March 11, 2014

First of all, if you have helped me get to Brazil in any way, such as; letting me collect your recyclables, buying things from my fundraisers, or any thing else that you can think of… I can’t thank you enough! Brazil has been a blast already and today is only our second full day here! I can’t wait to see what will else will happen over the rest of this wonderful adventure.

The total travel time was somewhere around 17 hours. Which was kind of boring but at the same time, was also really fun! The first thought in my head while landing in Brazil was, “WOW!” Because the city that we landed in (São Paulo) is the largest city in the Southern Hemisphere!!

After ten hours in the São Paulo airport we finally made our way to São Luíz with one quick stop in Brasilia. It was a great feeling to know that this would be the last plane that we would be on before starting our wondrous adventure!

So far we’ve gone to a barbecue, toured the school, and had an orientation at Viamundo which is the travel agency that is helping with our trip.

Once again thank you (Obrigado) to all that have helped me over the past few months to get me where I am now. I can’t wait to update you more as the trip goes.







Six Star Recognition

May 23, 2011

I’m working on a post about this year’s Bluenose Marathon, but it’s taking me awhile to get the photos together.

On Wednesday, Alex, Evan & D’Arcy went to the Beaver/Cub/Scout Banquet. It was a big night for Alex who moved up to cubs and was awarded the Six Star Plaque, something that is only given out when a cub has earned all six stars. At the banquet when it was given to him, Jon, who is head of the Group Committee, announced that in his 30 years of scouting it was the first time he had seen two brothers receive this plaque. (Evan earned it two years ago.) We are very proud of both of them!

Last week, D’Arcy& Alex participated in a learn-to-fish program with the Cubs & Scouts.  The first night was spent in a classroom, learning about fishing & safety, and the second night they all got to go to a nearby pond to try their luck.

By all accounts, they had a great time…

Alex had what some might call “beginner’s luck”…

He reeled it in, and with some help netting it…

Made what some people might consider the “catch of a lifetime”!

A FOUR POUND Rainbow Trout!

Most of the cubs & scouts had beginner’s luck!  Alex actually caught three fish in total, but gave his two smaller ones to my parents.

I think he’s “hooked” on fishing now!

We grilled his trout on the bbq at high heat, wrapped in foil and stuffed with slices of lemon, lime, orange & dill.  It was served with Basmati rice and spinach salad and was delicious!  It served six – with leftovers!

* D’Arcy didn’t catch anything…

Spelling Pro

February 8, 2011

Alex won the school spelling bee!

(We didn’t even know he was in it!)

Apparently, each class had its own spelling bee and the top three spellers from each grade four & five class (24 kids) got to compete in the school bee this afternoon in the gym.  From what we’ve been told, it came down to Alex (Gr.4) & his friend Brendan (Gr.5) who went back and forth.  Finally, Alex won!

We’re very excited!

Now, we will have to practice with him as he goes on to compete in Provincials in Halifax in March!

Evan is disappointed to be missing it, because he’ll be curling in Lunenburg that weekend.  Ironically, Evan is the one who always wanted to go to a spelling bee. but this is the first year they’ve had one at the elementary school…

It’s certainly been an exciting few days around here!



Tomorrow is June and I can’t wait to turn the page.  The past couple of weeks we have been busy running from one activity to the next, wrapping things up for the end of the school year and marking special occasions.  The June calendar page has far less on it than the past few months!

To-do lists have been long and sleep has been short.

I was in Digby at a tourism conference on Thursday & Friday.  It was beautiful & fun.  I was interviewed on camera about how the proposed new convention centre in Halifax would be beneficial for our business.  (1/3 of rooms in May were people traveling either pre or post convention!)  With many people feeling the outlook for tourism this year is going to be bleak, it was energizing to network and share ideas.

On Friday morning, I met up with the incoming Chair of the Board and we went for a morning run from the Digby Pines to the Ferry Terminal.  There was a beautiful rainbow over the water  and the sun had just come up.  What a way to start the day!

