Friday, January 30, 2015

Proficiencies, Old and New

Well, the girls and I are up in Ottawa again so that I can write an English proficiency exam in order to work as a nurse in the US. Yes, you read that correctly. I have to demonstrate English proficiency even though:
a) English is my first/native language
b) I attended high school in the US (at an English school in upstate NY)
c) I have two university degrees conducted at English universities, in English, and
d) English is the ONLY language I speak

Believe me when I tell you that I tried to get the good folks at the credentialing organization to see reason (read: by sobbing on the phone), but alas, rules are rules. As ridiculous as the rule is, I don't even think I'd mind so much except for the fact that I called in November to ask about this exact issue and was told that I would NOT have to write the English proficiency exam. So it was a bit of a bummer (again: sobbing) to find out that I did in fact need it right before I was supposed to start my job.

But I've listened to Florence + The Machine's "Shake it Out" about 1000 times and am trying to just let it go. It is what it is. I am also letting go of my need to have my "To Do" list be empty/void of boring moving tasks. Some things will just take longer than I would like, and I could either drive myself crazy about it, or when someone tells me I have to wait a month to get a letter so I can hopefully get my license one day I can say "Whatever," put my feet up and watch an episode of The West Wing. (It makes me happy when one of the characters becomes stymied by some silly government machination. I mean, if it happens to great minds like Sam Seaborne and Josh Lyman, then I shouldn't feel so badly when I can't cry my way out of an unnecessary exam. . .)

The girls are just delighted to be here in Ottawa. Honey Bee has discovered "hot cocoa," and looks for any opportunity to indulge. (Me: "Your cheeks are all red. Are you hot?" HB: "No, I'm cold. Brr! Can I have some hot cocoa to warm myself up?!") These days, she is so wonderful about playing "imagination games" with herself, Mouse, or anyone else that will indulge her. Tonight, she decided that Mom, Dad and I were all very sick due to "cracked fingers" and tended to our wounds. She loves to dress up as a princess, command her subjects, and issue royal decrees. She also loves helping to cook dinner, wash dishes, and clean the house. She loves to dance and sing, likes to say that she's "hungry and drinky" and will do just about anything for a bit of "TB" time. Its so fascinating to watch her evolve into her own little self. And boy, does she know her own mind. I just love that about her.

Having conquered walking fairly swiftly, Mouse is moving on to mastering talking. She can say "Mama," "Dada," something that sounds v similar to Honey Bee's name, and has started saying "Nana" for my mom since she's been here. (This morning when she woke up, she started calling for "Nana" to get her, even though I was lying in the bed in the same room as her, which I thought was pretty awesome. Too bad Nana didn't hear her calling. . .) Her favourite word is "YEAH!" usually proclaimed with a great deal of enthusiasm, no matter the question asked, and she is also quite fond of saying "HI!" with a big grin when she sees someone. She has quite a strong little voice and now that she's figuring out the whole talking thing, can be quite persistent until she gets her way. The moniker Mouse almost doesn't seem fitting sometimes anymore, but she is still so tiny and spritely, that it still rings true for me. 

Mouse dislikes meat and vegetables, so I sneak veggies into smoothies every now and then to reassure myself that she isn't 100% carbohydrate. 

Huz and Dog are doing okay without us. I think Dog has been a little lonesome for the daytime company she gets with us there - the other night she "asked" Huz to come up on the couch for some snuggles by casting a forlorn look at the couch and then at Huz. They were spared the horrific dump of snow fortold to the east coast of the US a few days ago, and then today, without any warning, experienced blizzard-level snow. (That reminds me of a part of a Berenstain Bears book where Mama decides "no TV for a week" and Papa says "But how will I know the weather?" and Mama, in all her smart alecky glory, says "Here try this: Its called putting your hand out of the window to see if its raining.")
I will look sad until you feel guilty and let me sit on the couch. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Taking the Good with the Bad

Happy New Year! We had a wonderful time ringing in the new year with my parents, who came down to spend the holiday with us, and then visited for about a week. It was so fun to share our new home and new neighbourhood with Mom and Dad, and they were happy to see for themselves where we've landed. Mainly, we enjoyed trips to Wegmans (Dad's favourite) and Kohl's (Mom's favourite), cooked some lovely meals, played Euchre and Yahtzee, and just enjoyed each others company. [Note: Spell checker is telling me I am spelling "neighbourhood" and "favourite" incorrectly. I suppose at this point I should just switch to the American spellings, but it feels SO WRONG.]

