Utah Vacation

Feb 25, 2015

We had a week off of school last week so we drove down to Utah to visit Ryan's brother Dave and his family. They use to live in Cardston so we sure miss having them around. The drive went well. Our kids are pretty darn good at travelling which makes it much more enjoyable. We made it in 10.5 hours. Its always fun to drive through Salt Lake and try and find the temple from the freeway. Its hidden in between all the huge buildings so you can usually see  the top of it, but every time we try and find it. The kids usually have a harder time spotting it. We were so excited to see our cousins. We spent the week just hanging out and playing. The weather was beautiful so we walked around the Lake by their house, and played at a couple of parks.

To be honest, most of our days were planned around food. There are so many yummy places to eat. We had to eat at In & Out, cafe Rio, Rodizio's, we ate at a place called Blue Lemon. My mint mango chicken salad was to die for. Jacki introduced me to Zupa's, which is a sandwhich, soup, and salad place. I ate there three times it was so good. My new favourite. Their salted caramel creme brulee is amazing. I heard about Rita's Italian Ice a couple of years ago from my brother and have been dying to try it. They have one near our cousin's and it didn't disappoint. We all loved it. We had to go there a couple of times.

Of course I also had to go shopping. The exchange was really terrible so we tried not to spend too much but that is not an easy task to accomplish when there are new stores and lots of fun things to buy. We went to Scheels, which is my new favourite store. It is a huge sporting store. Its like a massive sports chek. They had a huge ferris wheel, which we rode a couple of times, and was just a really fun place to shop as a whole family. I bought a couple of cute new hats and a bathing suit. Now I just need Spring and Summer to arrive.

One morning the girls went to get our nails done. The little girls got pedicures. It was McKenna and Hayley's first one. Hayley was so cute sitting in the big chair. She sat so still. They all loved picking out their colors and got a cute flower painted on the big toe. Jacki and I got manicures. I love my french manicure with mint tips. I think I'm hooked:) Then we went for Zupa's for lunch. It was fun. The boys went to Airborne. A huge trampoline and stunt center. They had a lot of fun.

The only down side to the trip was the sickness. Everyone but McKenna and I had coughs come and go before we left, so naturally McKenna finally caught it while we were there. She had a bad cough which mostly became present at night. The first night Hayley got a fever and a sore ear so we had to take her to the clinic on our second evening and sure enough she had an ear infection. Thank goodness for antibiotics and travel insurance. It was $150 just to see the doctor for 5 minutes. She was as good as new once the meds kicked in. Our last day I got a bad cold, and Ty and my nephew were throwing up. Ty's was just a 24 hour thing and was thankfully fine the drive home. Even with all of that, we still had an amazing time. The kids love playing with their cousin's. When I told Hayley we were headed home she said "but Jennica will miss me". None of the kids wanted to leave. Thank you Dave and Jacki for being such great hosts. We will definitely be back again. And not just for the food and shopping:)


The boys making a movie

Ty pretending to puke in Abe Lincoln's hat. He promptly banged his head on Abe's chin. Serve's you right.

McKenna is hiding on the other side of Ryan.














Immunizations

Feb 13, 2015

Has your body tensed up? Is your heart pounding and head spinning wondering what I'm going to say? Am I pro or anti? Are you going to have to unfriend  me on facebook...not look me in the eye when I speak to you...or keep your kids away from my kids...

Sorry to disappoint you, but I'm not writing on whether I vaccinate or not, or whether I'm anti or pro. To be honest, I'm not really either. I haven't chosen a side to fully support. I agree and disagree with ideas on both sides. What I do want to write about is all the hate, negativity, and finger pointing that happens when discussing this topic. This has been bothering me for a long time, like years and years. I guess I finally have the courage to voice that, or maybe the time, or I'm just tired of having all these articles and links taking up my news feed. Whatever it is, I'm finally doing it. Mostly to stop the madness in my mind. Blogging is very therapeutic for me.

