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Graduation Day!!

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Today was a day of mixed emotions…..the youngest of my four kids graduated from High School today.

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Invitation

Before the ceremony

Before the ceremony

It’s been a long road since my oldest started grade one 22 years ago so while it was a big day for Erika it was an even bigger one for me. Today marked the end of an era. The days of making lunches every morning….because I didn’t feel like making them at night, are long gone…..HAPPY :). Each of my kids liked something different in their sandwich, and of course they were in love with peanut butter but because of nut allergies in the schools I had to get creative and come up with something else they might eat. Creativity first thing in the morning did not always turn out so well, but they all lived. 🙂

Buying school supplies every fall, always was and still is one of my favorite things to do. It gets expensive for four kids but I have always loved looking through all the new accessories, especially when I went to school (a million years ago). Picking out that perfect pencil-case and buying all the pens, pencils and erasers that right after the first day of school were never again seen inside that pencil-case or were anywhere else to be found when needed for homework. Buying the math set every year that also never had all the pieces in it by the time they came to that section in their math classes (which is why I needed to buy a new one for them each year….I have never figured out where all those pieces go). And of course the greatest purchase ever…..the mandatory agenda that the schools insisted every child needed in order to stay organized all year and to be used for communication between teacher and parent…..which never had a single piece of information written in it and by the end of the year if they even still knew where it was still looked brand new. No more shopping for the indoor and outdoor shoes that was necessary for elementary school. Ahhhhh, what will I do with all that money that I will no longer be spending on school supplies?

I know every parent loves getting that phone call from the school in the middle of the day saying that your child doesn’t feel good and maybe you should come and pick him/her up. Ok so what I want to know is if they are projectile vomiting? or do they have a headache? or do they have a test in the afternoon that they just don’t want to write so they want to go home? I think I know my kids pretty well so if I could see them I would know if they were really sick or not but once I got permission to take the afternoon off from work to go pick up said sick child and I got to the school, even if they weren’t really sick I take them home anyway because it’s just not worth the effort of explaining to the teacher that my kid is not that sick and should just stick it out and maybe write the test they didn’t study for. Once I was away from work why not just enjoy the rest of the day.

Filling out the endless forms on the first day of school was also one of my favorite things to do…..not. Every year the school sent the same “personal information” form to be filled out for each kid in the family, claiming that the information in it would be kept on file. If that was the case then why did I have to rewrite the exact same information each year?  Their names and birth dates and heath card numbers didn’t change from year to year, granted other information might have changed, address, phone number….parents’ names etc. Oh those pages of forms, such a delight.

There are some things I will miss about my kids going to school…..I can’t actually think of a single solitary one right at the moment but come September I’m sure I will think of something.

This day also marks the end of minor sports and school sports. Again there is a huge financial saving to be had, but what will my husband and I do with all that spare time? The days when all four kids were playing sports and had to be at four different fields at the same time and trying to juggle drop offs and pick-ups with only one car to do it in took some ingenious planning and every once in a while it meant a child was forgotten at a soccer field….on purpose? No of course not. And do you really feel all that bad about it when you finally remember that you still have a child sitting in the dark waiting for you when you get there only to find she is sitting with a teammate whose parent’s also forgot to pick her up? No of course not, that’s when you tell your child that at least we didn’t forget you for as long as “her” parent’s did. 🙂

Today’s Graduation Ceremony was a happy but sad occasion. This is the first of my parent’s grandchildren, and the only one of my children to graduate that my Dad was not here for. My mom is here to see her granddaughter graduate and we are delighted that she could be here but I for one am noticing the empty place in the photos. When we moved from New Brunswick to Ontario, Erika had just turned 5 and whenever she talked to her Papa on the phone he would tell her how nice the bow/ribbon was that she had in her hair. It would always make her laugh because she didn’t actually have anything in her hair (it probably wasn’t even brushed) but it was one of those silly things that remain a memory years later. I like to think that if he was here today to see her graduate he would comment on the non-existent bow in her hair.

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Erika with her Nan

As I said today was a day of mixed emotions…..pride, joy, and happiness, watching my baby girl graduate but sadness that my dad was not here to take part in the day with us and to give Erika the words of wisdom that he gave to the rest of his grand-kids on their Graduation Day.