Huz began work (YAY!) on January 2. That was his official start date, so he dutifully went into work on that day, only to find that he was pretty much the only one there. So really, he started work on January 5. Its been lots of forms, online modules and the like to begin, but he is incredibly excited to be where he is, and this is an incredible opportunity for him and for our family.

Since the post-move euphoria and holiday euphoria have worn off and Mom and Dad left, I've been a little blue. While I'm enjoying my alone time with the girls and love our little home, I've had moments of feeling overwhelmed and so incredibly frustrated by all the ridiculous crap that needs to happen when you move, particularly to another country. EVERYTHING costs money (Need a letter from GM to say your van meets US standards in order to import car? Costs $120. Need to get your medical records sent to a doctor down here? Costs $50. Need to get all your credentials verified to work as a nurse in US? Costs about $1000+. Need to activate your gas and electric? Costs an extra $200 because you have no US credit history.), EVERYTHING requires some silly form to be filled out, its IMPOSSIBLE to talk to a real live person about things (so you go in person to try and make something happen, only you're missing something, and the customer service person's snooty response is: "Well ma'am, its all on our website." Nuts to you! Your website is confusing and impossible to navigate, you disgruntled public servant!!!), and NOTHING is straightforward or simple. 

For example, I have tried four times to get my driver's license, without success. FOUR. The first time, I went on a Monday morning--after having checked the hours of operation of the downtown DMV online--only to discover that they don't "do licenses" on Mondays. So I went back with Huz and the girls the next day, and the office was bursting at the seams with people and I was quoted a 4 hour wait time. So we left. Later that day, I went to another DMV out in the burbs with Honey Bee and waited 2 hours, but apparently I was missing something they needed because of the type of visa we're on. So we all went again on Saturday to try again, all necessary documents in hand, and Huz was able to get his (on his first try, no less), but I was told that "they" ("Who's 'they'?" I asked. To which I got no reasonable answer) were unable to verify my identity on the computer. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?! So now "they" will send all my "information" to "Harrisburg" and then I'll receive a letter in the mail in about a month, after which point I am able to try again. 

(gifs make my old rickety laptop so sad and slow. . .)

I spend the better part of Mouse's naptime each day on the phone, trying to figure out some ridiculous thing or another (car insurance, international banking, health insurance, etc, etc, etc):

Today, I even cried on the phone to two different people out of desperation/frustration:

But I've been trying to pull my head out of the rabbit hole and focus on the good. Here are some small, but joyful moments:

Cuddling with Dog

Having a ball at "the happy place," which is what Honey Bee calls the playgym/coffee shop we've been frequenting

Mouse not feeling well. I'm always so sorry for them when they're not feeling well, but I always enjoy the extra snuggles.

Sometimes when we check on the girls before we go to bed, we find them like this in Mouse's playpen. And then my heart explodes.

Riding the vacuum.

I've joined a mom's group here and went to a party they hosted last week. They seemed like a really friendly group and were very welcoming. They have a monthly book club, which I am going to attend this week, and they're also setting me and the girls up in a regular play group, which will be so great. I am anxious for Honey Bee to make some new friends and to make some new friends myself!

In these early weeks, I am also grateful for American Netflix (we are currently binge watching Sons of Anarchy), this thingie that Huz set up on Skype so that you can call Canada like its a phone but its over Skype (clearly, I was not the brains of that particular operation, since I can't even clearly articulate what it is. . .), and Songza living room dance parties. 

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Christmastime in the Big City

Happy holiday season from (the) Philadelphia (area)! We have really been enjoying our holiday time together here. So thankful that we're more or less settled in--certainly enough to be comfortable in our home now--and beginning to move beyond our little home and exploring our new town/city. Its been a very different Christmas for us, though. Usually we try to fit in visits to both families, taking turns as to whose parents we visit for the actual Christmas Day, but this year we stayed in our own home and didn't travel at all--I realized that I haven't done that since I was 17 year old and in high school.

