Happy New (School) Year!


The McDonah family 2016-2017 First Day of School Photo

As happens in many households with teachers and children, the first day of school is more our “new year” than January 1st. We had a productive summer, and although we were sad to see it end, there is an air of excitement about getting back to school. From what we can tell, it’s going to be a busy, exciting year with many changes.


Two years ago, we finally realized that the first day of school is much less stressful – fun even – when we close the B&B the night before. It’s our tradition to take a photo on the stairs on the first day, so everyone was up early (Olivia’s school bus arrives at 7:15 a.m.), the music was pumping, there were people in multiple bathrooms getting ready, and lots of laughter. Despite the excitement, I couldn’t help but be a bit wistful knowing, that in all likelihood, Evan will be away at university next year and it will just be five of us.


This year, Evan is in Grade 12, so will be graduating from high school. He is running with the cross-country team, and has made his high school football team. Their first game in tomorrow night in Halifax. He will be curling competitively again on his own team, and also on the school team. In addition, he is working part-time at Wendy’s restaurant.


Alex is starting high school today (Grade 10). He’ll be keeping himself busy also running cross-country, curling competitively, playing clarinet & saxophone in concert & jazz band, auditioning for the musical, and preparing for Confirmation. Alex is intending to take the full International Baccalaureate program in integrated French, and I have no doubt he will find other activities at his new school to join.


Sarah begins Junior High today (Grade 6). She will be highland dancing twice a week, taking jazz and ballet, and is so excited to be in an intro-pointe class. She also is curling competitively, taking piano lessons, and playing the trumpet in concert & jazz bands. She auditioned for “The Nutcracker” earlier this week.


Olivia is in Grade Four and nervous about being alone at her elementary school this year. Luckily, Sarah’s godmother is Olivia’s teacher this year, so I can’t imagine the nerves lasting very long. Olivia will be taking jazz and step-dancing, playing the flute and the fiddle, and curling competitively. She told us in the spring that her wish is to curl “every day of the week”.


D’Arcy is getting back closer to his roots, teaching Grade 8 Science in addition to English Language Arts this year. He’s planning to start a debate team at his school, and will continue to coach his school curling team and his daughters’ curling team. (That should be interesting!) He also is on the board of the curling club and will curl recreationally.


I am teaching all new subjects this semester – Marketing, Organizational Behaviour, and Business Consulting. I will continue to be the faculty advisor for our campus Enactus team and Challenge Nova Scotia, and it looks as though I will be traveling to Tanzania again in November to teach Entrepreneurship. The edits from the curriculum I wrote last year with my Academic Chair should be finished by Thanksgiving. My book club is a highlight of my month, and I am happy to have discovered audio books this summer which allow me to multitask.


We are fortunate to have my parents close by to help with chauffeuring, greeting guests until we get home, and serving breakfasts for us. September and October will continue to be busy as we transition in to school while still hosting guests. We have five time repeat guests (now friends) arriving from Germany tonight for a few days, so are back in business. I have a feeling it is going to be a fantastic year!



Our family keeps growing

The McDonahs are a large family. D’Arcy is number seven of nine siblings and there are 22 grandchildren (and now, six great-grandchildren). This summer our niece, Kelly, and our nephew, Patrick, each got married.

We were disappointed to miss Kelly’s wedding ceremony which took place in Ontario in August. We have heard from those who attended that it was a wonderful, happy, fun celebration which lasted until the wee hours of the morning. Kelly was a stunning bride, and her wedding to Stan was a celebration of blending their cultures. (Kelly’s mom is Mi’kmaq, her dad is Irish, and Stan is originally from Bulgaria.)

Last night, we were able to attend the wedding reception for our nephew, Patrick, and his beautiful bride, Brianna. They were married in the afternoon on the grounds of a beautiful property outside of Halifax. They had a fantastic meal, catered by Boneheads BBQ  of Halifax and Emma’s Country Kitchen of Toronto. (Rachel of ECK is the groom’s sister-in-law-to-be if the rest of us get our way!) After the meal, there were touching speeches and then the fire pit was lit and the dance floor opened.


Patrick, Brianna, and their daughter, Reid along with the LeBlancs, and the McDonahs. Photo credit: my sister-in-law, Seana

We are fortunate that we are a family who genuinely like one another in addition to loving one another, and we all have a fun time when we’re together with lots of laughter and hugging. D’Arcy’s cousins were there from New Hampshire, and we had nephews home from Toronto and Calgary. Unfortunately, we had to leave as the party was really getting going so that we could get home to our guests, but we’ll look forward to seeing everyone again at Thanksgiving.

An official welcome to the McDonah clan, Brianna & Stan! xoxo