Family Time

Buddies
Buddies

Today my baby boy turns 6.  It’s hard to believe that 6 years ago today he entered our lives.  Each day has gotten better since.  He has truly made our lives complete.  Being a Mom can be the toughest job in the world sometimes, mostly because you simply love that little one so much that they become an extension of you.  When they laugh, you laugh.  When they hurt, you hurt.  When they feel bad, you want to step right in and fix whatever the problem is.  Even when you can’t.

Anyway, I just wanted to fill you in about the little trip that our family took to Great Wolf Lodge in Niagara Falls.  We had gone in February and spent a couple of days, and we all had such an amazing time, that we thought we would take another trip to celebrate Nicholas’ Birthday.

So last week on Wednesday, we packed up the car, and headed for Niagara Falls.  It was a lot better drive than it was the time before, as we were in a snowstorm that time.  We had my parents with us, as we had the last time, and this time was even better because we had all been there before, we knew the ropes and how to go about doing everything, and how to best utilize our time there.  We had such an amazing time, I thought I would share the experience with you, and show you some of our pictures.  I was able to get some awesome pictures, as we purchased a waterproof camera a few weeks before our trip, which came in very handy in the waterpark, as I didn’t have to worry about it getting wet, as well as it allowed me to leave my phone in the room and causing me to be unplugged for hours at a time, which astonishingly enough, did not bother me at all.  I kind of liked it actually!  I got some great waterpark pictures, and I plan on using this camera a lot at the beach this summer too.  Already a great investment.

We arrived at GWL at around 2pm on the Wednesday.  We were delighted to find that our room was ready, so we were able to check in.  So we unpacked, suited up, and hit the water running!  Here are some pics from Day One:

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And from Thursday, Day Two:

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And lastly Friday, Day Three, and the day we came home:

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As you can see, we had a lovely, fun filled trip, where Nicholas spent a large amount of it under the water.  It’s such a nice place, we’re already planning our next trip, probably for October or around there.

Hope you have a great weekend, and a very Happy Mothers Day to all the Moms out there. 🙂

Weekend at Home – In the Kitchen

I love to cook, I love to bake. If you know me, or if you read this blog, you know this. But sometimes I find that cooking gets a little tedious for me. If I haven't planned ahead, it's getting home at 5:00 pm through the week, and thinking to myself, what the heck am I going to cook? What can I throw together to get supper on the table fast?

It loses something like this. The passion goes out of it and it becomes a pain in the ass. Then the weekend comes and we go out somewhere, or you just don't feel like it, so you just eat whatever. It's not always like this, but sometimes that's the way it goes.

This weekend the weather has been BAD. I figured that we weren't going anywhere and that we wouldn't be seeing anyone. I got up Yesterday morning and thought to myself: I feel like cooking! I feel like baking! A quick trip out to the store (once the laneway was shovelled) and I was good to go. I thought I would share some pictures of some of the things I made. Though if you follow me on Instagram, you've already seen these. 🙂

 

The beginnings of Italian Wedding Soup

The little meatballs that go in

The finished product

Homemade spaghetti sauce at the beginning stages

A few hours later, all done.

Tasty lemon loaf

A meatloaf – last nights supper.

This morning I made a banana bread.

 

I had a lovely weekend, home with my family.

Now I have to figure out what to cook for supper tonight. I was thinking a nice teriyaki chicken…stay tuned!

 

Summer Vacation – First Update

 

 

Good Tuesday Morning! Second official day of vacation, but technically, I've been off since Friday. It feels good. It's nice, because for the first time in recent memory, Joe and I have vacation at the same time.

So what have we been up to? Keeping busy I guess. The weather has been so so up to this point, but I'm hoping it turns around. Saturday was Nicholas' last day of soccer and it was downright cold. Yesterday we went to visit our friend Jolene in St Catherines and went all tourist to Niagara Falls. I haven't been tourist there for many years unless you count when Joe and I went in October for our anniversary, and we didn't really do anything touristy then. Nicholas has never been to Niagara Falls before, so we thought this would be a good opportunity for him to experience some of it.

Needless to say, he thought it was pretty cool. All our talk about the “big waterfall” didn't really prepare him for how big Niagara Falls is. Even after seeing it as many times as I have, it still fascinates me.

One thing I never got to do in all the times I have visited Niagara, is go on the Maid of the Mist. I did the Journey Behind the Falls as a kid with my family, but we never made it on the boat. Perhaps because every time we went growing up it was in the summer time, and the waits were too long. This time, I did a bit of research about it and decided that we were going. I wanted to see it, and I wanted Nicholas to see it. I knew he would love it.

