Sunday, September 3, 2017

Three year old in the house!

It's time for my annual birthday post - all about our hilarious, incredibly determined, mischievous, cuddly, imaginative and sweet little Odin Alistair. Life with this little fella certainly keeps us on our toes. He works to assert his views at all times, always challenging us on even the seemingly most mundane things - Cereal for breakfast? Sure, but not in a bowl, in a cup and not that cup, the tall glass one. Sure, I'd like some pasta,  but with nothing on it....that type of thing. All the time. But he is also incredibly funny and has added a new level of fun and joy to our household.

Odin is sleeping through the night (90% of the time), able to independently do most things, he loves books, anything with wheels and gently patting our cat, Coral. He loves being tickled, and in fact insists on being tickled and "kissed all over" often. He likes to pretend he is a baby (with no teeth) and is happiest running in the backyard, hiking in the woods, camping in Sunny or playing with his cousins. Potty training is another matter - not much progress to speak of on that front, but I'm sure it will come. Later, as Odin often tells us.

 He has three imaginary friends, all conveniently named Joe. Two are twins and we aren't too sure about the other, but he is old enough to be in "big boy school". They have "Christmas tree hair", which is apparently means it stands straight up, we think like an 80's Trolls doll. The Joe's pop up from time to time to cuddle him at night or join us for a meal. As my uncle Jay said, it's all quite imaginative, except for the names!!

We invited friends over for a nice backyard birthday bash complete with a pinata and a game of pass the parcel. We ended up with 22 kids, although I had expected up to 30! Thankfully the weather was nice enough for us to keep everything outside and the party wrapped up by 7:30.

Stealing cheezies, before the guests showed up
Pass the parcel
Hot Wheels pinata!
Here a few of my favourite recent Odin quotes:

When trying to put him down for a nap, he decided he needed some pants to sleep in, not just his diaper. I grabbed the nearest pants and when he looked down to see what I'd put on him he protested "No mom, not those pants, they don't rhyme!" (Ie, they didn't match with the top he was wearing, haha)

He's decided lately that he won't eat the crust of sandwiches, which he might have picked up at daycare, but I was very surprised when he finished a pb+j and didn't touch the crust explaining that he "doesn't like those peels!"

When asked by my mom what time he woke up after a night at Greggy's new fishing camp he said, "First thing o'clock!"

And I'm so happy to share a new video interview of Odin on his big day. You'll see his little personality shine through as he quickly tries to take over the interview by asking Caleb questions. Happy birhtday, little man!!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Annual Mom and Kids Weekend!

Exploring Annapolis Royal
This year, we had booked a great group camping site along Nova Scotia's south shore for our 6th annual Mom and Kids camping trip. However, after a very dry summer, the weather was calling for steady rain all day. We were willing to brave it, but figured our night might not be much fun with a swarm of wet children and no where that could shelter us all. So we opted for Plan B - a giant sleepover at our house! 5 moms, 1 aunt, 8 children - and we all managed to find places to sleep!

It was a truly wonderful night. I'm not sure if the moms or the kids had more fun. The kids played with lego, puzzles, stuffies and cars while the moms chatted and drank champagne for Lydia's birthday. The rain held off long enough for us to get outside for a fun little hike and swim. We eventually managed to get the all of the kids to sleep, with the last man down being a 2 year old who finally crashed around 10:30! We've decided that next year, the mom of the kid who stays up latest wins a bottle of wine!

This weekend has been a highlight of my summer for the past 6 years, and I truly treasure the time I get with some of my closest friends. And there is nothing better than seeing your kids bond and build friendships that I hope will continue to grow. The kids may not get to see each other much throughout the year, but I love knowing that we will always have our one special weekend together!

Of course, we had to squeeze in some beachcombing!

And, just because these photos are amazing - here is our before and after haircut shots. Caleb looks like a brand new man! And Odin threw in a wink for good measure!

Monday, July 24, 2017


Vacation mood - Joy!
This is the longest I've ever gone between blog posts - but it just goes to show how busy the past few weeks have been for us. We've gone into summer mode, and have been spending our time outside and having fun as much as possible. When we are inside, Caleb is either playing lego, learning new drum beats or is deeply engulfed in the magical world of Harry Potter. Odin is spending his home time organizing his cars and trucks into long lines, digging in the sandbox, riding his tricycle - but always going back to playing with his beloved vehicles. We've just started the 3rd book and we are both loving it! It's been almost 20 years since I last read the series, and it's even more enchanting reading it to a 7 year old!

We just got back back from an incredible week with my family in PEI. I followed that up with a weekend away in a cabin in Fundy park with Amy and Lydia, so today seemed like the perfect time for a little reflection before heading back into the office. (And Hi to my aunt Colleen, who has been checking for posts over the past several weeks!!)

Before heading off on vacation, we had a wonderful weekend in Annapolis Royal for Canada's 150th. The town really pulled off some wonderful events, including an afternoon of free music in our newly constructed amphitheatre, and giving away 500 free lobster rolls during a public picnic on the wharf! I wasn't expecting tables set out for everyone, but it was such a nice touch that topped off a great community weekend. 

