Saturday, June 29, 2013

Block Party !!!

A big part of my paid employment is about community development - helping people to meet, connect with, and come to care for one another.  It is something that I am passionate about, and that (I think) we do a generally lousy job of these days.  So, in an effort to practice what I preach, the boys and I decided it was time to have a neighborhood party.  Our goal was fairly simple - pick a day, and get everyone in our neighborhood outside so that they could met, play, eat, have fun, and connect with each other. 

The boys helped me to make signs to post around the block, we recruited some of our closest friends on the street to help, made some snacks to share, put up a few balloons, and that was about it!  The results were fabulous.   Lots of visiting and getting to know each other, an impromptu pool part, water fights, great snacks, hola hooping, a bar-b que thanks to Pop, and fire works to end things off.  For the fairly small investment of time and energy that it took, we had a wonderful afternoon with old friends and new ones.  This will definitely need to become a yearly tradition...

It is easy to believe that we are each waves and forget we are also the ocean.
~Jon J. Muth

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Soccer Season is Here!

We are so lucky in our little town to have a great, volunteer run soccer club.  The boys have been a part of it on and off since they were wee little ones, and look forward to it each summer.   They finish up each game hot, tired and happy, and it is a fabulous way for them to meet and connect with some more local kids that they miss meeting in the school system.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Bowling, and the drama of cousins

I am so lucky to have an absolutely wonderful sister who is also my best friend.  And I am even more lucky that she has 2 great kids, Max and Tory, and that they live only 1/2 hour away.  Most of the time, the 4 cousins play fairly well together, especially if they can be outside.  But once in a while they go through some challenging times, where somehow the group dynamics don't go all that smoothly.  Lately, it has been the clash between the 3 boys, William, Charlie and Max, and our one lovely girl, Tory, who is also the youngest.  My sister and I try to mediate as much as we can, but it is not always easy to keep the peace. 

Today, Tory was invited to a birthday party for one of her girlfriends, so Bonnie and I took the 3 boys out for some guy time.  They decided on bowling, and had a blast.  Anything loud, physical, and that allows you to throw really heavy balls around is fun, right?

They were a little irritated that the Mommy Team beat out the All Boy Team, but hey - you can't have it all.  And girls are pretty cool, aren't we?

Friday, June 21, 2013

First canoe Trip

The boys and I spent a great afternoon canoeing at a local conservation area - what a fabulous way to spend the day!  There are definitely parts of me that miss my boys as little babies - I won't go into all of the details, because, well, it is just not a happy place to dwell.  But I also love it as they grow.  Our time together takes on a whole new flavor as we do things together on equal footing.  William can hold his own with a paddle, and Charlie is not far behind.  Together we were able to explore parts of the lake that would have been too tricky with only one paddler.  My goal was to spend more time in a kayak this summer (rather than only the week that we are away at family camp) but Charlie is not quite confident enough to kayak on his own, so canoeing is a great compromise.  There are a tonne of great places around to take out a boat, and we are working our way up to a 4 hour trek down the Grand River. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Little Turtle

Turtle season is in full swing, and the boys are always keeping there eyes out for turtles to log on the Ontario Turtle Tally web site.  We have seen painted turtles crossing the road, red eared sliders sitting on logs, and snapping turtles digging nests on the roadside to lay eggs. Today on the dirt road out behind our place we saw this teeny tiny little painted turtle and stopped for a visit.  It was about the size of a loonie, very cute, and moved fast for a little one! 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Oh, how they grow!

There has been a sneaky little thing happening around our home lately, in the form of the boys growing up.  It doesn't happen all at once, oh no, but everyone now and then I will be caught off guard by it - the little bit of mustache fuzz growing on William's lip, the fact that hugs are still OK, but kisses are only tolerated first thing in the morning and late at night, the look on my baby Charlie's face that is no longer at all babyish, and the independence and maturity that they are both exploring and craving.

One of the ways this 'growing up' is happening is through the boys spending bits of time on their own at home.  It might be just a few minutes while I run into the grocery store, or for an hour or two when Jim is home but sleeping after working a night shift.  The boys generally love it, and I have to admit that it gives me a new level of flexibility that I haven't had in, oh, 10 or so years.

In celebration of it all, the boys spent the day at a St. John Ambulance course called Home Alone - they learned about what to do in case of a fire, snacks that they could prepare themselves safely while home alone, stranger danger, when and how to call 9-1-1, etc.  Although I admit that the day got mixed reviews (my guys are not used to sitting in a chair listening to someone else talk for 7 hours!!) they seem to have at lease been exposed to some good information.  As a family, we are going to be talking next about first aid and how to take care of those inevitable nicks, cuts, scrapes and sometimes burns that come with being a kid.  I certainly hope that they never need to actively use these skills, but I do feel a little more relaxed knowing that they are better prepared.

Now if I could just convince them to slow the whole growing up thing down just a little bit more, I would be happy.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Camp Season Begins!!

We have all been excited around here now that the 2013 camp / camping season has officially begun.  The first event is the Cuboree, a 2 night camp out that William looks forward to with his local cub scout troupe.  Today, both William and Charlie spent the day at Camp Brebeuf, going canoeing (which seems to be a new love for both of them), archery, challenging themselves on the high ropes, doing outdoor adventure games, and playing field games. 

This is such a great time of year for all of us.  We don't officially take the summer off from 'lessons', but things definitely slow down a bit.  After all, who in their right mind would choose math over hiking, or geography pages over swimming?  Not that we do a whole lot of 'table time' these days, but still.  The camping season leads our learning in a whole new direction.  Identifying trees and animals, learning new skills on the water, building forts and practicing carving, telling stories around the fire, and staring up at the stars. What learning (and life) is all about, isn't it?

Now that the first 2 adventures are over, we are counting down to the weekend camping trip south of Tobermory with my sister and her friends,  and William's first week away at Wanakita residential camp while Charlie and I do some camping at McGreggor point just the two of us.

Let the season begin!!