Archive for January, 2011

Life changes with a heartbeat…

Posted on January 21, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized |

It always amazes me how life can change direction.  Just when you think you have everything figured out, you find yourself not back at Square 1, but on a completely different game board.  This past weekend I took a moment to think back to May 2008.  I had filled out applications for schools in Australia.  Brandon’s company has offices in Sydney and Melbourne so I was applying to both.  Going to Australia has always been a dream of mine and it was almost within reach.  I had written the checks for the $100 application fee for each school and had the envelopes signed and sealed.  All that was left was to get them in the mail.  It was at this stage of the game I found out I was pregnant.

Australia was no longer a prize I was aiming for.  My attention turned to the new addition to our family instead.  On January 15, 2009, Zachary Taylor Byars came into our lives at 1pm.  It’s hard to believe that time passes so quickly and that little angel turned two.  In some ways he is complete opposite of Jackson.  Zachary is 100% rough and tumble boy.  He loves big machines, cars, and trains.  I told him that he was half US Navy – a destroyer to be exact.  My USS Zachary.  He has toys and books that were Jackson’s (or even mine) that we’ve had to say goodbye to.  His ability to dismantle a toy is quite astounding.


On Saturday, the 15th, we had a small family party for him.  I picked up the cake and was headed to the truck.  The parking lot had so many icy bumps.  I felt like Mater driving on McQueen’s first attempt at repaving the road.  I glanced down at the cake and to my dismay one side of the icing had slid off.  It wasn’t too bad, but I did learn to carry the cakes from now on.  When I got to the truck I was surprised to see that the balloon had deflated.  I was pretty upset until I realized that it was due to the -20 C temperatures and once we were in the house it would expand. It was a Disney Cars themed day.  Cars cake, Cars balloons, Cars gifts…  He had two McQueens and a Mater that had to be in his hands.  It was quite a sight to watch him try to open his presents with his hands full.  On the rare occasion he set them down, he made sure they were lined up “just right”.  He loves his new bike and our TV has been on a Cars loop ever since.  We went to the huge mall to look around and they had a McQueen that you could ride in. Zachary was so excited!  He took two turns and then I made him get out so another boy could take a turn.  I got an earful about that – evidently I had forgotten it was his birthday and he could do and get whatever he wanted.


Zachary received a gift on Sunday from our very thoughtful staircase – his first black eye.  He was pushing his cars on the stairs and fell.  I thought he might avoid the stairs for awhile after the tumble, but he quickly got back on them again.


Sunday evening we went ice skating at the Olympic Oval.  It was kind of surreal to think that I was at a place that once hosted the Olympics.  It was the first time for Zachary, Jackson, and I to skate and I think we all enjoyed it.  Skate-aids (that look like walkers) were available.  Too bad they were all so short.  Jackson used one for a little bit but decided to give it a whirl on his own.  He did fantastic and I’m so proud of him.  I, on the other hand, held on to my walker the entire time.  There was no way I was going to risk falling.  Given my track record, I would have hurt something and not be able to go to Iceland.  Brandon and I took turns with Zachary.  We used a walker with him as well.  Once we got a little speed and he could just glide along, he had a blast!  Big smiles and lots of “Wheeee!’s”.  I would go half a loop and have to pull over to stand up and stretch my back.  Zachary wouldn’t let me stretch too long.  He was anxious to get back out on the ice and if I didn’t go with him, he was going to go by himself.

Zachary had a birthday party at his school on Monday.  Since we had already done a Cars cake, I decided to go for the Thomas cupcake cake.  All the boys in his class are Thomas nuts.  It was so funny watching 10 young ones eat their cupcakes.  Some of them dove right in without any hesitation, others took their time.  There were even a couple that wouldn’t touch it without a fork – they didn’t want to get their hands dirty. Zachary dove right in to his cupcake but had to have a fork when they were being passed out.  Zachary took a big bite of his cupcake and a fairly large crumb dropped on the table. His friend that was sitting next to him picked it up.  She looked at the crumb, looked at Zachary, and then back to the crumb.  Zachary ate it out of her hand when she extended it to him.  It was very cute.

Happy Birthday, USS Zachary.  I look at you and can’t believe you are already two.  You have grown so much over the past two years and I’ve loved watching every minute.  I wouldn’t trade the time I’ve been able to spend with you for anything.  You are an amazing child who has taught me so much.

It seems like yesterday I was planning a move to Australia and now look where I am…  I’m living in Canada with the Rockies in my backyard.  I have two amazing sons that are both growing up way too fast.  I’m back in school working on a PhD with a trip to Iceland in the near future.  No matter how much you plan – life can change with a heartbeat and you’ll find yourself on a new path that leads to a new adventure.  I still have my sights set on Australia – some day – but that doesn’t stop me from being open to all the opportunities that life throws my way.

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Setting our sights on 2011

Posted on January 3, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: |

2010 has come and gone – I can’t believe how fast it flew by.  As I sit here on the couch with a certain little boy crashed on my lap, I thought I would  take a moment and reflect over what has happened this past year and contemplate what 2011 might have in store for us.