Our week in Cavendish was wonderful. Aly, Ava, Adam, Ang, and both of my parents were able to join us. We weren't sure if Linda was going to be able to make the trip because she had her hip replaced only 3 weeks before we were booked to go. Thankfully, she is recovering really well and she was able to complete our family vacation. 

The kids were perfect ages to enjoy all the PEI (or PPI, according to Odin) has to offer. Amusement parks, beaches, great geocaches, good seafood, late night card games, jellyfish spotting, swimming pools, hot tubs, soccer games..we did it all. Alan and I even squeezed in a date night in Charlottetown!

 At the New Glasgow lobster dinner:

At the butterfly garden - such a great stop! Caleb had 7 butterflies on him at one point!

Amusement park - Odin loved the roller coaster, Caleb preferred the waterslides (but he still did one loop on the roller coaster!)

Green screen shot from a Parks Canada booth! 

Thursday, June 1, 2017

May memories

Here's a quick recap of our month of May! I'll try to post more often in June!

Our friends host an annual May Day party, complete with a May pole. Odin was into it this year, and I'm always amazed at how many kids and young families turn out to this event. Who says Annapolis Royal has an aging population!?

On Mother's Day, I was gifted two magnolia tress that the boys picked out. These are my absolute favourite trees and I can't wait to enjoy their magnificent blooms each year.

Odin's class held their annual 'Hop-a Thon' to fundraise for muscular dystrophy. The kids get 1 minute to do as many hops as they can. It's a bit hard to see here, but while the others were hopping into the high 100's , Odin managed to only get 3 jumps in!! His teacher, Wendy, said he froze when everyone started cheering him on and was too taken in with the crowd to bother with the jumping. We are all hoping for him to get into the double digits next year!!

Haircuts, and thankfully Odin still has his curls!

Ferry to NB for the May long weekend. Ava surprised us by coming with Linda to pick us up in Saint John. Caleb couldn't believe it when he saw here waiting for us. It was the first time I've ever heard him use the words 'I'm freaking out!!'
Cousin time at Greg's new fishing camp along the Miramichi. Can't wait to spend more time there this summer!
Helping with the garden back at home. Good to have a heavy equipment operator on site!

My sister in law, Sarah, came to visit us this weekend with her two little boys. They had some great cousin time and loved cuddling with baby Daniel!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Easter Eggstravaganza

 Our little community loves Easter. They've organized the Annapolis Royal Easter Eggstravaganza for the past 11 years and it has grown to include:

-Breakfast with the Easter Bunny at the Legion
-Giant Egg Hunt -  10,000 eggs hidden at the Fort
- Arts/Crafts/Family Fun in the afternoon
-Free Family Movie at the theatre

This year, the main volunteer and event founder decided that she was no longer able to continue running the event. Shock waves ran through the town. A photo of a sad Easter Bunny was circulated on social media accompanied by several call-outs for new volunteers to keep the event going. I decided I would put my name forward, and ended up being in charge of the afternoon craft/family fun events. The amazing woman who previously ran the event really took the crafts to another level. She managed to set up 12 different (and incredible) crafts (50 of each) for a total of 600 kids easter crafts!! Yikes. I knew I couldn't maintain that amount of crafting intensity, but thankfully, she handed over all of her old supplies to me and I was able to pull together a couple of other helpers and we managed to pull off a great afternoon event. Alan and I spent a few late nights prepping salt dough egg ornaments, Easter cards to paint, pictures to colour and more. Plus we had a clown and kid's zumba, so it turned into quite an action packed afternoon.

The hunt was, much to my surprise, one of my favourite parts of the day. We were so happy to have my parents and Ava visit for the weekend, and Caleb and Ava hopped right into super volunteer mode. They were up at 7 am with me to help hide the eggs at the fort, and I couldn't believe how many other community members were also up early to help. During the hunt, Caleb and Ava had a bookbag full of extra eggs and it was their job to subtly 'lay' eggs near any kids who were having trouble finding some. They were in their glory, prancing around and making the day of little kids all over the place! I was so happy when they told me the best part of their day was hiding the eggs, not finding them!

The hunt begins! Photo by Greg
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The rest of our April was filled with as much outdoor time as possible. Here are some shots:

We are loving the longer days, which means we can go to the park *after* supper! We picked up some of the Sudanese kids last week on our way there. We all had a blast, and it is amazing how well the kids are adjusting. Their English is coming along so well, and they've already mastered important phrases like 'one more push!', 'pick me upside down!' and 'let's stay a little bit longer'.

My favourite artwork from April - Caleb's class got to pick a Martin Luther King, Jr. quote for an art project. This one is going in a frame!
Alan and I bought bikes this year, and it has been wonderful going for long rides with Caleb. He no longer has to stop at each corner to wait for us! Last night Cale and I saw a snake, 3 turtles, 2 muskrats, 3 kingfishers and a bunch of  red-winged blackbirds while biking on the trail behind our house. 

Odin with his new wheels - and a pretty stylin' look.

Dinner with our good friends (and farmers)! Odin loved this ride so much, until the tractor got stuck and the wheels flung mud all over his face! It was quite hilarious for the rest of us, but he was not overly impressed!
More fun with friends.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

April Fools!