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So proud of our girl

Congratulations to my baby girl on her big day, so proud of you!!! Well done E! Well done!

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The High School Grad!!

My Loss is Heaven’s Gain

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On September 11, 2012 I lost my dad…..but my loss is heavens gain.

My Dad

Edwin H. Hughes Memorial

Edwin Harrison Hughes, Sr.

Edwin Hughes of Hughes Road, Cody’s passed away at the Saint John Regional Hospital on September 11, 2012 at the age of 76.

Edwin was born in Cody’s on January 3, 1936; he was the son of the late Gordon Harold Hughes and Anna (Noddin) Hughes. He enjoyed playing the fiddle, doing cross word puzzles and reading. He was a Sunday School Teacher, Superintendent, Deacon and Prayer Group Leader. He joined the Gideons in February, 1978. He held positions of President, Secretary-Treasurer for the Queens Co. Camp before joining with the Fredericton Gideons. He was a farmer, a forest ranger and then began a wood contracting business with his brother Robin. He delighted in his grandchildren and made sure they knew he was praying for them daily.

He will live on in the hearts of Catherine Grace (Patterson) his beloved wife of 54 years; his son Edwin, Jr. and his wife Elizabeth of Cody’s; his daughter Susan Slipp and her husband Bradley of Darlings Island; his daughter Anna Grant and her husband Christopher of Guelph; and his son Andrew and his wife Patricia of Fredericton; his sister Doris Edling and her husband Don of Hampton; his brother Robin and his wife Cheryl of Sussex; and his beloved grandchildren Ryan, Shana, Nicholas and Erika McFarlane of Guelph; Jamie and his wife Cheryl and Miranda Slipp of Darlings Island; Jillian and Abigail Hughes of Fredericton; and Christina Shand and Maggie May Hughes of Cody’s as well as several nieces and nephews. Edwin was predeceased by his brothers John and Charles.

The family will receive relatives and friends that wish to say goodbye to Edwin at Wallace Funeral Home, 34 Sunnyside Drive, Sussex, (506-433-1176) on Thursday September 13th from 1-3 and 6-8 pm.

A service celebrating Edwin’s life will be held from Apohaqui Community Church on Friday, September 14, 2012 at 11:00 am followed by a time of fellowship with the family in the Church Hall. A private family interment will take place at Cody’s Baptist Cemetery.

Donations may be made to the Gideon Bibles, the Apohaqui Community Church or to a charity of the donor’s choice would be appreciated by the family.

Dear Dad,

You are the perfect example of how a man should live, love his family and care about the world and the people in it.  You have always strived to live your life according to God’s will and to reach out to others with His message.

Your work here on earth is done and although we may not fully understand or appreciate God’s timing, it’s always according to His great plan for our lives.

God has called you home to rest, and there will be no more heartache, pain or suffering for you and we will take heart in knowing that your journey on earth is complete and you are safe in the arms of Jesus, where you belong.

I will miss my Dad, my children will miss their Papa, but you will remain in our hearts as we share our stories and memories of you over the days and years to come.

I always have been and still am, very proud to be your daughter and to call you my Dad.

Anna

My dad was taken to the hospital after taking a fall at home. After several CT scans and surgery’s it was determined that he suffered a stoke which caused the fall. My mom and my siblings spent most of the following week at the hospital waiting for things to improve, but sadly they didn’t.

We got the news of my dad’s passing shortly before 4:00am on Tuesday morning. When you have elderly parents every late night (or early morning) phone call is always feared to be bad news…..this one wasn’t unexpected but still a difficult call to receive…..especially since it was from my baby brother  Andrew (2 whole years younger than me) who couldn’t actually say anything once I answered so his wife Patricia gave me the news.

Well there was no more sleeping after that call so I decided I needed to get up and start getting things ready for our trip to New Brunswick. We had most of the plans in place, financing, dog sitting, work places notified, etc., we just needed the arrangement details in order to know how much time we had to make our journey East.

