Monday, June 29, 2009

The last word on D. A. D.

I'm feeling rather proud of myself these days.
I started a project when Meredith was just little that became a special Father's Day tradition. I took pictures of Meredith holding the letters D and A and lined them up in a three photo frame so her letters spelled out DAD. I can't take any credit for the idea, I read about it on a parenting site when she was just little.

The first year I printed the pictures in black and white and it looked pretty artsy.

The second year I borrowed our neighbour's backyard (our neighbour might as well be named Mr. Green Thumb) and took some very colourful cute pictures of Meredith and it looked very cheerful.

The third year, Aaron was about 6 weeks old when Father's Day hit, and I didn't even pick up the camera. :(

Last year I took some cute pictures of the kids and never got them developed.

Things were NOT heading in the right direction with project-DAD-frame. So this year I hustled them off to the playground, and brought the letters along.

Then by some miracle, I got the pictures developed.

Then even better, I put them IN the frame....after I dusted the two years of accumulated dust off of it! So here's the finished product and the images Dave chose for it:

I'll try to add a few more of my favourites from the day once Blogger's uploader starts cooperating again. Too bad I didn't remember the pics all needed to be in portrait orientation BEFORE I started taking them....

Monday, June 22, 2009

Helloooooo summer!

Fortunately, Dave and I both grew up camping with our families. Mind you, it often involved large and strangely stinky canvas tents that had a tendency to leak, but as kids we both loved it. Both our families seem to have graduated from tents to tent trailers and some of my fondest memories of our early dating and married years are of weekends spent in the Starcraft circa 1972 trailer at Falcon Lake with Dave and his family.

The year Meredith was born, we graduated to our own trailer and have camped in it every summer since. I remember the first time Meredith slept 8 hours in a row was in the trailer that summer. She potty trained at the trailer. She learned to love s'mores at the trailer and to this day still believes that only Auntie Adrienne knows the recipe to this heavenly treat.

Being a May baby, Aaron had his first taste of camping at only 3 weeks old. I remember that May long weekend was so cold it seemed I had Aaron in a cuddly wrap inside my jacket for most of the weekend. He was fairly colicky early that summer too, and I'm sure our neighbours wondered just what we were doing to that tiny little baby inside the thin trailer walls as we tried to get him to sleep.

This year is a big step forward in our camping life. For the first time since buying our trailer, we are actually able to use the dining area inside and have set up the table. Until this summer, there was always a bassinet or playpen in the space the table would normally occupy! Aaron is sleeping in a big bed at the camper and thus far (knock on large wooden object....) it's gone okay. Well okay except for him locking us out of the camper during his first nap in there...

This weekend was our second weekend down at the camper. The previous weekend was so cold we were wrapped in blankets when we were outside in the evening. This weekend delivered plenty of hot weather, mosquito bites, and even some time at the beach.

Meredith and her cousin Kasha buried themselves in the sand with a little help from Auntie Kim,

and found some poor unsuspecting puppy to cuddle and coo over!

Meanwhile, Aaron asked Uncle Gord who shopped for his clothes, because there seemed to be a chance it was the same person who had shopped for Aaron's clothes....

Here's to a summer of fun at the camper! Days spent with cousins, special visits from friends, Dream Cream slathered on bites and scrapes and a whole bunch more memories to save for those long winter days!

Book of the Week

No, we have not suddenly ceased reading in our house. I've just ceased being organized enough to get a photo of what the kids are into right now! Today's pick is one that Aaron has wanted to have read to him probably 4 nights out of 7 since he received it at Christmas. I don't even want to think about how many times this book has accompanied him to the potty. Clearly the mark of a good book.

It's called I See A Monster and is written by Laurie Young. It's one of those great touch and feel books that babies and toddler seem to love. It's full of cheerful, bright images, a flap that opens up on each page, and something in an interesting texture to feel. The text is very simple, and the kind of repetitive rhyming structure that means Aaron is already starting to fill in the words if the reader pauses long enough, and Meredith can "read" it to him as well.

The most interesting part about the book, for me, is Aaron's reaction to different things. First it started with a page where one of the monsters was standing on a chair. Yes, STANDING on a chair. One would think my little climber had been scolded for this feat a time or two himself based on his reaction to the picture.
"Uh oh! Sit down!" Every time we read the book, the same response came out. Eventually he suppressed that one and moved on to leaning in to kiss the page when we turned to the spotted pink monster. Still haven't suppressed that one.

The last two times we've read the book, it's clear what his new favourite page is.

"I see a monster who needs a good scrub. Where is he hiding? Inside the tub!" At which point Aaron jumps off my lap, runs to the bathroom shouting "Same same same! Modder (monster) big tub white. Aaron big tub white."

Good times.

Father's Day

This picture is one I'd take along to a desert island:

The Thursday before Father's Day Dave was invited to the daycare to take part in a special Father's Day Adventure, cooked up by The Amazing Karen and the Monkeys. Karen tells me the kids have been working on it since the day after the Mother's Day Tea. :)

Essentially, they transformed one of the preschool rooms in the daycare into a jungle safari adventure. There was a pit of poisonous snakes, a pond full of pirahnas, a bat cave and more. As is standard on every jungle safari, there was also a handwashing station before the dads and kids settled in for some jungle snacks of beetles wings and worms and red ants. The kids sang some songs that would break your heart to hear....still trying to figure out how to post video to here, so if someone has a tip for me send it my way! They had made all kinds of decorations for the room, including scary snakes from even scarier 80's neckties donated by the dads!

Each child also got to bring home one of the jungle animals they'd been working on. This elephant is made of paper bags. Entirely. Paper bags and paint. Have I mentioned recently that Karen is Amazing and there's clearly one reason I go to work instead of stay home full time with my children....

