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!


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!”


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!

Evan has wanted to be a cartographer for the past number of years.  He loves maps, travel, geography, drawing and computers.  It’s a perfect fit! My dad is a surveyor and he went to school at COGS (and met my mom, who grew up in Lawrencetown) many years ago.  My parents were able to set up a tour of the campus for yesterday and they set out early yesterday morning on their adventure.  By all accounts, they had a fantastic time and saw all kinds of people they knew, including David, the son of the minister at our church when I was growing up, who gave Evan a beautiful book of maps!  The faculty member who took them on tour was a guest at our B&B three years ago – talk about a small world!  My mother said that she was fantastic and geared everything to Evan; he’s going to write her a thank-you note and we’re going to send her a gift certificate to come back here with her husband.

The great day for Evan was topped off with a stop at the Chickenburger for supper and the news when he arrived home that he was co-winner of the Yearbook Cover Design contest!  (I’m assuming this means one design is on the front cover and the other is on the back cover…)  He wrote the following about his adventure and gave me permission to post it:

Today I got a tour at the Center Of Geographic Sciences (C.O.G.S.) in Lawrencetown. That is when I found out it is a Small World. A person named Ada Cheung showed me around. On the tour, I found out she stayed at our house about three years ago and I put Strawberry Jam on the table for her! Also on the tour, I learned what courses would be the best to take in High School if I want to be a cartographer. Those courses are: Geomatics, Global Geography, and Computer Sciences. My Mom said a good class to take in Grade Seven would be Extended Core French. I am going to try to do all of those courses, then go to C.O.G.S. for two years, and then go to University somewhere far away so I can go somewhere new! Ada said that is a smart idea because the two years I do at C.O.G.S. would be like credits for University and it would save money. Another reason why it is nice to go to C.O.G.S. is because there are only 200 people so you will know pretty much everyone. I also think that they thought I am older and smarter because they gave me A Program Application! I was given a whole whack of stuff! I got a book full of different maps, I got a ball that is designed like the political map of Earth, and a lot of other cool stuff! Before the tour, I wanted to be a cartographer, Now, I want to be one even more!

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...

My dad is the best!

October 1, 2009

My father has spent more than seven hours at our house this week, polishing our silver.  That doesn’t count the hours he has also spent helping out by chatting with guests, manning the toaster, making beds, vacuuming, cleaning toilets, etc. to help me out since D’Arcy is back to school.

Today is his birthday so he’s taken the afternoon off!  😉

Happy Birthday Beanah!!


September 8, 2009

Each Labour Day, D’Arcy’s brother Stephen & his wife Kathy, host the whole family for an end-of-the-summer barbeque.  Unless there is a special occasion, the family generally all make an effort to get together for this party and on Christmas Eve.  We didn’t have any guests booked for Sunday night, so D’Arcy said that he thought wanted to go.  Never one to turn down a social event, I was happy to go!

He worked on the basement door all day (the sill was rotten, so he’s replaced the whole thing, rebuilt the door, poured new concrete for the stairs, etc…) while I hung out with the kids and waited.  The barbeque started at 4:30 and we left town (an hour away) at 5:15.  Needless to say, we were a bit late.   So late, that D’Arcy’s mom was calling us on the cell phone as we pulled up!

Everyone was there and having a great time and Stephen was still a fixture at one of the two barbeques so there was lots of food.   D’Arcy’s sister Seana bought & moved into her condo well over a year ago and we hadn’t had a housewarming for her yet.  She still has a few things on her wish list, so we all took up a collection so that she can buy herself something fun and called it a housewarming!  I’m pretty sure she was surprised and pleased!


D’Arcy’s father has been asking us every time we see him whether or not we’ve bought tiaras for his princesses?  As soon as the presentation to Seana was over, he called the girls over to present each princess with their new tiara!



Stephen had some burgers that were so thick, we were told he’d been barbecuing them for close to an hour to make sure they were cooked.  Alex decided that rather than have a hot dog, he would wait for one of Uncle Stephen’s burgers.  And he waited…

And waited…

And waited…

Much to the rest of the family’s surprise, he ate every bite!


And then had a full plate of dessert!!  Growing boy…

Olivia was also thrilled to have some leftover birthday cake that we had brought with us, and Aunt Kathy had safe ice cream for her!  Oh, how being able to have milk makes life so much easier!!


Phinn thought her ice cream looked pretty good so she shared some with him!!  I see these two getting into some serious trouble toghether when they get older!!


After supper was over, the “kids” all got together in the street for a game of basketball.  Boy-oh- boy is it fun to have older cousins!!




Olivia even got up close and personal with a dog for the first time under Uncle Stephen’s guidance!  Later, she even got brave enough to feed him a piece of cheese!


