Easter Weekend

April 5, 2010

We had a wonderful, busy, fun-filled, sunshiny, spring-like Easter weekend that went by far too quickly.  It involved curling as a family (with the Easter Bunny!), music festival practices, sleep-overs, family meals, family runs, outside play, an Easter Egg Hunt and an Easter hunt (yes, they are different!), a lost tooth, baseball, a highland dance exam and a day without any water in the house, among other things.

The best part of all?  For the first Easter in three years, we didn’t go anywhere near the hospital!!  YAY!

I’ve been busy tonight getting ready for a B&B meeting in Annapolis Royal tomorrow, so details & photos will have to wait until tomorrow.  Off to organize breakfast for the guests…

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Attitude

March 2, 2010

Can a three-year old have PMS?  Our daughter has been showing us some attitude lately.  Well, both daughters really, but one in particular:

I don’t know if she’s a slow learner or what, but it’s taken her until age three to really master the word “NO!”

But master it, she has…

Her behaviour has been bad enough that instead of staying on the wagon during the week, I opened a bottle of wine while making supper last night.

Last night she said no to sitting in her seat at the table…  she had a tantrum when I wouldn’t give her a bowl full of chocolate chips before supper…  she said no to eating her supper… she didn’t like the way I poured her milk…  she wrote in a book… she tormented her siblings… she didn’t like the pyjamas I picked out for her so threw them at me…  I told her to pick her own pajamas and she wouldn’t…

We had a few staring contests and each stomped our feet a few times.

She got sent to bed without a story – tragedy.

In the midst of this, Sarah, who had made a fuss earlier in the day because I gave her a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch instead of the toast she wanted, was acting like an angel.  She quickly got herself ready and into bed, smiling as she tucked herself in under the covers, reveling in the fact her sister was in trouble.

Sigh.

First thing this morning, when Olivia came downstairs, she was still in a sour mood.  She wanted milk and I put it in the “wrong” cup.  She threw herself on the floor and I told her to either stop or go back to bed. (Thank goodness we didn’t have any guests last night!)  I went about  getting the three boys together and off to school and she was still on the floor, but not crying.  She asked politely for the cup she wanted so we transferred the milk from one to another and we both “won” that battle.

As D’Arcy headed out the door, he advised me, “Please don’t kill our daughter while I’m gone.”

I think he was joking.

Today was better.  The girls played together quite well and there were no big tantrums.  (We did have a brief stare-down when I asked her to hand over the knitting needles she had found and was playing with…)  At lunch, Sarah asked for a grilled cheese sandwich.

I can’t win.

I spent some time in the laundry room, folding wash and then running the baskets upstairs to put it all away.  When I checked in on the girls, who had been very quiet, I discovered that Hurricane Olivia had struck in our play room.

(And this was taken before she dumped that big container of markers & coloured pencils out on top of the mess that was there already!)

I hope she’s still cute when she’s a teenager because I have a feeling this is just the beginning…

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.

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…

Family Literacy Day

January 27, 2010

Today is Family Literacy Day.  How appropriate that today was also the day that Sarah registered for Primary.

School.

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...

Happy Happy!!

January 1, 2010

We’ve been having a wonderful Christmas break, spending much quality time with friends & family.   We rang in the New Year with some of our closest friends and their families, even a phone call from Janelle in Tennessee.  We imposed naps on the kids in the afternoon, so everyone was still awake at midnight!  It was fun and when the last person leaves at noon the next day, you know it’s been a good party!

Nate, making a little fun on his own

Some of the kids had fun playing lego upstairs

Some did crafts...

while another group played board games

One in particular just floated around acting goofy...

And the grown-ups got caught up

With five minutes to go, we all gathered in the living room to ring in 2010 together

Sandy, Dave & Nate

Colin

Mira & Suzana

Martha, Stephane & Chloe

Kim & Jean Claude

At midnight, we passed around the bubbly

...and there was lots of kissing!!

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!