Being married to Chef has its perks, but the downside is that he worked straight through the holiday. Fortunately for Ouisie, my belle mére, and me, he was home in time for dinner on Christmas Day and off on Boxing Day! Once again, an orchestra of gorgeous flavours that were decadent, delicious but all too dear to the waistline!

New Year’s Day. The first day of 2012. In retrospect, every day in 2011 was a first day with our newborn daughter. We welcomed Ouisie at the end of January, and since that miraculous day we have been documenting each milestone with photographs, videos and journals.
It always amazes me when I reflect on just how much the world shifts and changes in just 365-days. I realise that now with a child, I have been focused on the day-to-day routines than on the overall big picture. And in the 339-days Ouisie has been on this earth– her world has been one constant shifting planet!
Being a mom has given me a renewed outlook on life and I find such excitement in watching Ouisie learn and discover. From taking walks down the road to visit the farm’s horses and cows, riding a carousel at the Christmas market, blowing bubbles in the swimming pool, to watching fireworks light up the sky; each have been such fun to experience anew.
Through baby brain and wearied eyes, I have tried to be present in each moment over the past year, imprinting every detail into its own wrinkle in my brain. But just like all great memories, after just 11-months of having her in our lives, some of her firsts have blurred together and I am dumbfounded on how in 26 days our daughter turns one?
I look back at the first 10-weeks of motherhood and snicker at my anxious thoughts and unyielding efforts for perfection. After weeks of runny diapers, countless loads of laundry and round the clock breastfeeding, I was desperate for Ouisie to give some sign of affirmation. And then it happened- the first smile. It was just the two of us at home. My heart melted and, if I may admit, a few tears were shed at this precious sign of recognition.
That smile has continued to shine alongside all of Ouisie’s new findings. Over the summer months, I enjoyed laying quietly next to her on the picnic blanket looking up at the 400-year Oak tree in our garden. A tree I have grown to love and admire for four years, she noticed its majestic branches for the first time.
Ouisie took her time in learning how to sit up. She never had any interest in rolling over, around or moving in any direction. Then suddenly while away on holiday in November, she decided it was time to get moving. Since then, there is no stopping her. With each day she pulling up more and more. It will not be long before she is scooting around on two legs rather than all four.
With only weeks now before her birthday I want time to slow down. Like Cinderella who had to adhere to her midnight curfew, I, too must oblige. Ouisie’s first birthday will mark the end of my maternity leave. My seven full days with Ouisie will then be just three. As her personality continues to shine through, and her quest for independence already evident, the butterflies in my stomach are settling as I know she is going to be okay. Time marches on and I must step back into my heels and keep up.
 I am not one for making resolutions on the 1st January. Personally, they are bit too contrived. Instead, I always look at a new year as another chance to try something different, to learn more, to grow spiritually and emotionally and to always be grateful. The latter is the easiest. My cup runneth over.
Just as Ouisie is finding her two feet, I, too, face the New Year standing tall and giddy (a bit nervous, if I am completely honest).
My New Year’s toast: 
To Ouisie, for being the brightest light in our lives. 
I love you, Mommy 
With best wishes for joy, love and adventure in 2012–
Bonne Année,
Callie