When I sat down to write this blog post, a tribute to 2023, I had so many incredible memories racing through my head, fighting for space to be in the top spot.
I have always called myself the memory keeper in our family, but as I look at my husband, daughter and son, and watch how they move through their days, I realize that we are all memory keepers. We each do this in our own ways, but we all love to create and keep the moments we make, both together and apart.
Every year has ups and downs, and we have all experienced extreme highs and lows over the last several years.
Our family is not excluded from this, and while many of these moments have been over for quite some time, the ripple effect still lingers.
I would like to say that changes are simply made naturally as we get older, but I know that for me and my family we make choices for a different reason. As a result of the serious health challenges we have been faced with, we all move through life with a little more purpose than before. My family now makes choices for different reasons.
At times, I feel like some of the things that we do may seem extravagant or frivolous to others, but to me, we are just trying to live our very best life and make the most of every day. We know how fast circumstances can change and we don’t want to miss a thing !
2023 has been a very significant year for The Edwardson’s, and we have been so fortunate to have been able to spend a little more than 8 weeks together; our 4 family as Scott started calling us many, many years ago. With Scott working overseas, and both Em and Alex living in another province for university, time together is rare. So, this year was very special to all of us, and we made the most of it !
It was also a very significant year for me and my company. I made A LOT of big moves and changes and am heading into 2024 ready for it all to take shape …
I have always been someone that lives my year with 2 starts; January and September. I dare you to find me a Mom who doesn’t feel the same way LOL !
We’ve had a very big and busy year, and here are some of my fave moments, starting with January, in a little more than 2500 words !!
- 24 Hour Flip; While Alex was on a trip to San Diego with a friend, I started 2023 with a 24 hour Dresser DIY. The poor kid had been living with a marketplace find as a dresser in his room for a few years and I needed to make it his … some sanding, stain, paint and new drawer pulls, along with all the clothing that was in it re-folded and organized, it was new to him and we both loved it !
- Father Son Hockey; Scott and Alex hit the ice together in the Brentwood College School Alumni Hockey Game. This is such a fun way for past students, parents, coaches and current students to play a game they all love once a year, and Alex was thrilled Scott was home for it in his last year at BCS.
- Alli Walker; One of my favorite moments was hosting a Ladies Night Out in Victoria featuring Canadian Country Singer, Alli Walker ! She is incredible and if you enjoy country music, be sure to follow her and if you can make it out to one of her shows, she has a very exciting 2024 ahead, including a performance in Vancouver with Luke Bryan and in Calgary at Stampede too !! Can you tell I am a fan LOL !!
- End of An Era; Alex played in his last hockey game at BCS. This game was filled with so much emotion. As much as it was hard to believe this part of his hockey career was ending, we were all very excited for him to move on from this program. While there were a few good memories, it was a mostly toxic environment, and Alex was really looking forward to a different experience in the Fall !
- Parenting Win; Alex went to the theatre to watch TITANIC with me. While this was ‘just a movie’ for most, for me it was such a show of my son’s love towards me. He doesn’t like this movie and has seen it before, but he still agreed to go and sit in the theatre for over 3 hours with me because he knew I loved it !
- I Love Power Tools; Built a new photo wall in my workshop using my new fave tool (DeWalt brad nailer). I had been wanting a Brad Nailer for SO long and could not have been more excited to have this new tool in my workshop. I really wanted to revamp my photography wall and was really proud of myself for using leftover pieces of MDF and wood to create this all on my own in just a couple of days !!
- Big Decision; I split my Instagram and Facebook into 2 separate accounts. This was such a significant moment for me professionally. I had been feeling for quite some time that the content I was putting out was too diverse for one social media account. I was incredibly nervous to make this change and starting a new account from scratch has been a challenge, but I knew it was the right move.
- First Liver Detox; This is going to have it’s own blog post soon LOL … but I was terrified to do this. I have struggled with my body feeling very unhealthy for several years and I made the decision to work with a health coach to give me tools to help myself. This detox was the beginning and I was incredibly proud that I made it through. I was so thankful to have Scott do it with me. Having a partner was my biggest tip for success, especially if it is your first time !
- Getting Serious; We met Emma’s boyfriend for the first time. I remember when they met for a brunch date back in January, that was a little over 2 months ago, and they’ve been steadily spending more and more time together ever since. Inviting him to come home with her for a long weekend to meet us was exciting and nerve-wracking. He was as lovely as Em said he was and we all really liked him, thank goodness as that would’ve been awkward LOL !
