Bring on the Rain(men)

December 22, 2009

D’Arcy and the boys started Christmas vacation on Friday night.  We were all exhausted, so I imposed an early-to-bed rule for everyone.  Well, almost everyone.  We ended up with drop-ins from Ottawa, so by the time I waited for them to come in from dinner so that I could turn off all the Christmas lights, it was close to midnight before I went to bed.

On Saturday, the whole family had haircuts and I dropped the girls off with my parents for a sleepover.  We picked up Joshua (Evan’s friend) and Nicholas (Alex’s friend) and went to Halifax to see the Halifax Rainmen play the Manchester Millrats.  Rogers had bought all kinds of tickets to give out to kids who play basketball, so Shannon and Kathryn made sure that Evan & Alex were able to go.  We sat with the Bedford team.

I’m not the least bit sporty and when I go to any type of game, I spend more time watching the people attending than the game.

I would just like to state for the record that watching professional basketball is much different than watching mini basketball.

(If you get my drift.)

I was extremely impressed with the professionalism of the players.  Not only were they obviously talented, but the sportsmanship was unlike what I had expected.  The teams were obviously enjoying playing one another, and from our seats (in the forth row!!) we could see the players joking with one another.  There were a couple of times we saw a member of one team give a member of the other team a hand up off the floor when they had fallen.  I was impressed!

I don’t think the boys had fun at all…

(This one was taken before the game started)

Even a visit with Santa!

We had a stop at Tim Horton’s on the way home, a huge treat since Olivia wouldn’t be around.  It was close to eleven when we got home and we told the boys to get ready for bed right away.  The next thing we knew, they had gotten the Lego out and were building!  We sent them to bed; Evan & Joshua in the boys’ room and Alex & Nicholas in the TV room in front of the Christmas tree.  By midnight, all was quiet so D’Arcy & I could go to bed.

We found out the next morning that Nicholas had called his parents both at midnight and again at 7am!  He and Alex were up fairly early, but Evan didn’t get up until about 8:30 and Joshua slept until the others woke him up at nine.  It was Fernando’s last morning with us, so we all joined him in the dining room for breakfast.  The boys ate fruit & yogurt, juice, waffles, pea meal bacon & egg-in-the-hole(s).  (Fernando’s request!)

The sleepover was a success and Christmas vacation is off to a great start!!

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Whoever came up with that phrase obviously didn’t have four children and run a thriving Bed & Breakfast while their husband writes his Masters Thesis!

This week, we took Evan to basketball camp about an hour-and-a-half away from here, where he stayed with friends of ours. He LOVED it! I think it was his first real taste of (sort of) freedom and he got to eat at the university cafeteria, make new friends, go to a stranger’s birthday party, and have a week-long sleepover with his good buddy! I think they played some basketball too… When I was unpacking his suitcase tonight to do his laundry, I discovered that the new bar of soap I packed for him has not been used.

Oh, to be ten again…

Alex was participating in a basketball day camp here in town from Monday – Wednesday. (We thought it went ’till Thursday, but the doors were locked when we tried to drop him off that morning…) He had to miss Tuesday because he had an eye appointment in the city. This was the first time that we were booked at the brand new satellite eye clinic that the children’s hospital has opened, located about 20 minutes closer to our home. There was a snafu with his chart (they had sent the wrong ones from the hospital) so we did have an extra wait, but they gave us a free parking voucher and we took advantage of the time together to have a Tim Horton’s date. (Usually this is forbidden because of the risk it poses to Olivia!)

At this appointment, he didn’t make any much progress, so he is back on Atropine drops full time and we have to put the plaino lens back in the “good” side of his glasses. He has regressed three lines from his best vision, which is so disappointing for all of us, and devastating to Alex!!

After we were through with his appointment, we went to the Chickenburger in Bedford (we love that place!) where we had burgers, clams & onion rings. YUM! I gave Alex a loonie to put into the juke box, but because he couldn’t see the playlists (his eyes were dilated) he pressed “popular” for the first three songs. He ended up with “Monster Mash”, “Rock Around the Clock” and “Piano Man”. When it came time for the fourth song, he asked if I would go find an Elvis tune. I couldn’t resist programing the song “Roll with me Henry” by Etta James to come on, and he laughed! That’s our song… (His middle name is Henry!)

We went to Costco and he used his debit card to buy me a new iron. He was so proud to do it because he had worked so hard to earn that money! After we took it to the van, he told me that he won’t play with it anymore because he really wants to buy a wii and he’s going to save for one thing at a time!

