My husband and I have been patting ourselves on the back lately for our elevated marriage game.

Between the years of 2008 and 2014, when we were pregnant, post-natal or pining over the many hours of lost sleep, we struggled to prioritize any time for just the two of us. There were dinner dates, micro-vacations and a handful of private moments between bedtime stories and Breaking Bad marathons, but not much else.

We loved each other, but we often missed each other.

Now our daughters are almost six, almost four (their distinctions, not mine) and recently two. Our kids are becoming more interactive (which makes family time so much fun!) and more independent (which allows my husband and I more private time).

As we move away from the baby stage and into this new family phase, it gets easier and easier to reconnect with my parenting partner and best friend.

I love that we can leave them in the care of a great babysitter, for example, while we sneak away to catch some live music or a bite to eat. I love that they will occupy each other while my husband and I sip coffee and share the paper over breakfast. I love hearing more about his day and sharing more about mine without straining to listen over the sound of someone crying (usually a baby, sometimes me). I love it all.

Don’t get me wrong – we still have those challenging moments when we’re trying to discuss something urgent and important while one, two or three kids are begging, demanding our attention. We still put our marriage on a shelf now and then. We know there are more challenges ahead.

But I can’t help but get excited for the next few years, for the new memories we can make together as a family, and the old ones my husband and I can revisit as two kids in love.

It gives me butterflies, actually.


East Coast made

Almost everyone from the East Coast has a local band, actor, author or talent that they like to lay claim to.

Not in a boastful way, mind you. No, not at all. But it is a matter of pride.

First of all, Atlantic Canada is relatively small place. Chances are, you know someone who knows someone.

(I’ve heard all of the following in casual, completely unpretentious conversations: Sarah McLachlan went to my high school. Sidney Crosby is my cousin. I used to play soccer with Ellen Page.)

Secondly, Atlantic Canada is a friendly place. Even if you don’t have six-degrees-of-separation from the Trailer Park Boys, that doesn’t mean you won’t get an enthusiastic high-five from Bubbles in the Cole Harbour grocery store while you’re both buying frozen burgers.

Thirdly, Atlantic Canadians are just plain awesome.

As Canadians, we’ve all experienced that collective swell of pride when a fellow Canuck makes it big (and does good).

Multiply that feeling by one hundred when that person is from your home province. Multiply by a thousand when they’re from your hometown.

Which brings me to one of my hometown’s sources of pride, The Stanfields. Their band members are connected to our remote seacoast village in Nova Scotia. Everybody in our happy hamlet knows them (which isn’t hard, because everyone knows everyone).

And this weekend, my husband and I are catching their acoustic show in Calgary. We can’t wait.

Not just because we know them, but because they’re awesome.

Tell me, how could you not love a band that wrote the song, “The Dirtiest Drunk (In the History of Liquor)”?

When someone from Alberta learns that I’m originally from Nova Scotia, they inevitably want to know if I know their other friend from Nova Scotia, So-and-so.

Sometimes I do. Often I don’t.

But one thing I do know – they’re probably awesome, too.

The baby-sitters club

Last night my husband and I were able to do something we haven’t done in a long, long while: date night.

I was thrilled when I scored (paid an exorbitant amount of money for) tickets to see Jerry Seinfeld here in Calgary. I bought them months ago and presented them to my husband on his birthday like a jeweled-encrusted crown on a velvet pillow. He went nuts (both when he saw the tickets and the credit card statement, but he eventually recovered. It’s Seinfeld!!)

As the comedy date approached, however, we started to panic. We’ve been without a reliable babysitter for over a year.

We live and love to live in Calgary. But finding a reliable babysitter in this town is like winning the lottery. Especially if you have three kids who are still relatively young and require more than a little coercing at bedtime.

In times like these it’s really hard to live 5000 km away from our parents, who are willing and able to sit for free. (There are other hard times too, like holidays, and birthdays, and other date nights).

The few local family and friends we do have were all, sadly but understandably, unavailable.

We did know a lovely fifteen-year-old who was often available and great with our girls, but this was before we had our third baby, moved to a different neighbourhood, and she discovered the inexplicable yet apparently unavoidable charm of teenage boys.

Author’s note: She also made me feel a tad over-the-hill while driving her home after a Bob Dylan concert. (“Is that a band?”) But that’s neither here nor there.

A week before the show, we were still considering our options. One of which was to sell the tickets and use the money to buy two weeks worth of groceries, but … it’s Seinfeld!! Jerry Seinfeld is my husband’s favourite entertainer who is and ever was. We were making this happen.

Luckily, for some reason, I have been blessed with a few fantastic friends here in Calgary. Wonderful, generous friends who charitably share their golden ticket babysitter info with me in times of great need.

And last night went off without a hitch. Our sitter was perfect, Seinfeld was HILARIOUS and our minds are already racing with ideas for our new-found freedom. Dinner? Movie? Driving around aimlessly just because we can?!

I’m ecstatic. And I am truly reflecting on whether I would be that generous and share the number to a great sitter with a friend in need.

Well, now I know one. But I think we’ll be keeping her pretty busy.