The masks are off again this year - though we're still wearing them in some settings like on public transit, in big crowds and at school. So many things that we didn't get to do last year are back on again, including travelling for March Break, going to orchestra performances and lots of sports progams for Callum. Alasdair is volunteering as a coach for Callum's softball team this year, Emma is back to appearing in person for court a lot of the time, and Morgan is getting ready for a gruelling month of May with rehearsals just about every day for her musical theatre class performance of You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown.
The lockdown had already started this time last year, but we hadn't really gotten into the mask-wearing stage last time so we decided to honour it with this year's photo. It's hard not to focus on the negatives from the most unlucky year - the virtual learning and working from home, the cancelled summer camps, the inability to see friends and family at holidays - but the good news is that when this photo was taken, both Emma and Alasdair had just received their first vaccinations. So while we are still, as last time, looking forward to life getting back to normal, it seems this is a more realistic expectation in 2021!
This anniversary captures us living in interesting times. With the COVID-19 lockdown, we've been cooped up together since March Break, a period of increasing stir-craziness. There's a reason Emma and Alasdair are separating Morgan and Callum! The past year had seen Morgan start her last year at the neighbourhood JK-Grade 5 school, a year she will probably complete from home. Callum thrived again in hockey in a season similarly curtailed. Although both Emma and Alasdair can work reasonably well from home, it's not easy. We're all looking forward to life getting back to normal.
We're back on the couch, and this time we have Elliott with us. Somehow we've never included pets in these photos but Morgan has rectified it this time. Emma and Alasdair are still working a little too hard and keeping a little too busy, but if anything the kids are starting to match our pace with all the weekend and weeknight activities. Softball starts soon for Callum, swimming is on the go, Morgan has decided this is her last year of ballet so the annual recital performance in June will be her big finale. Morgan has also stepped up her reading, at nearly a book-a-day pace when she can, and Callum has blossomed as a reader of French texts from school. We're looking forward to some camping with friends and a trip to Newfoundland over the coming summer.
What? No couch? It's true: We were not at home for our tenth anniversary. Morgan and Callum were back in Toronto with Emma's parents while we got away for our biggest sans-kids vacation yet - a week in New Orleans. We had an amazing week, with all kinds of touristy adventures, fun and interesting food, and a random spotting of Lou Diamond Phillips. In the past year, I'd moved into a management job at The Globe centred on building digital products (a natural progression after spending the last 2.5 years on a related technology project), Callum had discovered an aptitude for hockey, Morgan had advanced in both her ballet and piano programs, and Emma had enjoyed a number of great vacations.
We're all settled into the new house, so we have a new backdrop for this year's photo. Work on a major project at The Globe has taken a further toll on my waist and hairline while Emma still looks lovely. The kids love their school, which is now just 2 blocks away instead of 3. Morgan is working away at piano lessons and being creative with drawing and other arts while Callum is as sports-obsessed as ever. He took the conclusion of his first opportunity to watch Maple Leafs playoff hockey pretty well.
Same couch as many other anniversary photos, but something looks different! The big painting is down off the wall and there are boxes creeping in at the corners because we’re selling the house and moving to new digs a few blocks over in just a few weeks. Callum's shirt reflects his major obsession at the moment, and Morgan is hiding the gap where her adult front teeth are only just starting to come in.
On this anniversary, we’re visiting with Elspeth and Will, who kindly (bravely?) had Morgan and Callum stay with them for a sleepover with their cousins Felix and Innogen so that Emma and I could go spend a night away on our own in Stratford. Morgan has lost her first tooth in the weeks before her 6th birthday and Callum is looking forward his 4th in August.
Our sixth anniversary on April 26, 2014, finds us taking a quick breather from a never-ending stream of classmates' birthday parties, errands, ballet lessons and more. Morgan is about to turn 5 and Mr. Red Socks is rounding the corner to 3. We don't have any big plans to mark our sixth, but we are looking forward to a big road trip to the Maritimes this summer.
The family has come together for another snapshot, this time on our fifth anniversary on April 26, 2013. For some reason Callum thought it was hilarious to blow at the camera as if blowing out a candle. I took the day off work so that we could get away early for a weekend trip to Niagara with just the two of us. The kids will be welcoming Bumpa and Grandma with open arms and enjoying a Toopy and Binoo live show while we're gone.
Hey, look! There's four of us. Our fourth anniversary came on April 26, 2012, a hectic weekday morning on which we could barely pause to get everyone in the frame together. At least I smiled - though this time it's Morgan who looks too serious!
Emma and I celebrated our third anniversary on April 26, 2011. Morgan was about to turn 2 years old, and would absolutely not accept anybody else holding the number. And just like our first anniversary, Emma is carrying an addition to the family, due in August. Next time, I'll remember to smile.
Emma and I celebrated our second anniversary on April 26, 2010. We took the picture in her parents' living room in London, as Emma spent the week house- and pet-sitting while they were out of town. The most significant change in this year's photo was the migration of Morgan from Emma's belly to the outside world. She's been making her mark ever since! Everyone is happy, healthy and enjoying the wild ride that parenthood has proven itself to be.
Emma and I celebrated our first anniversary on April 26, 2009. She was expecting our first child and had been put on bed rest for the final week of her pregnancy, while I was sick with a nasty pink eye infection, which resulted in us having a romantic Thai delivery dinner at home. Neither of us looked our best.