Wednesday, June 30, 2021

What's Up Wednesday: June 2021

Welcome to What's Up Wednesday for June. As always, I'm linking up with Shay at Mix and Match Mama and Sheaffer at Sheaffer Told Me To to talk about what we've been up to lately.

Just to give you a quick update, our province finally opened up (a bit) in June after almost three months of a "stay at home order" so we can buy clothes again (yay!) and the kids have been able to do some outdoor, in person activities. Sadly, the delta variant has taken off in our region (yesterday we had 20% of our province's total cases although we have just 4% of the population) so, while the rest of our province is opening up further today -- we are not. Boo. So things are better, but not as good as they could be -- we're still waiting for haircuts, baseball games to start, and Rachel is desperately waiting to get her ears pierced. The delta variant is no joke :(

image from here

What we're eating this week... I wrote in an earlier blog post (you can read it here) about our kickoff to summer -- we eat strawberries and ice cream for breakfast on the first day of summer vacation. So yesterday, we had that for breakfast :) We've also gotten a few pies from the man at our church (which I talked about in January's What's Up Wednesday post here) and our CSA has started. However, when we're not eating these things, we've eaten out a lot this month, thanks to both Dave and I working full-time and trying to survive June. We'll get back in a healthier pattern in July -- fingers crossed!

What I'm reminiscing about... In our province, Grade 6 is the end of elementary school so I'm reminiscing about Sam in Junior Kindergarten (JK) -- eight years ago. He was so little.
March 27, 2013 -- Registering Sam for JK * September 4, 2013 -- Sam's first day of JK

What I'm loving... That although the vaccine rollout was slow to get going in Canada, within nine days this month Dave, Sam, and I all got our second shots!!! Yay for being fully vaccinated!!!

What we've been up to... We've been doing all the June things -- I've been working, the kids finished off their school year (they finished without being able to go back in person -- boo), Rachel turned 10, Sam graduated from Grade 6, Dave has been working, and the kids have had a bit of baseball and dance. It's been a full month! 
Rachel's birthday
Sam's Grade 6 Grad
Finally the last day of school 
What I'm dreading... I'm not actually dreading anything much right now. I mean, I want our region to be able to open up a bit more but I feel hopeful we're headed in the right direction.

What I'm working on... I'm working on finishing up all the tasks at the school so I can get my summer started. Hopefully by noon today (or shortly thereafter), I'll be on summer break!!! After that I'll be working on getting our house in order because it's a disaster :) Then I'll work on tackling my TBR and catching up on some sleep! Oh, and updating my resume so I can apply for permanent hours this summer.

What I'm excited about... It's almost summer break!!! The kids had their last day of school on Monday and I should be done shortly after noon today! Whooooo hooooo!!! I'm also really excited that our pool opened up a few weeks ago. We LOVE swimming!

What I'm watching/reading... I've been watching Sam at his ball practices and Rachel at her dance practices. It's very exciting to see my kids get to do their things again! As for reading, I've had a hard time making time to read this June. To see my reading for the first part of June, you can go here. Since then I've read just five books which isn't very much for me in two weeks. Right now I'm in the middle of Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry by Joya Goffney.
Sam at his first ball practice!!!

What I'm listening to... Rain falling on our roof as I'm trying to go to sleep. And sometimes thunder. And if it's not raining, I'm listening to Sam playing catch, which he does by throwing the ball against the side of our house right outside our kitchen!

What I'm wearing... Yesterday was my and Dave's 13th wedding anniversary but it was such a full few days, we decided to postpone our celebrations to next week. However, my wedding dress had been stored at my aunt's since our wedding and I finally made time to get it back in December. So yesterday, I tried on my wedding dress for the first time since our wedding! I'm a little bummed that it didn't fit. Boo :(
Picture from our wedding day, 2008

What I'm doing this weekend... Recuperating from a couple of exhausting months of work, maybe going swimming, and getting the kids ready to attend their respective camps next week! Whoooo hooo!!!

