Tuesday, January 30, 2018

8

Gift from dad - he's all set up in his room to jam, and he's already got his first chords down to go along with his first blister! 
Caleb is 8, and there is much to celebrate about this wonderful boy who fills our life with joy and new discoveries each day! We invited 15 kids to our place for a bday party this weekend. We hosted an epic paper airplane making competition with awards for best decorated, best design, best distance flyer, best trick flyer and best overall flyer! The kids worked for a long time on their planes, then we set up some bristol board targets for the kids to take turns aiming at. This turned out to be a great way to keep everyone engaged and our house relatively intact during the party! We then surprised Cale with an amazing Harry Potter cake made by a friend of mine. He was very impressed, and the cake was delicious!

Our Fiesta sombrero is now a staple for all of our family parties!

Cake goals!

My friend even added a few owl cupcakes to the order!

Airplane target practice
Caleb's actual bday was on Monday, so as has become our annual tradition, we all take the day off to spend a family fun day together. We were hoping to go skiing at Martock, but I've been down and out with a flu for the past 12 days, so I really didn't have the energy to hit the slopes for the first time in 20+ years! We ended up playing board games, figuring out the cool microscope Grammie and Grampie gave Caleb as a present, and cuddling/snacking/relaxing all day. I love how our family has 3 winter birthdays to give us a reason to celebrate and to help break up the long,cold season.

Caleb is truly a wonderul kid. He is kind, smart, funny, introspective, caring, artistic, innovative and still wonderfully loving and cuddly. Here's one little story to show what a great little person he is becoming - I was recently telling Caleb about a new committee forming that will be working to bring a new refugee family to Annapolis Royal. He was so excited and was asking all about it, but then his faced dropped when he realized that I would be joining the committee, not him! I checked in with the committee organizers and asked if they would be ok with having a jr member, and they enthusiastically said yes! So now Caleb and I are on our first committee together and I can't wait to get started working with him!!

After years of preferring to play mostly on his own, he now has many good friends and is becoming more social all the time. His number one fan is his little brother. Odin thinks Caleb is hilarious, not to mention Big and Strong!! Each day after I pick the boys up, I ask how their day was a school Odin, without fail, will tell me that he got to sit beside Caleb at snack time! That is seriously his highlight every single day! Caleb is such a great big brother and I'm so thankful that he is kind and patient with his very strong-willed little bro.

Caleb was too busy playing guitar with his dad in his room to do an interview this year, but he did answer a couple of quick questions for me:

What would you do if you had 1 million dollars? Donate it to save animals and save some for food and other stuff!

What do you like about living in Annapolis Royal? All the people are so friendly!

Where is your favourite place in the world? Mexico

What do you want to be when you grow up? Pop star (still holding on to this dream!)

What's your favourite color? Any neon colour - bright pink, orange, yellow, green, blue!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Holiday recap

All dressed up for a family Christmas dinner at Kings Landing!
Wow, what a special Christmas vacation we had this year. We had a house full of singing, baking, decorating and excitement for a week. We had friends over on Christmas Eve, then spent a magical next few days storm-stayed at home, playing with all of the kids' amazing new gifts by the fire. Legos, magnetiles, puzzles, board games, monster trucks and even a skid steer - the one thing that Odin had asked for.

It was so nice to spend a weekend celebrating with family in Fredericton before Christmas. Here Uncle Roland and elf Odie are looking particularly festive!
Someone was a bit excited on Christmas Eve!
We did our annual 'Christmas cookies for neighbours' on the 23rd. To our great surprise, one of our neighbours was anticipating our visit and had these two amazing nutcrackers waiting by the door for the boys! These were two of the best presents we received.

Wild haired Odin and his prized Skid Steer from Santa on Christmas morning. 
MEXICO

After a few days of relaxing together, we jumped in the car and headed to the Halifax airport for a weeklong trip to Tulum, Mexico with my parents and my brother's family. We couldn't have asked for a better week to get away, or a better destination. The resort was beautiful with great food and lots of activities for us all. We spent our days playing on the beach, swimming in the waves, paddle-boarding, kayaing, snorkeling, eating at amazing buffets and restaurants and drinking daquiris in the sun. We all loved the Mexican culture and the many iguana, gecko and coati sightings. Odin loved the airplane and driving up front in the many golf cart trolleys that would zip you around the resort. Caleb loved snorkeling, playing with his cousins, learning Spanish, souvenir shopping and the all-inclusive drinks! He was only a bit disappointed to learn that the gift shops were not all inclusive! We had many, many laughs and made so many wonderful family memories that we will all cherish. Here are a few photos:

Arriving at the airport in Cancun

Corona on the bus to our resort

Family selfie, featuring some new vacation shades!

The resort was very well decorated for the holidays

New Years Eve photo shoot!

All the ladies!
New Years decor

Sombrero twins!

Beach buddies - Cale and Ava didn't look up for hours. The kids all had a such a great time together. 

One of Caleb's souvenir purchases, with coatis in the background!

We left the resort a few times to check out some local sites. The Tulum ruins were a highlight of my trip!

Tulum ruins and that gorgeous turquoise sea 
Cousin love

Cousin love part 2

Thank you Mexico!!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

December is here



We've been packing on the Christmas cheer lately, beginning with a great visit with Grammie Maureen and aunt Teresa last weekend. I somehow didn't take any photos, but we decorated our Christmas tree, finished up a 1000 piece Christmas puzzle (thanks, Colleen!) and eagerly began our Playmobile advent calendar. This weekend we hit up an annual Christmas party and candy cane hunt at a friends house, made graham cracker gingerbread houses and played more games than I can count of 'pretend to sleep while Santa comes and brings you a gift'! Yes,  it's that time of year once again when the house is fully decorated, the baking has begun and we are very well refreshed on the lyrics to Rudolph.



In non-Christmas news, the boys (and the Joes) are all doing great. The Joe's now have an imaginary friend of their own, conveniently named Joey! Odin hilariously began playing a game called 'Privacy Truck' where he takes his favourite transport truck and offers to bring 'privacy' to anyone who needs it! He'll say, "Mom, do you need some privacy? If you do, I'll come right over with the privacy truck!" Ha!

The only thing Odin wants for Christmas is a skid steer. I honestly had no idea what a skid steer was until this summer when we were walking past a construction site near our house. They are renovating the old high school into 40 condo units, and Odin and his daycare class have been watching the progress very closely. One of the 'worker men' drives a skid steer and Odin thinks it's the coolest of all the incredibly cool construction vehicles out there. Here's hoping Santa knows what a skid steer is, too! Cale is hoping for a Lego NinjaGo set, a skate board, and some music stuff. He very recently started asking Alan for guitar lessons and he's got a couple of chords down to go along with his drum beats and piano skills. I love that we have never had to ask him to practice, he just seems to truly love it. He learns piano songs completely on his own (from the demos on his keyboard), and sings and drums the days away. It's so sweet. Caleb has also fallen in love with our brand new community climbing wall - we are so lucky to have this wonderful facility also located in the newly renovated condo building. They are offering kids nights, ladies nights and open community nights, so we are hoping to get there a lot over the winter.



Happy Holidays, everyone! I'll update again before and after the big day!

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!!