A Day of (Mis)adventures

August 5, 2011

The boys & I woke up in the tent shortly after eight a.m., only to discover that D’Arcy was already up and out for a run.   We lazed in our sleeping bags, chatting quietly and the girls continued to sleep peacefully until closer to nine.  When D’Arcy got back from his run, we got up, lit a fire and started to make breakfast and hot cocoa.  The weather was cool & grey, but the skies were threatening rain.  We decided that we should pack up as quickly as possible, so that our things wouldn’t get wet.  Our itinerary for the day was to drive to Fortune and catch the ferry to St. Pierre & Miquelon, France.  We were all excited.

Breakfast at the Campsite

We were packed up by eleven and stopped at the park check-in where we could get cell phone & internet service.  D’Arcy called the ferry company to confirm our reservation and was told that they had been trying to contact us.  The French Government ferry that we were booked on had gone on strike!!  They could take us over that day, but couldn’t guarantee that they’d be able to get us back.  When D’Arcy called back to ask how far in advance we needed to check in, they informed us that the workers had refused to bring the boat over so the crossing was cancelled.  The private tour company ferry left at 11:30 a.m., so there was no way we could get to St. Pierre.

We started making a flurry of calls.  When D’Arcy tried to call the B&B in St. Pierre, we discovered that his phone wasn’t enabled to make international calls.  My phone is, but I’m with Rogers (only until my contract is over!) and have no cell service here.  Carl, at the Provincial Park was fantastic through this.  He let us use his phone and we charged the call to my parents’ house because somebody had to answer to accept the charges. We were able to cancel our reservation for the night and told them that we would be there the next day.  We also booked the private ferry for the next morning at 7:30 a.m.  We decided that we would drive around the Burin Peninsula and stay somewhere in Fortune, near the ferry.

The Burin area was beautiful and quintessential Newfoundland.  Steep, rugged cliffs, narrow windy roads, water, and brightly coloured wooden houses.  Parked on a rock by the water, the girls were delighted to see a VW Beetle, painted blue, with moose antlers on the front and a giant key coming out of the trunk.  Burin was the location of a tsunami in 1927 and so we visited two museums and an art gallery.  Every Wednesday evening, there is an outdoor jamboree on a wooden stage between the museum and the art gallery.  The girls insisted on putting on a performance of their own, creating characters “Savaria” (Sarah) and “Teddy” (Olivia).  Teddy had lost her dog and Savaria was searching for her brother because they were playing hide and seek.

The performance

We got back into the van and drove around the peninsula to Fortune, where we were going to pick up our ferry tickets.  Parked in the parking lot, we got out the passports, only to discover that we only had five!  Alex’s was still at home in the lock box!!  At this point, we felt deflated.  D’Arcy went in to check with them if it was possible to go without his, but he needed to have a government issued photo ID.  We were all disappointed and Alex felt terrible.  I reminded him that it was not his fault – I was the one who forgot to get his passport.  He had even asked me before he left if I had them all, and without double checking, I just said yes.  I assumed they were all together.  Evan reminded him that we are all a team and that if Alex couldn’t go, then none of us would go.

We talked about how important the St. Pierre part of the trip was to each of us, and thought about alternatives.  We went in to a local diner to have supper and figure out what to do.  We made some calls and my parents were able to save the day!  After telling them where the key and lock box were, they went to our house, got the passport and couriered it to the tour company!  It should arrive on Friday.  We looked at the map, rearranged our trip, and will go to St. Pierre on Sunday, overnight.

With the “extra” day, we decided to travel to Bonavista, one of the places we wanted to see, but didn’t have time to fit in.  We called Carl at Frenchman’s Cove Provincial Park and got our same site back for the night.  We arrived at 7:30 and D’Arcy & the boys set up the tent and got the campfire lit while I started to get water ready for hot cocoa, and got the ingredients out for s’mores.  It was threatening to rain through the night, so we unpacked only the bare essentials.  While we were getting set up, Sarah & Olivia were playing.  Sarah had a baseball & glove and was throwing the ball into the air and catching it – most of the time!  She missed one that hit her in the face and knocked the lens right out of her glasses!  This makes two pair of broken glasses so far this trip! (D’Arcy broke the arm off his while on the ferry…)  Luckily, I had brought both Sarah & Alex’s extra pairs, so when we get to St. John’s we’ll go to an optician and get them fixed.