My son Ryan and his girlfriend Whitney decided it was best for them to fly out due mainly to Whitney’s recent back surgery. My son Nick was unable to get the time off from his work, much to his and our disappointment, so he wasn’t able to make the trip. My daughters Shana and Erika, and my husband and I were travelling by car (return plane tickets for all four of us just wasn’t an option).

We left here at 10:30am (Ontario time), as we needed to make a stop at the Mall to pick up our clothes that were being altered. Fifteen hours, four gas and “grab a quick snack” and de-water stops later, we arrived at my brother’s house in Fredericton…..2:30am their time. My husband did all of the driving because I didn’t sleep anywhere along the way despite his urging me to do so just in case he needed me to take over at some point, by the time he was suffering from exhaustion I was certainly not awake enough to drive safely. After disrupting my brothers household we went to bed for what I thought would be 5 or 6 hours, just enough sleep to revive us so we could get back on the road first thing in the morning and drive the next hour to my mom’s house. We slept a little longer than that so it was afternoon before we arrived at my old home.

It was great to see my mom and brothers and families and we all sat around telling stories and discussing more detailed arrangements, like getting the flowers ordered and who wanted to do what at the service and so on.

We all needed to go to the church that evening to meet with the minister and work out the final details of the service. There were 19 of us plus the minister that evening sitting in a rather large circle sharing stories of my dad and putting the service into order. There were quite a few funny stories and anecdotes as well as some serious and thoughtful memories spoken.

Thursday was the visitation…..4 hours of hugging and greeting both familiar and unfamiliar faces. Despite the reason we were there it was great to see so many people, family, friends and acquaintances, that I haven’t seen for years. Some I didn’t recognize right away and others hadn’t changed a bit since I last saw them. I did wish I had longer to visit with some of my old friends but this wasn’t the time. The evening visitation was from 6:00pm until 8:00pm but people were still lined up to pay their respects after 8:00pm. Thursday was a long day but a very rewarding one seeing how many people wanted to come out and show their support for family and pay their respects to this man, my dad.

Friday morning was the funeral, and if funerals can be beautiful then to me this one was. It wasn’t so much a time of sadness, although you wouldn’t think that if you saw the tears and heard the snuffles, but to me it was a heart warming testimony to a man who lived his life well.

Our dear friend Scott Hoyt delivered the eulogy and there could not have been a better choice to deliver the words to speak about the life of his friend and my dad…..

These are some of the words he spoke.

How does one begin to write about their best friend after they have died?  Today, my friends is so bittersweet to my soul that I fear I will not be able to do justice to a friend who means more to me than any of you can know.  Today is not a day of sadness even though our hearts are heavy with loss.  Today is a celebration of one of God’s greatest friends who is now at home.  At peace.

Edwin Hughes was a wise man.  He was simple.  Honest. Hardworking. Dependable. Spiritual. Strong. It didn’t take me too long to also figure out something else about this wonderful man.  If, at 20 years old, I wanted to make something of this life of mine I had just found a mentor that would help me to do so.  I had found a friend that would stick by me like a father.  He would guide me, train me, defend me like no other and would cherish me.  The day I met Edwin Hughes changed my life forever.  I had met a man of God.

Edwin would encourage me and validate my decisions as being God’s work and plan for my life.  Every step of the way, right beside me, was my friend Edwin Hughes and his family.

I can remember many a visit to Edwin’s house.  Driving in that long driveway and up the hill to see and talk to my friend.  We talked about life, its difficulties and trying to find solutions.  We’d talk for hours. After church and after suppers, in a corner somewhere, you could find Edwin and I talking about just about anything.  Edwin always steered the conversation towards what the LORD wanted to do in our life.  About the things of Heaven.  He would talk about friends he was praying for and pursuing to share the message of God with.  He taught me to love my enemies.  Many times Catherine would go out to her car and have to come back in to a building to retrieve him.  Sometimes she just gave up and asked if I could bring him home.  A couple hours later I would.

Edwin was a survivor.  He had faced open heart surgery before.  He had brain surgery to remove a tumour.  He had weathered life’s ups and downs.  He would laugh.  Sometimes he cried.  Career changes.  Business and economies.  Personal losses of family.  All these Edwin faced through eyes of faith.  He was human.  At times raw.  But no one can contest how honest of a man he was and how he prevailed.

