Friday, March 29, 2019

An Entire Decade Of Sam

Tomorrow Sam turns 10! He's been around for a whole decade. That seems really significant and I don't even know how to write about it. So instead, I'm going to share pictures of Sam from this past year. Hopefully this will give you a good idea of Sam as he turns 10.

April 2018 - Reading

May 2018 -- Sam LOVES bacon but was skeptical of 
this bacon flavoured tomato juice.

June 2018

July 2018 -- Fishing on the banks of the Saskatchewan River

August 2018 -- Beach day close up!
September 2018 -- After reading the Redwall series last summer (all 22 books),
Sam found a Redwall cookbook. Here he is making scones because
he hosted a tea for our church small group based on food
he found in the cookbook. 

October 2018 -- Sam started to wear his hair like Lourdes Gurriel, Jr from
the Toronto Blue Jays, red sweatband included.

November 2018

December 2018 -- BACON!!!

January 2019 -- Cool dude in his Blue Jays toque and shades.

February 2019 -- Getting ready to explore Victoria, BC,
Starbucks in hand.

March 2019 -- Minecraft Creeper pjs and being a goofball.

If you want to know even more about Sam, in his own words, check out this post from February where he answered some questions for me. You can read it here.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

What's Up Wednesday: March 2019

It's What's Up Wednesday. I just love these posts. Not only do I like reading the new ones, but I love going back and re-reading ones I wrote a few years ago to see what was going on then.
image from here

What we're eating this week... We're still going strong on our Country of the Week pilot project. Last week I made naan for the first time as we explored India and on Monday we ate Australian meat pies. Now I'm looking for Norwegian recipes! Although it wasn't the intention of this project, I'm very much enjoying adding international cuisine to our menu.

What I'm reminiscing about... Baby Sam. On Saturday, Sam turns TEN so I've been thinking a lot about the weeks after he was born.
The top three pictures are within a couple of weeks (days!) of Sam's birth. The bottom picture is from mid-June so he was just over two months old.

What I'm loving... SPRING!!! And the fact that I (usually) no longer have to bundle up to head outside. And I'm not slipping on ice. And I can (usually) wear my runners as opposed to my winter boots. Did I mention, SPRING?!?!?
What we've been up to... We've been getting back into the swing of things after March Break and have jumped right into Sam's birthday celebrations. This past Saturday we celebrated SIX birthdays with Tim and Janice and their family -- all the ones from January to March. (Tim and Janice currently have an international student living with them. Livia's was one of the birthdays we celebrated.) And then on Sunday, we took Sam and Willem to see Percy Jackson:The Lightning Thief musical in Toronto.

What I'm dreading... I don't know that I'm dreading anything right now. Last month I was dreading March Break and it turned out to be pretty good. You can read my March Break post here. Life is in a pretty good spot right now. I just hope I have the energy for three more weekends of birthday celebrating! Ha!

What I'm working on... I've been trying to get all the house things done before the weather gets really nice and I focus on all the outside things. And I've been figuring out Sam's birthday celebrations. Besides the two things I mentioned above, he's also having a party with church friends and a separate party with school friends.

What I'm excited about... Major League Baseball opening day is on THURSDAY!!! With Spring training, many of the games aren't being broadcast on our local radio but as of Thursday, I will be listening to all baseball, all the time. YAY!!!

What I'm watching/reading... Dave and I started Season Two of Grey's Anatomy. Ugh. Some of the medical stories are ripping my heart out :( And I've been reading all the books. So far in March I've read 19 books and there are still five days of the month left. The best books I've read this month are Trans Like Me: Conversations for All of Us by C.N. Lester and Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II by Liza Mundy. I didn't mean to love non-fiction the most this month but that appears to be what's happened!

What I'm listening to... I'm really stuck on this one. I don't know what sounds define this month. Sadness :(

What I'm wearing... Well I took a chance and put my heavy winter jacket away so I've been alternating between my lighter winter jacket and my spring jacket. And then I'm alternating between running shoes and my Hunter rainboots. I got Rachel (my seven year old daughter) to take these pictures for me. I wore the outerwear on the left in the morning and the outerwear on the right in the afternoon.
 These photos are pretty good if you consider 
a 7 year old took them with a DSLR!

What I'm doing this weekend... Going to see a Blue Jays game with Tim and Janice and family for Sam's TENTH birthday! He is sooooo excited to see the Blue Jays play on his actual birthday.
These pictures are from the last time we went with Tim, Janice, Tessa, and Willem to a Blue Jays game to celebrate Sam's birthday. This was in May 2016. You can read about it here.

What I'm looking forward to next month... All of our activities which started in September (weekly church evening, dance, piano) are winding down in April. I'm ready to be done. And I need to get prepared for the summer (May - July) activities! Haha! 

What else is new... I just started a new volunteering position with an organization called Strong Start. The organization helps kids who are struggling learn some of the basic building blocks of reading. I'm working with three kids in Kindergarten or Grade 1 once a week and today will be my second week of volunteering. I completed four hours of volunteer training and a school orientation before I started and it's been very meaningful.

Bonus question: What is your favourite Easter side dish?

My favourite Easter meal is baked (or BBQ) farmer's sausage (which either we or my parents bring from Saskatchewan) which we then eat with homemade potato salad. However we have no farmer's sausage in our freezer so I'm not sure what we'll eat this Easter. Maybe if the weather is nice enough we'll have our first BBQ of the year but that's a big maybe...
Easter 2016 -- the perfect meal of BBQ farmer's sausage and homemade potato salad.
And it looks like I threw a chickpea salad in there as well.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Daily Photo: March 19 - 25, 2019

March 19, 2019 -- My boy in orange eating an orange :)

March 20, 2019 -- Wednesday morning mood

March 21, 2019 -- 6:40 in the morning

March 22, 2019 -- I'd been meaning to bake orange-chocolate chip muffins for weeks. Two previous oranges died on our island before I got around to it. Finally, on this day, I achieved my goal.

