A Pile of S*$T

July 6, 2010

Tonight I became the crazy lady who lives on the corner.

As our organic farmers were here delivering their produce, I stepped outside to say hello, only to find two teenagers – who looked like either siblings or maybe cousins – holding a yellow lab on a leash while she pooped on our lawn.

Not put out since we’d also had dogs, I made eye contact with the male of the pair and started towards our guests.

It was then that I noticed the pair leaving with the dog and heading down the street.

My blood boiled.

Seriously?

The kids were across the street and half way down the block as I flew across our lawn and shouted:  “Hey!”

“Do you need a bag to pick your dog’s poop up off my lawn – WAIT!  I’ll get you one!”

Luckily Jamey, our organic farmer came to the rescue with a bag.

To give them credit, the kids came back – although they wouldn’t tell me their names.

“The dog only peed” the boy told me.

“That pile of poop doesn’t look like pee to me!” (And having four kids, I should know!)

He did clean it up and they hurriedly went on their way with the dog.

As I crossed the lawn to the others, I stated ironically that we can probably expect our house to be hit with eggs this Hallowe’en.  It was then the others reminded me that it will probably be worse than eggs!

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I know I’m behind…

June 28, 2010

This has been a dismal month for posts with all the end-of-year school activities, a thriving B&B, volunteer commitments,  four children, and a husband trying to finish his Master’s Thesis on a self-imposed timeline.  Tomorrow is the last day of school and I have stories and photos and all sorts of half-written posts I want to get caught up on.

In the meantime, last week our B&B won a “Best B&B” Award at the Chamber of Commerce Dinner!  We were honored! (And thrilled!)

With our B&B friends at the Chamber Awards Ceremony

See you soon!

So when I went up to bed on Saturday night, the I discovered the following sight:

Yes, Sarah has four (4) pair of "Dora" panties on her head and yes, I will be keeping this photo to be brought out for future boyfriends...

I took them all off her sweaty head one at a time and was reminded of a story back from the first year we had the B&B and the boys would have been similar ages (just slightly younger) than this.

That summer, we had a couple from England drop-in late afternoon one day.  Anyone with children would realize that late afternoon leading into the supper hour is the absolute worst time of day for children…  However, I did manage to keep the boys “hidden away” throughout the check-in process.  The couple who were registering were an older couple and very prim and proper.  They raised their eyebrows and looked down their noses at me when I said something about our children.

“Oh!  You have children.”

Silence.

I assured them that the children lived in a different part of the house than the guest areas and that we would make sure that they didn’t disturb them during their stay.

The boys were very well-behaved and did keep out-of-the-way.  The guests lightened up considerably the next morning and were commenting as they checked-out on the fact that they really wouldn’t have known that there were children in the home if I hadn’t said so.

Perhaps Alex had a feel for comedic timing even back then, because at that exact moment, the swinging door from kitchen flew open and into the hall – in front of all of us – ran these two giggling naked boys – with the exception of the underwear hats they were wearing on their heads!!

I guess this underwear-on-the-head thing must be a family trait…

My funny Valentines

February 15, 2010

We had a very busy weekend here with two successful chef’s nights at the B&B.  My parents took the kids to their house for the weekend.  This makes it easier for us to get the furniture re-arranged and the clean-up done, as well as ensuring a quiet, romantic childless evening for the guests.  We celebrated Valentine’s Day with the kids Friday night, while waiting for the Opening Ceremonies of the Vancouver 2010 Olympics to begin at 10:00 our time.

After supper, we sat around the kitchen table, writing our love notes to one another.  Olivia was a bit beyond at that point and probably should have gone to bed, but she danced around and drew some pictures on her notes.   I’m sure it was well over an hour before we had written them all, and Sarah asked for help writing a few of hers, but did most herself.  (She has “I love you” down pat!)  We then went to work “hiding” them.  Since we had guests, we told the kids they could only hide them in the kitchen or the tv room since we didn’t want a whole lot of running around.

The yellow tulip is for Olivia and the pink heart is for Sarah.

Some "hidden" valentines - again for the girls.

My Valentine!

Just like Hallowe'en candy - they sorted & resorted and read over and over

The game was a bit above Olivia - she just wanted her cupcake!!

Ready for the Vancouver 2010 Opening Ceremonies! Go Canada!

