Trip to Toronto Part 1

March 2017

When Colt came to me some months ago about spending the weekend in Toronto I was an immediate, without a doubt, YES. Canada has always been on the good ol’ bucket list and Colt was going to be flying out there for a case competition with school. Since Colt was going to be busy most of the time with his competition and school stuff, we invited my sister, Angel, to go fly out with me so I wouldn’t have to travel alone. For the past few months, we’ve been counting down to this trip… it did not disappoint.

We flew out on Friday. I didn’t take the day off from work thinking it would be a breeze to leisurely leave right after school and jet on over to the airport. I was wrong. The whole day was a whirlwind. Deadlines needed to be met before I left work, substitute plans had to be made & set out, there was some drama with a few of my students and a parent called wanting to talk to me before I left. I finally left work only to be met with horrific traffic the entire way to the airport. By this time I was sweating buckets. I was set to board at 5:45 PM and I wasn’t quite sure I was going to make it! I still had to park my car and take the shuttle to my gate! Alas, I made it just fine and all was well. My sister and I grabbed a bite to eat and then boarded our plane. I could finally take a deep breath and leave all my worries behind. Canada, here we come!

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We landed in Toronto close to 11 PM and we had to get through customs and call an uber. For as long a day as it was, I wasn’t too exhausted. I was excited to be in this vivacious metropolis and couldn’t wait to start exploring!

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Since Colt flew in the day before, he and his friend met us at the hotel where we changed and went out to this cute little place across from our hotel where we enjoyed a few night caps. We didn’t stay out too late though because we wanted to get an early start the following morning!

Saturday morning we woke up bright and early to downtown Toronto. The view from our balcony was breathtaking. The weather was a little dreary, it was windy, cold but we were ready to go out and see the sights and the soaring skyscrapers. We had heard that Toronto was the “clean version of New York City” and I definitely agree that it was!

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Saturday we walked the downtown strip, went shopping, had lunch at the Hard Rock and ate some delicious Poutine, watched some talent shows in the main square, did more shopping at Toronto’s largest mall, Toronto Eaton Centre and enjoyed the crisp, cold weather. By evening we were exhausted and ready for a mid evening nap! We headed back to the hotel, met up with Colt and took a luxurious nap. We woke up starving and headed over to this quaint Japanese place for ramen.

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After ramen we ubered over to Madison Avenue Pub. This place was the coolest! There are 6 British style like pubs inside these 3 connected Victorian Mansions! Complete with dance floors, patios and a piano bar! Little did we know that this is also the popular spot for the local undergrads to hangout. It was overly crowded with early 20 something year olds and you literally could not get through the crowds, but still so fun. We were easily the oldest people there. I’m pretty sure I was at least 10 years these people’s senior, but we didn’t let that stop us. We stayed until 2 AM closing time, where we crowded around the piano with the fellow Canadians and belted out Billy Joel’s “Piano Man”. It wasn’t until everyone was leaving and walking down the street trying to catch their ubers when we realized we were located on “Greek Row”. Hah! The cherry on top was the snow fall we got to see right before we left. What an epic night!

Sunday morning we were up fairly early and dressed to make the 10 minute walk to church. We visited St. Michael’s Cathedral Basilica. It’s one of Toronto’s oldest churches and the church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto. Mass was lovely and the cathedral and its architecture was absolutely stunning.

After Mass, we walked back on this beautiful, sunny, but cold, Sunday to meet up with Colt’s buddies at the hotel and pick up our rental car. There was no time to waste. Next up on our agenda… Niagara Falls! First we headed to “PATH” which is Toronto’s famous “underground city”. There are tunnels, subways, shops, food and entertainment underground. This was basically built to help pedestrians stay warm and safe from the harsh conditions of the winter cold and snow. How neat is that?! We picked up the rental car and headed off on our hour and a half journey to Niagara. Unfortunately, this also happened to be the coldest day of our trip!!!

