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…

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The Calendar

March 27, 2010

People often ask me “How do you do it all?”  Meaning – how do we juggle four children, a business, a job, post-secondary education, along with our various extra-curricular & volunteer activities.

I normally reply, jokingly, that we don’t watch much television.

Or I reply that we have a big calendar.

Both of those statements are true.

Right now, looking at the calendar is a bit overwhelming.  Shortly, I’m going to be heading up to the boys’ school to volunteer with running club and Alex has Music Festival practice after that.  Tomorrow is a juggling act with two rooms of guests to feed & clean, along with a basketball tournament for Evan & Alex (four games), another music festival rehearsal for Alex, a curling bonspiel for D’Arcy (two games), and Sarah is going to a dance performance with her grandparents.  To make it work, it looks as if I’m going to have to step in as coach of Evan’s basketball team tomorrow afternoon and we’re going to have to juggle cars with my parents.

I’m sure we’ll manage to make it all work, but there may be some jokes along the way about how we are always late for things…

I wonder why?!

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.

The January Blues

January 18, 2010

We have been in semi-hibernation this month.  Naturally our slow time of year at the B&B, we spend much of our free-time curled up in front of the fire, enjoying the freedom of having our home to ourselves.  D’Arcy has been spending all of his spare time (when not flooding the rink) marking & making up exams.  The next couple of weeks mark the end of the semester.  On top of that is the looming deadline (end-of-the-month) to submit the first draft of his Thesis.  On top of that was the stress of a potential strike of educational support workers (including bus drivers!) and D’Arcy is the union rep at his school.  Thank goodness they reached a tentative agreement last night so that’s one less thing to worry about!

I’ve been trying to keep the kids occupied and the house organized.

In the midst of the routine of life, the kids have managed to give us a few good laughs to break the monotony…

When arriving home from Cubs on Thursday, D’Arcy went upstairs and discovered Olivia still awake.  He asked her why she wasn’t asleep and she replied, “Oh, because I’m just up here playing.”

At least she’s honest.

On Saturday night, the boys & I were talking and the conversation got around to relationships and age differences.  There are nine years between D’Arcy & I which they know. They’ve heard the story before of when we were dating and the song “Drive” by “The Cars” came on the radio.  I told D’Arcy that the song reminds me of Junior High dances and he looked at me and said, “This song reminds me of finishing my first degree!”   I mentioned that there is a photo of me at Historic Properties in Halifax on my 10th birthday and in the background is The Lower Deck, the bar where D’Arcy was working at the time!  Evan said, “Wow – either you were really pretty or Dad was really desperate!”

Gee, thanks – I’m going to go with Mom being really pretty…

Last night, as we were waiting for supper to be ready (the ham was larger than I had realized!) D’Arcy & Sarah were playing “Hangman” on the white board in our kitchen.  My heart grew about a hundred sizes as I watched the two of them interacting; Sarah was so serious!  The word she made up was “DAD”.

Love it!

And last but not least, Olivia came up to me, wide-eyed, and very seriously announced, “I wish I could fly in the sky with a frozen yogurt!”

Okay then…

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

BINGO!

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”.

Okay.

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!

"Nate"

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

Groupies?!

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!

Forget about looking like Christmas – it’s now starting to sound like Christmas!  It has been a week of concerts, recitals & plays.  I was feeling somewhat bah humbug about all the extra events this week, but when sitting through Alex’s Boys’ Choir concert on Saturday night, I realized that this is what Christmas is all about.  I sat back, relaxed, and enjoyed the music.

Sunday, the boys performed in “The Drowsy Shepherd” at the United Church.  They were great!  The play was clever & funny, nobody forgot their lines and Alex did a wonderful job on his solo.  He was a shepherd and Evan was a sheep!  I thought he would be embarrassed to wear the sheep “mask”, but he just pretended he was a cloud…

When the play was over, we had just under an hour to get Sarah to her highland dance recital.  My parents took Olivia home with them for lunch so that we could feed the others a quick lunch at Subway.  They met us at the Recital.  I love watching the little ones when they are just starting out; we were pretty proud when people approached us afterwards to say that we have to make sure to keep Sarah dancing because she’s a natural!  She loved it – everything except getting her hair into a bun!