So anyway, here it is:

Please just stop it. The hate, anger, blame, name calling. It all needs to stop. Honestly I think it is more dangerous then immunizing or not immunizing. You can't control what other people think and feel. If your really passionate about said topic then write about it. Share why you have chosen whatever side you're on, and how it has effected your life. We all have a story, a reason we have made the decision we have. But don't do it with hate, or calling other parents idiots, or saying they can't possibly love their child they way you do, or one of my favourites, calling them my "damn kids" (really the title of that article turned me away from reading it all together). If you have something important to say, then say it in a manner which isn't going to turn people away. No one is really listening to you when you're ranting (I promise that is not what I am doing:) There are a lot of parents out there who are earnestly trying to decide what to do, to decide what is be best for their children and family. They need you. They need the facts and reasons, but they also need your love and support. It is not an easy decision for everyone. We all have our own experiences, and priorities. Lets respect that.

What you can control is your own decisions and the way you live your life. Protect yourself and your children by being as healthy as possible so your bodies can fight off illness the way it was made to do. Immunizing isn't enough. Eat the best foods, get off the electronics and get out and play (also known as exercise) with your kids, take pleasure in having real, honest connections with others, fill your life with positivity, and love and serve others. This is the best immunity you could give you and your family. Sometimes things happen, and it sucks. But playing the blame game doesn't make it any better. It actually can make it worse and stop you from growing and moving on.

So please. We are all in this together. you don't have to agree with someone to still listen, love, and support. I guess this isn't just to all of you beautiful people who love to discuss immunizations, but for all of you that have opinions about hot, controversial, or any topic really. Share the love, kindness, and respect through your comments. I am sure you teach your children to treat others kindly so what gives you the right to treat someone to the opposite of that. I know it will make the internet a better, safer place to share thoughts and ideas.

Okay. Well, I guess that's all I have to say for now. Thanks for stopping by and listening.

p.s seriously though, this isn't a rant:)

Banff.

Feb 3, 2015

Over the weekend we headed to Canmore and Banff. My sister in-law just moved to Canmore and her fiance just opened up a pizza place there. We left Saturday morning and made it to Canmore in time for lunch at Red Rock Pizza. The food was delicious. Jody makes the best pizza. We ordered way too much food but it worked out because we saved the rest for supper. After lunch we went to Banff with Shannon. We walked around and went into some shops. The kids loved the candy shop and each got to pick a treat. We also had Beaver Tails which were amazing. They are like elephant Ears or funnel cakes but shaped in a beaver's tail. Then we went to the hot springs. I LOVE the hot springs. I could spend hours there. Sadly the rest of my family only lasted an hour, but it was so nice. We loved it. I fell in love with Banff all over again. We hadn't been in like 11 years. I'm not really sure why. Now we have family close by we are hoping to spend more time there. It is such a beautiful place. We ate our left over supper at Shannon and Jody's new apartment (they literally got possession of it that afternoon) and then headed to Okotoks to stay over night at Dad and Penny's. We spent most of Sunday visiting with Dad and Penny. They took the boys sledding in the afternoon. Hayley and McKenna played down stairs with the toys the whole time. We hardly saw them. Late afternoon we headed home. It was such a nice weekend getaway.





All the kids and Ryan, minus McKenna all have a bad cough, which of course only becomes present during the night. I have been up quite often putting rub on chests or handing out halls. I am quite sick of it. If I hear another person cough I just might go crazy. I love my sleep. I guess I can't complain. This is the only sickness we have gotten all winter and they are all fine during the day. If this is the worse its going to get, I'll take it. I am hoping they are all on the mend and I will be back to full night sleeping very soon.

Ty and Nate are both in basketball. Ty plays every Saturday and it has been so fun to watch him improve. He loves it and is confidant and doing really well. Nate has only had practices and I haven't been able to watch him play yet, but has games coming up so I am anxious to see him play. It is so rewarding to watch your kids do something they love.



Its pretty darn cold out right now. We have been spoiled with nice weather, it makes it harder to take the cold days. We are busy painting our whole house right now. We are finishing the basement next month and then will be putting our house up for sale. I can't wait. My sister moves out this Saturday. It was so nice having her here. We will miss her.

