Merry Christmas 2016!

Dear Family & Friends,

It is a blustery, blowing, driving in white outs kind of day here in Sault Ste. Marie.  One where I’m glad to get inside after driving home from work.  I hope this post finds you somewhere warmer than it is here!  2016 has been a really good year for the Lyons family – glad we can share a bit about it.

Since I started this draft, we even had a snow day!  The girls had Thursday December 15 off while the city caught up with snow care.  They had a great day with Auntie Christy 🙂

Nora turned 7 in September.

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She started 2016 by having her two bottom teeth pulled by the dentist.  The adult teeth had started to grow in behind and those baby ones weren’t budging!  She was such a trooper through the freezing and the pulling.  She and I came home for some snuggling, and then she was good to go to school in the afternoon.  What a kid!

Nora is in grade 2 at FH Clergue.  She absolutely loves school and learning.  She likes maths and sciences more than she likes languages, but she does really well at everything.  One day last month Doug found her doing math problems in her bed after she should have been sleeping!  She loves being in Mme. Garson’s class and learning lots of different things.  She and Katy have a Christmas concert on the 21st that we’re looking forward to seeing.

Nora graduated from her Sparks group in May, and shortly after had her first ‘camp out’ – but only for the day, not overnight.  She started in Brownies in September and loves it.  They have a really big group, and some fantastic leaders.  She went to her first sleepover in October!  It was indoors at the church to prepare for their outside campout in the summer.  She enjoys going each week, and has recently started independent work on some badges.  Lots of fun times.

Nora has also enjoyed being involved with the Bricks For Kids group here in town.  They run day camps that she went to in the summer (although she wasn’t too happy about being the only girl there!), and an after school program once a week at her school.  She gets to build really cool things like windshield wipers, a turnstile and a typewriter!  She’s looking forward to maybe participating in Bricks For Kids For Girls in January.

Right now she’s looking forward to her second top front tooth to fall out, and to Christmas.  She’s been missing her Hamilton cousins and looks forward to visiting with them.

Katy turned 4 in March.

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Katy is a bundle of really sweet and stubborn energy!  She had a really big year this year.  She finished at daycare – it was so sad to say goodbye to our daycare family – and started in Junior Kindergarten!  She has M. Chenier as a teacher, same as Nora did.  She is very bright, and loves lots of independent play.  She’s one that can entertain herself for hours.  She counts in French and has started saying her days of the week in French too (just like Nora!).  A few weeks ago she asked me, “Mommy, is winter going to start on mardi ou mercredi?”  She loves singing songs she learns in school, even if she doesn’t have the words quite right ;). She’s also part of the concert on the 21st.

She continues in swimming lessons and just passed the ‘salamander’ level.  Next session she’ll be a ‘sunfish’!

Katy has her own vocabulary that makes us crack up all the time.  She tells me her feet are “frozen salad” (frozen solid), and refers to her toes as her “tickly toes”.  When she’s hungry she’ll say she wants food in her “tum tum tummy”.  She still loves her Carebear, and rarely is she without him.  He even made it into our family pictures this fall!

Katy loves helping in the kitchen and was recently given her own apron as a favour at a birthday party.  As soon as she sees Doug or I (haha – mostly Doug) going to cook something, she runs to grab her apron and a chair so she can help.  She’s quite ‘musical’ and we often find her singing and dancing to herself.  This year we discovered that she really likes Canadian flags.  She spots them wherever she goes!

Katy also is looking forward to Christmas and has asked Santa for a Batman costume.  She loves playing outside in the snow and it seems that we’ll have plenty of that available for her!

As I look back at the year, Doug and I got to take some great solo time away.  It was really nice to be able to go and recharge together.  We got to see Alan Doyle in concert here in Sault Ste. Marie in June, and then we went to the Hamilton Ti-Cats game on Canada Day (the girls stayed at my parent’s cottage).  They lost, but we had fun.  In September we travelled to Ottawa for a weekend to see a dear friend get married, and then we went to Traverse City in November for a Wine & Mac & Cheese tour!  It was SO delicious 🙂

Of course we had great times together as a family this year around town and on vacation.  We spent a lot of time at camp this summer – there’s new bunk beds there that the kids love!  We even spent some weekends at camp which was so relaxing.  We went to the cottage for 2 weeks, and included a day trip to Canada’s Wonderland with lots of aunties, uncles and cousins.  It was hot, but fun!  Nora even took a SeaDoo ride at the cottage with Uncle Ray Ray.  She has such an adventurous streak!

