Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Time with Family and Special Memories

After Ryan completed his Navigator training in Little Rock, we went to visit his family in Canada for about two weeks.  It was a wonderful visit with family and a great time for us to relax after a busy 6 months in Little Rock.  Matthew had some quality time to bond with his Grandma and Grandpa while we were there.  He's one spoiled grandchild and it's evident he is so very loved!

The Nashville airport had a wonderful children's play area and we got some very "colorful" photos of Matthew playing while we waited for our flight to board.  We were so thankful for a place for him to play before the flight!

Matthew and Waddles had a great time with Grandma and Grandpa while Ryan and I spent a few nights downtown.  Here are some photos that captured their fun.  Grandma and Grandpa were worn out by the time we got back, so I think Matthew kept them very busy!

Matthew and Waddles waiting to go out to play!

Grandma pulled out Ryan's old football toy box for Matthew to use.  He loved it!

Matthew loves story time with Grandpa!

Enjoying the beautiful day with Grandma!

Grandpa and Matthew were having so much fun they tipped over the chair!  Thankfully, everyone was okay!

Matthew left Grandma lots of little hand prints on her glass window, which I believe are still there today!

One of the highlights of our trip was Matthew meeting his great-grandparents for the first time.  Great-grandma Middleton even celebrated the occasion by playing the piano with Matthew - and he absolutely loved it!  It was also a momentous occasion since there were four generations of "Middleton Men" together!  Great-Grandpa Middleton, Grandpa Middleton, Ryan and Matthew.  We got some great photos of our time in Orillia, Ontario.  It's such a beautiful place!

We received such a warm welcome with cake and coffee!

Great-Grandma Middleton playing the piano for Matthew

Matthew and Grandpa

4 Generations

This picture just makes my heart melt. How sweet!

After we said our goodbyes to Matthew's Great-Grandparents, we decided to stop downtown Orillia near the lake to have a quick lunch and let Matthew play.  The weather was just perfect for some more family photos.  Overall, it was a very special day!

Matthew also had some quality time with his Uncle Michael and Aunt Nicole (who just got married this past Saturday, September 25, 2010!).  Matthew really took to his Aunt Nicole and loved snuggling with her.  Uncle Michael was lots of fun and Matthew wanted to be wherever he was in the house!

On our last afternoon, we went outside to enjoy the beautiful weather with Waddles.  She had so much fun running in the field (where she is still happily running around every day) and Matthew had a blast playing and running across the bridge.  It was so sad to leave since our time together was truly a blessing.  Praying God will make a way for us to visit again soon!

Monday, September 27, 2010

A Blogger's New Year's September!

I'm officially going on record to say that I am the most horrible blogger out there.  To top that, I'll also go on record and say that I'm going to turn over a new leaf and make blogging a weekly priority.  Yes, you heard me right, a weekly priority.  It's definitely going to take some organizing on my part.   I just feel like while we're in Japan I should make more of an effort to share our worldly adventures with family and friends.  No excuses. 

Now that we have that out there in the open, I need to recap the last three months.  My last post was about our beach trip to SC back in June...yes, June...and it's September.  So, I have quite a bit to cover.  I think I'll break it into sections so this week will probably be a full week of blogging and then I'll start the weekly updates next week.  Some will be more eventful than others, but since we're half a world away it will help make us feel a bit closer. 

Once Matthew and I returned home to Little Rock from our beach trip in SC, things settled down a little for us.  Ryan's Navigator training schedule remained very busy and he either had very early morning report times or he worked very late into the night.  He began flying pretty soon after we got home, and had an intense flying schedule up until his graduation.  He completed his training and made the highest evaluation score he could get on his final flight.  I am such a proud Air Force wife!!

We celebrated by making the drive from Little Rock, AR to Nashville, TN and caught a flight from Nashville to Toronto for almost two weeks to see Ryan's family.  This was also the monumental "move" to Canada for our precious dog, Waddles, who will be staying with Grandma and Grandpa (AKA: Ryan's parents, Candy and Mark) while we're in Japan.  Mark met us in Nashville to pick up Waddles, and he made the drive from Nashville to Stouffville, Ontario in one day!  It was a 16 hour drive and thankfully he had no trouble crossing the border with Waddles.  In fact, he had her "sitting pretty" in the front seat all ready for the customs questions and the guy was more concerned with where Mark had gotten his coffee!  I guess  Waddles  already looked Canadian!  I still don't know how Mark made the drive with her in one day -- I hated making the 5 hour drive with her from GA to SC!  The crazy part was that Mark and Waddles made it to Stouffville in time to drop off their luggage and turn around and head to the Toronto airport to pick us up that evening!  Wow - now that's love! 

We were so sad to leave Waddles behind, but two months later, it sounds like she might actually like living in Canada better than she does living with us!  It probably doesn't help that Grandma and Grandpa spoil her rotten!  I miss Waddles dearly, but it makes my heart smile knowing she is so loved by them both.  Here is a picture of the "official" changing of the collar from Ryan to Mark.

Our trip to Canada was so wonderful.  It was just what we needed after 6 crazy months in Little Rock.  Plus, it was so special for Matthew to spend time with his Grandma and Grandpa.  They even babysat over the weekend and let Ryan and I go downtown Toronto for a few nights on our own.  It was our first "vacation" away from Matthew since he was born (sadly, it took us 19 months!).  We enjoyed walking around downtown, going to the top of the famous CN Tower, having the most delicious "street dog" I've ever eaten, and we decided at the last minute to get tickets to the Blue Jays vs. Tampa Bay baseball game.  Here are a few photos of our weekend getaway.

My first "street dog"!
Ryan at the top of the CN Tower...I didn't know I was afraid of heights until that day!

Outside on the observation deck of the CN Tower.

At the Blue Jay's game!

They had the stadium dome open and we had the perfect view of the CN Tower.

On our last night in downtown Toronto, we stopped at "Habeebe's Shawarma" to experience an authentic Shawarma.  I'm pretty picky when it comes to trying new foods, but I have to say that it was excellent!  It was a huge pita that wrapped up chicken and veggies and was topped with some kind of (very tastey) sauce.  If you ever encounter "Habeebe's" I would recommend trying his Shawarma!

I think I'll finish my recap of our Canada trip in another blog post so it's not picture/information overload.  Part II will detail our time with our Canadian family.  It was a very special time for everyone, so stay tuned!