What I'm looking forward to next month... Sam is attending a baseball camp for a week and Rachel is attending a local version of our church camp. I'm so glad they get to have some activities happening. Also, Rachel's final dance show has been filmed and we're invited to watch it as a drive-in movie so I'm excited to see her on the big screen! Other than that, we'll be doing a lot of swimming and enjoying the lazy days of summer! Whoooo hooooo!!!

What else is new... I think I've covered it all. Phew.

Monday, June 28, 2021

I Spy: Week 25

Oh look it's another Monday and another "I Spy" post. I don't even know what happened on Friday except I know I had a pre-dinner nap so I think I was tired :) As always, I'm linking up with Lysha at A Camera and A Cookbook. I'm soooo thankful Lysha has been hosting this link up for almost half a year now. I've loved this way of documenting some pieces of life.

Let's Play iSpy 2021


Our neighbourhood got a grant so that any neighbour that wanted to could install a fairy door in their yard. We have painted our door and have the hardware to install it. We just have to make the time to get the project completed. It's so fun to see other fairy doors already up in our neighbourhood.


I found this prompt a little tricky. These are the stairs to/from our second floor. The painting above the stairs is one we bought at a silent auction fundraiser for our playground. It was painted by the mom of friends of ours and we LOVE it. On the left side are our family pictures from the past number of years.


Sam picked these sticks up on one of our walks and won't let us get rid of them. I don't know why he wants to keep them but they've been living by our garage for months now.


I can't believe how well my pansies are still doing. Usually by this time of year they're done. I love the shades of purple from the dark to the light flowers.

{your choice}

Sam graduated from Grade 6 on Thursday and our neighbour brought him balloons so we did a little photo shoot. In our province, Grade 6 is the end of elementary school so next year Sam is headed off to middle school. Yikes.

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Monthly Musings: End Of School And Summer Plans

Since it's the last Thursday of the month, it's once again time to link up with Holly and Patty for Monthly Musings. This time we're talking "end of school and summer plans." This is particularly appropriate today because, in our province, 6th grade is the end of elementary school so this morning is Sam's 6th Grade Graduation. It will be low-key since it's online (boo) but it's happening today. Next year he's off to middle school. Yikes.


1) Any last day of school traditions?

There used to be a last day of school neighbourhood party but Covid killed that. Hopefully next year it will return. Other than that we take the "last day of school" pictures and have strawberries and ice cream for breakfast the next day (first day of summer vacation), which reminds me that I need to put both ice cream and strawberries on the grocery list for this weekend! (You can see all the pictures of our strawberries and ice cream breakfast in my last Monthly Musings post here.)

Last day of school, June 2020

2) Do you make a summer list? What is everyone looking forward to most this summer?

We just made our Summer Fun List this past Sunday afternoon. Side note: My family is hilarious because I called, "Come outside everybody, we're going to make a list." I didn't say what the list was going to be and within three minutes, everyone was outside ready to make a list. It was only after they were all gathered that I said, "It's our Summer Fun List." Wouldn't they have been disappointed if I'd announced it was a "Chores to finish this weekend" list instead. Hahaha!!!

In terms of what everyone is looking forward most to this summer, well, I asked them.

Rachel: Going to Saskatchewan and getting my ears pierced!

Sam: Not having to do anything, going to Saskatchewan, and playing baseball on the same team as my friend who is moving back to our province after three years!

Dave: Good weather for outdoor activities like baseball and swimming and hanging out in our backyard, spending time in Saskatchewan (!!!), and having a slightly slower pace of life with Natasha at home to deal with the kids! (Note from Natasha: I worked outside the house for three months this year while Dave was working from home and the kids were doing online learning so Dave didn't quite get the work time he wanted.)

 Natasha: Relaxing, reading, and going to Saskatchewan!!!

3) Any summer vacation plans?

Yes, we're planning to go and visit my parents in Saskatchewan this summer. (Just in case that wasn't obvious from every single answer above. Hahaha!!!) Other than that, no, we still can't travel outside of Canada thanks to Covid. 

Last year in Saskatchewan

4) Favourite summer outfits? What do you live in in the summer?

