Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Apple Picking 2017

This weekend we enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration with family and friends.  Saturday we enjoyed a turkey dinner with family at my parents.

Sunday afternoon we met up with friends to enjoy apple picking.  This is an annual tradition that Hannah and I look forward to each fall and the weather this year was absolutely amazing! 

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Hannah with her friend R and her little brother K.  The girls were in grade 1 together and are excited to be in grade 3 together now. 

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The kids’ mom Melanie and I enjoy hanging out together too, especially when we’re at the gym each week while the girls are at their gymnastics class. 

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Hannah lost her final front tooth earlier that morning.  It changes her smile so much and suddenly she’s looking so much more grown up. *sigh!*  Too fast!!

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At home we made our traditional apple crisp.  A yummy treat each year.  I enjoy spending special times with my little baking buddy!

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Sunday, September 24, 2017

Mid-Autumn Moon Festival with Friends

We celebrated and early Mid-Autumn Moon Festival/TET with friends last night.  It’s been unseasonably hot here  so rather than the parents shivering as the kids played at the park when we first gathered together, we hung out on lawn chairs while the kids ran through the splash pad!  I’ll take 35o/90o weather in September every single time!!

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We returned to the house to share a delicious Asian pot-luck dinner.  Oh my – so much delicious food!

Thanks to one of the dads not only did we get pictures of our amazing kids, IMG_5612

we also got a picture of the parents!  We have been getting together for the past 7 years to celebrate both Mid-Autumn Moon/TET and CNY so these families share a special bond and friendships.  Some of the mom’s met over 10 years ago when we used to get together at our bi-monthly Waiting Moms dinners!

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After dinner the children made lanterns, some donned their traditional dress and then the lantern parade began.  I couldn’t find Hannah but then realized she wanted to be the caboose of the parade.  LOL – that’s my girl!

Not sure if this is a lantern parade or a pose for the camera!

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I sometimes get teased about carrying a ‘real camera’ instead of just my phone but it’s times like this when it was pretty dark out that I’m thankful.  (Hoping to upgrade my iPhone 5 soon and I’m confident my phone picture taking will improve)

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When we returned home the final event of the evening was listening to a Tet book from Vietnam.  The kids were amazing and you could hear a pin drop when the book was being read.

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Thank you for organizing and hosting this wonderful event again this year Julia and Danny!  Many of these friendships we share are thanks to you and we appreciate all you do to organize this event each year!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

First Day of Grade 3

It’s hard to believe that Hannah is already in Grade 3!  Wow….slow down time, slow down!!
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Don’t you love that fancy sign!  Oye!!  I will admit to being a bit VERY distracted as the first day of school approached as we were preparing to go to Disney 3 days later – and Hurricane Irma was deciding to visit Disney too.   I was trying to pretend all was well when behind the scenes I had so much on my mind trying to make the best decisions for Hannah and I when at the time it was too early to decide anything.
Back to the first day of school…
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Hannah and I were both excited when we’d found out the week before school started that Hannah would be back in the class with her same teacher from last year whom we both loved!   (And yes, along with forgetting the sign I also forgot to take a picture of Hannah with her teacher the first day.  Can you say
d-i-s-t-r-a-c-t-e-d???)
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Hannah was also excited that one of her best friend’s from first grade was back in class with her!  Hannah and R.
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Have a great year sweet girl!  You’re going to rock Grade 3!!!
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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

New Disney Countdown–137 More Sleeps!!

Unfortunately I had to make the very difficult decision to cancel our Disney vacation last Thursday evening.  We were scheduled to leave for the airport in less than 12 hours and I’d held off making this decision as long as possible.  Hurricane Irma was still a frightening Category 5 and the word ‘catastrophic’ was in almost every newscasters vocabulary.  Nobody really knew where she would make land but since she was wider than the entire state of FL I knew it wouldn’t be a wise decision to continue with our trip.  While millions where trying to get out of FL, why would I take my daughter and willingly enter this frightening situation?

Sometimes doing the right thing isn’t the easy thing to do.  Poor Hannah cried and cried when I shared the news with her as I’d sheltered her from news and pictures of Irma so she was blindsided by my news.  Oh the tears….from both of us!

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She was a trooper though and I know she handled the news better than Mommy!!  The following morning when we woke up and Irma had been downgraded to ‘only’ a Category 4 I was suddenly second guessing my decision.  (What was I thinking second guessing???  D’oh!!!)

When I took Hannah to school Friday morning and then continued on to work, over and over again teachers, friends and co-workers were thrilled to see us and expressed how thankful they were that we hadn’t gone.  Me too!

Anyway, Disney gave us a 100% refund for our trip and Southwest gave us a travel credit for 100% of our flight costs as they hadn’t actually cancelled our flight.

The great news is that Hannah and I have already rebooked our trip and will be heading to Disney late next January for an awesome Mommy-Daughter trip….without Irma!!

Thanks to all who have checked in after noticing our countdown in the sidebar.

I’ve never posted about our Disney Cruise from earlier this year so my new goal is to get a Disney fix by working on those posts soon.

Monday, September 04, 2017

Tea Party with Special Friends

Hannah and I have a treasured group of friends in our China Travel Group and we are blessed to have a second travel group from our agency that we met with as they were preparing to travel to China and they have invited us into their group too.