We sat around the fire, listening to the loons on the water and made – and burnt – our s’mores.  When talking about what we learned during the day, the kids mentioned that we need to be flexible and that we should double check for things like passports before leaving! We all decided that our day of misadventure actually turned out all right in the end.  We had a relaxing evening around the campfire, we’ll still get to St. Pierre and now we’ll get to Bonavista too.  It involves some extra 400 odd kms of driving, but I have agreed to relax my DVD-watching-in-the-van rule during roads that we’re traveling on for a second (and third… and fourth… ) time.

S'mores!

Laughing around the fire after a long day!

Alex enjoyed his s'mores!

Olivia has told us that she loves Newfoundland because she loves throwing rocks in the water at our campsite!  I don’t think she’d care if we didn’t go anywhere else!

View at our campsite

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I started a post back on March second which was titled “Welcome to our Great Niece!”

That was as far as I got.

Our loved nephew Chris & his wife Lisa had their first baby – a girl on March 1st.  Her name is Samantha Grace and she is beautiful!  Chris, Lisa & Samantha live in Calgary so we haven’t had the chance to meet her before this past weekend.  It’s much too far and we have told them that many times!

On Sunday, we went to “the city” for Samantha’s Baptism and it was beautiful.  I was immediately in love!

It was a beautiful day and we wouldn’t have missed it!  (Unless one of us was sick, because people who go to social events when they are sick – especially around babies – drive me crazy!!  Luckily, we were all healthy!)

Great Auntie Anne, holding Samantha for the first time!

The girls, meeting their new cousin (once removed)!

Olivia couldn't wait to get her hands on Sam!

The Baptism

Lisa & sister Melissa with their daughters, Samantha & Avery - born one month apart!

Mike, Kim, Lisa, Samantha & Chris

Samantha, her aunt, her grandparents & her great grandparents on her father's side!

Olivia had Grandpa's camera for entertainment. Here, she's showing Uncle Mike the photo(s) she took of him.

Olivia & Grandpa

Sarah & Samantha

Olivia with her safe "Picnic" during the reception

And we have a photo of Sarah at Olivia's Baptism in pretty much the same pose...

"Nanny" Kim, singing Samantha to sleep at the reception...

And she's out!

The loves of my life!

Yesterday, Ginna challenged us to read 1,000,000 pages* as a family (Ginna & Beanah included) to see how long it will take us.  Olivia started us off by reading an alphabet book which was 26 pages long – but she read it out loud.  According to our un-official rules, newspapers do not count, but text books do.  This is a good thing as that’s about all I read these days!    I’ll have to find out what the rule is for blogs…

😉

It’ll be fun to see how long it takes us!  Happy reading!

*Edited to clarify that it is actually a one million page challenge, not one billion as I originally posted – perhaps I should choose a math text to start!

Bluenose Marathon 2011

May 23, 2011

For the past few years, the long weekend in May has become our mini-vacation before the season begins in earnest.  We normally close out, head to Halifax and stay in a hotel for a night or two.  This year, D’Arcy’s parents have been on a cruise of the Danube River, so we stayed at their condo instead of a hotel.  I was worried that the kids would be disappointed that we didn’t stay somewhere with a pool, but since they had never stayed at Grandma & Grandpa’s before, it actually turned out to be quite a novelty!

