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A New Addition to the Family, a Special Trip and Crispy Chicken with Sesame Cucumber Relish



The love and sacredness of family. There's nothing else like it.

Vicki Reese


I will never forget the week leading up to HBear's birth just as I will forever hold the week after her birth in the memory bank of my heart. My whole family flew out to be with me, Ninja and I were in baby bliss and my Mom and I had the best 3 weeks of our entire relationship. I wasn't defensive because I was shit scared of what was about to happen lol and she wasn't a know-it-all Mother taking over. I asked and she taught. 

I was a pretty smart kid and I read... A lot. I didn't always ask her to help in my studies and she used to laugh that she had no idea how to help with my homework after grade 8. I took AP classes and went to University. Although my Mom was very smart, she didn't get the chance to have a higher education. Now, I look back at it and I think she felt like she had nothing to offer me. When I had HBear though, that was something she knew about that I didn't. She was in her element and I was completely vulnerable and willing to listen. It was amazing.



I fondly remember that time as living in a perfect little snow globe... lit from within by Christmas lights aglow πŸŽ„πŸ’›. The living room was warm and softly lit up by the Christmas tree that Mom helped put up. She encouraged me and didn't laugh (too much) when I told her all the things I had read and all the things Ninja and I wanted to do to raise our Baby.



The past 10 days will be kept right beside those warm memories. I was fortunate enough to be in Cochrane for the birth of my newest niece 
πŸ’›. I say fortunate because I have the best husband in the world and if he wasn't a complete partner, I could never have left my life for 10 days to experience all the joys of meeting the newest addition to our family. He played Mom for over a week... Happily. I am very thankful and very lucky.

I had such a great visit with my Sis. I know she missed out on that magical time with Mom. I have cried for her loss many nights. I know it's not the same but I hope she had a good visit too.

I'm not gonna lie… It was absolutely heartbreaking to leave my Girls. I had to be at the airport at 5 AM and it was snowing so Ninja and Dad had to shovel that morning. The Girls slept at my in-laws the night before so I didn't even get to say goodbye to them in the morning. With tear filled eyes I left them notes on their pillow. HBear put the note in her school bag and took it to school every day to re-read LOL.


The flight to Calgary is short, under an hour! It was absolutely gorgeous! I saw the sunrise as I had never seen it before. The glowing sky above the magnificent Rocky Mountains left me speechless.



When I walked outside the Calgary Airport to meet my amazing Cousin, who so thoughtfully offered to come get me, I was again left speechless LOL it was freaking cold! Like -37 cold! My poor Okanagan body was not remotely ready for the drastic weather changes that occurred throughout my weeks in Alberta. Driving to her house though was magnificent! The white frosted trees against the crystal clear backdrop of the endless blue skies... I had forgotten the beauty of the Prairies. When I got to my Sister's house there was a couple feet of snow in the backyard! 


 

I am so lucky (this will be the repeating message of this post lol)! I got to do some amazing things on my trip! I got to go to my Sis's last midwife appointment and hear New Baby's little heart beat. I absolutely adored my Sister's Midwife! This is a picture of the Midwife and SweetPea sending their love to New Baby. Cue heart burst πŸ’•!



After we found out that she was only 1cm dilated ☹️ we left her appointment and we went across the street to the mall. I could tell my Sis was nesting when she wanted to go to Fabricland to buy new material to reupholster her dining room chairs πŸ˜‚. 



After a quick lunch and a walk back to the car… And a subsequent walk back to the food court to find SweetPea's mittens LOL we were off! Another amazing thing I got to do was visit my Cousin and her 8 week old son! So grateful for these once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. Without this visit my first meeting with Little G could've been closer to him already sitting up… Or maybe even crawling! I am so fortunate to have met him as a baby. He is absolutely adorable and my Cousin and her Husband are complete naturals! So much love for that Little family πŸ’›. 


 

 

This was the first time I spent quality time with SweetPea. Usually I have my 2 kids and cannot give her my complete attention. I certainly got some good one-on-one time with her during my visit and got to know her so much better! I feel like this is an opportunity that everybody should take! I know for certain that my Uncle K and I developed a much closer relationship when I was a kid… Because he didn't have kids. Later on in life we didn't get that one on one time together again. If it wasn't for those early years we wouldn't have formed such a strong connection that lasts even now. In fact, it was his daughter that picked me up from the airport and his other daughter that had Little G. 