Edwin liked to reminisce about the members of his family.  The Doney line. The Noddins.   His mom and his dad.  His brothers and sister.  His grandfather who came to know Jesus. Stories about his cousins and his love for his wife, children and grandchildren.  Edwin was clear that his greatest memory was in “Catherine agreeing to be [his] wife”.  Undoubtedly, with 54 years of marriage celebrated, Edwin pinpointed that decision to be the pivotal moment in his life which gave him everything he enjoyed.  He often gratefully would tell me how much she was the “strength in his life”. And this was a lesson I took for my own as I found my bride to share my life with.  Always teaching me Edwin. 

In wanting to be remembered Edwin feared often that he should always have done more for his family.  I remember the story of how he changed his life when his children were young after a pastor came to visit him in his home.  He was challenged to become a leader in his home.  I know with all my heart that that was a challenge he embraced fully.  I watched this man with his children.  I listened to him as they faced changes in their lives.  I witnessed his love for each of them and their children.  There was a reason they called him “PAPA”.  Jesus too used this in the Aramaic term “ABBA” to refer to his Father when he called him “DADDY”.  Edwin was the living witness of this very person.  A man who did not judge his family, who loved them and who cherished each one of them as individuals.  A man who prayed continually for them and his community.  The most important request Edwin left behind was that he wanted his “family to remember the love he had for each one in a special way”.  I need not think he should have worried for this is his legacy.  You are his legacy.

Edwin loved to bring life to the world around him.  His ears heard the voice of God and he listened and followed. Many a person was unknowingly healed or strengthened by this man who prayed often from his car seat or from his hallway in the wee hours of the night while the world slept.  He was private yet strangely outgoing.  He was easily stung by harshness but bold in his faith.  From sitting on fresh laid logs in the woods to the welcoming kitchen chair, when you sat and talked to Edwin, your life was changed.  

I, like so many he blessed with his talents, will always hear him in my mind.  Laughter.  Words of encouragement.  Prayers of endorsement. And hymns echoing from his fingertips as he prayerfully played his fiddle to comfort a friend or lead in worship.  I hear him celebrating with friends he led to Jesus.  I see him as a child, running with laughter.  He was a man who righted wrongs, forgave past debts, humbled himself and championed for the weak.  He was a man of silent strength. Weeping authority. Public faith. A Gideon dedicated to God’s service. 

This was where some of the tears were seen and the snuffles were heard, and as much as Scott admired my dad, my dad admired Scott.

I was very proud of my children during this very difficult time for them as they stood in the receiving line at the funeral home and were introduced to hundreds of friends and family members that they had never met or had no recollection of having met since we have been gone from there for the last 12 years, and as they sat through the funeral service crying together at the words that were being spoken of their grandfather. They loved their Papa and despite the miles that separated them they were very close.

As the firstborn grandchild, my son Ryan was always very special to my dad and at the service he read Psalm 121: 1 I lift up my eyes to the hills– where does my help come from? 2 My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.3 He will not let your foot slip– he who watches over you will not slumber; 4 indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. 5 The LORD watches over you– the LORD is your shade at your right hand; 6 the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. 7 The LORD will keep you from all harm– he will watch over your life; 8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.

My dad had always asked my son Nick to speak at his funeral when the time came but since he wasn’t able to be there Ryan read his words for him: “On September 11, 2012 I lost my biggest fan, my mentor, my friend and my grandfather. He was one of the only people who ever saw me for who I could be not who I was that day and words can’t express how much of an impact he had on me and how much I will miss him everyday for the rest of my life. Rest In Peace Papa, I will always love you, your grandson Nick.” Again with the tears, both for my son Ryan being able to speak for his brother and for my son Nick’s heartfelt words. Only those that really knew the relationship that Nick had with his Papa would really be touched by those words and I certainly was.