We headed to the city on Friday night, just as soon as we could get away.  We were able to pick up our race kits until 8 p.m. and arrived at about 7:40.  The boys had both outgrown their running shoes, and D’Arcy had received an email from Erin to say that we should stop by to see Luke at the Aerobics First  booth at the Expo.  We were pressed for time and I was going to blow it off, but we did go.  Luke took a look at their feet and produced a pair of sneakers that he fit on Evan.  He handed me the box and said, “These are a gift because of your sister-in-law. She does so much for me and won’t ever accept anything. She spends half a day with the youth group at least 32 weeks of the year.  Come back tomorrow and I’ll bring shoes for Alex if I have some.”  I couldn’t believe it!

We went to Grandma & Grandpa’s to get settled in.  We were so tired, we just watched tv and chatted together before heading to bed.

Morning came far too early and three kids were awake before seven.  The other was having a good, deep sleep and didn’t stir until after 8:30…

We left for the Youth Run to get there in lots of time.  As we entered the starting area, the kids (except Sarah) had their noses painted blue and we had the yearly photo with Myles.

We had gotten the kids to wear their shirts for the Sunday run on Saturday so that we could identify them among the other 2998 runners.  (Sarah wore mine and Olivia wore one of the boys’ from two years ago.)

The one thing that strikes me in all the photos is how happy the boys look!  Sarah will probably run for the first time next year.  We remarked that if Olivia runs in the Youth Run until she is 15, we have 11 more years to go!  Evan finished the 4.2 k course in about 19 minutes and Alex was just a couple minutes behind.

At the start of the Youth Run

Evan, about half way along the 4.2 k course

Alex, at the same spot

Angie (and Dean & Scotia) came to meet us and cheer the boys on!

Olivia, cold and ready to leave

Finished another great run!

Mom and her boys!

Family photo - Olivia showing her four-year-old true colors!

After the run was over, we met up at the Metro Centre and then went down to the new Halifax Seaport Farmers Market.  It was D’Arcy’s, Evan’s & the girls first time there.  We wandered around, looking for the friends we knew.  We split up and D’Arcy took the boys to get crepes while I took the girls to have their faces painted.  This way, everyone was happy.  Sarah got a heart with a rainbow and Olivia got Hello Kitty.  D’Arcy was happy to find a Granite Brewery stall and purchased a bottle of beer to take home with us.  (A 2L bottle – we figured later that it was equivalent to a six pack!)

We made a pit-stop at the grocery store and I picked up some pasta, sauce, ready-made salad and ciabatta bread so that we could stock up on carbs for supper.  The kids were especially happy when they realized I had also bought a package of safe ice cream sandwiches!  We went back to the Expo to find Luke and pick up Alex’s new sneakers.  Luke gave the boys some great advice and told them not to run 10k until they are 15.  He told them to spend the next few years running short – but fast -races.  D’Arcy entered just about every contest going and bought me a new light blue sports bra for my upcoming birthday.  I only add that because it plays into a story from the weekend…  We saw some nice running gear, and some fun t-shirts for young girls that read, “Some girls chase boys.  I pass them.”

We went back to the condo, made supper and ate together.  It was delicious!  After supper, D’Arcy did some school work, Alex went on the computer and the girls went to bed.  Evan & I played a game of crib.  We hung out together, but had an early night because we knew it would be an early morning.

The weather said that Sunday would be sunny and fourteen degrees, but when we woke up it was cloudy and six degrees.  I had a terrible time to figure out what to wear, because I’m cold at the best of times.  I changed into about three different outfits.

As I put on my new bra, Olivia looked at me and said, “If you had one of those poles, you could just wear your bra!

It took us a few minutes and some probing questions before we realized she was talking about the pole vaulters we had watched at the track meet the day before!

Erin came over and met us around eight and we went downtown.  It was cold.  Olivia was definitely under-dressed and luckily we had taken extra clothes for her which she put on quite quickly.  I had my number in a few different places because the chip was on my bib and it couldn’t be covered.  I ended up with it on my shirt and kept my jacket open as we started running.  I wish I had left my jacket behind as I took it off about one kilometre into the race.  It was fun to see so many people we knew!  D’Arcy, Angie & I ran together for the first couple kms. Before we got to the first waterstop, I told D’Arcy to go ahead without me.  I hadn’t really trained for the race this year the way I did last year.  In fact, I probably shouldn’t admit it, but I’d only been running about 5k for the last two weeks.  I told Erin that I thought it would take me about and hour and ten minutes to finish because I didn’t feel “in shape” since my surgery in February.  If worse came to worse, I figured I could run 5k and walk 5k.

