Sunday, May 31, 2009

Canoe Trip!

What do you get when you combine 8 Cub Scouts, 3 leaders, 4 canoes and 1 local creek running through the neighborhood? Why the recipe for an outdoor adventure just a hop skip and jump from your door!

They launched their canoes just inside the perimeter highway about a mile east of this little creek's source. It was quite the adventure getting started where the creek barely seemed wide enough to hold a canoe! Then they followed it as it slowly wound through our neighborhood on it's way to empty into the nearby river. In their 5 km of travels they had to go under 5 different bridges - and two of those were pretty tight squeezes!

I'm trying to decide who had more fun... them in the canoes, or me chasing them from bridge to bridge snapping pictures of the journey!

There will be portages

8 times along the way they actually had to get out of their canoes and "portage" over rocks and low spots in the creek. But they were quickly on their way again each time!

A day to remember

I'm sure my boys have walked away with a new and entirely different view of the the creek that runs so close to our home. It's a small, over-looked tributary that we ride the bike paths along-side and drive over, around or past every day. But never before has it been a place to explore or adventure or experience.

This whole trip took place within city limits. I had 5 different bridges to catch them from just in the 5 km stretch that they travelled... but it was as serene as being anywhere out in the country from where they were sitting!

Grant's Old Mill

This was the destination. Grant's old mill. I can't remember how old it is but it predates every building and road around it.... the water-wheel on the outside is turned by the current... and it, in turn, rotates the huge grinding stone inside that turns wheat into flour. They still open the place and operate it as a historic site and let you buy small bags of stone-ground flour.

Beautiful place to end this home-grown day of adventure!

A job well done!

This was definitely the high light of the weekend.

"AWESOME" was all they had to say when I asked them how it was :)

Once upon a time there were ponies

Well actually the carousel HAD ponies too.... but with the assortment of wild animals available, they were like second hand citizens as far as the kids were concerned!

Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!

Riding the Dragon

My girl was game to try anything with her big brother beside her.... but THIS ride.... the Dragon roller-coaster? She loved it SO much she ended up riding it 5 times.... even when he was busy elsewhere.... brave enough to fly solo when she's having this much fun!

GIANT slide

I think she was a little horrified coming down... but at the bottom finally decided that it WAS actually fun.... BIG and a little scary, but fun! My poor boy.... he takes his "big brother" responsibility so seriously... he didn't mean to slide down without her.... the hands on his head are his "Oh, MAN" expression ;)

Remember when THIS was still a thrill??

Good times :)

Yeah, he looks like he's having fun!

You see that weeee little speck in the rainbow colored jacket? The one waaaaaay up there (hidden behind the netting) trying to hide and duck under the rail to escape the horror of this ride he insisted on going on with his buddy? Yep, that's my brave son!

Buffalo BBQ 2009

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Pass the trophy, would you?

Yes, I'm in the running for mother of the year again....

My youngest son is the funniest little man around. There's no emotion that he feels by halves.... everything he feels he expresses 110%.

Which is challenging when he's angry or hurt or upset.... but incredibly endearing when he's happy or loving or grateful.

He is so genuinely thrilled with any gift he receives.... or a new pair of shoes, or any new clothes I bring home for him - you can't help but smile.

I collected thanks for his new runners over a period of two weeks... and now, almost two months later, they're still his "favorite NEW runners!"

I bought him a hoodie jacket from Old Navy in the fall. He was so excited he slept with it.... and even now, months later, he's crushed when said hoodie jacket is unavailable due to laundry.

Cute, charming, funny little man *smile*


Well, we've been up to the cottage these past two weekends... and to say I'm a little behind on laundry is an understatement.

Yesterday, when getting dressed in the morning, my boy called upstairs to me - frantic because there was no clean underwear in his drawer....

He HAD clean underwear.... still buried in a basket somewhere.... but in the effort to speed my morning along (to NOT have to stop and go through clean laundry while battling the tangles out his toddler sister's hair) - I just yelled down to him to grab a pair out his brother's drawer!

(I had just bought a few dozen new pairs for my oldest son.... there was still a stack, never yet worn, piled in there.... and they're only 17 mths apart.... they'd fit)

I never heard from him again and he came up dressed, so I assumed this solution worked for him.

And it did.

What I didn't realize, however, was how much this solution thrilled him.

I didn't notice anything different about this new brand of boxer briefs I'd picked up for my oldest.... they were just a different brand, a good price. But, unbeknownst to me, they were also sewn a little differently, a slightly different style.... with a more pronounced "pouch" (I guess that's what you'd call it?) for supporting the.... ummm..... goods, so to speak.

My little man was tickled pink to snag a pair of his brother's "big boy" underwear.

Of course I had no clue. He didn't say anything to me.... in fact, by the time we walked out the door I'd completely forgotten about the exchange - or who's what he was wearing.

Until his teacher called me in the late afternoon. (you know what's coming, don't you? )

After pleasantries, she started off with "apparently C didn't have any clean underwear this morning?" (and I'm thinking: REALLY?? Your teacher needed to know this WHY my man??.... I still have to look this woman in the face....)

