Season's Greetings from the Ottawa Mancas!

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Jessica, Milo and MarkJessica, Milo and Mark

Happy Holidays from Mark, Jessica and Milo!

This year, we wanted to send each of you an extra special greeting! To give you insight into our thoughts and feelings as we finish a spectacular 2009, we hope this letter sums it all up nicely.

Written on December 12, 2009.


What was your biggest accomplishment this year?

  • Jessica: Unquestionably, the birth of our son Milo was the single most important moment of my life. Milo has been the best thing to ever happen to Mark and I, next to meeting each other. His spirit is so strong, curious and gentle. We are so thankful that he entered this world healthy and safe (thank you Ottawa Midwifery) and that he has grown so big and strong in the last 6 months. Thank you to all the immediate family members who came and stayed with us during those first few months!
  • Mark: Becoming a Father.  Milo was born on May 29, 2009 at 3:30am.  What an amazing experience it has been!!! You always hear how people say how amazing it is to be a parent.  You wonder if it is really true. Well, it is! Every day is a gift -- nothing beats seeing him grow each day.

    My other biggest accomplishment was building a door.  From scratch out of 2x4s and MDF.  It was finally time to build a door for the master bedroom.  But nothing we could find would fit the style of our house. So I convinced Jessica that a custom, modern door on a pivot door was just what we needed.  After a good amount of time, help from Jessica’s dad George and our friend Blair, the door is up, and we love it!  It is amazing how striking it is in the space.

Tell us the best moment of 2009 so far.
Milo's First ChristmasMilo's First Christmas

  • Jessica: The single best moment was the very first smile that Milo gave me. He would smile in his sleep while dreaming, but one day he finally smiled at me. It felt so magical!!!

  • Mark: This is a toughie. There are so many Milo moments and firsts to choose from! But to me, holding Milo is the best moment. And no, I can't tell you which one of the many times I've held him is the best! I love holding him when he is happy, cranky, or tired. But if I were to pick one, it was when I held him a day or two after he was born. He looked at me intently and then reached up to touch my face. My heart melted.

What was the biggest challenge you’ve overcome this year?

  • Jessica: It seems pregnancy gave me a little sweet tooth. As anyone knows, I do not like sweets or even think about sweets, but since Milo I think about them all the time! I’ll be honest that I gained 35 lbs with the pregnancy. Thanks to my friend Julia for helping me enlist in Booty Camp for 8 weeks this summer, I lost not only the Milo weight, but went on to lose another 12 lbs beyond that. It was not just due to working out, but eating healthily and making better choices for myself and for Milo. Health is my number one priority, and it shows!

  • Mark: Time management.  Though I don't think I've overcome it yet.  It is a tough thing as Corporate America puts a lot of demands on you.  I am really working to make sure that I have an adequate work/personal balance. You only live once!

What’s the best advice you have to give others?

  • Jessica: Eating more alkaline & reduce acid intake! Mark and I are firm believers in the alkaline diet (really, a lifestyle). We eat a more balanced proportion of vegetables and alkaline-forming foods as opposed to meats and dairy in the traditional Western diet. The theory is that your body is trying to maintain a perfect pH balance.  And that a wide variety of woes (bad skin, weight, and other sicknesses) can be attributed to a body's inability to function at an optimum level.  But by getting your body into pH balance, you can bring it back to its optimum level by flushing acid and the ailments it brings from your body. Our body’s pH balance is more regular now, and it improved everything from our weight to our skin, hair and brightness in our eyes! We feel and look younger! (Read the pH Balance Diet by Bharti Vyas for more!)
  • Mark: Use Skype to connect and video conference with family.  We suffer from being far away from our families.  My family in Seattle and Jessica's family in Indianapolis miss us.  But we are not their first priority.  They want to see Milo grow!  Our families both bought webcams and got Skype accounts.  We talk to one of them most every day.  They love being able to see Milo change!
    For those of you that are Earthies, sign up for 100% green electricity.  It is one of the easiest things you can do to make a difference.  You don't have to change your behaviour other than to sign up online.  Buildings are one of the most significant emitters of greenhouse gases (if I remember, it is on par with or more than cars). You don't have to put solar panels on your house or anything crazy like that.  Just contact your electricity provider.  They put extra electrons onto the grid generated from green sources on your behalf.  You just pay a little extra.

What will you miss most this year?

  • Jessica: Visits to my grandfather’s house in Harlingen, Texas. He passed away in September at age 87. He saw photos of Milo, but would have loved meeting his first and only great-grandson. We will miss him.
  • Mark: We had the opportunity to go to Mexico to be with my grandmother Tita for her 90th birthday.  Unfortunately Jessica's Canadian immigration was such that we couldn't leave the country.  So it was not to be.  We were sure thinking of her though!
    By next year, I'll miss holding baby Milo.  By then, he'll be running around as busy as can be.  Of course that is a good thing too, but holding a baby is so much fun!

What are your goals for next year?

  • Jessica: As I will eventually have to return to work in June, my goal is to stay more balanced and not take on too much. I also want to continue staying fit, finish writing a book, bike more, take more family vacations and work with Mark to finish our renovation (decking, decorating and building a kids play room).

  • Mark: Watch Milo grow.  See family more often.  Make more progress on the house. Work on personal projects that could lead to good things.  Commute to work on an electric bike and to take Milo to daycare on the bike. Travel.  A really really really outside goal is to buy a classic Fiat 500 and convert it to electric.  

The Ottawa MancasThe Ottawa Mancas
Well, that’s all from the Ottawa Mancas! Milo will be more be sharing more next year (He still hasn’t said his first word yet!). Have a safe and happy holiday everyone!

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