Saturday, 31 December 2005

Jeremy's Second Birthday

Look who is two? Yup, Little Man aka Destructo, turned two today. Per the Szymczak custom, Jeremy danced to the Captain Zoom birthday song (the one where your name is mentioned many times). Then it was time to open presents - a word Jeremy has mastered. From Corbin, Jeremy received a set of three Thomas the Engine trains. From Mom and Dad, he received a coffee maker, so he could make his own brand of "double double" coffee. Earlier this week, he received a bean bag chair from Babcia. In the afternoon, we lit the cake and Jeremy blew out the candles with no problems and proceeded to mash icing and cake all over his face (he is quite good at that).

Tuesday, 27 December 2005

Christmas Is Over

The Christmas portion of the "Holiday Season" is officially over today. Adam and the boys, took his mother and Alex to the train station for their trip back to Brantford. After saying goodbye, the boys headed up to Future Shop and Best Buy to check out some things and to give Tina a break from everyone. During that time, Tina stripped the Christmas Tree of all the decorations and Adam removed the lights and took the tree apart and stored it in the box. Later during the winter season, Tina plans on going through our decorations and tossing those that are old and tired (we have had some decorations for almost a decade). We plan on visiting Bronners in Frankenmuth, Michigan sometime in February to get some ideas and new decorations. Now to clean the house up, put the gifts in the appropriate places and look forward to a quiet New Year celebration with the Karb Family.

Saturday, 24 December 2005

Christmas Eve 2005

Christmas Eve went without a hitch. Babcia, Adam's mom, prepared the perogies by frying up some bacon and onion (expertly cut by Alex). We broke the wafer, a Polish tradition, before eating, wishing each person a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. We ate the perogies, pizza bites and bacon-wrapped scallop and washed it down with wine. After tea and deserts it was time to open the presents. One by one the presents were opened and a few hours later, the Christmas Tree was barren of presents. Corbin loves his boxing gloves and shooting arcade. Jeremy liked the bowling set and alphabet magnets. Adam was excited about getting sports and dress socks (no, really, he was) and Tina was overwhelmed by books, DVDs and scrapbooking stuff. Babcia and Grandpa were trying to figure out how to get that DVD/VCR combo back home via the train. Just before going to bed, Corbin spread out some food for the Santa's reindeer, left a magic key so Santa could get into the house and put out some milk and cookies for Santa.

Friday, 23 December 2005

Getting Ready For Christmas

We have spent the last few days getting the house in tip-top shape for the holiday season. Essentially, we are cleaning the house for the eventual mess that will happen on Christmas Day. Every room has been dusted, vacuumed and tidied up. The house looks clean and tidy. That won't last for long.

Sunday, 18 December 2005

Christmas In the Prettiest Town in Canada

We traveled up to Goderich Friday evening. Encountered some snow fall between the 401 and Bayfield - to be expected this time year. Arriving in at Chris and Lisa's house, we promptly unpacked the van and got a tour of the newly renovated and expanded Muggridge home. Chris and Lisa added a 2-storey extension with a full basement to their house. The extension contains the master bedroom complete with it's own bathroom and walk-in closet, a new kitchen and a fully functional rec room in the basement. The transition between new and old is flawless. The amount of floor area has doubled. The old kitchen is now the new office of Atomic North New Media (formerly located on the Square).

The kids opened their presents on Saturday and for the most part, they all played well and they all got along well. Corbin played with Teegan and Madigan's toys in the basement and a few games on the Playstation2. Jeremy did what Jeremy does best: play here there and everywhere. A few toys would make it out of the basement but when asked to take them downstairs, Jeremy would comply. Sleeping worked out well. All in all, it was a very relaxing weekend. Kudo's to Chris and Lisa on the expansion.

Thursday, 15 December 2005

Christmas Newsletter Out

We have mailed out our annual Christmas Wastebasket Newsletter and it should be arriving in your mailbox shortly. If it doesn't, let us know, we will gladly mail one out, or, if you are technologically advanced, we can email you a PDF version. Only 8 more days to Christmas Eve, 9 more days to Christmas Day and 16 days to the New Year.

Sunday, 11 December 2005

Kids Holiday Party

We attended the Kids Holiday Party organized for City employees. The party was held at the Cleary International Centre. Tina dressed the boys up in cute matching outfits. We arrived early and staked our claim at a table near the stage. Eventually we were joined by Mike Cooke and his family.
There was lots for the kids to do: eat, make gingerbread cookies (complete with icing and sprinkles), different kinds of crafts, facepainting, and running on the dance floor. Beebo, a childrens performer, kept the crowd busy. Mr. and Mrs. Claus arrived by fire truck - which Corbin had been waiting for and he had a great view from his spot at the window. The kids got books as gifts, which, seemed to fit their personality and likes. The event was well organized and well attended.