Close ties πŸ’•

SweetPea and I cuddled, joked, talked LOL, did yoga together, read together, sang together, and she even followed me into the bathroom, she was my little shadow πŸ’›





Sis and I took SweetPea to the arena for her first skate! You can "borrow" the skates but mine were so dull I could barely stand up let alone keep her up LOL. It was 4 1/2 minutes of complete hysterical laughing!!! 

4 1/2 minutes that will be burned in my memory forever. 😊




After our attempt at skating we went shopping! Cochrane has the most amazing kids stores… They have 10,000 people less than my city but way more local stores for families and children. Penticton could definitely learn something from Cochrane.



My selfie game was strong in Cochrane LOL especially when my niece makes the cutest little stink face ever!



During all this visiting... we ate! My BIL made his famous bagels Mmmmmm (he made 40 and when I left there were less than half left lol). We had so many delicious dishes... Roast Beef and Yorkshires, Turkey, Waffles, Homemade Soup, Spaghetti and Meatballs and so much more! One night I followed a recipe my Sis gave me and was very very pleasantly surprised. First, I HATE cucumber. OK maybe that is a bit harsh but I just have no use for cucumber. I like the smell, it is so refreshing but the taste is so overpowering. I also detest dark chicken meat. That means I don't eat thighs.

When she told me we were making breaded chicken thighs with cucumber relish I put on my brave face πŸ˜‡.

It was SO good! I brought the recipe home with me because I will definitely be making it for my family. PLUS it is under 300 calories and when you eat that many bagels, you got to cut calories somewhere LOL!

Crispy Chicken with Sesame Cucumber Relish
Adapted from Skinnytaste

2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
½ teaspoon ginger, 
grated
1 garlic clove, grated
¼ teaspoon salt
1 large cucumber, seeded and diced
3 tablespoons red onion, 
minced
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 pound boneless chicken thighs, pounded into thin cutlets
1/4 cup flour
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, grated
1 teaspoon parsley
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup whole wheat panko breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
4 teaspoons soy sauce

Preheat oven to 400.

In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, sugar, sesame oil, ginger, garlic, and salt. Add cucumber, onion and sesame seeds and stir. Set aside to allow flavors to combine.

Season chicken with ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper.

Place flour on a shallow plate and egg in a medium bowl. Place panko, parmesan cheese, parsley, salt & pepper to taste and sesame seeds on another shallow plate. 

Dredge each cutlet lightly in flour, then egg (shaking off excess), then panko mixture. Place on a sheet pan covered in parchment. Spray cutlets lightly with olive oil and bake for 20 minutes, rotating pan halfway through.

Top each cutlet with about 1/2 cup relish, 1 teaspoon soy sauce and sriracha (if desired). Serve over rice.




SweetPea was adorable! Very thoughtful towards Mom and the New Baby growing inside of her. She was quite impatient for that baby to come out… So was my Sis LOL The night of her due date she sat there on that damn ball trying to convince that little one to hurry on up πŸ˜‚.


The next morning was SweetPea's first day of preschool! Another major first that I got to be there for! My Sis did the obligatory first day of school pictures and then we were off!

 

It was absolutely precious watching her proudly march off. My Sis handled it like a pro. Especially with all those hormones flying everywhere LOL. I love this picture because you can see my BIL, who is a third-grade teacher at the school peeking through the window experiencing this proud moment as well πŸ’•!



We picked her up right before lunch. That afternoon we took it easy… Sis had been having contractions off and on since the night before. She pumped and sat on the ball as well as walked up and down 3 flights of stairs. Thinking that perhaps the baby would be coming that night I thought I should get a shower in while I could. There I was enjoying my shower  when I looked down and saw SweetPea staring up at me LOL. "Auntie Auntie! Mommy has water on her!" Behind her I could see my Sister waddling into the room saying "I'm so sorry but my water just broke!" 😳

I don't even think I rinsed the shampoo out of my hair! I got out of there and got SweetPea downstairs. When my Sister came down she sat back on the ball and texted my BIL. It was just after 4 PM. 

The contractions were about 16 minutes apart… Kind of lol sometimes they were 8 minutes apart. My BIL raced into the house, I mean seriously what good timing? School was over for the day and everything! Sis was just concentrating through a contraction and I was just starting to get dinner ready when he got home. She was in quite a bit of pain so I suggested going upstairs to take a shower, you know, working through the contractions and labouring at home for as long as possible. 15 minutes later my BIL half ran, half fell down the stairs. He said, "The contractions are 4 minutes apart we are headed to the hospital!" 

