Saturday, December 27, 2008

Random pictures from the first half of the holidays...

The night before Christmas

The Uno elfs

Heading towards Mount Royal on a sledding expedition

My two cuties

Friday, December 19, 2008

We went to Clara's Spectacle de Nöel yesterday afternoon. I wish the lighting had been better for all us proud parents who wanted to photograph and record our kids. I took several pictures that are mostly black but with the help of Picasa's I'm feeling lucky button you get an idea of what we got see.

The show was entirely planned by the kids and each performance was multi-aged. Clara chose acro-gym and she practiced very hard for several weeks. We were treated to scarf juggling, skipping, and a human pyramid of three first graders. It was fantastic, you could tell the kids were pumped up by their moment in the spotlight. When Clara skipped back to her seat after the performance her head was high and her shoulders were back - she was feeling very good about herself.

Clara is in the middle juggling scarves

Near the end of the show all the students in first and second grade trouped up on stage and sang Fa La La La La (Deck the Halls in French). Clara found herself a spot right up front and belted out all the lyrics. Seriously, she loves to perform!!

"fa la la la la..."

The spectacle was followed by a cookie exchange, we ate cookies and came home with a dozen different home made cookies handpicked by Clara B herself. I think she made many of her choices based on size, we've got a few monster sized gingerbread men in our tin!

Taken after the show on the stage, the smile tells the whole story.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I've been asked to share Clara and Leo's current interests and sizes in order to help some generous family members spoil my kids this Christmas. I realized that this would make an excellent blog post, a moment captured in time if you will. So here goes...

Clara is 6.5 years old. She is a tall girl and wears size 7 or 8 clothes (mostly 7 unless it is made petite, then she'd be an 8). She loves crafty things, she desperately want to be able to knit by herself, and she likes Polly Pockets and Littlest Petshop stuff (though, she really does not play with them that much!). She is reading in French and a bit in English. She loves to look pretty and I think she's starting to like clothes. She'd love a party outfit; something that fits AND matches. She plays with Leo all the time, they mostly make up stories and use cars or animals to act out some very long and complicated story lines. She likes movie and plays and wants to go to a "concert", she adores Star Wars and talks about the characters a lot. Oh yes, and Clara loves to eat at restaurants. We are mean parents because we don't take her to restaurants nearly often enough. She especially likes sit down places with waiters and waitresses.

Leo is 4 years old. He wears size 4 pants and size 5 tops and is very picky about how they feel. He needs elastic waists in order to make it to the bathroom on time and he needs soft T-Shirt style shirts against his skin. She loves character clothes; superheros, robots, etc. He loves watching Marc play video games, being read to, playing with cars and things that he can pretend are "shooters" (currently a small drill shoots lasers at our house). He's started playing with lego but needs help building things. Once he's got a construction he can play with it and the figurines for ages. He likes bakugans (some new trendy thing, I can't tell you much more than that), and wants to shovel snow with me this winter. Leo is perhaps the biggest Star Wars fan in the house. He will talk your ear off about episodes 4-6 and would probably just about die if he got any Star Wars paraphernalia for Christmas (he won't be getting any from us this year).

Both kids are looking forward to trying skiing this winter, and hopefully they will get into swimming lessons next session. We are also looking for a martial arts class for Leo to attend (and maybe Clara too).

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

This is the face that we were greeted with on Monday morning. It is the face that sent my mommy panic in motion. Children's eyes are not supposed to become flaming red and swollen shut, this is something I know for a fact. Clara's right eye however, did not get the memo.

Off we went to the CLSC, so much for our playdate with Chloe and Zaco. Of course this adventure happens on one of the only ped. days we share. It seems Clara only gets sick on her days off, she really must love school as much as she says she does.

We saw the doctor pretty quickly - I think haveing such an obvious and pronounced problem gets you though the system quite a bit faster. Our doctor said she had an "aggressive" eye infection and prescribed two types of antibiotics. She also said if Clara gets any worse, we have to go directly to the Children's Hospital. This is NOT something that made me feel better, in fact it downright frightened me.

