Category Archives: Cynthia

Christmas 2014

This year, we attended the Alcatel-Lucent Christmas party as we normally do.  Matthew and Samantha sat on Santa’s lap and passed along their wishes for Christmas Day.  Samantha got her face painted to look like a cat and really enjoyed the magic show.  Matthew is getting a bit old for this event but he was fairly patient.

A few days later, we got our tree.  Joey didn’t know what to make of it and spent a fair bit of time under it, batting at the lower branches and ornaments within reach.

On Christmas Day, Matthew and Samantha found that Santa had come.  He left some wireless headphones for Matthew.  I guess Santa was as worried as I was that Matthew would eventually walk away from an iPad which he was tethered to with his old wired headphones.  Samantha got an iPhone 5 which she will be using as an iPod Touch (i.e. no cell service).  Again, Santa seems to think the same way as I do that a used iPhone 5 is a better deal than a new iPod Touch today.

Samantha also got an American Girl doll and some accessories which she was very excited about.  Matthew got a fair bit of Lego for Christmas also.  You can see a picture of Matthew working on assembling one of his new Lego sets while Joey sits on his shelf wondering what is going on.

After Christmas, we are headed to London and Toronto to visit my brother and his family and Cynthia’s dad.  We will be back home in time to ring in the New Year and before you know it, we will need to be back to work/school.

Christmas with Friends

The weekend before Christmas, we had Natalie, Louie and their kids over for a Christmas/Hannuka dinner.  I was roasting a turkey, the kids were playing the basement and the adults were relaxing in the living room.  Suddenly, all the kids came running up the stairs saying that water was pouring out of the ceiling.

We all went downstairs and a section of the basement ceiling was definitely wet.  It wasn’t clear where the water was coming from though.  The water wasn’t pouring from the ceiling any more so whatever the kids say was probably a pool of water which suddenly found a path out and emptied.  But water was definitely collecting in the ceiling.

Figuring that all the drywall would have to be replaced anyway, I started to cut away pieces to try to find the leak.  Eventually, I found a copper elbow which seemed a likely candidate.  Sure enough, it was wet.  With it exposed and a bucket under it, we could hear a slow drip.  This is the second time we have had a bad elbow in the plumbing in the basement.  The first time, I had to remove and replace about a one foot square section of drywall.  This one is much worse and the cleanup job will take longer.  The leak has since been repaired but we still have a hole in the ceiling.  It will eventually need attention.

The excitement kept me from checking the turkey but everything ended up working out OK.  Shortly after that, we served dinner without any more hitches.  However, Natalie did pull a knife on Louie for some reason just before dessert.

Tobogganing with James

Steve, Katherine and James came to visit us this winter and we spent much of the time at the local tobogganing hill.  I grabbed some video of the kids as they enjoyed the day with their sleds.

Summer Visiting

IMG_0315This summer, we have had lots of visitors here in Ottawa and we have travelled ourselves to see friends and family. Cynthia’s grandparents from Montreal came to visit early this summer and we all met for a wonderful dinner out. My mother came to visit for a weekend and Cynthia’s dad and Nannette also were in town at the same. You can see some pictures at a park where many of us took turns on the swings.

Both my mom and dad came for a visit in July and then by the end of July and into August, we travelled to SW Ontario. We stayed at mom and dad’s place where dad and I worked on a special project which I will have to post about separately. Also, we had a chance to see my brother, Katherine and James, my nephew. While there, we caught up with Jeff who is an old friend who I don’t get to see often enough these days. We also spent an evening with Erin and Dennis and their kids who moved to London from the Ottawa area not long ago. You can see some pictures of Dennis and I making some noise with a couple of guitars and having a great time doing it.

Over the long weekend just past, Steve, Katherine and James came to visit which was their first time to see our new house since moving back to Ottawa. James was lots of fun and helped us by pointing out all of our doors. While he was hear, we engaged to child locks on the cabinets in the kitchen which was always good for a laugh when Cynthia and I would forget and struggle to open the door. I don’t have any pictures from that visit up yet but hope to soon.

Now with school started again, most of our summer visits are done. Hopefully we had a chance to catch up with you but if not, drop us a line or stop by some time.


P1060838A short distance from our new house is a great tobogganing hill. So, we picked up a couple of sleds and took the kids a couple of times this winter. It is a reasonable walk for Matthew and I from the house to the hill. The walk becomes unreasonable when you end up having to carry Samantha and pull the sled though. The second time we went, we drove if only to avoid a cold walk back when everyone is tired.

The hill starts at the edge or a residential road and drops down a good distance to a soccer field. So, when you are heading down the hill, you don’t have to worry about running out into traffic. You can just keep going until you run out of momentum.

Matthew went up and down that hill too many times to count and just didn’t stop until we said it was time to head home. Samantha went down the first couple of times with me but after that she started going down by herself. But, that didn’t mean I could stay at the top of the hill. Instead I had to go down to the bottom and pull the sled up for her next run. Sometimes, she would be tired and sit in the sled for me to pull it and her up.

Afterwards, we would head home for some kind of treat. For some reason, we had ice cream after a cold day tobogganing as you can see in the photos. As the kids get older, they will be able to go the hill on their own and spend some of their winter days there the way my brother and I used to do at “the hill” next to his friend Greg’s house.


