Thanksgiving in Canada

October 15, 2014 § Leave a comment


Last week, we flew up to Canada to spend my birthday/Nick’s birthday/Thanksgiving with my family!



Sure, waking up at 5am and traveling for 7 hours wasn’t the funnest birthday activity, but the payoff was HUGE. We spent a quiet evening with my parents at their beautiful cottage and I ate 3 delicious birthday cupcakes, made with love by my Mom.


None of this cupcake actually made it inside Henry’s mouth.



Henry enjoyed running all over and exploring my parents’ place. Last time he was there, he was only crawling!

On Saturday, we went to my sister’s place in Oshawa for Thanksgiving and met these two tiny babies!


My Grandparents and brother & sister-in-law also met us there. My brother brought me a much-appreciated birthday gift: two giant Dairy Milk bars! (Canadian chocolate just puts American chocolate to shame.)


For the first time, Henry got to run around with his older cousins. No one complained about him being boring this time!


In fact, I think Henry got much more attention than he ever expected!


Kids have been a presence at family gatherings for years now, but this time, it was like a kid explosion! Good thing they are absolutely adorable.


My Dad needs a bigger lap for all his grandsons!


These two just might be coming down with baby fever soon. I hear it’s contagious.


My sister Jenn is doing an incredible job at raising four kids (FOUR!!!). I asked her if she ever loses track of where everyone is and she admitted that yes, sometimes she does. You can’t really blame her – the twins are the quietest people in the house!


Although Henry didn’t sleep properly any of the nights we were there (he became my bed buddy), it was so great to get this trip in to see my family and meet my new niece and nephew. See you again at Christmas, Canada! Hopefully this time with more rest ;)

Grandma’s 80th Birthday Party

July 29, 2014 § 2 Comments

This year, my Grandma is turning 80! My parents were generous enough to offer their beautiful home as a venue for all my family to get together for a giant party to celebrate her. Nick, Henry, and I were so happy to be able to come too!


We arrived Wednesday evening and despite a rocky start with sleep, Henry had THE BEST TIME.


He loved being outdoors, seeing too many trees to even try to touch them all, the river, boat rides, and having so much room to crawl.


And of course he loved spending so much time with family.


We spent 4 days at the cottage and 1 day in Oshawa with my sister. Unfortunately, we had no time to get to Toronto to see friends, but I was so happy to have a visit from my friend Sara! (Also pictured: my cousin’s cute and friendly son, Kieran.)


Sara and I have been friends for over 10 years, but she moved to Scotland about 6 years ago and got married last year. She was in town visiting her parents with her husband, David, and friend, Hana. It was so great to catch up and enjoy her new Canadian-Scottish accent ;)


Later that evening, we had a campfire, complete with Grandpa selfies.


The next day, Henry had his first ride on my parents’ pontoon boat. I didn’t think I’d be able to put his robot costume-sized infant life jacket on him without a fight, but he didn’t care – SO MANY TREES!!!! For the rest of the day, all he wanted was to go down by the river and look at everything. He is already more outdoorsy than his parents.


Soon, more babies arrived! New parents Jeremy and Gioia brought an adorable 3 month old Dante.


Henry continued to love life, chowing down on PC baby food (added sugar! woooo!) and yelling to join the dinner conversation.


We had dinner at the longest table, sitting about 32 people. We enjoyed heartfelt tributes to my Grandma by my mom, aunt, and uncle. Tears were shed!


Then the cupcakes came out. Of course, the great-grandchildren that knew how to blow out candles lent a helping hand.


It was a really great weekend, filled with family. Unfortunately, we were missing the Martin family – my sister is too pregnant to travel that far away from her hospital. Twins come quickly!


So on Sunday morning, we packed up and said our goodbyes so we could say hello to Jenn and her family. And one great big HELLO to that BELLY!


I don’t know how she is doing it, but she looks absolutely fantastic and is still up and moving!

Henry is just about old enough to actually play with his cousins. It’s a pretty heartwarming sight. Of course, he is still a baby so at one point Jillian declared “I’m bored of Henry now.” I’m both looking forward to and dreading that honesty once Henry can talk. haha.


What a great trip. I wish it was longer, but we were very happy to get home yesterday. Happy birthday to my Grandma and lots of love to my whole family!

Christmas 2013

December 29, 2013 § Leave a comment

This Christmas was a very special one – it was Henry’s first.


Nick, Henry, and I flew to Toronto on Sunday with no drama. Henry fell asleep as soon as we checked his car seat and put him in the Baby Bjorn. He stayed asleep pretty much until we were just half an hour away from my parents’ cottage, and in true Canadian style, chose a Tim Horton’s parking lot to decide he was hungry and take a dump.



We were welcomed to my parents’ with a dinner of chili and lots of hugs. My Mom and Henry are so sweet together – they had lots of cuddling to catch up on since she was last here.