Doug is still at Tenaris – December 8 was his 12th anniversary of starting there.  The company suffered some tough economic times this year and downsized employees.  Those that weren’t downsized went into a ‘work sharing’ program where they were only working 2 days a week.  Doug enjoyed some two day work weeks through the summer, and things are starting to turn around with the plant back up and running again.  After quite a hiatus from travelling, he spent two stints in Calgary for work – once for a week and once for 2 weeks this fall.

Doug still curls on Tuesdays and this past weekend went to most of the Grand Slam of Curling events here in the Soo.

I’m still at OLG and recently changed jobs.  I’m still in the same department, and even on my same team, by my new role is as ‘Sr. Resource and Training Development Consultant’ (I know it’s a mouthful!).  I’m part of a team of 4 trainers who provide lots of different types of training to people that work on the phones for OLG.  It’s been a whirlwind of a first month, but I’ve been working on some pretty exciting initiatives.

I still love to knit and have been working on some handmade Christmas gifts.  Recently Katy asked me to knit her a scarf – how could I say no?!

As always, we hope this update finds you well.  I love sharing these letters each year, and looking back at each of them as the years go by.  It’s true that the days are long but the years are short.  May 2017 be a great year for you!

Have ‘yourselfie’ a Merry Christmas! (It’s a slideshow!)

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Lots of Love,

The Lyons

 

 

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2015 Christmas Letter

Edited: Guys, I’m so sad but when I was posting the 2016 letter, I accidentally deleted all the images from the 2015 letter 😦  Hoping to find time to get them back where they were…until then know that there were pictures here at one point 🙂

Hello and Merry Christmas!

What adventures our family had this year!  We’re all another year older and in great health – a luxury not afforded to everyone.  We thank God for 2015 and for all of you that are a part of our lives.  We hope your 2015 was filled with as much love and adventure as ours was!

Nora turned 6 in September and Katy turned 3 in March.

Nora is in grade 1 at FH Clergue French Immersion school.  She continues to love school and all the activities that come with it.  She continues to grow her French vocabulary and can read most of her sight words!  She also loves mathematiques and actually enjoys doing the (optional) homework her teacher sends home each week.  She often finishes the whole week’s worth of activities on Monday evening!  She still loves doing crafts and brings home many books she has made in her class.  She enjoys doing a little bit of all kinds of crafts with me at home.

She continues in Sparks with the same group she joined last year.  Next September she’ll move up to Brownies.  She played soccer again this year, but we changed leagues.  This summer she learned more skills through drills and short, fun scrimmages at the end of each soccer lesson.

She loves, loves, loves swimming!  She’s finishing the last “animal” level in swimming lessons.  She can swim (aided) the length of the big pool, and loves to jump off the diving block and touch the bottom of the pool in the deep end!  She’ll repeat the Whale level until she turns 7 and can sign up for Swim Kids level 4.

She’s written and mailed her letter to Santa, and even got a response!  She was only a little upset that he didn’t answer her question, “How old are you?  I think you’re 33.”

Katy is still in the Preschool room at the Waterfront Child Development Centre.  She’ll be in that room until she starts school in September.  How fast time flies!  She continues to love her teachers and will tell me at the end of the day that she played with her friends, and then names the teachers.  She is still very liberal with her hugs and kisses – she tells me often she “needs a huggie”.

Her favourite toy is still her CareBear and seldom is she without him.  She is also a fan of little toys and things that fit into her fist.  For some reason, she really loves erasers shaped like characters!  Even better is clothing with pockets to put her erasers in!

Katy started official swimming lessons in September, and thanks to her weekly swim “practice” with Grandma Lyons, she is doing very well as a sea turtle!

Summer was a rather eventful time for our family.  Doug likes to say it was “3 Weddings and a Funeral”.

Mid-June found the whole Lyons family in Elliott Lake to celebrate Amanda (Doug’s cousin) and Gregg’s wedding.  Nora & Katy were honoured to be asked to be flower girls, and they were adorable, if I do say so myself :). Katy had some last minute stage fright and refused to walk down the aisle, but Nora did a great job carrying the ‘love’ banner down the aisle herself.

The wedding was at the beautiful Laurentian Lodge in Elliott Lake, which was a relaxing escape for the family.  No internet and no cell service helped us to relax and enjoy the time together. My mom came to help us with the girls and enjoyed the wedding as well.

Nora and Katy loved partying the night away on the dance floor, and they even got Doug and I out there dancing a bit!

In late June Doug and I headed down to Hamilton for my Aunt Dianne’s wedding.  It was a really quick trip – there on Friday, leave on Sunday, but we flew to Toronto so we were able to spend more time with family.  It felt weird visiting my family without Nora and Katy, but they had a blast on sleepovers with Aunt Christy and Grandma Lyons here in the Soo.

