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!



February 5, 2011

Last night was a milestone for our family that I some times thought would never happen!  D’Arcy defended his Thesis and has now completed all the requirements for his Masters of Education (Administration).


Forgive me my excitement, but he started this program back in 2006 when I was on bed-rest; pregnant with Olivia.

It feels like a lifetime ago.

(This program has encompassed almost a third of our marriage!)

To say I am proud of him is an understatement.

When he found out that yesterday was the date to defend, he asked if I would accompany him.  I immediately called my parents and they offered to take the kids to their house for a sleepover so that I could go.

The timing of yesterday wasn’t the best, as his students wrote their last exam on Monday and he had to turn in his end-of-semester marks on Tuesday.  Luckily, he had “storm days” when school was canceled on both Wednesday & Thursday so he was able to get some work done.  (Not so much on Wednesday when I still had school so he was home with the four kids!)  Nonetheless, he got his power point presentation designed and ready.

I taught yesterday morning, then left straight after class so that we could head to the University.  I drove while D’Arcy practiced and I have to admit, I was really nervous for him.  His presentation in the car was awful!

We got to the university with just under an hour until the time of his Defense.  We met up with his advisor and the dreaded APA woman.  (At the third reading of his Thesis, it was discovered that he had improperly cited some of his references, so he had to go back through his entire paper (123 pages) and fix all his references so the paper would not be considered to be plagiarized.  This involved getting copies of all the books, journals, etc. and going back through them all – hence the “dreaded APA woman”!)  It was the first time he had met her in person and she actually turned out to be very lovely and supportive!

Because the third reader and external reader were in Ontario, D’Arcy presented his Thesis through Elluminate.  There were eleven people present in total, either in the room or through the computer.

I was able to snap a photo with my phone before it started:

He began at 4:00 and spoke for 40 minutes about his work.  Then his advisors/readers/audience asked him questions for another hour-and-a-half.  (The presentation and the first 45 minutes of questioning were really interesting!)  It was enlightening for me to be in the room.  My husband is SMART.  Not that I didn’t know that, but listening to him talk to me and listening to him present in that situation – there’s a difference.  I hung onto every word.

Finally, his advisor shut the questioning down and told the audience to leave the room.  She looked at me and nodded; at that point I realized I was considered part of the audience.  When we all were outside the room, D’Arcy was speaking to some of the other faculty and I called the restaurant where we had 6:30 reservations to tell them we would be late.

Everyone else left, with the exception of his two advisors and the two readers on Elluminate.  We were invited back in and one of his advisors shook his hand and said, “Let me be the first to congratulate you for earning your Masters of Education!”  His other advisor went on to explain that there were very few changes needed; just some spelling/typographical errors.  “Very Minor”  we were told.

In fact, we learned that he had earned a “Category A” rating which is the highest rating you can get.  The written comment:

“This thesis is very well written.  The purpose of the study is clear and the research questions are clearly outlined.  The student did a great job using mixed methods and using appropriate statistical analysis tools.  The data analysis is complete and a comprehensive description of the findings is provided. Implications for the study and relevant further areas of research are provided.  Congratulations for a job well done!”

When it was over, D’Arcy called the kids to tell them it was over.  The best reaction was when Sarah asked, “So you mean you did it? You defeated your thesis?”

Yes Sarah, Daddy certainly did defeat his thesis!

We invited D’Arcy’s advisor to join us for a small celebration, but she declined, telling us to go out and enjoy our evening alone together; she wants to put a celebration on for D’Arcy at graduation.

I now am starting to plan the graduation party in the back of my mind.  It is so hard to imagine that this is finally over.  I started my Diploma in Adult Education last semester and expect to take at least two years to complete the program.  D’Arcy’s advisor made a comment about building on his thesis for his Doctorate and I was quick to tell her – not for quite some time! It’s my turn right now!

We went out for dinner to celebrate and had a wonderful time.  It was as if a weight had been lifted off our shoulders!

We’ve marked May 1st on our calendars!!  It’s going to be a big day!!

Family Literacy Day

January 27, 2010

Today is Family Literacy Day.  How appropriate that today was also the day that Sarah registered for Primary.


Where did the time go?

When the school had called with the appointment, I was feeling a bit nostalgic and wasn’t sure I was ready to send her to school.  However, she is very ready.  We have registered her for French Immersion which we didn’t do for the boys.  At that time, we would have had to commit to driving them to school each day and running a B&B, I just couldn’t commit to getting them there on time in the mornings.  Now, then program is located at their home school, so the decision was easy.

I waited in the hall, talking to Auntie Kay and Neil (who will be in her class) while Sarah had a visit with Mme. A.  She was a little bit worried that she wouldn’t know everything, but came out smiling.