A few days before Christmas, we decided it was high time to venture into the big city. We hopped on the SEPTA and took the girls to see Santa Claus at Macy's. It was crazy busy at Macy's, but clearly they are used to the crowds because the enormous line moved very quickly. It helped that Santa seemed to have cloned himself in order to meet the high demand of child visitors (I think there were about 4-5 Santa booths?). Honey Bee was just in heaven. When we walked into the little booth where Santa #3 was sitting, she hopped up and down yelling "Santa! Santa! Santa!" and it just felt so magical. What fun to witness the joy of a little girl who truly believes in Santa Claus. Mouse, however, found it slightly less than magical. The instant we tried to put her on jolly old St. Nick's lap, she freaked out. We were fortunate to get a picture of us all in between wails, but she is still eyeing him up with a great deal of wariness.

Our day in downtown Philly was a little chilly, but just gorgeous. Here are some highlights from the day: 

Christmas Village. That's city hall in the background on the left.

Checking out the ships and watching the skaters at Penn's Landing.

Had our first taste of Philly cheesesteaks at Campo's. I thought I'd find them gimmicky and overhyped, but they were actually very yummy. Turns out melted cheese, beef, and bread all taste pretty great together. 


Christmas Eve, we made Santa's favorite ginger cookies--coincidentally, also my favorite cookies to make around the holidays!--and laid out some carrots for the reindeer. I can't get over how grown up Honey Bee looks in this photo. Who is that little lady?!?!?!

Honey Bee has been talking for weeks about asking Santa for a dollhouse for Christmas. We wrote him a letter, told him at Macy's, and she's mentioned it to anyone who would listen to her since we've moved here just to cover all her bases. She was really wanting a particular dollhouse "with a frog and a dog" that we saw at Target, but I had a feeling that Santa could do better. Luckily for all, Santa subcontracted the work out to a very nice man from Craigslist, and this is what Honey Bee woke up to on Christmas morning: 

That face is just to die for. 

Mouse's favorite part of Christmas morning was the chocolate chip pancake brunch.

Dog loves opening presents too. 

And just in case you are thinking our holiday has been all sunshine and roses, I'm including a bit of "reality" too:

Both children crying at Costco. (Mouse looks like she's not, but there's definitely crying/whining going on in this picture. Not pictured: fellow shoppers who looked like they were judging me for laughing and snapping this picture instead of comforting my precious children.)

Crying at grocery store whilst shopping for Christmas dinner.

We hope you're all having a wonderful holiday season and that 2015 is a year full of health and happiness for you all!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Long Overdue Update

Obviously this is way overdue, and so many times I thought "I should be blogging about this," but haven't been able to find the time to sit down and write. Even now, I'm typing this as we watch Season 5 of The Wire on HBO On Demand (YEAH. THAT'S A THING!), surrounded by piles of laundry that need putting away.

But. We moved to Philly in early December. Crossing the border went without a hitch, and although the drive felt long with Huz in the U-Haul and me following behind with all the girlies in our van, we powered through and were so, so happy to arrive at our new home.

We arrived at our new place at around 9 PM, and we already had a very long to do list for the following day (going in person to get hydro hooked up, picking up internet stuff, groceries, etc.), so Huz and I unloaded the U-Haul the night we arrived. This photo is of Honey Bee and Mouse in the playpen, watching the iPad, and eating McDonald's while we unloaded the U-Haul. Rock star parenting.

Since arriving, our days have mainly consisted of unpacking, getting furniture, driving around to meet up with Craigslist sellers of various items, making phone calls and googling stuff to try and figure out the minutiae of moving to another country, and occasionally, doing something fun like taking Dog for a walk or the girls to a playground. (The day we went to IKEA also counted as "something fun," since Honey Bee is now big enough to play in "Smaland" and the ice creams are $1). 

So far, we really love our new house. There are a few fiddly things to sort out, like any new place you move into, but already it feels like we are "home". And even more, we really love our neighbourhood. We actually don't live in Philly itself, but are in an area called the Main Line, which is a group of suburbs west of the city. Its a really beautiful area and it seems like it will be a great place for the girls. Although not nearly as much as in Vancouver, there's still a fair bit of stuff within walking distance of our home, so although we're out in the suburbs, it doesn't feel too suburbany. 

Here are a few shots of the new home:

Setting up our tree. I really don't care for fake trees--since moving to Vancouver we've always had beautiful, real trees--but Huz pointed out that Mouse is particularly mischevious right now, and pulling the tree down is not outside the realm of the possible, and so suggested we go the artificial route, just this once. So we picked this little guy up at the thrift shop. The decorations are spending more time off the tree than on, but its still fun to have a tree, and without the risk of a 1 year old dumping a bunch of tree water on the hardwood floors.