- University of Calgary; Alex was accepted into his top 2 uni choices. He got into both University of Victoria and University of Calgary, both for Faculty of Arts, Philosophy. He accepted the offer from University of Calgary. Watching him get to this point was incredibly emotional for all of us !!
- Grad Suit Fitting; This was so much fun and I loved watching Alex choose ALL the parts of his suit from the material to the jacket lining and even the buttons and the style of pockets !! I love that he was completely able to customize this suit from start to finish. Watching him really get involved and choose all the pieces was really fun and I couldn’t wait to see it on him for grad !
- Paint Trip to Ontario; This was a really exciting trip for me and I loved every minute. I love to learn and being able to connect with other retailers from all over the world was an amazing experience and had me coming home with so much more knowledge and confidence in Fusion Mineral Paint and how to make it work for me and my company !
- No There Isn’t a Bed; It has become a bit of a running joke at our house that Scott refuses to put a bed in my workshop !! I can literally spend morning, noon and night in there. A good audio book, my tools, paint and several pieces of furniture and I’ll stay in there for days !!
- New Tattoos; Alex got his first tattoo a year after his surgery. It was roman numerals depicting his surgery date on his arm. He is really thoughtful about what he wants and where. He added the Eye of Horace on the opposite arm and an equilibrium symbol on his hip representing balance. They are small, tasteful and look great. He loves them.
- Grad Month Here We Come; Alex’s custom suit came in and fit him absolutely perfectly ! He loved it and they even put a little tag with his nickname on the inside of the jacket. Everything about it is exactly as he wanted it to be !!
- Painted For Fusion; I had the opportunity to design and paint 2 projects for the new Fusion Mineral Paint color launch. The colors they sent me were Newell and Cast Iron, both stunning ! I was thrilled to see my projects featured in their social media and decided to keep the Cast Iron buffet and it now lives in our kitchen !
- He is a Graduate; I know that this is an emotional time for every family, but holy smokes I was so overcome with all the feelings watching my son walk onto the stage and accept his diploma ! Proud is an understatement !!!!
- Grad Party at Our House; I had been planning this for MONTHS !! We hired a caterer, live music by Alli Walker, a photographer and ALLLL our friends, family and Alex’s friends families too !! If you ask any of the 4 of us, this will go down as one of our most fave things we’ve ever done. It went off without a hitch and was seriously the best way to cap off Alex’s graduation ceremony day !!
- Formal Dinner at The Empress; This was the final event in Alex’s Grad Weekend and it was so beautiful. We all went down to Victoria and put on our best clothes and celebrated into the wee hours ! Watching Alex and all his friends celebrate the culmination of 5 years of incredibly hard work and dedication to their education was a really special thing to see !
- Alex’s 18th Birthday; We went right from grad weekend into watching this kiddo turn 18 ! it was fabulous to have Scott’s parents travel out from the prairies to help us celebrate Alex. We hadn’t all been together like that since Em’s graduation in 2018, so we enjoyed every minute and took A LOT of photos of course !
- Drive To AB; Next up (literally just a few days after his birthday) was out trip to Calgary to take possession of the new townhouse and move Em out of her apartment where she’d lived for the last 3 years !! Em flew back to YYC a couple days prior and Scott, Alex and I made the trip leisurely over 2 days with a truck and trailer PACKED with furniture !!
- We Got It; Getting the keys to this home was a really cool moment. Scott and I worked incredibly hard to be able to purchase this home for the kids to live in while at university. We wanted to know they were safe and could settle in and really focus on living their lives and learning, without the distraction of worrying about accommodation … we were really really proud to be able to do this as a family !
- Operation Move Out; Em had lived in her apartment for 3 years and it was on the 6th floor LOL ! We are so thankful to have friends like family in the city that jumped in to help ! We got her out in ONE DAY and then went back to clean … as much as she loved her cute little place, she was very excited to move into the townhouse !
- Calgary Stampede; This is one of the best weeks of the year in Calgary and we all were excited to get back down to the grounds … though no-one more so than Alex ! Turning 18 days before Stampede meant that I didn’t sleep much for 10 days !!!!! Yes, I am that Mom that stays awake until her kids are safe at home. I know it won’t always be that way, but for now it’s who I am LOL !
- Big Wins; Em and Dreamy won their Ride For The Roses Hunter Derby and Hunter Medal Class at RMSJ and I was SO excited to be there to watch ! This horse is really something special and that smile on her face is literally one of my most favourite things !