So we did. It was awesome.

The wait wasn't too bad. Maybe a half hour or so. The view while we waited was pretty great.

 

 

And the boat ride itself was amazing. Nicholas loved it.

 

You really don't realize how massively fantastic The Falls are until you see them from this angle. It makes you realize exactly how small we are compared to this natural wonder.

It was pretty amazing. I highly recommend it.
So yesterday the weather was crap, and after a busy weekend, we pretty much took it easy. We vegged out, and I watched most of a season of How I Met Your Mother – which I have just discovered, and am totally loving by the way.
I love vacation. Whether we do everything, or absolutely nothing at all, it's pretty great. And sitting here on a Tuesday morning, with most of the week still laid out before me, the possibilities are endless. We'll see where we end up.
I'll keep you posted. 😉

 

Summer’s Here

Copyright 2013 - Aaron Pellerin
Copyright 2013 – Aaron Pellerin

I’ve spent some time away from this blog.  I’ve been journaling a bit lately, but that’s it.  There’s lots of stuff going on, but at the same time I feel like I don’t have anything to write, and I don’t want to put stuff out there unless it means something – at least to me.  

So summer is here.  Beach and pool season is upon us.  Time ticks on…it literally seems like yesterday that it was Christmas, and a week ago that my son started school.  Now we’re into July, his first year of school is over, and he’ll be entering Senior Kindergarten in September.  Full days, every day.  It’ll be a big adjustment for him, and for us.  I think we’ll all do fine though.

Summer is my official favourite time of year.  I always used to say that Fall was my favourite season, and it is definitely up there, but in the last few years, my family and I have started frequenting the beach, and I have to say – summer has stolen my heart.

The beach never used to be a big deal for me.  I hated the sand caught in everything, the having to walk and carry everything from your car parked a mile away down to the water, the semi-clean lake, the buff bikini bods prancing around everywhere making you wish you had brought more towels to cover yourself with.  Also, most of the beaches we went to got deep fairly quick so I spent the majority of the time listening to my mother shout: “Bring it in Danielle!  A little closer to shore!!”  I’m quite a strong swimmer, but she is not, so it definitely worried her when I was too far out of her reach.  Even as I got older.

All that has changed in the last couple of years.  Nicholas was born in May, so honestly, he didn’t get out into the pool too much during his first year.  Since you’re not supposed to put sunscreen on kids less than 6 months old, I spent the majority of that first summer in the shade, making sure his sensitive baby skin wasn’t overexposed to the suns rays.  His second summer was a little better, we spent some time in my parents’ pool, but again, he was so little, that the majority of the time in the water was spent with me holding him and the rest of the time was spent with me worrying that he would fall in the water.  Very nerve wracking. I was identifying with my Mother and how worried she always was about me.

The last couple of years though, we have discovered the beach.  One Saturday we just packed up the car, and took a drive out to Kettle Point to spend the day.  Now let me tell you a little about Kettle Point that makes it perfect, and how it gets past some of the crappy beach stuff that I listed above.  First of all – the sand thing – well, it’s a beach, so there’s no really getting rid of that.  But it’s harder packed sand, so it does cut down a bit on the sand getting into everything.

Another nice thing about this beach is that you drive right up to the water.  A totally new concept for me, you just simply drive your vehicle across the sand, and up to the water.  Pop open your trunk or hatch filled with all your beach stuff, and badda bing, badda boom, you’re done!  No carting all your stuff for miles before you get to the water.  It’s great.  It’s also filled with lots of families, not just the young, buff, “look at me” crowd.

The best thing though, and the reason why I love to take my son there, is that it stays shallow forever.  There is no sudden drop, and you can walk out quite a while before the water even hits your waist.  This is awesome for kids, and I can sit comfortably by the water’s edge and let my son play (luckily he doesn’t venture too far on his own yet) without worrying that he is going to fall into the pool.  I still make him wear his PFD and I along with whoever is with me watch him like a hawk, but he is perfectly content to play in the shallow water and play with the waves as they come in.

The beach has become a source of great joy for me and for my family.  I can literally sit for hours in the non-humid climate, letting the breeze hit me and soak up vitamin D.  The sound of the water is so soothing for me, it is truly my happy place.  Last year I took a vacation day from work, and I spent the entire afternoon at Kettle Point, all by myself.  I sat and read, listened to music, watched the water, swam a bit, probably nodded off a bit.  It was awesome for me and I totally plan to do it again this year.

We’ve made it to the beach once so far this year, and have several plans to go again.  Nothing beats that first breath of air that hits you when you first step out of the car onto the sand.