The Dancers

We rushed home from that to get ready for our last B&B dinner of the Christmas Season, a group of hairdressers who have been coming here for the past four years.  Oh my, do they have fun!!  Oh, and D’Arcy also got the rink set up in that time too as it’s supposed to get cold this week…  (Heaven forbid we take a moment to relax in a clean house!)

Yesterday, I went to Halifax for a beautiful luncheon/Tourism Conference wrap-up meeting at the Prince George hotel and then managed to get a Costco run in while in the city.  I got home in time to throw some pancakes on to feed the kids for supper between band, dance & choir and Evan’s band concert.  He did a great job and we were really proud of him.  We were all really tired by this point.  I had to laugh when I told Sarah to stop staring at the people sitting in the row behind us and she replied, “but he’s just like my dad – sleeping!”

I didn't notice my dad reading the e-book before I saw this photo!

Unfortunately, the only photo we got of Evan as the lighting in the gym was tricking Alex's camera.

We took the long way home to see some of the Christmas lights.  Tonight we have the boys’ elementary school concert and Friday is Sarah’s preschool concert which ends with a visit from Santa.

If we’re not into the Christmas Spirit by then, we never will be!

One of those days…

October 8, 2009

Today was one of those days that everything had to go smoothly so it could all fall into place.

6:30 a.m.  Drag myself out of bed (D’Arcy was already up making muffins) and make lunches for the boys and get fruit salad, etc. ready for the guests.

7:00   Kiss boys good-bye and head upstairs for a shower.

7:30  Feed first guest breakfast.  Ginna & Beanah arrive to help out.

7:45  Leave for the hospital for mammogram and ultrasound appointments.  (This was my first mammogram and it wasn’t nearly as traumatic as I had anticipated.  After having four children, I really don’t have much modesty left anyway, so I chatted with the technician as she got me situated in the machine.  The up & down slides I would liken to getting your blood pressure taken – not fun, but not painful.  When those were over, I casually commented, “Well that wasn’t as bad as people would make you believe.”  She informed me that some people really mind it and find it very painful.  Then we moved to the side-to-side view and I got payback for my comment.  Let’s just say that I was able to utilize the breathing I had learned in pre-natal classes for the first time.  Whoa!  Luckily, it doesn’t last that long!  I was then ushered across the hall for my ultrasound, told that the radiologist would be in touch with my doctor and sent on my way.)

8:30  Arrive home in time to serve the last breakfast, chat with guests and check out.

9:45 Take Olivia to the dentist for a cleaning.

10:30  Drop Olivia off at the Library with my mother & Sarah.

10:40 Arrive at the school to volunteer in Evan’s Class.

12:00 Find Alex in the cafeteria and tell him not to take the bus home; I’ll come get him and go to the book fair.

12:10 Go to the bank & the grocery store.

12:30 Arrive home so that my mother can leave.  Start to chop, cook and assemble the stuffing to take to Riverbreeze for the Thanksgiving Turporken.

1:45 Load girls & stuffing into the van, head to the school to meet Alex; chat in the foyer with other parents while the buses dismiss.

2:05 Drop Evan’s drum sticks & music for band to him at intramurals.

2:10 Run to Alex’s classroom to pick him up.  Discuss volunteering in Alex’s class with his teacher.

2:20 Book Fair in small room with three kids in tow.  Tell them I only pay for books, not erasers, posters, headphones, novelties, etc.

2:30  Find Mira in front foyer and offer to drive her home after calling her parents first.

2:40 Drop Alex off at his grandparents’ for “alone time”.

2:45 Drop Mira off at home.

2:55 Drop stuffing off at Riverbreeze.

3:10 Stop at home to pick up a form to take to the dentist.

3:15 Take Sarah to the dentist.

4:00 Arrive home.  De-brief with my father who has been house-sitting.

4:30 D’Arcy & Evan arrive home.

Phew.

That’s when my outside responsibilities officially ended; D’Arcy & Alex still had to go to Cubs.  Tomorrow is an in-service for the boys, so they are up late reading.  I’ve already warned them that I’m going to ask them to help me out tomorrow to get ready for Thanksgiving.  I have some fun things up my sleeve for them…

I look forward to the fact that I only have to go out tomorrow to take Sarah to preschool.  Anything else is optional!