Our living room, including new couch, purchased from Bob's Discount Furniture. 'Cause we're fancy like that. Note the puny little tree with the decorations all on the bottom two feet of the tree (and many on the floor beside. . .). 

Our kitchen. This was the night our couch was delivered, and we decided to celebrate by having a family movie night. We made popcorn with our awesome new popcorn maker--our housewarming gift from Mom and Dad, whose popcorn maker we used quite a bit to celebrate movie night while living in Ottawa). Popcorn and movies are two of Honey Bee's favourite things, and so she is pretty jazzed here. 

Of all of us, Dog seems to have had the hardest time adjusting. Honey Bee loves "our new house," Mouse seems mainly indifferent to the change, but Dog spent the better part of the first week feeling restless and ill. She's no longer sick, but she still seems a little lost at times. It probably doesn't help that her oversized pillow seems to get moved every time we acquire a new piece of furniture (tonight, she was displaced by our new kitchen table). 

A week after we arrived in Philly, I left Huz alone with the girls to fly back to Vancouver (!!!) for a very good friend's wedding. I was too busy crying my eyes out during her ceremony to take a decent picture, but it was an incredible wedding. The bride--and later, the groom--was part of our Wednesday Night Potluck group. This group of friends has been getting together for the past 7 years, just about every Wednesday night, to share an amazing meal, catch up on our lives, and bear witness to all of our major life events. So it was so beautiful for us all to share in our friends' wedding day, and as we often do, we celebrated this momentous occasion with much joy (and a fair bit of wine).

The night before the wedding, I also went out for a Girls' Night with the fantastic women from my book club. I could go on and on (and on and on and on) about the incredible book club I belonged to while we lived in Vancouver and the even more incredible women who belong to it, but for now, all I'll say is that I feel so blessed to have been a part of this wonderful group of kindred spirits, who have touched my life in innumerable ways.

“True friends are always together in spirit. (Anne Shirley)”
― L.M. MontgomeryAnne of Green Gables

Huz did an incredible job while I was away, searching out fun places to take the girls, going to the dog park, grocery shopping, assembling furniture, cooking, etc. I came home to a very tidy house, two happy little girls, and a rather exhausted husband. But I was so grateful for the opportunity to go to Vancouver. I treasured my time with our dear friends and the opportunity to remind myself that even though we no longer live there, Vancouver and our friends there will always be with us, in one way or another. 

One last highlight to report is that Mouse has started walking! She was taking the odd step or two at Mom and Dad's house, but in the last two weeks, she's upped her game and can now make it most of the way across a room before doing a bum drop. She's a squirrelly little baby, getting into everything and making sure we've done a good job of babyproofing the new place, but we enjoy watching her mischevious antics and her adorable little smirk.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Mission Accomplished. . .?

See more on Know Your Meme

(Oh my God, you guys. Do you know how long it took me to figure out how to paste a meme on here???????????? I embarrass myself.)


WE GOT OUR VISAS!!!!!! Wha?!?! We totally weren't expecting them to come this soon--we were thinking early to mid December, based on the last communication we got from employer--but on our first day in Philadelphia, Huz got an email saying they were ready! So we drove on down and picked that shiz up in person!! So, The Rules are that you can't move down more than 30 days before the "program start date", which is in early January, so now we can move anytime after early December.

And, even more good news: WE GOT AN AMAZING NEW PLACE!! Thanks to our wonderful realtor, we saw 11 properties in one day--not counting the broken door place the day before--and really liked four of them. But our top choice really stood head and shoulders above the rest, and they quite liked us as well (I guess?). Its a three bedroom, 1.5 bath (man, that extra 0.5 is really going to make a big difference for us. . .) duplex with a small fenced in yard and an unfinished but pristine and thus totally useable as a playroom basement. Its going to seem positively palatial to us! Its in a beautiful part of town, and our lease starts on December 1. 

SO, unless I am mistaken (which has happened before about this kind of stuff), all we need to do in order to move is wait until 30 days before the "program start date" and figure out our health insurance (no small feat) and then we are good to go! We'll probably move sometime around Dec 3-5ish, and when we get to Philadelphia, we have a beautiful little home waiting for us. We are so excited to know that we'll be "home" and settled by Christmas. 