Do you love summer?  Are you a beach or pool person?  Or would you rather be snowshoeing? Please feel free to hit up the comments.

Have a great summer – and don’t forget your sunscreen.  The sun is awesome, but we must respect it the same way we do the water.

46 Days

One of the things that's been keeping me busy.
One of the things that’s been keeping me busy.

46 Days.  In the blogosphere, that is a really long time.  Unfortunately, that’s how long it’s been since my last post.

You’d think that nothing happened to me in the last 46 days.  That I haven’t read any books, cooked any meals, thought about anything interesting.  Well that’s just not true.  Except the book thing.  Believe it or not, I’m still working on reading the book that I started at the end of November.  Me, who read 60 books last year, and over 60 the year before, is still working on that same book.  It’s not that it’s not a good book, I just haven’t been reading.  I’ve been doing a lot of knitting, a bit of blanket making, and reading a lot of online content – magazines, tech blogs etc. This is not like me at all, but I’m not putting a bunch of pressure on myself to get reading again.  It’s part of who I am, and I will get back to it eventually.  Soon, I expect.

I’m also (obviously) lacking in the writing area.  Again, this is very odd for me.  Writing is also part of who I am.  Even if I’m not blogging, I’m usually journaling.  I haven’t been doing that lately much either.  I guess in a way I’ve been taking a break from stuff.

Break over.

So things are good.  I’ve been doing some crafting lately, making things for people.  One thing I have been making is fleece blankets for people.  My mom introduced me to them.  She had been keeping a secret from all of us (except Dad) for a few months before Christmas last year.  She was making something for everyone in her family.  A craft that she had received from a friend and wanted to pass on to everyone she loved.  It turned out to be these awesome blankets.  They are warm, comfortable, and easy to do.  The really nice thing about them and the thing that makes them a great gift, is that they can be personalized based on likes, hobbies, favourite sports, etc.  You just have to find a fleece that you think they will like and boom, you’re done.  Since Christmas I’ve made 4 of them and there are more I want to do for different peeps that I love.  They’re lots of fun.  If you’re interested in making one, a useful description on how to do it is here.  Just as an aside, I usually use 2 metres of fabric (or 2 yards if measured that way) unless for a small child, in which case I use a metre and a half.  My fringe is 4.5 inches.

Just to brighten your day, this has been making the rounds online and it’s so cute, I had to share it.  If you haven’t seen it, take the time to watch this future star in action.

Hope you’re having a great Friday.  Till next time.

Countdown to Christmas

ChristmasAh, Christmas.  Truly one of my most favourite times of year.  Growing up, Christmas was always big in our family.  Pepere loved Christmas.  He really got the true spirit of what it is supposed to be about.  I am so grateful that he passed this on to us.  I know that it is because of him, and in turn my Mom, that Christmas is such a special time and that it means so much to me.  I hope that I can pass this on to my son and someday to my grandchildren, so that the spirit of Christmas stays alive in our family.

I know that some people don’t like Christmas because of how commercial it has become.  I agree that for some it has become more about what you need to buy, and what you have to do.  I also think that Christmas – like most everything else – is about what you make it.  Yes, it’s commercial, but in my home, it’s still about the same old thing:  getting together with your family, eating and drinking lots, listening to some Christmas music, and exchanging a few gifts.  The commercial part of it only gets to us and bothers us if we let it.  The spirit of Christmas is alive and well in our home as we sit by the tree and enjoy a glass of eggnog.

I also know that Christmas can be a very tough time of year for some people.  Those that have lost a loved one, those that have loved ones that they can’t be with.  Those that don’t have the money for gifts that wish they could buy tons of things for their loved ones but can’t.  I remember the Christmas of 1996.  Our first Christmas without Pepere.  That was the hardest Christmas ever.  The thought of sitting around the tree celebrating when the focal point of Christmases past was no longer with us – seemed like a crazy thought to us all.  I’m sure my mother would have taken a sleeping pill and slept through the whole thing.  None of us were ready.  So the whole family up and went to the Dominican Republic for a week that year.  And two weeks the following year.  Was it nice?  Of course.  Did we have fun?  You bet.  Was it Christmas?  Well…..kinda, but not really.  It was great, but when Christmas came around the following year, I think we all knew it was time to face reality, and to have Christmas continue on.  I wasn’t married yet, but I had started seeing Joe, and I knew that I would want my children when I had them to experience Christmas as I had growing up – and not decorating a palm tree with lights.  Not that palm trees and sandy beaches aren’t great for some, but it wasn’t Christmas to me.  I knew that if I wanted my child(ren) to experience the wonderful type of Christmas I grew up with, it was up to me to give it, just as my parents and grandparents had given it to me.

