December 11, 2015

My Canadian Thanksgiving!

Alright, so it is December, and Canadian Thanksgiving was on the second Monday of October. Therefore, I am horribly late with writing this post! You are disappointed in me, I know; but no one is more disappointed in myself than I am. Don't worry.
Now that this self-inflicted guilt-trip is out of the way, we can move on. I need to forget about the Christmas holidays for just a moment and teleport myself back to we go!

After booking my flight to Canada I felt intense butterflies. This would be my first time back to Canada--my homeland and the country that raised me--since our wedding in June of 2014. I hadn't stepped on Canadian soil in about a year and a half! That may not be too significant of a time frame to some, but to this girl, who is used to coming home about every three months, this was HUGE! A year and a half felt like a lifetime!

To give a little background, the year of 2014 was an odd one. Due to marriage visa rules and regulations, I wasn't allowed to leave the United States before my Green Card was given to me. Actually, I worded that poorly. I could have left the U.S. if I wanted to, but that would have terminated my entire visa and it would have been the equivalent of flushing $3,000 down the toilet. Ahhhemmmm!
This meant I had to spend Thanksgiving AND Christmas here in the U.S. It was the first Christmas in my 23 years of living that I had ever missed. Sure, I cried a little when the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays rolled around, but I thought to myself "there's always next year". AND INDEED, THERE WAS! :)
First Stop: Calgary, Alberta, Canada!
My first stop in "Canada-land" was Calgary! This is where my sister and her hubby live. Calgary is a spectacular city nestled just eat of the Canadian Rockies!
It was sooo awesome to have some quality sister-time with Krissy before her house filled up to the brim with the rest of the family and crazy-busy Thanksgiving festivities!
I love her and her big curly locks.
We OF COURSE had to spend a day in Banff, Alberta. A gorgeous little mountain town that I just can't get enough of! I've been here a few times before, but its beauty never gets old.
Mountains!! If you've never been to Banff before, GO! NOW! I tell all of my American friends that if they ever plan to visit Canada, Banff should be at the top of their list.

Together we visited the Banff hot springs, which is a hot spring pool surrounded by mountains! This was SO relaxing and the view was incredible! Not to mention, that the moment I stepped off the plane in Calgary I was sick and congested as ever! I went from humid Maryland, US to dry Alberta, Canada and it just about killed me. So these hot springs were much needed.
 We just HAD to take a drive to Lake Louise. This was absolutely beautiful, but the water wasn't as blue as I had expected it to be. It always looks bluer on people's Facebooks' and Instagrams' for some reason... :P
Forget the lake and mountains, all I see in this picture is my greasy travel/airplane hair. Why am I even posting this to the public? One of life's greatest mysteries, I suppose.
Just looking at this reminds me of Canada's clean mountain air. Seriously, every breath feels amazing.
 Ahh, scenic Canada.
Boots. Boots. Boots.
Mountains. Leaves. Mountains!
 The next day, the rest of the family arrived from their long road trip across the Canadian prairies!! It was SO good to see everyone again! Here I am cracking and eating nuts with my nieces and nephew. They are the cutest and so hilarious in their own unique ways. I remember thinking here how much they had grown since I'd last seen them. (It's crazy how quickly they grow!!)
 My nephew. This guy is gonna be such a heartbreaker...
 My second oldest niece, she is so brave and independent, and isn't afraid to climb up onto anything!
 Here's my Mom and brother at Spruce Meadows. A special mother-son moment. Awwwww.
My Brother-in-law Ron and his little one looking at the horses. :)
Playing at the nearby play-structure. :)
 Opa teaching his grandchildren the proper way to shoot a Nerf gun. First, always cover yours eyes when pulling the trigger. :P
Opa with his only grandson. I love this so much. :)
Elena painting with the girls.
Prepping for Thanksgiving dinner! Everybody helped out and did their part. I didn't have to do too much cooking which was wonderful. Obviously I love cooking, but it's my everyday job! And this trip to Canada was technically a vacation for me. So it was nice to take a little break from the kitchen. :)
Mother and her daughters. <3

 Ron and Elena owning the kitchen! They make a fantastic Thanksgiving dinner as always!
Brother-in-law Cody doing the honours of carving the (Turkey) bird.
SO hungry and ready to eat!!
My plate. Obviously I LOVE stuffing. I even had a second helping of stuffing after this one! I'm not even ashamed one bit.
Finishing off the busy day with a couple rounds of Dominoes Mexican Train. It's pretty much our trademark game.
After all of the Thanksgiving festivities in Calgary, Alberta, it was time to road trip back through Saskatchewan and then home to Manitoba. Thank you Krissy and Cody for hosting Thanksgiving 2015!! It was such a great weekend!

