Monday, January 2, 2012

2011: A Year in Review

2011 has been an eventful one.  We've experienced some amazing highs, some moments of frustration, and moments of sadness.  Like my father always says, "You can't appreciate the good if you don't experience the bad".

Balancing family, the farm, freelance jobs and teaching ESL proved to be more difficult than I thought. Thankfully, I have some very supportive family members (thanks to my Hubby, Lola, Grampy, and MIL). I also have great friends who help me get through even the toughest, most challenging moments of mommyhood.

There were moments when I thought I was going to completely lose it.
 I don't think I ever told anyone (except my husband and my best friend) how difficult a time I was having trying to keep things together. I struggled immensely with trying to balance motherhood and all the zillions of other things I had on my plate (like work, committees, farm, house, and everything else). To this day, I am still amazed at how women all over the world just do it and not get burnt out. I don't believe it has to be an either or decision - motherhood or work. I believe the two can be happily married, but it is a challenge. It's a lot of figuring out how to do both and do them both well.

Little One moved into her "big girl" bed. Everything is changing. I'm not sure if I'm ready for all this change.

I try to always trust my gut instinct. Thank goodness too. I was almost a victim to an online scam where this person tried to swindle me out of my money by posing as an ESL student in need of assistance. Luckily, I'm not that gullible. Luckily, I do my research. I just hope he/she/they don't take advantage of any other good, kindhearted people. If you see a suspicious-looking e-mail, always report it. I hope the police can nail this person. It just makes me sick to think of all the unsuspecting people who have already fallen victim to him.

Little One is still as busy as can be. Some days, I wonder if I'll be alive by the time she's five.

We said goodbye to my ESL student. I taught him for eight months. It was really sad to say goodbye. Little One was particularly fond of him and thought he was part of the family. It's amazing that he saw her from not really talking to all of a sudden speaking in sentences. I love that Little One is exposed to people from different cultures.

Little One's vocabulary has increased tenfold. I've been learning how to cook more Korean dishes. That's one of the great things about teaching ESL. My students learn English and they learn about Canadian culture. In return, I learn so much from them (like cooking Korean Bulgogi)!

Hubby and I celebrated five years of marriage.

We took Little One to the Mount Sinai Hospital NICU/Preemie Picnic. Hard to believe our healthy, happy, fiercely independent toddler was once a 980 g baby. It was a very emotional day. It was great to meet up with some of the nurses, staff, and other NICU parents who helped us through Little One's first few weeks of life.

Every now and then, I am reminded of how blessed we are to be living in our little corner of Ontario. Though I sometimes miss my city life, I am reminded of how breathtakingly beautiful Manitoulin Island is. We're surrounded by beaches and we're not too far from Tobermory. I took my students to Tobermory for a class trip. The glass bottom boat tour and the shipwrecks were a hit with the students.
August is always a busy time of the year on the farm. Our students learn a lot here. They don't only learn English, but they learn about where their food comes from

Little One won the Cutest Baby contest over at PhotoCaptiva.

I am excited to say that I am a recipient of the Mom Central Canada Blogger Grant! What an incredible honour!

I was invited to the She's Connected Conference in Toronto, where I was able to network with brands, meet some fabulous ladies, learn more about the social media world and what brands are looking for in social media women, and just hang out with some of my favourite Tweeps.

Okay, I was a bit starstruck when I got to meet one of my favourite TV cooking personalities!Yes, it's Christine Cushing! Does this woman ever know how to cook!? Amazing!

Little One was weaned from her soother/pacifier. We went to Montreal for my godson's baptism and I conveniently forgot to pack her soothers. She was forced to go cold turkey and hasn't looked back. It was a brutal few days and she kept asking for it. Okay, she kept crying screaming for it! She survived and hasn't had it since.

I was given the opportunity to be an official food blogger for Food Network Canada's reality TV show, Recipe to Riches! 
We learned that a good friend of ours died. He and his wife used to come to the Island every Fall and spend a week with us. The news had me so depressed. With each announcement of the passing of friends, I am more and more aware of how finite life on earth is. With loved ones and family members getting to the age where death or serious illness is not surprising, I think about my grandmother in the Philippines and wish she could be closer to us. It makes me really sad to think about losing family members.

I won a Toshiba Tablet from a ShesConnected Twitter party. Love, love, love!
Little One turned three years old. 11/11/11. Lucky year, maybe? She seemed to have gone from my sweet little preemie to all of a sudden a little girl. She feeds herself, dresses herself, and wants to do everything herself. I have to be honest and say that I really, really miss the baby years. It's true when people say, "cherish these moments forever, because they grow up fast". They really do.

I was selected as a #ToshibaBrandAmbassador! Thank you, ShesConnected!

I attended the taping of Recipe to Riches' season finale. I also had dim sum with Melaney Gleeson-Lyall as well as a coffee date with Melissa Lam (Recipe to Riches contestants). Through the Twitter world, we've become friends (online and offline).

Grampy and Little One enjoyed dim sum with Melaney in Chinatown as well!
With Melissa (Banana Chocolate Wow Cake) and Brad (Maple Pouding au Chomeur) at the taping of the finale.

I was selected as one of the #FisherPriceMoms! So excited! Thank you, Mom Central Canada!

We also started a new tradition with our friends - Olde Fashioned Christmas! A few friends with children Little One's age will celebrate each Christmas (well, the weekend before Christmas) with a potluck party and good times for all. The kids made Christmas ornaments, the adults had a good visit, and before the night was done, the kids exchanged homemade presents with each other.

Little One seems to be completely toilet trained. After a few weeks of potty retraining, a few set backs and accidents, she seems to have finally mastered peeing and pooping in the toilet. She is so proud of herself! I am so proud of her. I am also so relieved for myself. That had to be the most frustrating two weeks of my life.

BabyBro came to the Island to spend Christmas with us. One week is definitely too short. He's only been gone two days, but I already miss him.

Looking forward to another wonderful year with friends and family. May the New Year be a very happy and healthy one for everyone.


  1. WOW! What a busy/intense/sad/wonderful/'umm more words please' year that you've had!!!

  2. busy and eventful year, I hope 2012 brings you your best year yet! meeting you was one of my highlights this year!

  3. Wow - you have had an amazing year! I can't wait to see what 2012 has in store for you! :)

  4. What a year and I am so happy to have met you. You are seriously the sweetest person ever. I can't wait to see you this year, I really hope you are going to Blissdom! :)

  5. what a year eh?! I hope 2012 is wonderful for your family (and mine!) :)

  6. What a year it has been for you! May 2012 be just as wonderful and have none of the sadness. ((HUGS))

  7. OHM:
    It was a pretty intense year! Both good and bad...and equally intense! It was great meeting you at SCCTO! Hope to see you again soon!

  8. Mom vs. the Boys:
    Thank you so much! Meeting you was definitely one of the highlights of my year too! After so long a time of tweeting and leaving comments on each other's blogs, it was nice to meet up in person and hang out at SCCTO! Let's meet up again this year :)

  9. Maggie:
    Me too! I'm very excited about the prospects of 2012! All the best to you and your family! Hope 2012 is a great one for you! xo

  10. Nancy:
    I big, fat, fuzzy heart you!!! Can't wait to see you again! xo

  11. Tara:
    It has been a pretty wild year! All the best to you and that gorgeous family of yours! xoxo

  12. Julia:
    Thank you so much. I love, love, love comments from you! Hope to see you this year! :) xo