So here we are, December 2012.  Some of my shopping done (much of it online now – thank God).  I have plans to do my baking this week, I’m doing a craft with a friend this weekend and having folks over for dinner and doing a family Christmas too.  We’ve written and mailed Nicholas’ letter to Santa and the decorations are up.  I’m excited.  I’m excited to watch my little guy get excited about Christmas, and talk to him about the Advent wreath and light a candle with him each week.  I love the lights, and the smells, and the feeling that comes with finding that perfect gift for someone that you love.

I hope you all have an amazing Christmas season.  If for some reason you’re not loving it, or you’re hurting at this time of year, or missing someone, or bah-humbuging about something, I’m sorry.  I hope that you will find joy in your own way.  Be thankful for what you do have, for the people in your life, for the joy in Christmases from the past.  I learned a very important lesson back in the Christmases of 1996, 1997 and 1998:  we all have in mind what Christmas is supposed to be.  Sometimes things happen in life that just don’t make it possible.  In order to be happy, I think we have to try to work with what we have, and be willing to accept that things change, and we need to change with them.  I know that I will never, ever have the Christmas that I had growing up again.  But that’s okay, because I’m not supposed to.  As a wife and a mommy, it’s now my job to make it the best it can be for my family.  That may not be exactly what I had growing up, but aspects of it will be there, along with special touches of our own.

Love to all this Christmas season.

Peace.

All that Thanksgiving crap…

Booze? Yeah, I'm thankful for booze. But I'm more thankful for what this bottle represents.

Ah, Thanksgiving. One of my favourite holidays of the year. I know, you're thinking – this is going to be one of those sappy Thanksgiving posts where she shares all the things in life she's thankful for. Alas, you are correct.

So where do I start? Because seriously, the list is long. I'm pretty sure it would exhaust any polite reading threshold you may have and have you clicking on to find that perfect pumpkin pie recipe, which I happened to make the other day. Try this, it was very good.

Obviously the list starts with family for me. Family of course is multi-faceted, with a few branches. The first provides my foundation, my parents, grandparents, and everyone else that comes with them. I have been very fortunate to come from a very loving, supportive family. Each and every one of them made me who I am today. My parents are the most amazing people I know. They have been there with me every step of the way throughout my life supporting me and being their awesome, amazing, generous selves.

Of course family for me has branched out to my amazing husband with whom I just celebrated 10 years of wedded bliss with last week. (See champagne, above). It hasn't all been roses, there have been times where mutual neck wringing has been considered. But I wouldn't change a thing. Every single moment of our marriage has brought us to where we are right now. Solid, happy, and possibly more in love with each other than we were 10 years ago. He is my other half, and I am so thankful for him, and the extended family he has brought into my life. Every day I wake up and make a conscious decision to work with him. To work on us. For us, and for the family we've built together.

Speaking of what we've built together, no list like this would be complete without the one thing I am most thankful in the world for: my son. Nicholas has brought so much joy and so much light into my life. I love that child so much that it doesn't seem like I could possibly love him any more. Then, remarkably, I wake up the next day, and I do love him more. He is an amazing kid, and it has been such a gift to watch him grow, and I can't believe how lucky I feel every single time that child calls me Mommy.

In addition to family, I am also blessed to have several good friends. If you're reading this, you know who you are. Some I've literally known forever, and some just a few years, and various amounts of time in between. However long I've known them, I have an amazing support system. I have no blood sisters, but I have several women who I could not love more if they were my sisters. I've learned a lot about friendship over the last few years, and incredibly lucky I am to have each and every one of them love me for who I am, no matter what.

I have several other things to be thankful for. My health, I realize how important that is. Employment for Joe and myself. In today's economy, we are both fortunate to have jobs that put a roof over our head and food on the table. I'm thankful for all the pleasures I enjoy in life, and that I'm physically able to enjoy them – cooking, reading, music, technology – all those little things that shape my life. I'm thankful for them all.

I hope you all are able to come up with a good long list of all the things you're thankful for. And if you've read this far, I'm thankful for you too.

Gobble Gobble.

;

‘Twas the Night Before Vacation Ended…

Summer lovin

Here we are. Summer is over. Okay, summer is not officially over, but come on, everyone looks at Labour Day weekend as the last long weekend of the summer. The kids start back to school tomorrow (mine starts Thursday), the nights are getting cooler, the mornings are getting cooler. When you drive down the road, you see the odd tree with the leaves turning already.