Second & Final Stop: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada!
 Now that I was in the home province, it was time to see my friends! Liette hosted a girls night, complete with brownies, ice cream, The Office playing in the background, and PLENTY of girl talk. Not to mention some serious laughs. (oxymoron, anyone?) These girls with me are just three of my hundreds of cousins and I love them so much! There is nothing quite as special as being around the people who just "get" you. :)
 Visiting my Oma was at the top of my list. She is beautiful in every way!!
Selfieeee haha!!
 Mummy and I!! <3
 The view from my Oma's skyscraper apartment. Woo-wee what a view!
 My Oma has always made a "mean" lunch! Eating her German- cooking always brings me back to my childhood.
I found this old photo of my Oma and Opa. How beautiful is this?! <3
These two ladies beside me are my ex-roommates. Haha! Well, they are, but they mean so much more to me than that. One of them is my cousin and the other one may as well be my cousin, so technically we're all cousins, really. The closeness of our relationship began back in 2012. I was just finishing up at college and over some Facebook messaging, the three of us realized we were all looking for a place to live, asap. God totally brought us together and provided us a brand-spankin'-new condo to rent. I think the three of us can all agree that it wasn't an easy year though. Between all of our job hunting, job rejections, stressful school projects, long-distance relationships, paying rent, dating, break-ups, migraines, singleness, and just trying to figure life out, it was HARD! After a year of living together, and a tearful goodbye, I moved to Ontario to go to Culinary school. The next thing I know, in 2013 we are all engaged. And in 2014, we all got married in the summer at the very same wedding venue. Seeing them again in 2015 was amazing because our lives have all changed so much, yet we are just as close, if not closer. I am youngest of us, and even though I'm substantially taller than them (LOL!), I look up to them so much! <3
 My old college and career group planned an evening just for me! Here are some of the boys ^
And here are the ladies of the C&C group. I'm so thankful for this group. They have all, especially the leaders, taught me so much about God, hospitality, friendship, and just how to make others feel welcome. One of my favourite memories will be of when we had a "Deep Fried Faturday", deep frying literally everything in sight and it was the most delicious of meals. You really don't know what you've got until you've moved miles away to another country. :P
 And of course, I had to have some quality time with my best friend/cousin/Maid of Honour, and her cutie pie of a daughter!!
 I can't get over how cute she is! She is so much like her momma.
 Her name is Presley, and she herself pronounces it as "Cessy", it doesn't get any cuter than that.
Always hold a toddler by the ankles.
Speaking of Kayla. I found this old photograph. If you must know, yes it's true. The two of us used to have photoshoots of our Barbies. We were totally normal 90's children.
 Megan is for real an animal whisperer. She can get a dog, cat, bird, squirrel--you name it!--to do anything! Here is her well-trained pup, Darby.
We took the ol' Darbs for a walk in the blistering Canadian cold. 
 My girl Julie is a self-taught barista extraordinaire in her own home. She makes an AMAZING hazelnut latte!
 Her house is so cute! Everything in this picture is Julie.
 Here we are enjoying our lattes. I love her so much. <3
Julie's painted hutch, which looks incredible! Not gonna lie, she totally inspired me to paint my own hutch. (Photos to come one day!) S'cute!
 An old photo of me at the farm I grew up on. Do you ever wish you could just go back and make the most of it?! I know I do. I miss the days when my dog would have like 10+ puppies in a litter and they would follow me around and trample up my mom's flowerbed. They were too cute to get mad at, you know?
I also found this old drawing of mine lying around at my parents place. I thought I should take a picture of it before it gets accidentally thrown in a bonfire one of these days. I remember working day and night on this thing, only to win second place in the school's art contest (in 2009). And everyone knows that Second Place is the first loser. Oh well, you can't win 'em all!
 My parents backyard. The beautiful autumn leaves have almost disappeared. This is the norm for October.
 My Dad. I swear he is such a little boy at heart. :) <3
 My Dad and I. The majority tell me that I look the most like him. :)
 My parents taking one last selfie with their favourite daughter (haha!! Oh boy, I'm gonna get a yelling for that one...) before she leaves to go on a jet plane back to Maryland.
 I kid you not. Tim Hortons is a restaurant that I miss like crazy now that I live in the US. At least once a week I think to myself, "I could really use some Tim Hortons right about now". It's the perfect road-trip food and their Ice Caps are to die for.
The fair-grounds is where so many of my childhood summers were spent, over 18+ years of memories to be exact.

As you can see, my trip back home to Canada was absolutely amazing. It was so so sooo busy, like there was one day where I had three different social events planned, morning, afternoon, and evening. And even though I suffered a Introvert's Hangover by the time I returned home, it was all worth it. Seeing every familiar face and giving/receiving every hug was incredible. As I have probably mentioned before, I miss Canada alot, but I especially miss the people. My family and my friends. There's just something inexplainable about coming back to the people who have known you your whole life, and who like I said before, just "get" you!

Thankfully, saying goodbye wasn't too hard either. This was mostly because I already have tickets booked to come back at CHRISTMAS time! And I'm overjoyed that Jarryd is coming with too! He is so excited! (There are times where I think he loves Canada more than I do)...
I am so thankful to God that He has blessed me with these trips to go home and see my family and friends. <3

Anyway, thanks for checking out my photos and I hope you enjoyed the stroll down my Canadian memory lane!


  1. pfff favourite daughter. You wish! Everyone knows I'm the favourite, after Elena of course. I guess that makes you the second loser.

    I miss little old Grunthal. Somedays I wish we could all move back at the same time. I'm sure it would be as wonderful as I picture. Oh well, there's always Christmas!!

    p.s. I had a wonderful time with you in Calgary as well. You should visit again! I have so much more to show you!

    1. Dad told me on my last visit that I was actually his favourite. :D