Tomorrow is June and I can’t wait to turn the page.  The past couple of weeks we have been busy running from one activity to the next, wrapping things up for the end of the school year and marking special occasions.  The June calendar page has far less on it than the past few months!

To-do lists have been long and sleep has been short.

I was in Digby at a tourism conference on Thursday & Friday.  It was beautiful & fun.  I was interviewed on camera about how the proposed new convention centre in Halifax would be beneficial for our business.  (1/3 of rooms in May were people traveling either pre or post convention!)  With many people feeling the outlook for tourism this year is going to be bleak, it was energizing to network and share ideas.

On Friday morning, I met up with the incoming Chair of the Board and we went for a morning run from the Digby Pines to the Ferry Terminal.  There was a beautiful rainbow over the water  and the sun had just come up.  What a way to start the day!

Morning Run from the Digby Pines to the Digby - Saint John Ferry Terminal

I arrived home just in time for D’Arcy to pull some reuben sandwiches out of the oven to go with a salad he & the boys had made for a late supper. (The girls were having a sleepover with my parents!) I immediately got started on the preparations for Alex’s First Communion Dinner. He had asked for spare ribs and I was making him a cake. I also had to make some cookies for Sarah’s dance recital celebration. Her grandmother let me know that she was wondering what her cookies would look like this year.  Apparently, I unknowingly started a new “tradition” last year after her first recital.

This year's ballerina cookies, to match Sarah's costume

Olivia came home first thing in the morning while Ginna took Sarah to her dress rehearsal in full costume and hair. We took Evan to his pick-up baseball game at the park, where there weren’t enough kids, so both D’Arcy & Alex ended up playing as well. Olivia & I ran errands and every time we went back to the park to check if they were finished, Olivia wanted to play on the playground. Evan was very pleased that he got three hits and Alex got two. Hopefully that’s a good sign that this season will go better than last!

We were expecting our guests to arrive for Alex’s First Communion Dinner at 3:30, so we got home and rushed around to get ready. D’Arcy was just finishing mopping the floors when my parents arrived with Auntie Ruth. Shortly afterwards, Theresa, Jeff (Alex’s godparents) and the boys arrived. We were a little bit rushed because we were trying to eat before Alex had to be at Mass at 5:30. Just as we sat down to supper, Grandma, Grandpa & Aunt Shannon arrived. We were happy to pull up a few more places and we all had a nice meal.

At one point, Sarah told me that she was kind of “scared” of Alex having his First Communion.  I reassured her that there was nothing to be afraid of when Evan interjected, “Unless Olivia goes into anaphylaxis and starts throwing up at Mass like she did at my First Communion!”

Um, right…

Luckily that didn’t happen this time!

The food and conversation were plentiful and the kids were all well-behaved at Mass.  We came back to the house afterwards for cake, cookies and photos.  Theresa, Jeff & the boys stayed overnight and we sat around watching the hockey game & talking (& laughing!) until after midnight.

Relaxing on the deck while the ribs were on the barbeque

All the Grade 3's after their First Communion

Alex with his godparents, Theresa & Jeff

Tyler, Aidan, Alex, Sarah, Olivia, Evan, Brendan

Our family

Alex with Aunt Shannon

Alex with both sets of grandparents & Auntie Ruth

Time for cake!

Sarah sees her ballerina cookies

Alex with his first watch - a gift from Theresa & Jeff!

On Sunday, we were all up shortly after seven and had breakfast before Theresa, Jeff & the boys had to hit the road for home and we had to get Sarah ready for her recital.

She had her make-up done at home, but then went to her grandparents’ to get her costume on and her hair done.  They took her to the auditorium so that we didn’t have to get there with the other kids too early.

Getting her make-up done for her dance recital. Sarah will rarely take her glasses off (even when she sleeps!) because she sees double and everything is blurry. It is amazing how straight her glasses keep her eyes!

Our beautiful ballerina!

With Katerina, her best friend

Visiting with her godparents at intermission

On the stage!

Chloe's group at the finale. Chloe is on the far left.

I love this one - Katerina is turned around talking to Sarah during the finale!

Sarah & Chloe

When we got home, Sarah carefully arranged her flowers in a vase and commented that her dinner guests would love her flowers.  When I told her we weren’t having any dinner guests this year because of Alex’s party the night before, her face fell.  A quick phone call later with her godparents and to the pizza place, a party was born!  It’s amazing what a pink table-cloth, candles, wine glasses and flowers can do to make a party!

This year's less-fancy-but-still-special-last-minute-ballet-dinner

And of course, the leftover ballerina cookies topped off the celebration!  I love these photos as she looks so pleased to be handing them out to Martha & Stephane!

I’m exhausted.  I just hope I don’t have to make dancers with kilts for her highland dance recital in two weeks!