At the end of the service my son Ryan left his seat and walked to the front of the church to have the Urn placed in his hands to carry his grandfathers remains to the hearse for the journey to his final resting place at the Cody’s Cemetery, I was never more proud of my son than I was at that moment, and of course since I wasn’t aware that he had been asked to do this, as Scott put it, “my eyelids were sweating” again.

The internment was very private with immediate family only. Once the urn was laid in the ground and family was starting to leave my husband and I wandered through the cemetery and my husband remarked that it was the perfect resting place for my dad as it sits along the shore of the Washademoak Lake and it is surrounded by lush trees and you can see the cattle grazing in the distance. All things that meant so much to my dad who was just a simple country man of God and lived a simple life to the end. As we wandered back towards our car to return home I stopped for a moment to thank the wonderful lady from the funeral home, who was patiently waiting for us to leave, for everything they had done over the past few days and she asked me if I would like to scatter some “yellow rose petals” over my dad’s remains. You may scoff at this but I saw it as an assurance from my dad that all would be well. Yellow roses are very special to me, yellow is my favorite color, yellow roses were my flowers at my wedding and yellow rose petals are what my husband and I had scattered all around at our wedding 12 years ago.

The yellow rose petals scattered around my wedding cake.

I feel that those last few moments were just between me and my dad and I will cherish that memory forever.

Chris, Shana and Erika and I had to leave on Sunday morning to face our 15 hour drive back home to return to work on Monday and now life has returned to normal for us. As much as we rejoice that my dad has gone on to a better place there is still a sadness within each of us that we will no longer have the privilege of hearing him preach to us or tell us stories from his past or just to remind us continually that he is praying for us. He was a great man who will be missed.

Edwin Harrison Hughes ♥ January 3, 1936 – September 11, 2012 ♥

Vacation….Day 1

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This is day 1 of my second week of vacation for this year. My first week was in March and we took a trip to New Brunswick. This week we have no plans….I still have 2 more weeks to take but I haven’t decided when yet.

To start off my “no special plans” vacation week, I got up at 5:30 to take the dogs out, then got laundry started and drove my husband to work so I could keep the car, just in case I needed it. When I got back home I called the vet to make an appointment for our dog Emma for later this afternoon, then I had to trim her nails and give her a good brushing so the vet wouldn’t make me feel guilty about neglecting her grooming. Then it was time to take the dogs for a walk before it got too hot….it already was too hot, so I just took them for a short walk….2km, brought them home and then went walking on my own.

I did a 10km walk counting the 2km I did with the dogs and I took a few pics and some video of a deer in the woods…..While I was watching the deer there was a man on the trail who stood perfectly still while I was recording so he wouldn’t scare it away….that was very nice of him. 🙂

I love the shade of red in this picture.

I’m all about the red.

The winding path.

More burgundy than red, but still nice.

Bird on the swamp.

Clouds reflected on the swamp.

Hanging from the tree.

This chipmunk chased a squirrel out of the tree ….. and then kept a close eye on me.

More swamp.

This ugly creature tried to block my path, but I managed to get around him…..he was HUGE!

Pretty.

Kinda in the middle of no where.

I think this tree has seen better days.

A busy bee.

Caught the bee flying away.

Another busy bee.

I’ve wondered what these were.

A frog sunning himself in the swamp.

This guy might be trying to hide.

A prince perhaps?

Hard to catch these guys.

Very pretty.

Just hanging out.

Sitting pretty.

These birds are my favorite colour.

Amazing how light these birds are.

Hiding in the cat tails.

And last…. a little brown bird sitting in a tree.

March Break Vacation

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I just spent this past week visiting my “Mother Land”….the place where I was born and raised and spent the first 38 1/2 years of my life. I moved from New Brunswick to Ontario nearly 12 years ago and until now I haven’t had an opportunity to go back for a visit. Some of my family members have been to visit me since my move…my parents, both of my brothers and their family’s, and my sisters two children,  but this was my first trip back.

Between my job, my husband’s job and my youngest daughters school, sports and work schedule there is a very small window of opportunity to take a vacation away, but we finally found a few days that would work for all of us……and our older daughter agreed to pup sit for us so we were about to take our first trip away together that didn’t involve Erika playing sports.