April 1st is one day that we really look forward to each year. Caleb still laughs about the frozen cereal trick I pulled on him last year, and he has been scheming with Alan for weeks to come up with a good prank for me. I knew I had to up my game from last year, especially knowing how suspicious Caleb was going to be. So, after searching the internet, I set my plans in motion and we pulled off a pretty successful morning.

My favourite trick of the day -  is that fruit juice in your mug...or jello?!? Odin didn't know what to make of it (having never seen jello before), but Caleb really got a kick out of this one!
After the jello trick, we pulled out the cereal which had been switched into different boxes (Odin's favourite joke of the day),  and followed that up with a plate of homemade  brownies (which were actually brown construction paper letter Es cut out....brown Es) and finally we pranked Alan by stuffing his shoes with kleenex. The best part of this joke was Caleb commenting on how much Alan had grown overnight (especially his feet), before asking him to put on his shoes and come outside! Haha! The joke Caleb and Alan had been plotting all week turned out to be the old 'wrap tape around the sink hose nozzle' so that when I turned on the water, the hose *almost* squirted me. Pretty good! Now I need to start thinking of things for next year! 

We've also been enjoying the warmer weather and volunteering with the organization of Annapolis Royal's big Easter celebrations which consists of 10,000 eggs hidden at the Fort, crafts, zumba, a magician and a free movie at the theatre. I brought the boys with me to the local Nursing Home last night to have the seniors help stuff some eggs for the big hunt. We had a great time, especially Odin, who managed to sit beside a sweet little old lady who, instead of stuffing the plastic eggs with chocolate, decided to  unwrap the chocolate and feed them to Odin instead! They had quite a pile of wrappers beside them before I noticed! 
New friends
Kids hike to Mickey Hill Provincial Park

Note I found from Caleb - "To Odin. Here's 80 cents for you. Youre a great bro!' Accompanied by a big old bag of pennies that Cale clearly wanted to get rid of! Sweet and hilarious. 

Monday, March 20, 2017

March Break

Alan's birthday shot with his Mackinaw twin
My parents bravely (and incredibly generously) offered to take both of our children to Fredericton for March Break this year. Alan and I immediately accepted. A week at home with no children?!? The last time we had a few days on our own seems like a very far off distant memory. And we immediately had plans - Operation remove pansy wallpaper borders and get some painting done. It was the first chance we had to tackle a few small things to make our house really feel like our own. It was not nearly as glamorous as an HGTV show, and plaster walls are trickier than I had anticipated, but we got it done...well, one and a half rooms, anyway! And we went out to dinner TWICE and spent a day touring around second hand shopping in the Valley, which is one of my absolute favourite things to do.

Bathroom blitz

Drywall coating the toy room. I didn't even realize this was a necessary step, or the sanding that I was VERY ready to put the paint on when the time finally came. Turns out we chose a very similar color to the original wall so the kids didn't even notice a change after all of our hard work! Haha!

 The boys, of course, had a blast. We got to skype with them every night, and as happy as I was for Odin to be able to spend a week without me, it would have been nice if he missed me even just a tiny bit! But no, they were having too much fun. Alan's aunt Teresa took Caleb and  his cousin Monica to Crabbe Mt skiing twice - his first time ever on skis, and he now he is absolutely hooked. He made it down the big hill and back up the chair lift, which is a great accomplishment for such a cautious guy. We were seriously proud of him. The boys also had lots of cousin time, a snow day to build forts and donuts for breakfast. Pretty good week if you ask me!

Ski team!

Meeting baby cousin Daniel

Baby love, and grandchild number 9 for the Jeffries side! (Hey Kathy - you made the blog!!) 
UNB hockey game with Uncle Jay (2017 National Champs!) Odin was happy to share his popcorn, but would only hand out one piece at a time! 

Alan and I went to pick them up this weekend and we were so glad to also be home for the memorial of Jim Myles, an amazing man and father of the Myles boys who Alan has grown very close to over the years. We were also able to help with removing the final few loads of things from my uncle Mike's house, who we lost in January. It was an emotional few days for us, for sure. One of the items I took from Mike's was a bunch of old deer antlers. We weren't sure what to do with them so I offered them up on facebook and within 20 minutes had found a friend who wanted to give them a good home.

Today, after getting off the ferry, I went for a quick beach walk before heading into the office. I hadn;t been beachcoming in a few days and I really needed some time on my own to reflect in the fresh air. I was walking around slowly, thinking of Mike and Jim, when I looked down and found a deer antler on the beach. It was the first one I've ever found in my life, despite all the times I've spent at Moosecall and in the woods (often actively looking for antlers). I couldn't quite believe it as I bent down to pick it up. It was small, from a young buck and it brought tears to my eyes. Just an hour earlier we had unpacked our trunk and the only thing that remained was a box of deer antlers to bring to my friend in Halifax. And now in my hand, I held one more antler. I'm not an overly spiritual person, but I felt such comfort at that moment and I knew that this antler would be coming home with me.

Today's beach glass and pottery finds, including my lucky antler.