Phinn had fallen asleep by the time it got dark, so Sarah & Olivia had Emily’s undivided attention to play ball and star-gaze.



We called my father, who had been house-sitting, to find out that the phones had been quiet all night.  We went back inside with the rest of the family for awhile then took our time gathering a few last cuddles before getting ready to go home.


The next family gathering is at our place for Thanksgiving when D’Arcy’s sister Kathleen is home from Ottawa with her husband & four children.

I think I had better start cooking now!!

It will be interesting to see how this Easter is viewed in the family history.  Although it’s not been the least bit traditional, it’s certainly been a day with lots to tell about!

Sarah & D’Arcy arrived home from the hospital at around 12:30 am.  She doesn’t have meningitis, but does have a full-blown case of strep throat.  We managed to get the antibiotics they sent home with them into her, and exhausted, she went right to sleep in her own bed. 

The Easter Bunny left a pretty stern note on the gate at the top of the stairs, with a reminder that Sarah had had a late night in the hospital and no one was to start the search until all four siblings were awake.  As it turned out, Olivia developed a temperature and started vomiting through the night.  (Five times – will this bug ever leave this house??) 

Evan had taken me aside last night and asked, “You do remember that you told me about the Easter Bunny last year, right?!”  When I replied that of course I remembered and assured him that because he’d been so good about keeping the fun alive for his siblings, the Easter Bunny would also be coming to him, he was visibly relieved and said “YES!!”  I could tell a huge weight was lifted off his shoulder.

It was close to 7:30 when the oldest three went downstairs and we allowed them to start to hunt for Easter eggs as long as they promised to leave some for their sister.  They had a great time searching!  (Because of Olivia’s allergies, the Easter Bunny leaves plastic eggs filled with loose change instead of candy – they love it!)  We had a returning guest, an older gentleman, staying with us and he was delighted to be a part of their excitement!  He is a maple syrup producer and even brought them a little bottle of their own to share!  (Since they’re normally stuck with Aunt Jemima while the guests get the good stuff, they were thrilled!!)


The Easter Bunny even left eggs in their footwear...

The Easter Bunny even left eggs in their footwear...

...and a special treat in each of their laundry basket(s)!

...and a special treat in each of their laundry basket(s)!

Alex's microphone for karaoke - does he look a bit excited?!

Alex's microphone for karaoke - does he look a bit excited?!

Evan & his new baseball bat

Evan & his new baseball bat

Sarah & her new baby

Sarah & her new baby

Mommy must remind the Easter Bunny next year to hide the treats where there isn’t so much clutter & mess!  Olivia woke up and came down around nine, not quite sure what all the excitement was about. 

Poor sick girl!

Poor sick girl!

She got into it pretty quickly though with her siblings’ help and was thrilled to find a baby just like Sarah’s!


D’Arcy took the boys to Mass and as they turned around the corner of our property, this is what they discovered:

The retaining wall on the north side of our property

The retaining wall on the north side of our property

It had rained copious amounts last night; forecast as snow, but we were happy it fell as rain… until we found it washed our 105 year old wall away!!  D’Arcy spent the afternoon trying to clear off the sidewalk and get it stabilized so that more doesn’t fall over.

Once he got into it, he realized the morter has turned to powder!

Once he got into it, he realized the mortar has turned to powder!

The boys were able to go to my parents’ house for dinner around 4:30 and my mother was kind enough to send dinner down to us (Lamb kabbobs with homemade mint jelly, German potato salad, bean salad, orange salad, and roasted root veggies; cake with fruit & rum sauce for dessert.  She sent safe ham, carrots, applesauce & banana muffins with sorbet and apple juice boxes for the girls!)  “Jesus Christ Superstar” was on and D’Arcy & I both love that movie, so we lit a fire and had dinner in the living room (by candlelight) while watching it.  Sarah enjoyed all of the dancing and because we had talked about this in Sunday School last week, she could follow a lot of the story. 

The romantic, candle-light Easter Dinner (photo taken by Sarah)

The romantic, candle-light Easter Dinner (photo taken by Sarah)

What are we exposing our daughter to?  She liked King Harod and his fancy pants...

What are we subjecting our daughter to? She loved King Harod and his fancy pants...

 The boys are sleeping over with their grandparents & the girls have gone up to bed.  I’m hoping they’re not sick again, especially since Olivia last threw up around three and then had a full supper…  We’re planning to enjoy our Sunday night date night, watching the Amazing Race in front of the fire.  Although I missed seeing any of our family, had to clean up an awful lot of bodily fluids, am looking at potentially spending thousands of dollars to rebuild our wall, and we suspect something has died in our back porch (but we can’t find out where the smell is coming from) it’s actually been a really nice Easter and we ended up spending quality time together…  I’m just hoping for a better sleep tonight and maybe back to tradition next year…

Daddy & his girls

Daddy & his girls