Friday, July 30, 2010

Quick Vacay Update

Wow, I don't even know how to begin to share all we've done so far on our NB vacation! I guess I'll have to resort to the list method:
  • Quick visit in Montreal with Kate, Pierre, Madeleine and Remi. They fed us beer-can chicken and home made ice cream. Scrumptious! And great company too!
  • Arrived July 17th in Fredericton. I nearly burst with excitement as we drove into the city that I love so much, that just oozes "home" to me. Had dinner with Grampie and Grammie Haines and a great sleep after a LONG drive.
  • Church in the morning, where we reconnected with sooooo many great friends. A drive down Crocket Street. An afternoon visit with Nana and Doug.
  • Visit with dear friends, the Clarks, the Inmans, the Nyes. Janelle got a sleepover with Taylor D!
  • The kids were thrilled to find out that our church in F'ton was having VBS that week! They got to participate with all their old friends!
  • Janelle got a new PURPLE cast, and an appointment with the most awesome orthopedic surgeon. We were surely cared for!
  • Family dinners with all sides of the family.
  • A girls night at Liane's house! Yay! (But I need another one of those before I go back!)
  • The annual birthday party for my Mom, Janelle and Charlie, this time held at Tracy and Blair's new cottage in Cambridge Narrows.
  • A rainy day at the cottage, filled with movies and games.
  • Mom's actual birthday dinner, provided by Nurnie, at Mom and Dad's in Rothesay. It felt so good to walk into my old home after 4 months away!
  • Took Chris to the airport to head back to London for a couple of weeks. We're missing him, but appreciate that he was able to save his vacation time to spend with us in Ontario at the end of the summer.
  • A visit at the cottage with the Vincent family, old friends of mine and neighbours of my sister's. Their oldest son, Aiden, is Connor's kindred spirit, I think!
  • A pedicure from Tracy's friend, Holly, who has a true gift for pampering! Mom, Tracy and I spent an afternoon in the lap of luxury!
  • Today, Tracy and I went to "Despicable Me" with Connor and Charlie (the birthday boy), while the girls enjoyed Mom's birthday gift to Janelle, a "Little Lady's Spa Day" with Holly. I met my new baby cousin, Nathaniel, and said a quick hello to his parents. Then back to Grandma and Papa's for dinner. I got a chance to bond with my niece, Hailey. She finally loves her Aunt Nan!
And now I'm at Mom and Dad's with the four kids, while Tracy and Blair celebrate their anniversary in Fredericton and spend the night at the cottage on their own. We'll all join them tomorrow, hopefully with cousins joining us for a some fun on the lake.

The time is flying by way too fast. There just isn't time to have a meaningful visit with everyone, even though we're here for a month! All I can do is try. I am fitting in as much as I possibly can! I'm definitely going to need a vacation after this vacation!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Packing Day

Yesterday was supposed to be packing day. Today was supposed to be "finish up a few odds and ends" day. If you've read yesterday's post you know what interupted my plans for yesterday. Today Janelle is fine. She went to bed last night without a word of complaint, and only got up once for some Advil and a snuggle. She hasn't asked for any medication today, and hasn't complained of pain at all. Thank goodness for small blessings!

My day started with a call to our doctor's office in Fredericton. I hadn't informed them of the move yet, since we don't have a new family doctor yet. I told them that my daughter broke her arm yesterday and that we need to get into a fracture clinic by the end of next week to have her cast changed. They were not encouraging. They finally gave us an appointment Tuesday, but said they can't imagine being able to get her in to a fracture clinic before a week following that. I insisted that the doctor here said she'll need a new cast by next Friday at the latest. They were still not helpful. Finally I accepted the Tuesday appointment, but said I would probably just go to the ER on Wednesday and wait for someone to help her. I'm sure I would be waiting a long time in that scenario! Chris called another doctor who is a friend of ours to see if she could help in any way, and my sister knows an orthopedic surgeon in Saint John that she is going to call. Such bad timing! But somehow, before next weekend I will have my daughter in a new cast!

So I have all this to worry about while I'm trying to do laundry and pack and make a grocery list (snacks for the trip and supplies for Chris while he is here without us). I have started, as you can see above, but I'm not it a good mental place right now to make all the decisions involved in what to take and what to leave behind. I am not a list maker, but on days like today I recognize the value of a list. Time to grab a scrap of paper and try to think of all the things we could possibly need for four weeks in New Brunswick. It's overwhelming! But I know that now I am just using my blog as a form of procrastination, so I'll be signing off. Not sure when my next post will happen, but hopefully it will be written from New Brunswick!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

No Swimming this Summer!

