29 June 2015

Family Camp Vacation

We went camping.

The kids, Steve's parents, Steve's sister and her kids, and I drove up to Fundy National Park in New Brunswick on Wednesday and Steve joined us the next day.

Things we enjoyed:

  • playing with cousins
  • the zip lines at the camp playground
  • roasting marshmallows
  • the beautiful views
  • sleeping in a tent (when I asked The Bairn about camping at Fundy, he said this was his favorite part)
Things we did NOT enjoy:
  • bugs
  • the loudsters in the tent behind us

The Bairn playing with his baby cousin

Lexi took good care of Ellen and The Bairn.

Like, really good care.

This is what Ellen does when we ask her to smile.

On Friday, Steve and the kids and I drove down to Peaks Kenny State Park in Maine and camped for two more nights.  Our real reason for visiting Maine was attending the Whoopie Pie Festival, but there is always the secondary reason for visiting, which is buying stuff in America that we cannot get in Canada.

Things we enjoyed:

  • attending the Whoopie Pie Festival  I didn't think I would actually max out on whoopie pie tastings, but I did.
  • Playing at the lake.
  • Daddy's yummy camp breakfasts, featuring all-American breakfast sausage (insert MBC breaking into patriotic-sausage-loving songs right here).
  • Singing songs in the car.  Ellen spends a lot of her time in the car demanding, "Nudder song!"
  • Sweet camping kids.  The Bairn really loves camping, especially when he gets to help Daddy cook and do jobs.  One night I was listening to him talk to Steve while I put Ellen down to bed and I heard him saying, "Daddy, you're really great.  You're so good at killing bugs and you're pretty big."  He also told me that his favorite part of camping in Maine was me.  "You're so hugful, Mom."
  • Absolute silence during quiet hours.  A ranger hushed up our loud neighbor at 10:00 sharp.

Things we did not enjoy:

  • Driving long distances with Ellen.  She doesn't enjoy it and she can wail for hours.
  • That point when we had just crossed the border and I took both kids inside the gas station and Ellen lay on the floor, covered nose to toes in banana residue, and cried and refused to stand or be carried while the Bairn tried to steal sprinkle cupcakes from the bakery cupboard and I hissed, "That's enough.  No treats!" at them.  
  • Breaking camp in the rain.

Flopsicles in the car.

Playing at the lake.

Sweetie Pie, the Whoopie Pie Festival mascot

I love little kids in wellies.

We love camping.  The Bairn drove home with a blanket over his head, a tent where he looked at books and occasionally popped his head out to tell Ellen that he loved all the colors in the world.

21 June 2015

Father's Day For My Spouse

The Bairn and I talked about Father's Day early this year.  It was on my mind.  We would serve Steve's favorite meal.  We would make festive hats.  The Bairn suggested that we purchase Steve a gummy candy shaped like a snowblower, because I guess that combines two things that The Bairn associates with his dad.

Yesterday I woke up feeling sick and a few hours later Steve was also ill (though in a much more melodramatic man cold kind of way).  The family meal was postponed.  I had no energy to make hats.  I didn't even remember to have the kids write in Steve's Father's Day book that we use every year.

Today we feel better, but still a little fragile.  We made homemade macaroni and cheese and ate it on the couch while the kids slept and then watched Lady and the Tramp with constant Bairn commentary after naps.  It was kind of perfect, actually.  Comfortable and low-key.  I'm glad to be married to someone who's happy with that kind of celebration.  Who spent the week helping me clean up sick kids and is currently snuggling Ellen down to sleep.  He is a good dad.  Happy Father's Day to him.

18 June 2015

The Goings On

Ellen walks around with a paper hippopotamus on her hand saying, "Sorry, sorry, sorry."  Because, you know, if you can say 'hippopotamus', you can say 'I'm sorry.'

There's a satellite dish buried in our backyard.  The former house owners put it there to be fish pond until it became a giant mosquito breeding ground and then they used it as a fire pit and then they buried it with a bunch of trash.  They were super classy.  Steve's been unearthing it, which has left a giant hole in the yard for The Bairn to spend his mornings exploring.

Ellen loves to dress herself.  She has a preference for hats, boots, ruffles and anything 'fancy.'

