Looking back on 2017

Well it’s that time of year again when you get to look back and reflect on the past year.  I honestly can’t believe it’s already December 31st, 2017.

It’s about 8 AM right now, -30C outside (-40 with the windchill) and Clint and I have both been up for a couple of hours already.  A glimpse into parenting I presume.

Anyways, this year has been quite a year – one I definitely feel is worth looking back on.  I have so much to be grateful for, to say my heart is full is the understatement of a century.

2017 started out with my love and I taking an almost 4 week trip to the Philippines!  This was exciting for so many reasons for us.  It had been a few years since I truly went traveling and Clint had really never done it before (besides a few all-inclusive trips), which means it was our first time truly traveling together (I mean we’ve gone to Portland and the Dominican – but a quick weekend trip and a few all-inclusives just aren’t the same). We were also going to meet up with good friends who had moved their sweet little family there for 6 months; and we had pit stops in Narita, Japan (and I LOVE LOVE LOVE Japan).  It was the best kickoff to a year I’ve had in a long long time!

Writing this post I realize, I still haven’t done a post on that trip almost a year later – yikes!  Something I endeavour to get done in January.

Needless to say our trip was an experience of a lifetime, one that we will not soon forget. Despite rainy weather and some transportation hiccups, we had an amazing time.  Had I known how much I would have loved the Philippines I would have gone sooner and stayed longer.  But all that will be for another post.

When we got back, I closed Raw Canvas Catering.  Raw Canvas was in its 7th year of business and I couldn’t have been more proud.  It was bittersweet but I didn’t have the passion I once had for it.  I didn’t really enjoy event planning (a huge component), I didn’t love organizing rentals, action plans and schedules.  I did however love recipe development, menu design, food research, and food photography among other things.  I found this out by running that business, so although I lost my passion in one way  I found my passion again in another – it was just in different parts of the business, which led to me starting My Sweet Mess. It’s still not quite where I want it, but working solo with little skills when it comes to web design, SEO, and such – I think I’m doing pretty good so far.  It is my passion project, my heart, my soul and it was a huge stepping stone for me in 2017.

The next couple months were pretty chill, I spent a lot of time with Clint and a lot of time having friend dates and thoroughly enjoying every minute of it.

The biggest news at this time though…Clint and I had decided that we were going to put a little effort in for a baby.  We didn’t want to get crazy about it, which can happen so easily once you get it in your head, but we wanted to actually try.  We kept it pretty quiet, as we really didn’t know what was going to happen.

We also talked a lot about me following my dreams.  My Sweet Mess was a huge part of that, but an even bigger part was leaving behind my safety net.  I had worked in the service industry for 20 years – sometimes full-time, often part-time, but I had always done it.  Partly because I truly loved it, partly because I was really good at it and it came easy to me, partly because it kept me social when I was often left working alone in my own business, and partly because I always had money coming in – just in case something went wrong with my other endeavours.

After months (maybe years if I was being honest) of really thinking hard about what was holding me back – I realized it was me.  My fear of not having that income coming in, my fear that my business ideas would fail, my fear that I would let everyone around me down, and my fear that I would leave the service industry only to have to come crawling back.

Lucky for me, my partner in crime had more faith in me than I had in myself and he was all for me moving on, income or not.  So in May, I made the decision to quit my bar job and focus on My Sweet Mess and the life I wanted to create for myself and for us.

Well if that wasn’t scary enough, only a few short weeks later we found out we were pregnant!!!

So, we might have had a – OH GOD I WISH I STILL HAD MY JOB PANIC….but it subsided pretty quickly.  See the thing is, money is money and it’s not everything.  We had thought carefully about things before we made the decision for me to quit and we knew we would be ok.  Sure things might be a little tighter, but that wasn’t a reason to continue working a job I didn’t want to work.  I was at that turning point in life – I had a choice to stick to my guns and create the life we wanted or let fear take me in the opposite direction again.

