Friday, November 17, 2017

Random Acts of Kindness...and November photos!

At my dear mother's request, I'm going to try and post twice a month! So here it goes, and there's lots to catch you up on!

Caleb pulls off a successful photobomb!
First off, Halloween! It was a great success this year, in huge part because both boys were very relaxed about costume choices, and because a friend brought over dinner before we headed out the door at 5:45! Alan had been away on tour for an entire month, and I had a very busy schedule with work, including a meeting in Halifax on the morning of the 31st - so getting home to a hot dinner was very much appreciated! 

 Caleb's only costume request was a monster mask with feathers. I ended up finding something at the dollarstore which was deemed acceptable, so I dressed him in all black and hung his 5 ft stuffed snake around his neck - and voila! He was a monster/snake charmer! Odin was happy to wear his lion costume again this year, especially when he found out that his buddy, Willa, was also going as a lion. They were incredibly adorable being pulled around on the wagon all evening!

We found another lion along the way!
The gang


Random Acts of Kindness

The boys have been the very luck recipients of some amazing acts of kindness this fall. In September, we were visiting Fredericton when 3 teen aged girls showed up at Wilmot Park with at least a dozen giant helium balloons and began handing them out to all the kids on the playground. It turned out to be  'Becca Schofield Day' in New Brunswick, a day to honour a young girl with terminal cancer whose wish for people to do kind acts has grown into a national movement. Inspired by this amazing 'Becca Told Me To' act, the boys were keen to pass a random kind deed forward.

 The following day, we were out at a restaurant for a family breakfast before the boys and I were heading home on the ferry. Instead of bringing two big balloons on the boat with us, the boys thought they could pass their balloons along to someone else. Caleb and Odin, along with cousins Aly and Ava, found some kids at a table and rushed over to present them with the balloons. The kids were delighted to receive the unexpected gifts, and the kids at our table were feeling really great about doing a kind act. It turned out a man at the restaurant noticed the exchange and decided to do a random act of kindness back to our kids....so after breakfast, 4 ice creams appeared at the table! The kind deeds were now back to us to pass along!

A few days after returning home another amazing thing happened - an adorable fairy house magically appeared on a tree in our front yard! Complete with mushrooms, a door and an adorable sign. The kids couldn't believe it, and it turns out at least one other family received a similar fairy house surprise! We still have no idea who did this, but whoever it is must be having fun because on Halloween a tiny red wagon and a ghost appeared at the fairy house! The wagon stayed, but the ghost disappeared on Nov 1!

Discovering this was pure magic!
We decided it was our turn to do something nice, and Caleb thought that surprising our neighbours by placing pumpkins on their doorsteps would be a perfect next move. We loaded up our trunk with 6 pumpkins and sneakily dropped them off at different homes around town. So fun! The boys are now thinking of our next act and I can't wait to see what they come up with. I love how a small act have have such a huge impact!

And now - it's a photo-extravaganza!

We've had lots of visitors the past month - so fun to have my parents visit. Odin was clearly excited

Odin's first self portrait!

We built a water wall for kids zone!
Kids zone is coming along really well - the playhouse is now full of pots and pans and has an official name 'Three Joes Cafe' in honour of Odie's 3 imaginary friends! Thanks to Greggy for making the wonderful sign!


Cuddling in matching pjs
All curled up!
And finally, a truly amazing Remembrance Day poem that Caleb wrote at school. I thought maybe the class was given a poem template to work with, but apparently this all came from Cale. He said his poem was much longer than the rest of the student's poems!


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Fall roundup!


Hi dear family and friends,

 Sorry it has been awhile since my last post. Honestly, I've been busy and all my spare time these days seems to be devoted to my beachcombing obsession! But today, I'm waiting while Caleb is at his piano practice and the tide is too high for a beach walk, so the blog I've been thinking of for weeks can finally be written!

Apple picking!
Here's what's been happening in our lives! First off, Thanksgiving. It was a quiet weekend for us, we all had colds so we just stayed close to home. We did a 1000 piece puzzle, watched some movies (Disney Tarzan and Swiss Family Robinson), did a lot of cooking and organizing the house and playing outside in our wonderful play house that Alan built for the boys.


I must say that organizing the house felt wonderful. I've really been appreciating how incredible it feels to live in one place for more than a year! I feel like we've had many houses over the years, but this is truly our first home. I love having the time to rearrange things, to really make things our own, to decorate and just be in our wonderful space. I'm so thankful to not have to think about packing, unpacking, storing tons of moving boxes or getting rid of things in anticipation of an upcoming move!

Playhouse/Mud cafe!
I'm also very thankful of course, for the three boys in my life. It's been great to have Alan home these past couple of weeks. He's off again soon on a cross-Canada tour for a month, so we've been enjoying family time as much as we can. Caleb is as wonderful as ever. He is so funny, creative, musical, thoughtful and becoming more athletic and brave all the time. He loves climbing trees, swining from monkey bars, playing soccer, swimming, painting, creating amazing lego structures, playing Harry Potter with Odin and learning as much as he can about everything he can. He also has been spending tons of time on our keyboard, patiently listening to the demo version if songs and learning them note by note. He's mastered Down by the Riverside and Killing Me Softly so far!

Odin is hilarious. He is still completely consumed with his imaginary friends - the 3 Joe's, their mom So-So, their grandmother Cho-cho, and numerous other relatives and family pets. The Joe's live at mostly at a hotel in California, but they visit us a lot and stay for sleepovers quite often. They are a daily part of our lives and often pop up in situations that make me laugh out loud. The other night I was walking through a parking lot with Odin and he said to me 'I don't need to hold your hand, mom, I'm just going to hold Joe's hand.' I also received a hilarious text from Alan one night when I was away in Halifax. He said that he was playing hide and go seek with the Joe's and he was having a tough time finding them (they were hiding in his desk drawer!)! Another time, Odin was pestering me for a granola bar, as he often does, and I told him he had to wait until after supper. He immediately said 'Oh, sorry mom, but Joe is the boss of granola bars'. I had to have a little talk with Joe! Caleb is actually working on a musical about the Joe's...video to come, I hope!!

Here are some pictures of our latest adventures!

Airplane ride

Camping curls at Keji National Park
Lego party with Coral

Corn maze!
We did manage to finally launch Cale's rocket kit that was an amazing gift from Greg. The launch did not disappoint! The rocket went at least 300 ft with the test motor, and more like 700 feet with the larger motor. It was so fun for all of us to watch, and we can't wait to invite some friends to witness our next launch!

Tractor fun at Noggins Farm


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

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.