Once we decided on the dates for our travel plans, I called my Mom to let her know we were coming for a visit. The Monday before we were to leave on our vacation my brother Andrew called me at work to tell me that Mom was going into surgery…..in 45 minutes……..well you couldn’t have stunned me any more than that little piece of news did, she was having a dye test done that morning and ended up having emergency surgery for a pacemaker. That just made my trip East even more important. I spent the next three days in constant contact with my mom and my brothers getting all the information I possibly could on how she was doing and how my dad was holding up. I was really looking forward to spending some time with my parents. Our original plan was to stay with them while we were there but since my parents were now staying with my sister because of the surgery we decided we would stay with my brother and his family instead.

Friday morning finally arrived and we loaded our car and pulled out of our driveway at 4:02 am….precisely……just before we got hit with a nasty snow storm. Thankfully the storm did not follow us to New Brunswick. We had great weather for the long drive.

Blue skies and a few clouds for the drive to N.B.

A couple of stops for gas and grub and 15 hours later we arrived at my brother’s house.  A huge thank you to him, his wife and their 2 daughters for making room for us. We were a bit tired by the time we arrived, my husband especially since he did all the driving except for about an hour that I took over.

My husband doing what he likes to do....driving.

Erika slept for most of the trip so she didn't think it was a long drive at all.

Saturday morning we got up and went for breakfast with my brother and his family, (we had to keep our Saturday morning tradition) and then we went to visit my parents at my sister’s house. There have been a few changes in the highways since I was last there and the drive seemed to take forever…..even though it was a pretty short drive compared to the 15 hours we did the day before. After much anticipation I got to give my mom and dad a big hug and see for myself that my mom was really doing ok.

The next few days were spent sight-seeing and catching up with Mom and Dad and visiting with family and friends. We didn’t have time to do everything and see everyone that we had hoped to due to some nasty weather moving in….freezing rain…..but we did get to see some of the more important places and people I had wanted to fit in, we saw some people that we weren’t expecting to see, and we had some great meals.

On Sunday we took a detour on our way to see Mom and Dad and drove to my old home. The house has definitely aged (as I have) and there seem to be a few more trees that I don’t remember being there but other than that it was the same as I remember….muddy road and all. 

My Old Home...The House on The Hill.

Sunday evening the family all got together at my brother’s house for a good old Sunday dinner which included both turkey and ham. Thank you Pat and Andrew, it was delicious.

Family Photo. Just missing three of mine and one of my brothers kids.

Lunch with Mom and Dad on Monday before sight-seeing.

Tuesday we took a trip to Moncton to drop in at  my husbands head office. His boss took us out to dinner at St. Hubert, a restaurant I used to love and haven’t eaten at since long before I moved to Ontario. It was every bit as good as I remember it being. That evening we drove into Sussex to have dinner with long time friends Scott and Christy. They cooked a delicious meal for us and we hung out and chatted just like old times except this time I wasn’t the one with the little children, they were. Erika had a great time entertaining being entertained by their girls.

On Wednesday we had planned to have another visit with Mom and Dad before leaving but due to some freezing rain we were a bit house bound that day so a good-bye phone call to them had to do. Not the same as hugs and tears which is the usual when we say good-bye. 😦

We headed home on Thursday morning in a snow storm, nasty roads and slow going for the beginning of our trip home.

View from my brothers dining room window...not what I wanted to see.

Nasty roads ahead made for a slow drive.

Once we got to the New Brunswick / Quebec border the roads were much better.

We drove as far as Ottawa and spent the last day of our vacation being tourists in our Nation’s Capital. We didn’t want to spend the entire day there since there was still a five-hour drive ahead of us to get home so we visited the War Museum and the Parliament Buildings and decided we would have to go back another time to see some more.

Chris and Erika in Ottawa

War Museum

Parliament

Beautiful sunset as we made our way home.

After putting 4374 kilometers on our car, and $625 in the gas tank (which includes all the driving we did for the week we were there….and that was a lot of driving), we arrived home late Friday night and I have to say, as much as I enjoyed my trip back east and seeing everyone, it sure was nice to be home again.

