Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Sun Can't Shine Everyday's here for a good time.  Not a long time.  And as much as we want the sun to shine just doesn't.  The sun has been wrapped in a blanket of clouds and there was a very distinct grey cloud over my head this week and for as much as I am always able to see the up side to things, to find that cloud's silver lining, sometimes we just have to let go and feel the rain. 

I am a planner.  I usually like to think ahead.  I always pack too much...just in case.  The back of the truck is full to the top with beach toys, golf clubs, a stroller, a bike, a picnic blanket, extra jackets, sunscreen, bug spray and who knows what that I am prepared for life.  But sometimes all the planning in the world can't make for a success only journey though life and we must suffer disappointment. 

We were disappointed this week and all I can say is...I don't like it.  I will write about it, just not today because no matter how big or small your world is continues on.  And our life continued and despite the grey cloud following me around I can still see the the good things.  I can search out the positive.  I can look for the bright spots...

Bright Spot #1 - My birthday present finally showed up!!! And I can't get enough of it.  Honestly, I have no idea how to use all it's bells and whistles but I turned the dial to automatic and away I went!

Bright Spot #2 - Coffee with a friend and indoor activities due to rain... and my first chance to use my new camera!

This game is called know, like Diego does.  We never did tell them that it might be called zip-lining.
Bright Spot #3 - The forecast turned out to be wrong and a rainy day coffee and play date turned into a beautiful morning on the deck and some backyard fun.

Bright Spot #4 - Our first visit to the zoo. We can officially add farm animals to Lexi's growing list of fears...along with umbrellas and blow up pterodactyls.  The look of concern never left her face until we were safely out of the barnyard and back at the playground.

Bright Spot #5 - A picnic at the park with great friends who, like me, also have this incessant need to make the best of things.  So despite the cool temperatures and a brief run-in with some mosquitoes we had a good time eating sandwiches and pouring our coffee from the thermos. And instead of sitting on the picnic blanket, I wrapped myself up in it as we chatted and watched the kids play and explore.

"So have a good time, the sun can't shine everyday."

Monday, July 18, 2011

Bella Farm

We spent the weekend at my uncle's country getaway... appropriately named Bella Farm as it is a beautiful piece of earth in any of the four seasons.  This was our first time experiencing Bella in full on summer.  And Bella definitely lives up to her name...

This is what my family does.  We get together.  We congregate.  We mingle.  We talk. We catch up with each others lives.  We laugh at the funny parts and comfort each other through the sad parts. 

I love, love, LOVE  that girls get to experience these family gatherings just like I did.  They are learning that there is always room for one more, that everyone is welcome... that family is important.  No matter your age, you are valued.  Babies are passed around and cousins build their relationships.  We listen to stories about the old days and find out what everyone is up to lately.  We sit around campfires and converse with whoever is sitting next to us.  And you can look across the crackling fire pit and see Al chatting it up with Auntie Cookie and you smile because despite the generation gap they have something in common...they are apart of the same loving family.

These family get togethers have been happening my entire life.  It is how I was raised...with the with hope that if you can make it, great, and it you can't we understand.  Because no one ever opts out because they don't want to be there... only because of circumstance. And how is it that these family gatherings continue to grow and survive and be on everyone's list of where they want to be? 

Simply put by Auntie Katie... "We are stronger together than we are apart."

I think she's right.

Oh...and last night after we arrived home sweet home, I tucked Callie into bed and I asked her what was her favorite part of the weekend.  And the winner...

Good night.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Rain Delay

Our summer fun was interrupted this week.  The rain came and settled in for three days and by the third day we were all a little antsy. It was just a little too early into the summer to have such a lengthy amount of down time.  We decided to make the best of it...

It was not a cool rain.  It was hot and sticky in our rubber boots and rain jackets.  The humidity caused Callie's hair to spring up into the tightest Nellie Olson ringlets and stick to her face under the hood of her rain jacket.

And Lexi.  Well, she had a permanent crease in her brow and a constant look of terror on her face because of her intense fear of umbrellas.  With Callie jumping and frolicking around in the rain, twirling her umbrella like Mary Poppins, Lexi was constantly uuuhhhhing and pointing and backing away as she was suspicious of this tent on a stick and wanted no part of being under it.  It probably didn't help that I had the extra large, watermelon beach umbrella sheltering me from the rain as I snapped the pictures.

Even thought the rain interrupted our summer fun, I know it is necessary.  Because it's easier to see the glass as half-full... we needed the rain. 
The plants and flowers and the lilies in front of the shop got a healthy drink of water.
The forests were damped to help ward off a possible spark and as we watched the water bombers fly over our house just last week, the threat of a forest fire is always close to home.

And we got to splash in muddy puddles.


We've also been busy taking care of our beloved houseguest...Ozzy.

Ozzy's status in our house is right up there with Bieber Fever.  He is like a celebrity.  My girls just can't get enough of him. Lexi's eyes are barely open in the morning before she bellows her first OOOOzzzzzzyyyyyy of the day.

I wish I could say the feeling was mutual, but Ozzy struggles from only-child syndrome and he lives a bit of a charmed life with my parents.  He prefers to sleep till noon and sit on Papa's lap most of the day receiving scratches behind the ear.  So being thrust into our life has him often looking for refuge.

And our Ozzy, he's a runner.  If there is even a slight crack in the door...he sees his freedom flash in front of his eyes and he is off and running.  And this little running issue he has is not the most convenient in a house where an almost two-year-old Lexi can open the door.

