Happy Valentines Day

Version 2Fourteen years ago, Sheena and I were living in Halifax.  We planned an early dinner date and ended up having an Italian restaurant to ourselves for our Valentine’s Day date.  We ordered our food and we were engaged between courses!   The manager of the restaurant was so honoured to have us celebrate at his restaurant that he came over and he toasted the occasion with fancy drinks he had just made.  It was a special night for sure.

Happy Valentines to all our loved ones today.

New Year news

During our Christmas and New Year break, we had some fun with family and friends.

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The girls had a visit from their Aunt Laurena and also took a trip to Resurgo Place, a museum in Moncton, where we all met with friends and cousins Karen and Kelly.  The museum has neat learning play stations, where you can try out experiments and inventions, plus the usual exhibits.

New Years was a great time for the kids.  They were invited to their first New Years party and got psyched up with New Years movies and music before going.  The midnight fireworks were a big hit — for some more than others!

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We also took a trip to Cape Breton between the snow storms after New Years.  It was a short trip, but we were able to catch up with the grand parents, spending a few family days packed with activity.  The big hit was The snowstorm day where we spend time playing games, watching movies, sledding, ‘belated Christmas dinner’, snow wrestling and more silly games!

Of course the beach combing in winter was our outdoor highlight.

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I took a 11 kilometre snowshoe hike on my birthday as part of my 40 at 40 challenge this year.  Sheena gave a gift of hikes to me, and I just have to do them! I’ll post more details on each one as I knock them down.  The first was in Wagmatook, Cape Breton.  I hiked in 3-4 feet of snow to the Humes River, in search of Humes Falls.  I did lose the trail near the end and without map or GPS, decided to turn around as it was getting late in the day.  Poor Willow was tired , not to mention her owner too.  A retry will be necessary.

Mabou: Still Standing!

We are so proud of our hometown and our family, recently featured on CBC's Still Standing series broadcast this week. It quickly captures some of the traditions of what we know from calling Mabou, Cape Breton a hometown. I often think of John Allan Cameron's music, when he talks about living and working away from Cape Breton but thinking of visiting home whenever possible.  

Side note: The donated house featured in the video was my grandparent's house, something they would have loved to hear about themselves.  Thanks to our parents and aunts and uncles for making us proud by having it serve as a home for an immigrant family. 

Have a watch and enjoy it as much as we did. Great Job Margie and Rodney and everyone else featured on the show.  See it here:

Halifax Trip: Bluenose Run, Friendly Meetings and a Birthday!

 

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Happy 9th Birthday to Rebecca!  She was excited for this weekend for some time as she knew that she would get to visit with her cousins and run in the Bluenose Run along with her sister — in Halifax!  Rebecca requested a homemade 'chicken fried rice' supper and was happy to have a 'somewhat' surprise cake with her cousins.  She was grateful for the gifts received over the past few days as well and wanted to send a thank you to all!   Our first evening was spent enjoying company and catching up with family.  

The following day, we started off to downtown Halifax to get ready for the kid's well-anticipated Bluenose Run.  Originally, they had learned about it from a beach friend they met last year, who said she runs in it each year.  Both girls had it in the minds they would do the same in the following year and had trained throughout the spring with Sheena.  They've been attending 'kid fitness' at the local gym and practicing runs, even pushing strollers around for their laps inside during the cold weather —  so, just getting there was a big thing for them.  Here's the crew of them lined up to take in some of the pre-event activities.  (Rebecca, Ocean, Summer, Abby)

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A large part of the experience of the Bluenose Run is enjoying it with thousands of others who also attended the race.  For the kids races, they have it set up as a closed course — so the kids run with other kids sans parents (in some cases) and have a big finish at the Metro Centre.  There they meet back with parents among a large crowd of other kids also meeting their parents.  Needless to say, the organizers recommend finding your meeting spot in the Metro Centre prior to the race and going over the race plan with your kids at the same time.  We were told that this year a record number of people attended the kids races, with 4000+ running at the same time.  We laughed, because 4000+ could easily be 6000+ with parents in the mix.  Here's an example of the starting area prior to the kids run.  

Toward Brunswick St Toward the start line

Abby started first and ran around the Halifax Citadel for her 2K run.  Sheena met her at the finish line and had to try and get Abby's attention several times as she was running with such a determined and business like expression!  Abby was proud of her accomplishment and her coveted blue nose.

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Rebecca ran her 4K run around the Citadel and the Halifax Commons route. I tried to see her at the finish line, but there were so many people finishing that I obviously missed her at the line, seeing that she turned up at the meeting spot and Sheena found her first!  She was also very happy about completing the race.  It was one of their first races alone in such a large crowd.  

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After a celebratory dinner and a well needed rest at home, I enjoyed a 'quiet' evening with Kris and Jean-Paul for a couple of board games.  