The trip went well and the consensus is that we will try to do it again soon…..not sure how soon, but definitely sooner than 12 years. 🙂

Flash Cards

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We did our usual Saturday morning breakfast this morning…..although it was not the usual because we took our daughter Erika with us…..(she got up early hoping to catch us going so we would feel bad and take her with us…it worked.)

While we were sitting at breakfast we started talking about our up coming trip back east to visit family and friends. I haven’t been back in nearly 12 years since moving here in July of 2000. Erika had just turned 5 when we moved here and was back once in 2001 for a visit with her grandparents but she was only 6 years old so she really doesn’t remember anyone (other than her grandparents and her two uncles and their families who have been here to visit us).

Erika’s concern is that people will expect her to know who they are and will be disappointed when she doesn’t recognize them. Her solution………make flash cards for her to memorize before we go. Print off their profile picture from Facebook and include details of who they are who their families are and how she should know them. Too funny, we are totally going to do this and during the loooooong car drive I will be testing her on her flash card knowledge.

Nanny and Papa's Flash Card

Scott and Christy's Flash Card

We are hoping to get to visit quite a few people while we are there so we have some work to do. Friends and Family, I will be stealing your pictures from Facebook so I hope you all have a recent picture of yourself so she will be able to recognize you when she sees you.

The only up side to her not knowing anyone is unless people we are visiting have seen recent pictures, they won’t recognize her either…….she doesn’t look at all the same as she did when she was 5 or 6 years old.

Erika Now

Erika at 5 years.

Ok, maybe she looks a little bit the same…….

Happy Anniversary…..

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Today is my 11th Wedding Anniversary!!! 🙂

Our Wedding Day

My husband and I met in an on-line chat room 12 years ago. The story of the long distance relationship is a little corny, but it is what it is. We both talked to people regularly in this particular chat room, in fact we still consider some people from there our friends, one very sweet lady in particular…..Carol.

Chris and I started talking to each other, he was from Ontario and I was from New Brunswick, and he told me he had recently been to N.B. because his head office was located there. That little piece of information gave us a sort of connection…..look how much we have in common……I live in New Brunswick and he has been to New Brunswick. definitely the beginnings of a solid relationship. 🙂 After talking on-line for several weeks we started talking on the phone (thank goodness for his phone plan at the time). How did we go from chatting to phoning?……A movie date! So how do you watch a movie together when you are about 1800 km apart? Simple…..rent the same movie…..Message in a Bottle was the movie choice, obviously my choice not his. :)……sync the start time and watch it at the same time, thus watching the movie together. Now there is a problem……my computer and my TV were no where near each other, how could I possibly chat and watch the movie at the same time? Chris’ solution……give him my phone number and he would call me and we could talk on the phone while watching the movie. PANIC!!! Give him my phone number? It was one thing to chat to this guy on the computer but to give him my phone number……what if he was actually a crazy wacko. Well the warning light went off again almost as quick as it came on and I gave him my phone number (I decided if he was a crazy I could always change my number and after all he was 2 whole provinces away, what was the worst thing that could happen?)

Well he did call me and we started our movies at the exact same time and we talked so much that neither one of us actually paid any attention to the movie (that didn’t matter to him, he wasn’t interested in a Kevin Costner movie anyway). It’s a good thing we weren’t in a theatre watching it, people would have been shushing us. And that’s how the phone calls began, after that we spoke on the phone everyday. Chris would call me after 6:00pm and we would talk until morning when he had to get ready for work and I had to get the kids up and off to school. I was working at home at the time babysitting so I got to nap when the babies napped, poor Chris didn’t have that same opportunity…..or did he take some naps at work?

This is us.....long distance relationship. 🙂

Over the next few months we visited back and forth, I came here a couple of times, he flew to N.B. a couple of times. We took a trip to P.E.I. where he asked me to marry him, and in July of 2000 my kids and I moved to Ontario and on December 30, 2000 Chris and I got married and it has been the best 11 years of my life.

Now we sit in the same room or theatre to watch movies, and much to Chris’ dismay….I still talk during movies. 🙂

11 years later.....looking older but still happy. 🙂

Happy Anniversary Chris!!! I love you always and forever!!

