Friends and family,
Welcome to our family update for 2022! We wanted to connect and give a quick update on our family!
Like everyone I think it was such a relief to begin to see our lives return to some normalcy. We’ve enjoyed family gatherings and some travel.
Here’s an update on our kids.
Ben finished his program at Algonquin College in Phone App Development. He landed a job working remotely for a startup software company called DependBuild (https://dependbuild.com) based out on the east coast of Canada. Ben’s enjoyed his first step into the career world. He’s living with some friends in Ottawa and we enjoy seeing him often, especially making meals together. Ben loves to cook and workout.
Meghan is in her 4th and last year for Kinesiology at university. She’s enjoyed it tremendously. She is living with the same 5 girls now for the 3 rd year in a row. That’s gone well too. Her plans for next year are not set yet. Meghan has enjoyed getting more involved in exercise – by becoming a group fitness instructor at the Queen’s gym and prescribing exercise programs for adults with disabilities in the Revved Up adapted gym at Queen’s
Last summer, Meghan worked with a Physio Therapist in an admin role, which was fascinating to her.
Meghan has had a close connection to Echo Lake Camp for many years and has developed many close friendships. They camp has been a great encouragement to her faith and certainly lots of fun. She aged out of it this summer and decided to celebrate the occasion with being baptized with a number of her friends.
Some other big news on our family front this year was the engagement of Stephen and Riya. Stephen proposed to Riya on an Italy trip they took together in September. We are trilled to have Riya (and her family) join our clan. They are planning for a wedding in August this year. They hope to purchase a home this year too.
Stephen continues to work remotely with Zapier as a backend engineer. So computer programming stuff!? He has also taken up Brazilian Jujitsu training out of the De La Costa gym on Ottawa. He hopes to participate in his first tournament this year.
Riya continues to grow her business as a Tattoo Artist and loves it. She works out @hungryxhound in downtown Ottawa. You can see some of her work on her Instagram account here.
We enjoyed hosting Mark’s family at our family cottage again this August. Not everyone could make it and they were missed. Mark’s brother John, contributed to the fun by introducing us to ‘Hot Ones’. It’s a game based on a popular YouTube channel where celebrities are interviewed while they eat increasingly spicy hot chicken wings. The ‘Hot Ones’ game includes 10 levels of hot sauce. 15 of us started with the first round (not very hot) but by round 5, a few started to drop off. It was a comical event with lots of panting, gulping of milk and numbness in arms (Stephen’s weird reaction to hot sauce). Of the 15 who started, 7 were able to finish with special shoutout to Meghan as the youngest and Roy as the oldest! Watch out for hot sauce #8 – The Bomb!!
Our family also got to enjoy celebrating Greek Easter at Thanos (Mark’s brother) and Josie’s home. This event is never short on food! As per tradition, it was complete with a whole lamb bbq’d on a spit. Delicious.
Mark and Tracy got a chance to travel to Texas for a wedding in early November. We used the opportunity to hang out in San Antonio for a few days together. It was during this trip that Mark got introduced to Corn Hole. We didn’t realize it was such a big deal with professional players and all. The game works as you toss bean bags at a single hole on a board – alternating with your opponent. Mark’s planning to build the boards and start training, I mean playing for fun, at the cottage this summer.
Tracy continues to work at two jobs – each part-time. She finds both to be stimulating and meaningful. This year she started playing golf with Mark and Meghan. We have a golf course near us at the cottage and we were able to get away a few evenings after dinner to play 9 holes. The boys (and Riya) have shown are renewed interest in golf (much to Mark’s delight) and hope to play some this summer. While visiting John and Vicki in Philly this Christmas we all went and played at Top Golf for the first time. Best way to describe it is that is like a gamified driving range with chip embedded golf balls to track your every shot and you receive points for hitting targets. You’ve got to try it if you get a chance.
Mark and Meghan worked together to plant and look after a veggie garden. It was the second year we grew habanero peppers from which Mark has concocted his own hot sauce. It gives #8, the Bomb, and run for its money!
For those of you living outside Ottawa, you may not have heard, but in May we experienced a significant storm – called a derecho storm. The storm was incredibly powerful and knocked out power in our city for days. Mary Ann’s (Tracy’s sister) power was out for 10 days. Interesting enough, some of the biggest damage happen near Mark’s office where there was numerous large, tall mature trees. After the storm it looked like a war zone. The storm has it’s own Wikipedia page now – see it here.
On the cottage front, we are looking into the possibility of converting our summer cottage into a year round home where we would move to. It’s close enough to the city for us to do that. It’s actually nearer to our office than our home is. Stay tuned.
Mark and Tracy continue to enjoy our local church community. This year we were involved in helping run the Alpha Marriage Course. It’s a great way to help strengthen marriages. We’d highly recommend it if you get a chance to participate in it.
Thanks for reading our update! We hope that you are doing well and we pray this year is full of health, joy and peace. We’d love to hear from you and how you are doing! Have a great 2023.