Friday, August 31, 2012

Children of the Corn

It has been a busy few days getting readjusted to KW and ending my vacation of parenting one child with a ton of help from my parents. In fact, I did way less with Rachel than either of my parents did so I really got a break. Now it's back to reality with two kids on my own for most of the day. Plus making meals, plus doing dishes, plus doing laundry, plus... Anyways, I just haven't had the time for blogging that I've wanted to. Hopefully this weekend will provide some time for me to write about Saskatoon.

But I did want to post this awesome comparison of Sam and Rachel eating their first corn on the cob. And even better, it was grown by Oma. So here's to Saskatoon, fresh corn from the garden and grandparents!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Book Review: Same Kind Of Different As Me

I know I promised that the oh-so-exciting Saskatchewan posts were starting today but I have another thing to write about today. It is very interesting to me how things come into your life. For instance, Kelly of Kelly's Korner has been doing a Show Us Your Life series this summer. Through that I met Erika from Something Beautiful. Erika mentioned an online book club hosted by Camila at Mattornety Life and I was hooked. Camila suggested the book Same Kind of Different As Me by Ron Hall, Denver Moore and Lynn Vincent.

In a word this book was inspiring. It also made me cry a lot. I wish I had known that before I took it to read on an airplane :)

Ron and Denver met because Ron's wife Debbie felt called to volunteer to serve supper every Tuesday night at the Union Gospel Mission in Fort Worth. Debbie pushed Ron to become friends with Denver and it changed Ron's life.

I like the way the book was written by both Ron and Denver, in their own voices. I was shocked at the conditions people lived with, and are still enduring, in America in our current day. Denver writes about working for The Man, and I could not believe that these sorts of circumstances were current. I honestly thought slavery in North America ended with Lincoln and the Civil War but I was wrong.

I like how honest Ron was about the kind of person and husband he was. I thought Debbie's love for her husband was exemplary, especially in this day and age where people divorce for what seem like such insignificant reasons. Debbie fought for her marriage and turned it around. Ron stepped out on a limb because of his love for Debbie and it changed his life.

A few images stick with me from the book and I've thought a lot about them since reading it.

1) Denver asks Ron if Ron is going to treat his friendship with him as a "catch and release" kind of thing. "If you is fishin for a friends you just gon' catch an release, then I ain't got no desire to be your friend. But if you is lookin for a real friend, then I'll be one. Forever." (p 107). The honesty shown by Denver here is astounding and I wonder how much more real our friendships would be if we all followed this. Are you a friend forever or just for now?

2) The story of Debbie's illness and death had me sobbing. And the way Debbie hung on, was realistic about her fate, and how it shook both Ron and Denver makes me tear up just writing about it now.

3) The devotion of Debbie and Sister Betty to the Union Gospel Mission is inspiring. I wish I had that heart for serving others. It's much easier to just say "No, I don't have spare change" to the homeless people I encounter, and make donations to places, but actually walking down to a soup kitchen (every week, mind you) and serving others is a challenge to me.

I will end here but I am so glad that I was alerted to this book's presence because it is a book that needs to be read. And it is especially a book that I needed to read.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Home Again, Home Again...

Miss Rachel Roo, Mister Sam-Sam-Sam, Dave and I all slept under the same roof last night after being scattered all over. Sadly, Sam woke up crying this morning, which woke Rachel up, and it didn't all get calmed down until about twenty minutes later. I just love times like that. Especially when I haven't yet had a chance to wash my face or go to the bathroom. Welcome home!!!

After all the crying we headed off to the Early Years Centre for Science and Discovery for Sam (which was all about colours) and then One is Fun for Rachel, which was also all about colour. Sam plays in the room while Rachel has her time and Rachel plays while Sam has his time. Sam was painting today so it was too crazy to take pictures. Rachel's teacher had coloured keys on the table and coloured houses around the room and Rachel LOVED picking up a key, having me walk her over to the house, and then sticking to key on the house. We must have done about eight keys before she got bored.

Now Sam is having quiet time, Rachel is asleep, I've caught up on my blog reading and I'm going to have a nap. Tomorrow I will start blogging about my and Rachel's time in Saskatchewan.

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Posts to Come...

So I haven't been updating lately because Rachel and I are in Saskatoon for my cousin's wedding and to visit my parents. Sadly, the internet at my parents' house is flaky so this is the first time I've had internet access since I got here. Sadness :( I will be back to regular blogging (and reading and commenting!) on Wednesday. I miss you all but it feels like a bit of a holiday to not be able to check e-mail/Facebook/blogs/etc. See you soon!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Sandbanks - Part 2

On our second day in Prince Edward County, we actually all managed to make it to the beach at Sandbanks Provincial Park.

