Tag Archives: my nana is the best ever

Beautiful. Wonderful. Fantastic.

Thank you so much for your lovely messages about my Nana. They mean a lot to me and I loved reading them. I especially loved hearing that some of your favourite posts to read of mine were about Nana. They were some of my favourite to write! I did my first tribute to her soon after I started my blog. Several people referred to her as the “famous” Nana, and she would have loved that! I’m so glad I could share her with all of you and you could get to know her and love her, too. If only she knew how many people she touched.

I’m not done talking about her just yet, I have learned many lessons (and recipes!) from her and I don’t want to forget, but I need to collect my thoughts on that first. Right now it’s one day at a time.

I have my moments, as expected, but I am okay. I was on my way to dinner with friends and then a Kings of Leon concert on Monday when my dad called to tell me the news. I missed his call and was going to call him back but then got busy at the restaurant with the girls and figured I’d just do it later. I’m so, so glad I didn’t call him back. Finding out in public would have been awful and I’m not sure how I would have reacted. I don’t know how to be upset in front of people. Obviously I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy the concert, so I would have left and gone home. But there was nothing I could have done at that point so I’m happy I was blissfully unaware for a little while. Kings of Leon was a really good time.

I’m not sure the guy in front of us enjoyed it quite as much as we did. He was not a fan of the couple directly in front of him.

It was Evan who broke the news to me when I got home that night, which I’m sure was super fun for him as I was clearly still on a concert high and came in the door singing “Yeahhhhhhh, your sex is on fire!” (Kings of Leon song). I’m so glad he was the one who told me though, at home, where I could just process by myself.

I knew this moment had to come at some point so I’m surprised at how shocked I was. I just saw her, and she was same sweet, happy Nana. But I know she’s been in a lot of pain for a while, even though she put on a brave face. Nothing specifically wrong really, just being old and her body breaking down. I’m so glad she’s not in pain anymore.

I also know that she has been ready to go for a couple years now. When she was 100 she somehow lost her dentures – she put them in a tissue and left them beside her bed, and we think the nurses accidentally threw them out thinking they were garbage. It really sucked for her because eating was her favourite and without her teeth for the last couple of years she hasn’t been able to enjoy her favourite foods. She could only eat soft things and liquids. No more Turtles and cookies! She didn’t get new teeth because they’re expensive and at 100 what’s the point of spending money on teeth you can’t possibly have the time to use? Her plan was to just ride it out. But on her 102nd birthday I remember her saying “If I had known I was going to live this long I would have gotten new teeth!!!” Which makes me laugh. Fair enough. I hope she is surrounded by all her favourite foods now and is just going to town on them.

I’m glad it was sudden and peaceful. It seems so fitting for her, too. Quietly without a big fuss or dramatics. And I cannot help but think of her timing. My aunt (Nana’s daughter) left for Florida last Friday morning, arrived on Sunday, and is there until mid-April. We had a plan in place if anything happened while my aunt was away, we’re not having a memorial for her until the spring, and all the arrangements are already made. I honestly think my Nana knew that this would be the hardest and most stressful on her daughter and so she waited until she was safely in Florida. Which is again, typical Nana. Considerate of others until the end.

I’m sad that she won’t be able to make it to our small family wedding in Toronto (although I don’t know if she would have been able to make it anyway). But I’m so happy she got to know Evan and she knew that we were getting married.

One of my favourite memories was when she asked me what Evan’s last name was and I wrote down “Evanoff” (mine/her last name). That really made her laugh. Actually, my favourite recent story of her is when I told her Evan and I were engaged.

I went to visit her when we got home from Cuba, and I wanted to tell her the news in a visual way since by this point she was nearly completely deaf. I took off my ring and showed her pictures from our trip that I printed for her, in sequence. One of us on the beach…

The one of us in the water just after Evan proposed…

During this she just kept saying “Oh beautiful! Beautiful couple!”

In case she missed the ring on my finger in that last one, I then showed her a picture of just the ring.

I think she got it then.

But just in case, I pulled out my actual ring and put it on so she could see.