P1060690Months ago, Christmas Day came and went and although we took a few pictures I hadn’t gotten anything up on the website. Until now. Matthew was very happy when he found a couple of Lego sets under the tree. But, he also got some other interesting toys like some Snap Circuits which lets you make simple electric circuits from some standardized snap-able pieces.

Samantha got a electronic dog which still drives me crazy. If she leaves it on, it will bark when its light sensor detects a change in the lighting. So when I turn the lights out at night when I go to bed, suddenly this fake dog barks and often makes me jump. When its batteries die, I don’t seem to rush to replace them.

I got tickets for a musical version of “Legally Blonde” at the NAC for Cynthia and she was pretty surprised. When the day of the performance arrived, I took care of the kids while she enjoyed the show with one of her sisters. Not being a fan of musicals, I didn’t mind missing it…

Christmas evening, Cynthia’s mother came to visit and help me with a turkey dinner. I can’t recall anything much about the meal after all these months so I assume it was uneventful. I am sure I would remember if I ruined the dinner somehow so I guess I pulled it off OK.

P1060787With Christmas over, we had to prepare for our trip to visit Cynthia’s dad at his place near Collingwood where we stayed until just before New Year. Unfortunately I was feeling very under the weather with a terrible cough so I mostly just stayed around the house resting. But Cynthia, her dad and Matthew spent quite a bit of time skiing. Samantha went skiing one of the days also. Actually, she mostly was held up and chaperoned down the hill but she had a great time.

We have some video also of Samantha and Matthew skiing also. Matthew is pretty much ready to try something a bit harder than the bunny hill. Because it is such a shallow hill, you will see that he just goes straight down. Something a bit steeper would hopefully put a bit more fear into him and convince him to make some turns.

The kids had a great time and I am sure they would love to visit again next year and try some more skiing. Thanks for your hospitality Steve and Nanette!

Preparing For Christmas

DSC_4591With Matthew’s birthday past, Christmas was coming quickly. So, I took an afternoon off work and our plan was to take Matthew and Samantha to see Santa and pick out a tree. Thinking that getting to the mall early would beat the line for Santa, we arrived to find that Santa didn’t arrive until after dinner time. So, instead we went in search of a Christmas tree.

Picking the Tree - 3Not far away, we found a lot with some nice trees and did a bit of browsing. Normally we get a very tall tree but this year we opted for something a bit smaller. That way, we could more easily fit it in the trunk of my car and we had a perfect spot between the stairs to the second story and the stairs to the basement where a small tree would fit. The tree we picked was just about my height so not tall. A couple of bungee cords later and it was secure in the trunk of my car.

We headed home to drop off the tree. Now the plan was to leave the tree at home, get back to the mall and find something to eat and then get in line for Santa. After a quick dinner in the food court, we got the line up about 10 minutes early to find only one other family in line. So, shortly after Santa arrived, Matthew and Samantha were confiding in him their wishes for Christmas day.

Later that week, we decorated the tree. Having the tree right beside the staircase made it very easy for Matthew to put the star at the top. We bought another strand of lights this year because we always found the bottom just a bit too bare with our larger trees so this year, our tree had lights to spare.

We were all ready for Christmas.


P1060404In early December, we made our first trip since getting back to Canada to Montreal to see Cynthia’s family and celebrate Chanukah. Many of the people there we hadn’t seen in a very long time and it was great to catch up with everyone. Although the winter months aren’t the best, being back in Ottawa and close to family and friends is worth it.

Matthew and Samantha were very happy with their Zhu Zhu Pets although Cynthia’s Nana thought they looked a bit too much like rats. We look forward to our next visit to Montreal to see everyone there.

Thanksgiving In St. Thomas And Tillsonburg

P1060123For Thanksgiving weekend, we travelled to St. Thomas to visit with my parents, my grandmother and my brother and his new family. We were able to be at Steve’s wedding to Katherine which was about a year and half ago now. But, we hadn’t yet been able to meet James, their new baby boy. So, we were very excited to make the trip to catch up with everyone as see James.

We took the kids to an Great Lakes Farms and picked lots of apples. Matthew and Samantha picked so many apples, we still have about a half dozen in the kitchen waiting for someone to eat them. The kids played on some bails of hay while the adults rested and enjoyed some cider.

The next day, we went to Ferguson’s Produce and picked up some pumpkins. We also turned some of Samantha’s old clothes into a little scarecrow and Steve, Matthew and I spent some time lost in a corn maze. When we found our way out, we saw that Samantha had her face painted to look like a pink cat.

Jeff who used to live next door when I grew up in St. Thomas stopped by for dinner that evening. Later, Jeff, Steve and I went out for a few drinks and to catch up. Congratulations on the new sailboat Jeff.

The next day, we went to my parent’s house for Thanksgiving dinner. Katherine and Cynthia had talked about how both of them love sushi so on our way, we got some food at Take Sushi Korean & Japanese restaurant in London. It was very good although I did get a bit more wasabi in one bite than I intended at one point.

Mom had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner. My uncle George and aunt Barb were there as well as my cousin Darcie who I hadn’t seen since we moved to California. With dinner and visiting done, we said our good-byes and headed back to St. Thomas to stay one more night with Steve, Katherine and James.

It was a wonderful visit and it is so nice to be back so we can make a (relatively) short trip like that and see so many people who are important to us. Special thanks to Steve and Katherine who opened their home to us. Let us know when we can do the same.