The dads all got a fabulous new tie to replace the ones they had donated, this one fashioned by their very own 5 year old.

Like the very loving dad he is, Dave put his on the next morning and wore it to work (or at least in the car....not sure what transpired when he actually got to work) and made his little girl's day.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Sunday drive

I have a feeling this may be a preview of things to come. Dave charged up the battery for the mini Jeep, and they were off to the races. Or at least Meredith was. She's getting the hang of steering it really well this year, and loved the ride. Aaron looks like he's checking the seatbelt, wondering about air bags, and getting ready to ask his sister for her license and registration.

And there they go....

See you later!

After a brief hiatus....

Seems like the month of June has been jam packed with activities! I've got some catching up to do to keep pace with the goings-on around here. It seems that finally summer weather has arrived, after the coolest, rainiest June I can ever remember. Meredith's buddy, Sherris, from daycare had a birthday party a few weekends ago now, and it was cool enough to wear stockings and a sweater to the party! This picture is extremely misleading with regards to the temperature as the kids were taking a VERY brief break from jumping their brains out on the fabulous bouncer in place for the party!

The break started out as a chance to gaze at the fish pond, and even feed the fish a flake or two. When the poking-of-the-fish-with-a-long-stick began, it was back to the bouncer.

And what's a birthday party without a pinata to whack! After a few attempts by the assembled 4 and 5 year olds, the ties holding the pinata to the swing set broke, but the pinata showed no signs of breaking.

To the tremendous amusement and amazement of the assembled parents, James, the birthday-girl's dad HELD THE PINATA WHILE SMALL CHILDREN WHACKED AT IT.

What can I say, better than candy.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Sleep, anyone?

It has been a busy busy week at daycare for the two smallest people in our house. I fully expect by tonight they will either fall asleep in their supper or have raging crying fits through supper and, once talked down off the ledge, fall asleep quickly in their beds!

The week started with a visit from the Literacy Links facilitator who is checking out Meredith's readiness for Kindergarten. She'll be coming for four weeks, an hour at a time, to work through various literacy skills with Miss M. Needless to say, she didn't have a lot of remedial suggestions after her visit on Monday! Monday also was Welcome to Kindergarten night so Meredith met Madame Katie, checked out her new classroom, and received a goodie bag stuffed full of Kindergarten prep stuff. She spied the class pet (a fish), played with the toys, and speculated about which cubby she'd keep her shoes in. The next day she asked if she could start Kindergarten right away instead of waiting until September. She so excited. I'm tearful.

Aaron began the transition from the Infant room at Daycare to the Toddler room. It's a big step, away from the physical space he has become so familiar with over the past 14 months, and more importantly away from the four incredible caregivers who have been by his side five days a week. It means moving to a bigger room, new toys, and sharing the same playground that Meredith plays on. He's so excited, I'm tearful. :)

Meredith had a full day of fun on her farm field trip with Nana on Wednesday. We are now well versed in the technique for picking up a chick, as it's been described to us all in extraordinary detail on more than one occasion! Apparently she also got to milk a goat. When Daddy asked her if she drank the milk, she looked at him as if he had two heads and said "Daddy! It wasn't ready yet!"

Not a hundred percent sure I want to know what she thinks happens to the milk to make it "ready."

Thursday, Meredith went to Kids Fest with her pals from daycare. As it rained on and off all day, I kept feeling sorry for the soggy kids and damp teachers, but apparently they managed to take in mostly activities in tents so they emerged only slightly moistened! The Amazing Karen tells me the kids had a blast and were exceptionally well behaved. How do those daycare teachers do it.....

In honor of Kids Fest, Meredith wore the "Friends" t-shirt she and her Monkey buddies made (under the supervision of The Amazing Karen) at daycare. How cool is this?

To top it all off, Friday was Dave's birthday!

Mmmmmm, Ice Cream Sundae Pie!

Time for a nap for all of us, I think.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Nana Fest 2009

We've eagerly been anticipating the arrival of this person:

for some time now! Nana (aka my stepmother Marilyn) has come from B.C. for a visit. If you see someone running from our house with her hands over her ears, looking for a moment of solitude, that might be her. :) Please offer her a cup of tea. She's been to swimming lessons with us, to daycare with us, read stories, wiped noses and baked muffins with us. And on the weekend she rode in the car with us for the 3 1/2 hours it takes to get to Deloraine and the 3 1/2 hours it takes to get home. As I was packing a bag of snacks to take in the car shortly after the kids ate breakfast I could see she was wondering what I was doing.

I said, "I give it three minutes before one of them asks for a snack in the car."
She said, "But Aaron just ate three bowls of cereal for breakfast."

1.5 minutes into the trip, the first snack request was made.

We kept driving for a bit, distracted by the cars and dogs and TRACTORS, but eventually the first snack was doled out as the ants in the pants got worse. And the second snack. And when she passed back the third snack she asked the question of the day:

"What happens when the snacks run out?"

"Pray for Tim Horton's."

Anyhow, so off we went to Deloraine on the weekend so Nana could visit her family and the kids and I could fit in another visit with Grandma G.

We visited every playground in town, stopped for ice cream, and took Grandma out to visit the cemetery again.

It was a beautiful prairie day.

As an added bonus, we also got a visit in with Nana's brother and his family on the farm where she grew up. There was something to suit everyone's fancy:

a new friend for Meredith

and the stuff of books and dreams come to life for little Aaron!

It was a great, busy, exhausting weekend. I think we all slept deeply last night.

Next up on the list of events for Nana Fest 2009? Accompanying Meredith on her nursery school farm field trip on Wednesday. Stay tuned!