Tuesday, May 31, 2011
The very nice people who work there were preparing for their end-of-season pizza party before their summer shutdown but we were still able to do a self-guided tour (and ask lots of questions) and shop, shop, shop in the store. I picked up a beautiful skein of handpainted yarn that will become a gorgeous scarf for me as well as yarn to knit a poncho for each of the girls.
And although it might seem that this activity was just for Pam and I, the kids were totally into it. And I'm not even kidding.
From Briggs and Little we drove about 15 minutes down the road to a place I heard about pretty much through my entire time in museum school: Kings Landing historical Settlement.
It lived up to the hype in spades.
It's a collection of buildings from the 1850s up to around 1900 that were saved when the banks of the St John River were flooded in the 1960s. The settlement sits on the banks of the river making it one of the nicest historical villages I've ever been to.
And the people. Oh, the people. They were the friendliest bunch of interpreters you could hope for. Almost all the buildings were open and they were all staffed. It felt as though we had the place to ourselves since normally the village normally isn't open until later in June but opened earlier this year because of Congress (the conference John is attending). Which meant we had the full attention of every interpreter. It was the perfect afternoon The best moments included the kids eating fresh-out-of-the-Dutch-oven cinnamon buns and each of them taking a turn spinning flax.
We ended the day by having dinner in Fredericton with John and Jim.... at Mexicali Rosa's no less, which we found pretty funny given what a popular Ottawa chain it is.
The kids all crashed hard last night. Except for Henry who has decided to eschew sleep this week. Which explains why this post is lacking in my usual pizzazz and charming wit. As well as editing and spellcheck.
Today the kids actually swam in the lake... twice. And we decided our plans for Thursday, our day at the Bay of Fundy. When I get a decent Internet connection , I'll share those plans. Very excited!
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone
Friday, May 27, 2011
The drive to Quebec City yesterday afternoon was great until the last hour. It was spent sitting in Quebec's UNBELIEVABLE commuter traffic. I've lived and worked in Toronto. I've seen and participated in that city's commuter traffic. It. Does. Not. Compare.
And to make it that much more enjoyable, Henry screamed for that entire hour. It was AWESOME.
Things looked way up after our check-in at the hotel. We found an amazing little nouveau pizza restaurant. Gluten-free me did a little inward sob when the beautiful thin-crust pizzas were delivered to the girls and John receives his beautiful foccacia. I had a salad, which was outstanding with asparagus wrapped in mozzarella and prociutto on top of greens and black olives. And the fancy! The restaurant had a gorgeous water theme going. It was beautiful.
The only downside was that yet again John and I had to pretty much inhale our meals to look after Henry. He was really tired after not napping all afternoon and couldn't sit through the meal.
Thus morning we had a quick swim after our breakfast at Cora's where John and I practised our French on our patient waitress and then we toured the old city.
In a word: amazing.
We will be returning without a doubt and we'll spend much more than a morning exploring.
Even so, we got a great sense of the old city and its changes in elevation! I walked from the river to the Chateau Frontenac with Henry's 26 lbs on my back. If you've been there and walked those stairs, you understand my bragging. The wind was so fierce at the top. The girls didn't complain though. They loved it once we dug out their hats and mitts.
The driving today was better than yesterday; no driving rain, no traffic jams and no screaming. There was an extra 50 minutes of driving due to a mix up trying to find and then leave the St Hubert in Rivière du Loup. not our favourite Quebec town. That award goes to St Louis-du-Ha! Ha!
And now we're at the Best Western in Edmonston whose motto slogan should be: Edmonston Best Western: the only reason to come to Edmonston.
Seriously awesome hotel in a seriously shitty town. Sorry Edmonston. I tell it like it is.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
So all you would be thieves out there.... you've been told! Of course, we do have eagle-eye neighbours and ruthless hooligans living nearby so you may want to think twice before approaching our well-guarded house.
I'm very excited and so are the kids. But, being a large trip with lots of planning and organizing to do not to mention a very long car ride with three kids, I am totally short on time and cleanliness. The garden has needed serious attention the last few days to get the veggies in on time and it seems my organizational prowess let me down yet again when I booked Henry's one-year check-up and the girls' dentist appointments all for today. Oh, and I left our three sweaters at the doctor's office across town. There's something I relish adding to my to-do list: drive across town due to incompetence.
I also have to do one last shop at Loblaws, go to the Post Office, vacuum the car (might be sent to the bottom of the list), fill out dental forms, shower. (Who am I kidding? The shower is totally at the bottom of the list.) Am I missing something? Oh, right... PACK.
I want to be very selective about what comes with us. We have a Mazda 5, a baby and two other kids. Space can be tight even with our box on top of the car and I don't want it to be tight. I'd rather hand-wash clothes than over-pack. I plan to be ruthless. There are stores in New Brunswick if I am really desperate.
Pam and I have pre-planned the meals so that we only buy or bring the ingredients we need. In looking over a couple of the recipes I'll be making, I came up with a brilliant plan: I'm going to pre-mix a sauce and a marinade ahead of time and take them in jars. Bob's your Uncle. Done.
Time for those dental forms.
Thursday, May 19, 2011
It's been a year and I haven't posted his birth story. I'm going to start writing it today. I still get emotional when I think about the drama of Henry's birth and maybe that's why I still haven't written it down. For now, here's a photographic look back at one year ago today (starting with what I did just before the birth started).
