23 Dec 2018

Family and friends

We took a few trips into Toronto and Cambridge over the fall, mostly to see family and friends. On one trip, we had lunch at the Dagu Noodle restaurant just off Bay St. in Toronto. Took some effort to get there, as the Toronto Marathon was in full swing at the time.

A month or so later, we went to a noodle restaurant in Markham during a quick trip to a large T & T Asian grocery store. Parker tagged along with us, as it was the same day as our great-niece's birthday party.

In Cambridge, we visited with Eric's sister Cathy and all her children at the same time! This was our last chance to see everyone before Christmas, as Cathy was soon headed back home.

Cathy, Dan, Leanne, and Carrie

All of Cathy's grandchildren were also there!

Laura, Elyse, Cathy, Jacob, and Brynn

We were thrilled to go to a hockey game to catch up with our friend Clara - she was on our Iceland trip and was in Hamilton for her granddaughter's hockey tournament. 

Clara, Wendy, and Eric

Ying has met several fellow visiting scientists at the university (each with one child), so we invited them over for a lunch at our place. They will be coming back for a dinner on Christmas day for a combined traditional and Chinese dinner!

Maddy enjoyed a visit with her friend Abby for a few days, and especially liked that Abby shared her rawhide chew. Maddy loved borrowing it and running around the house, only to noisily drop it whenever her neck muscles became tired. It really is as big as her whole body, but she doesn't care!

Maddy also got her hair cut just in time for Christmas. The pretty bow she received lasted less than a minute after she got home. 

Lots of firsts!

Lots of 'firsts' are happening around here!  We have had a great fall and early winter doing some things that may seem reasonably normal to us, but are bona fide first-time experiences for Fanfan and Ying. 

We took in a pumpkin patch hay ride and chose some cool Halloween pumpkins.


We went to our friend's Terry and Theresa for a chilly marshmallow roast.

Fanfan was invited to our great-niece's birthday party in Toronto (they made slime!), and here she is decorating her container. With an extra seat available, Parker does the same (he made his slime in Waterloo colours!).

Parker had a significant first this fall - he voted in the municipal election!

Fall leaves were a big hit with Fanfan, with her and Wendy taking part in a leaf jump! 

Soon after, we got a small amount of snow. Fanfan and Ying got to shovel it and make their very first snowman!

 Somehow Fanfan already knew how to make a snow angel...

Getting closer to Christmas, decorating a house with icing and candy was a new experience.

Tracking Santa down on the street and having a chat was definitely a first. She was even able to ask for a gift, in English.

A horse-drawn carriage ride through town was also an interesting activity, although the purpose may not have been very clear for her.

 Making cookies for the first time was delicious!

15 Sep 2018

And the answer is...

Wondering what we are doing with that booster seat from the previous post?

Our neighbours JP & Heather came to us over a month ago and asked if we were interested in having a visiting professor from China and her daughter stay with us for a year. We had been thinking about opening our home again for a while (Stanley stayed for 1.5 yr), so we quickly said yes - knowing we would have an empty nest after both boys left for college/university in September.

Less that 10 days after the kids left, off we were to the airport to pick up Ying and her 5 year old daughter Fanfan! In the last 5 days we have come to know two very wonderful people who had never been out of China and were ready for a new adventure. It has been so much fun learning about them and teaching them the odd ways Canadians do things. Lots of shopping for clothes and other essentials (we bought mitts even though it was 31C!), and lots of downtime as they adjust to their new home. We are even putting Google Translate through its paces, since Fanfan knew no English! One thing is for sure, Fanfan loves pink!

Fanfan loves Maddy. The feeling appears to be emphatically mutual. 

After a quick shopping trip to an international food store (store slogan: "where east meets west"). 

Booster seat was a hit! 

Ying, tired after a busy few days. 
Not sure what the future will bring (kindergarten starts next week), but it sure is going to be fun!

I guess it is also good practice for our grandparenting skills!

9 Sep 2018

We've gone empty nest!

Well, time certainly flies! We have officially become empty nesters. Both Adam and Parker have left home to go to school. We had planned on them taking turns going to school (they are nearly 5 years apart in age), but that is not how things have worked out. Cha-ching, cha-ching,...

Adam left first, just before Labour Day. He headed up to Canadore College in North Bay, about 4 hrs drive from home. He is in the Aviation Technology – Aircraft Maintenance and Avionics program. This is a 3-year intensive hands on training that seems to be right up Adam's alley. He is living in a basement apartment, sharing with his Dundas friend Neil, who is also going to Canadore for a different program. We don't have any current pictures of Adam of his move out date (we were at work), but if you check back to July 1, there are some pictures of him packing his first of several loads to head up to North Bay.

Parker left home last week. He is only about an hour away at Waterloo University in Kitchener-Waterloo. He is in the Bachelor of Arts & Business (Honours) Co-op program. He is planning to do a double major in Legal Studies and History. He is staying is residence at St. Jerome's University College (one of several colleges that are part of Waterloo U). It looks like a fantastic place to live and learn, as the Arts & Business program has a strong connection with St. Jerome's, having a number of his classes very close to his residence. He has a roommate and is on the 5th floor of a relatively new residence.

Parker heading out for his first day living away from home!
Parker setting up his room. 

Outside waiting for mom and dad to leave...

Parker's room a week later, after 'decoration'. He likes grey.
Adam is getting adjusted to his crazy schedule and the way things are run at the college. He really only had a few days during the Labour Day long weekend to get their apartment rearranged before classes began. We suspect that he may come up for air later in October, potentially coming back to our home for a few days.

Parker recently finished many days of orientation and was often too busy with friends to call us. Apparently there are a lot of females in Arts... and lots of card playing.  He is still figuring out textbooks and where everything is on campus. We dropped by just today to bring some things he needed, although he seems to forget that he has his own car there with him!  Maybe he will explore the area around the university with some friends.

Both boys seem to be adjusting well to not living under our roof. Time will tell whether they will see the opportunities and losses associated with living on their own. We are hoping that they have great adventures in their new environments.

And now, a teaser for a post that may come your way later this week...

Yes. That is a car booster seat.

Family photo 2018

It took some effort to get everyone in the same place at the same time. It took even more effort to get everyone wearing things from the same side of the colour wheel. Here is our 2018 family photo, prior to the boys heading off to their new adventures.

Parker, Wendy, Eric, Adam, and Maddy

23 Aug 2018


Wendy had a special birthday while visiting PEI!

A visit to Prince Edward Island

Wendy and Eric took a week in August for a short vacation in PEI. The main purpose was to be away from home for a special birthday for Wendy. We also wanted to go somewhere neither of us had visited before.

Anne of Green Gables Heritage Place

Eric chatting with Sir John A.
Canoe Cove

Red sand beaches of Canoe Cove

Victoria lighthouse

Confederation Bridge

Basin Head white sand beach

Greenwich (PEI National Park)

Greenwich (PEI National Park)

Wood Islands Lighthouse

Point Prim lighthouse

At Point Prim

At Point Prim

If you would like to see a few more pictures,
click here to go to our PEI trip highlights album.