The garden is mostly all planted.  We didn't label our seedlings very well, so we're not really sure what we're growing.  Lots of tomatoes, some sort of peppers, a variety of squashes, beans, maybe pumpkins, maybe melons, kale, cucumbers.  The Bairn loves walking up and down the rows.

I am having all the FEELINGS about our lawn.  Our lawn tractor is broken and we can't afford to fix it and it takes me 3 hours with Ellen on my back to mow it with the push mower but the teenagers (and more specifically their parents) ask rates I consider scandalous to do the job.  We're currently paying a kid more per hour than Steve's draftsman charges to have a tidy lawn.

09 June 2015

37: Mistakes Were Made

Friday was my 37th birthday.

I should not have spent the morning trying to clean the house.

I should not have volunteered to bake my own cake.

I should have checked to see that there was enough paint left to paint the dining room before requesting the painting of that room as my gift.  (That one painted wall looks fabulous, though.)

I cheered myself up by blowing up balloons for the kids.  They went wild and insisted on decorating The Bairn's room and our dining room chairs with them.

The Bairn looks like a beaver who attends special school here.

And we made hats.  The Bairn was very serious about gluing his together and wearing it all through dinner.

Ellen's got a bit mangled, but she still wore it until the end of (mediocre) cake.

Steve really makes better cake than I do.  I'm more of a pie baker, so yesterday I made this really delicious rhubarb pie and pretended it was my birthday again.  A better birthday.

31 May 2015

Ellen at 18 and 19-Months-Old

I was planning to post about Ellen at 18 months, but here she is 19 months already.

Things to know about Ellen:

1.  Everything she does is adorable.  Examples include, running to the rug and throwing herself face down with her bottom popped up in the air for family prayer; suddenly announcing, "Kisses!" and then giving very, very nice kisses;  growing curls that go wild in the humidity;  walking through the market holding onto her daddy's finger.

2.  She sticks everything she can up her nose.  She sneezed yesterday and out came a sticker.

3.  So far, she's very compliant.  When I ask her to come in from playing, she just comes.  When it's time to clean up, she helps.  If I set her down next to the car and ask her to stay while I get a bag out of the trunk, she stays put.

4.  She talks a lot.  At 18 months, she started making tiny sentences.  I'm super tickled when my kids can tell me things.  Last week I asked her where her cracker had gone, and Ellen answered, "Throw it down."

5.  She's great at independent play and has inner resources.  (Hallelujah!)

6.  She can sit and read books for ages.

7.  She calls herself Edabee, her baby nickname.  I've been having  her repeat her whole name (first middle last) after me and she's really good at it, but when I say her given first name, instead of repeating, she answers, "Edabee."

8.  Her favorite thing is playing in water.  We have a water table outside and she can amuse herself there for hours.


Visiting the Sunsphere in Tennessee

Popsicle on the Deck (Don't worry, she has stars and stripes outfits too.)

This is her 'smile' face.

24 May 2015


Sunday is usually a difficult day in our house, but after Steve left for his early meetings, I got the kids bathed and dressed and all the appropriate bags packed for church with plenty of time to spare.  Ellen looked fantastic.  She likes to pick out her own clothes and today she selected a charming polka dot dress and hat and added blue rain boots for extra flair.  She would have looked great if she'd actually made it to church in that outfit, but she drenched herself in water at the kitchen sink while I was eating caramel popcorn and looking up moo shu pork recipes in Steve's office, as one does in preparation for the Sabbath day.  The Bairn also found a pair of rubber boots, which he put on to add extra force when he attempted to kick the office door in, after discovering I was in there and not planning to come out immediately.  I let him have a piece of the caramel corn after making him cry by yelling at him about the door kicking.

We are really, really good at Sundays.

But seriously, you would have loved Ellen's outfit.

23 May 2015

What To Read

I recently finished Laura McBride's novel, We Are Called To Rise.  It's the story of an Albanian school boy in Las Vegas, an injured soldier, and a woman whose marriage is ending, as their lives intersect.  I enjoyed it, and I thought it would be especially good to read with Marisa de los Santos's book, Love Walked In, and one of my favorite novels, Cry, the Beloved Country.  If I had a book club and I were the boss of the book club and I could make everyone in the book club do my bidding and actually read books instead of just get together and chat (which always happens), I would make them read these three works together. 

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