I was really impressed with some of the different ideas they came up with.  When we had found them all, we sat in front of the fire and read them out loud to one another while eating our cupcakes.   *Original spellings included

For Olivia:

  • I love you because your cute. (Alex)
  • I love you because I think your awesome (Alex)
  • I love you because you are so silly. (Mom)
  • I love you because you can sing Jingle Bells fantabulously! (Evan)
  • I love you because you are so expressive. (Mom)
  • I love you because you help me bake. (Dad)
  • I love you because you always do silly things. (Sarah)
  • I love you because you love to sing “Jingle Bells”. (Mom)
  • I love you because you open me to a whole new world of food. (Evan)
  • Even though you sometimes act like a monster I still (heart) you. (Alex)
  • I love you because you are smart.  Always.  (Dad)
  • I love you because you are my baby.  (Mom)
  • I (heart) you because your you. (Alex)
  • I love you because you’re a big turkey! (Evan)
  • I love you because your silly and you make me laugh! (Sarah)
  • I love you because you help Mom. (Dad)
  • I love you because you’re so cuddly. (Mom)
  • I love you because you guide me to do stuff! (Evan)
  • I love you because you stick the dishcloth in your cup! (Sarah)
  • I (heart) you because your funny and make me laugh. (Alex)
  • I love you because you love to play. (Dad)
  • I love you because you’re my daughter. (Dad)

For Sarah:

  • I (heart) you because you play fun games with me. (Alex)
  • I love you because you give me hugs. (Dad)
  • I love you because you draw great pictures. (Evan)
  • I love you because you’re such a great dancer! (Mom)
  • I love you because you are you. (Dad)
  • I love you because you’re my daughter and we paint our (toe)nails together. (Mom)
  • Even though your bad to me sometimes I still (heart) you. (Alex)
  • I love you because you love me. (Evan)
  • I (heart) you because your very kind. (Alex)
  • I love you because you help me bake. (Dad)
  • I love you because you have a great wardrobe. (Evan)
  • I love you because you are so smart and love to read to me. (Mom)
  • I (heart) you because your an awesome reader. (Alex)
  • I love you because you have a great sense of style. (Mom)
  • I love you because you teach me how to dance. (Evan)
  • I love you because you tell good jokes. (Dad)
  • I love you because you give great hugs and are a fun person. (Mom)
  • I love you because you teach me. (Dad)
  • I (heart) you because your pretty. (Alex)
  • I love you because you’re silly and you make me laugh! (Evan)

For Alex:

  • I love you because you play games with me (Evan)
  • I love you because you help me at Cubs (Dad)
  • I love you because sometimes you get me things that are high. (Sarah)
  • I love you because you wake me up. (Dad)
  • I love you because you are silly. (Sarah)
  • I love you because your a cool brother. (Evan)
  • I love you because you tell corny & funny jokes! (Mom)
  • I love you because your a great roomate! (Evan)
  • I love you because sometimes you help me.  Love, Sarah
  • I love you because you help me. (Sarah)
  • I love you because you help your family. (Dad)
  • I love you because you are so kind. (Mom)
  • I love you because I love. (Sarah)
  • I love you because you are always making me feel so proud and people telly me how special you are! (Mom)
  • I love you because you tell funny stories. (Dad)
  • I love you because you make me cry when I hear you sing! (Mom)
  • I love you because you share a lot. (Evan)
  • I love to watch you sing. (Dad)
  • I love you because you are such a hard worker and I can always count on you to help out!
  • I love you because you are silly and you make me laugh. (Evan)

For Evan:

  • I  love you because you were my first baby. (Mom)
  • I love you because you help me get my bike. (Sarah)
  • I love you because you love me. (Dad)
  • I love you because you are so mature and thoughtful. (Mom)
  • I (heart) you because your you. (Alex)
  • I love you because you play music. (Dad)
  • I (heart) you because your smart. (Alex)
  • I love you because you are adventurous and love travel. (Mom)
  • I love you because you help your family. (Dad)
  • I love you because you help me. (Sarah)
  • I love you because you make good decisions. (Dad)
  • I love you because you help me fix things. (Sarah)
  • I love you because you’re an athlete and I got to see your 1st home-run! (Mom)
  • Even though your mean to me I still (heart) you. (Alex)
  • I love you because you turn on the light. (Sarah)
  • I love to watch you play sports and tell stories. (Dad)
  • I love you because you are really funny! (Mom)
  • I love you because of your looks – false advertising – kidding (Alex)
  • I love you because you are patient. (Dad)
  • I (heart) you because you let me read your books. (Alex)

For Me:

  • I love you because you are smart and are my best friend. (D)
  • I (heart) you because you can keep secrets unlike me. (Alex)
  • I (heart) you because you pack awesome lunches. (Alex)
  • I love you because you set up this whole tradition. (Evan)
  • I love you more and more each day. (D)
  • I love you because you believe in sleeping in! (Evan)
  • I (heart) you because your you. (Alex)
  • I love you because you are patient and do not ask me to leave if I fall asleep. (D)
  • I love you because you take care of us all. (D)
  • I love you because you chose to be a B&B owner so I can meet new people! (Evan)
  • I love you because you are (one hot) great mother to our kids. (D)
  • I love you because you are so beautiful. (D)
  • I love you because you are the best mother. (Sarah)
  • I love you because you don’t mind if I look at your feet when we dance. (D)
  • I love you because you asked “Where’s the pretty baby?” in the OR with me! (Evan)
  • I love you because you help me A LOT! (Evan)
  • I (heart) you because you help me with my homework. (Alex)
  • I love you because you plan awesome trips for all of us. (D)
  • I (heart) you because you come up with grate games. (Alex)

For D’Arcy:

  • I (heart) you because you make grate rinks (Alex)
  • I (heart) because I just do. (Alex)
  • I love you because you drive me to school when I oversleep. (Evan)
  • I love you because you wiggle a lot (Sarah)
  • I love you because you’re usually good natured when I interrupt your stories! (M)
  • I love you because you put together the bunk beds. (Sarah)
  • I love you because you make up great songs! (Evan)
  • I love you because you put your hand on my back when we’re out together. (M)
  • I love you because you practice baseball with me! (Evan)
  • I love you because you hold me. (Sarah)
  • I love you because you’re my best friend.  You support me in so many ways. (M)
  • I love you because you make a really cool skating rink. (Evan)
  • I (heart) you because you make great food. (Alex)
  • I love you because you still make my heart beat faster. (M)
  • I love you because you make super awesome muffins. (Evan)
  • Even though you can’t play because of your stupid thesis I still love you. (Alex)
  • I love you because you get up first and make the coffee, giving me a few more minutes… (M)
  • I love you because I didn’t have enough papers to tell you all the reasons I love you! (M)

It was a wonderful activity and the kids really enjoyed participating.  I found it fun to see each of their personalities come through in the patterns of the various comments.  Many of mine from D’Arcy were inside jokes.  After we had read them all out loud, it was decided that we will all keep them in a safe place and whenever we are feeling sad or lonely, we can read them and remember that our family loves us.

Olivia fell asleep on the couch, just as the Olympic Opening Ceremonies were beginning and Sarah kept tossing and turning in her spot.  Finally, I asked her if she wanted to go upstairs, so she went to bed & right to sleep.  Alex was next to doze off, in the chair.  We were all tired, so I asked Evan if he wanted to go up and watch it from the futon in our room where he could stay if he fell asleep.  We all went upstairs happily and fell asleep with about an hour to go…  Olivia did wake me to take her to the bathroom just in time for me to get back into bed as they were raising the flag, taking the oath and then lighting the Flame.

As proud as I felt, watching the Ceremony, I was extremely disappointed in the pre-ceremony coverage.  We ended up turning the television off twice during the pre-show:  when during the early evening, CTV showed one party in Whistler with girls doing shooters, a bunch of young-adults in a hot-tub, and two guys racing to see how fast they could get undressed!  (We turned it off at that point so don’t know what else they showed! Even Evan commented how inappropriate it was!)  I also was sickened that while reporting the news of the death of the Luge athlete, they played the clip of his run, the crash, and the aftermath over & over.  The kids especially didn’t need that visual and I felt it was disrespectful.

All in all, it was a wonderful night, and one that we (and they) will remember as the kids get older.

Getting Organized

February 10, 2010

I have spent the past few days at the computer and boy are my back & shoulders feeling it!  My Inbox was up over 2500 old messages, so I’ve deleted & organized enough that I only have 725 left to go through.  An awful, tedious task – how long did I feel I needed to keep confirmations of those old reservations anyway?

In the meantime, I’m trying to develop a website for my high school reunion.  We’ve finally set up the bank account, a pay-pal account and most of the major pieces are in place.  I’m just trying to figure out how to set up an online registration form and hopefully we’ll be good to start taking registrations later this week.  It sounds like it’s really going to be  a fun event with a wine & cheese, a run, picnic in the park, family swim, reduced golf fees, topped of with a big party!  We’ll be closing out that weekend to regular guests, and we’ve already had friends put in requests for rooms.  I’m starting to get really excited to see everyone again!!