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“I ‘llergic to that”

January 12, 2010

Olivia seems to be getting a handle on her allergies.  She understands that some things will make her sick and she will rhyme off the list on her medic alert bracelet.  Lately, she has brought this up in different situations that make us giggle, such as:

  • When playing “wii sword slice”, whenever the master throws out the egg, she will announce, “I ‘llergic to that!”
  • When playing with the new toy microwave at my parents’ house, my mother says that the egg has been put on top of the piano, not to be touched because Olivia has told her she’s allergic!
  • While watching Disney’s “Planet Earth” this weekend, when she saw the pack of lions, she looked up at me very seriously and announced, “I ‘llergic to tigers!” (cats!)

Life has become much easier since she seems to comprehend that if she’s in contact with something she is allergic to, she will become sick.  When she would fuss over Christmas because I wasn’t including her in a trip to the grocery store, I would just tell her that there were too many nuts out at the store and she would accept that.  The same went for all the treats that were out before Christmas.  She’s very conscientious about asking “Is that safe for me” when we give her something new.

I hope that she continues to be vigilant and self-monitor.

In the meantime, we’ll be sure to keep her away from any & all tigers!

Her bubble has burst!

November 13, 2009

Yesterday, we all passed a new milestone – Olivia went to her library program which includes stories & crafts without any of her regular caregivers with her.  Since her birthday, she is now eligible to go to the 3-5 year old programs, which parents (or grandmothers in our case) do not attend.  We asked Sarah if she was ready to help Olivia out and to remind her not to put anything – including her hands – in her mouth!  Sarah said she was.  My mother took her downstairs at the Library and asked the librarian, in front of the other parents, if she was comfortable with the epi-pens and when she said she was, she said good-bye and went upstairs.

It was somewhat nerve-wracking for both Ginna & Mom, who was at home.

It was fun for Sarah to have her sister in her program.

I can only imagine that it was liberating & exciting for Olivia to have some independence.

My mother told me that she did peek in and Olivia was watching Sarah and doing everything that she did.  She was listening nicely and made a whimsical paper mask that the girls had a great time with when they were finished.

Two years ago, we were so afraid to take Olivia anywhere because she was having allergic reactions to so much.  The library was especially scary because who knows what kids are eating or have on their hands while they read library books!!  When I expressed this concern to the allergist when she was a baby, he said, “Yes, you’re right.  She does have a chance of having an anaphylactic reaction when you take her places like the library, but she can’t live in a bubble either.”

I’m so glad that in only two years, with the exception of having to wear a medic-alert bracelet, take a bag full of epi-pens and antihistamines with her everywhere, and ask “is this safe for me” before she puts anything in her mouth, she is now living as normal a life as her siblings did which includes weekly trips to the library!

That’s one bubble I’m glad has burst!

What were we thinking?!

September 6, 2009

Evan turned 11 yesterday and we gave him a drum set.

We have four children and live in a bed & breakfast.

Need I say more?

Actually, he (and we) all had a really loud great day.

The usual birthday tradition around here is that when you come down to breakfast in the morning, your gifts are waiting for you on the table at your place, but we had stashed the drum set in the guest living room and told him he could only go into certain rooms until the guests left.  We had planned to send him on a scavenger hunt to find them, but Olivia went upstairs and told him, “Evan – your drums – SURPRISE!!”  Then Alex, who was bursting to tell him, confirmed that yes, we had gotten him a drum set!  So we gave it to him without the planned fanfare.

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Did I mention I have four children, a husband, and live in a B&B?

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Oh yes, and my father is around a lot as well…

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Luckily, the birthday boy was willing to share, and I did note that he definitely had the steadiest beat!!

When asked what he would like to do for his birthday, earlier in the month, he had two suggestions:  a sleepover with his friend Alexander, and go-karting.  We picked Alexander up shortly after lunch and headed to Halifax.  As it turned out, it was the same price for six people as it was for five, so Evan suggested that we invite his cousin Mike.  It turned out he was keen, so they met us there.

We hadn’t thought to book ahead, so when we arrived, there were no less than 50 frat boys swarming around the place.  We reserved a spot for an hour’s time and headed to East Side Mario’s for some nachos & a drink.
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Cousin Mike will get his pay-back when Phinn gets a little older…

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By the time we got back to the go-kart place it was just us and two other teenagers in the group.  What a blast we had!!  Mike won and lets just say, I won’t be letting Evan drive with his friend Alexander when they turn 16 – he must have crashed ten times!!  (Thanks Emily, for waiting patiently and playing photographer – next time you & I are going head-to-head!!)

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On your mark... get set...

On your mark... get set...

The birthday boy

The birthday boy

We said goodbye to Mike, Em & Phinn, and headed back home to join the girls and my parents at our place for pizza & cake.  We had arranged to have it delivered at 6:00.  Evan was born at 6:11 p.m., so we got this photo as he “officially” became an 11 year old!

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When I have the energy, I try to make each of the kids a birthday cake that somewhat matches the theme of their birthday.  I really wasn’t sure how to go about making a go-kart, so I set to work making a drum set instead.  I told D’Arcy what I had in mind and he built & painted the stand for it.

Evan was surprised, to say the least – and it tasted great!!  (It was an egg-free vanilla cake made with butter and yogurt, had lemon filling between the layers and cream cheese frosting!)

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After supper, the girls went to my parents’ for a sleepover, the boys played the wii while we cleaned up, then we played Canada-opoly.