I had a Tourism Board Meeting in Halifax, so kissed Sarah goodbye and sent her to preschool with Auntie Kay.  (But not before getting a photo of Sarah & Neil in front of the school together!)

I had a great meeting and actually passed D’Arcy & his carpool on the highway on my way home, so arrived just as he did.  When I walked in the door, my father was sitting on the couch in our family room, surrounded by many children.  They were reading a Curious George counting book; my mother had gone to their house to get some of the food for our “Family Literacy Day” Celebration.

I don’t remember which year this tradition started, but we’ve celebrated it for quite a while now.  Our celebration always involves food, family & books.  Does life get better than that?  This year, we had celebrated at our house because we have two rooms of guests and didn’t want to leave them.  The books we received were:

Olivia: “The Big Green Book of Beginner Books”, Dr. Seuss

Sarah:  “The Quilt Makers Gift”, Jeff Brumbeau & Gail de Marcken

Evan:  “The 39 Clues Series – Beyond the Grave”, Jude Watson

Alex:  “A Good Night for Ghosts” (Magic Tree House Series), Mary Pope Osborne

Anne:  “A Week from Sunday”, Dorothy Garlock

D’Arcy:  “Teachers Touch Lives”, Hallmark

Ginna & Beanah (share):  “Selected Stories”, Alice Monroe

We got a few photos of the celebration, and of course, Alex got it all on video(just  in case you’d ever like to listen to me “I Wish That I Had Duck Feet” to my children!)  (One of my favorites as a child!!)

The poster Sarah made

Casual supper

All family events are now being well documented...

Sarah & Beanah

Reading "I Wish That I Had Duck Feet"

Everyone's books were a hit this year!

My favorite kind of gift - a new book!

A family who reads together stays together...

Back to School

January 4, 2010

I always feel a sense of let down on the first day back to school after a break.  I’m one of those people who loves to have my flock around me, and this break was better than most.  I We didn’t over commit ourselves for a change, and with the kids all getting older and less dependent, life seemed to roll along smoothly.

We spent most of the two weeks off together as a family.  The boys each were able to have friends here for sleepovers on two different nights and Chloe had a sleepover with Sarah on New Year’s Eve.  One of the biggest treats for all of them was that all four slept in guest rooms on January 2nd – Evan in one, Alex in another, and Sarah & Olivia in the third.  They love to play “guest” and cart their keys around!

We were lucky to get in some visits with some of our very dearest friends, as well.  Sandy, Dave & Nate were home from NL; Kim, JC & boys were home from Montreal; Theresa, Jeff and the boys stopped in from NB; Cynthia, Ken & the boys made it here from the Valley; and we had visits with the cousins down the street.

Making Christmas ornaments

Finally - a photo with the four 5 year olds!

Rock & Roll - watch out in another few years!!

Olivia & Nate playing "spaceship" in Grammie's pantry - just like their mothers used to do!

The kids LOVE this train!

A half-hearted hug from Jacob for his godmother


All this entertaining wears a girl out!

First skate on the rink - New Year's Day

Olivia, with a little help from Dad

A couple of falls and they were done!

This year, we were lucky enough to be able to celebrate Nate’s 3rd birthday with him and his family.  Back when we found out what dates they would be here, I offered to bake his cake.  Sandy & Dave asked him what kind of cake he’d like and he replied, “my head”.


As cakes go, it was actually not that difficult to accomplish and we were all pleased with the final result.  The whole family came down to our place for his party and Sandy & Dave ordered pizzas for all of us.  It was a wonderful afternoon!


Seeing his cake for the first time - I think he liked it!

"I'm Three!"

Beth & Clara

Sarah, drawing yet another picture for Dave

Sandy & Olivia

Aidan & Alex play Rock Band


Olivia, Nate & Quinn - the three 3-year-olds!

Happy Birthday to You!

Make a wish!

Let's play wii "airplane crash"

Olivia gets pretty competitive!

Dave makes himself at home amid the chaos!

Now everyone has gone home, and we’re back to our regular routine.

I don’t like it one bit!

Happy Happy!!

January 1, 2010

We’ve been having a wonderful Christmas break, spending much quality time with friends & family.   We rang in the New Year with some of our closest friends and their families, even a phone call from Janelle in Tennessee.  We imposed naps on the kids in the afternoon, so everyone was still awake at midnight!  It was fun and when the last person leaves at noon the next day, you know it’s been a good party!

Nate, making a little fun on his own

Some of the kids had fun playing lego upstairs

Some did crafts...

while another group played board games

One in particular just floated around acting goofy...