I was already composing a post in my head about packing day, when I heard the door burst open and Janelle come in, tears streaming down her face and her arm held close to her body. She had fallen off her bike. Fine. Mom's prescription: a few kisses and some ice on it while snuggled up in front of her favourite TV show. After I had her settled somewhat comfortably, I came upstairs and dug out the suitcases. About 10 minutes later Chris, who just happened to be doing some work from home this morning, came up and said "Leanne, I'm not sure her arm is okay. It's really swelling and something doesn't seem right." I went down and checked it out, and I had to agree. Something just didn't seem right, and the pain didn't seem to be lessening at all. So off we went to the walk-in clinic, convinced I was only going so a doctor could reassure me that nothing was wrong.

Not so.

About three hours later, following a visit to an x-ray clinic and another to Children's Hospital, we arrived home with a cast on Janelle's precious little fractured arm, and instructions not to get it wet, and to somehow manage to get a referral to an orthopedic clinic in Fredericton next week, so she can get another x-ray and a new cast. Yep, this is just what we needed two days before we leave for NB!

I'm so proud of my daughter. She kept such a great attitude all day. There were no tears after the initial shock wore off. By the time we went for her x-ray she was even smiling! And when I told her she probably wouldn't be able to swim this summer (one of Janelle's all-time favourite things) she only slightly hesitated before saying "That's okay, Mommy. There are other fun things to do". What an amazing kid!

Hopefully she will only need the cast for four weeks. Unfortunately that means the four weeks of our trip to NB. But at least she would still be able to swim during our last three weeks of summer after we come back to London. If she can, I'll be doing everything I can to find her awesome swimming spots as much as possible! She deserves it! My brave little trooper!

Monday, July 12, 2010

A Hard Weekend's Work

The cover of the box said "Assembles in 4 Hours". The cover of the instruction booklet inside the box said "Assembles in 6-8 Hours". In fact it took three of us 2.5 hours on Saturday, and 10 hours on Sunday to put up the play structure in our backyard. And it still isn't finished!

Okay, so I did spend a lot of the afternoon sitting in the shade on the deck reading a book, but I was completely "available" to help at a moment's notice. Connor was the true helper. He was ready and willing to take on any task assigned to him. He is really more confident with a drill than I am! Janelle wanted to help, but after realizing that there really wasn't much she could do, she retreated to the air conditioning inside and the Family Channel.

Chris was our hero. He was tireless in the relentless sun and heat. I covered and recovered him with sunscreen and he still went to bed with a sunburn. He put things together, took them apart, and put them back together better. He was not going to let this be a less than ideal swing set. He was (and is) a truly Awesome Dad.

Today there is a swing set in the back yard. There is no slide yet. There are no monkey bars yet. There is no climbing wall yet. Hopefully by tomorrow. But today there are swings... hanging lonely in the the pouring rain. But they are there, available whenever the kids decide to brave the wet backyard. They can play on the play structure whenever they want... for four days until they leave it for a month. But what an exciting thing it will be to come home to!

Friday, July 9, 2010

There's No Place Like Home!

I have long been embarrassed to admit that I had never seen the classic film "The Wizard of Oz". Oh, I have certainly seen parts of it on many occasions over the years. I may even have seen it on TV as a child, but I don't remember it. I really couldn't have told the whole story until today.

It was a rainy day. It was a "stay in our pjs and watch a movie" day. I had picked up a bunch of dvds at the library last week for the kids to watch on the trip to Indiana. This was one that they hadn't chosen to watch, and when it came time to take the dvds back, I couldn't bear to return it without seeing it first. So I renewed it, and when I woke this morning to a dreary day, I decided this was the time. I announced to the kids that we would be watching "The Wizard of Oz" together, and what do you think their unanimous response was? "Awwww, nooooooo! That's an old, boring movie!" I had to beg! I had to Put My Foot Down! I had to bargain with them! Finally I said "Just watch 15 minutes, and if you don't want to watch any more, you don't have to", after which I added "and I'll take you to the indoor playground this afternoon if you at least try to watch it with me".

So we tried it. Fifteen minutes into the movie Connor said he didn't want to watch any more, but when Janelle said that she did, he agreed to watch it if I'd let him make popcorn. So we sat there, all three of us snuggled under an afghan on the love seat, watching this most classic of movies. All through I kept thinking "I'll have to remember that to mention in my blog". It did remind me of "Casablanca" in that there are so many lines that are so well-known they sound like cliches, even in the movie! "Lion and tigers and bears, oh my!" "I don't think we're in Kansas anymore." "Follow the yellow brick road!" But I don't remember all the lines I wanted to quote; all the phrases full of deeper meaning that I wanted to share. To be honest, I was so cozy that 3/4 of the way into the movie I nodded off and missed the vanquishing of the Wicked Witch of the West. At supper tonight the kids had to tell Daddy all about how Dorothy won in the end, because I missed that part. But I did wake up in time to take note of the line that resonated most with me: "There's no place like home". So true! Even if Oz is a wonderful place (even if London is a wonderful place) there will never be any more wonderful place than home. And next week, I get to click together my ruby slippers (or drive in my ruby van for 16 hours) and go there!