Zachary’s 2010

In January, my little one turned a year old.  He’s done a lot of growing over the past year and becoming his own little person.  He started full-time daycare this year and after some resistance has come to enjoy his time there with friends.  Zachary is learning new concepts everyday – new words, counting to five, songs, and how to push those boundaries.  There was his first horseback ride, first haircut, and first snow-blob.  The love of music and machines that he exhibited early in the year has grown dramatically.  He’s been able to experience summer in Texas, seen the wonders of Caddo Lake, and given lots of hugs to his grandparents (although I’m sure they would love more).  Zachary’s been able to see the mountains, lots of wildlife (including a black bear and grizzly bear), British Columbia, and the Olympic Torch.  He was able to spend a Canadian winter in the snow and was able to go ice fishing – where he really wanted to reach in the holes and get the fish out all by himself.

Jackson’s 2010

Jackson also experienced new things this past year.  There was a front row seat to witness the Olympic Torch going up the chair lift at Canadian Olympic Park.  He was able to go skiing for the first time and did pretty well – at least he didn’t somersault down the mountain like some people…  A couple of trips to British Columbia were also on his docket.  He was able to see BC covered in a beautiful white blanket and then in the colorful quilt of summer.  Several species of wildlife was spotted for the first time outside of zoos.  The black bear and moose were definite highlights.  Jackson has been able expand his knowledge of animal tracks and signs not only with each trip to the mountains, but each time he visits the various bodies of water in the neighborhood.  He enjoyed a month in the Texas heat and humidity during July and loved every dripping minute of it.  The fencing skills were developed and he went to a couple of competitions.  Jackson discovered enjoyment for a sport I would never have pictured him playing – Rugby!  He would be bruised and sore after every game, but couldn’t wait until the next one.  He’s also found a little more independence in the past year.  Since he’s in 7th grade, he can leave school at lunch.  So he would go with some of his running mates to the Sev (Seven-Eleven). Jackson also got to not only hear Dr. Jane Goodall speak, but also got to meet her (briefly) for an autograph and photo.  He also got to try his luck at ice fishing, which he enjoyed quite a bit, though it’s a lot different than catfishing with a cane pole down in Texas.

Brandon’s 2010

2010 brought a lot of work for Brandon.  Even though the pressure at work increased, he was able to enjoy the year.  He also went skiing for the first time and took a couple of trips to BC.  He got a new bike and started riding some during the summer.  Although he missed out on the Texas summer, he had a blast up in Canada.  There was hiking at Nahahi Ridge, semi-finals rodeo at Stampede, a Lynyrd Skynyrd concert and I don’t know what else.  He would always freeze when it got down to 75 in Texas, but has decided he loves the winter up here in the great white north.  Brandon not only enjoys the winter scenery, but all the activities available here in the winter.  He enjoyed ice fishing quite a bit and is looking forward to going again.

Dawn’s 2010

My 2010 has definitely had its ups and downs.  In January I was fortunate enough to see the Olympic Torch as it made it’s way across Canada towards Vancouver and the Olympics.  It was an awe inspiring sight.  I was able to hit the slopes again, and in BC, the slopes hit back.  Injury sidelined me for awhile.  I also got to see a lot of wildlife that I had never before seen “wild”.  The Rockies are beautiful in the winter but gorgeous in the summer.  The Texas heat and humidity welcomed me with open arms, or should I say the oppressive wall of heat, as I stepped off the plane in Houston.  July was a hot month, but it was fabulous to see family and friends.  I was able to travel to BC a third time in October (the fall colors were amazing) to see the salmon run with the Ecology group at school.  Yep, school.  I decided to go back and get my PhD in physiology (with an ecological twist).  Dr. Jane Goodall was in town visiting the anthropology department at the university.  I was lucky enough to hear her talk and get to meet her for an autograph and photo.  I’ve been able to get out of the house a little more and hang out with people older than 2.  It’s been great having friends over and going out with them.  I started a bootcamp class (at times I question that decision).  Christmas was stress-free since we didn’t travel anywhere, but it was lonely.  It helped having MawMaw and ManMan on Skype Christmas morning.  It’s amazing that we live in a time that video conferencing is available.  That concept was always so “futuristic” when I was younger.  I discovered that ice fishing can be just as relaxing and breathtaking as fishing down in Texas.

That’s a quick recap of 2010 for the Byars family.  Now to shift gears and and set our sights for what 2011 can bring us.

The Byars’ 2011

I think the main idea we are going to take into 2011 is to enjoy the year to the fullest extent possible. Brandon and Jackson are planning skiing adventures and I am hoping to test my snowboarding skills. We would also like to tempt fate and go ice skating as well.  Brandon is actually going to play hockey for the first time – 30 minutes after he puts on ice skates for the first time.  Zachary will continue to grow and astound me with all that he’s learned.  I have a feeling his love of music and trains will expand exponentially.  Jackson is looking forward to another season of rugby.  I will be continuing bootcamp and start a dance class while Brandon will try his hand at Improv.  This summer we are all looking forward to camping and exploring this part of the world.  We plan on more biking, hiking, and fishing and less couch potato-ness.  I had to postpone my triathlon debut because of my ACL injury so I’m looking forward to getting back into training and competing in that.  The Calgary half marathon is also on my 2011 to-do list.  Timing might be an issue because 2011 also holds a trip to Iceland for me. I’ll be going over there for about a month to conduct field work.  Mom and Dad are planning a trip up here in the summer.  I am already making out the list of places we have to go to while they are here.

There’s no telling what all else 2011 holds for us.  But we are looking forward to enjoying every minute of it.  We’ve finally learned that we have to go out and “grab life by the horns” rather than sitting still and letting life come to us.

Wishing all of you a healthy and happy 2011.  May you find as much adventure and happiness as you can stand – and then some.

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