I was able to keep up with Angie quite well (although I think she was running at a leisurely pace for me!).  We ran together until we got over the bridge.  When we got to the hill at Nantucket, I was ready for my first walking break and she kept going.  I was surprised that I didn’t walk as long as I thought I would.  It almost felt better to run than to walk.  I was thankful for the people lining the race route, cheering us on.  The adrenaline definitely kept me going!

The Bluenose races end on a slight incline.  (Which I think is torturous!) I had been doing really well, but that slight hill was awful!  I saw the people cheering, but was concentrating on getting to the finish line.  I finished just as the first marathon runner passed for his split time.  I wasn’t sure where the boys were, or when they would finish, so I went directly into the Metro Centre to our meeting place and found Erin and the girls who were freezing!  As it turned out, the boys had finished just behind me!

Our times were as follows:  Alexander (5k) – 29:42, Evan (5k) – 27:10, Anne (10k) – 1:03, D’Arcy (10k) – 59:35.

Erin stayed with us for a short time and then went out to watch her friends finish the half and full marathons.  We stayed for about an hour, watching on the big screen and then went back to Grandma & Grandpa’s for baths and naps!

So much for the sun - it was COLD!

Mom & kids (The boys stayed dressed until the last minute!)

Family Bluenose Photo 2011

Half marathoners

D'Arcy at the start

Angie & I at the start. (Olivia picked out my outfit!)

The boys at the start of th 5k

On your mark...

Some of the crowd - before the half & marathon races were finishing!

Heading back to the van...

Dance show

We met up with Erin in the evening and took her out to supper to both say “thank you” and “happy birthday”.  We went to Boston Pizza, probably not her restaurant of  choice, but safe for Olivia and the kids were happy and therefore – well behaved!

Happy Birthday Aunt Erin!!

D'Arcy & Erin

Olivia, Evan, Alex & Sarah

We dropped Erin off to meet her friends, then took a tour of D’Arcy’s old neighbourhood.  We went back to the Condo where everyone was ready to crash pretty early!  When we got up this morning, I was a bit sore, but not as much as I thought I’d be.  I was surprised that my belly was the most sore – just under my ribs.  D’Arcy reminded me that it was probably an after effect of my surgery.  D’Arcy & Alex ran in Point Pleasant Park while Evan & I packed up. When they got back, the six of us played Monopoly and had lunch while we did all the laundry and cleaned up.

It was a wonderful family time – we’re already talking about next year’s Bluenose weekend!

The most magical Christmas yet continues…  The kids have been dancing up a storm, enjoying the mini-trampoline and Alex’s new disco ball.  (Hmmm – probably not a bad way to work off all that turkey!)

 

Family Time

December 28, 2010

I can’t believe that the last time I posted here was on October 2nd!  Since I have started teaching, there doesn’t seem to be a spare moment in our days.  This Christmas was one of the most magical I can remember in awhile – perhaps because I was too busy to do many of the normal things I feel I need to do.  D’Arcy & I went shopping on the 22nd while Rachel babysat, and we did all cooking/baking on the 23rd.  My brother was only here for a short time, so we had supper with him at my parents’ on the night of the 23rd.  We spent Christmas Eve with D’Arcy’s family, and Christmas Day here at home.  More to follow, but right now, we’re too cozy hanging out with one another at home, recharging and getting in lots of hugs…

My birthday was on Saturday.  It was a great day, all-in-all.

It started off early – very early – when Alex delivered breakfast-in-bed (and D’Arcy said he tried to hold him off!) at 6:30 a.m.  D’Arcy had been up shortly after five to feed some regular guests before they left for their course.  All this activity, of course, woke Sarah & Olivia and the day began sooner than I had anticipated.