Being involved with the Marketing of the  Bed & Breakfast Association, I’ve been trying to figure out “Twitter”.  I understand and “get it” that it’s a conversation, but am still trying to figure out all the symbols of how it works…  I seem to be finally catching on because it is now taking up much less of my time, and I’ve seen traffic come to both the association’s website & our own website as a result!  This is a new world we’re living in!!

We have our big Valentine’s Dinner coming up this weekend so I’ve got to get the house organized for that.  Each year, Dan (a chef we used to work with), comes in and puts on a 5-course meal.  We’re offering it on two nights this year to spread it out.  Most of the other “date” restaurants in town are closed on Valentine’s Day this year – not really sure what they’re thinking,  but it works out well for us – we booked two more tables yesterday!   The kids are excited to go spend the weekend with their grandparents!

In organizing one of our bookcases, I found the two missing library books!!  Phew!  The “Maisie” valentine’s haven’t turned up yet, despite the fact we have bought and filled out “Dora” replacements.  I was sure that once we bought new ones, they would show up!

Bit by bit, everything is getting caught up.  I wonder if there will ever come a time when everything is caught up  and doesn’t get undone again right away?

Probably not until the kids move out…

Goals

January 7, 2010

I’m not so much into New Year’s Resolutions as such, but with the start of the new year and after a week in the house by ourselves, I feel like I’m getting caught up and organized enough to make a few goals for 2010.

Personal:

  • Run the 10k Race at the Bluenose Marathon
  • Run the 5k at the Not-Since-Moses Run
  • Help to organize and pull-off a well attended and fun 20th High School Reunion
  • Keep track of every book I read this year
  • Go outside more
  • Limit computer time to when the kids are at school or asleep
  • Teach my children by example and lead a healthy lifestyle – exercise, adequate sleep and everything in moderation

Family:

  • Clean & organize the basement so that the kids can have friends over even when we have guests
  • Organize a fun summer vacation that the kids will remember (somewhere new)
  • Reinstate pizza & games night (on Saturday instead of Fridays so we’re not so tired)
  • Raise money & run the NS Lung Run 5k as a family
  • Reintroduce monthly meal-planning with at least one fish, vegetarian and soup meal each week
  • Keep children entertained so that D’Arcy can spend quality time getting his Thesis finished and then graduate in May!

Business:

  • Create fun & interesting packages for guests, experience based
  • Keep on top of registrations & paperwork so that I don’t have to spend a full day at the end of each month/quarter getting caught up
  • Continue to encourage other tourism properties to look at the Industry as a whole to benefit us all
  • Organize an outline to keep B&B blog, website & Facebook page current
  • Continue to promote local food & wines to guests
  • Encourage guests to write reviews on Trip Advisor & BBCanada

Last night, D’Arcy & I capped off an amazing few days at the Tourism Summit by attending the Crystal Awards of Excellence & Gala Dinner.  It was wonderful!  It’s so much fun to watch the various tourism operators or workers be recognized.  The food was delicious as usual, and the Celtic Tenors provided the entertainment.  They were fantastic!  I am so proud to be part of that organization!

There were nine major awards given out and three Pineapple awards which are given to people who go above & beyond.  I especially loved the story of Seamus Ryan, who won a Pineapple Award for going above & beyond in his job. He was nominated by his employer, Scanway Catering, after he saved the day at a wedding reception.  The bride & groom (being married at a remote location in Cape Breton, far away from Scanway’s operation in Halifax) had decided on make-your-own strawberry shortcake rather than a traditional wedding cake, but when the catering staff opened the bucket of what they thought were the strawberries, they found strawberry preserves instead.  Seamus set off to buy strawberries, but all the stores were sold out!  Finally, he came upon a u-pick and started offering money to people to buy their strawberries.  When he realized he still didn’t have enough, he rolled up his sleeves and started picking berries himself!  He made it back to the wedding with less than an hour to spare and the bride & groom were none the wiser!  Seamus summed it all up when he said in his acceptance speech, “Nova Scotians know hospitality because we practice it in our own homes.”

After two-and-a-half days of constant information, it’s fun to kick up our heels & celebrate.  We were honoured to sit at a table with Dick Lemon, who we had nominated for the Tourism Innovator Award.  (He WON!!)  Dick is the man behind the Not Since Moses race that the kids participated in on the first day of summer vacation this year.

The dinner was over about ten and then there was a dessert bar.  Although it was a school night, we did go out with some of the other Board members for a nightcap before going back to the hotel.

I’m looking forward to next year already!