Our time at the beach featured lots of time playing in the sand for Sam, and an extended wade in the water for Rachel. We also made a couple of attempts to get some four-generation pictures (with Sam and Rachel, Dave, his mom, and his grandpa), but the results were... mixed, shall we say :)

After the morning at the beach and lunch at the beach-side hamburger stand, we hit the road. The rest of the afternoon was spent driving back home, and then it was dinner and bedtime for all!

Rachel, Sam and Dave's mom, Andrea, playing in the sand.

Rachel playing in the sand, holding something she probably shouldn't have in her right hand.

Sam and Lily working on a sandcastle/trench.

Sam, Dave's grandpa Julius and aunt Bobbi hanging out on the beach.
Yes, that is a karate class going on in the background!

The large sand dunes that give Sandbanks its name.

A fairly successful four-generation picture

Rachel on her way from Natasha to Andrea

Rachel heading somewhere with (or without) Dave

Rachel looking pretty pleased with herself

The whole family of intrepid waders

A "less successful" four-generation picture, taken just after lunch

Sandbanks - Part 1

Last weekend, we went to Sandbanks Provincial Park (a couple of hours east of Toronto, in Prince Edward County) for a visit with Dave's extended family. Dave's parents, sister, niece, aunt, uncle and grandpa were all gathering for the weekend, and we were glad for the opportunity to join in on the get-together.

After driving for most of the late afternoon and evening, we arrived at our B&B in Bloomfield. The area has a strong Loyalist history (people who fled to what was then British North America following the American Revolution), hence the Union Jack flying from the porch.

Unfortunately, after a brief evening visit with Dave's extended family on Friday night, Rachel came down with what turned out (after a quick trip to a nearby ER) to be an ear infection. This meant that our plans for Saturday morning changed a bit, and so Natasha, Dave and Rachel went into Picton to get some medication, while Sam headed off to the beach with the rest of the crowd.

The positive side of this was that we had a low-key morning, which included hanging out at a coffee shop and checking out a nearby farmer's market.

The coffee shop that we found in Picton, right around the corner from the drug store

Natasha enjoying her drink

Dave with a coffee and a real Montreal bagel! Mmmmm...

Rachel was feeling a bit better, and enjoyed exploring the coffee shop

The farmer's market, facing the main street.

More of the market, facing the lake.

Two of the highlights of the farmer's market were a jazz band that was playing (as part of a local jazz festival) and a park that stretched right out to the lake.

Old-timey jazz band, complete with trombone and banjo!

Natasha and Rachel, looking out across the lake.

Next, it was time to meet up with everyone for lunch. I didn't actually get any pictures of us all eating together, so here are some cute pictures of Rachel waiting for everyone else to arrive.

Another unexpected highlight of the trip was stumbling upon a garden that a local couple had created in their backyard, and then opened up to the public in order to raise funds for multiple sclerosis research.

This was the sign that caught Natasha's eye...

... and this was the view we were greeted with when we walked around to the back.

It really was an impressive garden!

Finally, we met up with the rest of the extended family, and squeezed in a quick playground trip before heading off for dinner at Dave's Roadhouse. Again, there aren't any mealtime pictures, but here are a few snapshots of our time at the playground.

Rachel having fun in the swing

Sam and his cousin Lily

Sam, Natasha, Rachel, Lily, Dave's sister, Sarah, and his dad, Bob

Sarah, Lily, Sam, Dave's aunt Bobbi and Rachel on the swings

A closer shot of Bobbi and Rachel

Stay tuned tomorrow for more of the Sandbanks trip, including an actual trip to the beach!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Trying To Remember...

I try to remember that traveling, especially flying, is something that only a privileged few get to do.

I try to remember that I have parents willing to pick me up at any and all hours.

I try to remember that Sam is with his grandparents and having a blast.

I try to remember that I will get "there" eventually, and so at worst, this is an inconvenience.

But often I still get very annoyed when flights are delayed. Today's flight for Rachel and I was delayed long enough that we would have arrived in Saskatoon at 3:30am Ontario time and I was NOT excited about that, especially since our colds are still in full force. However our flight was also delayed enough that I had the option to switch to a more convenient flight time tomorrow. So instead of boarding our plane in 50 minutes to take off for Saskatoon tonight, I am about to crawl into my own bed for a night's sleep. Then tomorrow Miss Rachel Roo and I will make our way to Saskatoon.

Until then enjoy these two videos. One is of Sam in his very own Olympic "sport" and the other is Rachel learning to use a napkin at Subway tonight.

