Monday, August 31, 2015

James Robert's First Day of Pre-School

Today, we started transitioning James Robert into his new school.  This week, I will stay with him for a bit each day and by next week he'll be on his own.

As you can see below, he wasn't so sure about his first day, but we left the house with a smile on our face!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Surprised by Joy

taken in Fishtown, Leland MI. 
Are you familiar with the concept of choosing a word-of-the-year?  The idea is to pick a word to focus on, mediate on and reflect on it in daily life throughout the year. Or as Ali Edwards so eloquently says, “pinpointing one guiding principle and then walking with that word thought the year.” In January I chose the word Joy. 

On the verge of moving and in the midst of countless life changes, joy was perhaps the word I was most seeking.   I’ve held tight to that word all year.  Particularly, when I’ve doubted our decision to leave friends and family back in Charlotte, I’ve clung to the joy of being able to be a full-time Mom and sought joy in the little moments of life.  This word-of-the-year practice has provided reflection on joy in a different way, but for 8 months, I couldn’t help but wonder if there was something more to it.

It’s now late August.  This past weekend, we stumbled upon the oldest church in Toronto while ambling around the city on a mini-exploration of sorts.  The name of the church is St. James.  The bells chimed on a Saturday afternoon and James Robert took delight.  I was pulled-in by the open doors and intrigued to compare it to the St. James church of my childhood.

It is beautiful. High gothic ceilings and plentiful stained glass.  As he took it all in, I saw a smile spread over James Robert’s face; I saw the awe in his eyes.  At 2 years old I saw the joy of travel, exploration, and adventure take root.  It’s all that I ever hoped I could give him from this experience of moving to Canada. And right in the middle of that church, on a random Saturday, more than half way through the year, it hit me like a ton of bricks- JOY.  The force of it took me by surprise.

This word-of-the-year journey was not intended as an exercise in faith, just as our decision to move away from “home” wasn’t intended to be an exercise in faith. But God has a beautiful way of sending you a message when he really wants you to hear it.  I got the message loud and clear.  

The next day at church, wouldn’t you know it, joy was the topic of the sermon.  And as Hymn 474 was sung, it was as if the words were written on my heart.  A joyful surprise in the best way:

“The joy of God comes close. 
Where faith encounters fears,
 where heights and depths of life are found through smiles and tears. The joy of God is here to stay, embracing those who walk the Way; the joy of God is here to stay.” Hymn 474 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Pure Michigan 2015 Part II

A great perk of living in Toronto is that we are driving distance to Little Traverse Lake.  That means we were able to make two trips this year!  In early August, we enjoyed a week there with extended family.

James Robert had a ball spending time with his cousins.  
So many memories were made.  Including the kids first "hike" to the big lake.  While there were lots of piggy-backs involved, we all made it there and back in one piece. And in high spirits to boot.  
Another especially memorable day was spent at the Leland Library.  Two firemen came to read to the kids and afterwards they were able to explore the fire truck and ambulance.  This was James Robert's dream come true.
And of course, there was a lot of lake time.  And love from Nana and Baca.

Pure Michigan 2015 Part I

Last year, I officially declared this photo op a tradition.  This is James Robert's third summer in Michigan (previous pics here and here)  and I can hardly believe how big he looks in this photo.  It's such a mom thing to do, but I just adore picking out a sailboat outfit for the occasion and taking him down to the beach for a photo.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Toronto Tourists + Erin Comes to Visit

We're so glad that Erin picked July to come and visit us; summer is such a wonderful time to visit Toronto!
We had the best time playing tourist in our new city while we also showed her the sites.  One of our favorite day trips was visiting the Toronto Islands.  You board a ferry in the city and less than 10 minutes later you're greeted with wonderful views, gardens, beaches and even a small amusement park and farm.  
We also visited the St. Lawrence Market.  It's such a fun place to browse and get a feel for the city.  Moreover, James Robert is obsessed with the buskers.

We also made sure to take lots of walks around Oakville to soak in the perfect summer weather.  
Most of all, we enjoyed spending time with such a dear friend!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Summer Nights

Our nightly post-dinner routine includes a quick trip down to the lake to throw rocks.  It's the sweetest kind of father and son bonding.