After stopped traffic and a stop at Tim Horton’s for the world’s worst meal, we arrived at our destination. We were greeted with ice cold winds and dropping temps but we were eager to see The Falls! We walked for what seemed like forever before finally catching a glimpse of the waterfalls. By the time we made it up to the falls, I could no longer feel my legs nor my face. That didn’t keep us from enjoying the views and taking a ridiculous amount of pictures. #americantourists

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Tesla! 

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After the photo op we headed inside for coffee, hot chocolate and to defrost while waiting for the sun to go down so we could see Niagara at night. It was so worth it. At night, the falls light up with all different colors. It was beautiful. How incredible are these natural wonders???

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The Canadian Flag!

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The walk back down to our car didn’t feel nearly as bitterly cold as it had been earlier. Still, we couldn’t wait to get in the car and put the heat on full blast and turn on the seat heaters! I fell asleep instantly once we got on the road. Before I knew it, we were back at the hotel picking up another of Colt’s buddies and onward to our next adventure!

If you made it this far, kudos to you & thanks for reading! I hope you’ve enjoyed following along! Part 2 of our Toronto trip will be up on the blog soon.

Stay tuned!

XO

 

Happy New Year!

January 2017

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Happy New Year, friends! One of my favorite times of year is New Year’s Eve. Something about the bubbly, the sequins, the glitter, confetti, the countdown, celebrating with loved ones, a midnight kiss, the tradition of eating a dozen grapes at the stroke of 12 and looking forward to all the adventures the new year has in store for us in the months ahead. The optimism and the new beginnings the new year brings is exciting and hopeful. It’s a fresh start. In the words of Oprah, “Cheers to a new year, and another chance for us to get it right!” Truer words have never been spoken.

Last night we kept it pretty low-key. One of our couple friends was having a party but we were unable to stop by due to Colt coming down sick. He woke up NYE morning with a stuffy head, congestion, cough and an achy body. That wasn’t going to keep us from putting on our fancy clothes and welcoming the new year in style! 😉 My fam came over even though 3 out of 4 of them were also sickly. It was fun nonetheless. What better way to ring in the new year than with people and pup that you hold dear?

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Happy New Year from me & Benji! 

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We celebrated and made it til 1:30 Am or so. And by we made it until 1:30, I mean we were showered, in our jammies and laying in bed watching a movie! Such a relaxing start to 2017 and my birthday!

This afternoon we woke up and headed over to my parents for my birthday lunch, cake and the Cowboys game. My family had the cutest setup waiting for me. I really am the luckiest!

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Today was filled with so much joy, love, laughter and blessings. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to spend my birthday. A HUGE thank you to everyone who has helped make my day smiley and special with a text, a facebook message, a snapchat, a card and or a phone call! I have felt so much love!

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One of the best parts of the new year is that it gives each of us a clean slate and a fresh start. My resolutions this year include: being in the moment more & on my phone less, hydrating & drinking more H2O throughout the work day, having a little more patience, declutter and buy less “things”, read a few more books and of course the same ol’ make smarter food choices and exercise more!

2016 was a blessed and positive year for us. It was filled with many adventures, travels, lessons learned, friends, family and tons of love. I hope 2017 brings with it good health, success, joy, happiness, adventure and more love. We will continue to celebrate life and cherish every day we have on this earth. We will reflect on how to make our quality of life even more enjoyable, such as, leaving work at a decent time, smiling more, walking 10,000 steps a day, show gratitude, pray, get 7 hours of sleep and socializing. We challenge you to take a look at your life and make sure it’s exactly what you want it to be. If it’s not, that’s okay. This is your time. It’s a new year for a new you and to make the changes you need to live the life you want!

“The happiest time of my life is now!” – Marilyn Monroe

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Happy New Year!

Here’s to new beginnings!

We love you all!