Thankfully, Cathy still came over to bake gingerbread-molasses cookies with us in the afternoon. We had a really nice time making dough, rolling it out, and using every cookie cutter Cathy brought from home! By the time we were done we had happy kids, several tins of cookies, and an eye that refused to go back to its normal size despite being attacked by antibiotics.

On Tuesday things were still not getting better, I spent a good chunk of the morning assessing the eye, Clara had already taken three doses of medicine and I'd expected it to work much faster. My previous experience with antiotics is that after 1 or 2 doses you are better. This was not the case and the thought of going in to the Children's kept creeping into my head. Finally, at about mid-morning, I saw creases in Clara's eyelid - yay! It meant the swelling was going down and the infection was NOT winning. Thanks goodness, no trip to the hospital for us.

What I was reminded by this entire experience is how much I HATE not knowing what to do. I can handle colds, I can handle gastros, I can even handle bloody noses and other scrapes and bumps but when I don't know what to do in a situation that involves my kid's health I feel the most awful feeling in the pit of my stomach. I second guess every reasonable thought I have. Darn, that feeling of helplessness and fear takes over so very fast when your child is sick and you don't know what is the "right" thing to do. I guess these are the times that the mommy gut comes in, we all have it we jut have to listen. Mine told me to give her a little more time before taking her in to be seen again. I'm glad I listened. Thankfully I usually do when I really need to.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

We've introduced our kids to the Star Wars trilogy.

Marc could no be happier.

Pretty much all the jokes and one liners bouncing around here have "Come to the Dark side" punchlines.

In fact the morning after we watched Return of the Jedi Leo stumbled into the brightly lit bathroom and said "this is the light side, my bed is the dark side."

Of course, anyone who reads Marc's facebook status will already know that Clara told him she'd join him on the Dark side if he'd ask her to. To her credit, she's thought it over and has since decided that she'd follow in Luke's footsteps and try to get Marc to join her on the bright side LOL

Enjoying these movies with Clara and Leo has been so much fun. It is the first real action adventure film they've seen that is not animated (well some of it is but you know what I mean). The storyline had them hooked from "A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.... " And the coolest thing, is that they didn't know all the surprises we've grown up with. Luke's father??? WHAAAT???? Clara even cried at the end of return of the Jedi, she knew it was only a story but she was genuinely sad that Luke's father died. She may love light sabers and droids but she is still the same empathetic little girl who loves cats, unicorns and rainbows.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Dog party - take note of the strangest pinata ever made. It was sort of in the shape of a bone. Clara, Leo and I made it ourselves and despite its rather odd appearance we were very proud of our handiwork. Of course, the fact that it was filled with lollipops made it even more lovable ;)
Happy 4th birthday Leo!

The dog bone pinata, broken but not open!

A boy and his sugar rush

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Patricia and Malcolm spent Thanksgiving weekend with us and we were joined by the rest of the extended family on Monday for a delicious turkey lunch. Malcolm is such a bundle of energy, I can't really describe him properly because he is not "into everything" as people might assume when I say a two-year old is a bundle of energy, he is just in constant motion!

Malcolm being tossed in the air by Uncle Marc

Leaving the "new" park just down the road

Story time

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Leo's 4th Birthday (early in the morning)
Checking out Clara's homemade gift; a collage of dogs she photographed just for him

Heads together in admiration

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Today was the day for our trip to the apple orchard and pumpkin patch with Leo's Carrefour group. It was lots of fun despite the rain and mud. I'm particularly proud of how I managed to get home with:
  • 1 tired boy
  • 1 full back pack
  • 1 lunchbox
  • 2 bags of apples
  • 2 pumpkins
and all with only an umbrella stroller!

Friday, September 19, 2008

When I asked one one Leo's teachers today how his day was she smiled and said "impecable." She also said "il est vraiment adorable ton garcon". Leo's explanation of the day went something like this. "I had a really good day, we went to the park two times, the park with the blue slides that start together and then go different ways."