We fed the second room their breakfast and the kids gave me some very special home-made cards they’d made for me.  D’Arcy took the boys off to their baseball game at the Park and I stayed home to clean the guest room.  (Birthdays over the age of 21 are so glamorous!)  On various trips through the kitchen, I would check in on Facebook to discover birthday greetings from around the world – that was fun and made me feel special!

We were invited to my parents’ house for lunch.  The girls were very cranky & tired after being up so early, but Sarah got dressed up and Olivia put on a pair of pretty Capri pants  and a nice shirt.  The boys arrived home, D’Arcy had a quick shower and we got ready to go up the hill.  As we started herding kids out the door, I noticed that Olivia had changed into jogging pants and a t-shirt.  Sigh.  She told me that she had “spilled drops” on her pants and it wasn’t worth the battle to get her to change again!  She later told us that the drops she spilled were “invisible”.

I got into the van and discovered a package in my seatbelt from D’Arcy & the kids – opal earrings.  Evan spilled the beans that “Dad told us to look for something pretty, but cheap!”  D’Arcy laughed and teased him, saying, “Evan, what happens at the jewelery store is supposed to stay at the jewelery store!”  I told them that it’s the thought that counts and they are really pretty…

We had a glass of wine and then went to the table for lunch.   My mom had made lobster chowder for the grown-ups and tomato soup for the kids which everyone normally likes.  Sarah & Olivia had an argument over who got to sit by me, then argued over who got what coloured straw!  Eventually, we got those issues sorted out and they both announced that they didn’t like tomato soup which is so not true!  Olivia did eventually drink hers dry, but Sarah pushed hers away and pouted.

Second course was tuna buns on homemade rolls for the kids and a roasted-tomato and pesto tart on puffed pastry with a green salad for the adults.  It was delicious even though mom had been fretting that the temperature had been too high and they were brown on the bottom.  Meanwhile, Alex, Sarah & Olivia whined about the tuna buns and all gave them to Evan who managed to eat three and loved every bite!  The others ate veggie sticks and plain rolls with molasses.

For dessert, my mother had made banoffee and put candles in it.  When she & Alex served it to me, one side fell and Olivia started to cry because she didn’t get to blow out the yellow candle.  The tragedies just kept coming…

We finally got everyone back on track and both Sarah & Olivia announced they had to go to the bathroom, but Alex was already in there. Neither of them wanted to go to the one downstairs and started to fuss.  Again.

D’Arcy quipped, “Well, it is that kind of potty –  a potty party!”

Groan.

Such a cheery face!

A fleeting moment of happiness...

... before some one feels she was wronged and didn't get to blow out the yellow candle!

D'Arcy & Evan, stuffed after lunch!

Sarah even put on an impromptu dance performance after lunch for me:

We came home and D’Arcy & I both fought to stay awake because we were so full.  I thought I should automatically be allowed a nap since it was MY birthday!

Our guests who had eaten so early in the morning had invited us out to dinner and we were expecting them to arrive back to the house around six.  Because of the rain, they arrived home mid-afternoon and asked to move the time up to go out earlier.  I quickly got ready and we sat around in the living room and had a glass of wine with them.  We went out for dinner at 5:30 and had a lovely meal.  The food was good and the conversation was easy.  We came back to our place and had some sparkling wine which had been fortified with icewine.

When the guests turned in early, I took the Evan & Alex upstairs and cuddled for a few minutes before D’Arcy came up to tell me that one of my childhood friends, Chris, was on the phone.   Chris made a huge life-change last year and left his job to go through RCMP training.  He is now posted in British Columbia and has moved there with his wife & kids.  We talked for almost two hours before hanging up, even though we hadn’t spoken in a couple of years. (Lots to get caught up on I guess!)  We finally realized it was time to go when Chris commented, “I can hear D’Arcy snoring beside you!”

All in all, it was a great day and even though I had some very tired & cranky girls, I definitely felt very loved & spoiled!