 

5 Christmases & a Partridge in a Pear Tree

December 2016

Happy New Year’s Eve Eve! We hope your Christmas holiday was nothing short of splendid! After being sick the first week of winter break, it was time to get ready for the festivities and celebrations. Over the course of a couple of days, our Christmas was filled with lots of family, presents, celebrating, fun and celebrating Christ’s birth. Fun was had by all. Here is a quick run down of how we celebrated this year:

  • Christmas numero uno. Colt & I, his siblings, their spouses, our nieces & nephews and my in-laws celebrate together on the 23rd. This is to ensure that we are all able to get together at the same time. Colt’s parents live out in Alvord, Texas which is a good 45 -60 minute drive from our house depending on traffic. Heading out to the country is just lovely. Wide open spaces. Stars in the sky for miles. Dirt roads. Country living. Lots of food, games, stockings, presents, laughter and fun family time was had. We all stay the night together at my in laws before heading out Christmas Eve. We love this time we were able to spend together.
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    listening to our nieces & nephews perform Christmas carols for us

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    all 5 nieces and nephews

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    Family Game Night. Has everyone played “Speak Out”? So fun! So silly! 

     

  • Christmas Eve we said our goodbyes and left Colt’s parents house around 1 PM or so. We drove back to our house, unloaded the car and ran upstairs for a quick power nap before more festivities. Around 4 PMish we woke up and began getting ready for Christmas Eve Mass with my parents and sisters. Christmas Eve Mass with my family has always been a tradition. I just love celebrating our Lord & Savior’s birth that evening with loved ones. There’s no better feeling.
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    Sisters at Christmas. Alexa, Angel, me. 

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    This handsome guy and I 

     

  • Christmas #2… after Mass we drove over to Colt’s grandparents house to spend some time with them. While we were there we enjoyed more family time, gifts, delicious homemade wassail and we were even there to see and be a part of Colt’s cousin’s proposal and engagement! Love making memories like these.
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    Homemade wassail made by Colt’s grandmother

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    Herman (grandfather) and Colt

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    Three generations of Miranda Men! (Annette, Colt, me, Lola, Herman, Phillip)

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    Colt’s cousin getting proposed to! 

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    The newly engaged, Theo & Leah! 

  • Christmas 3: Colt and I woke up on Christmas morning in our house. This is our tradition to spend some alone time together and exchange gifts with one another. It’s peaceful, it’s quiet and this time is ours. We spend some time together before getting dressed and heading over to my parents house for presents.
  • Christmas number 4. We drive over to my parents house to visit and spend time with my parents and sisters. We open presents together and then have brunch. We spend most of the day there visiting, snacking and relaxing. It’s a slow, easy going day creating memories and most importantly, remembering that Jesus is the reason for the season.
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    Tree, presents and Benjamin at my parents

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    The parentals opening gifts

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    My dad and his new hat. #indianajones

 

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sisters opening gifts 

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  • Christmas Cinco. Our last Christmas celebration was spent in Haslet with my extended family. My cousins and their families and my great aunt. More food, more fun, more presents, more family time. We didn’t want any of this to end! Thanks to my cousin, Leslie for these pictures!

 

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my cousin, Sam

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all the gang

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cousin Rob and mom

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White elephant gift exchange. Who doesn’t love Nutty Buddies?!

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sisters

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When you’re 7 years old and you have the capability to text Santa directly. What?!

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Love this picture so much. It warms my heart. Great aunt, Adriana, little cousin, Ashlyn and Colty playing Christmas carols. (All the heart emoji eyes!!!)

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Too much fun. Baby cousin, Carson was so pooped he grabbed a Twister game mat to cover himself up for a long winter’s nap! 

We definitely enjoyed fun, food, games, celebrations and family time over the past few days. The days seemed to go by quick and we didn’t want any of these moments to pass by or end. Everything was so good. This was lots of Christmas fun for the books. We will be remembering and cherishing these times for many years to come.

Whew! I enjoyed writing this blog post and looking at all these wonderful pictures all over again. We love the holiday season and have enjoyed every precious minute of it. It was also a time to remember that long ago, a baby was born to bring hope to this weary world. And the world rejoiced! It truly was and has been a Merry Christmas.

We hope your Christmas season has been filled with hope, love, and  special moments shared with the ones you treasure & hold dear.

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Not ready to take our tree down! 

We love you all!