Phew. What a difference a week makes!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Happy birthday, little Mouse xo

This past weekend we celebrated Mouse's 1st birthday! Its already one year ago that the sweetest, happiest little baby arrived at our home and graced our lives with her never-ending joy. It has been a whirlwind of a year, but Mouse has been such a blessing to us all - her constancy of temperament and adoration has been a port in a storm for us and a daily reminder to cherish the everyday joys and small moments of life with a little one. I read a very timely piece last week called Can you Really Love Your Second Child as Much as Your First? by Darcy R. Shapiro, and it just beautifully summed up how we feel about our little Mouse. We love her for all the ways she is uniquely herself, and our family is more complete, more joyful, and more blessed because she has joined us.

We were also blessed to be able to celebrate Mouse's birthday with a huge birthday shindig at my Aunt's house. It was Mouse themed--of course!--and so many members of our amazing extended family  came out to celebrate with us. Honey Bee and I spent Thursday making tray after tray of baked pasta, pasta being Mouse's favourite food to eat--which I promptly served cold on the day of, but we had a fantastic custom cake made by one of our family members, which was incredible (which I won't post here, beautiful as it is, because Mouse's real name is on it - sorry), and some fantastic hors d'oeuvres made by our gourmet host.
Her first taste of cupcake

Honey Bee loves a good party!

"For she's a jolly good fellow!"

Party van on the way home. Even Dog had a ball.

Happy birthday sweet Mouse! You make us all so happy!

Mouse's little dress is The Hopscotch Dress from Peekaboo Pattern Shop. I have purchased patterns from this shop before and/or followed tutorials from her blog, always with great results. The patterns are simple, PDF documents, and the tutorials all have colour photos and are super easy to follow and always make me feel like a pro while I'm sewing! I had started Mouse's bday dress from a different pattern from a different shop, and with a week left to go, Huz informed me that the dress would make Mouse look like she was Amish, which it did. Although I measured her properly, the dress was far too long and far too wide. So thankfully The Hopscotch was great in a pinch, and I was able to finish it in a week without too much ado. I bought a new sewing machine in Ottawa that does buttonholes, which I was super pumped about. Before, I would take my projects to the sewing lounge in Vancouver to do buttonholes on their fancy digital machines. The machine I bought isn't digital, but it has a buttonhole function/foot, but I found it rather difficult to do. Hopefully as I practice a bit more, I'll get the hang of it better, but for some reason the machine mutinied and wouldn't do one of the four buttonholes properly (but did the other three fine?! whu?!), so I had to do it by hand. And I'm a terrible hand sewer. But the button covers it, so who cares!

We are actually in Philadelphia right now. Tomorrow we have an apartment bonanza planned with a realtor, which is such a novelty. I am used to apartment hunting in Vancouver, where you need to stalk the Craigslist listings every day and as soon as you see a good one, you pounce on it, and when you go to see it, there are 8 other people/couples who are also interested in the apartment. I was approaching our apartment search here with a similar intensity, and our wonderful, patient realtor basically told me "Try to approach this apartment search with as little stress as possible. I actually think you will find that you will have the opposite problem than the one you are anticipating, and will have to decide between several great properties." In other words: calm the hell down, lady. We are REALLY excited about our day o' listings tomorrow, though, and feel really lucky to have someone from here helping us along in the process. 

We drove down from Ottawa yesterday, which took quite a long time because it was either snowing or raining for most of the drive. Today was busy with various appointments, and we were all absolutely wiped. We decided to squeeze in one quick apartment showing this evening, but on our drive there, both girls fell asleep in the car. When we arrived and had to wake them up, they were unsurprisingly nonplussed. Honey Bee, in particular, was in bits. She pretty much cried the entire time we were in the townhome, and did not make a very good first impression on the would-be landlord. At one point, as he was showing us around, she noticed that the previous tenant had done damage to the front door frame. She pointed to the door, in tears, and said "Why is this broken?" We explained that someone broke it, but it was going to be fixed, but apparently this did little to allay her concern. She started crying out, as if someone had just died, "WHY IS THE DOOR BROKEN?!?!?!?"(To those in the Wednesday Night Potluck group, her reaction was akin to the "DON'T CUT MY CAKE!!!!" incident. For those of you not in the Wednesday Night Potluck group, you really should ask me about this story sometime, because it was hilarious). As we left, I said "So, we'll call you tomorrow once we've made our decision" (again, so weird to say this. In Vancouver, its the landlord who says things like that. . .), and Huz says "But, if we decide to move in, you're really going to have to do something about that door, since apparently it really upsets Honey Bee." We had a good laugh on the drive back to the hotel. 