Monday, May 16, 2011
Sunday, May 15, 2011
Being the tough and seasoned players that they are, the team pulled together and threw together a makeshift diamond right next to this pond, using car floor mats as bases and fueling themselves with spit and gumption. It was a tough game, the crowds were surly and the scoring was high. After two innings, the game was done. Even though it had been a hard slog, the two teams met at the pitcher's mound to shake hands.
And eat freezies.
All right, so Sports Illustrated is unlikely to call me anytime soon. But it's good enough for 4-year-old t-ball.
The day really turned out great after a pretty rough start. Hope walked in to meet her team and get the photos done in a nearby arena and after finding out that her coach was a man, she promptly sought shelter behind my legs. She came out only after a lot of prodding by me and then broke into tears and stayed in tears until the end of the photo session thirty minutes later. She wasn't able to pull it together for her individual photo but she was able to sit through the team photo albeit with the biggest pout that you ever did see. The photographer told me that we'd try the individual photo again after the team photo because in his experience (and I gather that he's had a lot) that usually works to bring reluctant kids around. He was right. She even smiled.
We followed that up with hot chocolate (a bribe for that smile) and we headed out to the game and it was like a new kid was beside me. A new, old kid. The old Hope that I had been looking for a few minutes before. All smiles, laughs and excitement to try something new and exciting (but not too exciting - she's not a total thrill-seeker). She loved t-ball. I think it's going to be a great few weeks.
More photos of our first t-ball day can be seen on Flickr.
Yup, it's raining. And cold.
We're taking a giant golf umbrella and a big thermos of hot chocolate.
And great attitudes!
Friday, May 13, 2011
While I was in Austin, my sister whipped up a batch of beet hummus, a concoction I'd never tasted before. It only took one loaded cracker to have me hooked. During my first grocery shop after I got home, I picked up two mammoth beets and last night I made my first batch.
It's extremely easy... if you have a food processor.... and an oven. And it is so good with veggies or crackers or pita or whatever hummus delivery vehicle you like.
Roughly chop lots of beets and place in roasting pan with water. Cover with tin foil and roast at 350F until cooked through. Place beets in food processor with two large tablespoons of tahina (or to taste... I like a lot of tahina), one or two cloves of chopped garlic, and the juice of at least one lemon (again to taste) and salt and pepper. Blend until a hummusy consistency. Delicious!
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
I made the decision a while ago that I wouldn't become an e-reader user. I love to read and I also love the experience of reading. I love turning real pages of real books; I love dog-earring the page to mark my place; I love the smell of the pages; I love browsing the shelves of the library or, if I'm feeling really indulgent, a bookstore (I say indulgent because if I'm in a bookstore I find it almost impossible to leave without buying a book and with a library literally a ten-minute walk away it is indeed indulgent to spend money on books); I love reading in bed, laying down, not propped up on pillows.
But I have an iPad now and with an iPad comes the ability to download thousands of great apps (and lots of not-so-great ones). Kindle and Kobo are two of the free apps that are available. So, given what I said above, what did I do?
I put those suckers on my iPad quicker than you can say Luddite.
My first reason was curiosity. I wanted to see what all the hubbub was about even though I felt I'd made up my own mind about them. My second reason was that I'm going through a short list of Victorian classics that I've somehow never read (Jane Eyre is the bomb!) and I'm having serious trouble getting them at my local library and I know that they're free through Kobo.
I may also have purchased The Postmistress and The Hunger Games.
And so I cuddled up with my iPad two nights ago in bed and started reading The Postmistress. After two nights reading in bed with my iPad I have short list of pros and cons. Mainly short on the cons.
- No heavy books to prop up while I'm laying down
- The light the iPad gives off eliminates the need for a reading light (which I haven't had for a while thus annoying John as I turn on my table lamp every night while he is trying to sleep beside me)
- I can switch to a different book very easily if the mood strikes
- Laying down reading with an iPad isn't very comfortable.
I can find my way around the Con here. I can start sitting up to read or I can save my iPad reading for the living room, deck etc (if my kids will stop playing the cookie baking game on it long enough for me to get my hands on it). I can see why people who travel a lot love their e-reader. I'm going to be loving it at the cottage this summer and on our trip to New Brunswick in a few weeks.
My assessment so far is that it's pretty cool and it will definitely have its place in my reading life but it won't completely replace the traditional book for me especially since, while I'm an avid reader, I'm also a frugal one and prefer to get my books for free at the library.
Do you have an e-reader? Do you like it? Love it? Wish you'd never bought it?
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Today is my birthday. I'm 39 years old.
As a kid I didn't like having my birthday so close to Mother's Day every year. I felt like I had to share the spotlight. Selfish, I know but what kid wouldn't be? Now that I'm a mother, I love having my birthday right around Mother's Day because instead of two smaller gifts, I almost always get one larger gift. And John has been on a roll the last few years. This year he has outdone himself.
In fact I'm posting this from my gift: my new iPad.
I'm trying out the Blogsy app. So far it is much better than the iPhone app Blogpress. I'll give a fuller review after I play around a bit more.
And while I remain a traditionalist about books, I did find myself reading from the Kobo app before going to sleep last night. I can't see myself using my iPad for my bedtime reading frequently but it will be great for reading in the living room while ignoring my children. Especially today when I plan to have lots of tea, reading and by the end of the day, a martini of some sort. I am almost 40 after all.