While I was kid free today I decided to try using my bike to get around and do my errands. It went great - I sailed home from the Carrefour in a fraction of the time it takes me to walk and then I got all kinds of little errands taken care of on two wheels. I still have plenty on my to do list but after just one day solo I feel great about how much I managed to get chipped away.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Leo and I just had a lovely little impromptu lesson on the alphabet. He wanted me to write the recipe for pizza and then we looked for some of our favorite letters and circled them. This is the first time he's asked me to do anything that involved writing and letters with him. Clara was all over this stuff at his age but I'm excited to see him showing interest all on his own.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Before hitting the road this morning

First day of school, first day of school!

Leo went to the Carrefour des Grandes Soleils today for the first time. As expected, he waltzed in, popped his apple in the communal collation basket, stuck his bôite a lunch in the fridge and took off to play. He's been part of the preschool class for years really but now he officially belongs there. When Clara was in the 3-5 year old class Leo couldn't wait to get in there. Last year he got to join in once a month while I had board meetings but now this year, he has finally got a hook with his name on it :) Funnily enough, he is not the only Leo in the group of 10, this year there are two hooks with Léo written underneath them.

The only possible negative of Leo's first day of preschool was that I was cheated out of my "hi Mommy hug" at the end of the day. I ended up running into Leo's class (well, what was left of them at the end of the first day) on Mount Royal as I was heading back to pick him up. Instead I got a smile and a "Mama!!!"as he noticed I was waiting for them as they crossed the street toward me. I did get to hold the tail of the serpant as we made our way back to the Carrefour, perhaps that made up for my missed hug and kiss.

While Leo and I were walking back to the Carrefour and then biking home, Clara and Bérénice came home together. They had a snack and Clara did all her homework by the time Leo and I arrived. I'm thrilled with this arrangement!

My big boy

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

I guess it is officially official. Summer is over.

Labour day has well and truly passed and today was the first of (likely many) gray and rainy days. Luckily, in our house rainy days mean a bright yellow slicker and wellies for Leo and a pink plaid raincoat (with boring black wellies) for Clara. They look good out there puddle jumping!

I feel like I have to do some sort of a Summer roundup post because, really, we did SO much this Summer and I only managed to document a fraction of it all in the blog. I didn't even do that great a job of picture taking. I blame it on my rechargeable battery issues.

So, in short, this is what I did on my Summer vacation:
  • Visited Auntie Dorothy in Toronto for 10 days
  • Saw Bran Van 3000 with Marc at the Jazz festival and took the kids to la Petite Ecole du Jazz as is our tradition.
  • Saw Jennifer Gasoi (children's singer) at an outdoor concert
  • Spent a long weekend in Boston with Jon and Erin
  • Took the kids to Soccer on Mondays (when it wasn't raining and we were in town)
  • Went camping at La Minerve
  • Did a house exchange in the Thousand Island region of NY State for 5 days
  • Swam at Piscine Levesque several afternoons with the kids
  • Went up the Olympic Tower (not that exciting but it was free!)
  • Did a house exchange in the Adirondacks for 4 days
  • La Ronde with Karen and the kids
  • Spent a day at Plage Jean Drapeau
  • Did an overnighter in Bromont with most of the family at Labour Day
  • Many, many park dates with various friends

Monday, September 08, 2008

Grand Papa Marcel came and spent a day with us and brought along his new toy - a video camera! We spent a lovely afternoon on Mount Royal and this is what Marcel put together when he got home.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Falling and squealing at the Brome fair - they loved it!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

1ier année - 7:45am

Monday, August 18, 2008

Adirondack Home Exchange

This home swap was something special. We stayed in a home that was originally a school house and then a youth hostel before it was abandoned for a decade. The current owners fixed up the building from its ramshackle state and went on to build an beautiful home with lots of personality! We spent time playing games, sitting in front of the fire, petting the cat, canoeing, playing badminton, playing at the beach, visiting the local farmer's market and we even had a sauna! We had the pleasure of meeting the home owners before leaving at the end of our vacation, lucky us - Jay took us out on their pontoon boat for a tour of the lakes and rivers of the Adirondacks. Clara and Leo even got to drive the boat - FAST.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

1000 Islands Home Exchange (aka where I spent my 33rd birthday)

Sunday, August 03, 2008

La Minerve 2008 - Tim and Christine's wedding weekend

Camping at La Minerve this year was a very different experience for our family. We were invited to attend of Tim and Christine's wedding ceremony on site on Saturday afternoon! There was another obvious difference from last year's event... precipitation.

