Various Matters

February 4, 2010

*I have discovered how to ensure that none of my children will ask for a bite of my sandwich: add pickles.  In fact, by adding enough, they will hold their noses and run away.  (Perhaps if I just carried an open jar of pickles around, I could buy myself some alone-time; wish I’d discovered this one years ago…)

*Still haven’t found the missing Valentines.  Going out and buying another box will guarantee that they are found, but negates the great buy of purchasing them for a dollar weeks ago.

*I fed my family salmon burgers on home-made whole-wheat buns for supper last night.  Olivia took one look and put herself to bed, sleeping until 7:30 this morning.  Must remember that recipe for future cranky days…

*I had a wonderful, fun visit getting caught up with my childhood friend, Carla yesterday.  She was visiting from Ontario with her husband Mark & son Jack.  Neither Carla nor I could remember the last time we’d seen each other (she moved away in Grade nine) but we were as comfortable as if we’d seen each other last week.  It was fun to have an eight-month-old in the house too!  Unfortunately, we didn’t take any photos, but she’s hoping to be here this summer for the Reunion.

*My daughters do a great imitation of Jack Sprat and his wife.  When eating leftover supper for lunch, Olivia had a plate-full of only spare ribs & rice while Sarah would eat only squash & broccoli.

*Still looking for the missing library books…  Sarah asked this morning, “Is there anywhere we haven’t looked yet?”  I don’t think so, but there must be since they have to be in the house somewhere.   I guess we’ll have to renew them to buy ourselves some more time.  When my brother was about this age, one of his library books went missing.  My mother searched and searched all over their house.  (Sound familiar?)  Eventually, it turned up under the crisper in the fridge where he had hidden it; he loved the book so much he didn’t want to return it! (Yes, I’ve checked there too!)

*I’m currently selling cheese (band), blueberries (school) and hanging baskets (choir).  The cheese really sells well, hanging baskets in Nova Scotia in February – not so much!  (They won’t actually be delivered until May.)  Of course there are 588 kids around town selling blueberries, so who’s left to sell them to?!  If you are interested in any of the above, just leave me a comment!

*I kept track of all our grocery receipts last month since we’re trying to be more frugal.  There are some things we’d like to do to the house this year on top of the maintenance we have to do and the money has to come from somewhere!  We spent $1277.63 on groceries, 11.63 eating out (I treated Olivia & Alex to a trip through the McDonald’s drive thru after their appointments at the IWK) and zero on alcohol.  D’Arcy freaked out a bit when I told him that number, but if you work it out, it equates to $6.87 per person per day.  We’ll see how we do this month…

*When we registered Sarah for school last week, we expressed an interest in French Immersion.  Yesterday, we had a call that enrollment for that program was lower than expected, so they have extended the deadline until March 10th.  Back when the boys first went to school, there was a lottery to get your child into a French Immersion class!  How things can change in only a few years!

*The other night, our seats at the supper table all got switched around.  Sarah was sitting in her father’s seat and he was sitting in Alex’s seat.  As a result, he was pretending to be one of the kids and started playing with his carrots, becoming a walrus, unicorn, etc.  The rest of the children joined in, brining much laughter while their mother told them not to play with their food.  Now they ‘re asking to have carrots every night…

*From the sounds of things, D’Arcy’s Thesis will not be defended in time to walk across the stage in May. Bummer. He’s still going to try to have it finished ASAP so that it is no longer hanging over his head. December graduation, here we come…

*We went curling at a fun-spiel on the weekends with our friends. We drew tiles to be assigned teams and I happened to be put on a team with a man who didn’t seem to realize that it was “fun night”. He got after me in the first game because I had my broom in the wrong place when he was delivering the shot. One of the other men on my team told me that no one ever wants to curl with this man because he’s an a**. Later, I was spoken to again, for talking to our friend Janice, who was on the opposing team in that game, as he was delivering his shot. We ended up winning both of our games and at the end of the evening, as he was leaving, this cranky man said to me, “You were pretty good – for someone who doesn’t curl!” Gee thanks! Can we curl together again sometime?? All in all the evening was really fun and it was great to get out on a “date”. I’m hoping that Evan, Alex, D’Arcy & I will be able to make up a team in the family curling event this year!

