May in Review

May began with a trip to Niagara Falls for a reunion with Katrine’s orphanage “sisters”. We stayed at the Great Wolf Lodge; which is absolutely awesome! Katrine had a great time splashing around in the wave pool and playing with her friends. She also like the kiddie water slides once she saw some of her friends going down them. She was really impressed with the falls and just wanted to stay and watch them inspite of shivering. On our way back home we stopped at the Botanical Gardens and Butterfly Conservatory. Katrine loved the butterflies. I was actually able to get one to land on me!! Others got them to land on their hands while I had to settle for my shoulder…oh well. We had a lot of fun wandering through the gardens and looking at the spring flowers. One of the highlights was when Glenn and her found some frogs beside a wee pond.

Looking at frogs.
Perched amongst the cherry blossoms.
At the wave pool.
By the falls.

Glenn’s birthday was over Mother’s Day weekend and we were lucky enough to have my parents staying with us so we were able to go out with some friends to celebrate. On Sunday morning we went with my parents to visit my nana and enjoy some treats. Nana is doing quite well for 95. In the afternoon, we had Glenn’s family over for a barbeque. It was fun seeing everyone and a special way to combine the festivities of the weekend into one. I got a lovely card from Katrine that she made at daycare (it made me cry) and Glenn got my favourite photo of Katrine and I from last weekend blown up and framed. I have included it below.

This past weekend, we journeyed down to London to do the Tomlinson family birthday thing. We spent Saturday at Storybook Gardens. The kids had a great time playing together and climbing the various play structures. Katrine’s favourite part was riding the carrousel. On Sunday, we stopped to visit another one of her orphanage “sisters” and her adorable new baby sister. The girls had so much fun playing with Thomas and making necklaces, that Katrine didn’t want to leave and come home. Today, we planted our garden. The soil is excellent and it has us believing that this might acutally be the year that our vegetables grow (we never got much at our last house). We planted beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots and cabbage. Katrine got to wear her cute Dora garending gloves and helped to plant the seedlings and then water them in. Hopefully our local wild bunnies won’t eat everything on us.

Katrine and her cousins
Helping Baba!

Katrine turns 3 tomorrow!

Can you believe that Katrine turns three tomorrow? Time has passed but she is ready to be three. Other than her birthday party this past Sunday, the most exciting thing about turning three is that you get to eat gum! I am not sure where we came up with that arbitrary rule but we did. So, as of tomorrow she can chew gum.
On Sunday we played host to 10 of Katrine’s friends and their respective parents. We decided to go with a pirate theme because there is a lot of fun things that you can do with pirates. We created “The Purple Pirate Tattoo Parlour” in the kitchen which was a big hit. I mean, every true pirate has a tattoo right? Katrine loves to show off her smiley face tattoo. That was about as piratey as she got. No wait, she briefly wore her hat. Some of the other guests came all decked out in lovely pirate costumes with hooks and swords but the most we could convince her to wear in terms of a costume was a white t-shirt, the hat and her tattoo. Oh well. Glenn made lovely paper hats for the two of us, so we were somewhat dressed up.

We set up a “Beanbag Booty” toss and “Pin the Pirate on the Island” games in the hallway. Both gained in popularity as the party wore on and the kids loosened up. The craft table was a pretty big hit. At least half of the guests sat down to glue and colour. That surprised me as they are a pretty active bunch and I thought that it would have been more chaotic. By far the most popular planned activity was the Treasure Hunt. Katrine’s cousin Dalia and I hide 48 little plastic eggs full of pirate booty around the main floor. Once the hunt started the kids let loose and were running here and there grabbing eggs and putting them in the communal treasure chest (I give a friend credit for suggesting that this might help avoid crying. As we told the kids, good pirates share their treasure). The most popular unplanned activity? The dress-up box and play kitchen. Our family room was full of kids serving food and trying on costumes. At one point and time, we actually had a pirate-princess-viking outfit created.


I have to say that I am quite proud of her cake. I give Glenn credit with suggesting I do something with cupcakes instead of cake because it would mean less work on party day. When I saw the Fisher Price pirate ship on a trip to Toys R Us one day, it was inspiration and I knew how it would all come together. The cupcakes provided the kids with just enough icing to lick off and an easily disposed of mound of cake residue. Katrine practically beamed when Glenn carried the cake to her.


I have to boast about how well she did having everyone over at our place playing with her toys. Aside from grabbing back her Sherman the Worman (she named him after the Backyardigans character) one time, she shared really well. Took it in stride more or less. She even greeted each guest at the door and handed them their craft project (Glenn folded a hat for each guest and I made each a toilet-roll telescope) before running off to something else. Then when they were leaving she handed each their loot bag and said “thank you for coming to my party. Happy birthday!”. It was pretty surprising.

Easter Weekend Fun!

Katrine began gymnastics classes on Thursday. She had a wonderful time. They got her up on the balance beam and trampoline which she thought was fabulous. They also began to teach her how to do a cart-wheel (she has been asking for a while but neither Glenn nor I can do one). Our favourite part? She left the class exhausted and slept like a log that night!!