Life is pretty darn good.

Ty Guy

Jan 27, 2015

Ty turned eight last week. He had a week of celebrations the lucky boy.

On his actual birthday he opened his present from us. He got a new sled, some gatorade, and candy, and a huge ninja turtle sticker book. He got to stay home from school that day. For some reason my kids think the day is more special if they get to stay home from school. We had a busy evening with dance, basketball, and yoga so I picked up some cupcakes from crazy cakes and we sang to him before all our activities started. He said it was a good day.




There isn't any snow so he found another way to use his new sled


On Friday he had a couple of friends over and we went to Mariner's Cove to swim. We had such a fun time. Then we went back to our house for hot dogs and birthday donuts, and then the boys watched the Maze Runner. Another fun night. The boys got him a t-shirt that they created. Ty is excited for it to come in the mail.





At the beginning of the month we had a birthday get together with the Olsen's to celebrate all the January birthdays. Ty got to pick supper and he chose Lasagna. It was a good night celebrating with family. Then on Sunday we had our Malacko January birthday party at our house. We were celebrating Ty and my niece Cohen's birthdays. Ty got a nice hoodie from Grampa Jim and Gramma Penny, and a remote control toy, and baseball cap from Adam and Britt and the girls. We had spaghetti and meatballs and ice cream cake. It was fun. My whole family was able to be there which was great. Family really is the best. My kids are always asking for big parties with their friends but I always tell them that family is who they should be celebrating with. They will be there for all your birthdays and their the one's who know you and love you best.



What a great week of celebrations. We love you Ty!

The weather has been beautiful too. It was 18 degrees the other day. The boys are both in basketball right now so they were excited to be able to go outside and play basketball the other afternoon. I love it when we get  beautiful Spring days in the middle of winter. I'm sure the snow will be coming back soon, but we'll enjoy it while it lasts.



Look at that sky. I love Southern Alberta skies.

So far.

Jan 19, 2015

January is just a zoomin by. So far, so good. I've been keeping up with my daily exercise and green smoothie routine and I feel great! I've been trying to get out of the house more, so Hayley and Will and I have started going to Time for 2's at the library, and we've gone swimming, and a couple of times we've just gone and hung out at the mall. Its been nice to just let go of all the things that need to be done around the house to go out and enjoy the day and each other.

Donuts after swimming


The boys both started basketball. Nate is playing through the school. He practices every Monday night from 6-7. I have McKenna at dance at that time so I haven't been able to watch him yet. He starts games next month. Ry says he is doing really well. Ty is too young to play at school so we put him in a minor league in Lethbridge. He plays every Saturday morning. They practice and learn skills for half the time and then they play a mini game for the rest of the time. He got his own basketball and jersey. He loves it and is doing well and improving each week. Basketball is one of my favourite sports to watch so I am enjoying it too.

McKenna had her parent viewing at dance. I love going to her class to see how she is doing. She is in ballet, tap, and jazz. I often ask her what she likes best but she can never decide on just one. She will do exams this year for tap and jazz. It is so fun to watch her improve. She is remembering her routines way better too and will teach them to me. It will be fun to have both girls in dance next year.

McKenna and I got to have a girls lunch with Lora, Shan, and Connie, then we went Wedding dress shopping with Shannon. It was so fun to watch her try dresses on. She looked so beautiful in so many of them. It will be hard to pick just one. She was able to narrow it down to a style that she really liked. Weddings are so fun. When we got home I had to bring out my wedding dress and try it on. Amazingly it still fit:)




I started a beginners yoga class. So far I really love it and I'm not as bad as I thought I would be. I am really not flexible so I'm hoping this class will improve that. Its fun to go with Britt. We're talking about maybe checking out a zumba class too. I'm so grateful for so many awesome sisters:)

Life is good. really good. Today is Ty's birthday so we have a lot of exciting things this week that I will blog about soon. Enjoy the rest of your Monday!