Back to regularly scheduled life…

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It seems I’ve been distracted from finishing my vacation post the past couple of days.  Can’t imagine why!!  I’m pleased to report that Olivia’s doing great with yogurt the past two days!!  Because we’ve been on the road, I was afraid to give her much more than that, but we did put cow’s milk in the waffles this morning!  Baby steps…  Tomorrow, we’ll give her some swiss cheese, and I put chocolate milk on the grocery list tonight!

So…

On Sunday morning, we got up and started getting ready for a 5k Lung Run in support of the Nova Scotia Lung Association.  We first heard about it during the weekend of the Blue Nose Marathon, and since we were already in the city, decided to participate.  This particular run helps to send kids with asthma to a special summer camp.  Olivia has an 80% chance of developing asthma by the age of four because of her Type 1 Egg Allergy.  Yikes!

We all got stretched out and met up with Erin at Pier 21.  She was running with her running club and had a goal time of around 21 minutes. (Our goal was to run as a family while having fun.)  About 1km into it, Alex started asking how much longer…  We had to keep convincing him that he could do it, although we did make frequent stops and we walked at least as much as we ran.  At least we did it!!

Searching for a water bottle

Searching for a water bottle

Erin did manage to complete the 5k in just 21 minutes, then she ran back to join us and stayed with Alex until the end when he sprinted to the finish.

High fives for Aunt Erin as the front of the pack had already made the first turn

High fives for Aunt Erin as the front of the pack had already made the first turn

We took some photos while we were running along the dockyard

We took some photos while we were running along the dockyard

Alex was too busy concentrating on breathing to pose

Alex was too busy concentrating on breathing to pose

And of course, we had to stop to take photos of the "Sweet Sarah"!

And of course, we had to stop to take photos of the "Sweet Sarah"!

The whole family with Aunt Erin

The whole family with Aunt Erin

After the run, we went into Pier 21 for some face painting & the reception. We were excited to see a photo of our team selling lemonade as part of the slide show. We raised $55.60 over two days for the NS Lung Association!

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Alex the pirate

Alex the pirate

Olivia was all over it - she had a frog on her leg and three butterflies on her face!

Olivia was all over it - she had a frog on her leg and three butterflies on her face!

Sarah had a dolphin on her arm & balloons on her knee

Sarah had a dolphin on her arm & balloons on her knee

We went back to the hotel to get changed & park the van, then headed out to Boston Pizza for lunch.  We made the decision not to go to the gift opening which was going to start at two, and headed for the Discovery Centre where Mike, Emily & Phinn met us.  After two days of being on their best behaviour, the kids were excited to be able to play and act like the monkeys they are!

Sarah was excited she was "this heavy"!  (It was actually a machine to measure reaction times!)

Sarah was excited she was "this heavy"! (It was actually a machine to measure reaction times!)

Bodyless Sarah

Bodyless Sarah

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Evan's thousand faces

Evan's thousand faces

D'Arcy in the spinning chair

D'Arcy in the spinning chair

Evan, also enjoying the spinning chair

Evan, also enjoying the spinning chair

Phinn gave D'Arcy a huge shock when their hands touched on this!

Phinn gave D'Arcy a huge shock when their hands touched on this!

Bubble fun with cousin Mike's help

Bubble fun with cousin Mike's help

Evan & Olivia's turn

Evan & Olivia's turn

Oliva, thwarting D'Arcy's bubble efforts

Oliva, thwarting D'Arcy's bubble efforts

Sarah, working on her "project"

Sarah, working on her "project"

The boys (big & little) all tried to outrun one another

The boys (big & little) all tried to outrun one another

Future scientists, checking out the Science Hall of Fame

Future scientists, checking out the Science Hall of Fame

Acting even more like monkeys than usual...

Acting even more like monkeys than usual...

At 5:00, when it closed, we all walked down to the waterfront to check out the Buskers at the Busker Festival.  We all agreed, the acts we saw weren’t necessarily “family friendly”!

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Our gorgeous, happy, "great"-nephew, Phinn

Our gorgeous, happy, "great"-nephew, Phinn

We left Mike, Emily & Phinn and walked back to the hotel.  We called around to a few different pizza places to order a safe pizza for the kids (cheese for the older ones; olive oil, red pepper & black olives for Olivia) and went to the pool for one last swim.

Synchronized swimmers?

Synchronized swimmers?

A little hot tub action...

A little hot tub action...