On Good Friday, we went up to visit my Nana (she’s 95!). Katrine was excited as we haven’t been able to go and visit in a while as they have been under quarantine. We sat around visited and enjoyed ice cream sundaes. Much to Katrine’s delight, Nana had managed to get Katrine a small egg full of jelly beans which she devoured after polishing off her ice cream.

Sunday morning began with Katrine searching through her Easter basket to see what the Easter bunny had brought. The fat pencils were among her favourite items. (Yes, our Easter bunny likes to bring non-candy items). Then it was time to run around the living room searching for treats which the fluffy gift-giver had hidden. Then she had to sample some with a sigh before beginning to draw with her new pencils. Next, we went to visit Glenn’s dad and mom. Katrine is feeling some Grandparent withdrawal because she hasn’t been able to see her Attwood grandparents as often due to Glenn’s dad’s surgery. Anyways, visits are a huge hit with her. She insisted on taking her Easter bunny purse and stickers as well as some “homework” as she likes to call her connect-dot-sheets. Well, she entertained everyone with her gymnastics exercises and songs. Plus, she managed to scam some chocolate off of her Grandpa. After consuming some more chocolate, it was time for turkey dinner. We were lucky enough to have Glenn’s mom join us. We were going to have gluten-free rice krispies shaped like carrots but the green gummies that we had set aside for the leaves had mysteriously vanished. Hhmmm, a hungry Easter bunny or a little girl?
Easter basket booty


Today, Easter Monday, Glenn had the day off and we drove out to Puck’s Farm in Nobleton for their egg hunt. It was a wee bit cold but we all needed some fresh air. She had fun looking at the baby animals and going on pony rides. However, the highlight of the day was, by far, finding the small plastic egg and then trading them in for more candy.



Sigh, just think. This coming weekend we are having a Pirate Third Birthday Party complete with candy and a treasure hunt. I think that our family will sail through the rest of this month on a sugar high.

Celebrating the New Year

Let me begin by wishing everyone a happy Shrove Tuesday. We don’t actually do anything for Lent but today gives us the excuse to eat pancakes for dinner. This year we actually managed to enlist Katrine to help mix them up before swim class.


This past weekend saw my Nana turn 95 and the arrival of the Year of the Golden Pig, which in our house has also become known as “The Year when Elspeth will likely be born…maybe”. We had dinner in Chinatown on New Year’s Eve with two other families from Katrine’s travel group. We had all gone to see the Chinese New Year children’s symphony at Roy Thompson Hall. It was not quite what we expected and Katrine was not that impressed; probably because she was required to sit still AND quietly. The only part that she truly enjoyed was when a piece was presented on traditional Chinese instruments. Then they had her full attention. The girls really enjoyed seeing each other.

Sunday was a quiet day at home full of tobogganing in the backyard, puzzles, crafts and of course Dora’s Around the World DVD (we must watch it everyday). Then we cooked Chinese food for the three of us before Katrine opened her Hong Bao. Much quieter than last year’s family banquet but more in tune with our lives over the past few months.



Tomorrow is our 2nd Gotchaversary. It is hard to believe that two years ago today we were on the verge of meeting our little fireball. That day was certainly a blessing. Katrine has brought us a lot of laughter and joy. It has been wonderful to see how she has grown and learned these past two years. We will be going out to dinner and skating (weather permitting) to mark the occassion. Then on Saturday, we will be getting together with alot of the families who we traveled with so that the girls can play together and get re-aquainted. We will miss our families out west but we will be thinking about them.

February Fun Begins

We have had some fun mixed in between viruses. Yesterday afternoon we took Katrine out to the backyard and broke out the toboggan. As you can see, we have a MASSIVE hill leading into the yard. The perfect size for a two year old.


In the evening we headed out to the FCC (Families with Children from China) Chinese New Year banquet. The actual new year’s eve is not until this coming Sunday but we started early. We were joined by a group of families who we traveled with which helped to make it even more special. We ate a full banquet, were entertained by singers & dancers and also a lion dance put on by some of the girls. Katrine was especially impressed by the red envelopes that she received. She told me tonight, “We eat Chinese. My tummy full. I like play my friends and see Aie’s. I get red money and chocolate.”


Doing her own Dragon Dance



Can you believe that she turns 3 in April?


Merry Christmas!

We have finished the last of our Christmas celebrations and I thought that it would be nice to take a moment to share some of the holiday highlights.


Katrine visiting Santa

Our holidays began the first weekend of December with a visit to my parents in Victoria Harbour. My brother and his family were also up there so we had an early Tomlinson Christmas (complete with turkey dinner). On the Saturday night we trecked off to St. Marie among the Huron for their period celebrations. The kids got to stay up late and do crafts while walking around by candle light. One of the highlights of the evening was listening to the Native drummers. We would have stayed longer in the longhouse but it was too smoky. Sunday morning was gift day. It was nice to see all of the kids ripping paper and smiling at their various gifts.