It was really nice to spend the first few days of our trip just relaxing in Fenelon Falls, where my parents live in a wooded area on a river. It snowed every day and is always the best place to spend Christmas. My Mom spoils us with her cooking and baking, and it was great to have an extra couple sets of hands to hold Henry. (Long showers and Nick & I actually going to bed at the same time!)


On Christmas Eve, as is tradition, we all met at my sister’s house in Oshawa. It’s the only place big enough to comfortably hold us all.


Henry met his Great-Grandparents and cousins for the first time.




We watched lots of CP24. The Santa Tracker reports were very exciting!


On Christmas Day, we were thrilled to have a visit from the Gordons. The last time Julia and I were at my sister’s place, it was for my baby shower and we were both pregnant.


Blake is just 10 weeks older than Henry, but look at them together! It was so great for these two little hams to meet, even if they didn’t understand quite what was happening.


We spend our last few days back up at my parents’ cottage, apparently dressing in coordinating colours for each family.



(Totally unintentional.)

We flew home yesterday and besides long lines at Pearson Airport, it was a breeze. Henry is a great traveler!


We had a great holiday and hope you did too!

A Visit + A Baby Shower

June 24, 2013 § 1 Comment


Last week, I flew up to the Toronto area to spend 6 days with my family. This was my last long trip to Canada, while I’m still allowed on planes.

I spent two days with my sister and her family in Oshawa, and the second of those two was my first ever shower (besides, you know, the kind with water)! Jenn and my Mom threw me a baby shower where a few family members and some of my best friends came to play games, eat food, and visit with me. Since I don’t like being the center of attention, I wasn’t sure how it would be, but I loved it. It was so great to have some of my most favourite people all together in one room to celebrate my baby-to-be.


I was so happy to finally meet my friend Joe and Dori’s adorable son, Rowan…


…who was, strangely enough, dressed exactly the same as my nephew Ben.


Thanks to everyone who came out, especially the boys who hung around and waited for the BBQ to start!


Of course, Julia couldn’t leave without us taking belly photos. I can’t believe she only has two months to go!


I spent Monday to Friday at my parents’ cottage in Fenelon Falls. It was mostly pretty chilly, but we had a few nice sunny days (perfect for building chipmunk houses with Grandpa).


My Grandparents came to visit and stayed for a campfire and sleepover. My Grandpa got wild and spit sambuca into the fire. My Dad called him Gene Simmons.

My family really is the best. Thanks for a great visit, everyone!

Canada in March

March 17, 2013 § 1 Comment

On Wednesday, I flew to Toronto to visit my family and friends!


My first stop was my parents’ cottage on Burnt River in Fenelon Falls.


It’s always nice to start my visit here, with just my parents. We eat and talk and go about our usual business and I pretend I live there for a few days.


It was pretty cold and snowed every day, but Mom and I still went out for ice cream. Kawartha Lakes is known for its dairy, you know.



On Friday, everyone met at my sister’s house in Oshawa, including Nick who flew in that morning, my grandparents, and my brother & his wife. Ben and Jillian were excited to show off their new pet guinea pigs…


…and Ben was in love with his new bamboo plant (for some reason).


Ben, who once had a speech delay, has become unbelievably chatty and keeps his poor sister awake all night. She actually left everyone to have a nap by herself in the middle of the afternoon.


He could pass for my child, no?


Nick and I spent the night at the Martin’s. Have I mentioned that the kids love Uncle Nick?


They really do.

That afternoon, to make the final stop in my Canadian tour, we took the train into Toronto. I was so happy to spend that evening with 8 of my favourite Torontonians! We had a quintuple date at The Emerson. Great call for a place to have dinner, Julia! We sat at a giant table in the front of the restaurant like it was made just for us and ate some delicious food.


I love these guys so much; it’s always such a tease to see them for just one night. I love that they’re always there when I’m in town though, even though I’d like to just steal them all to live in New York with me. Another cottage weekend this summer, ladies? Gowns!!!

Memory Lane

January 14, 2013 § Leave a comment

When I moved to New York, I gave my parents about five boxes to store. Those boxes included irreplaceable things that I didn’t feel comfortable shipping to myself, including my collection of photo albums from the pre-digital camera days. I wouldn’t look at those old photos too often when I had them, but thinking about something happening to the only physical copies of these memories gave me so much anxiety! So this Christmas, while I was visiting my parents, I managed to scan about 300 old photos.

It’s so funny to see how I’ve changed throughout the years…


« Read the rest of this entry »

Christmas 2012

December 27, 2012 § 1 Comment


It wouldn’t be Christmas without a visit to Canada to see my family. Nick and I flew up very early, a 7:45 am flight, on Saturday and headed to my parents’ place in Fenelon Falls.


We spent the first two days of our Christmas visit in the woods, on the river, which was lovely and quiet. It was great to catch up with my parents, just the four of us. On Sunday, I scanned about 300 photos from my old photo albums that are still being stored in their garage (stay tuned for a post from that later!) and that night, we went out for a really nice dinner at Pane Vino in Lindsay.


On Monday, we all drove down to Oshawa for the Christmas celebrations with the rest of my family at the Martin’s house.


