Thursday, December 31, 2020


Oh 2020, where do I start? It's been A YEAR, that's for sure... filled with the pandemic, the riots in the US, the presidential election that rocked the world and murder hornets to name a few. But at the same time, there have been such unexpected gifts, extraordinary moments and massive blessings. 
Not going to sugar coat, there were some very tough circumstances. In mid-February, as I've mentioned before, my cousin Ronell contracted bacterial meningitis and almost lost his life. He was unconscious for almost a week and it was an insanely difficult time. Thankfully, he regained consciousness and it's been a slow and steady climb with so many ups and downs and ebbs and flows. His strong spirit prevails through it all and I admire his courage so intensely. My very favourite uncle and my cousin, Ronell's dad had a massive heart attack in November and underwent emergency surgery. Thankfully, he is also slowly recovering.

2020 also brought my mom, a front line nurse in NYC, contracting Covid in March. We saw them right when things were shutting down. Before she contracted it, I had some strong bouts of anxiety, praying and worrying for her and my older dad, D and my other brother in the medical field as well as so many family members in NYC. Thankfully though her disease lasted 28 days, her symptoms were moderate and she was able to manage treatment at home... and my dad who was her primary caregiver never contracted it!  She is much better now... there are a few side effects still, but she is a survivor!

So yes, some major happenings with some of my favourite family members but so much to also be thankful for ...

This January, it will be five years since we've been in our current home. This year we've managed to knock quite a few things off D's honey do-list, thanks quarantine... Guess what? Our bathroom and bedroom doors are no longer glass pained... we have privacy! We have some sort of shade in the back yard, got rid of a defunct hot tub and started to sort out our outdoor furniture situation. We also, for the first time, did a vegetable garden and it brought so much joy and learning to us... we were eating tomatoes from our trees up until November! Our neighbourhood is changing with some of our favourites leaving but really great ones coming as well. We are very blessed to be in this community where Sheila walks our puppy, Susan brings us eggs from the farm, Lidia and Frania bring us treats and Tanner shovels our driveway.

C is now beginning sixth grade and after four grades is finally not in a split where she is the younger kid. It is a wonderful leadership opportunity for her. She had so many plans for extracurricular as the most senior grade within the school but because of the way things are with Covid, there is nothing. She was disappointed but rolled with the punches like she usually does. She has the most wonderful teacher who gets her, challenges her and respects her and she is thriving in her class with great grades. She's in her fourth year of competitive swim and still plays the violin though doesn't practise anywhere nearly as often as she should. She had her first sleepover in January and was bitterly disappointed that she couldn't go to horseback riding sleepaway camp in August. She is a full-on preteen with the hormones rearing their ugly head now and again but she is level headed, brave and bright. I am loving our conversations and her introspections and insights on any and everything. 

A is now in the third grade of French immersion in a 3-4 split and has one of C's old teachers... another strong teacher! I was nervous about her being one of very few Grade 3's in the class but this kid seems to have found her tribe. She is not in enrichment this year because of the classroom bubbles. She still plays the piano and got through and tried competitive swimming but didn't love it and struggled being the smallest by a longshot in the class so we decided to take her out of it. She is always flipping and rolling and twisting and stretching but we decided not to do gymnastics this year with her because of covid. We can reassess next year. A also struggled with intense tummy pains quite a bit this year so she is going to go gluten-free next year. We are carefully navigating through this lifestyle and we will support her in any which way we can by really limiting the gluten in our household. We are hoping she gets some sort of resolution. She asks a lot of questions, is really into family and her antics sometimes frustrate us but also make us laugh all the time. 

Both kids are closer than they have ever been,  have many similar interests and inside jokes but bicker more than they ever had... yay Covid;-s.

D has been working from home since March. We had some teething problems with faulty internet, phone lines that kept cutting off, dodgy backgrounds (no one needs to see their colleague with his scotch collection as his background), a barking dog and screaming kids. He seems to have found his stride with a folding table in our guest bedroom (his office doesn't have the best internet) and a closed door... and the kids back in school! He only goes into the hospital once or twice a week. He loves his warm midday lunches and has told me how he realised how very much I do all day at home, ha!

We started off the year with a family trip to Houston not knowing it would be our last trip for a while! 
At the beginning of the year, we made our travel plans for the year as we are early planners... we were just about to head to Jamaica with my family when we had to cancel our trips. We also had to cancel summer plans to Portugal and Spain... all of the flights and Air BNB's were already booked. Our summer plans to visit Trinidad for my cousin's wedding and my usual NYC trip were also cancelled. However, we headed up to Lions' Head and Toblemory for a few days away in August and then to Sarnia to visit some friends at their weekend home as well. It was good to get away for a bit. 

This was also the year of pets. In August of this year, after C did so much research, the girls got their first pet. A winter white hamster named Mochi. They loved her so and she made them laugh so very much. Sadly, Mochi passed away on Christmas Day (in true 2020 fashion) --- much to their devastation. 

We also got a family pet... our beloved Toby who we adopted from a local animal hospital. Toby has filled our lives with so much more antics, laughter, purpose and empathy. We love him so...

