Archive for the ‘Manitoba’ Category

The Secret to a Successful Visit

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

For several months I dreamed of going home to celebrate my mom’s birthday. I was more than ready for a visit to the homeland, and I also thought that this would be a nice acknowledgment of all my mom has done for me over the years.

We only had about two weeks, as I was going to a wedding in Paris at the end of May. Last summer’s visit wasn’t as smooth as I had hoped, and I figured that one of the challenges was trying to pack visits to Winnipeg, three cottages, Victoria and Vancouver into one long trip. Turns out, that was about right.

This trip was so much fun. Both Annie and I had an abundance of time with grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles, and good friends.  The pace was relatively relaxed and except for a tumble off the bed that resulted in an uneventful check up at the hospital and one quiet day (sadly missing a visit with elementary-school friend Karen and her family) everything went well. Mom and Drew volunteered loads of babysitting time, so I was able to see almost all of my friends who still call Winnipeg home. I even took some time to visit my old high-school, St. John’s Ravenscourt, after not setting foot in the place for 24 years. It was really fun and I ran into 4 or 5 teachers from my day. Very nostalgic.

But of course, the most important part of the trip was celebrating Mom’s birthday. Drew, Mom, Annie, Aunt Judy and I went out for a celebratory lunch on the actual birthday, and then Bruce’s family came over on the Sunday for dinner. Mom didn’t want a big party, so we had a lovely, relaxing time with the family.

Happy Birthday Mom! Have a most wonderful year.

Making wishes.

Making wishes.

Annie gets in on the action opening Nana's gifts.

Annie gets in on the action opening Nana's gifts. I love how they choose the same colour outfits to wear!

Throughout the trip Mom had some fun adventures with Annie…

Buying books at McNally Robinson.

Buying books at McNally Robinson.

Touring the hands-on children's museum at The Forks

Touring the hands-on children's museum at The Forks

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Going to the zoo with cousins Paige and Devon

Going to the zoo with cousins Paige and Devon

And, of course, eating ice-cream and that most famous Winnipeg spot, the BDI. As you can see from the clothes, it wasn't that warm...but what has that to do with eating ice-cream?

And, of course, eating ice-cream at that most famous Winnipeg spot, the BDI. As you can see from the clothes, it wasn't that warm...but what has that to do with eating ice-cream?

Grandpa Drew had lots of time with Annie, much to her delight. They had an especially great time digging, both in the garden…

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…and at the playground.

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I was very thankful that my dad and Jocelyn were able to spend some time with us as well. They had just returned from wintering in Phoenix and were off to open up the cottage at Lake of the Woods. But we did manage to connect for a meal and a walk around The Forks.

Annie hamming it up with the grandparents.

Annie hamming it up with the grandparents.

Since we focused on staying in one place, we were able to visit good friends Lori, Shawna and their little one, Matheson, a few times. Annie is great with smaller children and we all enjoyed the time together. Plus the girls are adorable! Must be that red hair.

Matheson and Annie bonding.
Matheson and Annie bonding.
I love this photo!
I love this photo!
Matheson, Shawna and Lori.
Matheson, Shawna and Lori.

By complete luck, my friend Dawn, who I have known since Kindergarten, was in town from Carnduff, Sk with her three kids. We hooked up with her family as well as her sister Tracey and her daughter for a good play in the park and yet another trip to the BDI. I forgot my camera for this one, so will have to fill in the shots later. But Dawn and her children did also come to the Norwood Community Club where we were having a Mother’s Day Pancake breakfast, so we got another chance to see each other.

Dawn, Annie and Leah

Dawn, Annie and Leah

Seth

Seth

Jordan

Jordan

Annie also had round one of her birthday. (Round two with the class was on the actual birthday, round three with Austrian family is this week and round four with the friends is next Friday. Needless to say I’m going to figure this out better for next year.) But the party did let Annie and I have another good time with family and friends.

My brother Bruce's family (Sylvia, Bruce, Paige, Devon with Annie and I...and new favourite Dora doll.)

My brother Bruce's family (Sylvia, Bruce, Paige, Devon with Annie and I...and new favourite Dora doll.)

Mom with two of her three children. Now that I'm a mom who loves picking up Annie every day, I realize how strange it must have felt when we all ended up towering over her.

Mom, Bruce and I. Now that I'm a mom who loves picking up Annie every day, I realize how strange it must have felt when we all ended up towering over her.

Annie gets her cheer on with her new pom-poms Sylvia and I found at a discount warehouse. (Where perhaps some scrapbooking supplies were also purchased.)

Annie gets her cheer on with her new pom-poms Sylvia and I found at a discount warehouse. (Where perhaps some scrapbooking supplies were also purchased.)

My wish and goal is to make it to the West Coast before Christmas to visit friends and family there. Here’s hoping for another fantastic Canadian visit.

Counting the Days

Thursday, July 9th, 2009

Annie and I are off to Canada in two weeks today. Despite the fact that I have a lot to do before then (including entertaining our friends for a week), despite six weeks without Markus, despite the long flights with a toddler and the jet lag, (not to mention the Manitoba bugs), I’m completely and totally looking forward to the trip. Those of you who are regular readers know that I’ve had some amazing adventures in Europe this year, and I don’t regret making the leap to come here. But it certainly hasn’t been all Alpine hikes and happy yodeling either.