Morning Run from the Digby Pines to the Digby - Saint John Ferry Terminal

I arrived home just in time for D’Arcy to pull some reuben sandwiches out of the oven to go with a salad he & the boys had made for a late supper. (The girls were having a sleepover with my parents!) I immediately got started on the preparations for Alex’s First Communion Dinner. He had asked for spare ribs and I was making him a cake. I also had to make some cookies for Sarah’s dance recital celebration. Her grandmother let me know that she was wondering what her cookies would look like this year.  Apparently, I unknowingly started a new “tradition” last year after her first recital.

This year's ballerina cookies, to match Sarah's costume

Olivia came home first thing in the morning while Ginna took Sarah to her dress rehearsal in full costume and hair. We took Evan to his pick-up baseball game at the park, where there weren’t enough kids, so both D’Arcy & Alex ended up playing as well. Olivia & I ran errands and every time we went back to the park to check if they were finished, Olivia wanted to play on the playground. Evan was very pleased that he got three hits and Alex got two. Hopefully that’s a good sign that this season will go better than last!

We were expecting our guests to arrive for Alex’s First Communion Dinner at 3:30, so we got home and rushed around to get ready. D’Arcy was just finishing mopping the floors when my parents arrived with Auntie Ruth. Shortly afterwards, Theresa, Jeff (Alex’s godparents) and the boys arrived. We were a little bit rushed because we were trying to eat before Alex had to be at Mass at 5:30. Just as we sat down to supper, Grandma, Grandpa & Aunt Shannon arrived. We were happy to pull up a few more places and we all had a nice meal.

At one point, Sarah told me that she was kind of “scared” of Alex having his First Communion.  I reassured her that there was nothing to be afraid of when Evan interjected, “Unless Olivia goes into anaphylaxis and starts throwing up at Mass like she did at my First Communion!”

Um, right…

Luckily that didn’t happen this time!

The food and conversation were plentiful and the kids were all well-behaved at Mass.  We came back to the house afterwards for cake, cookies and photos.  Theresa, Jeff & the boys stayed overnight and we sat around watching the hockey game & talking (& laughing!) until after midnight.

Relaxing on the deck while the ribs were on the barbeque

All the Grade 3's after their First Communion

Alex with his godparents, Theresa & Jeff

Tyler, Aidan, Alex, Sarah, Olivia, Evan, Brendan

Our family

Alex with Aunt Shannon

Alex with both sets of grandparents & Auntie Ruth

Time for cake!

Sarah sees her ballerina cookies

Alex with his first watch - a gift from Theresa & Jeff!

On Sunday, we were all up shortly after seven and had breakfast before Theresa, Jeff & the boys had to hit the road for home and we had to get Sarah ready for her recital.

She had her make-up done at home, but then went to her grandparents’ to get her costume on and her hair done.  They took her to the auditorium so that we didn’t have to get there with the other kids too early.

Getting her make-up done for her dance recital. Sarah will rarely take her glasses off (even when she sleeps!) because she sees double and everything is blurry. It is amazing how straight her glasses keep her eyes!

Our beautiful ballerina!

With Katerina, her best friend

Visiting with her godparents at intermission

On the stage!

Chloe's group at the finale. Chloe is on the far left.

I love this one - Katerina is turned around talking to Sarah during the finale!

Sarah & Chloe

When we got home, Sarah carefully arranged her flowers in a vase and commented that her dinner guests would love her flowers.  When I told her we weren’t having any dinner guests this year because of Alex’s party the night before, her face fell.  A quick phone call later with her godparents and to the pizza place, a party was born!  It’s amazing what a pink table-cloth, candles, wine glasses and flowers can do to make a party!

This year's less-fancy-but-still-special-last-minute-ballet-dinner

And of course, the leftover ballerina cookies topped off the celebration!  I love these photos as she looks so pleased to be handing them out to Martha & Stephane!

I’m exhausted.  I just hope I don’t have to make dancers with kilts for her highland dance recital in two weeks!

It’s a GORGEOUS day in Halifax today.  In fact, the weather has never been so good for Bluenose Marathon weekend!