Shorts, t-shirts, and sunglasses. If it's really hot, I'll wear a tank top but I prefer t-shirts.

5) Favourite summer meal?

My favourite summer meal is something on the BBQ, a side salad of some sort, and some of our fresh CSA veggies -- either raw or steamed. It's super easy and really good!

Our first CSA BBQ meal this year -- grilled romaine lettuce and salad.

6) Do you end school in May or June? How about when you were growing up?

Our last day of school this year is on Monday. Normally school ends on a Thursday for us (so a lot of parents were expecting the last day to be today) so I don't know what's up this year. It feels like the school year is going really long.

When I was a kid, it usually ended around June 25th, but often our last day of school was a Wednesday, for some reason...

7) Bikini? Tankini? One piece?

I've never been a bikini person and I used to be a tankini person. However, my current suit is a one piece with a lot of cut outs and I really like it. However, the elastic is going so as soon as stores (and fitting rooms) open, I'm going swimsuit shopping and who knows what I'll end up with?!?!?

my current swimsuit, technically a one piece

8) What are your 4th of July* plans? *Canada Day

Since I'm Canadian, we don't celebrate the 4th of July. Our national holiday is Canada Day on July 1, which celebrates the day we became a confederation in 1867. However this year, Canada Day celebrations are being muted because of the discovery of the remains of 215 Indigenous children buried at a residential school in BC. We, as a country, are grappling with this dark piece of our history and for many people, it feels wrong to celebrate our country at this time. I am in agreement with this and we'll see how we choose to use our day off instead.

If you're interested, you can read more about some of the thinking behind it here.

9) Do you dress in red, white, and blue on July 4*? *Red and white on Canada Day

Normally, I do dress in red and white on Canada Day. I found a shirt at Wal-Mart a few years ago which I really love.

10) Charcoal or gas grill?

We have a gas (propane) BBQ. We just bought a new one last year and Dave spent most of the summer putting it together. He's been loving it and how big it is! And we use it A LOT in the spring and summer. 

I'm off to read this rest of the posts in the link up and if you didn't join in today, let me know below, what are your end of school thoughts and summer plans? And do you have any good swimsuit recommendations???

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

June Reading, Thus Far

Here's what I read in the first half of June. My reading suffered a little because I was a) working full-time and b) wanting to spend A LOT of time outside. Thus, I read less than what I normally might read in two weeks.

Anxious People

This book took me an unusually long time to read because I didn't want to finish it. It was so fun (and funny) and quirky and I wanted it to last forever. This might be one of my favourite books I read this year.

Detransition, Baby

I had heard so many great things about this book and I didn't love it. It took me about half the book to get into it and I don't know -- maybe I just couldn't relate. There are some relationships in this book which I would say are abusive and I didn't love reading about those. It's possible I just don't know a lot about transgender culture and that this is an honest look at it but I found this book hard to read. I think I either missed the point or it wasn't the book for me.

It's in His Kiss (Bridgertons, #7) On the Way to the Wedding (Bridgertons, #8)

I read the last two Bridgerton books and now I'm sad they're over. Why can't there be more stories??? These are books I might actually consider buying because I could see reading them again and again. Yes, they're predictable romances (with a slightly steamy edge to them) but they're the kind of thing I reach for when I need to escape.

Our Time Is Now: Power, Purpose, and the Fight for a Fair America

Okay Americans can I be honest here? You call yourself the "home of the free" and you claim to be "the greatest place on earth" but honestly, what on earth?!?!? I read this (what I assume is) honest look at voting in the US and maybe I'm naive, but I honestly can't imagine the things Abrams outlines in this book happening in Canada. Like I said, maybe I'm naive and voting suppression does happen here but Dave and I talked about this, and we really don't think it's an issue here. It might be because our voting system is nationally run and leans towards voter inclusion rather than exclusion. In fact, for our last national election, over 95% of the voters were automatically registered. I check a box on my taxes every year saying that I want to vote and then, when an election comes around, I receive a voter card in the mail.

