Archive for November, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving – We are family November 2015

Thursday, November 26th, 2015 by Jen

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! We had a fairly sedate day of hanging out at my parents house, eating lots of food and three pies. We had salad and pie for dinner and the rest of the ‘main meal’ for lunch. It worked pretty well.

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My dad took this photo of the first set of food and all of us, I made him get in the photo.

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P52 #44 – Goodbye Mio

Wednesday, November 25th, 2015 by Jen

Today we sadly had to say our goodbyes to Mio. He was the best cat you could ever ask for. He loved us all and was buddies with all the other cats too. He’d been sick for about two years now and gotten thinner and thinner and today his body had just had enough and we needed to let go. Ezzy stayed by his side most of the day today and he gave us lots of purrs of appreciation for loving and petting. We also gave him one more trip upstairs to inspect the newly redone floors and I hope they met his approval.

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As always he was surrounded by his best buds. The other cats seemed to know he needed more cuddles lately and were around a lot.

Three on the couch

And even through last month he was tolerating Ewan being his loving buddy.

Ewan holding Mio

Mio came to us not yet born of a homeless cat who was severely pregnant. (Once she tried to jump into a window, but her belly was so big with all the kittens that she couldn’t possibly balance on the narrow sill and fell off.) We named her Penelope. She eventually gave birth to 9 kittens, 8 of whom survived. Mio loved cuddling up with us and eventually we decided we had to keep him while letting the others all go out to be adopted. He moved right into our bed with us, depositing himself directly in the middle of the pillows between Jordi and I. He’s been so very tolerant of the other cats, and of the kids learning how to be nice to cats as they’ve grown. We will miss him so much.

Today’s great Celia quote

Friday, November 20th, 2015 by Jen

Today while I was getting Celia to lay down for a much-needed (but greatly resisted) nap she said to me:

“Mommy I’m not sure I want to be a grownup. I want to make all the rules, but I don’t want to do the dishes.”

I’m glad my ‘with great power comes great responsibility’ lectures are getting through!

P52 #44 – Tanya’s gymnastics

Tuesday, November 17th, 2015 by Jen

It is a tradition for my kids to take the local recreation gymnastics class with coach Tanya. Josie and Celia both did it for years and this year it’s Ewan’s turn to run, tumble, jump and hang around. Josie and Celia get to tag along and they’re thrilled, always ready to jump right in. Ewan, today, did not want to participate, but it only took a few minutes of watching before he was out of his seat jumping around too. Today he learned to pull his feet up on the bar as you see below. He also loves to show off his rolls down the slanted mat and jumps onto and off of everything. Josie and Celia have to watch out for the little ones, but the class is pretty small so they can practice their gymnastics tricks too on the mat and the bar which is hard to practice anywhere else.

 

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P52 #43 – Inventing new games

Tuesday, November 10th, 2015 by Jen

Outside play

Now that the whole backyard/driveway is ours to play in, the kids have a lot more flexibility with how they play with their toys as all the toys are theirs, and we don’t have to worry about someone trying to drive up or drive away while we’re playing. We’ve also put in that compost bin you see behind Ewan this summer, which has been great at doing it’s job so far, making new dirt. The trees have also been tossing their leaves at us heavily this week as you see them all over the ground. The kids on the other hand think these cones are fantastic hats, goals, and other props. Ewan is waiting for Josie to ‘take his picture’ as he invented the ‘camera’ that Josie is looking through at me, it is a magnifying glass atop a cone. Ewan pushes the button down and says ‘click’ and then runs for ‘picture picture’. Who knows where he got these camera ideas from eh? Celia likes to wear the cone on her head for a ‘cake party’ that the adults are not invited to. They also re-imagined the game of hockey using their big bouncy balls and their rakes as sticks to whack the balls back and forth. Can’t wait to keep updating the backyard into a fun-zone for all of us.

We are family – October 2015

Sunday, November 8th, 2015 by Jen

Halloween!

Right before the Waldo park party! Note the flying bugs around us. We built them from LEDs, batteries, clothes pins, pipe cleaners and wire. They lit up!

Family camp rocks!

Saturday, November 7th, 2015 by Jen

Near the end of this previous summer, we went to sleep away camp. All of us! We stayed in a tent, specifically this tent.

Our tent

It was one family per tent, and there were about 6 tents around a campfire and about six of those setups around camp. Some of them had yurts and some had cabins, but we were in the cheap tents. I figured it gave us the best approximation to actual camping for us to get an idea of how it goes. I think I learned that this is as close to real camping as I care to get right now. There are port-a-potties nearby and a bit further away are composting toilets and real showers. The only flushing toilets were right next to the dining hall.

The tents had bunk beds in them, with very thin mattresses on very springy springs made to hold 10 year old girls. I moved my mattress and Ewan’s onto the floor to have some actual back support as my two year old will still try to sleep on top of me given the chance.

We arrived on Sunday afternoon, about 20 minutes early actually, and hung around waiting until the official starting time. They helped us with our bags to the camp site and we tried to settle in before the first activities began. The first thing for the kids to get used to was just how far apart things are from each other. It was about a 10 minute walk from camp to the dining hall where the main activities started. That was a bit of a learning curve but eventually they got the hang of it, and we got better at packing. It was also a bit difficult because the weather was right on the edge of raining and not raining, which meant we wanted to have both our swim gear (not raining) and rain gear (raining) which is a lot of stuff. That and then Ewan refused to walk some of the time and had to be carried. I’d recommend to other people with small children to bring an off-road stroller to carry the stuff.