Not to say that's it's going to snow tomorrow. Heck, I can even see myself getting to the beach a couple more times in September. But the feeling is there. It's in the air. Fall is coming. I'm not complaining. Of all the seasons, fall is probably my favourite. I love walking outside with jeans and a sweatshirt on. I love the feeling of the crispness in the air. The leaves turning is inspiring and beautiful to me.

It's back to work for me tomorrow. I've had an amazing 10 days off. It's been full, but not to the point where I feel like I haven't had a vacation. We've spent plenty of time out and about, with a few veg days thrown in for good measure. Actually, the last couple of days we've been home, and I have to say….between the kid, and the dog…and the husband, if I wasn't going back to work tomorrow, I may have already said a few things that I would regret later. They are all starting to get on my nerves.

I got some stuff done. Some school shopping – I think we're pretty much ready – got the dog a haircut – I started and finished the biography of Steve Jobs. I got this book for Christmas and said that I wanted to read it on my vacation, when I would have time to dedicate to it. I totally didn't have much time at all to dedicate to it, but I finished it anyway today, and for sure in the very near future, I will be posting a review on it.

My kid starts school on Thursday. I have no idea how this is going to go, and though I'm thinking about it quite a bit, I'm trying not to dwell on it too much. If I really try to wrap my head around it, the waterworks will start. I'm thinking about it, but trying to block out the emotion of it until the day. It's hard, but so far I'm doing okay.

So back to work tomorrow to put in my vacation request for the first week of October. I hope I don't have a problem getting it – we will be celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary that week and I really want to be able to go away. Since our 5th we haven't done much more than go out for dinner, which has been fine, but for 10 years, I think we should do something to mark it. It should be special.

I hope everyone has had an amazing long weekend. Labour Day is definitely one of my favourite long weekends of the year. I hope that it marks the end of an amazing summer for everyone, and the start of a wonderful fall.

Till later 🙂

 

Vacation is around the corner!

Look out beach, here we come!

Woot, woot!  One more week till vacay!  Boy, do I feel like I’m needing it this year.  It’s almost the end of August, and so far I’ve taken 2 days vacation.  My decision – my friend and co-worker tells me that I hoard all my vacation days like a squirrel saving nuts for the winter, and she’s right.  I get three weeks a year, and usually I don’t feel like I need much time off for the first six months.  I usually take a week in July, a week sometime in the fall, like October, and then a week at Christmas.  But I do hoard my days, mostly I think because I want to make sure I get the perfect time, and spaced just right.

So I’m ready.  Boy, am I ready!

My husbands work schedule doesn’t allow for much time off for him in the summer, so he’s working a lot of the week that I’m off.  A day trip will be in store, a lot of time at the beach I’m hoping, and we’ll probably get in to see a movie, as the boy loved that when we went on his Birthday in May.  We’ll have to get his school shopping done as well.  We have most of what he needs, just another pair of shoes and a lunch pail are needed.

Wait – what?  Did I say that my son is starting school?  How can that be?  He was just born, wasn’t he?  Something is wrong here.  Something is very wrong.

This brings us to the meat of the topic.  My son, my baby, my little guy, is starting school in 2 weeks.  I’m kind of starting to freak out.  I know it is going to be good for him, I know he needs this experience and socially it will be a wonderful thing for him.

Once I remove him from my leg.

He is so shy.  I know a lot of this is my own fault because he has not been in a daycare setting.  He is great when meeting new kids, but so so shy around new adults, especially men.  I don’t know why this is, he has an amazing relationship with his Daddy, Grandpa and Papa.  But it really takes him a while to warm up around men that he doesn’t know.  He’s never really been away from us with at least one family member present – ever.

So I’m a bit worried.  Mostly because it breaks my heart to imagine him all on his own for the first time – at school, all day.  Then I think back to my first few days of school.  I was exactly the same way.  My mom stayed at the school with me for the first few days because I cried whenever she tried to leave.  When the teacher finally told her to go home, and she did – she got home to find the phone ringing.  It was the school secretary calling to let her know that I was doing just fine, and the teacher had her call Mom so that she wouldn’t worry.  I was fine.  I turned out okay.  So will he, but it’s much tougher being on the Mommy end of the situation.

That’s why next week is so important to me.  I delayed my vacation by a few weeks so that we could spend some awesome quality time together before he starts school.  He’ll always be my baby, but he’ll never be my pre-school-days baby again.  So this time together is as much for me as it is for him.

Why didn’t somebody tell me that being a Mommy was so hard sometimes?  I blame you all for this! 😉