Mind over Medicine

Jan 6, 2015

Well we are officially back into regular life. Ryan is back at work, the kids back at school, and I am babysitting again. Life is busy. But a good busy. I loved our holidays but was ready to get back into a routine. I also got hit with a cold, probably because I wasn't taking proper care of myself, so now I am back to eating well, exercising and getting a good nights sleep. McKenna is back at dance, the boys start basketball, and my yoga class starts next week. Its all very exciting.

The main reason I'm blogging today is to share a book with you that I read over the holidays. Its called  "Mind over Medicine" by Lissa Rankin M.D. It is so amazing and inspiring. She shares her story of becoming a doctor and maxing her self out to the point of quitting her career and moving to the country, and then tells about her journey of how she had to heal her mind and body. I've always believed that our body's can heal on their own and that the mind is really the powerhouse that keeps our bodies functioning but this book took it to the next level for me. How illness comes from being in a stressed state. When its in a relaxed state it is repairing and healing anything unwanted, so if we are constantly stressed, unhappy, or lonely our bodies can't do their job and fight off the unwanted attacks and we get sick. She tells of incredible stories of healing illnesses like stage 4 cancer, miracles that cannot be scientifically explained. How their minds were the root of these curing's. She talks about what we can do to have optimal health and happiness. She is super smart and has done a ton of research. I think everyone should read it. It has changed my life. So hurry up and go read it. Then if you are as excited about it as I am...call me, message me, or just show up at my house...and lets talk. Cause I love to talk:)

Highlights of 2014

Jan 3, 2015

2015

We spent New Years Eve at my Aunt & Uncle's house in Raymond. It was a small gathering with us and them, and then my grandparents, Ginger, and Adam and Britt were there for a couple of hours. It was really nice. Our kids get along and play so well with Dan & Connie's kids. We had a great time. We all made it to midnight but I always regret it in the morning. Its not as easy to bounce back from staying up that late anymore.





2014 was a really great year for us. I have been struggling with a few personal things for years now. I guess they mostly started a couple years after my Mom passed and probably came about from going through that experience. I've felt like I have been trying to break through a wall for so long and finally did near the end of this year. It is not from doing anything that I've been told my whole life to do to get through difficult times which was hard for me to process and is probably leaving most of my family shocked and maybe a little sad, but the reality is I am happier and more excited for life then I have ever been. I finally feel like I have control over my life and that I can move on from the trauma of losing my Mom. I feel like a better person, and I want to and feel like I can give more of myself freely and love more unconditionally then I ever have. So no matter how I got here, I'm here. And I am genuinely happy.

2015 is going to be a busy year for us (we are hoping anyway). We are going to finish our basement this Spring and put our house up for sale. We are hoping to sell quickly so we can begin building a house. Ryan will be doing most of the work himself so it will take a good 9-12 months to build it. We want to stay in Coalhurst and already have our house plans all complete. We are anxious to get this project started, so hopefully it will happen quickly.

I personally want to take better care of my body and mind. I am so fascinated with how our minds and bodies function and would like to know and learn more about this.

I want to be more optimistic and keep negativity out of my life. I don't want to see the World as a wicked place anymore, but see it for what it truly is...a very wondrous and beautiful place with so many amazing people in it. Sure, there are wicked people too, but not as many as the wonderful and good, so that is what I am choosing to see.

I start a beginners yoga class next week which I am really excited about. I want to make yoga a big part of my life, and if its a good fit, maybe I'll even teach it one day. The possibilities are endless. I'm young and can do whatever I want in life. Sometimes I forget that.

I want to read more, and spend more quality time with my family.

I want to blog more often. And blog not only about my family life, but about my thoughts, and experiences and the things that I am learning about. It is very therapeutic for me and I feel like it is a creative outlet for me as well.

I want to have fun and be enthusiastic about life.

I am really excited for 2015 and all the possibility's and experiences that are just waiting to come my way. I hope that 2015 turns out to be your best year yet and that you will find ways to better yourself and increase your happiness with yourself and life.

Happy living.