We had a fun time celebrating with my family, and then enjoyed some good old fashioned fun at the bowling alley to help me celebrate my birthday!  We missed Nora and Katy, but knew they were having fun back at home.

For the August long weekend, once again Doug and I headed out on our own!  We flew to Quebec City to celebrate Rebecca (my cousin) and Luc’s wedding.  We headed out a day early so we could do some touring.  We spent the day at the Plains of Abraham museum and walking through Old Quebec.  The wedding was at the gorgeous Chateau Frontenac.  We enjoyed the time with my family touring Quebec and getting all gussied up for the wedding.

As soon as we got back the Soo, we headed out join my family in Bracebridge for the week.  Unfortunately Doug couldn’t join us until the weekend, so he drove us as far as Sudbury where my mom met the girls and I and we headed to Bracebridge while he drove back home.  We enjoyed the week spent with cousins and siblings.  The rest of the family stayed for another week, but we headed back home.  We had to work, and prepare for our next adventure…

Ten days in Florida!  Doug’s parents generously took the whole family down to Florida.  They rented a gorgeous house where we all stayed.  It even had a pool where we enjoyed daily swims!  We spent time at Disney World, which was definitely the highlight of the trip.  My favourite part was seeing Nora and Katy meet their favourite characters “in person”.  Pictures can tell it much better than I can…so here you go!  (Click the pictures to make them bigger)

Sad news found us in Florida when Doug’s uncle Rod called to let us know that Nana had passed away.  She lived to be 98 years old and had been suffering from dementia the past few years.  We miss her presence, but rejoice in her reunion with her Lord, and with Papa.  Nora attended the funeral with us and we enjoy talking about the fun times we had with Nana at camp and when visiting her in the seniors home.

Christmas seems to have snuck up on us this year.  We say some variation of that every year, but we don’t even have any snow here yet!  We had a bit earlier, but it’s all gone and now we’ve had temperatures above 0 for the past few weeks. It just doesn’t feel like Christmas without a few feet of snow on the lawn!

Soon we’ll head down to Hamilton to spend a few days with our Brien/Hills family and then come back to the Soo to spend time with the Lyons/Stones.  Once we’re back Doug will have a few days off just him and the girls before we’re all back to school, daycare and work.

Our prayer is that this letter finds you well, and that, however you celebrate, you get some time to slow down and relax with loved ones over this season.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Lots of Love,

Doug, Alicia, Nora & Katy Lyons

2014 Christmas Letter

To our dear Family & Friends,

We’re glad you found your way to our 2014 Christmas letter!  We decided this year to take advantage of the technology we had, and save some paper along the way.  This way we can include more pictures, too!

This year has been a full, fun year for the Lyons.  The girls are growing in leaps and bounds and we’re thankful for the privilege of raising them.  Nora turned 5 in September, and Katy turned 2 in March.

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Nora is in Senior Kindergarten at FH Clergue.  She continues to love school and learns more and more every day!  We were all very happy that she would have the same teacher and ECE in the classroom as last year.  We love Monsieur Chénier and Mme. Bennison!  Nora has come home this year and given Doug and I lessons on things like the water cycle, how to make a “graphique” after polling your class on who likes one thing over another, and her crafts blow us away!  One morning while waiting for the bus, she asked Doug if she could gather some of the frost from the grass and bring it in to show Monsieur.  French continues to come naturally to her and we find her counting in French, identifying colours in French, and using a lot of the common phrases she’s been learning like “Bonjour Maman!” and “Comment ça va?”

Nora is such a social butterfly and loves being around friends from school and church.  We celebrated her 5th birthday in September at “Treehouse Children’s Centre” – a local play place.  She, Katy and 6 of her friends ran, jumped and played.  We had pizza and they decorated their own cupcakes while wearing Frozen party hats.  Everyone had lots of fun!  For her family birthday party, we enjoyed having all our Soo family, and Grandma & Grandpa Brien, visiting from Hamilton, over to our house.  Nora was tickled that our plates to eat our macaroni and cheese (her favourite) had Clifford the Big Red Dog on them.

She played soccer for the first time this summer and loved most of it.  There were moments of cartwheels on the field, and jumping on her coach instead of on the ball, but she had lots of fun in the Timbits league on the yellow team.

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September was full of excitement for Nora.  She took a tumble off the arm of the couch, hitting a wooden doll wagon on the way down and fractured her elbow.  She is such a trooper.  She went through x-rays, a sling (they originally thought she just bruised it) and two half-casts with a big smile and hardly a complaint.  Thankfully she didn’t need any surgery, and was back “good as new” a few weeks later.