- The Eras Tour in Seattle; There is SO much to say about this trip that it is coming soon to the blog in it’s own post !! We are HUGE Swiftie’s and I am A-OK with it ! It is something that Emma and I share and we have THE most fun seeing her in concert. We’ve seen all her tours (except Reputation) and this one was truly one of the most magical girls weekends … core memories made !!
- Sunfest with Alli, Blake and Gwen; It isn’t a secret that we all love country music in our house, and while we don’t attend every day of Sunfest, we do usually get Pit Passes for the headliner ! We were NOT going to miss this year as I love Blake Shelton and I had a sneaking suspicion that Gwen Stefani might make an appearance … when she walked on stage the crowd went BANANAS (see what i did there LOL) … we also got to connect with Alli Walker again, i absolutely love listening to her sing !! My favorite part was taking Alex and Matt as my dates. Neither of them had been before and we all had a really great time !
- Grant Gilbertson Memorial Tournament; This was the second year for this event being held in honour of a local hockey player that passed away in early 2022. In August, players from all over Canada and the US come home to the island to celebrate his life and Alex has been able to participate both years. It is a special weekend.
- New Wall Build; Any time I can take a day or two and build something inside our house or in my shop, it makes me VERY happy. I love power tools and I love transforming spaces. It is one of my most favourite things to do !!
- Alex’s BIG Move; SO SO SO many feelings surrounding this time. Watching him pack up his room (even though he only took clothes), and walk around the house and deck and yard for the last time before we started our second inter-provincial drive this summer, was really emotional for both of us. He was filled with excitement, anticipation and a a few nerves too ! BUT … driving driving out in his truck with one of his best buddies made it a little easier to get on the road ! We took his truck and Scott’s, both filled to the brim (including all 3 dogs) and off we went !
- Em and Dreamy 3rd in Outdoor Finals; These 2 have been having a stellar year. Riding competitively is always filled with ups and downs, it is part of the sport, but they are starting to see more ups than downs and capping off their outdoor show season with a 3rd Place in Phase 3 of the Outdoor Derby Finals was an exceptional place to land heading into the indoor shows !
- I Painted (11) Pieces; YES ELEVEN !! The townhouse needed to be furnished from top to bottom, and I was the right girl for the job ! I worked on them all over 3 months and finished them in the new house in late August and into September right before Scott and I headed back home !! I love that I was able to do this for them kids and it was really helpful to Scott and my bank account to have taken older pieces and re-imagined them for their new spaces !!
- Short Hospital Detour; This too is getting its own blog post in the new year. It is something we don’t talk about much as women, but I have been putting off a surgery and it caught up to me, very publicly, in a restaurant, and resulted in a very quick ride to the ER !! Thankfully, I was given exceptional care and able to go home from that department without admission, I’ll touch more on that later !!
- 1st Cirque du Soleil show KOOZA; I can’t believe that we’ve never seen a Cirque show before this one ! We got great seats and all sat captivated for the entire performance ! Even Alex pulled out his phone to capture it, which does’t happen very often LOL !! Highly recommend !
- Alex starts Uni; YES WE ARE THOSE PARENTS … the ones that inisted we drive with him to his first day and then stayed on campus for his first class and then made him have his picture taken with us … and capped this humiliating experience for him by stopping on the side of the road to get his picture in front of the big Uni sign … and again, I am A-OK with the fact that he may have been embarrassed for this moment but will thank me for these photo later. … ok, likely MUCH later but still ….
- HOME ALONE; Not the movie, my life !! I cried until we got to Revelstoke, and then I pulled up my big girl panties and reminded myself that he is going to be ok. Better than ok, he is going to be great … I have taught him all the things and he is smart and he will settle and start to build his life in the city. Besides, I am only a daily phone call and multiple daily text messages away 😉
- Thanksgiving 2023; This was Alex’s first time home since moving to YYC and it was SO fun to wacth him walk into the house for the first time and see the dogs, and his room that I had deep cleaned after he left LOL ! It looked the same, just cleaner 😉 I was finally that Mom who got to welcome both of her kids home for a holiday, and it was really great !
- Em turns 23; Of course her birthday just happened to fall on the opening day of The Eras Tour Movie Premiere. We got everyone together, dressed in our concert gear, traded friendship bracelets and stood for the entire 3 hours singing and dancing along with all the other hard core Swifties !! Then a party bus took us downtown for a fabulous evening of food and drinks in a fave restaurant ! A birthday to remember !!
