Tuesday, March 7, 2017

2016 in Pictures

Holy moly.

2016 feels like it was a decade ago already. Here we are, firmly in the lap of 2017, and I haven't engaged in this reflective ritual of mine.  If you've been around for awhile, you know I've done some form of this annual post since I was a wee bitty undergraduate student, living at home.

I almost bypassed it entirely, but as I was nostalgically thumbing through (it's not thumbing, more like scrolling, but the former sounds so much more beautiful and reflective) my older entries where I've reviewed a whole year of being alive, I knew that one day I would regret it if there was a gap in this collection.

I do it for my future 80 year old self; I do it for my future 17 year old daughter.

So here we go. Late as always, but still: an account of what it was like to be a 32 year old woman, in her third year of marriage to a 37 year old man, in their seventh year of teaching, their third year back in the city, her first year in a Masters program.

(If this was a drinking game, you could take a sip for every number I have quoted in this entry. For those of us non-drinkers, perhaps a potato chip.)


Like in 2015, we started off the shiny new year on Saturna. This time, no pipes froze, we didn't bike onto the island, but it was still as full of trees and mouthfuls of quiet as it usually is. As someone who is fairly allergic to the festivities of NYE, my heart was delighted.

In January, I went through a pretty rough time without talking about it much to anyone. Essentially, I was trying to be an academic/professional/counsellor wonder woman who could still make roast chicken dinners mid-week, be light hearted and generally hilarious to everyone who had a conversation with me, and wash my hair regularly.


(I literally just gasped when I remembered that that was the semester I was taking THREE so-heavy-on-the-brain-and-heart counselling courses while fulfilling all the other roles in my life. I take one course right now -- which is LIGHT ON READING-- while doing my Clinic, and am so tired, so hair unwashed.)

To practice self-care, I started drawing and practicing calligraphy, which were things that were just for me. Not my clients, my professors, my husband, my friends, my pre-frontal cortex. 

I also started telling the truth to those who would listen, and it would be an understatement to say that choice shifted my life, that it continues to impact me in rippling waves of peace and care.

In February, the BFFs came down from the Yukon to visit. We met this precious child for the first time. We became backup legal guardians / godparents to Rowan, which explains why I am now a gushing, obnoxious person who can't just choose one picture to post of a baby, and had to put up all of them.

Evolution is so smart: you make 'em so cute, so that you have no choice but to protect them forever.

Spring came in the nick of time to save my sanity, and it was warm and colourful and full of opportunity. I continued to be obsessed with flowers in 2016. Please note: I was wearing short sleeve shirts around March (as I stare forlornly out the window at the 57th snowfall of the year, at the time of writing this to you.)

In April, after 9 (yes, 9) assignments were handed in over a span of a month, we celebrated in the best way we know how: a road trip. This time, a decadent long weekend in Portland, where cider, pie, burgers, ice cream and mac n' cheese hot dogs were our most favourite companions. Bry turned a year older, and got a whole library full of whiskey and tequila to celebrate.

We remarked afterwards that amongst all of the trips we have taken, in all these years of being together, it stands out for how happy we were, the whole time we were there. For me, sometimes the planning of a trip is better than the trip itself, but sunny Portland in the spring was just pure light.


We spent much of this season outdoors, continuing our 2015 mantra of adventures in nature. If I wasn't behind a book or a computer, I was staring at something green, or lying down on something scratchy. Bry had been working his butt off in a short term contract since January, so we needed oxygen and photosynthesis to augment our sedentary days. It was so warm and alive outside.


In May, we rented a canoe and took her on a weekend camping trip up Indian Arm. I will never forget how easy it was, how many jelly fish we saw, how dark chocolate tastes under a moon. It was a highlight for sure, and one that I hope we replicate as often as we can.

The school year came to an end, heralding summer, and we were flipping stoked. I swear, teachers have got to be more excited about the break than the student. I must have had a handful of 'celebration' dinners in quick succession; any reason at all to raise a glass, put on lipstick. It wasn't a free summer for me, since I was in school Monday - Thursday, but there's always time for the beach after studying!

In July, M & C and Rowan came to visit again, and this time he was twice as big. Cousin hosted us at their cabin at Buccaneer Bay, and it was sandy and briney and a respite from city living. We love our chosen and actual families.

August came, and summer school ended. (I really don't know what I'll do with myself when I get my summers back this year. What do you meaaaaaaan I will get to do what I want M-F, with no one to answer to, no books to crack open?) I got to choose my birthday trip getaway, so to Ucluelet we went! With stops in Tofino and Victoria, and so much rain and water all around us, it was the calming celebration I was looking for. That, and surfing ruled.

I turned 32 with friends and laughter and dancing, bidding adieu to 31 and a full summer.


Fall began, rather abruptly, and we were in the professional saddle. I started my second (and hopefully last) year in the Masters program, and also started Clinic. This meant I was seeing real client for the first time in this capacity, and it was nerve-wracking and everything I had hoped it would be. Counselling, in the flesh, was and is so humbling.

Another trend of this year. All the amazing baby friends my life :

And this baby, too. 2016 felt like a really solid year for our marriage. 

We ended our year with a trip out east to Montreal over the Christmas break. I think all we did was eat and sleep for three days . . .

. . . Before driving across the border into Vermont, to visit our family on their beautiful farm. We had a sweet Christmas with the excitement of two little ones under foot, and lots of cuddles.

We rang in the new year by going to bed by 11pm after watching TV, and called it a truly lovely year.

2016: thanks for your challenges and your grace.

I'll tell you more about how 2017 is going soon.

A look back at : 2015/  2014 2013 2012