The following day, we had plans to meet with friends for most of the day.  One of the visits was with Matthew,  Melissa and meet their 7 month old Millie.  We met them at the new Halifax Central library and had our introductions before heading off for a walk to get lunch and a stroll through the Public Gardens.  The girls really took to Millie and Millie was a delight to see laugh and smile at the attention.  

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Here's Rebecca following Matt down Spring Garden Road.

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Rebecca’s Science Birthday

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Last Saturday, Rebecca celebrated her 8th birthday with a small group of friends from school.   Despite the SNOW (seen above), it turned out to be a really fun day for all.  This year, Rebecca asked for a 'science' party and she said she would invite all her friends that liked science from her school.  Sheena and her had prepared for the party by picking up some tools for science experiments to be done with the kids.  It actually turned out perfect on a snowy and cool mid-May day. (Might I add that later this week, we had two days with temperatures well into the high 20s).

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Here are the kids testing out the viscosity of certain liquids and the float-ability of objects in the various liquids!  The glass below looks colourful and you can see how the pasta and grape are floating on the syrup, but sank through the oil and water.

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At special request, two pizzas were promptly ordered from Chez MacDonaldo.  Everyone here seems to be eating intently.  It was neat to see all of Rebecca's friends in one place.  What was neat was that all played so well together and had really similar traits.  

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Since her birthday, the weather improved nicely.  The earlier cold weather had not stopped our tulips from blooming.  

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Here's Rebecca offering up one of her famous mud soups.  She may have been asking if we want some 'Meesi' soup.  (She hasn't mastered the pronounciation of 'Miso' soup yet).  We had some miso soup at a Japanese restaurant a few weeks ago and she's been asking for green tea and miso soup fairly frequently now.

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Here's Abby sporting her beautiful dress and concentrating on showing a few home picked flowers in her hand.  She loves picking flowers around the house and usually fills a glass on the counter with freshly picked yard and garden flowers of all types.  What you can't see is her rubber boots! A true country girl.  Her latest thing is playing catch with Dad.  She has a great throwing arm and catches well too.

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Guess Who’s 7?

Rebecca!!  We had a little family Birthday party for her on Tuesday night — and hope to have a bigger one with friends later in the weekend.  Rebecca is getting taller and sharper as time passes along all so quickly.  She really is a think on the fly type of girl — always busy with something every minute of the day.  In my mind, she'll always be that little smiling baby born in the windy thunderstorm.  

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Rebecca has been asking us for the last 5 months, 'How long is it until my birthday?' .  Needless to say, we've a few months reprieve now. 🙂  

Wedding Trip to Toronto: Congrats to Matt and Melissa!

IMG_0702  For the November 16th weekend, Sheena and I made a trip to Toronto (Sheena's first) for Matt and Melissa's wedding.  In getting there, we flew Porter airlines for the first time and who instantly had me at the mention of free beer.  Porter flies into Toronto Island airport, and with our arrival a night time, it gave some incredible sights of the downtown from the airplane.

 

After arriving, we quickly found that we would be able to walk wherever we needed for the weekend.  So on Friday, we soon found ourselves visiting the Eaton IMG_0702IMG_0721IMG_0702Centre and walking to the nearby square, heading down to the CN Tower, Skydome, Ripleys Aquarium, CBC building, and many other places downtown.  We were happy to take in the tall buildings and busy streets by sight alone – which was much different than life rural NB.  On Friday night we met with the wedding group at a restaurant called Le Marche.  It was set up like a market, where you 'shopped' for each course.  For the start of the wedding festivities, it definitely was a ball! 

 

 Sheena and daveIMG_0721On Saturday, it was a full day of wedding preparation.  Matt came to our hotel and we all got ready together.  Seeing that it was only a 15 minute walk, we walked down to the Royal York, where we took more photos prior to the wedding.  Everyone was looking spiffy!  Following that, we took an electric VW wagon to the Distillery District for the wedding at an art gallery.  The reception followed at an old distillery/alcohol storage building.  The surroundings were very rustic yet artisticly simple, making for a memorable and comfortable night of speeches, laughs and dancing!  (Oh yeah, thanks for the open bar Matt!) Follow this link for more photos of the wedding by the photographer.

 

IMGP2702IMGP2702Post-festivities on Sunday, Sheena and I went for a long exploratory walk downtown and ran into the Argonauts and Tigercats pregame fun by the Skydome (some videos of the festivities: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CW0g0NJ6gdo and http://youtu.be/7IqPX5we6E0 ) nearby tailgate parties, a Raptors pregame, the Santa Claus Parade and the Santa claus Marathon. We were amazed that all this could be happening in the same area!  We certainly enjoyed our weekend away — and thanks to Grandma for being the sitter for the weekend.  A special thanks came from Willow, who obviously got special treatment from Grandma.IMGP2703IMGP2702