I want to share the above picture with you for two main reasons.1. I was adorable 2. This was taken two decades ago. That’s right, I was 4 there and yesterday, I celebrated my 24th.
After the wild Saturday night of raining American money, abducting a stranger, and losing the entire sole of my right boot, I was happy to spend some down time birthday time with the people I love most, my family. It was an all around great weekend, but what made it special was having everyone together, sharing a meal which is so dear to my heart, pizza.
Since Taryn (oldest sister) and her husband, Jono, knew there are a few places in Calgary left for me to taste test, they decided to take me and the rest of the family to Cibo for my birthday lunch. Nestled on 17th Ave is a rustic brick building home to this urban, Italian restaurant. Although the building appears small on the outside, the two-level layout surprises you with its wooden beams, barnyard decor and vintage chandeliers; taking you out of the city and directly to a spacious vineyard in Italy.
Already impressed by the design, I had high expectations for the food, which was met ten-fold. For a group of eight, this was the perfect place to eat considering the dining is family style, meaning dishes are meant to be shared. We weren’t exactly keen on passing around bowls of pasta, but we did order 6 different kinds of pizzas, each highlighted with a distinct topping and complimented with various other ingredients. I had fun trying one piece of every kind, but kept my hands away from the Wild Boar Bacon. I hate bacon.
The fire roasted pizza made my mouth water and stomach smile, but mixed with the cozy environment and humorous people, it made me a very happy birthday girl. I love these seven people who make up my family. Whenever we get together, our conversations may get out of hand, but I am always reminded of how lucky I am to have each of them in my life. With every passing birthday, I want to make a point of seeing the positive all around me. On Sunday, I saw this clearly in the people surrounding me, people who have inspired, supported and loved me through all these years.
For me, Taryn and Jono have been a source of inspiration over the years they have been married. I have always looked up to my older sister, but now, as a unit with Jono, they encourage me with their outlook on life. Together they have drive, dedication and discipline because they understand the importance of making a life and not just making a living. I cannot believe the leaders they have become and the lives they have been changing, including my own. Both have been huge supporters in my decision to search for something different to do. I appreciate every piece of advice, crave every concoction Jono cooks, and know the secrets of Calgary thanks to these two.
Although Eric and Holly live in Lethbridge and I do not get to see them as often as I want, when I do, it is always met with laughter and good times. Holly is such a special addition to our family. When we were bunk mates at camp a few years ago, I was shown how down to earth and compassionate she is. I wish I could’ve been the one to set them up, but it happened all on its own and I am so thankful it did. My friends probably get sick of how often I talk up my brother. I can’t help it. He has so many good qualities, and I always wanted him to find someone to match how outstanding he is. Holly does and the more I get to know her, the more I see how well she fits with my brother. In fact, recently I’ve seen how clever and witty her sense of humour can be, and she might just beat Eric in this field…
With the four year gap between me and my youngest sister, we haven’t always been the closest in the family. By the time she reached high school, we found more in common, and now, I consider her a best friend. I love spending time with Chelsey. Her stories are getting more interesting and I am starting to laugh at more things she says. All joking aside, she is talented in so many ways and displays such confidence and grace. More often than not, she is the one giving me advice, which humbles me as an older sister, but also shows me how mature she has grown to be.
All credit for our close knit family is due to my parents. I honestly think growing up on a farm was the best thing for us since we only had each other to hang out with after school and on weekends. Now that we are all adults, it has been interesting to experience the shift in seeing mom and dad not only as parents, but friends. My parents will always be parents, they’ll worry about my well-being and happiness, but now we can joke around and hang out like old pals and for me, this new nature of our relationship is invaluable.
Being two weeks away from leaving has made me a little sentimental and I apologize this post has been somewhat cheesy. Spending my birthday with everyone in my family meant a lot, and it is going to be a hard time travelling without them. Each of them mean the world to me, but I am thankful they support me in wanting to see the actual world. Next weekend, we will all be together again at our second home in Montana, and I am more than excited to go skiing, shopping and whatever else you might do in Whitefish with them.