Oh Canada!

What a vacation! We ventured to Canada, visiting Niagara Falls and Toronto, the kids first time leaving the country.

We first stopped in to spend the night with Poppy and Grandma before making the 6.5 hr trip, which turned to over 8 hours. Adleigh did not think much of the commonwealth of PA. She kept saying “are we still in Pennsylvania? How big is Pennsylvania?”

Ready to go!
How big is PA????

We were in awe as we drove through Buffalo, crossed the Rainbow Bridge, and saw Niagara Falls for the first time!

The view from our hotel room was stunning! I could have spent hours just watching the falls. We unloaded our stuff, got some dinner, and then headed for the Hornblower!

Words cannot describe the sheer force and majesty of being so close to the bottom of the falls! The kids had an absolute blast!! We were soaked but laughed and laughed and stood in awe of the power. Later that night we got to see fireworks from our balcony!

After a good sleep we headed to Journey Behind the Falls. It was about a mile walk and we enjoyed the scenery as we strolled along the walkway taking in American Falls and Bridal Falls as we made our way to the venue. I do not have words for how breathtaking this was! We were so close to the falls! The sound was deafening! You can also walk on a path that has an area dig out where you can actually see the back side of the falls! Mike and I did not want to leave. The kids were pretty shocked about how wet they got. It was a long and wet walk back to the hotel and we all needed showers.

We then headed to Clifton Hill for the Skywheel, Go Karts, mini golf, and other carnival type games. Liberty loved mini golf! They all had a great time in this cool family area.

Toronto was a beautiful city! We started at the Aquarium, had some food, and then spent the evening over 1,200 ft in the area in the CN tower. The kids laid on the glass floor!!! I could only manage to put a pointed toe on the glass. I think trying to get me on the glass was Canton’s favorite part of the trip!

The next day we boarded the (clean!!!) Metro to Casa Loma and the Royal Ontario Museum. Casa Loma is a legit castle with an underground tunnel and everything. Several movies have been filmed her, Canton said it could have been the mansion from the board game Clue. We had a nice time at the museum, the girls loved the animals.

The Toronto Zoo and Lake Ontario followed. What a lovely zoo! We were thankful for the cloud cover and the Zoomobile. Lake Ontario was soooooooo cold but the kids had a great time!!

We were blessed to spend the day with Pap before heading back to Williamsburg. Janice made an owl for Liberty and had a flamingo for Ad. The girls loved touring his immaculate grounds. He sure is something to keep up with everything at 87! How lucky we our the kids get to spend time with their great-grandfather!!

Such a great vacation! Can’t wait for the next one!! Where to next?


Canton stole the show as King Julien! He made great friends along the way and greatly enjoyed his time learning from Marsh and all the other talented directors. We are so thankful for this talented and welcoming community!

Happy 9th Birthday Liberty!

Our sweet Lou is 9!

We are so lucky Rhonda braved the traffic and gas prices to join us to celebrate our firework! 🙂

Thanks for the Barbie Becky and Ben!

More presents

Dad is always in style

FaceTime with the more stylish Poppy, Grandma, and Beth

FaceTime and gifts with Nanny

Gifts with Rhonda

I think they love each other 🙂

Sisters and best friends

Thanks for the card Pap!

We enjoyed a nice steak dinner. Then, Rhonda was nice enough to give many tries of getting a picture of 2 adults and three kids

Cake and Candles 🙂 Happy Birthday sweet Liberty!

To Liberty as You Turn 9

Dear Liberty,

Yesterday morning you told me “368 days until I’m double digits!” My heart sank, just a bit, as I thought of you reaching that milestone. Excitement and pride for the woman you will become of those next ten years and grief for missing the tiny girl that snuggles pink owls and spent all day in an Elsa dress. But, mostly, I don’t want you to wish your life away. It is human nature, but we spend much of life wanting to move forward but often spend the rest of it looking back. May you live in each moment, breathe it, savor it, it is the real gift. 

Selfishly, I have felt quite blessed during Covid, I have gotten to be with you every moment. I have watched you create powerpoints, build structures, master facts, and I got to have lunch with you every day as I watched you grow more independent. You really took charge of your own learning! You got your computer set up each morning and sometimes even Adleigh’s if I was running behind with her. I loved cutting your apple snack at 9:30 each morning and bringing it to you to hear what you had learned already that day. I loved watching you pick up a book without prompting and snuggle into a cozy spot to escape into the corners of the written world. I will always cherish our extra time together.

You are tiptoeing on that line between kid and tween. This past year has brought challenges. Still facing a lot of anxiety over COVID you stayed home and thrived in Mrs. Dye’s virtual third grade. You visited (virtually) Mali, learning cursive, multiplied, and were entertained with her many science experiments. You got straight As all year and took the SoL tests for the first time. You also were the only kid in your class to send her anything when her mother died. You wrote her a letter and painted her a picture that she kept on her wall, and probably still does. She wrote to me how much your kindness meant to her during a very difficult time in her life. You saw someone was hurting and you wanted to make it better. 

You are the girl that made dad a paper model of Roxy after she died, you understood how much he was hurting and expressed your special love for him to ease his pain. Others may see your sensitivity as a weakness, hear this girl, it is not. Showing your heart is STRONG. Identifying your emotions is STRONG. Lifting up others is STRONG. Knowing how you feel and what you want is STRONG.

It is easy to ignore problems or find other things to do or places to go. Your determination and kindness will set you apart. You were the girl who got up in the middle of the night to put your shoes on. You are the girl who would not give up and basically taught herself how to ride a bike. You are the little girl who kept running, even while tripping and banging into the side of dad’s car, because you wanted to be able to jump up on the hood. You are the girl that will cry when you don’t understand something, but you keep working at it until it is perfect, and it is ok to experience tears and frustration because frustration is where we build character, and you have it in spades, my love. You are the girl that has practiced perfecting recipes and now you make yourself French toast every Saturday. You are the girl that practices cartwheels and pancake stretches each day because you want to get them perfect. You are the girl that cries at almost every gymnastics class but at the end can’t wait to go back because you know how much you have improved. I love hearing the floor rumble as you practice your cartwheel and yell “Je suis fort!” Yes girl, you are STRONG!

Strength is taking on a new instrument as your first activity leaving the house in two years. You took harp this year, mastered 10 songs, and performed beautifully at your concert. You learned to fix leaky toilets and install a ceiling fan this year with dad. When your siblings scoffed at the idea of getting up close and personal with a toilet you jumped at the idea of learning something new, something someone else won’t have to do for you because YOU can do it. Keep trying new things, it will help you as you try to navigate this life with all its twists and turns. You are STRONG!

You are the girl that takes the cheese off her pizza even when most people question you or mock you for it, you aren’t afraid to tell anyone what you like or what you want. May you always share your feelings and passions, no matter what others may think. You are STRONG!

As you enter this last year of the “first half” of your childhood and transition to adulthood things are bound to change. I already have a teenager. I know having two and then three will bring challenges that will make the sleepless nights, diapers, and mastitis seem like a walk in the park. But know this, I will always be here for you. You are my heart outside my body. I will always be here for you to light your path as you begin to walk a few steps ahead of me. As the center of your universe begins to shift, you will always be the center of mine.

Keep saying it! “Je suis fort!” 

Tu es fort!

Je t’aime hibou!!!

I love you, Lou!!!