Now Abrams is clearly a Democrat and points hard fingers at the Republicans. She admits that both parties have engaged in voter suppression but doesn't take a hard look at the Democratic instances of doing it. Anyways, this book is shocking and frustrating, and as a Canadian who doesn't live in the American system, it's depressing and confusing. I guess it's shockingly easy to vote in Canada, compared to the US, and so the whole issue just seems very foreign to me.

So that is what I read in the first part of June. As I said above, since the weather is nicer, I can already tell that my June reading is going to be less than other months this year. If you track your reading, do you find you have a month (or two or more) where your reading drops off too?

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

(No Longer) Just In Time For Father's Day!

Just in time for Father's Day*, I found another "All About Dad" survey. This came from Dara at Not In Jersey and you can see her post here. (*I meant to post this last Friday but our internet was out on Thursday (boo) so I didn't get it done.)

How much education has your dad completed?

Rachel: A lot!

Sam: A lot!

Dave: A PhD in Computer Science

What is your dad’s favorite food?

Rachel: Mushrooms

Sam: Pepperocini chips

Dave: Sushi

Which would your dad prefer NOT to do? a) Yardwork b) Laundry c) Car Maintenance

Rachel: Car maintenance

Sam: Car maintenance 

Dave: Absolutely car maintenance.

If Daddy could do anything he wanted to for 3 hours, what would it be?

Rachel: Play guitar

Sam: Nap 

Dave: Play guitar

If Daddy were to pick a vacation, which would he prefer? a) Luxury Resort b) Mountain Cabin c) Stay-cation {vacation at home} d) International Travel 

Rachel: International travel

Sam: International Travel

Dave: International travel.

Where did your parents meet? 

Rachel: In a house

Sam: I don't know. 

Dave: At 110 Columbia -- a house where mutual friends lived.

If your dad received a $1,000 prize, what would he do with it? 

Rachel: He would want to travel. 

Sam: Invest in stocks. Or pajama pants.

Dave: I guess I can't go on an international trip with that, eh? Buy a new bike.

Which of these does your dad prefer to watch?

a) Basketball b) Football c) Soccer d) Golf e) Baseball 

Rachel: Basketball and baseball 

Sam: Baseball 

Dave: Baseball

What was your dad’s first job? 

Rachel: Babysitting or at [the company he just left in January.]

Sam: Working at some fast food place somewhere.

Dave: Day camp counselor

What is your dad’s biggest pet peeve {something he dislikes}? 

Rachel: People telling him what to do 

Sam: Admitting Mommy was right!!! 

Dave: Messes around the house.

What is your dad’s favorite TV show? 

Rachel: Does he have one? 

Sam: The Mandalorian

Dave: The Simpsons

What is your dad’s favorite dessert? 

Rachel: Cheesecake 

Sam: Cheesecake 

Dave: Cheesecake

What is your dad’s favorite holiday? 

Rachel: Channukah 

Sam: His birthday or your anniversary

Dave: St Patrick's Day

Can you name a pet your dad had when he was little? 

Rachel: A rabbit 

Sam: A hamster 

Dave: Frisk-it the gerbil.

Name 3 adjectives to describe your dad… 

Rachel: Funny, sometimes ridiculous, sometimes annoying 

Sam: Funny, likes weird food, poky (like with his beard) 

Dave: Thoughtful, precise, quirky

How are you like your dad? 

Rachel: We both like music, we're both funny, and we both like to play games. 

Sam: We both like baseball. 

Dave: I'm like Rachel because we both enjoy arts and crafts and listening to music. I'm like Sam because we both enjoy baseball and computer games and we have an offbeat sense of humour. 

What is your dad’s favorite drink? 

Rachel: Coffee and beer. 

Sam: Coffee and beer. 

Dave: Beer and Coke, but not together.

Is your dad a morning or a night person? 

Rachel: Night person! Definitely a night owl. 

Sam: Both. 

Dave: Night. Person.

What is your dad good at? 

Rachel: Computers and playing guitar 

Sam: Music and computers and baseball and eating. 

Dave: Technical problem solving (on computers), musical activities, and crafty projects.