In an effort to have a better, less tear-filled apartment blitz day tomorrow, we are trying to get the girls to go to bed early tonight. This is very difficult in a hotel room if you yourselves do not want to go to bed early. So Huz and I are currently sitting in the bathroom with the fan on, drinking beer and eating chips, and watching Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia on the iPad. Ahh, parenthood! 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Halloween in Ontario

Oh, what a lovely Halloween we had! It was a chilly, chilly day, but it made me feel nostalgic for the days of my youth, when I spent more than one Halloween with a winter coat/snowpants over/under my costume. In Vancouver, Halloween wasn't exactly warm, and we did on occasion have to tote the umbrella around, but it was definitely much warmer than here. You know it must be cold, when the 3 year old decides to pack it in when her goodie bag is only half full because "I COLD!"

Soon after Honey Bee was born, I decided to take an adult education Beginner Sewing class through the Vancouver School Board, mainly so that I could learn how to sew costumes for Halloween. As a child, I remember having a few costumes that were very memorable (I'm remembering in particular, an incredible Queen of Hearts costume that my mom's friend made that was so epically amazing that I actually FELT like I was the actual Queen of Hearts. And an E.T. costume that I first came upon hanging on a nail in our unfinished basement at a fairly young age and being so terrified of the costume that I don't even remember putting it on - there is certainly no photographic proof of that particular Halloween costume), but others were very meh (like when I dyed my hair black and wore a rosary to be Madonna, or when I bought a soother and wore pajamas to be a baby. . .). And I really wanted to create for the girls that magical feeling that a child has when they dress up in a truly remarkable costume.

I found my canary yellow graduation gown in a closet at my parents house, and Honey Bee LOVES princesses, so I decided to make a Snow White costume. (It was either Snow White or Belle, but difficulty-wise, it was a no brainer for me!) And I thought that with her great big blue eyes and the fact that she doesn't speak, Mouse would be the most adorable Dopey ever. And I was right.

Look at how happy she is to be Snow White! It makes my heart sing. I made this dress by modifying the Allana Ruffled Peasant Dress pattern by Blissful Sewing, which I had used previously to make Honey Bee's 3rd birthday dress. I lengthened the bodice and didn't include the ruffles or sash, and the dressed turned out really well. Its a great, easy-to-follow pattern, and great for early sewists like myself. I also found this amazing tutorial from Craftiness is not Optional on how to do the sleeves. It totally made the dress, although if you scrutinize mine, you'd find lots of boo boos around the neckline and cuffs from where I put the elastic/casings, but like an impressionist painting, the dress looks so much better if you take a few steps back.

And here is sweet little Dopey! Forgive the less-than-awesome picture. Its incredibly difficult to take a fully body shot of a crawling baby, as many of you know. Inspired by Jeni Ro Designs, I used the Bimaa Sweater Pattern by LouBeeClothing, which was just perfect. It was a super easy sew, super cute pattern (which I will certainly use again for non-Halloween purposes), and it was really warm and cozy during our very chilly Halloween outings. The fleece I used was really thick, which was great for warmth, but made the cowl look a bit like a green neck brace, but I still think it looked so cute.

Snow White and Dopey together. (Look at how dirty Honey Bee's socks are!!!!!). We stopped by my grandparents' house for a visit and so they could see the little ones all dressed up.

We also spent part of our day with my cousin and his family at Hugli's Blueberry Ranch in Pembroke. It was awesome! There were some great play areas, lots of (mostly) friendly animals to feed, a corn maze, and a HUGE slide made out of corrugated plastic tubing, among other fun activities.

Huz shooting out the bottom of the slide. Its not just for kids!

Some rather menacing geese. They didn't like the look of Honey Bee and pecked at her (and so begins a lifelong fear of water fowl. . .), so we left their little area. But later, these three goons found us and stalked us down, but we made a narrow escape into the corn maze.

Quintessential Ontario Halloween shot of trick-or-treating with ski jacket over costume. Brr.

Dopey-turned-Sleepy in the car on the drive home. It was a wonderful day!

We received some news on the moving front. Huz finally got his start date! . . .in early JANUARY. Wah wah. A little disappointing to hear (some of us may have spent an entire day wallowing), but perhaps not surprising with all that has to happen when you move to a new country. So we have to trespass on Mom and Dad's hospitality a little longer, and we will likely now be able to make another trip down to Philly later on in November/December to look for an apartment.