Her reaction was priceless. Her eyes welled up and she gave me her genuine “Beautiful! Wonderful! Oh fantastic! Ohhh I love this!”

And then she checked out the goods.

She approved. More beautifuls, wonderfuls and fantastics.

It was a beautiful, wonderful, and fantastic moment that I will forever cherish, however, this took place in the main room with the other residents and the entire time this was happening there was a lady in the background yelling (to herself) “JENNIFER! You get in the car right now! Don’t you make me get your father! I’ve got a JOB, and you DON’T, THAT’S THE DIFFERENCE! Hurry up and get in or I’m going to call the policeman!”

Super awkward at the time because I was trying not to laugh, but now I think it makes the story better.

Another recent moment that I will forever cherish was the last time I saw her, when we showed Nana a picture of her young husband that my aunt found in an old album.

And notice she is still wearing her wedding ring

I’ll never forget how her face lit up. She just repeated how handsome he was. She sounded so happy, and so lucky that she had such a handsome husband. And seriously though.

Papa (who I never got to meet) was handsome. It makes me happy that my Nana is finally reunited with her love.

We are all so lucky to have had such a wonderful lady in our lives.

Who was THE MOST beautiful, wonderful, and fantastic.

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Friday Things feat. mix CD’s and care packages from my Nana

Some new things and some things I’ve been meaning to talk about for a few weeks, in list form.

1. The holidays were not enough time for leisuring. Don’t get me wrong, one day shy of two weeks off is absolutely amazing and I am so, so grateful for that. But I had big plans for that time. I was going to read all the books and marathon all the shows and watch movies that I have been meaning to watch for years and play the Sims and write a book and stock up on blog posts and catch up on internet browsing, etc… But it turns out two days (the actual amount of time over the holidays where I was home and available to do those things) is not in fact ample time to do all those things. My expectations of leisure time were too high. Oh well. Next holiday.

2. Remember in the summer my brother’s best friend Dixon made Evan a mix CD?

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So thoughtful.

It is the best CD ever and we frequently listen to it in the car. WELL. Evan decided to repay the favour and made Dixon a mix CD for Christmas.

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He made the cover himself. I cannot look at it without laughing. Pretty good list of songs on here…

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3. Speaking of Evan and his shenanigans, each year for Christmas he and Brotherman like to make a joke gift for their family. Usually they will put ridiculous photos of themselves on a mug or in a snow globe. Here is the photo this year:

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That would be a bookmark they made for their mom. They even laminated it! And Evan actually looks like Elf!!! Oh, it kills me.

4. Over the holidays, some of our lady friends spent a night over at my Bestie Lisa’s parent’s while she was visiting. We didn’t do very much but it was a very, very fun evening.

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Now, Lisa’s mom has a thing for Santas.

No really, she has a lot of Santas.

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I counted, and throughout the house there were 106 Santas. Funny though, for the amount of Santas I would say they were very artfully arranged and actually subtle. I said this to Lisa and she was like “SUBTLE?! There are 40 just on the fireplace, how is that subtle?!” I honestly didn’t notice until someone pointed out there were a ton of Santas. It’s not like I walked in there and was like “OMG SANTAS EVERYWHERE!” I never felt like the Santas were in my face or anything. It made me wish I had more Santas in the condo. I liked them.

5. Winnie’s face when we arrived home from our winter getaway and she had been alone for a few days (don’t worry, Brotherman checked in on her every day). Note: we also left her alone for Christmas.

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Here she is saying “F you guys. If you ever go anywhere for that long again I will poop on all your belongings.”

6. My Nana did not have a very good day yesterday. She just did not have any strength and was not feeling herself. She called me and asked if I could come see her because she had a few things that she urgently needed to give me. Here are the things:

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Werther’s, a pen, tape, goat’s milk soap, Halls, and cookies saved from meals! The cookies are maple flavoured too, so I know they are delicious! Unfortunately I cannot eat them right now because Whole30. But I was in tears, this just killed me. What a peach. I think I will save the care package as-is, forever.