This summer to celebrate their Forever Family Day we were once again  invited to their gathering.  This year it was a precious Mother and Daughter tea!

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Thank you so much for including us in your group get together Laura!  Hannah and I always enjoy the time we spend with you and the families in your group!  Such a treasured group of special friends!!

Summer Adventures

Hannah and I recently enjoyed a morning  of mini-golfing with Ange (Hannah’s wonderful daycare provider) and her boys.  We went to a new mini golf location and it was beautiful! 

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After mini golfing we enjoyed lunch together then Hannah and I were off on the second part of our day of surprises – Tree Trekking!  The adventure started by getting all her gear on.

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The place we went to had installed a kids course this year that was 3 – 6 feet off the ground and she loved it!!

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Her favourite part (in spite of the look on her face) was the zip line that she got to do each time she went around the course.  In reality she was asking me to quickly take the picture so that she could go around the course again!

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We’ve already decided that we’ll visit here again next year!  Hannah is hoping she’ll be 2” taller so that she can do the intermediate course.  Mommy’s not sure I’m ready for her to be 25’ up in the trees! Disappointed smile

There is a second play place at the same location so after the tree trekking Hannah and I enjoyed time running though nets and treehouses in the sky!IMG_5455

We both enjoyed this as I went up in the nets and treehouses with her some before watching from the safety of a bench below.

I’m so thankful these places were recommended to me by my friend Tammy.  Thanks Tammy!  New summer traditions have been born!

Monday, August 21, 2017

Finally Complete! Flood Reconstruction Done

This post has taken me a while to write as the rebuild was completed in late May, 11 weeks after the flood, and I’m finally finding the time to write it.  I can’t express the relief that we felt once all of the rebuild was complete and our lives could get back to normal.

Our challenges all started March 8th when I walked into our home to find water streaming from the second floor down into the first then down from there into the basement.IMG_4495

I will say that once the rebuild started it moved at a great pace.  The delay to start was mainly caused by waiting for budget approval and then from there for flooring to arrive and once it was ready.  I hired the the company who did the cleanup to do the rebuild as they’d been so amazing with the first part!  They moved everything along at a great pace!

The first big fix was to repair the huge hole in the first floor ceiling.  About 6 weeks after the flood it went from this

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to this one day 1IMG_4710

to this on day 2 as it was still drying.IMG_4717

When the ceiling was being sprayed little bits of it bled down onto the walls

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which meant an unexpected surprise that the entire main floor would be repainted!  Woot!!  I chose to keep it neutral and just lightened it up a bit.

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Once the painting was done it was time to install the flooring.  In order to do this everything needed to be packed up and I have to sing the praises of the restoration company as they came in and packed up everything in our entire 2 upper floors.  What a blessing it was to have this done for me and not need to do it myself!  Each evening Hannah and I would come home and guess what our house looked like.  There were only 2 nights that we needed to stay with my parents which was pretty amazing considering absolutely everything we owned was packed away.

Living Room

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Kitchen and eating area

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Hannah’s room when it was being used for storage.  (LOL – yes, she made a game of making her way into the rooms each evening when we checked out the changes.)

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Then the following day as they were laying the carpeting in her room.  I can’t imagine how many people it must have taken to pack and move everything and it was all seamless to me.  I’d leave for work and it would look one way and I’d return to a completely new home.  All of this was coordinated by the restoration company and I am SO grateful!!

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Friday night I was just hoping that we would be able to stay in our home for the weekend.  You can imagine my excitement and awe when we walked into THIS!  Yes….I cried!  Even the beds were made!  I was so relieved that after 11 long weeks our lives were finally going to be back to normal!

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Playroom as a storage room

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The playroom

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Mommy’s Room stuffed to the gills!  This was what it looked like Friday morning when I left for work…

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And this was what I came home to 9 hours later!!!  EVERYTHING was back in it’s place!!! There were more tears when I walked into my room.  (I’ll admit there were even tears the first night when I woke up in the middle of the night to use the restroom, just being able to FINALLY put my feet on the floor without having to find shoes or slippers first.)

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The final room to be renovated was the washroom where the flood started.  The renovation company had hoped to keep a functioning bathroom in our house each night but the night I arrived home to this and I realized that that hadn’t happened!  This is what I saw when I opened my garage door.   LOL – of course this was also the night that my piano students were coming to my house for lessons!  Oops! I sent out some quick texts to let them know that the house would be without facilities. Winking smile  Then ran to a local McD’s to use their facilities as it would be an option for the next 3 1/2 hours!!

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Because the bathroom vanity sat in water for over 24 hours the insurance company replaced it and what a treat it was to move from the 4 door cabinet

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to a new one with drawers!  Such a treat and I’m so happy with this new piece of furniture!IMG_4863

The very last step was to have the new couch delivered that had been sitting in storage for almost 2 months.  Our former couch (aka: the Big Blue Sponge) was old; IMG_4497

the filler love seat was tiny; IMG_4717

but oh…the new couch (with recliners!!) is wonderful! 

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It was a LONG, somewhat challenging few months as we recovered from the flood but now that all is said and done and it is behind us, it was a blessing in disguise.  I would not wish this on anyone but now our 20 year old home is fresh again and we couldn’t be happier!!

A big shout out to so many who helped us through this!!  There are too many to name (and I know I’d accidentally forget someone!) but, you know who you are and please know from the depths of our hearts, how thankful Hannah and I are!!

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