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Since swimming or gymnastics were out for the fall, Nora will start back up with one or the other in the new year.  She joined Sparks – the youngest branch of Girl Guides – in September.  She enjoys the activities they get to do – especially crafts.

Our social butterfly loves crafting, drawing, cutting, pasting, and stitching.  I promised her today I would show her how to sew since she’s making a craft from one of her Chirp magazines that includes a small pillow and blanket for her stuffed animal.

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Katy is a rather typical 2 year old girl.  She prefers to play on her own – and she’s incredibly affectionate and liberal with her snuggles.  She isn’t afraid to walk right up to me and say “Mommy, I need-a snuggle you”.  In fact she’s in my lap right now.  Easy on the heart, tough on the typing!

Katy is in the preschool room at the Waterfront Child Development Centre.  We love the program and her teachers there.  She learns many songs and little jingles and loves singing them while she’s walking around the house with her beloved Care Bear.  Every day Nora’s bus drops her off at the daycare building (which happens to be my work building as well), and then we walk in to get Katy.  She greets each of us with a “Mommy! Nora!” and then runs over for a great big hug.  She spends Wednesdays with Grandma Lyons and they go to the “Y” and a local swimming pool.  She loves the water.

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She is very independent, quite stubborn and rather funny!  One of her latest is this exchange:

Katy: “Mama!  Mama!  Mama!”
Mom: “Yes, Katy?”
Katy: “I told you”

or taking my face in her palm, stroking my cheek gently while saying, “Mommy, look at me.  No running.”  She’ll tell me that she’s sad because she lost her shadow (like Peter Pan) and gets really excited when she finds a ‘gold doubloon’ from our dress up bin.

When her class at ‘school’ was making their wish lists for Santa, Katy refused to participate.  Her teacher approached her afterwards, thinking maybe she just didn’t want to participate during the group time.  When asked a few times, “Katy, what would you like Santa to bring you?” her answer was an emphatic, “I don’t want any presents!”  So that’s what went on the list sent to Santa – too funny!  Don’t worry – Nora included wish list items for Katy in her letter 😉

My very favourite is when Katy sits down beside me and out of the blue says, “Mommy, I just love you.”  My darling Katy-Bear.

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I just re-read our letter from last year and everything I said about Doug and I is still true!

Doug continues at Tenaris Algoma Tubes where he leads a team here in Sault Ste. Marie as well as Calgary.  He still travels once a month for a week, and we miss him, but we manage.  He continues to curl on Tuesday nights with three great friends, and sometimes they even win!  In September, he went away for a golf weekend with some other guys from church.  He said he would have had even more fun if he was a better golfer.  When he can, he enjoys spending time in the garage doing some woodwork.  He’s making each of the girls one of their Christmas gifts.

I am still at OLG where we’re going through a time of “modernization”.  At some point in the future, a separate service provider will take over my (and many other’s) department.  Nothing but time will tell what will happen, so I continue to do my documentation, and wait to see.  I am still loving knitting, and have taken a few classes at the local knit shop.  I too am making a few Christmas gifts – of the knitted and sewn variety!

We enjoyed our family vacation to Bracebridge this year.  The girls were there for a week on their own with Grandma & Grandpa Brien, Aunt Sally & cousin Sophie.  I got to spend a whole week home alone as Doug travelled to Calgary!  I enjoyed relaxing quite a bit – and missed all of them terribly!  We then spent two weeks together at the cottage with all of my family.  Always a good time!  We bought a Stand-Up Paddle Board (SUP) this year and enjoyed paddles around the river.  The girls even hopped on for some rides and sat like little froggies right in front of us.  We enjoyed many afternoons and evenings at camp on Sunnyside Beach Road – soaking up as much Vitamin D as we could in preparation for the Soo’s cold winter.  There’s been quite the start to our winter (record snowfalls in November!), so it’s good we built some warm memories to think back on!

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Next summer we’re looking forward celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary, and many other family adventures!  This year we’ll spend Christmas here in the Soo, and then head to Hamilton to spend some time with the Briens.

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This time of year always seems so hectic, and it makes the family time we spend together that much more important and enjoyable.  As I type the girls are watching Doug straighten the tree in the stand (after an emergency stop to the hardware store when our tree 9 year old stand broke!).  Next we’ll have some supper, and then come back downstairs to add lights and our favourite ornaments before baths and bed.

Our hope and prayer is that you feel God’s love through this season and that you enjoy time spent with friends and loved ones celebrating that love’s birth as a baby, laid in a manger.

All the best for a happy and healthy 2015 for all of you!

Merry Christmas!

Love,
Doug, Alicia, Nora & Katy Lyons

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