Sunday, April 8, 2018

Spring is here!

Marsh 'walk' with some mama friends! 
We've made it through another winter! And in Annapolis Royal, at least, it was a *fairly* easy winter to get through. We had very little snow, which meant less shoveling, but also less sliding, skating other fun outdoor winter activities. We did get some snow last week, so I made sure to get the boys to the Fort for our one and only sliding adventure of the winter. We have lots of other updates (I know it's been awhile since I've written a post) - so here it goes!

Sliding with friends
Parent-teacher night - It was a 'Student Led' session, so Caleb showed Odin and I all of the work he's been doing this year. My favourite was a weekly gratitude journal where they have been writing 3 things they are thankful for sine the beginning of the school year. Caleb had things like family, playhouse, electric guitar, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, food and friends. 

In late February, Odin went to the IWK to have tubes put in both ears. This procedure has been a long time coming, with years of ear infections, ear drum ruptures and hearing troubles. Since his ears were not properly draining, the doctor told us it is like he has had earplugs in all this time. We were really happy to finally have this corrected, and thankfully everything went smoothly and we've already we have noticed a big change in his hearing. It's wonderful to hear 'What??' a few less times each day!

Recovering. The nurses were quite amused that once he work up from his anesthetic, he asked immediately for a popsicle - not his mom! Haha. Sounds just about right!
 
We had another very successful Easter Eggstravaganza Event in Annapolis Royal. I volunteered to help with the planning of the event, which includes hiding 10,000 eggs  at the Fort, followed by crafts, Zumba and other free events at our local gym. Caleb revised his volunteer role of stealthily hiding extra eggs near kids who not found many yet. I saw him at the very beginning of the hunt, and didn't spot him again until almost everyone had left the Fort grounds. His once full bookbag was finally empty of eggs and he proudly said that only one parent caught him in the act!



After our big day in AR, we headed to meet up with Alan in Halifax. He's been working hard for the past few weeks at our Bayside home - painting and doing small repairs. Our last tenants have moved on, and we are switching from a long term rental property to a Air BNB/ Vacation rental. Its an exciting move for us, and hopefully with a beautiful oceanfront home on the route to Peggy's Cove, this will be a successful business model for us. It's been fun spending time again in Bayside. The boys love having a woods to explore and a bonfire pit in the backyard, and the view is truly spectacular. The house will be ready for bookings next week!!

Easter morning egg hunt in Bayside!

Forest bathing in our backyard woods

Following an evening bonfire, we were delighted to watch a full moon rise over the water in front of the house!!

Family visit to Peggy's Cove

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

February round up!

Look who can now reach the freezer door! He is very proud of himself, and we are only a little worried about an increase in our power bill!
February has come and gone, and Spring finally feels so, so close. I almost let the month slip by without a blog post! We already have crocuses coming up on our lawn and last week we set up our basketball net in the driveway. It felt very strange to be playing basketball outside instead of going sliding, but we are very thankful for the mild weather and lack of snow. We've had a good month overall, a few illnesses to get through, but  also several fun things to celebrate including Valentines Day and Alan's 35th birthday. I felt very loved when I read Odin's Valentines message to me - Surely other kids also wrote messages about their mother's buying them food!?!

The boys also spent a few action-packed days in Halifax with my dad while I was in meetings. They had a great time playing in the hotel pool, buying too much candy at the Freak Lunchbox, exploring various indoor and outdoor playgrounds and visiting the Natural History Museum. We came home to news that our friend's sheep had giving birth, so we had an adorable visit with a tiny lamb. A true mix of city and country living!

February has also been a huge month on the potty-training front. Odin is FINALLY out of diapers during the day and having very few accidents. This progress has been a long, long time coming, but as they say - you'll know when they are ready, and Odin is finally ready. We are now in the tricky parenting stage of taking him in the car and on outings with no diapers and trusting that he'll tell us when he needs to go. It's risky business, but there is no turning back at this point!

Caleb has also had a great month on the friendship front. For the first time, two different kids have called to ask if Caleb could come over to play after school! This is huge for Caleb, who has always had friends, but has never really had a best friend who would invite him over. He seems to be finding 'his people' that share his interests and who he can really relate to. It was so wonderful to see his huge smile after I told him about the play date invites. He is such a fun and special kid, it's great to know that others see it too.



New favourite winter head wear!

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!