A Whole New World

A long overdue update and brief look into our whole new world…



Hard to believe it’s been almost a year since I started this blog, and almost as long since I last wrote in it.

There was so much change and upheaval in our lives, it was painful to write about it and I didn’t really know where to begin. I had actually written about it once while sitting in a Starbucks, but then I lost wifi signal as I was posting and the entire post was lost. I never had the energy to re-write it. I also felt like I needed to update people before I could post new things.

Today i decided… to heck with it. It’s a whole new world for us and I’m just starting fresh and new. There is something to be said for simply starting new and forgetting the past. I’m open to sharing updates personally with people that I see, but frankly I don’t have the time, energy or heart to re-write a whole update from the past 9 months. Those that know us, already know the story inside and out. If you want more details? Just ask me personally and I’ll share.

Focusing on the good and leaving out the bad and the ugly… here are some photos from the past 9 months of our life… There have been a lot of great times in between the stress and difficulties. We have all focused on our family love, and building up our strong emotional connections and bonds. I’m proud of our little family and the work we’ve done to get here.

Our next 3 weeks are busy and exciting and the start of all sorts of new adventures for us and our loved ones!

We’ve just enjoyed a week’s visit from Mama T’s parents who live in Ottawa… Grandma M and Grandpa B! We all love visits from the “Grands”… it means lots of special desserts (Grandma’s ice cream pie is a particular favourite with T&H), great conversations, some extra help with jobs around the house (this time Mama T had a whole list prepped for Grandpa and he got through almost all of it and more while he was here!), fun outings to our favourite tourist stops, and lots of love, hugs and snuggles. Visits from family are always special! But also hard to say good-bye at the end! We will see you soon I’m sure!

Some photos from the past week’s visit with them…

Next weekend, our niece is getting married! We have 2 nights away in Squamish as they are getting hitched at the Furry Creek Golf & Country Club. She is marrying K, who my kids absolutely ADORE! They call him a great big kid… an adult who loves to play Lego and video games, dresses up and takes them out trick or treating for Halloween, and understands the intricacies of Star Wars. Their wedding even has Lego theme to it… what could be better than that?

sam and kev wedding invite
Some of their wedding art…

We all are thrilled to welcome K into our family!

Sam and Kev halloween 2017
Kevin and Samantha, Halloween 2017

Lots of my extended family is arriving over the next few days and I’m looking forward to visiting with a few of them, however short those visits might be! (Right G????)

My mother is staying on for a week, visiting with mother of the bride, KAJ. Then coming to our place next Friday.

Then MONDAY May 28… we embark on a 7 night Disney cruise to Alaska!!! We will depart and return from Vancouver with port stops in Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan. And we cannot wait.


So Much Fun Ahead!

In the midst of all of this… I have changed jobs multiple times… from part time cashier at Superstore Metrotown, to part time behaviour interventionist with one family, to full time behaviour interventionist in the valley for multiple families, to my final resting spot for a long time I hope… Manager of Football Development with Australian Football League Canada.

If my Grade 7 Phys. Ed teacher coulda known that my job title would someday be Manager of Football Development??? I think he woulda laughed in my face even more than he did during the painful attempts to teach me to throw a football back at Connaught Public School, Ottawa. Of course, AFL is a completely different sport than NFL or CFL football. Check it out here!

I’m looking forward to supporting the mission and vision of this great volunteer driven organization as they move towards the next phase in sport development here in Canada!

And that is my positive news update for a WHOLE NEW WORLD! More on the the rest of the fam jam next time.

A Whirlwind with a Wedding, Wonderland and Water

We may have only been here for 3 weeks, but look at all we have done in that time! Such adventures!

I’ve been in Ottawa since June 11th. It’s hard to believe that this is only 3 weeks considering what we’ve done in that time:

  • Unpacked what feels like a million boxes
  • Visited and completed school & bus registration for fall 2017 for Mr. T&H
  • Celebrated my sister’s wedding and welcomed Rick to the family!!
  • Attended a local “Paint Nite” fundraiser and painted a night sky canvas with friends
  • Hosted out of town family and guests
  • Driven to Toronto to make an airport drop off of family (that was visiting for the wedding)
  • Camped in a Yurt at JELLYSTONE PARK and met my alter ego, Yogi Bear!
  • Visited Canada’s Wonderland in Vaughn, Ontario
  • Experienced a lot of rain and crazy storms including thunder, lightening, and hail like I’ve never seen before!
  • Spent a few afternoons at the summer cottage, swimming and boating and relaxing by the river
  • Took a hop on / hop off bus tour of Ottawa in an open top double decker bus while it rained
  • Celebrated Canada’s 150th with millions of other people, visited the Carp Farmer’s Market… but spent it mostly at home since it was pouring rain and kids were cranky!
  • Explored our neighbourhood by foot, bike and car

What a whirlwind!

We are finally settling into our new normal routine, after this whirlwind start to our time in Ottawa.

