Four Years Young

This little superstar turned 4 while we were on vacation! Kalea was so excited to be "on acation for my birthday!" Yes, she omits the "v" from vacation when she says it, too funny. Although the weather for her birthday turned out to be a little less than stellar, we had a lot of fun celebrating our 4 years of parenting Kalea. Here are 4 things we are loving about our fabulous 4 year old!

1. Kalea is turning into an awesome helper! If I'm washing dishes or doing laundry or cooking, Kalea is always right there saying "I want to help!", and she's actually a really good helper too! My favorite is when she sweeps the floor, she makes sure to sweep every last crumb into her pile and is always super proud of herself for it! She's also taken to helping Steve whenever he goes to wash the car or do something car related, she likes to be right in there with him, handing him wrenches or whatever he needs.

2. Kalea cares a lot about other people. No matter where we go, if she sees a baby crying or someone trip or drop something, she is always super concerned about them and usually runs over to help them. She is no respecter of persons, she'll help anyone. I'm pretty sure she was born with that instinct because I am sometimes a little slower to rush to someone's aid, I guess it's true that children are our greatest teachers.

3. Kalea loves animals. She is basically the dog whisperer and loves to watch people walking their dogs down our street and say hello to them . While on vacation she stopped every single dog owner we saw so that she could "make friends" with their dogs, we even met one from New York! Kalea is also a fan of cats/kittens. Before we left for vacation our neighbor got 2 new cats and Kalea has been asking for one ever since. The "mean" cat even lets Kalea hold her and cuddle her- so much for being mean! Kalea got to go horseback riding for the first time while we were in Montana. She was a natural and if you ask her how to make a horse stop she pulls on her imaginary reins while saying "whoa", it's pretty cute. She can be a little cautious around new things, but if it involves an animal, she warms up pretty quick, she wasn't one bit afraid of the horses.

4. Kalea loves to paint and color. A few weeks ago we had a thunderstorm so we drew pictures of the rain, etc... Kalea told me she was drawing a duck and I kind of glanced over to see if she was drawing her usual blobs, but it was indeed a duck! Proud mommy moment. She then told me she was making a duck-dog and added legs and a tail, sure enough it looks like a duck-dog. Kalea loves to have her art on the fridge and on the walls, anywhere that we can all see it so she can point out what she's made. It's fun to see her growing creatively, not just in her playing, but in her art too.

We are so happy with how Kalea is learning and growing, and the little person that she's becoming. We can't believe it's been 4yrs since she was born, it's gone by so fast. She is a great big sister and such a fun little girl to have in our home. We feel so blessed that she's ours and are excited to see what this year brings for her!

For Kalea's birthday this year she's forgoing gifts and fundraising for the Alberta Children's Hospital instead. A lot of people have been interested in helping us out and there's really not a whole lot that we need in regards to Kalea's condition, but we know a lot of kids at the hospital that need some extra loving. So, for the next month we're collecting new books and toys for the Children's Hospital which can be dropped off at our home, or you can make a donation via Kalea's fundraising page. At our next appointment we'll take all the books & toys to the hospital and Kalea will get her picture taken with one of those awesome giant cheques- she is very excited about that. To donate in Kalea's honor, click on the link below!



I think we all go through life weaving in and out of each others lives so intricately, that it's hard to see where one story ends and where another begins. I know that there are people who are meant to stay in your life as permanent fixtures, and some who are meant to drift in and out every so often. What I'm appreciating so much lately is having the clarity of mind that I do about who exactly I want to be here, as the permanent fixtures. There have been times in the past when that has been so confusing, but now it's just so clear and I feel like the "adult filters" have kicked in. Maybe it's the objectivity and perspective that comes with growing out of the drama of high school/pre-marriage, but I feel like there is a huge difference in how I assess people's intentions and the sensitivity of my b.s. radar. I also know what I need out of a friendship or any other relationship now, better than I've ever known it before. Ready for it? All that I require out of anyone is honesty. In fact I can't think of another single thing that I need out of a friendship more than that. Isn't that weird? Probably not, but indulge me. It's occupied a lot of my time lately, this thinking about honesty and assessing whether or not I'm being transparent in how I deal with the people in my life.I recently chose to follow up with my end of a friendship pact to give an honest opinion about something if my radar went up, based on the information I had been given by the party involved. The day came and I tried to avoid the full blown bearing of my soul, but the person asked for it and when they got it, they were super defensive and angry because, apparently, the information they had given me was so little that I "know nothing about anything", etc... What I realized in all of that was, it's so much easier to handle things like adults when we're all just honest about stuff, even just basics. I don't feel like friends are people who I like to hide things from, and I don't want my friends to feel like they have to hide anything from me. I don't have any desire to know full blown details, but friends generally share enough bits and pieces to give a full picture of a given situation, so when they're looking for help, they can get some sage advice. I want those permanent fixtures in my life to know they can trust me, and I want to know that I can trust them, but I also want the same for those people that come in and out. I can't offer more than that and I can't expect less. Nothing gets me more riled up than when someone is dishonest with me. I think I've been learning this honesty thing for a while, and I suspect this lesson is so important that it won't be stopping anytime soon. I haven't always been super honest with people and I see that the fruits of that have been pretty bad, people haven't always been honest with me and the fruits have been equally bad.This is all just a huge heads up in case anyone else in confused, HA.
Another thing I learned from this enlightening conversation is that my life has "been a breeze compared to" this other persons. I hope all my friends know that I would never in a million years ever think that on my own, but I want to speak openly to that particular point. I don't think that way, because I know some of the struggles that friends have had and I certainly know full well the struggles that I've had, but I understand why I get this life and they get that one. If my life appears "charmed" or "breezy" to anyone else, that's fine, I'll take it. The charming parts of my life are a direct result of choosing to surround myself with phenomenally great people, therefore, I have been able to have a stable network of people to bounce my crazy ideas off of. I've chosen to stay pretty open with everyone because I see the benefit of being honest with people who I know to be of sound character. I think and rather, I know, that it is dangerous to distance yourself from people who have been there for you through various stages of life experiences because those people know me well enough to see when I'm about to get hit by a freight train. I want people in my life who can help me check my ego at the door and call me on my crap and give me an honest dose of reality sometimes, because I've run into situations in life when I've really needed that. These are the same people who are genuinely happy to share in the awesome moments with me, and I won't apologize for how blessed my life has been because of these friends. If this life is as much about choices as they teach us at church every Sunday, then I feel really good about the ones I've made in regards to who's walking through life with me. I don't believe that this life is meant to be a singular venture, I don't believe that the only important relationship in this life is the one I have with my spouse, or with myself or with God. I am pretty dang sure that Jesus had at least 12 good friends to walk through life with, who He trusted and counted on so much that even in His death He knew He could ask one of them to take care of His own mother,  I think that's a clear indication that friendship is important. I am not perfect at this but I choose to cultivate those relationships because it's so rewarding and makes the burdens of my life so much lighter and the joys so much greater. There are a lot of friendships in my life that are very maintenance free right now, they kind of have to be while we're all raising small kids and live apart, but, we can sit down and pick up right where we left off and then we can go our separate ways for a few months and come back and do it all again. There's a lot of trust and honesty and understanding in those friendships, it's never awkward to sit down with those people and I like that feeling. I want that feeling in every relationship that I have. I don't ever feel the need to know everything about anything when it comes to those friendships because we share all those important good and bad things freely with each other. That's kind of what friends do. I hope I never lose sight of that.
Simultaneously weaving in and out.