We fed the kids and Kathryn babysat while we went down to the hotel lounge and had some supper there.  We had originally planned to go to a different restaurant, but it was closed on Sundays!  It didn’t matter, we enjoyed the hotel and we didn’t have to walk so far!

Unfortunately, our time came to an end much too quickly and we were home on Monday morning in time to get Alex to Musical Theatre camp at 9:00.

It was a great weekend and I can guarantee that none of us will ever forget Chris & Lisa’s wedding weekend!

This was the subject line of an email I arrived home to find yesterday afternoon after spending the day in the city with Alex & Sarah. I just love being harassed by strangers who are too cowardly to sign their name!

Original message (Only changed to take out the name of the boy’s school):

Hello there,

Last evening my son unfortunately stopped by your front door and politely asked if you would like to buy a magazine subscription which would support his school. You said no to my kind son, which is fine but you didn’t leave it at that, you continued to ask my son ” for what school” he explained “______ Middle School”, you then to an 11 yr. old boy said “oh I support the schools around here”. You Rude, Rude person, not lady, person. People like YOU unfortunately ruin for children that go out and put an effort, an effort in trying to raise money for their school, charitable organizations etc. The comment you made “I support schools around here” to my 11 yr. old son could be a comment made to another adult but let me tell you it is not a comment you make to a child, again you rude, rude person for feeling the need to say that to a child.

Your attitude as an adult stinks and I will never (not just myself) support you and your business.

T

p.s. I hope another child never comes knocking on your door, I can honestly say I am fearful for that.

Okay, so I replied and copied it to the Principal & Vice-Principal of her child’s school:

Dear “emailaddress@eastlink.ca”

I’m sorry that you felt I was rude to your 11 year old son who was out raising money for his school after dark last night. As Co-President of the _______ School PTG and mother of four children, I can assure you I most certainly was not rude to your son. We do support the schools around here, the school where my husband is a teacher, as well as the Boy Scouts, the Girl Guides, the Band, the Preschool, the Girls’ Choir, the basketball program, the curling program, and others. The children at ______ School are told that they are only supposed to fundraise to their own family & friends. I didn’t recognize your son and I know most of the kids in the neighbourhood, so that is why I asked what school he was fundraising for. These days, for everyone, there is only so much money to go around and I would not support any of our students fundraising in your area, unless it was to somebody they know.

Sincerely,
(My Full Name)

Forty-two minutes later, I received the following:

(My name),

Now I understand you are the type of person whom likes to make unnecessary comments. “oh I support schools around here” after learning my son was not from around your area. “who was out raising money for his school after dark”. Now do you feel better after making that unnecessary comment. For your information my son had finished an activity “in your area” and was on our way home, I thought we would make the one stop just after 7:00 pm as I waited in my van watching my son at your front door.

This is not about the money, it is not about who you support, how many children you have etc. I can assure you, that indeed you were rude to my son. (My name), it was not the way you said it that made you rude, it was what you said. After asking a child from what school he is fundraising for is fine, but the need to make the comment you made after learning he is not from your area is RUDE. After knowing my son was not from around your area you should have left it at that. You can be assure that it was the first time in “your area” and the last.

T

I did NOT respond to her last email, and trust that her school will deal with this appropriately on Tuesday. I take comfort in the fact that the friends she might be bad-mouthing us to, are probably not the kind of clientelle we would cater to. Whoops – was I just being rude? 😉

Evan spent every morning last week at band camp and loved it!  He’s a percussionist, so I guess D’Arcy had better get started on that sound-proof room in the basement!  He has two friends in the band with him – Mira who is also a percussionist, and Ross, who is playing the baritone.  The third percussionist was a boy who played on Evan’s baseball team last year and one of the highlights of the week was when he threw up “purple” on the drum on Thursday.  We all went to their concert on Friday afternoon to hear everything that they had learned  (three notes)! 

I was quite disappointed to find out that the parents’ auxillary has stopped supporting beginner band as of this year because the person hired to lead the Senior High band does not feel that kids need to be starting this early.  I totally disagree.  This is the age they pick it up the fastest.  Luckily, Evan’s instructor also believes in the value of starting band at this age, so she is determined to continue the program on her own.  The thing I worry about most is that the fees will be so expensive that band will be come an elitest program and that other kids who might want to, will not be able to join as a result.  

Sounds like I have another cause on my hands…