Update (Aug. 23): The videos were, apparently, not uploaded successfully last night. They have now been re-uploaded, and should be working properly. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A Lot Going On

Sadly, I am still sick. This is likely not helped by the fact that Sam didn't fall asleep until after 11 last night, Rachel woke up crying at 3:30 and took 45 minutes to settle, and then Sam woke up with a nightmare at 4:30 and ended up in our (small, double) bed for the rest of the night, so I did not have the best night of sleep last night. In fact Dave used half of one of his emergency days and stayed home this morning so I could sleep. Poor Rachel is still miserable from her cold/ear infection which she got over the weekend and Sam has excess energy which is normally awesome but today it is sending me over the edge. It is days like today when being a stay at home parent sucks and that whole "no time off, even when you're sick" comes back to bite you in the butt, kick you while you're down and generally make you feel like you won't survive another day of this. But I keep telling myself that "Tomorrow I will feel better" and eventually that WILL be true. And now I will stop complaining and blog about last week and this past weekend and also about what is coming up next.
Last week I volunteered at my church's Vacation Bible School, although for some reason they called it Vacation Bible Camp. Rachel was in childcare all week and did okay with it. I kept her with me during the morning worship and then dropped her off. She eventually realized I would be coming back to get her and resigned herself to being left. (This is a completely different experience than I had with Sam who never minded being dropped off for childcare. The one exception was at my MOPS group in Edmonton for a few months.)

Sam went around with a group of children whose parents were also volunteering. Technically he was too young for VBS(C) but because I volunteered he got to experience it. The morning worship with all the kids overwhelmed him so he would play in the nursery, I would drop Rachel off, take Sam to his group, and then deal with my group. I had a group of Grade 1-3 kids and I was their only leader so it was a little stressful. I felt very scattered and torn during the week.

Next year I am already planning on co-leading with an awesome youth from our church who I nannyed when she was 18 months to 2 1/2 years old. She was a super-cool toddler and has becoming an amazing teenager and to work with her next year would be awesome.

The theme was "Take Me To The Water: God's Love Flows" and so everything was about water and it was a good week. We sang great songs (which are still running through my head), did neat science experiments about water, and learned great Bible stories about water. I think VBS(C) is so important and I'm glad I could be a part of it, even if it was exhausting. I also walked there and back with the kids every day so that was also tiring.

On Friday, right after VBS(C) ended, we picked Dave up at work and headed to Prince Edward County to spend the weekend with Dave's family and his aunt, uncle and grandpa who drove up from New York State. I am going to get Dave to write a longer post about the weekend later this week because he will have some time on his hands! So I'm just going to include one picture of the four generations on Dave's mom's side of the family.
Tomorrow we are all scattering our separate ways because Rachel and I are flying to Saskatoon for six days. My cousin Rebecca is marrying AJ on Saturday and we are going to be there. Plus we're going to visit my parents. I am so excited to go to Saskatchewan again because we haven't been there since Christmas which is just crazy. Dave is staying here to work and Sam is going to Dave's parents' house for a few days. So in between coughing, blowing my nose and cuddling Rachel, I am trying to get Sam, Rachel and I packed for our big adventures.

Hopefully life will settle down in the next couple of days and there will be less complaining and more interesting things being written about on the blog. But this blog is about our life and right now, this is it. And on that note, Rachel is down for nap, Sam is having quiet time in his room and I'm going to have a nap too.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Sick Day

I am having a sick day today. I have a cold. I slept for thirteen hours last night. Hopefully tomorrow I will be back to blog about what happened last week, what we did this past weekend, and why I'm packing yet again! It's a crazy time for me to be sick, which is probably why I AM sick. These things are never convenient, are they?!?!?

Anyways, until then here are some pictures to keep you entertained.

Life is always better when seen through a colander! At least, that's my kids' motto :)

Friday, August 17, 2012

Show Us Your Life -- Porches

Today Kelly is doing Front Porches and I am so excited that we have not only one, but two porches!!! So come on over and have yourself a seat. I'll get you a cold Coke or some iced tea and we can talk.
Our lower porch is the main (only!) entrance to our house and also our storage area. We have no outside storage shed so Sam's toys, our strollers and our recycling bin all sit on this porch. Earlier in the spring I had lots of pots of plants but they aren't looking so good right now.

And then we have our upstairs porch. We got the table and chairs and the outdoor carpet from Tim and Janice. We haven't spent a ton of time up here this summer because, with the black floor, it gets really hot. I think on those last warm days of fall or those first warm days of spring this is going to be an awesome place to hang out and get warm! I had a few planters up here at the beginning of the spring but it go so hot they were dying so they're all on the lower porch now. I will get some mums to put up here as soon as I'm convinced it's Fall!

And although this isn't a patio or porch I wanted to show the table and benches we eaten quite a few suppers on this summer. It's been great to have a place to eat outside.
I love our yard! And our two porches! And now I'm off to visit all of yours. Thanks for stopping by.