March 23, 2019 -- We went out for dinner with Dave's parents to celebrate Sam's birthday a little early. Sam ordered chicken tacos and Caesar salad. With bacon, of course!

March 24, 2019 -- Willem chasing pigeons! Do you see them flying away on the right?

March 25, 2019 -- Our snow is all gone!!! Maybe next week we'll see some green??? It's probably too early but I live in hope!

Friday, March 22, 2019

Book Review: Code Girls

Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers Who Helped Win World War II 
image from here

I'm pretty sure I read about this book in the references section of the first book in the Maggie Hope series by Susan Elia MacNeal. If you haven't checked out that series (about a young woman who gets caught up in working for England during World War II), then you should definitely read it as well. I have the third book sitting on my TBR. But today, I want to write about this book, Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II by Liza Mundy.

This is the non-fiction story of some of the many women who worked in Washington, DC, and elsewhere, during World War II and helped break enemy codes. With the codes broken, they could interpret intercepted messages from Japan and Germany (and elsewhere) and gain intelligence on the war. Since the work they were doing was so classified, many of them never got to talk about what they did during their entire lifetimes and took the secret of their work to their graves. When they were asked about what they did during the war, they were told to reply that, "they were secretaries, that they filled inkwells, they emptied baskets, they sharpened pencils. And because they were women, people believed that the work they were doing had to be trivial and secondary and unimportant." The work they actually did was finally declassified around the 1990s.

Liza Mundy's book was published in 2017 and while there were over 10,000 women who participated in this work, Mundy interviewed about twenty surviving women for her book. Many of them had died by the time she started doing research but she was also able to talk with their families, many of whom didn't know the whole extent of what their mothers had done. And when they did have an inkling of the work, they didn't believe that their mothers had been involved.

The book follows a number of these women from the time they were recruited (at first out of prestigious colleges and then from careers as schoolteachers and librarians) until they finished the war. I found the work these women did fascinating (although I didn't understand a lot of the more intricate details of how to break codes) and the types of projects they were involved with, or pioneered, captivating.

This book outlines some of the main events of the war in the Pacific, the Atlantic, and Europe, and writes about how the codes the women were breaking, and the messages they were able to interpret, led to some of the major events of the war, with victories for the Allies.

After the war, some women stayed in the intelligence agency work but many were "forced" to depart, leaving the jobs open for men who were returning from fighting overseas. Then these women had to adjust to marriage and parenthood. Some of the last chapters, telling stories of the women once the war had ended, made me so sad. They were brilliant and ambitious and couldn't continue to do work they loved.

I really want Dave to read this book. I think some of the ways in which the enemy codes were broken was fascinating. I also enjoyed learning about World War II from a different perspective. And I thought the story of the various women, and the jobs they did, were fascinating. (I may have said that already.)

I highly recommend you read this book to learn a little known piece of history. And so that the story of these women, long hidden, comes to light just a little more.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

March Breaking 2019

One of my March goals was "Find fun things to do over March Break. Make a plan. Stick to it." March Break was last week so here's an update on how our week went.
Rachel took this picture (and about twenty more!) of a precariously balanced yogurt lid. Dave had moved the dishes around it to wash them and the yogurt lid just balanced there, not touching anything.
While I didn't get pictures of the people, we hosted two families and another friend for three dinners. This was the aftermath of having another family of four over for challah French toast. Yum!
Rachel and Sam played A LOT together, including spending about an hour doing puzzles one morning.
The kids had a play date at a play place with some good friends. And then we all went to eat lunch at Harvey's.
Sam, especially, read and read. And then he read some more. My parents bought him a series of books (The Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan) which has five books with 500-600 pages each. They ordered them ahead of time for his birthday. Mom and Dad said I could give him the books whenever so I saved them until March Break so he'd have a good chance to read them. He read three last week. I might also have read (more than) a few books myself last week!
Rachel was a card making machine. She made three last week alone and got started on another few.
Sam and Rachel made eggs and two pieces of toast each. It was good fuel for the four hour play date with friends which followed.
One morning we went for a walk. The kids were going to open up savings accounts but we were missing some pieces of ID so we'll have to go back. Thankfully the credit union changed their coins into bills so we didn't have to carry all the coins back home!

While Rachel was at a dance camp with her friend, Sam spent the day at a Home Alone safety course with another friend. At age ten, kids can start staying home on their own and Sam is eagerly looking forward to it. One of his worries was that we don't have a home First Aid kit so we bought one. And then found a good place to store it!
We ate ice cream sundaes at eleven in the morning! Hahahaha!!! After this the kids went to Dave's parents' for a sleepover. Dave and I had an exciting date night where we binge watched SIX episodes of Grey's Anatomy season two.
We checked out CANStruction. You can read more about that here.
Rachel gets a kids' magazine and it had a recipe for rainbow grilled cheese so we made it. It was fun to eat!

This is another spoiler alert for my March goals but we cleaned out the fridge. The kids did an amazing job of scrubbing out the drawers and drying them.
And I was super-excited to discover vegetarian beef tips at the grocery store so I could make Beef and Guinness stew for St Patrick's Day! Yay!!!!!

So that was our March Break. The weather wasn't very spring like but the kids had lots of social time and I was able to find lots of spaces to get work done. And we all got to do some special things like having lots of time to read and eating sundaes before lunchtime. I would say we definitely accomplished our March Break goals!