Yes, it rained.

At first I was feeling really disappointed that the wedding and all the celebrations we were anticipating would be foiled but I soon saw what people working together can accomplish! The wedding ended up taking place during a break from the rain so, bride and groom were married in the spot they'd planned. Clara and Leo were lucky enough to participate by bringing the rings to the Christine and Tim which pleased them to no end. The reception "hall" was pulled together during a torrential downpour and consisted of an army shelter, two kitchen tents and many, many giant tarps linking them all together. Clara and Leo thought the entire experience was magical. Clara kept chanting "this is amazing" as she dodged leaks dripping down between tarps! The storm did pass and we were left, damp but with such wonderful company that really, there was nothing to complain about.

Leo chatted up select campers whom he explained to me were his new friends, Clara took a dip in the lake after the rain cleared, we ate marshmallows roasted on the fire, saw a fireworks display in honour of the happy couple, sat around the campfire and had a lovely evening.

Even though we only spent about 24 hours camping this year, it was wonderful. And, even though Marc is NOT a camper, and we did have to deal with the elements he was awesome. Especially when he took the kids out in the rain to roast their marshmallows out of concern that the fire wouldn't make it through the downpour. Of course, Clara and Leo were in kid heaven. There were other kids to play with, toys and sand to enjoy, bugs and animals to identify and of course, there were the "crazy" outdoor bathrooms to experience!
All set for the wedding ceremony

Leo kissing Christine after bringing her Tim's ring

The rain stopped just long enough for Tim and Christine to get married and for Leo to take a picture of Mama and Papa

Leo the charmer chatting up his "new friend" at sunset.

One of Clara's three creature finds, this is Rainbow the beetle. She also found a frog, and a slug!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Very quick recap of our trip to Auntie Dorothy's...
fun in the backyard

Rotary park


more chalk fun

showin' off his ink

new friend at the zoo

Clara, Leo and I spent 10 days in Auntie Dorothy's company. It was a great vacation; we were very relaxed but still managed to keep busy. We hit library story time twice, borrowed lots of books and movies while we were there, visited the Pickering Museum (a small scale pioneer village) and did a craft and game time there, we swam at the municipal indoor pool, played at two local parks, ran around the splash park, went to the Bowmanville zoo, went to the neighbors 8th birthday party complete with fireworks int he rain, and visited with D's friends. Yup, we kept plenty busy :) There was also time to watch Treehouse, make tents in every room in the house, rummage through D's crafting stores, sew, play computer games, cook and more!

If you ask Clara and Leo what the highlight of the trip was, they are liable to say the sugary cereal I let them pick out on the first day of the trip. I'd been putting them off for months, every time we'd go down the cereal aisle Clara asks for crappy cereals and every time I tell her she'll get some on vacation... well it happened and Clara and Leo chose the most sugary, awful, junk there was to buy... Chocolate Lucky charms! They were in heaven LOL

Sunday, July 06, 2008

The cat party stats:
  • 9 kids
  • 6 adults (Karen was specifically invited by Clara B herself)
  • 1 craft
  • 3 games
  • 2 cakes (well, sorta)
  • Lots of giggles and smiles

Kitty cake by me

We sang in English, I realized later it would have made more sense to sing in French considering the demographic of our attendees LOL

Les cadeaux!!!

I've created a monster... Clara was very into our theme and into the party planning. She wrote this up about a week before the party!

Friday, July 04, 2008

Here is my 6 year-old. How will I ever get used to saying that??? Her birthday was certainly one to go down in the history books. There were some very clear highs and one low. These pictures show the good times...

Awake, dressed, fed and waiting for her birthday presents.

Admiring her Polly Pocket set.

I never did reach out the camera again after our morning photo shoot. That my friends, is the sign of a busy day :) I wanted to spend Clara's birthday doing something she would enjoy so we decided on the wading pool (she would have preferred a full sized pool but I knew Jayne and Moiya were planning on a get together at Parc Jeanne Mance so I steered us in that direction). To sweeten the deal I suggested we take our first bike ride as a threesome. This went great... on the way to the park.