So you know, there was an incident.  I was busy cooking supper and Lexi thought she would be helpful by opening the door and letting Ozzy outside.  The door was barely open and yet he was able to morph his body and slip through the opening to his doggie freedom.  Freedom from two girls who could probably love him to death.

What a commotion.  Lexi was yelling, "Uh-oh" and pointing out the door.  Callie was shouting, "DOG ON THE LOOSE, DOG ON THE LOOSE."  My garlic toast in the oven burnt and it set the smoke detector off.  We were the real-life Griswold's!

Armed with a Beggin' Strip, Jon went out whistling and calling out while I scrapped the toast and started over.  Callie put some treats on the back step and Ozzy just showed up.

He was an easy catch...this time.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Happy Summer Days

It's a week into summer vacation and the weather has been great. There is always this sense of urgency that  lingers in the background,  the feeling that we have to do all the summer fun activities on our list asap just in case the weather takes a turn for the worse and never comes back.  We usually have a few weeks in the summer where the heat is turned up high and just when you think you can't take another hot day... relief sets in and it rains.  Then after a day or two of rain, when you feel like you've regrouped and put some order back into the house and done some rainy day crafts, you are ready to bring on the heat again.   The thing is, the heat never really comes back again.  That is how short our season is.  So when mother nature is dishing out some sunshine... all things are put on hold and we head to the beach.

I love going to the beach.  In any given summer there are only a handful of perfect beach days.  Days when the sun is so hot that you can't wait to get in the water.  You do a beach rotation...relax...start sweating...jump the water, ahhh, refreshing, back in the chair, dry off, heat up again, water...

Our first trip to the beach was near perfect.  I say that because I didn't go in the water past my knees.  The weather was beautiful, just not hot enough to get me to fully submerge my body in the water.  But we did all the other beach rituals.  We ate our first bag of cheese puffs of the season.  These have become our traditional beach snack.  The soft cheese puffs that melt in your mouth and turn your fingers and mouths bright orange.  The perfect, messy, never allowed in the house, beach snack.

Each year the beach experience is different because everyone is a year older. And last summer, Lexi happily sat in her stroller on the beach munching on popcorn twists lightly peppered with sand and watching the big kids splash in the water.  And this year, she just seemed to blend in to the crowd...still the youngest but not quite so noticeable.

We started the summer circuit of spray pools and parks this past week.  We visit them all as they each have different features and attractions.  By the end of the summer I consider myself an expert in park design as I critique them at each visit.  Things like the slide ending being too high off the ground.  And why do they have the baby swings facing backwards? And can they make spray pools out of rubber so Lexi can stop skinning her knees?

The circuit began at the best toddler pool... worst toddler park location.  But really, any day outside in the sun on summer vay-cay can not be complained about.

The other day we played tourist.  We got our Happy Meals and had a picnic at the Tourist Bureau.  It was just one of those days where we weren't ready to go home yet so we shook the sand off the beach blanket and had a lovely little time hanging out with the other visitors in our community enjoying the sights and the town's history.

Callie's attempt to pose like the Big Man...and the new hat she picked to keep the sun off her pretty little face.

Happy summer days. I'm lovin' it!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Summer Fun

This past week has been crazy busy with tons of fun things to do.  My girls have been riding a wave... "what are we going to do next, mom?"  It all started with a carnival night at the school.  Instead of going home for supper after day care I took the girls to the carnival and this change in routine alone was like they won the lottery!

Callie and Lexi watched intently as their friends got their faces painted by the school kids.  And I have a feeling that this will be the last time Callie will stand back and watch this she was on the verge of jumping in and venturing into new territory.  She says, "maybe next time, mom."  I love her.


We celebrated Canada Day at our friends 3rd Annual Canada Day Picnic. It sounds so official... this annual gathering of friends who get together to watch a parade and show our national pride by waving flags and collecting candy thrown from the parade floats.  But this simple act, that has turned into a tradition, has us looking forward to July 1st each year with its mounds of pulled pork, a pot-luck of salads, and desserts that often drip onto the shirts of babies and adults.  And since July 1st is always the first day of summer vacation spirits are high and the laughter seems louder than usual.


The fun continued with our town's festival days.  Groups of volunteers graciously organized activities and events all over our town.  We went to watch Beat the Chief at the local fire department.  The firemen raced through an obstacle course each trying to get the best time... but the highlight was definitely the kids event.  The kids get suited up in fire gear and run through a tunnel to rescue a dog then they have to get the hose and spray a bucket off a table.  It was fun to watch the mini firefighters.  Yes, I said watch, as Callie stood close-by cheering on her friends but was not even close to volunteering for a turn to save the puppy.

 On the other hand... Callie has been playing firefighter ever since we witnessed this event.  She suits up in her raincoat, plastic fire fighter hat, and she's been using Jon's belt as the hose.  And tonight I heard her declare, "Mom, your toddler is on fire!" Yikes! Where's Lexi?

Lexi's first try at the Bouncy House...just a little unsure.

Today we did what everybody does when it 30 above in the summer time.  We inflated the blow-up kiddie pool.  No summer would be complete without a blow-up pool in the backyard.  Unfortunately, ours did not survive the winter and is currently partially deflated and full of water looking very sad on the back patio.  So when Nana called this afternoon to see if we wanted to join them at the lake for the day... we jumped. 

And what a most perfect day.  Cool water. A boat ride.  Our family of four being pulled behind the boat on a three seater lounger.  Lexi loved it at first...squealing weeeeee!  But then she tried to jump off. 

Oh, and of course, a blow-up pool without any leaks.

Keep riding the wave!