But compared to some other families who've lost so much, we have lots to be grateful for. We were all for the most part healthy. The memories we are making at home are so special. We ate ALL of the food... from childhood favourites to healthy treats to different internet specialties. We also did ALL of the walking as it was a way to get the kids out of the house so thankfully I didn't pack on all of the pounds from all of the food I ate. We did art as a family, game nights, swam quite a bit, baked, danced, sang and did many facetime and zoom calls and parties.  Though some days seemed like Groundhog Days, I love the family time, the peace, the slowness and the quiet. 

We are also thankful for all the support, family and friendships we have in our lives. I did many long outdoor walks with friends and neighbours and they nourished my soul in the height of lockdown. We also managed a few local small outdoor gatherings which helped us to maintain some sort of semblance of normalcy before Ontario started tightening their zones/numbers again. Thanks to those friends who dropped off cookies, donuts and little treats to brighten our days. Kindness was the name of the game in 2020. Thank God for Facetime as we were able to touch base with family and friends who we couldn't meet up with in person. I miss my family terribly but I'm holding out hope that I can see them in 2021.

Despite a year like no other, we are very grateful for all of our fortunes and the learnings we gained in 2020. There is so much we want to keep from this year and certainly parts of normal life we want back again. I hope that 2021 is brings so much joy to all of your lives. Thank you for reading and following along this year. 

Monday, December 28, 2020

10 End of Year Questions

Happy Holidays friends.... the days are long and glorious... lots of R&R and getting ready for 2021... In the meantime, once again, I'm following the 10 Things to tell you Podcast's end of year questions.

1- What will you remember most?
I will remember quarantine..... something I never, ever thought would happen in my lifetime given all the modern technology, governments and advancements... How much every single aspect of our everyday lives changed from work to school to diet to mindsets
2- Who were your people?
My three people at home, of course, my parents and my cousin Ronell, who endured so much in 2020 but who was so there for me with our totally insane conversations. My friend Jenn and I had the best organised and impromptu happy hours and spoke to each other probably more this year than any other year in our six-year friendship. Despite it being quarantine, because of the long walks we took, I got close to Renella and Natalie from my gym and Sheila and Lidia from my neighbourhood. 

3- What was the best entertainment?
All the many books I read... My favourites were Well Behaved Indian Women by Sauyma Dave and The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer. I found myself drawn to another devastating time in history, WW2 in 2020.

Honourable mention goes to all those quarantine memes on FB and Insta that had me cracking up.

4- What were the most important conversations?
The horrible tragedy of George Floyd's death, the riots that followed led to so many conversations in our household and in the world about racism, goodness, fairness, bigotry, and both open and closeted racism. 

5- What was the biggest surprise?
I honestly thought that Trump was going to win the election and Joe Biden's winning has restored a little bit of my faith in humanity and humankind. 

6- What was the most consequential decision?
For us, it was getting our puppy, Toby. He has affected our lives in so many good ways and has added a blessed layer of empathy, love and caring to our lives. Our hearts are so full.

7- What have you learned?
That health, both physical and mental, is so, so important. Back in the old-time days of 2019, I had allowed some really small stuff to get me down. Now that 2020 has brought all of this stuff, I realised how insignificant it all was. My very close cousin almost lost his life and is still dealing with so much, my mom contracted Covid and the world was going through so much. However,  because of my attitude, I'm in a much better place than I was at the end of 2019. 

8- What has changed?
I used to be more of a doormat, honestly. Now, I try not to be and I encourage my girls to do the same. Be polite and respectful to people but you don't need to stand for discourtesy and apathy. 

9- What are you leaving behind and making space for?
Gluten as much as possible and experimenting with different options.

10- What do you want more of next year?
I want more of less.... less stuff, less fancy, less entertaining (okay maybe more entertaining than 2020 but in general less)... More simplicity and more love...

How about you? Any of these resonate with you? 

Monday, December 21, 2020

From our bubble to yours....

Yup, we're still home for the holidays! Wishing you all essential, socially distanced, unprecedented, happy, cozy and healthy holidays.... 

This picture brings me such joy with these little loves of mine. 

This young lady has grown so much this year.... both physically and emotionally. 

We have been together for 19 Christmases! XO

I know that 2020 hasn't been the year we anticipated but it also came with its share of bounty and blessings and for that I'm grateful. I'm praying for all of you who had an especially rough 2020. May this season bring you some smiles and solace. 

May your holidays be full of health, joy and so many good things. When the magic of Christmas fills the air, especially this year, I hope you find it everywhere!

Friday, December 18, 2020

Friday Favourites

Yay for the last day of school... my kids aren't going back for the first couple of weeks in January, we filled out the forms yesterday. Who knows what our province will decide but we want to err on the side of caution for the couple weeks after Christmas anyways.  We've had lots of moments of quiet fun around here.... 

1- Our neighbourhood food drive that the girls host every year was once again a success. We didn't know how it would look this year as we are really trying to limit exposure to different places. The police station also wasn't accepting drop-offs as well. When my old gym (I'm taking a short hiatus) announced they were doing a drive and drop-offs, we jumped on it. They came and picked it up from my house! 

