We returned to our home in Germany on Friday, August 7. Nadia and I were able to spend two full months in Manitoba, and five of those weeks Doug and Keegan were able to spend with us, too. It was full, busy, fun, tiring... But most of all, it was good.

In June:

We arrived in Manitoba on June 2, and on June 8 my aunt passed away. I feel so blessed to have been able to see her briefly three days beforehand. This auntie was my Mom’s second oldest sister, and lived a full 91 years. My special memories of her include going to her place with my mom and enjoying some instant coffee and cookies while they visited. Exactly one week later another one of my aunts passed away. Her funeral was exactly one week after the first auntie’s. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the second funeral.

Doug's Grandma and Grandpa Barkman’s 75th anniversary party was held at Woodhaven on June 9, which is their actual anniversary. I enjoyed seeing many people from the Barkman family as well as many Heartlanders who came to wish Grandma and Grandpa well on 75 years of marriage!! When Grandpa was asked how to make a marriage last that long his reply was: Don’t die.

The following day was “bake day” with Steph and her girls (an annual Christmas tradition we haven’t been able to continue because of the distance!). It was great to spend some time together at her place and let Nadia become reacquainted with Steph’s girls and for both of us to meet Zachary! They all had a lot of fun! In fact, I think Steph and I took care of the baking and the girls were playing in the playhouse almost the whole time. It was neat to see them reconnect and have so much fun together.

There were a number of other friend visits I really enjoyed as well, which took place in the evenings after Nadia went to sleep. I enjoyed lots of favourite candies and chips with these ladies! Something I miss here in Germany. :) One of our visits was with some friends from my hometown. Four of these dear women have had babies in the last two years so I had some catching up to do!

One Saturday, my cousin Mel along with Andy, invited us to join them at the the Assiniboine Park Zoo. We walked through the new Churchill Exhibit. I thought it was a really well put together exhibit where we actually saw animals! We saw every single polar bear that lives there, an arctic fox, muskoxen, and seals. The neatest part is an area you walk through that goes underneath the pool for the bears and seals. We could watch them (only seals this day) swimming, which was so neat! No worries - they’re kept separate so there’s no chance of watching a seal hunt.  

One afternoon, we had a coffee date with a couple of my cousins and one of their daughters. Nadia had a lot of fun meeting her second cousin Taylor! To make it feel like “the good old days” we had chocolate chip cookies made by my mom. Perfect!

We had coffee dates/playdates with friends, celebrated a cousin’s birthday (which was also at the zoo - and this time we saw the polar bears swimming!), and headed off to Star Lake for the annual extended Barkman family weekend. It was great (aside from me being sick for a full day)! We also celebrated Nadia’s 6th birthday! Once we got to Canada she asked that her party be with her cousins, uncles, and aunts. We ended up celebrating her once with the Giesbrechts in June, and once with the Barkmans in July after Doug and Keegan arrived. She wished for a Barbie, and lo and behold, she received one! A happy girl.

One of our favourite parts of June was definitely the arrival of Doug and Keegan!!

To be continued...