Monday, June 30, 2014

Celebrating Six Looked Something Like This

Yesterday was our sixth anniversary. (You can click here to read my oh-so-amazing post about six years of marriage if you haven't seen it yet.) We celebrated early by leaving the kids with our friends on Friday night and heading into Toronto for some anniversary celebrations. Not completely unlike our marriage, we had made plans and some of them worked, and some of them didn't.

We got to our hotel and, since we were a little short on time we decided to drive to our restaurant of choice instead of taking public transit. And then we realized our restaurant was smack dab in the middle of Gay Pride celebrations. And not only Gay Pride celebrations for Toronto, but for the World. I guess a different city is chosen every year for World Pride Day and Toronto was the choice for this year. I wish I had know that before we planned our anniversary celebrations.

Needless to say, trying to find parking was a nightmare and when we finally found (way overpriced parking) we had to run, through all the Pride celebrations (think concerts, food booths, lots of people taking over the street) to get to our restaurant. It was crazy.

Our restaurant of choice was O.Noir where you eat Completely. In. The. Dark. It was weird. It was unique. It was bizarre. Close your eyes, stay that way for over two hours, and eat a meal. We went with Donny and Marika and I'm glad it wasn't just the two of us. We made a lot of inane conversation just so we weren't sitting quietly in the dark.
After making our way back to our parking garage, through all the Pride celebrations, I asked Marika to take a picture of us. Sadly, the parking garage had the "best" lighting at this point. Ha!
The next morning, after not being completely satisfied by the "free hotel breakfast," we stopped at Starbucks and then headed to our next adventure.
We had arranged to try stand up paddleboarding on Lake Ontario. After running up and down the lakefront for half an hour looking for the tent where we were supposed to meet our tour, getting increasingly hot, sweaty, and stressed, Dave got the cell phone (which he had left in the car) and called the people, only to find out it had been cancelled due to a high concentration of e.coli in the water. That's what you get for trying to disconnect from e-mail for a whole eighteen hours. Blah.
While we didn't want to get e.coli, we were rather disappointed to not get to try stand up paddleboarding. I ended up reading on a bench at the lakefront, while Dave practiced his photography skills.
Then we continued on with the rest of our day which included lunch at Panera Bread, shopping for some new work clothes for Dave, picking up our anniversary present from my parents (a new spade!!!), and picking up Sam and Rachel.
So yeah, our anniversary outing didn't turn out quite like we expected. It was a little more crazy, frustrating, weird, and relaxing than we had planned, but we had fun anyway. And like our marriage, it was better because we were in it together.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Six Years Ago Today...

... these pictures were taken.
 Since then we've moved two times, visited six countries...
...had two kids, bought one car and one house...
...gotten one degree, and made countless road trips.
We've made new friends and strengthened old friendships.
We've been on countless dates and had lots of new adventures.
There have been good times and tough times and I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat.
Happy Anniversary Dave!!!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Family, Fun, Food, Fairs, Freedom

Today is the first day of our summer vacation and I am leisurely drinking a coffee-hot chocolate while Sam and Rachel mess up play in the playroom. Thankfully I had some time yesterday and I went through it and got rid of a bunch of toys so it might be a little easier to play in. Today just feels like a fresh start to me, kind of like September and January always do.

One of my resolutions for 2014 was "I want our family to have more fun." I feel like we've done a pretty good job of that one this year and here is just some of the fun we've had these past few weeks.

One night we got to watch Willem play soccer, and since Tessa, was refereeing his game, we got to see her in action as well. Willem played in goal in the second half and he did pretty well.
Instead of giving gifts to Sam and Rachel's teachers, we donated school kits to Mennonite Central Committee in their honour. We gave each teacher a handmade card, the photo below, and a little bookmark explaining school kits. I think they all really liked that.