To be honest, I was freaked! She went from 16 minutes to 4 minutes in 20 minutes and the closest hospital is almost 50 minutes away! I tried to calm him down and said, "it's OK. Relax take your time 4 minutes apart gosh she could still be in labour for hours." Then I turned around quickly so he couldn't see my bullshit face πŸ˜œ

Sis walked down the stairs and I could tell she was in a lot of pain. However, then she wasn't and she bent over and laughed her freaking ass off. And then she was hanging her head over the sink asking for a bowl for the drive. Within minutes they had a bowl, water, some bagels and fruit I packed for them and they were off.

SweetPea was absolutely confused and the dog OMG that poor dog couldn't eat or go to the bathroom for days he was so stressed out LOL. 

So while they were gone I made us sunnyside up eggs and bagels.


Of course I cracked the egg into the pan and dribbled egg white all over their brand-new glass top stove! I was completely freaked because my Sister can be... anal sometimes πŸ˜‚. I was profusely sweating as I used Ceramic Brite and a razor blade trying to clean it afterwards LOL. I then realized that I didn't know how to turn on either of the TVs! Holy shit I'm gonna be stuck here waiting without a TV? Ninja called and walked me through it LOL.

I received a text at 5:48 PM… She is 8 cm please let the families know.

😳

At 6:37 PM I received a picture of my Sis holding her brand new baby Girl πŸ’›! 

At 10:39 PM I received a text message saying that they were on their way home!

Mind blowing! I heard them come in and it took all of my willpower not to fly out of the bed πŸ˜œ however, I wanted them to have their memories of bringing their baby girl home together without her interfering older sister oohing and aahing LOL.

First thing in the morning I popped my head out of the bedroom and my BIL just looked at me, smiled and nodded his head up the stairs with a knowing look. I raced up the stairs to meet my beautiful niece… 

Camille Marie Hachey.

She is perfect πŸ’•.

We sat on the bed and just stared at her for hours.


  

 

 

While the Midwife was there I went to school and picked up SweetPea. She was so damn excited LOL there are going to be some tough times ahead but I know she is going to be a wonderful big sister!


  
The Midwife put my Sis on 3 days upstairs rest. She was not allowed to go downstairs! It took her a while to wrap her head around that one πŸ˜³.

 

We hunkered down and made homebase upstairs. For the next 3 days meals were eaten up there (once Sis and BIL had date night up there while SweetPea and I ate downstairs), and my BIL and I made all the water, laundry, dog letting out, or any other trips downstairs for her.





 


After a full day of loving up that little baby, SweetPea and I decided to get out of the house. The sun was shining and all the snow was beginning to melt as I experienced my first Chinook.


First stop, the library! We had so much fun playing Lego, blocks, picking out new books and reading them!

 


Next we drove to Canadian Tire to pick up some staples to reupholster the chairs LOL. Of course SweetPea was SUPER helpful and picked up a late box of staples and handed it to me. Well, tried to hand it to me, as soon as she lifted it, the bottom fell out and I had 10 000 staples all over the floor! I looked around and said, "don't worry Sweetie let's quickly put them all up here on this shelf. I moved some boxes out of the way and we swept up the mess and then put the boxes back in front. BAD πŸ˜‚! Across the parking lot I saw a Bulk Barn so we walked over to buy my Sis some trail mix. It is SO important to continue to snack especially while breast-feeding! I let SweetPea pick out one treat for herself she was like a kid in a candy store… Literally πŸ˜‚.



After the Bulk Barn we drove to Guy's Bakery. Leave it to my Sis and BIL to find this little gem! I had the most amazing turkey sandwich with a mug of potato bacon soup! Everything was delicious! We had such a great time!

From there we went to Safeway to pick Mommy up some flowers πŸ’ Oh and to stock up on some potato chips 😜. 




The next morning my Sister got her walking papers! When I came out of my bedroom they were downstairs playing at the kitchen table.



Within an hour SweetPea and I were cleaned up and headed into Calgary. It was +12 by that point so I wasn't as worried about the slippery roads. We drove to my Uncle and Aunt's house to meet up with my Cousins and Little G. 





After a very nice visit, SweetPea and I headed to the mall. Of course a little play area fun and treat from Starbucks didn't hurt 😊.




The next day we went to Sing. It was SweetPea's first 3-D movie and she was hilarious! A family beside us couldn't help giggling at her very apparent glee. During the first preview, Cars 3, she could not keep the excitement down. She was yelling, "whoa, whoa... what the? Why? Wow!" πŸ˜Š it was priceless!


