15 Jul 2019

Party for a Princess

Fanfan had an early 6th birthday party with some friends and classmates - it would be hard to get everyone together if they waited until mid-July.  With lots of planning on the part of Ying and Wendy, the "princess themed" event was set and the kids were all in the living room colouring pictures of (...you guessed it...) princesses. Although Fanfan was part of the planning, she had no idea that her dream princess was about to arrive at the party.

Fanfan was speechless!
Princess Belle swept in and proceeded to mesmerize all the kids. She kept them busy with some singing Disney princess songs and dancing. She also read them a few stories.

Singing and dancing to princess songs (Belle was a great singer)!

Reading a princess story

I don't think Jacob was quite as impressed as some of the girls...

Princess photo shoot in the back yard

Princess Fanfan and Princess Belle

A memorable birthday party, guaranteed!

After the party ended and the rest of the visiting kids went home, we had a family BBQ. Our 3 great nieces and 1 great nephew had a fantastic time and were well and truly exhausted by the end of the day.


For more pictures and some videos from the party, here is a Google album:

29 Jun 2019

The trip we kept secret.... sssshhhhhh!

In the previous posts we talked about our frequent travels over the last few months (Munich, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Berlin, Barcelona, North Bay, Toronto, etc.). One trip we didn't announce was a short trip to surprise my parents (who live in Manitoba) - this time to the east coast! We corralled both boys (not easy), got our carry-ons packed and off we went to Toronto airport. A short flight had us land in Halifax, a few hours before my (mostly) unsuspecting family arrived. After arranging rooms (all on the same floor), etc., we waited for my brother to announce their arrival at the hotel.

Once the 'eagle has landed' text came through my phone, we all snuck a few doors down and prepared for the surprise. I had bought a bottle of Scotch (since the liquor store would be closed when they arrived) and used it to cover the peep hole in the door. On opening the door, there was disbelief and (possibly) an aborted expletive from my mom. Video and more attached at the link below.

Mom still with a little disbelief

Sandra knew

Dave colluded

Adam was tired

My father catching up with Parker and Wendy

The Halifax crew!

After a good sleep and the free breakfast at the hotel, we tagged along with wherever my brother Dave had decided we would go. The first stop was the Halifax Citadel - a fort used to protect the harbour. The chilly wind was quite the change for me, particularly after New Orleans.

Halifax Citadel

After a quick lunch, the next stop was the Alexander Keith's Brewery tour (only 10 feet from where we had lunch - small town, what can you say!). It was a great tour and you got to have a lot of beer (the non-drivers, that is).

We walked along the waterfront and were able to have some Cows ice cream. That was partly as a preview of the Cows Ice Cream in Charlottetown that my parents might go to later in their trip.

Had dinner at the hotel (pizza delivered to the main lounge) and had an early bedtime. 

The next day had us visit the Pier 21 Immigration Museum and Archives. My mom and I went to the archives to get some further genealogy information, then we all went to the museum and the shops (it is also a cruise ship terminal). Cool place!

After the museum, we headed out for a drive toward Peggy's Cove and had lunch at the restaurant there.

The sun came out after lunch and the scenery was breathtaking. Everyone climbed some rocks (not all successfully) to see different vantage points.

The rest of the day was scheduled for a drive to Lunenburg, after a short stop at a hard to find place called Oak Island where there is some treasure hunting going on.  I had not seen the TV shows about this, but will have to look them up.

I was struck by the signs posted next to the urinal at Oak Island. I think the one on the right is supposed to refer to the sink next to it... but the choice for placement was disconcerting either way.

Lunenburg was fantastic for the scenery, and one of the few things open was a boat tour company. We all decided to go on a private tour of the harbour for an hour. Great tour, perfect weather, and lots of sun to keep us warm.

Adam got to drive the boat for a while - almost smiling....

From my brother - the family shot.

After saying our goodbyes the next morning, we all went our separate ways. Wendy, I and the boys headed back to the airport while the rest drove up towards Cape Breton. Just next to the airport was the Atlantic Aviation Museum - couldn't pass up the chance to see that!

After a good lunch at the Stanstead airport (donairs - Halifax is the donair capital!), we flew back to Toronto and fought traffic all the way back home (took almost as long to get home as to fly from Halifax). 

Next trip? You may have to wait until August (hint: mountains near Canmore and a beach on the Bruce Penninsula are involved).

If you would like to see more images and videos, here is the link to the Google photos album.

Conference in NOLA!

I took a very quick trip to New Orleans for a teaching professor conference and was happy to be on the 49th (and top) floor of the hotel. Great view of the river where cruise ships come in.

The thing to do, no matter how hot (about 95F) was to walk along Bourbon St. - and that is what I did! You can drink openly on the streets in New Orleans and the bars apparently do not close at night. Maybe that is when it is the coolest out...?

This guy was selling for someone in a little closet next to the road. They sold beer in glass goldfish bowls... with a straw. 

Favourite view from my room!
 The conference was great and the people were interesting to talk with. Yes, it was called "The Teaching Professor Conference". Pretty clear and to the point, no?
 The second night after the conference saw the city gear up for what appeared to be the second biggest parade of the year (after Mardi Gras). The annual Gay Pride parade was unbelievably fun, although it was about 96F at 8pm before the parade began. Everyone was having fun and the city was well prepared for the parade. Below are a few of the scenes from the street.

I was melted...
I was so hot, I went to get a slushie prior to the first float (pina colada). And no, these were not your 7-Eleven slushies. One thing I can't figure out, though, is how I ended up getting glitter under my shirt when I took it off back at the hotel...

If the video doesn't work or you would like to see a few more pictures, click here for the Google Photos album from this quick trip.