The night of Rachel's preschool graduation, a friend of ours told us about the Fun Fair at their child's school. Since Sam's school didn't have a Fun Fair this year, we crashed theirs. It was a lot of fun. The best part of the evening was getting to hang out with these friends who we are just getting to know better. I really enjoy them. That was also the night I discovered that Sam and Rachel LOVE hot dogs! And that Rachel makes a really cute bunny :)
For years I've been seeing signs for the strawberry festival in a little village near ours so we decided to make it a priority to check it out this year.  I'm glad we went, but honestly, I don't think we need to go again. There were lots of bouncy things (which our kids hate) and lots of vendors selling crafts. Sam and Rachel took full advantage of the petting zoo however.
Oh wait, that was someone else's kid!
They actually got the most enjoyment out of the free kids area so Dave and I were really glad we didn't pay $12 for the "You can do everything wristband."
We did each get our own strawberry milkshake though. That was probably the best part of the entire festival!
A local neighbourhood association near us also had a fun fair one day and we went to check it out. Again, it wasn't really the best thing for our kids -- there was a major water gun fight which Sam was a little intrigued by, and I was just annoyed I couldn't stand anywhere without getting wet, and then there were bouncy things again. However we did get find a couple of cute monsters :)
Sam enjoyed a quadruple decker peanut butter and cracker sandwich one day.
And finally, this past Wednesday our credit union had a Family Fun Night at a local heritage farm. We enjoyed a BBQ, riding on a wagon pulled by a tractor, and playing in the straw. Okay, it was mostly Sam and Rachel who enjoyed the straw play! It was nice to just be outside enjoying our awesome weather. And we ran into some church friends which made the whole evening that much more enjoyable.

The evening ended on a low note, however, when a bottle of orange juice somehow spilled in my bag, where my wallet, sunglasses, purse, and camera were. Thankfully, there seems to be no permanent damage. Whew.

Well, if you made it to the end of this post, you deserve a prize. Sadly, I don't have one for you. However, it's the weekend so there is that! Dave and I are celebrating our sixth anniversary on Sunday (!!!) so tonight we are headed into Toronto for an overnight and some fun adventures. Tune in on Monday to see what we did. And if we survived :) Oooo, the suspense!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

One Year Down, Thirteen More To Go

As I write this, Sam is at school for his last day of Junior Kindergarten. I can't believe this year is almost over (just five and a half hours left!!!), although I am so excited that summer is finally here. Whoo hoo!!! Bring it on summer!!!
Sam in September (left) and today (right).
You know, in case the dates aren't helpful :)
I wanted to get a sample of how Sam writes his name. I know it's not very clear in this picture, but right at the bottom he wrote "S-A-M" and then decided to spell "Sam" in the other direction as well so it says "M-A-S-A-M." This is just proof that you too, can turn your name into a palindrome if you so choose.

And finally some pictures of Sam showing some teenage attitude. Yes, already!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

We Had A Hoot!

We had Rachel's birthday party this past Saturday. We enjoyed entertaining 26 of our friends and family. It was a very fun time. It was so fun, in fact, that I got no pictures while the party was in process. Also, I spent a lot of time holding my friend's four week old son so she could eat. But here are some of the owl-themed decorations we copied from Pinterest. Check out my birthday party board here for all the inspiration. I think they turned out pretty well.
Of course we had to have the number of the birthday girl in pictures of her. This has been one of the best Pinterest birthday finds because it is easy to do, it is really personal, and it is fun to see different pictures of the birthday child.
Rachel has really fallen in love with the colour pink lately, so of course anything that could be pink had to be. I tried to temper the pink with a bit of green!
I made these owls out of dollar store lanterns and they were a super fun addition to the clothesline. I had them sitting at Rachel's plate when she came down for breakfast the day of the party and she LOVED them. They are currently all sitting on her dresser, watching over her at night. I should maybe buy some batteries for them so they could actually light up!
Here is the food table, before the party started. Pretty much everything had an owl theme. (And yes, I know, the cake had no eyes. They came a bit later.)
I found these owl deviled eggs and knew I wanted to make them. However I only made one plate of them before I started going a little insane. Thankfully Donny and Marika showed up early and wanted to help so Marika made the second plate, thus saving my sanity :)
We did a toonie party for Rachel, where every one brings at least two toonies instead of gifts. We are going to buy sand for the sandbox as her gift and her donation is going to a special program at the library. More on that in a future blog post. The owl was given to my Grandpa Krahn by the Western Canadian Society of Horticulture as a distinguished service award in 1988. My parents thought Rachel would enjoy having it and she absolutely does.
I made this owl veggie tray. Please tell me it looks like an owl :)
This owl made of fruit was created by Dave and everyone LOVED it. So many people commented on it. Unfortunately Dave missed all the compliments because he was out BBQing the food. I thought he did such an amazing job. To see the amazing feathers Dave carved, which are hidden by the cut up fruit in this picture, see my Saturday Project 364 photo in yesterday's post.
The cake was not a Pinterest find. I just have an idea for a theme, and Dave figures out how to re-create it out of cupcakes. I made a half' panicked call to Tim and Janice, halfway through decorating the cake, to find out if they had Oreo cookies I could use for the eyes. Thankfully they did and I think the whole cake turned out pretty well.

Rachel loved her owl party and we all had such a hoot!