December 23, 2018
We were up at the gawd awful hour of 3:30 am to catch our 6am flight to Toronto via Houston. Both flights were on time and we arrived at our hotel via shuttle in Mississauga not too far from the airport by 6pm. It was COLD in Toronto (for us anyway!) and there was snow on the ground. We do not have winter boots but the snow made for a white Christmas.
Josh, Arya and Cyrus met us at our hotel the next morning; the kids stayed with Fran in the room while Josh took Doug to pick up our rental car. Upon returning with the car, we all went to a few stores to get some stocking stuffers (we helped the little ones do a stocking, actually two, for their dad) before going to Josh’s house to play. Doug and Fran went to the local church for Christmas Eve mass in the late afternoon (kids were too fussy to try and bring) and when we left it had begun to snow. We enjoyed a nice dinner and the kids go to open one gift: slippers from Auntie Serena.
We put the kids to bed after they left out cookies and a beer for Santa as well as carrots and cherry tomatoes for the reindeer.
We returned to our hotel (this one only about 1km away) and we all waited for Santa to do his thing. The snow stopped sometime during the night but the ground was fresh and white the next morning. (Thank goodness plows are out and about early in this part of the world!)
We returned to Josh’s after breakfast and the gift opening began. We spread it out over two days and the kids enjoyed playing with many of the things they opened; the big hits this year were a rocket launcher (foam arrows actually), hot wheels tracks and a “trouble” board game. These two love games; UNO being their all-time favourite and they are quick and good at it.
In the middle of the afternoon, we all went to our hotel and we made use of the indoor pool for over an hour. Christmas dinner was back at the house: pork chops & scalloped potatoes which was very yummy Josh!
Tuesday, which is Boxing Day in Canada, Doug and I were up at 5, Fran got dropped at Josh’s house to stay with the kids while they slept while Josh and Doug went to Best Buy to buy Fran’s mom a new TV for Christmas (Fran’s sister, Sandra is chipping in on this too). We are not seeing her until the 27th so we were able to take advantage of the sales. They managed to snag the 32” one we were eyeing and Josh got himself a 5T external hard drive for a great price too.
We opened a few more gifts, spent lots of time playing hot wheels, Trouble and Uno and then took the kids to McDonald’s play land to burn some energy as it was too cold to play outside.
We left after dinner and went to Kingston – where it got COLDER over the rest of the week and they have at least twice as much snow! We appreciated that our brother-in-law, Serge, had shoveled the driveway at his house before heading to Mexico and it did not snow during the four nights we were there.
Wednesday, the 27th, after doing laundry and some other things, we went to visit Fran’s mom after lunch and set up her new TV and give her other gifts.
Thursday, after Doug dropped off Fran at her Mom’s residence with a decadent burger and fries lunch for them both as a treat, he drove across the border into New York state to pick up our mail, an amazon order and do a bit of shopping for things we want to bring back that we couldn’t find here in TO. Today it was -20c/-2F with a wind chill reading of -28c/-18F although when you look outside you don’t see a cloud in the sky so it’s deceiving – the snow is so cold, it’s squeaky!
That night we went to see the new Star Wars movie in a super comfy theatre with reclining seats. We were a little underwhelmed but we’ve seen it now.
Friday, Fran had a final visit with her Mom, we spent some time unwrapping and then packing all our shopping so we could leave early Saturday morning to head back to see Josh and the grandkids. There was one more gift for the kids included as well.
We left Kingston just before 6am and it was snowing lightly. Hwy 401 was in okay shape, some places more plowed than others but the closer we got to Toronto, the snow lessened and then stopped and the roads were good. We spent some time playing with the kids, had a nice lunch of tortiere and salad and then checked into our nearby hotel and the kids came along for a swim. They opened their final gift, the rocket launcher it became their favourite gift they claimed.
Sunday before checking out the kids returned and had fun having a bubble bath (they only have a shower in their house) and then we went for lunch and back to the house for some final playing before they had to go to their Mom’s house for New Year’s. Doug and I drove to our airport hotel, then Josh went with Doug to return our rental car before we went to see a movie with him, All the money in the World for New Year’s Eve. Our flight back to Ecuador leaves at 6:05AM so we were not planning a late night. The movie was very good – it originally starred Kevin Spacey but with the recent events, they replaced him with Christopher Plummer and reshot all his scenes in nine days! The movie only came out three days later than planned.
As most of you are aware, we don’t post pics of our grandkids so you are welcome to click on the photo link to Flickr if you’d like to see them: