Tomorrow, Glenn and I celebrate 25 years together.  A quarter-century ago, we officially decided we were a couple and invited each other to our respective Thanksgiving dinners.  It was both exciting and nerve-wracking to think that about meeting his family and him getting to meet my family of five (well really just my older brother and my nana because he had already met my parents).  On the Saturday morning, Glenn showed up to get me.  Okay, off we went in his father’s Blazer and me thinking that at least I knew his brother.  I was about to get a total shock because this was not a family

I was about to get a total shock because this was not a family thanksgiving but a FAMILY thanksgiving.  Instead of being just for immediate family, this was an extended family dinner.  I got to meet his parents and everyone else in one fail swoop.  I am not sure what kind of impression I made at that meal.  Little did I know that day how much I would come to love everyone who was at that meal.  That day I met a huge clan of wonderful people who have been a blessing to us and the girls ever since that day.

How did Glenn fair?  Well, he did get a smaller gathering but there was one hiccup.  I forgot to mention to my mom that he was vegetarian until he was pulling into the driveway.  She spent a great deal of that meal worried that she would have enough sides to fill up this really tall boyfriend.  Well, Glenn is no longer a vegetarian and my mom still takes pleasure in making him her sweet potatoes so it turned out okay.  Glenn enjoys spending time with my family as well so there are blessings on both sides really.

Thank you to everyone who helped get us together when we were too shy to take the leap at first.  And, all of our friends who have journeyed with us from high school onwards as well as those who have joined us along the road.  Thank you to our families who taught us both the importance of commitment, acceptance and treasuring the small things.  Finally, thank you to our girls who add spice to our lives.

Wonder what the next 25 years hold!

That Toop Thanksgiving
Our first Halloween (matching Phantom of the Opera costumes)

Penguin Party

Elspeth’s love of penguins is as strong as ever.  This year she decided that it was time to have a penguin themed birthday party.  It turned out really well and I think that all of the girls had fun.  Hope you enjoy the photos. (Oh, and it is not letting me rotate them again)

8th birthday party

Fall fun

finally coming out of the back to school craziness to give you an update on our comings and goings.  What have we been up to?

Apple picking and let me tell you, that first batch were some seriously good eats!  They lasted just over a week and I had to stop for more.  This is one tradition that I love because it sees us outside in the fresh air spending time together and smiling.










We participated in Markham Fair again this year and were rewarded with a absolutely perfect fall day….I mean, it felt like summer.  It was nice enough to sit outside and enjoy the kites being flown in the field across the way and the action of the rodeo.  How did we do?  Well, both girls ended up winning their age division for baking.  In fact, Elspeth has already spent all of her winnings on a Hatchimal while Katrine is saving hers up until she finds just the right purchase.  Elspeth also entered a apron that she made with my mom and it took first prize for under 18 as well as a special award for youth sewing.





























We also marked the Moon Festival with wayyy to many Moon Cakes.  The girls would eat them for breakfast if I would let them.  Of course, Elspeth is back to Brownies and already on her way to reaching her goal of Cookie All Star (thanks to all those who helped by buying a box of cookies).  One of the activities that the girls do is bring home a Brownie doll to spend the week with them and journal about.  Well, this week Brooke got to celebrate the Moon Festival with Elspeth.



Elspeth’s August

Crafting, Baking, Skate boarding, lots of swimming, playdates – basically, ordinary summer break stuff.  Enjoy the photos.

Solar powered smores cooker (not the best but does the job).
Gotta have a treat every now and then.
During a day at the beach, some ducks gathered at her feet.

Baking for Markham Fair
Trying out the local skate park.

Pre Novice Begins

Skating is what Katrine has been up to since we got home.  There have been get togethers with friends, a movie, some shopping and relaxation; but mostly skating.  You see, her parents pulled her out of training for the better part of a month and right before her first two competitions of the year.  Can you believe it??!! Neither we nor she have any regrets about that decision, but it has put her a bit behind the original training schedule.  That said, she looks beautiful in her new dress.  Loves her two (yup, two) programs and is looking forward to her next two competitions this fall.