7. As I was leaving my Nana, it was TV time so all the residents were in the main room positioned around the TV in their wheelchairs. As I was walking through, one lady grabbed my hand, kissed it, and yelled “OOOOH, I just love you!!! You are hired! You can start at 9 tomorrow!” I was surprised, so I just thanked her and said I’d be there. And then the lady beside her said “She doesn’t know what she’s saying.” So I guess I don’t have a new job then…

8. This can stop any time.

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Have a great weekend!

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Nanny’s Annual Elvis BBQ

Last Wednesday evening was the annual family appreciation barbecue at my Nana’s nursing home. Long time readers of my blog may remember this in previous years because the highlight of the barbecue is an Elvis tribute artist. He is not easily forgettable.

I have attended for the past five years or so and Elvis has been the same guy each year.

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He is pretty awesome. He is very good at getting the crowd excited. Last year was a particularly good time.

Anyway, after work on Wednesday, Evan and I made the trip up to the nursing home and found my excited little (100-year-old!) Nana camped out outside. She went down to the yard super early so she could score a prime location for our group. She doesn’t mess around. She snagged us the best seats in the house.

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Oh she is just so cute. She is still so chipper and spry. I think the Elvis barbecue might be the highlight of her year. Actually, I think it might be mine (EDIT: I was just reading my post about Elvis last year and I used the same line, embarrassingly… I am going to have to pick up the originality over here).

While we waited for Elvis to start his hilarious show, we did the barbecue thing…

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Same as usual, and pretty good. One thing my Nana has definitely not lost in her old age is her appetite. She ate half a hamburger, an entire hotdog, and both kinds of salad. Plus a big piece of cake. I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again, I know where I get my appetite from.

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This gal right here.

My family had a lot going on last week and unfortunately couldn’t make it to the party, but my Auntie Nancy’s childhood best friend Joanne and her husband Harry were in attendance.

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It was their first time coming to the Elvis party and I think they really enjoyed themselves. And I’ll tell you one thing about Harry…he’s a troublemaker. Just a jokester. They were very entertaining.

We ate and chatted and caught up for a bit, and then it was Elvis time. He made a beeline towards my Nana.

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Look at my Nana just clutching his hand with her sassy pink nails. Seeing her so happy just makes my heart want to explode. When Elvis first came out and was just talking she said to us “He doesn’t sound like Elvis!” but then he started singing and you know what, he actually does. He does a very good Elvis. And he’s quite the entertainer, doing the ol’ “what’s your room number, baby?” to all the old ladies, and I think an old man. Once he started doing his thing my Nana warmed up to him.

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She may have been in awe of him.

Evan too.

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Look how close they are in this picture.

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I’d say Elvis is Evan’s new best friend.

It was kind of cold outside so Elvis came over to the Nana and was all “Are you cold, baby? Do you need me to take you to your room to warm you up?”

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That scandalous Elvis.

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Nana’s all, no thanks I’m good.

And even Harry got in on the Elvis action.

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Elvis thought Joanne was my mom, so when he discovered she wasn’t he was all “Well who’s the mom here?” and Harry immediately said “I AM!” which made me laugh a lot harder than I would have expected. Harry’s cheesy humour just slays me.

Also during the Elvis barbecue, the staff at my Nana’s nursing home took part in the ALS ice bucket challenge, as they were all nominated by another nursing home.

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They are clearly enjoying that.

So it was once again a fantastic Elvis time.

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And Evan and I are once again thinking what we sort of events we have coming up that we could possibly book Elvis for. As we were leaving I told Elvis that we liked him and he was a good time and then I asked “Hey, do you want to come to our cottage and perform for us?” and he said that sounded like fun, so that could be an option… I am just sad we didn’t think of booking Elvis as a surprise for Brotherman’s wedding. Now THAT would have been a party.

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The 100th Birthday Party

I still have quite a lot of trip recapping I want to do, but I need to take a little break because yesterday was a VERY important day and I want to talk about it while it’s still fresh in my mind. My Nanny turned the big 100. Evan and I headed over to her nursing home in the late morning, along with my family and Nanny’s friends, to celebrate this huge milestone.

