There was no Christmas card or, witty video in lieu of holiday greetings for 2013 but, I do want to update all of the wonderful people in our lives on our roller coaster year. So here goes, a New Year update email!
The year started out as any other, we planned another Summer on the road and contacted old friends out East to tell them we were on our way! Our road trip to eastern Canada started out in the beginning of July, after Clara's 11th birthday. We hit the road on a gorgeous sunny Summer's day and made it all the way to...Riviere du Loup! Over the space of 5 weeks we travelled and camped through New Brunswick, PEI, and Nova Scotia. We had some amazing experiences, saw some beautiful landscapes, and spent time with old friends. Catching up with my some of my Mount A friends and their kids was certainly a highlight of the trip along with the unexpected lobster boat ride and on-board fish fry arranged by our Montreal friends also staying in Cape Breton for the Summer.
Louisbourg, Cape Breton
Our trip was cut short by about a week when news filtered out that there had been a fire in our building on August 11th. For a few days we thought our unit was largely unaffected as the fire was in the roof 3 stories up. We decided to stay and enjoy Fundy National Park and I'm glad we did. It is beautiful and we'll be going back one day as a quick 2 night stay was just not enough! Emails and phone calls started rolling in and we learned that the water damage to our building was extensive. We had to rush back to manage the immediate emptying of our home. We arrived back in Montreal on August 14th and the apartment was emptied 3 days later. Whew, 12 years of our lives were packed up and loaded onto the back of a truck in the space of about 4 hours. As you can imagine, it was an emotional experience, but there was an unexpected, fun surprise... Marc and I had "graffiti-ed" our kitchen walls in the space behind the fridge and stove when we first bought the condo in 2001. We'd forgotten about our little love notes to one another until they were uncovered by the movers! We were fortunate to find temporary furnished housing in the neighbourhood and we were moved in by the end of August, just in time for the kids to start their new school year.
Clara is in grade 6, her last year of elementary school. We visited several High Schools this Fall and together we selected Marymount Academy as her school for grade 7. I'm an especially proud mama because she was accepted into the enriched International Baccalaureate program which means that she'll be doing half of her coursework in French. I think this will make for a nice transition from her French elementary school.
Outside of school, Clara continues to swim... a lot. She joined a new club this year and trains 3 times a week. She is now swimming at the Provincial "development" level which means she is competing against 11-14 year olds! Mostly she just loves to swim and feels great after her workouts. Marc and I are so pleased she's found such a healthy outlet especially as all the upheaval this Fall has been quite challenging for her. Clara also completed the Red Cross Babysitting course this Autumn and has been on a couple babysitting jobs already! Hard to believe my baby is old enough and mature enough to watch other people's babies.
Clara at Halloween
Leo is in grade 3, he's been ready to be in "senior" elementary school for awhile. His class is a split 3/4 class and he seems to have aligned himself with the 4th grade boys and has made some really great new friendships. He's become a Pokemon and Minecraft addict and continues to love all things gaming. He tried out Judo this fall and seems to like it, so for now Judo and LOTS of walking to and from school seems to be keeping him balanced. Leo is the master of finding shortcuts at school and at home, luckily his teachers appreciate his quick mind when if comes to finding the shortest/easiest solution to his assignments!
Leo at Dad and Cathy's new lake house this Fall.
Marc is still working on his own projects though it is difficult in our new living situation. He is considering renting an office share space for a few months this winter to "get things done". I am taking birth doula clients and have had a nice and busy December followed by what looks like a quiet January birth wise. In 2013 I was honoured to support the birth of my newest niece, Beatrice. A first family birth for me!
As of today our condo is gutted, you can see through the "walls" between apartments and everything has been removed but the studs. The new roof has been installed and now we are getting to the rebuilding part. Current estimates from the contractor is "end of March" for completion. We'll see, neither Marc nor I are holding our breath. Our current plan is to put the condo on the market as soon as it is done, we were ready to sell but overwhelmed by the idea of getting it ready for sale earlier this year. Now we'll have a nice, new, shiny condo to sell and with any luck it will be available for its new owners by the Spring. It will be hard to say goodbye as we never really got a chance to properly leave but, this is best plan we've got so we're going for it! We are excited to find a permanent rental for June of July (Montrealers, keep your ears open for Plateau apartment leads!) and it will be nice to have our own "things" with us again at that time.
As we embark upon this new year, I am filled with gratitude and thanks. Despite our trials this year, we are healthy, supported and loved. In the end, this is what matters most and what we wish for you all in 2014.
Laurel (Marc, Clara and Leo)
Extended family all together loving and supporting one another... while building a toboggan run!