Friday, 9 December 2005

Christmas Tree Is Up

Christmas is here. Christmas is here. Adam spent the afternoon, setting up the Christmas tree so that it could be decorated over the weekend. After three years, Adam is getting better at putting the tree, a 7 foot Majestic Fir, together. Jeremy seems uninterested in the tree - for the time being.

Sunday, 4 December 2005

Toronto Trip - Day 3

Back to Windsor today. We started the day with a visit to the Express Start breakfast bar. We got ready and packed the van. This trip to Toronto was exactly what this family needed. Time away from Windsor, from the house and from school. It was Jeremy's first time in a hotel with us, and we had no major problems. We brought a pack and play crib and simply covered it with a comforter from the bed to make it dark. Corbin simply loves hotels. He loves laying in bed watching TV. We left Toronto with good vibes. The weather was cold but sunny.

We decided to make a stop in Tillsonburg to visit Tina's grandma and her Aunt Lisa and Uncle John. None of them had seen Jeremy yet. There was plenty of snow on the ground in T'burg. We arrived at the right time because Grandma Jean and Tina's cousin, Emily, were just about to live to visit Emily's sister, Sarah. We spent some time hanging out and Jeremy enjoyed the new surroundings - new things to touch and play. We grabbed a bite to eat before leaving Tillsonburg and took the leisurely way home (old Highway 3).

Saturday, 3 December 2005

Toronto Trip - Day 2

We had no set plans for the weekend, but thought of going to the CN Tower. Corbin remembered the glass floor and said he would like to go back. We woke up to cloudy and light flurry conditions, which took the CN Tower out of contention. A quick check on the web and we noticed that the Royal Ontario museum (ROM), which is going under an expansion and extensive renovation, had a number of galleries open, including Ancient Egypt. Corbin is on a big Ancient Egypt kick lately. Admissions are reduced until December 26th, so we chose the ROM.

We called Angela and told we would be leaving shortly and that we would meet up with her at the Coxwell subway station. It was Jeremy's first time on public transit - at least with us. We entered the Scarborough RT (an elevated train system) and at first Jeremy was hesitant and scared by the noises that were made. Eventually, he realized we were on a train and he calmed down. Next, we transferred to the subway. Of course, we had to be at the front of the train so Corbin could get a birds-eye view of what was coming - he even saw some workers in the tunnel. We hooked up with Angela and headed to the ROM.

The ROM is right beside the Museum subway stop. It was not too busy which made for an enjoyable two hours. Jeremy seemed to enjoy the ROM, especially the bird room. Corbin kept it together and thoroughly liked the Ancient Egypt exhibit. The highlight was seeing the mummy. We left the ROM and headed out to Bloor Street to mingle with the crowds. Jeremy was in awe at the number of people, the cars, the tall buildings and the sounds. We stopped by the Indigo bookstore on Bay Street before walking down Yonge Street to the Eatons Centre. Yes, call us crazy.

Arriving at the Eatons Centre, we headed up to the Mr. Greenjeans restaurant. The service and food were okay - could have been better. We wandered around the Eatons Centre, found a toy store and bought Corbin some goodies for being a great kid. Back onto the subway and RT. We walked through the Scarborough Town Centre, kids and Angela in tow, and drove back to the hotel. The five of us hung out for a couple of hours before Adam took Angela back to Scarborough Town Centre (which apparently has no rider drop-off or pickup area - at least none that was visible at 9 pm).

Friday, 2 December 2005

Toronto Trip - Day 1

We try to get to Toronto at least once a year. So we decided a weekend trip in early December. Since Corbin had a PA day on Friday, we figured we could get 3 days and 2 nights out the weekend. We headed out early Friday morning, had breakfast in Tilbury and continued towards Toronto. Then came London. The beginning of the snow belt. Traffic slowed right down due to a visibility reducing snow squall - at least a foot of snow came down. We averaged about 30 km/h until just before Ingersoll. After Ingersoll, the road was clear and the sun came out. That was fine.

We arrived at the Ontario Science Centre just after noon. The place was very busy due to school field trips. Corbin and Jeremy loved the place. Corbin liked trying out all the hands-on exhibits like throwing a baseball and so forth. Jeremy just like to run around and touch everything. A new feature at the Science Centre is Kids Park. It is a hands-on area where Children can play with water, dress up, work in a grocery store (with real scanners and cash register), play with a crane, and so on. Jeremy loved the part where you would launch a ball down a track with loops. Corbin liked the grocery store. We could have spent hours in this area.

After a successful day at the Science Centre, we drove to Angela's townhouse. According to Tina, the place looked better than the last time she was there, but was in no shape for us to stay over. So we spent some time with Ang. Adam looked in the Yellow Pages for a hotel, Jeremy drank water from the dog bowl and Corbin wanted to sleepover. We eventually headed to the Holiday Inn Express in Scarborough. They had rooms and at a reasonable price of $95 CDN per night (government rate). We unpacked and then headed out for dinner at a Red Lobster just down the street. It was a very full but awesome day.