And the grown-ups got caught up

With five minutes to go, we all gathered in the living room to ring in 2010 together

Sandy, Dave & Nate


Mira & Suzana

Martha, Stephane & Chloe

Kim & Jean Claude

At midnight, we passed around the bubbly

...and there was lots of kissing!!

The Lord(s) of the Rings

December 5, 2009

Because Martha had been teaching and then had Parent-Teacher on Thursday when the boys got their X-Rings, we agreed to get together here on Friday to celebrate.  Just before I was heading out the door to go curling, Martha called and asked if we’d be up for lobsters if Stephane could find the truck.   Who would say no to that?  I pulled a package of puffed pastry out of the freezer to thaw and was out the door.

When I arrived home from curling, Martha & Stephane had just arrived and D’Arcy was upstairs putting the kids to bed.  Sarah & Olivia did come downstairs once for some hugs, but then went right back up to bed for the night.  We poured some drinks, put the salted water on the barbeque to boil and I wrapped some cheese, rosemary & port jelly in the puffed pastry and put it in the oven to bake before serving with crackers.

Stephane wanted to know if D’Arcy had truly been surprised and was amazed when D’Arcy told him that he’d had absolutely no clue!  I couldn’t have pulled it off without Martha & Stephane’s  help!

We talked about the Ceremony and laughed at how awful the guest speaker was.  The content of his speech was definitely geared to the younger graduates and not to the mature students or children or parents who might have been in attendance.  D’Arcy & Stephane knocked rings and the night was all-around fun!

We had seafood casserole & asparagus to start and then moved on to our lobsters.  Martha’s hands break out when she cracks open lobster, so Stephane opens hers for her.  Since he’s so fast at it, he started all four of them for us.  I appreciated not having lobster juice all over me!  I brought out the section of D’Arcy’s cake that said “RING” for dessert and we had champagne.

Not bad for an impromptu dinner!

The Lords of the Rings

The "Master" (of Education) at work!

Martha & Stephane

Seemed an appropriate dessert!

More knuckle bumping (we decided that was a more appropriate pose than holding hands!)

Lots of laughter!

Number Three

November 2, 2009

Yesterday was Olivia’s third birthday.  There are no babies here anymore!

Olivia names all of her babies “Hot Chocolate”, except for one she has named “Marshmallow”.  She has been asking for a “mug” cake for weeks now, and has specified that it should be orange.  We’ve talked it over, trying to make sure she knew what she was asking for; she never wavered!  I, of course, acquiesced, and made her cake a mug of “hot chocolate”, complete with marshmallows!  I had made an egg-free vanilla cake which I frosted with a chambord butter-cream icing and topped with fondant.  I added some peanut/nut/egg/soy free cocoa to the butter cream to make the “hot chocolate”.  It was YUMMY!

We went to church in the morning to see Alex perform with his boys’ choir for the first time and they were wonderful!  We sat with Martha, her mom & Tom, in the balcony.  That was a bit nerve-wracking, to say the least!  Olivia was enjoying jumping off the step towards the railing; at one point I was wondering if she’d make it to her fourth birthday!  Eventually, when the boys’ choir started singing, she did sit nicely in my lap and then we looked at books through the rest of the service.  The sermon was pretty heavy for little ones and made me appreciate our own church(s).  (If you want to know more about the sermon, just as D’Arcy what I’ll do if something ever happens to him…)

Olivia & Evan went home with my parents and we stopped to get some veggies before coming home.  When we got here, we frantically cleaned & cooked until D’Arcy had to go to a “half-hour” cub meeting that lasted close to two hours.  I was in quite a state by the time he got home, just before our guests were supposed to arrive!

We celebrated Olivia’s big day by inviting my parents, Bert & Lugene & Fernando for supper.  (We invited Auntie Ruth too, but she’s sick with a cold and didn’t want to pass it along.)  We had a pork roast, roasted potatoes, squash, and broccoli & cauliflower.  I had also made rolls, and the pork was marinated in a cranberry balsamic vinegar with rosemary sauce.    I was thrilled when Theresa surprised us by showing  up at the door in time for cake! I tried to convince her to stay the night, but she had to continue on to the city.

Olivia ended up falling asleep in my lap after she’d had her cake and opened her gifts and the other three went up to bed while we were still sitting at the table.  Evan’s belly was sore and he was stressed out about the thought of going to school this week.  Many hands made light work and we ended up getting the food & dishes cleaned up in no time.

D’Arcy’s birthday is the end of this month and then birthday season will be over again until next summer – phew!


The orange mug of hot chocolate...


The birthday girl with Ginna


Alex, playing host


Three years old!


D'Arcy & Fernando



Cake Time!


Olivia with her godparents


Olivia with Theresa