in 4 different sizes, a couple of siblings that could fill in on short notice,  and just about any other piece of equipment that can be used as backup for any kid who might have forgotten to pack something.
The Snack Hockey Mom – your kid will never go hungry – she will have fruit, veggies, Gatorade, muffins (options of full gluten, no gluten, paleo, vegan and keto) – and coupons to any fast food restaurants in the vicinity of the rink. She is the queen of negotiating group meals at sit down restaurants and will make sure the players get their meals first. No one goes hungry on this hockey mom’s watch.
The Lucky Hockey Mom – probably the most humble and quiet person you know, and you can’t help but like her – but there is an invisible horseshoe tucked in somewhere on her. This mom will win the 50/50 draws every other game, a looney stick, at least 2 or 3 prize draws at tournaments, the lottery, a brand new car, trip to Cabo and free canteen shifts.
The Updating the Missing Hockey Moms Hockey Mom. If for some reason you can’t be at a game or tournament this mom will update you on the score, the quality of the ice, the intelligence of the refs, how dirty the other team is and a complete stats analysis of your child’s play on the ice. These updates will be sent via Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and Text – or any combination of said social media. There is no sugar coating – it will be like you are right there watching the game! (And you very well could be if she’s streaming it live on Facebook!)

These women will literally wake up at the crack of dawn, feed their children cliff bars breakfast, load them up and drive them to where they need to be to play a sport they love. They will travel any distance, and in any type of weather to watch their kid. They will cheer and clap every single game. They will also be ready to give a death glare, and a few choice words (with back up from her fellow hockey moms) to any other hockey mom/dad from the opposing team if they’re being idiots unruly and to the officials wearing stripes if they have misplaced their glasses for the game. Don’t mess with hockey moms they are always fully caffeinated and can go from Suzy homemaker mode to full on Mama Bear mode in .02 seconds.

Now, I write this because I am a Hockey Mom. Some of my best friends are hockey moms. We have travelled together, have spent weekends together, have celebrated wins together and have driven home together in very quiet vehicles after tough losses. There are days when we have to be a hockey mom to more than one kid and to each others kids. But we wouldn’t want it any other way. To you Hockey Moms who are just starting this journey – buckle up – it’s quite the adventure! To you Hockey Moms who are in the thick of it – games/tournaments/skills – enjoy every minute – even the exhausting ones. To you Hockey Moms whose babies are all grown up and might not be playing anymore, you are always welcome to come to the rink and watch ours, it might not be the same – but hey – there’s always enough fleece blanket for one more to sit down and cheer for our kids.

What’s in a Name

I called you Grandma and you called me Joey, and it has been one whole year since I’ve heard you say my name. The last time I saw you – I got a small squeeze on my hand and one last smile on your face when I leaned in and whispered “I’m here Grandma, it’s Joey”. There are a handful of people who are allowed to call me that -Joey- and anyone else who tries to call me Joey will be informed that that specific nickname is reserved for certain people. Those people are close to my heart just like you. And I don’t know why it bothers me when I hear other people calling me that – but it just seems wrong when it isn’t someone that is on the short list. Your favourite people had nicknames – and it’s something that I find myself doing as well – giving my favourite people nicknames. And I do it whether they like it or not – just like you. They learn to love it because it is said with love. So this morning, while I drink my coffee I’ll smile as I remember you and I’ll probably cry a little because out of all the voices that call me Joey – yours is the one that meant the most and the one I miss the most. Till we meet again – love you lots – Joey

On the Road Again….

It’s that time in our family where the meeting of winter sports meet summer sports.  Our oldest is still playing second season hockey and has started ball practices, our middle is still prepping for her karate grading  and has also started her ball practices and our youngest is just dreaming of seeding fields on the farm – oh and his ball starts this week! My husband is going over the farm machinery, checking fields and looking after all the details for spring time work and seeding on the farm. And here I am prepping my piano students for May exams, coaching Ally’s ball team and basically organizing and scheduling our crazy life for the next couple of months.  Honestly – I wouldn’t have it any other way! We are all doing what we love to do and even though we might seem like we are going in 8 different directions at once – I do enjoy some of the one-on-one time I get with the kids because we are going in different directions.

There are a couple of things I do – prep-wise – that keep us going in the right direction.  A visible weekly schedule  – I had a fancy schmancy dry erase monthly calendar but honestly it wasn’t the best. It was overwhelming to look at the whole month as opposed to just a week at a time.  SO I pulled out a piece of paper and put it in a page protector. (Ya I’m crafty like that)   I fill it out weekly with a dry erase marker – with Manitoba weather chances are ball games are going to be cancelled and rescheduled. The kids and look and see where they are going – my farmer husband can see which towns his kids are playing if he has a chance to get away from the field – and I have a visual to see what’s going on and where everyone needs to be.  It’s cheap, it’s easy and it works.

Another prep I do for the controlled chaos is pack a snack bag.  My kids get off the school bus close to 4:00 pm and we are usually on the road again (if they have a practice or a game) by 5:00pm.  That means an early supper or a supper on the go, and once their activity is done they are hungry! Scratch that – they are HANGRY! So to feed the wild beasts I have a bag of snacks that goes in the vehicle with us.  Usually filled with snacks they like and will fill them up or tie them over till we get home.  This week we have almonds, Clif Bars, fruit cups, applesauce, granola bars.  I’ll also put fresh fruit and veggies in there or any baking that I’ve done (muffins, cookies etc).  Some juice boxes and Powerade or Gatorade will be there too , as well as the kids water bottles. Along with some wet-naps, napkins and spoons.