He was lucky enough to be invited to his friend’s cottage on the Northumberland Strait on Thursday, so went and came home with a bag full of beach glass.  He also got to have supper at her house so dodged the bullet on having hodge-podge with us here…

Sarah & Olivia went to the Library with Ginna one day and got to spend time with their grandparents couple of days this week.  They love to hang out at their house with them!  The girls were missing “Bobby” though, and asked for him often.

My childhood friend, Janelle, has been home this week, so we had her & her husband over for drinks early in the week, and we went running one morning.  I made lunch today for her and two other friends (salad, coconut ginger rice & coriander ginger crab (and lobster) cakes) while we started to plan our 20th high school reunion.  Yikes!  We met up this afternoon at the playground with four girls and will try to fit in one last run tomorrow  at 6am before they leave.

The girls & Ginna & I went shopping yesterday and I found a dress for me and shoes for the girls for Chris & Lisa’s wedding which is coming up on August 8th.  Now we just need to get the men outfitted…

D’Arcy continues to work on his Thesis and is trying to get the interviews he’s conducted transcribed.  It took him 20 minutes to type the first minute.  I’m hoping he’ll graduate this fall…  He’s very good about going with the flow, and will switch gears physically whenever I ask.  I’ve come to terms with the fact he’ll be thinking about it until graduation!  We did go for a run together this week while both boys were at basketball camp.  We put the girls in the double stroller and D’Arcy pushed.  We went about 8k and although I slowed him down, it was fun to get out together!

My parents took Alex & Sarah to a play tonight which they loved and D’Arcy is supposed to sail in a race with Uncle Hug tomorrow afternoon.  I’d like to fit a trip to Halifax to see the Tall Ships in, but that may be pushing it…

So lazy days of summer?  Not really, but we are making lots of happy busy  summer memories nonetheless!

Almost a week?

April 29, 2009

Wow – it’s almost been a week since I posted an update.  Life seems to be quite busy these days.  Between the arrival of the sunshine and  “guest season” this week, my time has been at a premium.  Some of the activities keeping us busy this week were: taking the boys to see the local High School musical production, Alex’s First Confession (wouldn’t I have loved to be a fly in the confessional for that one!), haircuts for myself & the boys, a “girls” party for the local NDP Candidate, Sunday School, rototilling the garden, de-thatching & raking the lawn, grocery shopping ($400 worth!),Alex’s performance of “My Caterpillar” in the Music Festival (84.5 and another red ribbon!), house-cleaning & re-arranging our bedroom, a Board Conference Call, Preschool, Band, Intramurals, Running Club, Dance, Choir, dinner out with friends, a Tourism Research Forum, and a full house of Music Festival adjudicators all week.  Phew.  

The boys’ school was closed down on Monday because the school had no power.  Which also meant no phones or computers.  And?  From various reports – no emergency lighting on the Primary, One & Two Floor!  My sister-in-law was up at the school to pick up Luke because he was sick and offered to bring Evan home for me.  (Alex hadn’t gone to school because that was the morning he performed in the Music Festival).  Karen told me that she was almost in tears, trying to find the kids in the dark and that the teachers were using their cell phones to try to contact the parents of the 600 kids!  What a nightmare!!

Olivia’s new diet seems to be going well, although I haven’t weighed her yet to see if she’s gained anything.  

Sarah is obsessed with brushing her teeth these days because she doesn’t want to get a cavity.  I know I should be pleased that she’s so conscientious, but waking me at 4 am to ask if she’d brushed her teeth before she went to bed did not make me very happy!

Evan was given a registration form by his phys.ed teacher to join the Junior High Spring Basketball League.  He’ll be playing with boys in Grades 5-9 and the first practice is tonight.  He’s considering going away to an overight basketball camp this summer, so it will be good for him to meet and get to play with some older kids and build on his skills.

The boys are registered to run the kids’ portion of the Bluenose Marathon (4.2k) on the long weekend and D’Arcy and I will be running the 5k.  Back in January, we had thought we’d like to run the 10k, but I’ve hardly been out running lately and just won’t be ready.  5k it is.  Eek!  (I’m so not a natural runner…)

I have booked our summer vacation(s), so am excited to be planning those!  We will be staying at a hotel in Halifax for three nights surrounding our nephew’s wedding, and have rented a 29′ RV to go camping in PEI for five days.  It’s fun to have that to look forward to, knowing the busy season is just getting started.  Our numbers this year are down so far, and from the looks of our bookings, that trend is going to continue for the near future.  People are still booking though, so we won’t panic yet!!  