We’re just back to the hotel after watching Evan & Alex run the Doctors’ Nova Scotia 4.4km Youth Run.  They did great – Evan finished in about 18 minutes and Alex finished in about 23 minutes.  It was the first year that they were both able to run it non-stop.

A highlight of the morning was discovering that the girls are on last year’s Blue Nose Youth Run video!  You can watch it (they’re about 2 1/2 minutes in) while we go for a celebratory swim!

From the moment he was born, Alex has commanded attention – in a good way!  As a baby, he was always smiling and happy; as a toddler, he was demanding of attention over his less extroverted brother.  As a preschooler, he was known in many circles for his ability to tell jokes along with punch lines that were actually funny. (As opposed to Sarah’s current:  Knock knock!  Who’s there?  Owl.  Owl who?  Of course owls say who!)


When he was four, the church put on a musical of “Noah’s Ark” and he was so enthralled by hearing his own voice on the microphone, he sang a solo and a star was born!  He says that he never gets nervous when he’s on stage; he just sees all those people watching him, and it makes him feel happy.

This has been a big month, music-wise, for him.  It’s Music Festival month, so he’s been practicing hard.  The first week of the month, he performed twice during Musical Theatre week: once with a group of all the singers his age that take lessons from his teacher and once as a solo in the ten-and-under class.  He sang “The Baseball Game” from “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” and came second with a mark of 86 out of 12 kids.  (He was the only boy in each!)  There is some really tough competition in his age group and in discussions about the fact that there were so many good kids competing with him, his comment was that it was okay.  He likened it to the Olympics:  “When the athletes train with the others that are the best-in-the-world it encourages them to do their best”.  He also made the comment that he’s never, in his Music Festival career, received a yellow (third place) ribbon, so that would be okay too!

He’s old beyond his years sometimes…

Last week was spent with his boys’ choir.  We all went to Halifax last Friday night where his choir joined three other boys’ choirs for a concert.  It was beautiful – 120 boys in song together…  The other three choirs came to us for a concert on Saturday.  There were gym activities scheduled for all of them in the gym of the elementary school before they went to the church for rehearsal, supper (sandwiches & sweets which I was responsible for organizing), then a concert.  While I was organizing the food, D’Arcy came in to tell me that the Halifax bus had backed into our van at the school! (Long story short, it was the bus driver’s fault, so it will all be worked out quickly – that weekend should possibly be a post of its own!)

On Sunday, Alex auditioned for “Suessical”, being put on by a local summer spotlight theater program.  His choir director had suggested to him that he might be willing to make an age exception in Alex’s case because Alex is still nine and the program is for kids between 10 – 18.  We signed him up and he auditioned on Sunday afternoon with his musical theater piece.  I warned him that he might not make it because they had 55+ kids try out for a maximum of 30 spots and I reasoned that  he was so young, they might choose someone else.  Lo and behold, he made it!  He’s so excited!

This week, he had three voice solos.  He came 1st in the male 10 and under solo “Someday” on Monday (he was the only one in the class) with a mark of 86.  Yesterday was his Nova Scotia Folk Song, “The Sauerkraut Song”, in which he came 2nd with a mark of 87, and today he sang a Canadian Art Song, “Dragons”. Before he sang it, he told us that he was hoping to get a personal best.  I’m very much NOT a stage mother.  My parents keep Alex all week and practice with him since the adjudicators stay at the B&B; I only get to see him as he’s about to go on stage and this seems to work well for all of us.  I tell him “have fun!” and he’ll reply, “I’ll do my best!”  I was disappointed for him today when he sang because I’ve heard him sing “Dragons” much better than he did today many times.  It wasn’t bad, but he has sung it much better!  As it turned out, he won the class with a mark of 88.  The first thing he said to us as he came back to where we were sitting was, “I did it!  I beat my personal best!”

He’s so proud of himself tonight and we’re proud of him – especially for his attitude!!

The adjudicators checked out late this afternoon, so when we got home from the Festival I went to work cleaning their rooms.  I realized that Olivia had taken in lots at her three days in a row as a supported when she held up the Swiffer duster and announced, “My name is Olivia M and I’ll be singing a song about dusters!”

Perhaps we have another child destined for the stage…