Christmas Letter 2014

Jan 2, 2015

This has been an incredible year for us. I love how as each of us grows and learns new things, our relationships with one another grow too, and I feel like our connections to one another continue to grow and deepen. We truly love and cherish each other and all of you.
            Nate is so excited with life right now because he is officially a preteen. Yes, we have a ten year old. I love watching his excitement and enthusiasm for life and getting older. He is more independent in the morning. Most mornings when I come down he is completely ready for school and playing on his tablet. He is very helpful and it is so nice that I can leave him home with the other kids while I run quick errands. He love to read and write stories, and is currently learning about all of the Countries in the World. He has been earning cub badges and has made a goal to read at a grade 12 level (he is reading at an 8th grade). He is starting basketball and football next year.
            Ty is almost 8 and in grade 2. He is very social and loves playing with friends. When he gets home from school he is anxious to get his jobs done so he can go out and play. He still loves spending time with Dad and Mom and rarely wants to play by himself. We taught him Skip Bo (a card game) this year and we enjoy playing that together. He is very active and loves being outside, and loves to work side by side with his Dad. He has his own sense of humor and is always making us laugh. He is very excited to get into sports and will play basketball and baseball next year.
            McKenna started grade one and is very excited to be at the same school with her brothers. (So am I). She loves school, and loves learning and being with friends. She is boy crazy and is always telling me which boys she likes and which ones like her. She got glasses a couple of months ago and she looks so darn cute with them. She is such a patient and caring big sister. I love watching her and Hayley’s relationship grow, and they play so well together. She is in ballet, tap, and jazz this year. She loves it and is doing very well. She definitely gets her natural dance ability from her MomJ
            Hayley is our feisty little 3 year old. She knows what she wants and tells you exactly what she thinks. She gives us all a run for our money. She is also learning so much and is starting to understand the World around her which is exciting to see. She will sometimes play with her little friend from next door, but really loves to be at home playing with her toys. She entertains herself so well. She loves to sing and dance, loves to pick out her own clothes, and hates getting her hair done. Her new favorite word is “Fine!” which she uses all the time. A big milestone for he is she is potty trained! Yeah!
            Ryan and I are working hard to get out of debt. Ryan is picking up lots of extra work, mostly helping a friend build his house. I am babysitting my cousin’s little guy a few days a week. He is a sweet little boy and it has been nice to reconnect with her family. We have really opened up to one another this year about our thoughts and feelings, and have a stronger connection and love for one another, and our family. We both found a love for monthly professional massages and are trying to have a good attitude and think positively to make our lives more fulfilling.
            We are all super excited about taking off to Montana to spend Christmas at a friend’s cabin this year. We hope that your holiday is magical and filled with love.

Love Always,
The Olsen’s

Ryan, Kelli, Nate, Ty, McKenna, & Hayley

An Okotoks Christmas.

We packed up and left Boxing Day and headed to Okotoks to celebrate with the Malacko family. It was a long drive being squished together in the truck. I was itching to get out by the time we got there. We also hit some bad roads so it took a little longer to get there. We opened gifts from Dad and Penny. The boys got nice new basketball runners (they start basketball in January) and a new shirt. McKenna got a bed and a ton of clothes for her American girl, and Hayley got an Our Generation doll which is a cheaper version of the American girl. And she got some clothes for her doll too. The kids were very happy with their gifts. Ryan and I got a really nice pair of mittens with some spending money hidden inside. Dad and Penny were very generous and we were both excited to buy ourselves something. We had a delicious turkey and ham dinner, then played games and got into the hot tub later. They had rented one for the weekend. The next day we went shopping and the kids did some sledding. I bought some clothes, some yoga clothes (I start a beginners class in a couple of weeks). Ryan got a new nice winter coat. We spent the rest of the weekend playing games and hot tubbing. It was a really fun weekend. I was anxious and ready to go home on Sunday. We had been away for 10 days. Again, like every year, I took tons of pictures before and at Christmas but for our Malacko gathering I only took one picture. I really need to work on that. It is so nice to be home.