Heeeeeere she is!

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Looking so sassy in her white silk blazer and pants. What a birthday girl. She is a minx to the ninth degree.

Note that she does not have to be in a wheelchair, she can walk…but sometimes she likes to walk without her walker, so she had a little fall a couple days ago. Just on her bum, she’s okay, but I guess she wasn’t feeling the best the day before her party and my aunt was like “Well ya better pep up ’cause we’re having a big party for you tomorrow!” And she did. Ohh she did.

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She was so happy to see all of us, and my cousins were there from BC and brought their children, our Nana’s grandchildren, who she cannot get enough of. She was just so excited.

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My cousins Allie and Chrissy

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My Auntie Nancy, the Nanners, and my dad

Seeing her so incredibly happy with all her family and friends brought tears to my eyes. It is bringing tears to my eyes right now as I write this.

Nanny had other reasons to be excited. She got all these letters from very important people congratulating her on her big day. Including her MP (Member of Parliament if you are not Canada savvy)…

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And that bottom quote “laugh as much as you breathe, and love as long as you live” is something my Nana very much lives by.

The Governor General of Canada…

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And YEP, she got her letter from the Queen!

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Well, the Queen’s office. That is official Buckingham Palace stationary, so kind of a big deal. And yes, this is a thing in Canada. The Queen will send you a personalized letter on your 100th birthday, and also for 50th wedding anniversaries. You do have to request it though. I know Nana has been waiting for that letter!

In honour of Nanny’s big day, I made perogies (or pedaha as we have always called them), from her very own recipe that she has been using for years and years. It was my very first time, but they turned out pretty good!

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I will post the recipe, but maaan they are time consuming. They took me two evenings. Worth it though, they are so good and they really did taste just like Nana used to make them. My dad said he couldn’t even tell the difference, which was basically the highest compliment I could have received. I really have to thank the staff at her nursing home because I just brought them in frozen and they boiled them in the kitchen for us and then covered them with butter. Very nice of them.

Evan also made my Nana’s famous salad. He is the only one I know who can get the dressing close to hers (oil and vinegar, you know, the salad). 

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Adding garlic really helps. Nana eventually just added entire cloves of garlic into the salad, surprisingly better than it sounds…but chopping it up is good too.

My Auntie Nancy also made a cabbage roll casserole (Nana used to make cabbage rolls all the time), so it felt like I was eating a meal at Nana’s house.

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For dessert my Nana’s friend made a chocolate mint pavlova, which I didn’t even know that I liked…but it was probably the best thing I’ve ever eaten. I was dying over it.

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Seriously so good. I need that recipe in my life. I want to eat it every day.

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And cookie cake.

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Because my Nana loves her cookies.

And of course we had champagne, which means MIMOSAS!!!

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Does she look good, or does she look good? I don’t know what it means when your 100-year-old Nana probably has less wrinkles than you do. I am hoping that with age they just go away. We were all raving about how great she looked and how amazing her skin is, and she said “Oh, it’s makeup! It’s just makeup!” I’d like to know what kind of makeup that is, ’cause I think it’s magic.

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But it’s more than her physical appearance. She just has a light behind her eyes.

I saw so many people I haven’t seen for a long time, which made me really happy. I especially enjoy spending time with my beautiful cousins, and I am sad they are a five hour flight away. Our visits always seem so short and so far between.

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Even my friends Emily and Corey came out to say happy birthday to Nana.

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Really nice of them. Nana hasn’t seen Emily probably since we were in elementary school, but she remembered her!

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I can’t believe how with it she still is. She was asking about Lisa, my bestie, and wanted to see recent pictures of her. She remembered and was asking about Eric’s girlfriend Kenya and she’s only met her once. She always asks how Winnie is doing.

For every birthday, all my Nana ever asks me for is pictures of me. That’s all she wants. Just pictures of her grandchildren. And so, for her birthday present Evan and I made a photo album of our recent vacation photos. She loved.

