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A new year is around the corner and like many others I find myself reflecting on this past one. It’s been a busy year full of triumphs and challenges.

Our family activities were heavily based in the outdoors – snow, rain, ice or sunshine it didn’t matter – you’d find us enjoying the wilderness at our doorstep. Though the winter was often really cold, there was plenty of opportunity for snowshoe and winter hiking trips into the mountains. Sledding and skating was fun for the whole family. Matthew enjoyed several days of playing and hiking in the snow with one parent while the other hit the ski slopes – the skis are waxed and ready for him to give the sport a try this year.

As the weather warmed, camping trips to the mountains and into the badlands were part of the menu, including a multiple family back country trip into Yoho National Park. Matthew found out the joys of riding in the kayak and getting close to birds, fish and turtles. Parks were explored and water parks sought out. Summer flew by and soon the weather cooled, the snow fell and Matthew donned snowshoes for the first time. Sled rides, wagon rides and outdoor Christmas festivities filled December.

Family visited and family was visited – trips that included Vancouver and the Okanogan. We mourned the passing of my uncle and celebrated my mother’s victory over cancer. We celebrated birthdays, anniversaries and holidays. We laughed, cried and fought. We lived.

Through it all we watched our son grow from a 1 1/2 years old to 2 1/2 years old – an amazing experience. He’s a running, dancing, swimming machine that rarely stops for a breath of air. From single words to sentences, he’s now beginning to be able to communicate his thoughts and desires. He’s not completely understandable yet, but it was fun watching him greet his aunt, uncle and grandparents at Christmas. His play has gone from simply pushing his train around the tracks to complex scenarios involving the conductor opening the doors, the people getting on, tickets collected and destinations established. And if the train goes off the track… the fire truck and the police car goes to the rescue! Always the puzzle fiend, about a month and a half ago, my son made the jump from chunky wooden puzzles to picture cardboard puzzles. He started to understand the concept of creating a picture with the pieces – from then on he’s been off to the races. There’s no stopping him now – he’s now onto 48 pieces and having a ball.

There was an important lesson that we learned through all this and which became the premise for this blog. We learned that we can’t do it all and that we shouldn’t feel bad about it. The important thing is that everyone – my husband, my son and myself – are happy and healthy. So sometimes plans were cancelled, altered or postponed if the circumstances warranted instead of barrelling ahead no matter what. We made sure that we asked if we were doing stuff for the right reasons. We took a breath and smelled the proverbial roses. We enjoyed the days, the months and the seasons to the greatest extent. That is “The Big Picture”.

I’m looking forward to the coming year… so much to do, so much to explore. Happy New Year!