113 Christmas dinner

117Learning to write with a quill.

123This is the only real snow that Katrine has got to play in so far.
120 The excitement was unbearable.
Sunday, December 17th was our holiday open house. It was really nice to show off our new house while having a chance to chat with friends. It also gave me an excuse to do some gluten-free baking. I am getting much better at transfering family recipes into gluten-free concoctions. Katrine had a blast running around with all of her friends. We only wish that more families had been able to join us.

Christmas Eve was a bit quieter. Glenn, Katrine and I went to visit my Nana at her nursing home and too drop off some presents for her. She surprised us by giving Katrine her stuffed puppy dog that sits by her bed. Katrine usually plays with it when we visit so she was tickled pink. My parents had driven down from the Harbour (my dad is recovering from kidney stones), and my mom joined us at church. Unfortunately, I missed a chunk of the service as I was dealing with a tantruming toddler. Oh well, maybe next year.

126 Had to show you Katrine’s Christmas dress; just in case she never wears it again.
On Christmas morning, Katrine let us sleep in until 8:00 before we journeyed downstairs to see what Santa had brought. She was still pretty calm this year because she still sees Santa as a fat, old guy who gives out candy canes if you ask nicely as opposed to the bringer of your heart’s desire. We managed to get her to eat some breakfast before we dove into the pile of gifts. We tried not to go to crazy but there still seemed to be a lot of stuff at the end of it all. After gifts Glenn and I took Katrine to visit his parents and then it was back up to the nursing home to see her Great-nana again. After the turkey and fixings we enjoyed Baby Jesus’ birthday cake. I have to tell you that Katrine actually helped to make it by pouring the various ingredients into the bowl and sprinkling the stars on top. I also have to give her the credit for thinking this tradition up. She is currently obsessed with birthdays and parties…constant topic of conversation. Well, we were trying to explain that Christmas was when Jesus was born. Then, on went the light bulb and hence the cake.


132 Look at what Santa made for Monkey. The lengths we will go to for our kids.

135 This present thing is so taxing.


On Boxing Day the three of us drove out to the zoo and walked around for a few hours. The fresh air and exercise were great pick-me ups after all the food. In the afternoon, we headed over to Glenn’s parents for the Attwood family Christmas. More food, more family, more gifts. It was a relaxing and fun time.



Today, the last day of Christmas, we had the Toop family Christmas(Glenn’s mom’s side of the family). It took Katrine about an hour to truly feel comfortable but then she was off and running. She really had a great time with her cousins. It is nice that she has so many cousins close to her own age.

Now we have a few days to rest before we drive back up to Victoria Harbour to celebrate New Years with my folks. We hope that all of you have had an enjoyable December.

Another long time between updates

Well I guess that moving does take a lot out of you.  We have all been feeling under the weather (I have another upper-respiratory infection) and Katrine is feeling just about as well.  We also found out that Heather had a untreated 1st degree sprain of her foot that caused much pain and a locked ankle and calf muscle… yeah we’re really healthy over here.

Things are looking up though.  We are slowly getting unpacked and we are definitely feeling settled in that we now more often call it “The House”, rather than “The New House”.  With Christmas around the corner we should have a few new postings and maybe some pictures.

Been busy…

Sorry for the lack of updates recently, we’ve been busy getting ready to move into our new house. Actually we’re getting ready to take possession of the new place and do lots of fix-ups. New windows, new and repaired flooring, and lots of painting and cleaning will be the order of the day from October 3 until we move on October 25.

In the meantime, we managed to find time to go to the Kite Festival. We really had a good time, and wore Katrine out. She did get to fly her first kite though (it didn’t stay up for long).

We were also in and out of London last Saturday for Charles’ 4th birthday. The indoor playground was a blast for the kids, and we were sure that Katrine would sleep the whole way home, but no… 15 minutes was all she needed. Of course she looked spaced anyway.

Group 268 Meeting

Welcome to the last week of August! That means school starts next week. Sigh!

This past weekend we had the chance to get together with three families in Elspeth’s group at a park in Orillia. It was a beautiful day. The adults chatted and generally got to know a bit about each other while Katrine played with one couple’s children. The highlight of her day though was definetely the train ride around the park. Especially when the train went through the tunnel.


The past two weeks have been pretty exciting for Katrine. We bought her a three-wheel scooter last week (they were on sale). She has been practicing using it inside the house and can get some pretty good speed. Now she just needs some practice steering. When we were up at Heather’s parents, they gave Katrine a small trike with the seat all the way down. Katrine was thrilled. Since then she has been out peddling everyday. She can peddle pretty well but can’t start when fully stopped. She can steer pretty good around corners but gets distracted by the scenery on straightaways.



We have an LID!


We received word that our dossier has been logged in! (It was actually logged in shortly after it was sent overseas but you know how long paperwork can take.) That means that our official wait has begun! This is very exciting. It brings us one step closer to Elspeth’s referral.