Thanksgiving in Canada

October 15, 2014 § Leave a comment

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

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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.

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

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

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

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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.)

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

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

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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.

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My Dad needs a bigger lap for all his grandsons!

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

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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!

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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!

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

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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.

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

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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.)

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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 ;)

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

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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.

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

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

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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!

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

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!)

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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.

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

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

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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.

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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.

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

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(Totally unintentional.)

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

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We had a great holiday and hope you did too!

A Visit + A Baby Shower

June 24, 2013 § 1 Comment

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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.

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

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

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

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

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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).

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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.

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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!

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

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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.

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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.

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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…

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

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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.

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He could pass for my child, no?

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

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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.

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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…

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Christmas 2012

December 27, 2012 § 1 Comment

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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.

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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.

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

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I hadn’t seen Ryan and Suzanne since May!

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

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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

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

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

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

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I love my family!

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I hope you all had a great Christmas too!

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