Sunday, August 28, 2011

Last hurrah

It's our last hurrah at the cottage. We're here for a few days and then closing for the season. It's lovely to be back here again after a gloriously long stint in July but it's bittersweet because after this visit we won't be back until May.

I've labelled this summer "the summer of swimming". We were in the lake two or three times a day everyday we've been here. The girls have really advanced with their swimming skills (I also had them in two sessions of swim lessons in Ottawa while we were back there which also helped reinforce all their cottage practice). Emily has almost mastered front crawl and Hope is already starting to learn the stroke too. Hope is our fish; swimming comes easily to her and she's very buoyant. Emily loves the water but has to work a bit harder to master certain strokes although her kick is incredibly strong so she can really propel herself through the water. Even John and I have been swimming more for enjoyment than we have in the past few summers. John routinely swims to "Judgement Rock" across our bay and I squeeze in a swim straight out into deeper water when I can.

I can see each summer becoming easier and easier here: the kids need less entertainment, can spend more time in the water and will start to want to go canoeing and kayaking with me more often. (Emily, Hope and I just came in from our first and last canoe ride of the season. It took us this long to do it because the attempts from previous summers were not fun. Today was definitely fun.)

This morning the lake sent me a parting message. I was having my morning cuppa when I heard a loon on the lake. I came out to the front porch and watched the loon search for it's breakfast between its lonely calls across the lake. Saying goodbye to summer before he too heads away.

Goodbye for this year, Mary Lake.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:N Mary Lake Rd,Huntsville,Canada

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Girl Greatness Starts Here

There are so many posts I have swirling around in my head and none of them have been moulded into anything publishable. I want to tell you about our time at the cottage, about the creative project that Emily and I finally completed, about Emily's birthday and about my sudden desire to get this house organized (one can only tolerate squalor for so long).

Instead I'm going to tell you about something I know virtually nothing about: Girl Guides of Canada.

Emily has been part of a Sparks unit (the youngest group in Girl Guides) since she was eligible at 5 years old. She finished Sparks last spring and was keen on moving up to Brownies. The difficulty was that most Brownie units are held in the evening, finishing around 8:15 pm. That's not good for a girl whose school hours are 8:00 am to 2:30 pm and who requires about 11 hours of sleep to be tolerable. So I toyed with the idea of starting an after-school Brownie unit held at Emily's school. I talked to my friend Julie about it (a seasoned Guider). She was keen to get back into Guiding after a long break and said that she would run the new unit with me. Girl Guides was very interested in my idea and after a couple of phone conversations and a screening, Bob's your uncle. The Unit is starting this September.

Um, yikes.

I was never a Brownie or a Guide (although I openly coveted the chance to wear that brown pleated uniform and matching tam). I know very little about the organization save for the delicious cookies. But, I totally believe in this organization and what they stand for and what they've given to Emily. Here is Girl Guides Canada's Mission Statement:

Girl Guides of Canada-Guides du Canada enables girls to be confident, resourceful and courageous, and to make a difference in the world.
And then there is this excerpt from their program description:
The program fosters creativity, a wide variety of interests, self-esteem, healthy living, initiative, self-reliance, resourcefulness, leadership and the development of core personal values.
and this about Girl Engagement:
By developing and implementing girl engagement at all levels of our organization, we enable girls to develop leadership and life-skills and in turn improve their communities, their country and the world.
How could I not be fully-supportive and excited about being involved? This is girl empowerment at its best. This is fostering and supporting a generation of strong, independent and confident women. I'm fully dedicated to that.

So, even though I'm starting down this road blindfolded (albeit with a friend with a map along for the ride), I'm excited.

If you have a daughter in Ottawa and are looking for a great activity for her this year and are interested in the after-school Brownie Unit, send me an email and I'll send you all the details!

Sunday, August 07, 2011

After three and a half weeks away.... garden has this to offer:

Yes, that's a two-litre bottle next to those summer squash.

Garlic, my favourite thing to grow.

The tomatoes are plentiful this year. Now I just have to be patient and wait for them to ripen.

Found this beauty hiding among the vines.

There will be a lot of squash consumed this fall. Hooray!

In the foreground you can see ground cherry plants and their little papers littering the ground (thank-you squirrels). These are now my second-favourite thing to grow and will be in my garden every year now.