One of my favourite things from the past 3 weeks has been welcoming Rick to our family! After weeks of rainy cold weather, their wedding day dawned sunny with clear blue skies and seasonally warm temperatures. We got a taste of what a true Ottawa summer would be like! The ceremony was a traditional Anglican wedding and the reception was hosted on the back lawn of the church under cover of a big white tent. It was the perfect reception for this low-key, relaxed couple.

They welcomed all members of their church to attend both the ceremony and the reception and I was lucky enough to meet many of these lovely people. A friend of mine offered to take photographs of the people who were at the wedding and so the two of us went around to each table and offered to take photos of the guests. It was a wonderful gift that Belle Images offered to my sister and I’m incredibly grateful for the gift of her time and talents on this day. (She takes exquisite photographs of people, animals and plants in the beautiful outdoors as well as inspiring landscapes from all over the world… if you are looking for some wonderful photographic artwork, I recommend Karen. But I might be a tad biased since I’ve known Karen for over 30 years!)

I am so happy to welcome Rick to our family! The most important part is that Rick loves my sister and makes her happy, and really that is all I could ask for in a brother in law. But over the years that Rick and my sister have been together, Rick has shown us that he has a huge heart and a deep love of family, whether that is family by blood or by choice. He wants to support our family, even the crazy people in it, and is willing to put himself out in order to do that. He believes in family. Rick has strong opinions on topics that matter to him and he’s not afraid to voice them, backing up his opinions with facts and stats, showing me how intelligent and diligent he is. He’s not just a “hot head” but he cares enough about these things to educate himself and others on the topics, in a respectful manner. And he’s got a goofy sense of humour which doesn’t hurt. He’s willing to laugh at himself first, and never at the expense of others. I love how excited and happy he was to marry my sister… he was like a teenager and it was adorable to see.

Plus he’s got excellent taste in rum! 🙂

I’m really happy that Gillian met you Rick… welcome to our crazy little family!

Before the ceremony, my sister told me she had one job for me to do. She handed me her phone and said, “I need you to update my Facebook status before Rick. He always gets there first.” With glee I took the phone and was happy to update her status as soon as the priest announced that they were married!

What I didn’t think about until 30 minutes later is that my sister gave me her phone, with the lock off, and I had free access to take photos on it! And so we did! We took so many fun photos that day on her phone… leaving her with the “back of the room” record of the wedding reception shall we say? Well they DID say that their theme was FUN… I think I delivered quite nicely!

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Well after the merriment of the wedding, we decided to head down to Canada’s Wonderland for a short visit. We were driving Miss S. to the Toronto airport anyway, and this was something we wanted to do anyway. We thought “why not?!”

If we had looked at the weather forecast we may have changed our mind!

While this was the view as we left Arnprior the day before our drive to Toronto, it is pretty much identical to what the sky looked like as we drove into Toronto, and later as we approached our campsite at Jellystone Park! We drove through sunshine but also rain, thunder and lightening, and hail!


As we arrived at Jellystone Park, the skies opened up creating a lake where our fire pit should be! But at some point, you just have to throw up your hands and embrace the wet and mud (after a quick trip to buy some rain ponchos and extra clothes for Miss D) … some of us embraced it a little too closely… ha ha!

The next day dawned chilly but the sun was shining through the clouds so we made our way to WONDERLAND for a day of rollercoasters and fun. The boys embraced the fun and Miss D warmed up to it after a mid-morning nap in the stroller. The skies did open up periodically but we had the rain ponchos and changes of clothing so all went well. The water rides were a little chilly though! Thankfully we’d thrown in bathing suits so they had dry and warm clothes to change into afterwards!

It was a great way to reconnect as a family after a month of being apart or on the go. And such fun sharing my memories of Wonderland with my kids! T&H were the perfect age to go as they could ride anything they wanted, were brave enough to go on the rides on their own, could walk the whole day without losing it, knew when they’d had enough and were ready to go home. As I said to them early in the day, “If we do everything the first day, there’s no reason to come back to Wonderland next year!” They took that to heart so we heard no objections when we left the park shortly after 6 PM. The next morning, Yogi Bear made an appearance at the campsite and it was a great distraction as we packed up to head home. It was truly the highlight of my trip.

You see, my alter ego is Yogi Bear. It has been my “camp name” for 30+ years and I strongly associate with the fun loving, picnic basket stealing, character. He is a character that you don’t see that often and his popularity seems to be waning, but I still adore him! My sister and I made up stories about your camp nick names that involved a mission trip to Africa, goats and a village elder. We strung the entire camp along on our hoax for the summer and there are some campers still today, all grown up that they are, that still believe our make believe story despite it being completely far fetched and pretty much impossible!

Ask me about it sometime… it’s a great story!

Our little family is now settling into the next chapter in our lives, getting into a routine of work and play for all of us.

And sadly, next week Mr. T&H head back to BC for 6 weeks with their father. We will miss them when they go! That will be the next great adventure!