SO hopefully this crazy, chaotic season will run smoothly and everyone will get to the places they need to be safely and well-fed.  Moms on the go – what are your go-to time saving methods you use? Let’s help each other get through the busy seasons of life!

Good Friday

I witnessed something really cool today. It was the community Good Friday service that took place at our church.  It was a combination of all the churches in our small town.  Each church was represented and for an hour today there was no difference.  It didn’t matter (and really it shouldn’t matter) which church you were from.  We put aside the little, and some big,  differences in our denominations and we worshiped – together – as one congregation – as the body of Christ.  I really wish I had taken a picture of it  – because this – this is how it should be.

Because when it comes down to it I don’t think that faith is a complicated thing. Do you Believe? Life changes, the world changes and stuff happens but my faith, my Jesus, my God has been there for me even when I didn’t recognize it.

I was reminded today of something I used to listen to.  It’s the Apostles Creed put to music and when I was a part of a vocal group in college, Veritas, we sang an arrangement by James Fast called Credo.  This was before our cellphones recorded anything so I don’t have a physical copy of this musical masterpiece but I remember it well.  I do, however, have a version by the band Third Day and if you want to listen to it head over to Spotify and give a listen to Creed.

If you want to know what I believe – the following is what I believe.  And I think that if you were to ask the community of believers who were at the service today – regardless of denomination – they would also claim that this is what they believe. Because when it all comes to an end here on Earth and when we get to the gates of Heaven I don’t think we’re going to be asked what church we went to or what denomination we are a part of – but we will be asked “Do you Believe”.

The Apostles’ Creed

I believe in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate was crucified, dead, and was buried; he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, he is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.
Amen

Image via Pinterest

Road Trip

This past weekend my husband and I went on a road trip. I haven’t been able to convince him to go on a warm vacation but I did convince him to go south….. to……. Minneapolis!!

I know what you’re thinking – “wow, Minneapolis, woo hoo, totally on my top ten places to go on a winter vay-cay 🙄”

But it was great! And here’s why.

1) there’s a lot of things happening and going on in Minneapolis. We took in a concert (Demi Lovato) and an NBA game (Timberwolves vs. Golden State Warriors). And the evening we arrived we found out that we also could’ve taken in WrestleMania – we chose to go to an Irish Pub with live music instead (#goodlifechoices)

 

“Don’t let the Bastards Grind you Down”

 

 

Demi – slaying on stage

 

 

Cover Band who opened with AC/DC TNT #legends

 

2) The Food. We didn’t have one bad meal. The food was a amazing. From the greasy pizza joint, to the fancy schmancy hotel restaurant and everything in between – we ate well.

 

Pizza La Vista 

 

3) Location, location, location. We stayed at a hotel  (The Loews) that was right across from the venue we were going to be attending. Literally a 30 second walk from the hotel to the venue. Did we pay a lot to stay there – YES. Did the visiting Golden State Warriors stay at the same hotel – YES Was my husband scared to drive/park downtown so we picked a hotel with valet parking- also YES. We were two blocks from the metro station – so we could catch the metro to anywhere in the city. We opted for the hotel driving service due to me wanting to shop at Mall of America 😁 it was a 15 minute drive and our driver was great and knowledgeable. And there was a lot going on around us that we could walk to. Restaurants, Pubs, clubs, shopping, theatres, etc.

 

Watching GSW leave the hotel 

Draymond Green – opted to walk across the street instead of taking the 30 second bus ride. 

 

We would totally go back to Minneapolis!

BUT the best thing was it was the first time in 11 years that my husband and I got to go away somewhere – just the two of us – for more than one night. Don’t get me wrong – love my kids – but it is nice to have some time with your spouse. Now you might be thinking – “what? 11 years? Seriously?” Yup – no joke. Our farming lifestyle (up until this past year) consisted of a cow/calf operation in which my husband would be feeding cows daily and during calving season was basically a walking zombie who lives off of coffee and minimal sleep. We’ve switched our operation slightly and now we don’t have the cow/calf side of the farm anymore. And this means a quieter winter – farm wise. The kids,on the other hand, had us on the go 99% of the time with hockey and karate. But there it was ONE WEEKEND, no kids, no cows – and the GSWarriors were in Minneapolis. Nothing was going to stop us!

Mall of America #restingbuckface

Ready for Demi!!

Room with a View #theloewshotel

Finally a smile! 

 

I highly recommend planning a trip, or if that’s not an option a date night, with just you and your significant other. It was great to just talk, or be silent, singing to the radio, argue about directions or whatever. We were just us. We were able to talk and communicate without the interruption of our children or our every day responsibilities. It is so important to carve out time to work on your relationship with your spouse, because marriage is a work in progress. Is it always easy – no. Does it take work – yes. Does it take respect – yes. Does it take forgiveness and mercy – absolutely. Nobody is perfect and no marriage/relationship is perfect – BUT if you work at it and put time into it – it does get easier.

Did our kids Snapchat us? Yes. Did we miss them? I guess so….. I mean yes. But, you know what – it’s ok to miss your kids. It’s ok to spend some time away from them. I appreciated them much more after being away for even a few days. And I appreciate the guy I chose to spend the rest of my life with even more as well. Even if he doesn’t smile for selfies 🙄#restingbuckface

 

Classic – #restingbuckface