- Another Ribbon; Em and Dreamy has a great time showing in downtown Calgary and added another ribbon to their collection …
- Qualified; This was the news we’d been waiting for, they were invited to compete at The Royal Winter Agricultural Fair in downtownToronto. A Bucket List goal for Emma and to get to do it with her dream horse was the cherry on top !! Now to start all the bookings to get them both out there ….
- WILD for WWWB; Making the decision to become a Director of Wine Women and Well-Being was one of the best choices i have made. Meeting women from all over Canada that have the same goals is a really incredible feeling. Being able to be a part of WILD was something I won’t soon forget. Lucky me.
- Mamas For Mamas Gala; I was invited to attend this very popular event in Kelowna with an exceptional group of women who have quickly become some of my favorite people. An outstanding amount of money was raised, new friendships made, old friendships strengthened and once again, core memories added !! Also, getting to REALLY dress up is something I love to do, and I’m not going to lie, we all looked FABULOUS !!
- The Royal; They did it. They qualified, they prepared and they walked into the biggest ring either of them had competed in before and they placed. No warm up classes and only 2 competitions, and they placed in BOTH !! The confidence and skill that both Emma and Dreamy displayed in this Canadian National Derby Championship was breathtaking and I couldn’t have been more proud of them They finished 6th and 8th in the country. What a way to end their year !!
- Hosting the Chamber; Becoming an active member in our local Chamber of Commerce was a really great choice. These people are so supportive of small business and a while lot of fun ! I was thrilled to have so many local business owners come and spend this time with me in my shop !
- Holiday Workshops; This is one of my most favorite things to do and I got to do a whole heck of a lot of teaching this holiday season !!
- Surgery; This is not the surgery I was supposed to have, but it was the right next step for me. It was harder than I thought, but I have recovered and am hopeful for a good outcome !!
- Open House; This is the first time since closing my retail locations in Parksville close to 10 years ago, that I have hosted an Open House. It was fabulous and it will absolutely be the first of many ! I am so lucky to have built a community of clients since 2006 and to have so many of them still with me all these years later.
- WWWB Victoria; For the last monthly ladies night of the year, we visited a brand new Nordic Spa in Shawnigan Lake. Sauna, cold plunge tubs and a cold bucket shower … we did it all and it was amazing ! Another highly recommended evening out !!
- OBB Hotel; The Oak Bay Beach Hotel has been on my list for a very long time. Scott and I decided to sneak away for a little getaway before the hustle and bustle of the holidays really began. We had a stunning room with a fireplace, massages, great food, wine and time in the heated outdoor pools on the ocean … if you’ve never been, add it to your list. It really is a MUST DO !!
- Family Photos; I love that with all the women I have met, I know so many incredibly talented photographers !! We had a really fun mini session on our property with all our holiday lights as soon as Em, Alex and Scott got home for Christmas !! Though we didn’t have snow, we had fog and a snow machine … and that was perfect for these pics !!
- Holiday Heaven; It is very evident that i LOVE Christmas and having my family home with me was the absolute best gift. We leaned HARD into all the things …
- Family Photos with Masika May Photography
- Brunch with Santa
- Cutting down our Deck Tree at the tree farm
- Butchart Gardens
- Chinese Food tradition on Christmas Eve
- Homemade Gingerbread House Contest
- ALLLLL the Christmas movies
- Baking … and LOTS of eating !!
- Family Board Game Night
- Lots of reading and pajama days
- We really have packed it all in !!
There were SO. MANY. MORE photos and memories that I could have included in this recap, but good grief this is already SO long … and if you have made it to the end, thank you, you’re my favorites LOL !
I have had the most fun going through this past year and remembering all the things we made happen. That is the thing about memories and moments and experiences, you have to MAKE them happen !! We absolutely had some tough times this year and yes, Scott and I do argue at times like everyone does … BUT, we work really really hard to make the most of our days, together or apart.
Our family has endured really difficult times over the last several years and we have learned how to really make our time count. We don’t want to miss a thing. Each of us tries hard to live with a glass half full mentality, and I am proud of us all for it … even if Scott is the best at it !!
I am really grateful that I get to be a part of this family and I thank you for being a part of my community … it’s really special to get to share this with you.
Where ever you are and however you are heading into 2024, I am thinking of you and sending you all my love and hope that you will be able to enjoy your days the best you can and create a year that you can look back on and say ‘I did my best to really live every day’ … even when its hard.
Happiest of New Year wishes to you … see you in twenty twenty four !!