It's hard to believe how quickly time flies, and that it's already been a number of years since I've done any active blogging.
I plan to get back at it, as there's no shortage of exciting developments to discuss now that it's 2015 and the world is evolving ever more quickly.
Personally, the past few years have been pretty amazing!
Tara and I were married in May of 2012 after 9 years together (living in sin, as some would say). :)
Our low-key ceremony was attended only by our parents (and cat :)) and held outdoors at my parents' property in Tiny Township.
We had never planned to get married, as we felt that our relationship was between us, and not the government, but eventually, we wanted to share a name, and refer to each other as husband and wife.
So we decided to make it official, but in the simplest way possible. The total cost of our wedding was about $400, which included a $125 license fee and a $250 officiant fee. :)
The officiant was a funny story - we didn't realize you had to book them ahead of time, and just showed up at the Town of Midland thinking there would be someone available to assist us. Turns out most people book months in advance, and we were out of luck for our chosen date, which had some significance to us.
Fortunately, as we were walking out, disappointed, we were flagged down by a man whom I recognized as being a past Mayor of Midland, Moreland Lynn. It turned out he was a wedding officiant who was waiting to meet with another couple to plan their ceremony, but the couple didn't show up. We sat down with him and asked if he'd be able to help us out later that day. He was a little surprised at how quickly we wanted his services, but checked his schedule and asked where we were doing the ceremony.
To our delight and his, he said the timing worked perfectly - he lived 5 minutes from my parents' place and would be driving home from a tennis game around that time. He could just swing right by.
During our conversation with him, we learned that he was retired from a life in business and politics, and was now doing the justice of the peace gig to keep himself busy. I was pretty stoked that we were married by someone with an MBA. :)
One more funny story: because of how quickly we got married, people started asking if it was a "shotgun wedding", which for some reason, I didn't think to look up. I just assumed it meant it was really fast - like a bullet flying out of a gun (not that shotguns fire bullets :P). After telling a couple of dozen people that yes, it was a shotgun wedding, finally, someone asked when we were expecting, to which I replied "huh??". They then proceeded to explain that the meaning of a shotgun wedding is "a wedding that is arranged to avoid embarrassment due to an unplanned pregnancy rather than out of the desire of the participants."
Haha. Oops... Definitely not a shotgun wedding. Although we'd done everything at the last minute, I'd actually proposed to Tara the year before, and we'd planned to get married on that specific day for quite a while. Plus, we weren't pregnant. :P
Though it was an honest mistake, in retrospect, perhaps that experience prepared us for the next adventure...
While getting married was awesome, the highlight for sure was the birth of our son in 2013.
Tara and I decided we wanted the intimate experience of a home birth, so we found ourselves an amazing group of midwives and started preparing for the special day when our child would arrive.
The entire pregnancy was all-natural, and we skipped out on all of the medical intervention with the exception of two ultrasounds.
The actual labour was intense. Tara was incredibly strong, and despite the 28 hour experience, hundreds of contractions, and posterior-facing baby, she successfully delivered our baby boy with no drugs, no epidural and only the support of me and two awesome midwives.
It was the most intense experience of my life, and likely always will be. I developed a whole new level of respect for women, child birth, and Tara as a person. The fact that mothers are able to do what they do and be so strong really humbled me. I couldn't have done it, I'm sure.
Jackson is an amazing little person with such a unique character. I'm often left in amazement, watching him observe, interact and make sense of the world. Now that he's almost two, he's really starting to connect the dots and loves sharing his insights with his mom and I.
This chapter of our lives, watching this little boy grow into his own person has only just begun, but we are enjoying every minute and savouring it as best we can.
Definitely good times! :)
Tara and I (and now Jackson) continue to enjoy a vegan lifestyle, after close to 11 years. There are so many more food options in Midland now than when we first switched over. It's becoming easier all the time, though the majority of our meals are still home cooked, and we aren't at the ultimate diet we hope to sustain ourselves on at some point - eating totally locally, without processed products. Hopefully we'll get there someday.
Aside from that, there's been a bunch of travel for business, particularly to California.
In the summer of 2014, we spent 6 weeks in the Bay Area, LA and Las Vegas.
The primary reason for the trip was to meet with John Katovich and Jenny Kassan from Cutting Edge Capital to discuss the potential for a direct public offering (DPO) for our new ShopCalifornia.com master franchise.
This is a great opportunity to prove the community capital model and to give the average investor an opportunity to participate in an exciting new venture.
It had been almost two years since we were last in California, and we couldn't wait to catch up with our good friends Glenn & Michele, as well as our co-founder, Jim Terry. We were especially excited to introduce them to Jackson. :)
Here we are at Pier 39 in San Francisco.
One of our investors, Steve Outtrim, offered us his Fisker Karma electric car to use for the trip.
All in all, it was a very productive trip and laid the groundwork for the next one coming up in March.
Spending more time out west this year as we ramp things up with ShopCalifornia.com is a little bittersweet.
While I'm so excited about the prospects with this venture, and to get back out to see everyone there, Midland is still home, and family is still #1.
I'm hoping that there will be more time with our parents this year when we're not out west.
We're looking forward to taking some time this summer to enjoy Georgian Bay and all that our beautiful area has to offer.
On the business side, things have been progressing nicely, though we've had some pivots and bumps along the way.
Looking forward to sharing more in the coming weeks...
Have a great day!