This is sort of a disjointed update, but that’s how my brain is working these days!!

It was a busy, family-filled weekend.  We spent Friday putting the house back in order and I am so happy that we got finished!  There were some tense moments while D’Arcy & I moved the piano to it’s new home in the living room after the kids went to bed, but we did it with only one small mark to the floor and only a few swear words between us.  

The boys were up and out to their basketball tournament by 7:40 Saturday morning.  There was still a ton of clean-up and dust to look after, so the girls and I stayed behind for the first two games, and went over to watch each play their last game.  I do love to watch them and look forward to the day I can really watch the game instead of watching snippets while trying to keep their sisters off the court…  The lighting wasn’t great for photos, but here are a few:

 

Alex on the court

Alex on the court

 

Evan on the court

Evan on the court

 

Watching Evan's game

Watching Evan's game

 

Waiting for the game to finish

Waiting for the game to finish

Playing together to keep Olivia (&Alex!) occupied!

Playing together to keep Olivia (&Alex!) occupied!

Right at the end of Evan’s game, Olivia fell down the stairs where we were sitting and got a huge scrape on her back when she fell against the doorstop.  I ended up taking her out, screaming.  I stopped to talk to another parent on the way out, and Olivia did a face-plant on the sidewalk!  It wasn’t her day!  She fell asleep in the van and we took the kids through the McDonald’s drive-thru for lunch.

When we arrived home, Michael, Emily & Phinn were already in our driveway, talking to Karen, Kevin & the boys.  We had such a fun visit with them and I got some good cuddle time with Phinn!  He was as good as gold whenever I held him and hardly fussed at all – even though his first tooth popped through during the visit!  His cousins were all in love with him and he got passed from person to person…

 

Surrounded by the girls

Surrounded by the girls

Surrounded by all the kids (notice Olivia is grabbing for him in every photo!)

Surrounded by all the kids (notice Olivia is grabbing for him in every photo!)

 

Olivia & Phinn - love the headband!

Olivia & Phinn - love the headband!

Alex & Phinn

Alex & Phinn

 

They brought tattoos...

They brought tattoos...

A bit of fun with cousin Mike - at one point I had to explain that "Actually, Mike is a grown-up!"

A bit of fun with cousin Mike - at one point I had to explain that "Actually, Mike is a grown-up!"

We ended up calling Karen & Kevin & the boys and they came down to join us for homemade pizzas.  The cousins all played outside for a bit and then watched a movie together while the rest of us ate.

Sunday, was a beautiful Spring day!  D’Arcy & Evan headed over to the Curling Club in the morning for the family bonspeil and Alex, Sarah, Olivia & I walked over to watch.  Unfortunately, they lost the game we watched, but won their second one.  Evan was thrilled to win a shirt, a game & $5!

 

D'Arcy & Evan, sweeping

D'Arcy & Evan, sweeping

Evan (and we!) thought it was pretty neat they used a picture of him on the poster!

Evan (and we!) thought it was pretty neat they used a picture of him on the poster!

Alex is competing in the Music Festival this week, so he & Maddie practiced “Jolly Holiday” from “Mary Poppins” at our place in the afternoon.

 

"Mary & Bert"

"Mary & Bert"

When D’Arcy & Evan got home, we all played outside in the sunshine with NO jackets!  (First time this year!)  D’Arcy cut down  back one of our Mock Oranges before the chain-saw quit.  

 

A man and his chain saw!

A man and his chain saw!

I barbequed (again, a first of the season!) and had a small fire.  Everybody was tired & worn out by the time supper was over and went to bed quickly.  Evan was tired enough, that he started to spill a lot of feelings he’d been bottling up about how much he hates school right now, etc.  I actually held him on my lap and we talked a lot of things out.  I don’t know how to make it better for him at the moment, but as long as he knows we love him and he can talk to us whenever, hopefully he’ll be alright.

In the meantime, both he & Alex said they want me to go to the School Opening today, so off I go…

Monday!

October 20, 2008

Mondays around here usually mean recovering from the weekend – the laundry and the mess are always piled up after everyone has been home for two days!  Today is no different, but last week was unusually busy around here.