(What should we do to celebrate?…rent a movie and watch it together?)

A shocking sight…….

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I came across a link this evening on Facebook that shocked me…..

I grew up in a tiny rural community where everyone knew everyone else, and you also knew the history behind every family home. One of these family homes was known as the Hetherington Mansion.

During my lifetime there were a few different families that owned the house,  but during my high school years the family that owned it opened their home on many occasions to the community for events including community Christmas parties. The first person I remember owning the house when I was a kid was Mrs. Tapley. I found this brochure and article on the house tours she conducted.

A brochure promoting House Tours

Today this beautiful old home burned down…..pretty much to the ground. What a shock!!

The Hetherington Mansion...up in flames.

Check out this link to see the video: CTV Atlantic – Historic mansion destroyed by fire in Codys, N.B. – CTV News.

A historic mansion has burned to the ground in rural New Brunswick. The century-old home in Codys was built in the early 1900s and became a landmark in the tiny community, but flames destroyed the house this morning.

“It’s kind of a shame to see the old homes disappear like they are,” says Codys resident Allan Bond, who witnessed the fire.

“It used to be quite a landmark. If someone was coming, you’d tell them to look for the big brown house and give them direction to where they were going.”

Fire crews from five communities responded to the blaze around 9 a.m. Friday, but the 26-room mansion was already engulfed in flames. It burned to the ground within hours.

“We couldn’t get too close because of the size and the heat that was coming off it,” says Capt. David Craft of the Cambridge Narrows Fire Department. “We just tried to hit it with water.”

The home was built in 1906 and was home to Anna Hetherington and her husband Judson, who became an MLA, Speaker of the House and the provincial secretary treasurer.

A couple from Western Canada recently purchased the mansion, but they were not home with the fire broke out this morning.

No one was injured in the blaze, but nothing was salvaged from the home.

RCMP and fire officials are still trying to determine in what area of the home the fire started, and what caused it.

Another article I found with some history on the property:

An expansive, historic, 105-year-old home in Codys has been destroyed in a fire.

The property – known as Hetherberton, once home to former MLA and Speaker of the legislature Judson Egbert Hetherington and his noted wife Anna Hetherington – burned Friday morning.

RCMP Cpl. Graham Milner said police officers responded to the site along with firefighters.

“We’re investigating it because we haven’t determined the cause of the fire,” he said.

The blaze hasn’t been deemed suspicious as of yet, Milner said. Officers are waiting for the fire marshal’s office to determine the cause.

He said officials were unable to do so Friday because there were still a few hot spots.

The fire call came in shortly before 9 a.m. Friday.

According to an Anna Hetherington history on the New Brunswick Museum website, Hetherberton was constructed in 1906.

It was intended as a summer home for the family, but soon became its primary residence.

Fredericton residents Don and Carol Drury purchased the eight-bedroom home in 1981 and lived there and restored it until they sold it and moved to the capital in 1995.

Carol Drury said her husband grew up in the nearby Sussex area and the large home caught his eye as a youth.

“He always said, ‘I want to live there some day,’ ” she said, noting when they got the chance to purchase Hetherberton, they jumped at the chance.

It was just the two of them in the large residence, she said.

“We roamed about that place with pleasure,” Drury said.

She said the home had a national historic designation when they bought it, and it was renewed during their time in the home.

Drury didn’t know if Hetherberton still carried the historic designation at the time of its destruction.

The couple learned of the fire Friday as it’s remained in touch with former neighbours in Codys.

Drury said she believed the most recent owners were a couple of Vancouver.

She was sorry to learn of its destruction, she said, as she and her husband still felt a strong connection with the place.

The New Brunswick Museum website stated native New Brunswicker Judson Egbert Hetherington had practised medicine in Chicago, where he met his wife.

The couple and its two daughters moved to Codys after he retired from medicine in 1906.

They purchased a 25-acre estate on Washademoak Lake, where they had Hetherberton built, along with an additional carriage house, bungalow and boathouse.

I was always fascinated by this house….so much character……

The Mansion

The landscape of my old community will certainly have changed today. I am sure the neighbors are as shocked as I am at the loss of this community landmark.