And now that my sweet children, who just might have been thankful that I bribed them into watching that "old, boring" movie, are finally tucked into bed, I think I'll go watch the last half-hour. Just so I can say I really did.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Fabulous Fourth of July!

I am a very proud Canadian, so the fact that I had a dreary Canada Day and a wonderful Fourth of July should not reflect on my patriotism. I can't say enough about the fantastic weekend we had in Indiana. Everything about it was great! Chris and Peter had lots of guy time; Ellen and I did just the right amount of shopping; the kids all had a blast together. The fireworks every night were just the icing on the cake!

Our kids loved each other, and had an awesome time together.

The guys were truly goofy together, as always.

My hilarious friend Ellen and me — I wanted to bring her home just so she could keep making me laugh!

Tour of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Fourth of July campfire, waiting for fireworks. We had  a perfect view in the backyard.

Don't tell Connor and Julia, but this one is for their wedding — Ellen and I are already scheming!

Sweet Shorey! We all fell in love with her!

Celebrating a wonderful weekend!

It is so rare that we find friends who click so completely. Ellen and I were like sisters before we even knew Peter and Chris, and the boys grew up together, buddies for many years before they knew us. We were in each other's weddings, lived in the same city our first year of marriage, and had all our children within a few years of each other. We had so much fun watching our children getting to know each other and enjoying each other as much as we always have. It is such a blessing to have the Moores living a mere 7 hours away, perfect for long weekend visits.

Memories of our weekend in Indiana:

  • Barbecue, campfire (with Chris's first smores!) and fireworks our first night there.

  • All five kids sleeping in Julia's room — just because they wanted to!

  • Saturday morning shopping trip to Target for Ellen and me.

  • Tour of the Indy 500 Raceway for Chris, Peter and the kids.

  • Wet and wonderful afternoon at a waterpark on a hot Indiana day.

  • Evening shopping at Kohl's for Ellen and me, closing the store and watching fireworks all the way home

  • July 4 Sunday morning service at Fall Creek Wesleyan Church.

  • All of the kiddos making an epic movie with Connor's camera and sharing it with us via Wii.

  • Celebrating the Fourth of July at Conner Prairie, where the kids and dads learned to throw a tomahawk, Shorey and Janelle held a newborn baby chick, and we all learned how not to discipline students from a Quaker school teacher — all in 104F heat!.

  • Afternoon game of Settlers of Catan — Congratulations to Mallory, the victor!

  • Traditional Fourth of July cookout, with hamburgers and hotdogs, corn, beans, and potato salad. We Canadians really know how to celebrate Independence Day!

  • Campfire, fireworks, more smores, sparklers, more fireworks, Peter's noisemakers in the street, more fireworks — lots of Fourth of July fun!

  • Learning to play Euchre in the wee hours of the morning, after the kids were finally asleep.

  • A morning game of Settlers of Catan — Congratulations to ME, the victor!

  • Sad goodbye hugs all around, but promises of a Moore family visit to London on Labour Day weekend. Not sure if we can provide the fun that they did, but we'll try and I can't wait!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Lonely Canada Day

Happy Canada Day -- except it wasn't. Do you ever wish you had a "Do-Over Day"? Everything about today was disappointing. We did absolutely nothing to really celebrate the day. We tried, but not until very late in the afternoon. We can hear parties going on in the neighbourhood, but we didn't get any invitations. We headed in town, but saw only street vendors trying to sell us things we didn't want to buy. We thought about driving to Port Stanley to check out the beach there, but Connor had a headache and we decided that it would be better for the kids to get to bed so everyone is healthy for our drive to Indiana tomorrow. We ordered pizza and played croquet in the backyard. I couldn't even enjoy my victory! We won't see fireworks to mark the holiday because it is really too late for all of us when we have a day of driving ahead of us. We promised the kids Fourth of July fireworks as a consolation. All I can think about is the party going on in Fredericton that we're not attending. I'm deeply longing to be there today! It is small consolation to know that it is raining in Freddy. The weather is lovely here, but I'm sad. I think I'll go pack my suitcase and head to bed, looking forward to a fresh start tomorrow.
This picture was the last of many taken in an attempt to commemorate Canada Day 2010.
The kids were not in smiley moods.
Neither was I.
Grumpy photographers do not produce good photos.
In light of that fact, I think this picture isn't half bad.
The one below was taken earlier, and shows how hard I was trying to make them smile.
As I'm posting this the people partying across the street are setting off fireworks. I guess I do get to see some Canada Day fireworks this year!
Regardless of how bad my day is, these faces can always make me smile!