Wow. I can’t believe this day is here. I am starting my very own blog!
Thank you so much for being interested enough to get to know me. On my about me page I listed 10 fun facts, but I wanted my first post to dive even a little deeper and help you understand what makes me, well, me.
I am a small town, Canadian girl living a big city, American life. I am the youngest daughter of two coal miners from British Columbia, Canada. When I was 9 years old my dad began to work in other mining industries and we made our first move: to Lima, Peru. As you can imagine, moving from a tiny town in a valley in the middle of the Rocky Mountains to a city of approximately 8 million people, on another continent, was quite intense.
It was in Peru that I fell in love with the Spanish language. As kids do, I picked it up quick. When I eventually moved back to Canada (after a stint in Mexico) I studied Spanish as a minor in University. I knew I never wanted to forget what I had learned and I dreamed of one day becoming a bilingual Optometrist.
In Canada there are two Optometry schools, one that teaches in English and one in French, both located on the Eastern side of the country. I didn’t want to put all my eggs in one basket, so to speak, so I started to apply and interview at schools across the United States.
In February of 2011 I landed in Chicago and my life completely changed. I fell in love with this big, beautiful city. Yes, even in the dead of winter. I’m Canadian after all, winter doesn’t scare me! I just knew I had to live here, at least for a few years. When that acceptance letter arrived on my doorstep (via snail mail!) my decision was made. I didn’t need to see any more schools.
Fast forward through a few years of what felt like never ending exams and projects to the summer of 2013 when I went to a party with some friends to take a break from said ridiculous school schedule. It was there that I first laid eyes on the man who would become my husband. He was funny, sarcastic and super tall. I was intrigued.
We started dating shortly thereafter and he kept me sane in those last couple years of Optometry school. We survived long distance as my training took me from Denver to Rhode Island before landing back in Chicago. It certainly wasn’t easy but we developed great communication skills which I believe has helped our relationship (and marriage) immensely. Finally, I graduated in the spring of 2015 and we started the next chapter of our lives together.
On a beautiful fall day the following September my husband took me boating on Lake Michigan to see the super blood moon. With the stars and moon above and city skyline behind me, he asked me to marry him. Of course, I said yes! A few months later we attempted to have a secret wedding at the courthouse but the media had other plans… It ended up being broadcast all over the news! Oops.
In the summer we had a more traditional wedding ceremony and reception in my hometown in Canada. It was a gorgeous day we will never forget as our two cultures and families collided. We are both glad our parents convinced us to have a larger celebration.
We spent the first couple years of married life exploring the world together. Of course, for our first trip we went to Bulgaria to celebrate with his family there. Bulgaria is one of the most beautiful countries I have ever seen. There are mountains, rolling hills and beautiful beaches. There is so much history and it is a nature lover’s paradise. We then explored Russia, the Netherlands, and Belgium. If you haven’t been to Belgium let me just say this: beer, waffles and chocolate. It’s a country after my own heart!
Life isn’t always peachy, is it? Just as things were feeling perfect my entire world turned upside down. In a matter of 24 hours I learned my dearest mama had cancer and my boss was selling the practice where I was working my dream job. My mom’s doctors were optimistic they had caught the cancer early, but after a PET scan we learned it was actually very advanced. Nobody would give us a prognosis, but thanks to Google I knew it wasn’t good: the average lifespan was somewhere around 8 months.
As though the universe knew exactly what I needed to get through this tough, tough year, my husband and I discovered I was pregnant with our first baby. My mom was ecstatic! I am so grateful she knew I was going to become a mama myself.
In September, five months after being diagnosed and just two days after her birthday, my mom lost her battle. I was three months pregnant, going through the worst grief I have ever experienced. Thank goodness the baby I was growing gave me strength to push forward. I had to be strong, if not for me, for her.
In April 2019 I gave birth to my beautiful baby girl, Stella Jude. Stella because she is my little star, and Jude to honor my mother (her nickname). I know they will forever be connected.
Becoming a mother obviously changed my life. It is the absolute best thing that has ever happened to me! I resigned from being a full time Optometrist to stay at home with my baby for the first few months of her life. I will go back to work part time as I do love my job, but I plan to stay at home as much as possible. This past year really emphasized these moments are precious and family is everything.
Now, here I am today, starting this blog about navigating motherhood, finding nontoxic family products, and seeking a healthy balance in life. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoy writing it!