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That Nana is so photogenic. She is always instantly photo ready. I feel like this might be where I get that from. Camera is pointing my way? Must smile. My Nans has always been like this, and I found a bunch of pictures of me when I was kid when I was at my mom’s recently, and I seem to have always been like that too.

So the happiest, happiest of 100th birthdays to the Nana.

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I know that my Papa was smiling down on her (please note she still faithfully wears her wedding ring, even though my papa passed away when my mom was pregnant with me over 30 years ago).

We better be celebrating number 101 next year!

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Happy 100th Birthday to my Nana!!!

That’s right, you heard me. My positive, happy, strong, beautiful, most amazing Nana turns 100 today. 100!!!!!

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I can’t believe it. She was born in 1914. Can you even imagine all the things she’s seen?

To celebrate her big day my family is heading over to her nursing home for a party this morning. It’s gonna be a good time and you better believe there’s going to be champagne, and you better believe my nana is snagging that 100th birthday letter from the Queen.

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I’m gettin’ my letter.

I don’t even know what to say about my Nana that I haven’t already said before. She continues to be the most positive woman I know, with the happiest outlook and the sunniest disposition. When something is worrying me she still tells me “Don’t worry, you’re beautiful,” and she still tries to take care of me with her “care packages” (last time she gave me a box of Ziplock bags and a bunch of Werther’s Originals). She is the biggest example of enjoying the small things in life, and the two words she uses the most often are “wonderful!” and “fantastic!”

This is why she has lived so long, I know it. She is the prime example of not sweating the small stuff. She has not had the easiest life, and her early childhood years were particularly tumultuous, but she has not let that be an excuse to not be happy. It is so easy to blame circumstances or people for the things that are wrong in your life. But she does not. She just carries on. Even being in a nursing home. It’s not ideal. I’m sure she doesn’t love it there, but she knows it is the best place for her to be and she makes the best of it.

She has been the best influence to my cousins, and my brother and I.

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If you are interested, here is some past Nana reading material:

NanaWinnie

HAPPY 100th BIRTHDAY NANA!!!!

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Easter Weekend

Hey ho! Happy belated Easter! Hope you guys had a good Easter weekend filled with all the good food, all the chocolate tinfoil eggs (and Mini Eggs and Cadbury creme eggs), family, and beautiful weather.

I am 3 out of 4. It was gorgeous outside all weekend and I am pretty sure that spring is finally here to stay, but I sadly did not get a chance to enjoy that. Evan and I spent Friday, Saturday and most of Sunday doing the family Easter things, and the rest of Sunday and Monday redoing our master bedroom (I am very lucky that every grown up job I have had has given us Monday off as well as Good Friday, even though it is technically only an official holiday for banks and government). I would have rather spent time outside instead of painting, since it was beautiful, but there will be many beautiful weekends and I was glad to take the time and get the painting done. We’ve been planning on doing it since I moved in in September, so that needed to happen. Anyway, more to come on that. First I want to talk about the Easter adventures.

Friday morning Evan and I packed up the truck, picked up Brotherman and Kelly, and headed to Belleville to spend Good Friday with Evan’s mom and nana. We stopped along the way at one of those awesome Asian bakeries that Evan introduced me to in the summer.

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#justeatrealcarbs 😉

Those may just look like plain buns, but each one has a sneaky surprise inside. The one on the top is bacon and onion, which is obvious, but some of them had a hot dog inside, or chicken salad, and barbecued pork.

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They are really, really good. Though they are VERY filling. I was full after my first one, but I soldiered on and we pretty much polished them off on the way up in the car. I was already half into my food coma when we arrived in Belleville and the Easter celebrating hadn’t even started yet. I only had a few hours to digest before this plate of deliciousness came my way.

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Ohh boy. I just need to take a moment here and say I LOVE EATING HOLIDAYS! And also, Evan’s nana makes the BEST curry. Seriously the best. There was meatball curry and chicken and potato curry and coconut rice and I could not get enough of it. Everything was so good. I have mentioned this before, but I love that Evan’s family embraces the curry dishes on holidays, as my family is more about the typical turkey and ham (which I do love very much, but it’s nice to try new things). Maybe I just love traditional family recipes, because I really do miss the Easters of yesteryear when we would spend them at my own nana’s and she would make cabbage rolls and pedaha (perogies).