We ate popcorn, drank water and ate a bag of delicious M&Ms while grooving to a very good soundtrack πŸŽΆ! I would definitely recommend it!



When we got home it was bathtime, cuddle time, and then time for me to get my lazy ass downstairs onto the elliptical for some much-needed exercise! What bagels?? LOL


 



So, I know it sounds like everything went super smooth… And it did. However, there always has to be something LOL my Sister's milk didn't come in as quickly as it could have. Unfortunately the midwife put them on a 3 hour feeding schedule with top ups of formula and consistent pumping. Not the end of the world but also not exactly ideal. My BIL is a formula pro! He had stations set up everywhere πŸ˜‰. They make a great team and that little baby began gaining weight in no time flat!



As I sat there throughout the days cuddling that beautiful girl up I kept on trying to think of what her nickname could be. She makes the cutest little faces. As she dreams, it wrinkles up into the most adorable little stink face… When it's all wrinkly she looks just like a beautiful… Savoy Cabbage. 

That's it! She is my CabbagePatch πŸ’•.


It's kind of funny because one of my Sis and I's best friends growing up used to call her Cabbage LOL and THAT is the circle of life πŸ˜‚. 

 





 

On my last day there we all ventured out! Another beautiful first! CabbagePatch's first adventure… and the first time my Sister saw the sun in days πŸ˜Š.



We drove to Canmore for a play at the park and then hit up Boston Pizza for some yummy eats.

 






That night Sis and I worked at becoming experts with her wrap. I loved mine and I hope that she loves hers just as much!


On my last morning, SweetPea was at school and I got a good dose of cuddles in with CabbagePatch while I could. We picked up SweetPea from school and we were off to the airport.




Usually I'm not weepy. Especially when I haven't seen my Girls or my Ninja in 10 days! However, this time was really hard. It is hard even now to recall that morning and those feelings. I remember the morning my Mom left. I was heartbroken. I remember I didn't even get out of bed. She came into my room and kissed my forehead and told me, "you are going to be great. I believe in you." I cried all day.

It was like that. I cried all the way into the airport. I cried getting my luggage tag. I cried going through security. I cried in the lineup at Starbucks. I sat there for an hour in front of the runways watching the planes… Crying.


I bordered the plane and watched my Dad's plane land right beside us. That helped a bit. Knowing that Dad was there. As I flew over Calgary and then Cochrane I silently said goodbye and tried to push all of my white light to my Sister in hopes that she would feel it way down there.


The flight was very bumpy. They didn't even offer in-flight services because of the turbulence. I put my earphones in and let the music wash over me. 



As I listen to the words of Castle on the Hill by Ed Sheeran I looked down and saw the Rocky Mountains. 

Stunning. 

I began to feel better. I was so lucky to have had that time with my Sister and her family. I am so thankful to them for allowing me to be part of their intimate experience. I am so blessed to live in this gorgeous country! The natural wonders and beauty of it stun me.



As I sat there in my thoughts listening to the words about coming home I began to feel the excitement of hugging my Girls. Everybody kept asking me if being around Cabbage made my ovaries clinch πŸ˜³πŸ˜‚πŸ˜¬ Absolutely unequivocally no!

No No NO! 

If anything it assured me that I am complete with my 2 Girls. Our Family of 4 plus our 3 parents absolutely fulfills me and makes my heart happy. Soon I saw my lake come into view! Then I saw my city!


The clouds parted and we touched down and I was home.


I was thinking about it and I am so lucky! I was there for SweetPea's birth, her first birthday, her third birthday, her first day of preschool, and for CabbagePatch's birth! A mountain range is physically between us but we have still managed to make it work.

When my Sister had SweetPea… It was during a terrible time for our family. I had just had SBean 6 months prior and my Mom had passed a week before SweetPea's arrival. It was a very stressful time. I have to say, I wasn't the best Sister. I wasn't the best Aunt. There are no excuses for what happened during that time... only regrets.

I know I couldn't make up for that but I'm hopeful that this experience was filled with so much love and so much happiness that my Mom is looking down at us with pride and she knows that no matter what, we will always have each other's back. We will always be there for each other. Her legacy is the love she taught us to have for family and we are passing that on to our children and they will always be for there for each other too.

I am beyond happy to be home.

I am filled with a huge sense of gratitude for all the love, family and laughter I have in my life.

2017 has had the BEST beginning and I am so excited to see what is next πŸ’›.



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