Can you tell we have lots of energy around here. 

2- PSA if you get a chance to try the Lindt panettone, please do. D has once again this year decreed it the best panettone he has ever had. 

3- My awesome friends jingled us again!

They drive up to Mississauga to get these donuts #hardcore.

4- We did sushi bowls the other night for dinner. My four are huge fans!!

5- These pretzel treats are so easy to make with the smaller kids. 

5- Not pictured very well but our kids' dentist had a drive-by Santa visit complete with letter drop-offs and treat bags. Everyone apparently decided to attend so we waited almost forty-five minutes for a five-minute experience, ha!! The puppy went also and was not pleased with the life-sized beaver mascots. 

6- Speaking of the little bugger, here he is in all his penned glory.

7- Mornings with the tree, carols on the TV, dog at my feet, fireplace on, coffee in my jug... 

8- Needed to pick up some hot cocoa bombs from a local bakery. It was closed except for pickups but I snapped a quick pic of this tree complete with baked ornaments. 

9- A is the cutest... she explores the presents under the tree like it's her job looking for new ones I may have wrapped for her and it's strewn everywhere after. 

Have an awesome weekend before Christmas, friends!

Linking up with Andrea. 

Monday, December 14, 2020

Not just a mom- Holiday traditions

Happy Monday, friends! Today, on the Not Just a Mom linkup that I cohost with AdrienneLaurenAshley and Dara, we are talking about a topic near and dear to my heart- holiday traditions... Here are just a few of ours.

Tree Trimming

We always do ours after Remembrance Day and Divali. It's a whole fun process and we make a night out of it with snacks and fun for the kids. They love hanging their special ornaments that I either gifted them or they chose for themselves... it's a little trip down memory lane though to hear them talk, it's like they're in their twenties reminiscing about their childhood :-). I then usually spend the week after slowly decorating the house. 

Gift Wrapping

Love to do a few every couple of days and slowly pile them under the tree. My kids go a little crazy reading the cards and getting excited about the 25th. I'm slowly using up all my gift wrap so I can fully immerse myself in pretty boxes, craft paper or brown wrapping paper. #climatechange

Kitchen Time

I try to do some baking with each of the girls... We try to do a variety of cookies and space them out so we don't eat them all out at once, ha!

Holiday Cards

I adore Holiday cards and even when I was single, I used to send them out. I could not wait to send them out with my babies' pictures when I had them. I have used Minted for the past few years and I could not be more pleased. It's a whole process to decide on pictures, outfits and cards and quite a bit of work but I love it. I also love to get a quick text or call from my family or friends who receive them as it's a labour of love. I send mine out early to make sure that everyone gets them in time. There's something great about getting a card in early December. 

North Pole Breakfast

It's a thing and heralds the awesomeness of December!

Books for Christmas

I try to get members of my family a book for every Christmas. It's something my dad did for us and I do it for the members of my family too.

Christmas Pajamas

Like all of North America LOL

Holiday Parties:

Not this year obvi , but for the past few years, we host a holiday party for the adults and one for the kids on two consecutive weekends in December. The girls usually do a holiday cookie decorating party and I've had both girls' nights and couples' parties. 

Christmas Lights

I don't know who enjoys the lights more, the kids or me. This year I'm thinking of changing it to a Light Scavenger hunt. 

Trini stuff

Though we are in Canada, I love having Caribbean stuff during the season… cue the black cake (a rummy fruit cake), ponche a creme (rummy egg nog), pastelles (a flat tamale) and sorrel (a fruity spiced drink)

Christmas Brunch

We usually do a Christmas brunch after presents are open!  A little bit of trini stuff and a little Candian stuff too, representing our two homes. 

What are your favourite Holiday Traditions? Can't wait to read all about them. 

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

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Friday, December 11, 2020

Deck the halls 2020

Come on in for a little festivity, folks. After all, my bloggy friends (and family) are the only ones coming into the house this year!! 

2020 being 2020, called for a little extra cheer and an extra tree. We spend lots of time downstairs with our pup so the tree we were supposed to donate earlier in the year (and forgot to oops) instead came down to the family room. 

The dog got into the bottom ribbon and I forgot to fix it back. 

I have my morning caffeine on the right chair every a.m. with the pup at my feet.

And a little night time sparkle.

Now onto upstairs.

Welcome.... note the massive hand sanitizer in the foyer... not like anyone is coming over anyways.

Little touches everywhere. I got this from a family friend the first couple years of marriage and I love it. 

Cheer everywhere!

A hot cocoa and treat  stand 

A little twilight magic.

There you have it... we bought nothing this year for the first year except for very, very few ornaments: the yearly one the kids choose (this time online),  one for the pup, a silver star that I didn't put up yet and a 2020 commemorative one. I was determined to use what we have.

What's your house looking like this year? Did you make it extra festive or did you go very low key? 

Happy Weekending!!

Linking up with Andrea. 

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