Lucky for me – I had Clint and so many good friends by my side supporting my decision. And so I spent the 1st trimester of my pregnancy and the first few months of summer relaxing and taking it all in, gardening, spending time with friends, reluctantly taking pregnancy dictated naps and more.  It was the best decision for me, and for us.

Finding out we were pregnant is a feeling that is almost impossible to describe, amazing to say the least.  But I think the best part of it was Clint’s reaction and all the subtle changes I’ve seen in him as he prepares to be a Dad.  I’ll write more on this later, but I can say without a doubt that I am so lucky to have him, I’m so proud of him as a Dad already, and our daughter is going to be the luckiest girl in the world.

So the summer was filled with love, laughs, family, friends, BBQs, camping, birthdays and more.  And for the first time in a very long time, I was actually able to be present for everything.  Having worked shift work for the last 20 years and owning a business on top of that – I didn’t get a lot of quality time, and certainly not around the summer, or holidays.  So this few months were a treat, and I will remember them fondly for a long time to come.

Other random awesome things that happened this year….I took up bouldering with my friend Sarah – which I absolutely LOVE, so much so that I can’t wait till the little peanut is out and I can get back to it!  Super happy to find some physical activity that I enjoy, because it’s been awhile.

On top of this, one of my best friends Caitlin had a baby (the sweetest, cutest baby I may have ever seen by the way), I found out another good friend Tara is pregnant too with her second little miracle baby; and our due dates are only a few weeks apart.  She’s in Winnipeg, so a little bittersweet because we’re far away – but I will get to spend some time with her sweet little family in the summer.  Plus my Mom and Step Dad got to meet Clint and we were able to spend some quality time together in BC.

After returning home from BC, I found out that our house (that we rented and loved) was being sold, cue sad face, panic attack and multiple days of tears.  Being 4 months pregnant and finding out that you will soon have no place to live – don’t go well together.

But from this news came a few blessings in disguise. Clint and I ended up purchasing our first home together!  Anyone that knows me, knows how unexpected this was.  I was NOT the type to buy a house.  I was the type to rent and travel – that was my jam.  But everything kind of came together in the most perfect way and within a few weeks we were home owners.  Our friend Sydney took care of the house hunting part (she is an amazing real estate agent), and one of my longest and bestest friends in the world took care of our mortgage from afar.  Clint had surgery only a week and a half before we were scheduled to move, and so our amazing friends helped us pack, move and unpack – something we wouldn’t have been able to do on our own.  Our village really came together for us.  Looking back now only a couple of months later – I can honestly say it was the best decision we’ve ever made.  We are slowly building a home for our sweet little girl and I couldn’t feel better about that choice.

So back to Clint’s surgery – he had left shoulder surgery last year, and has needed right shoulder surgery for a long time.  When we found out we were pregnant, Clint was afraid he wouldn’t be able to lift and hold his baby.  So he pressed his surgeon a bit and his surgery was scheduled only a few weeks later.  Now just over two months have passed and he is well on his way to getting his strength and mobility back; and will be able to lift, hold and play with his daughter (hopefully) without any pain.

If all of this wasn’t crazy enough, I also started a new job – one that I had thought about for a long time; almost 4 years to be exact.  The job posting had come up once before, but at the time I wasn’t in a position to apply; so when it came up this time – I was so excited…and pregnant.  My first instinct was not to bother applying, but then I thought – this is the perfect job for me, so why should I give it up before even trying.  This job incorporates all my skills, education, and passion that’s a pretty tough trio to come by; so I applied and I got it!!!

Fast forward to today – December 31st and all I can think of saying is thank-you.  Thank you to Clint for his unwavering love, support and kindness, thank you to our friends for everything they’ve done for us this past year, thank you to our family for all their love and support, thank you for Clint’s surgery, and healing, thank you for my new job, our new house, and more than anything – thank you for the healthy baby girl we have on the way.

This year has been a year, an absolutely unforgettable year.

Till next time.


Kristen xo






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