Final Day in Beijing

Okay, it is finally here – the post about our final day in Beijing.  We didn’t fly home until around dinner time so we obviously couldn’t spend the day in our hotel.  No matter how peaceful, we would have gone stir crazy in about two hours.  So, we headed back out for one final adventure – at Beihai Park which was a short subway ride from our hotel.






When we adopted Katrine I had hoped to visit this park to see the dragon wall but it didn’t happen and on Elspeth’s trip the focus was on keeping two girls happy not on what mommy wanted to see.  This trip, I finally made it and I was not disappointed.  Of course there was a big, beautiful lake in the middle of the park that we were able to calmly stroll along.  This time however, there were some unusual boats that you could rent.  We decided against it in favour of exploring.





Our explorations took us to the temple inside of the park which was absolutely full of water lilies and lotus in bloom.  Gorgeous and peaceful.  I think that this was the girls’ favourite part of the day.  Here are some of the photos that they took.






Did I get to see the Nine Dragon Wall?  You bet and it was stunning.  I had seen pictures of it in books while at university but it was much more impressive in person.  The colours were more vibrant than I had anticipated.  For me, this was the high point of the visit.  Thank goodness the girls also enjoyed looking at the dragons and choosing their favourites.










After the park, there was just enough time for lunch and a bit of a rest in our hutong.  Our final lunch in China – noodles of course!


Happy 150th Canada!

Yesterday we were thrilled to spend Canada Day with my parents and a friend who we haven’t seen in a while.  This year, Elspeth did not play at the Canada Day celebrations but Katrine skated.  And what a skating show that was.  Throw in some crafts, playtime, fireworks, good food and good company and it was a wonderful Canada Day.

Chilling today
Happiness is a rainbow


June Catch Up

Okay, I am totally behind in my posts because June has been…..well, let’s just go with busy.  We ended May with Elspeth’s first band parade of the year.  It was cooler than last year which made it more comfortable for wearing wool kilts.

The next weekend saw her off to her very first Brownies Camping adventure.  She LOVED it and is already looking forward to next year.  That same weekend was Katrine’s Youth Group musical at church.  It was amazing and obvious how much work they had all put into it.  Very proud of her.  We also had the chance to celebrate Grandpum’s birthday with the very traditional birthday danish!

The cabin was beautiful.

The only photo without the whole cast.
Forgot the school concert.


























Then we had Elspeth’s school fun fair.  As you can see, she thoroughly enjoyed herself.  The next week it was the After School Care BBQ.  We dragged Katrine there just long enough to get her arm painted and have some food before she was off to the Youth Group party.  This past week Elspeth and I briefly went to our Ward councillor’s BBQ because there was free cotton candy where we discovered that cotton candy does not hold up well to humidity.  Katrine was still skating while we were getting the treat and by the time she was off the ice it had shrunk to 3/4 the size! (And not because I had eaten any).























There was also the end of the Brownie year which means even more sewing for mom.  Plus, Elspeth and a fellow Brownie held a lemonade stand in the park to raise money for Sick Kids.  They had a blast and raised $75.00.  Definetely a proud mommy moment.

Sit on the table when you can’t reach the markers.























Throw in Father’s Day, a penguing with a broken flipper, sleepover, report cards and Visa stress and you have our June.  Bring on the summer!

The cast came off by the end of the day. Apparently, penguins heal quickly.

Happy Victoria Day Weekend!

Let me begin by explaining why this post is so Elspeth heavy.  All of the photos with Katrine also have her cousins in them so ….. this weekend we went to visit my brother and his family.  The girls were really excited because he showed them how to light a fire outside, keep it going and then they used it too cook hotdogs and marshmallows for us all for lunch.  Everyone else?  Helped to put up Scott’s new shed.

New Shed

What have we been up to?


Playing with her school band at their anniversary fun fair, getting an award for passing 7 skating tests this season and designing her new long program dress.


















Going to a sleepover at the zoo and breaking in her new guitar.













Celebrated his birthday with a relaxing dinner at home with his girls.






Mother’s Day- Grandma T:

Today, Elspeth volunteered with the Brownies to work at the Doors Open/Mother’s Day tea at the local heritage center.  While this was happening, Katrine was treating her Grandma to tea.  Flowers and a yummy dinner complete with jello-a-la-grandkids topped it off.