I hadn’t seen Ryan and Suzanne since May!


And it was so good to see my cute little niece and nephew.


We all hung out, eating and drinking and talking until it was time to eat. Lucky for Jenn, my Mom still makes the turkey even when dinner isn’t at her house.



For the past couple years, my family has celebrated Christmas on Christmas Eve, which means eating our big turkey dinner and exchanging presents that night.


Ben and Jillian got their first Alfie toy this year and they fell in love with him.


When it was time for bed, Ben was so sad that Alfie had to go back to the North Pole that he kept getting choked up, telling us it “pulled on his heartstrings” that he had to leave until next Christmas.


He’s pretty much the sweetest little boy there ever was.


On Christmas morning, the kids actually slept in until almost 8:00!


Ben was thrilled to get a Polar Express train and Jillian was so happy just to get her “baby seal named Pearl” from Santa.


That day, we relaxed, visited, and ate even more.


I love my family!


I hope you all had a great Christmas too!

Happy Halloween!

October 31, 2012 § 2 Comments

I think many East Coasters are having the exact same reaction as Nick this morning: “Oh yeah, it’s Halloween.”

It’s hard to get back in the Halloween spirit after the intensity of the last few days, but I think these pictures of my niece and nephew in Oshawa will help.


Feel better? Good.

March in Canada

March 19, 2012 § 3 Comments

I flew up to Toronto on Wednesday to spend 5 days with some of my favourite Canadians!


For the first time since I moved to New York, I stayed with my sister for the majority of my visit. I was happy to get in so much time with her and her adorable family. I was reminded how much work it is – and how exhausting it is – to take care of two tiny ones all day long for three days straight. Oh, and did I mention they have a seven week-old puppy?


I mean, geez. How could I have missed Biscuit the puppy’s cutest month? I couldn’t. It was great timing for feet-biting cuteness.

Wednesday night, we had a bit of a party at the Martins’ in Oshawa. My parents and brother Ryan and his wife Suzanne came over for dinner…


…We had birthday cupcakes for Mom…


…and we played in the park afterwards.


Look at Jillian’s hilarious little face and firey hair. You need to zoom in on this one – she’s having the best time!


It was so nice to get to see so much of Jenn. I love spending time with the kids, but my favourite parts of the visit were at night when they’d be in bed and we’d drink wine and talk. She’s so strong and is such an amazing mom. For those who have been asking, she’s doing much better than you’d ever think after the worst thing happened last month.

After spending a “girls’ night” with Jenn and my Mom at the cottage on Friday night, I said goodbye to family and took the train into Toronto for the weekend. I stayed at Julia and Jay’s place, but since they were at a wedding Saturday night, I spent the evening (and night and early morning) with two of my favourites, Sarah and Karen.


We went to Woodlot, a tasty and extremely popular new Toronto restaurant, and then a few bars on Dundas Street. Guest appearances by Rob Blyth, Tami Noa Levy, and Stephen Bowles happened then we ended up at Sarah Townson’s house for St. Patrick’s festivities with Amy, Emillie, Damian, and Bettie! I stayed out way past my bedtime, but it was so nice to see everyone! Don’t you love it when you don’t have to sit and catch up, instead you embrace the moment and laugh and joke like old times? I sure do.

 Toronto, you are the best. Please never change so I can come back every few months and love you again!

 Now what you really came for… OBLIGATORY PUPPY PHOTOS!





Christmas 2011

December 30, 2011 § 1 Comment

Nick and I flew up to Canada to see my family for Christmas last Friday. We drove up to my parents’ cottage that evening and saw snow for the first time since that weird storm in October. It was lovely and oh so very Christmasy!

When we got inside, my parents showed us their tree (below). It actually volunteered to become a Christmas tree by falling on my Dad’s Jeep. It’s a little scraggly, but the pile of presents in front of it help.

Christmas Eve night was spent at Jenn and Ryan’s brand new house in Oshawa! It was great to see my sister and her family and they did a great job hosting their first Christmas dinner.


We all did our part to tire out the kids so they’d sleep that night, even though Ben is now old enough to know about Santa.


Ben loves to help clean!

Hello Kitty PJs and ice cream cone toys.



I think Jillian has a crush on my husband.


After the kids (and Jenn) went to bed that night, us adults exchanged presents and played Apples to Apples til after midnight. I love that game! Oh and the box above was part of my brother’s gift wrapping skills.

We got up before 7 am Christmas morning to watch the kids open their presents. Ben was up bright and early, but Jillian wanted to sleep in. Toys helped get her in the Christmas spirit.


The rest of the visit was spent at the cottage. It was nice to have some quiet time with my parents and Nick, but it was great that my Grandparents, Ryan & Suzanne, and Jenn & Jillian all came for visits too.


Lots of food was had, Canadian beer drank, and most importantly, family was around. What more do you need at Christmas? Oh, there were also multiple moose sightings up in Fenelon Falls! My American friends would have had all their stereotypical Canadian suspicions confirmed if they were with me.

How were your holidays? Did you travel?

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