Frankly, I need a break from the stress. The uncertainty of our lives. It has been almost a year since this little family had a steady income (including 8 months with NO income). Markus is daily trying to put together a deal, looking for opportunities, and also shooting off resumes for more regular work. And I’m pursuing about four different bureaucratic  channels right now to try to get permission to work in this country; it seems every day I run into another road block. People, I’ll pay my taxes…just let me find a job. (I’m still hoping that I can work remotely for my friend in Canada, but that won’t be known for a few more months.)

Of course, I could marry Markus, which would hurry things up considerable. And that is still an option. But not my first (or clearly second, third, or fourth) choice. The thought of scurrying off to city hall to hitch up with Markus just so I can get a work permit sounds so, I don’t know, icky. Shady. Desperate. Plus, how sad would that be to get married without a single one of my friends or family around. Not that I have ever in my life dreamt of a princess wedding. But seriously, it is hard to attach even an ounce of romance to that scenario. And I can’t see it being a day to celebrate as a yearly anniversary.

So the thought of  a month and a half away from it all, surrounded by family and friends, four of those weeks spent lounging by a beautiful lake, are pretty appealing. I’m sure doing the single parent thing will be tough, especially once we hit BC and the grandparents are out of the picture, but it will be so worth it for the break. So biblical plague of giant mosquitoes, here we come.

Last Night in Canada

Monday, August 25th, 2008

It is amazing to believe that we are leaving the country tomorrow and, unless there is some unforeseen glitch, will not be coming back to Canada for months.

Annie was in high spirits today. All week she has been leaving a room, closing the door on me, saying: “I’m just going to Austria. I’ll be right back.” So I’m guessing she doesn’t quite understand the concept of distance and time just yet. But on the other hand, she does realize that she’ll see Dad in Austria, which of course she is super excited about.

Ever since she has been a wee baby, I’ve said that Annie has a good sense of humour. I’m not sure how else to describe it except that she gets the joke. Tonight as we were going to bed, I told her that this was the last snuggle (she is trying to follow in Rebecca’s footsteps in the bedtime procrastination department), and that she would have to lie down. O.K. she says, flops her head on the pillow, and in the loudest imitation of a 70-year old man, starts to fake snore by rasping in through her nose and “shhewwing” out through her mouth. We both started belly-laughing so loud we had tears in our eyes. It is great to end our Manitoba vacation on such a high note. It has been a beautiful friend and family filled 3 weeks, but I’m looking forward to the European adventure getting started.

Here is a great close-up shot of Annie’s joy as she is swinging on the green swing at Star Lake that my brother Andy  (step-brother, but whatever) made a few summers ago. (Andy decided that Annie would call him Master Andy instead of Uncle. So Annie was yelling around the cottage “Where is Master Andy? Where is Master Andy?” He is in so much trouble.) I’ll post some other fav shots from the cottage once I get organized over the next few weeks.

Auf Wiedersehen!

My girl loves to swing and green is certainly her colour!

My girl loves to swing and green is certainly her colour!

Cottage Country

Wednesday, August 20th, 2008

This first leg of the journey is almost over. Annie and I have spent 2 weeks in Manitoba, since I thought we should visit friends and family before abandoning them for at least a year.

The flight to Manitoba went better than expected (I try to have very low expectations so that I am mentally prepared). I tried taking Annie`s car seat on the plane, and have to recommend that to the parent`s out there as it avoids the wee one climbing all over you for hours. It would be too much to carry with more than one child, but it really worked for Annie. The Air Canada staff were actually incredibly helpful and went out of their way to make the trip bearable. (Since I complain about this national organization so often, I feel it is important to praise them when applicable.) Brother Bruce even picked us up at midnight in Winnipeg, sweet guy.

My favourite thing so far is watching Annie become more comfortable with swimming in the cold, dark, deep lake. From screaming terrified that “the dock is rocking” (Yes, that is what docks do my love) to actually going in the water with mom in her swimming ring was a ton of fun. (Pictures to follow when I’m not struggling with dial-up.)

Only 5 more days before the big trip to Austria!!

Status Update:

  • House: Not sold
  • Boxes: Almost shipped
  • Flights: Booked with hopefully some changes (to avoid a 9 hour wait in Toronto airport with a toddler)
  • Residency: Process not started, but feeling optimistic as Markus is taking over a family business, which is actually an option on the forms (always good to be able to tick off a real option instead of `other`)
  • Annie: Currently changing Dolly`s diaper, as usual
  • Hillary: Not loving the dial-up Internet connection at the cottage. I am, however, sporting a potentially unhealthy golden tan, as I remember to sunscreen Annie but usually get distracted before I get to me. Currently wondering if I have enough diapers and baby wipes to last both Annie`s and Dolly`s diaper needs
  • Rebecca: Finished her German prep course and vacationing in Budapest with Aunt Suzi and cousin Lily. Life is good!