And laughed.

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We packed it in about 10:30 and sent the boys up to bed while we set the table and got ready for 6:30 breakfast for the guests.

The boys had decided that they were going to try to stay awake at least until midnight.  When I went to bed, they were giggling quietly wile talking about school, sports & girls.  D’Arcy came up shortly after me, and reported that as he listened from the bottom of the stairs, he could hear Alexander saying, “Evan, are you fading on me?”

They reported this morning that Evan fell asleep at midnight and Alexander at 12:01!

I’d say it was a very Happy Birthday!!

True Confessions

August 26, 2009

D’Arcy took Alex & Olivia to Evan’s baseball game in the park tonight.  When they got home, Alex asked D’Arcy if the granola bar he had was safe for Olivia?  Turns out he’d already given her some in the van!!  (Apparently they WERE safe – phew!)

Also, Sarah confessed tonight.  Almost a full year ago, “Olivia” set off two of her epipens!  Click here for the story. Tonight, Sarah confessed to her father that she was the one who set them off and said that Olivia did it so she wouldn’t get into trouble.  It’s lucky for her that we have a “tell the truth and you don’t get into as much trouble” rule here!  (That, and the fact she was still three at the time…)

I guess that does go to show that the truth does always come out eventually!!

I confess that I just never know what each day will bring!!

O Canada!

July 2, 2009

Yesterday was Canada Day and we had a great day!

We had invited some favourite friends over for a barbeque, so spent the morning cooking & getting things ready so we didn’t have to spend all our time in the kitchen once they got here.  When Sarah had woken up in the morning, the first thing she asked about was going to the Park to get her face painted for Canada Day – that was what she remembered from spending the day in the Park last year!

We all wore our Canada Day t-shirts from last year and the park was packed!!

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We managed to walk right past the playground which gave me much joy. (Hundreds of kids who had eaten who-knows-what would have raised my blood pressure had we stopped there!) Sarah knew right where to go to find the face painters from last year, so off we went, on a mission! We did stop at the van sponsored by the local radio station, who were giving out Canada Flags and – SAFE potato chips!! While we waited in line, D’Arcy & the boys went off to buy some cotton candy and Olivia ate some for the very first time! She loved it!

I asked her what it tasted like and she innocently replied, “Sugah”

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Evan wasn’t feeling very photogenic…

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The line was long, so Olivia spent some time exploring the flower beds .  (No, I didn’t notice until we got to the park that when I had told everyone to put their shoes on, Olivia put slippers on – we just went with it; that’s what you do with four children…)

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Alex & Sarah asked if they could go and explore the creek. I love these photos!!

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A conservative estimate of the time we spent in the face-painting line would be an hour-and-a-half. Sarah was so happy to get her “Hello Kitty” with the sparkly pink bow!  They closed the line two families behind us!!

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And Olivia will do anything to be like her big sister! (She chose a yellow bow though…)

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Alex asked for “Sponge Bob”.

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As per his sister’s (Olivia’s) instructions, Evan was a great sport and got an Elmo!!

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We were running very late as usual (did I say that?!) by this time, so while the boys were getting finished, D’Arcy started off to the van with the girls.

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We got home in time to put the roast on the rotisserie and get the kitchen cleaned up.

Sarah thought the napkins were funny!

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The kids had fun together while we relaxed out back.

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D’Arcy (&I) were excited to try the new rotisserie BBQ. Perhaps he more than I…

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Don’t the girls look like they’re enjoying their meal?

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I promised the kids that we might play a game with them, so we drew names for teams and played Children’s Trivial Pursuit. Although the game got called for fireworks, Colin & Alex were clearly winning…

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The winners: see how intent they were on each question??

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My crazy oldest boys:

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Unfortunately, the girls had crashed by the time the fireworks went off, but the rest of us had a perfect view from our deck.

Happy Canada Day!!

Olivia rocked her weigh-in at 14.2 kg.  (“Her” goal was 14.5 kg!)  Basically, they wanted to see her gain between seven & nine grams (on average) per day, and she gained 7.8!  She’ll have another weigh-in in another month, but at least I can stop worrying about having to give her special formula.  (I’m sure the McDonald’s french fries shes had about five times in the past month have helped too!!)

Alex didn’t get such a good report.  I won’t go on about it because it hurts my heart, but his vision has dropped three lines in eight weeks, so as of tomorrow morning, he goes back to using atropine eye drops daily.  He was given a choice of patching or drops and he chose drops.  He sobbed when he realized what was happening and luckily, we had one of our favourite orthoptists with us.  Together, we reassured him that it was NOT his fault; that eye is just stubborn.  

To put this into perspective, when he had his last appointment (Apr.6) his vision was 20/40 which is considered legal driving vision.  Today, he could not get any letters on the 20/60 line.  If he loses any letters on the 20/70 line, he qualifies for APSEA again. 

We never dreamed this would happen.

By Alex’s age, eyes should be fairly stable and to go back so far is so rare.

We will deal with it as best we can and put on a brave face for his sake.  In the meantime, our hearts break at the idea that his eye just does not want to see!