It was also Evan’s nana’s birthday on Friday, so we followed that up with birthday cake and I had a few Creme eggs as well. We all just sat around the table talking and eating for about two hours and it was a really nice time. I have a lot of fun with Evan’s fam, and his nana especially makes me laugh hard. She has the best sayings, like “Tell the truth and shame the devil!”

We left on Saturday afternoon and made a quick stop to meet Evan’s dad and stepmom Loulou for coffee/Timbits at Tim Hortons. I asked Loulou how she was as soon as I saw her and she said “Ohh, not good, not good…” all dramatically, so I was immediately like “What?! Why? What happened?” and she said because her favourite blogger was slacking on blogging.

Oh I see how it is, Loulou. I promised her that I would step it up, so here I am stepping it up (HI LOULOU!!!).

That was a really nice visit as well and I didn’t take any pictures BUT… I do have a good one to share with you.

Remember this little chickie?

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Evan’s dad and Loulou hatched her from an incubator last year and she is not only all grown up now, she spent 21 days sitting on an egg, and last week hatched her own beautiful baby chick named Raisin.

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She looks like a proud mama, eh? (and a bit like the muppet Sam the Eagle?) Loulou says she is being an amazing mom.

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I never used to think chickens were cute, but that was before I spent time over at Evan’s dad’s residence, also known as the bird/donkey/pig farm. They are pret-ty adorable.

On the way home from Belleville we stopped at McDonald’s for Cadbury Creme Egg McFlurry’s and that was just a big ol’ cup of disappointment. I mean, I ate the whole thing, but I didn’t love the experience. The chocolate in there was NOT Cadbudy Creme Egg chocolate. It was fake chocolate. I used to work at Dairy Queen when I was in school and I will tell you this. Dairy Queen would never pull that. DQ Blizzards that have chocolate bars in them have pieces of the ACTUAL chocolate bar in them (and I would know because I spent quite a lot of the time sneaking into the freezer to eat Reese’s PB Cups and Skor bars). Just wanted to let you know in case you’re hankering for a McFlurry. Stick to Oreo.

Sunday morning Evan and I prepped for the painting party and then headed over to see my beautiful nana!

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And she was just as sassy as ever. You know I have to remind you that she is turning the big 100 in just over two months (100!!!! She is incredible).

My dad and his sister, my auntie Nancy, were in attendance as well, so we all had a good Easter visit together.

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She is always so happy to see us.

Evan got in on the nana action too. We told her all about our recent Cuba trip and showed her all the pictures. She LOVED the dolphin pictures. She was just dying over them.

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I know all of our pictures of the nana recently look the same, of us on her bed with her. But that is where she is the most comfortable, even though she is still mobile, and is still going downstairs to the dining room for all her meals. Breakfast is still her favourite, and she was telling me that she loves to eat porridge and eggs and yorgurt and bananas every day (this is probably where I get my hefty appetite).

The biggest issue with Nana is she is very close to being 100% deaf. Her hearing hasn’t been great for a long time, and it has been very difficult to talk to her on the phone for the last two years or so (she still calls me at work anyway, and if I yell really loud she can hear me kind of…but forget trying to tell her any sort of phone number or postal code. You’ll be trying to tell her all day long).

But otherwise she is all good, still spry, still the most positive person I know, and at least she can see (her sister passed away when she was 96 and she was completely blind, so I think my nana has the advantage there. Deaf > blind).

We eventually made it home and spent the rest of the day painting. We stopped late, so making dinner was out of the question… So, SUSHI.

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Order-in sushi is the best. All kinds of delicious right there.

And those were the Easter activities.

And just one more photo to share with you, because it absolutely kills me…

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That is my good friend Dawn’s beautiful baby Scarlett. She likes the glasses already.

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