I haven’t forgotten about the blog, but so many exciting things happened last week that are going to take some time & thought to put into words!  My cousins were here from Portland, OR, I got to go away overnight to a Board meeting and went on a graveyard tour, I had a visit with my grandmother for the first time in years and she knew me (!), we had a great-nephew born, and I started planning Sarah’s birthday party.  That on top of basketball registration, skating registration, two birthday parties, guests, and normal activities meant I was not at the computer very often!!

We were so happy to have Phil & Susan here, and glad that they brought along their friends Mark & Pam from North Carolina.  They are so easy to have around and the kids love them!  The last time they were here, I was expecting Sarah and they had to leave just shortly before she was born.  Phil’s daughter Lori & I are traveling eerily similar journeys through life with our four children.  Phil tells me he teases Lori by asking what she’ll do if we have another baby!  (Don’t worry, it’s not going to happen – although their story of adopting their youngest daughter from Russia is so compelling!)  We had one last dinner together here on Saturday night (lobster!) before they headed back to the States early Sunday morning. 

I got to leave and go away on a retreat overnight with one of the Boards I sit on mid-week.  The retreat was held at the beautiful Hillsdale House in Annapolis Royal.  The setting was beautiful and the leaves on the drive were absolutely gorgeous.  I drove down on Wednesday, a perfect, sunny, Fall day.  That night we met at Fort Anne and went on the last Graveyard Tour of the year.  I have heard our guests rave about it for years and it was everything I had expected and more!  I loved it! It wasn’t the least bit creepy or scary but I have to admit that when I got back to Room 5, the two ladies on the wall did creep me out a bit!  Everybody made out just fine without me, and the boys were thrilled that I arrived home just as they were getting home from school so that they could see my rental car – a white Jetta!

Our meeting had ended early on Thursday morning, so I took the time to visit my grandmother who is in a nursing home in the area before I went home.  I hadn’t seen her in about eight years, shortly after she had broken her hip.  At that time, she had dementia and thought I was my mother.  I do have a happy memory of her insisting on giving Evan some ice cream from that visit, so I wasn’t sure if I wanted to replace it with a memory of her in the state she is in now.  Love won out though, and I decided that even if she didn’t know me, I would never forgive myself if I were that close and didn’t go…

As luck would have it, the director of the nursing home where she lives has stayed with us as a guest a few times, so I sought her out and said, “I know it’s close to lunchtime and she probably won’t know me, but do you think I could visit my grandmother?”  She told me that it didn’t matter if she knew me or not, she would love a visit!  We started out in search of her, and I knew her the instant I saw her!  She was in a wheelchair, outside the dining hall and she looked wonderful, not at all what I had expected to find!  (The last time my parents were there, she was curled up in a ball in bed & unresponsive.)  I said, “Hi Gram!  It’s me, your grandaughter.” She beamed at me and repeated, “Yeah…yeah…yeah…yeah”.  I started to remind her of some of the things we used to do together and she said, “Oh.  My.  God!”  The nurses couldn’t believe that she recognized me, let alone spoke!  I started to cry and she moved her hand slightly, so I took it and held it while I kept talking & talking to her.  She was so nicely dressed in a pretty red cotton sweater, with a cheery yellow blanket over her lap.  Her hair was nicely brushed back and she even had on a string of pearls and clip-on earrings.  When I leaned in to kiss her, she smelled clean and well cared for.  This meant so much to me, especially because my visit was unannounced!  She didn’t ever break eye-contact with me and kept trying to tell me things, but I couldn’t understand her.  I told her over and over that I loved her and got her caught up on all the family news.  One of the other nurses called her “Princess” and another stopped and said – “Look at that – she knows you!”  I realized I was holding up her lunch, so I left her reluctantly with promises of sending more photos of the kids.  Needless to say, I am thrilled that I made the effort to go.  She’s 92, so this may very well have been my last visit.  Funnily enough, on my last visit before she died with my other grandmother, who had Alzheimer’s, she recognized me and called me by name after not knowing me for years.  Funny how the brain works!

Yesterday, we had a meeting of our local B&B association.  We are part of a larger organization which is becoming dysfunctional so over the next few weeks, I will be busy preparing some presentations to make at our upcoming AGM.  These presentations involve going over the Constitution & by-laws with a fine tooth comb, not something I enjoy doing! 

This week involves Curling Registration, PTG, the beginning of skating for the season, planning a birthday party and the debut of Highschool Musical 3.  I have been told that you can buy advance tickets at the movie theatre so that is on my “to do” list…  I’d better go get at some of these things!