It has been an amazing year of travel and a lot of firsts! We are truly blessed. I think the best thing for me to do is write a letter like this every year because it reminds me of how lucky we really are.
Travel: to start off the year we headed to
. We had such a good time with the kids. We fished and stole grapefruit from trees, made bubblegum, went panning for gold, took a road trip, road a donkey, went swimming, rock climbing, watched some movies and saw a lot of beautiful sunsets. Phoenix
In May, Brad and I went to
Maui on a Sobey’s business trip. It was amazing. We swam, rode jeeps through the mountains, went on a water slide, saw a few weddings and Brad went snorkeling and swam with the turtles. I visited one of the best spas ever, we attended some great parties, explored the island in our convertible, got wet at the “blow hole”, went on a helicopter ride and laid in a double hammock watching the stars. Last but not least we got to meet a good friend (Suvi Teigen) for the first time (in person) at the airport on our way home. Vancouver
September found us all on plane again bound for
. We caught up with my niece, Iradele and my good friend Carmen. We rode the metro, toured old Montreal , rented some Bixi bikes, went shopping, visited the Notre Dame Basilica, fed some squirrels in the park, visited the Concordia campus where Iradele goes to school, visited the Olympic site and rode the funicular. Brad and the kids climbed Mont Royal, we visited little Montreal and bought some veggies and berries at the market. We built some forts and ate some great poutine! Really one of our best trips! Italy
The end of October I was off to
for a girls’ weekend. It was a lot of fun and I got to go the Rocky Horror Picture Show for the first time in my life!!!! We had a lot of laughs, great food and of course wine! J Vancouver
November was Brad’s turn to get away. Unfortunately it was for business.
was his home for 3 nights but he made the most of it! Toronto
After Brad returned we all headed to
!!! We had a fabulous time. Friends of ours from Sundre were there too and gave us a bit of a tour considering she was born and raised there. We saw MANY fabulous shows, drank many pina coladas, made some new friends, swam in the pool and the ocean, built sandcastles, took a road trip, visited a crocodile farm and even got to hold a baby crocodile. We visited Cuba ’s home where she grew up and enjoyed a great roasted pig!!! Yummy! We took many walks on the beach, took a carriage ride into town, smoked a Cuban cigar or two (well Brad did ), caught a few lizards, visited a Cuban school, bought some bananas and avocados by the roadside and gave a few treats and pesos to some local children. We rented a paddle boat and Brad went kayaking. I got to use my French and talk with a couple from Elizabeth . We ate supper with them one night and they spoke VERY little English. That was REALLY fun for me! We thoroughly enjoyed the sun and our children definitely came home enlightened and a little bit more appreciative of their own lives and how they live. Trois Rivieres
The only thing missing from this year was a trip to
. I know we made up for it in other ways but ……it was missed. We all love it there so much that I hope we’ll get there again soon. California
Benjamin: Grade six this year for my oldest. He’s learning how to play the clarinet, and is loving it. All grade 6 students must take band and Benjamin thinks this is the best thing to happen to his school career. Another big plus for him this year was finding out that his kindergarten teacher would now be his grade 6 teacher. He also became a lieutenant on the Safety Patrol. He loves being in charge. He still takes piano lessons and just finished his recital where he played a song by Ludovico Einaudi! One of his favorites and mine. He’s been to IGA a few times to help out his Dad but we are having a hard time getting this to become a habit! Benjamin will be 12 in February and I really must say he is doing very well as a pre-teen!
Adam: My middle child is in grade 5 this year. He sang a song in the “Three Hills Idol” presentation at school this year and did a great job!. He still loves all his lights and electronics and put it to good use by being in charge of the lighting for a local children’s theatre production. For his 10th birthday he got some lights of his own and was so grateful. (he even cried) He hired them out at Christmas for the IGA
Olivia: My girl is as delightful as ever. She turned 8 this year and is in Grade 3. She is quite excited that she will be on the same side of the school as her brothers next year. She started Competitive gymnastics this year and goes to practice twice a week for 2 hours. She loves it. She currently has 2 appliances in her mouth to make room for all the teeth coming in, and has been doing very well with them They should be coming out next week. She is still the only girl in our neighbourhood but hasn’t let that stop her one bit. We are hoping for a girl to move into one of the many houses for sale in our area. She loves to play with her best friend Joel and I’m glad she still thinks the boys are just friends! J
Brad: Well he went and bought a motorcycle this year. He finds it very calming and tried to get our as many times as he could this summer while the weather lasted. I enjoy the ride on the back too so I must say that I approve. He also bought a couple of used skidoos this year but we have yet to use them. L Work keeps him busy and he is still a member of the Municipal Planning Commission, and Three Hills Dot Com. Without even auditioning he has also secured himself a spot in the “Guys and Dolls” production as “Scranton Slim”!!! We are so proud of him for everything he does! ♥
We stayed close to home for most of the summer and attended our first Brahma Rhama bull riding exhibition. It was actually quite exciting and exhilarating. We had a few movie nights outside, celebrated my 40th with a ton of friends and family, and spent time with friends swimming in
. I met up with a friend I had not seen in about 26 years. We got caught up and had a great time visiting while our kids played at Shakers fun centre. Just recently I attended a friends’ birthday party which was held at the wedding pavilion in Red Deer . The production of Tina ‘n’ Toni’s wedding was the venue and it was such a fabulous time. If you haven’t been…..I HIGHLY recommend you do. I would go again and again! Calgary
Well that’s it for this year. We hope you are all well and happy. Know that we love you and wish you the best. Merry Christmas and a Happy happy New YEAR!
Love from the Luijkx family,
Brad, Erin, Benjamin, Adam and Olivia