She moved along to "and I guess you told him to wear a pair of D's" (OMG.... my cheeks were burning.... this conversation could only get worse)

"Well, he was really excited about having "big boy" underwear - so he decided to show Hope at recess"

(how do you respond to that?)

All I could come up with was "Oh My God.... I am so sorry" .... as I tried to stammer out how he HAD clean underwear.... and the underwear he was wearing was new.... and it wasn't really any different than HIS underwear..... and Oh how embarrassing!

Then she explained how they'd handled it and really, it was fine.... but she just had to let me know....

But it was horribly embarrassing.... getting the call from the teacher.... and all because I can't keep up with the laundry.... and now the teachers know it! Uggg.

Mother of the year trophy over here please!

And then last night the Huz and I had quite the chuckle over it (but not in front of the boy) ..... because really, that's just so like our little man .... and really to him, no different that showing off his new hoodie jacket or new runners.

Now I just have to worry about looking Hope's parents in the eye!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Catching a glimpse...

We spent this past weekend up at the new cottage.

I wonder at what point I will stop think of it as the "new" cottage and it will just be THE cottage.

Maybe it's closer to that point then I realize...

We have put so much effort into this place... so much time.

My father and the huz did most of work of building it from the ground up - I helped as I was able.... as did my mother, my brothers, my aunt and my uncle in turn. It was a group effort... but mostly those two.... and amazing that we did it all from ground up. From tramping through bush and surveying by boat to pick the lot with a GPS.... to clearing trees and brush, to laying the foundation blocks - right up to the shingles and siding! What a sense of accomplishment.

And I took responsibility for documenting the transformation of this patch of Canadian wilderness - this thick, dense bush bordered by a cut-line and a lake, into a "cottage" for our family.... and my brothers' families - when they reach the point of wanted to spend time here too! The pictures will make a fine scrap-book one day.... providing I get around to making it ;)

We've actually built a cottage! It's certainly not DONE, but it's built.... built enough to spend time in and built enough to enjoy.

Enjoy like we did this past weekend. Which was spectacular... and a bit of an epiphany when I caught a glimpse of what this is going to be like.

All this time we've been focused on the building, I've failed to notice that we're building more than a roof and four walls... and this past weekend really opened my eyes. We're actually building a home away from home, a place to step away from all the distractions and BE a family... join an extended community of like-minded souls and a cultivate a future for our family that's going to have a huge hand in shaping who our kids grow to be.

It's so SO awesome.

Maybe a little part in the back of mind has, all along, been nervous of a new place - a new cottage after so many years of only knowing our original family cottage. It's always hard to branch into the unknown, isn't it? I liked our old cottage.... I liked the familiar. I don't know that I ever thought this would compare.

But we dove in anyway.

And now that we're IN the new, I've come to realize that it's set up to be even better - and I'm thrilled with the "familiar" that this place is going to be for my children. "Adventuring" in the woods next door and along the shore, swimming and throwing stones along our stretch of pebble beach, family walks to the long sand beach down the road.... bikes rides to the store for ice cream on hot summer days.... and lots of other kids their age to play with.

I think I smiled most of the weekend. This is going to be the first of many awesome summers.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Is this thing ON?

tap tap tap.... hello?

Testing, testing....1,2,3.... yep, still seems to be functioning - I just seem to have been MIA for what - two weeks now?


I have neglected to blog for the first half of May.

What have we missed?

We've gone to work, the kids have gone to school and daycare, we've come home, cooked dinner, tried to stay on top of house work.... same old same old.

We had snow.... I'd rather just forget about that.

We made it up to open the cottage and built an outhouse..... thank God. Because we spent every available hour last year slogging away at getting the cottage finished on the exterior to meet the two-year-to-lock-down requirement for the property and we never got around to getting it done last summer.

There was NO way I was starting another year with no bathroom facilities.... even if they are the bare minimum. I'm so over peeing in the bush at my age.... and driving to the public beach facilities are just not in my recipe for a fun weekend at the lake.

So yay - an outhouse!

We farmed off the kids so we could get the job done.... so it was just me and huz.... in a slightly finished cottage on a surprisingly bitter cold night in May. While it was nice to "get away" and work on a project together, any romantic intentions we might have been able to take advantage of were thwarted by mother nature's quirky little throw-back to winter. By the time we were ready to hit the sack, we could see our breath in the cabin. We each wore no less than 3 layers before climbing into our sleeping bags zipped together for the extra warmth.

But surprisingly, we slept amazing.... uninterrupted and plenty warm.... neither of us even stirred or noticed when the extra blanket we'd thrown over us slid off during the night. It was fine....

And then we returned to the city where we kicked off the "summer" season with our local May-long tradition: the annual Buffalo BBQ and Carnival... the kids had a blast with that. I managed to get some decent pics to share.... once I actually get around to uploading them.

Here's hoping normal weather patterns return and we can start spending some time up at the cottage.... there's still so much to get done - and fun to be had!

Be back soon!