We had a lovely communal picnic lunch, and spent some time splashing about in the wading pool. Then we got ready to bike back home. With Jayne and Max waving us off Clara head down the path that crosses the middle of Parc Jeanne Mance. This nice, wide, smooth path is a bit deceiving. It is also on a pretty steady decline. As we picked up speed (I was riding behind Clara) I saw her start to waver, then wobble then..... OUCH ouch ouch ouch. it was awful. she went flying off her bike and landed with a wail right in front of 3 old Portuguese men. We all rushed to her in a flurry of panic and I picked her up. Jayne and Max came running down the path and there was a whole lot of concerned glances passed between us grown ups. Of course, all that was coming out of my mouth were reassurances "it's okay sweetie, you're all right, I've got you, etc." In the end my six year-old celebrated her birthday with two very skinned knees (she'll have the scars to prove it) and some road rash on the palms of her hands. We went back to Jayne's house where we patched up my brave girl and ended up spending the remainder of the afternoon playing.

Since it was her birthday and there was a big 'ole lemon-marscapone cake waiting for her at home, Clara invited Jayne and Max to come home with us for dinner. On the way we met up with Yannick, Eva, Lea, and Naomie and invited them all over for cake. It was a lovely end to a special day.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Sunday in Bromont
hanging out in the tree house

chef Ann Marie preparing her gourmet meal in celebration of Papa T's birthday

The final product

happy customers

in the backseat on the way home after a full day

Saturday, June 28, 2008

On the way to the Jazz festival

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

We spent a great day family day yesterday, there were two highlights...

1) Our first family bike trip! We decided to try biking all the way to Parc Lafontaine, Leo was attached to my bike on the trail gator and, other than the few times he put on his breaks while I was pedaling we did great. Clara was behind Leo and I. She rode on the bike path like a pro. It was her first time and according to Marc (who was riding behind her) she was super, she stayed in her lane and kept her speed under control. We were really proud of ourselves when we arrived at our destination to play for a bit. The trip home was a bit harder as it is a bit uphill. Leo didn't help pedal much but I did fine making it home. Clara complained that her legs hurt and got off her bike and walked for a block. She is a determined kid so after her break she hopped right back on and kept going!

2) Soccer night with Papa. Yesterday was the first Monday night Marc could come to soccer with us. Since today is the Saint Jean Baptist holiday there were less kids in attendance. I'm pretty sure that is why Leo participated and had fun for the first time! I am so proud of my guy. He loves to play soccer at home, loves to kick the ball, and shoot on goal and last night he finally did all those things with a great big smile on his face on the soccer pitch. Clara enjoyed her soccer class as usual but she really loved having and audience for the entire time. Up until last night I would go between her group and Leo's (usually with Leo tagging along) and I only got to see her play briefly. Yesterday, I watched the first half of her session and then switched with Marc and he got to watch the second half. She plays great and is really good a redirecting the ball from an oncoming attack!

Friday, June 20, 2008

The end of the school year.
Last day of maternelle

Clara's class celebrated her 6th birthday yesterday, just a little early

Our good bye gift to Julie. She loved it :)

The whole school was supposed to go to the beach today but as you can tell by Clara's attire, the weather did not cooperate. The cold, wet weather didn't dampen the kids enthusiasm though. When I picked Clara up after school she was not disappointed in the least, in fact she said she'd had a great last day of school. We were back at school a couple hours later for the big end of year family party. Of course, the heavens opened up just as we were going to start eating, Once again - no problem. The party was moved to the gym and when things dried up the kids were all back outside running around like heathens.

We had a great night, except for poor Leo's injuries. None of us saw what must have been an extremely painful fall but poor Leo was brought over to us crying in pain with a LARGE goose egg on forming on his forehead and a flaming red ear. There was no blood but there was certainly a lot of hurt. Poor guy, Leo usually bounces right back after he gets a bo bo but this one was not easy to get over. He kept trying to settle down but then he'd touch his ear and start sobbing all over again. With the help of some ice and distractions by Papa Leo did manage to find his way back into the festive mood.