Teaching them to lug their own stuff

We started off with an opening ceremony which was all new for our kids to see other grown ups being particularly silly. Then we went swimming and enjoyed the water toys.

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Eating was a major adjustment for the kids which took about a day for them to get used to. The dining hall was loud, busy, and not something that I had cooked for them (yay I didn’t have to cook for three days!). Plus each meal we had a stranger sitting with us, a counselor, with whom we were chatting. After dinner, we had campfire with the traditional songs and skits and funny business that the girls were wondering just who were these strange people. Ewan was wandering around a lot, which thankfully was ok. Then we went back to the tent for bed and the trickiness of figuring out how to do our nightly routine in the dark. We brought flashlights but it’s still really dark. We need a bigger lantern for inside the tent for next year. We learned what not to do, but finally made it into bed for the night and slept till morning.

Monday we made it to breakfast on time and still the kids were shell shocked at eating in the dining hall. It took until Monday night before they got the swing of things and were able to actually eat enough to not be hangry before the next meal. There are lots of activities at camp, some of which were sadly cancelled on us because of thunder. We got to do lots of things though anyway. We started off with archery because it was something that Jordi and I were both excited to do again from our camp days. The girls weren’t too excited to start but they got into it once they figured it out. Ewan gave it several turns as well. The counselors put up balloons to shoot at the end which was a fun target. We returned to the archery range multiple times over our camping trip as it was one thing that wasn’t cancelled with rain or thunder.

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For the second half of the morning I had signed up for sailing with Josie but it was cancelled due to lack of wind. Instead we all hopped into a canoe and went on a trip across the lake. Ewan did an excellent job of sitting down almost the entire time and no one tipped the boat. We saw some neat flowers and a beaver dam.

That afternoon the girls and Jordi went to the high ropes course in the woods while I stayed with Ewan taking a nap. Then later in the afternoon the girls went off on their own with some counselors and made fairy houses, and I can’t remember what Jordi and I did with Ewan, maybe he was still napping. We again enjoyed a dinner that I didn’t have to cook or clean up from. The counselors got the food for us from the line, and they cleaned up the tables. This isn’t the way they run things during regular camp, but since the counselors have so much less responsibility with the families (they don’t have to take care of kids most of the day!) they took care of it for us. We headed back earlier from dinner as some ‘fairies’ had deposited some smores treats by our campfires.

Our fellow Fossey cabin mates though were smart and knew that the smores allocation was insufficient for the number of people in reality so they had brought their own backup smores supplies. Although given that they had it in their tent, I’m not so sure I’m glad to be near them and their animal attracting food. We are rule followers, so we brought no food at all as they stated. We had a great evening around the campfire once we could get it going. Again once we were done and everyone was exhausted we had to figure out the brushing teeth in a sink that the little ones can’t really reach and is only sort of clean. We managed better this time once it wasn’t so new for everyone. It was only our first full day at camp but the next one would be our last! Camp was sadly very short, just shy of 3 full days.

Tuesday morning we decided we should shower since we hadn’t bathed yet unless you counted swimming. We went to take showers which were ok, except it was very tricky to get the kids to understand which pieces of clothing could or could not hit the floor (i.e. the wet dirty part you don’t want your clean new clothes to go onto). We made it through, made a mad dash to the dining hall to find most all the chairs already upturned. We were late late late. I went and begged for food, got scolded, blamed my small slow children, and thankfully since we were one of the few vegetarian people there, they had cooked a lot of vegetarian sausage for us. Since no one had eaten it, it was still there for us! Plus some french toast. It had started to rain and so we listened to and told some stories as we ate breakfast with a group (we weren’t the last to show up).

Later in the morning we went to shelter building and archery again! After lunch, I got to go sailing finally! There was a tiny bit of wind, not much, and Josie wouldn’t come with me but I enjoyed it. I seem to mostly remember how to handle the little boats. We tried again for the high ropes/zip line but some crazy thunder storms ended that. Our final night we are mostly ready for bed by the time dinner is over at 7, late bedtimes and lots of activities. We headed back and packed up and went to sleep. That night Jordi and the kids managed to brush their teeth, but by the time it was my turn it had started to rain quite a bit. Thankfully we were in a tent and I had some water, so I just brushed while laying by the side of the tent and spit out over the side onto the bare ground. We definitely got into the spirit of camp, nothing was terribly clean, everything was ‘camp damp’ as they said. Before every meal they do a song in front of the dining hall or cheer which the girls were very into. It was all very campy, and it was a blast to get to go back and do it again as an adult and share it with the kids. We’re signed up to go again next year! you should come too!

Josie and Celia on the Fossey trail

Walking to a meal

Almost ready to leave camp

Walking to the car

P52 #42 – All Hallows’ Eve Eve

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015 by Jen

This year Halloween was on a Saturday and so we had early trick or treating on Friday at the East Arlington Businesses. This was their first set of costumes that we took out and then went out to my dad’s company party. They didn’t want to┬ápossibly ruin the fancy costumes eating dinner in them. Then they also get to show off two outfits! Josie was a sailor, Celia was snow white and Ewan was a frog because his tiger costume was suddenly too scary. This year Ewan got the hang of trick or treating really quickly and no longer tried to give away his candy like he did last year.

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