Wednesday, May 24, 2017

To The Hedge Of Insanity: Part 2

This past weekend was a long weekend in Canada, celebrating the birthday of Queen Victoria who died 116 years ago. It basically kicks off summer in Canada. We decided to spend all day Saturday doing some major yard work.

Last year, we got this hedge removed, professionally. We'd tried to tackle it ourselves and hadn't gotten very far.
Dave made a valiant attempt at weeding it last year, but honestly, it was just a mess. Our plan had always been to replace it and Saturday was the day. Unfortunately, Dave woke up with a bad back on Saturday (and we have no idea why), but since it was supposed to rain for the rest of the weekend, we tackled it anyways.
My first priority was to get to Home Depot by 7am to rent a rototiller. I was the second person in line and by the time I left there were fifteen people lined up to rent tools. The early bird gets the worm, or the rototiller, in this case! Ha!
The early bird also has a small car so had to drive home with the trunk open and the four way flashers going. I didn't go any faster than 30km/hr (18mph) which was probably annoying as I was driving in a 60km/hr (38mph) zone.

Dave thought he could rototill but it turned out you need a good back to steer this awkward thing. It was a feat of insanity, but I put my back into it.
After about an hour and a half, the weed patch was more of a churned up dirt patch. Oh, funny story -- Dave couldn't help me lift the rototiller out of the car so I called our friend who lives around the corner to help. He was heading out of town, so when it came time to lift the rototiller back into the car, I walked halfway down the block to where two of our neighbours were talking. I explained the situation and one of them came to help. I can't remember if his name was Dean or Brian but it turned out he was killing time until he had to leave to catch an airplane to France to get married. Thanks Dean (or Brian) for helping us out on practically your international wedding day.
Rachel picked up weed piles and Sam took pictures of Dave holding the yard waste bag. This was about all Dave could do. Ha!
I returned the rototiller back to Home Depot. Unfortunately, we were not professional loaders of the rototiller and it was sliding out the back a bit so I ended up driving with one hand holding the rototiller in the car and the other steering -- still going quite slowly with the four way flashers on. It was a bit of a disaster but everyone (and everything) survived. Yergks.

Then I picked up eight cedars to plant a new hedge. Dave provided moral support (and went to pick up three of the cedars, a sprinkler, and more yard waste bags) while I dug holes. He also took pictures. And made lunch. And fixed the hose. And cleaned out the back of the car.

But I dug eight holes.
Finally the cedars were all planted and it was time to fling the grass seed. We all got in on the act.
Then we set up the sprinkler to water our newly planted trees.
And that is the story of how we went from a weed patch to a hedge, with hopes for grass eventually, in about nine hours. It's also why I spent most of Sunday on the couch. I was sore in places I didn't know I could be sore. But every time I managed to get off the couch, I looked out (through the rain) at the newly planted hedge and told myself it was worth it.

Next time I might wait until Dave can help. Ha!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Kenya Believe It?!?!?

It's a stat holiday here in Canada and I normally wouldn't blog but it is also ONE MONTH until we are leaving on our summer vacation and I wanted to share.

When we moved from Edmonton to KW five years ago, we already knew a lot of people, but a new family we met fairly early on was Kurt and Carla and their three kids, Ben, Aaron, and Ella. Carla was also a stay at home mom and Aaron is a year older than Sam and Ella is right between Sam and Rachel. We spent a lot of time together.
Carla and I traded childcare. We drank tea together and talked while our kids played and played.
We went to the same church so the kids saw each other in Sunday School and on Logos nights and at our Monday morning playgroup.
We even discovered a little bit of Ontario together at Thomas' Day Out and with a trip to the beach!
And one year we celebrated Christmas together when both of us were here without extended family visiting.
We were so excited for them, and so sad for us, when they announced they were moving to Kenya, permanently. Both Kurt and Carla grew up there, and had spent a lot of time there since, so it made sense. But we were sorry to lose some really close friends. However, I promised, "We'll come visit you someday!" And ever since then, it's been on my bucket list.

And I'm so excited to share that "someday" is this summer!!! That's right, we're going to Kenya for two weeks and we leave in a month!!! We're looking forward to some fun, unique adventures. We want to go on safari and spend some time at the coast. But most of all we're looking forward to catching up with these really good friends and getting to spend lots of time with them.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

#tbt: Che-Cheemaun Ferry

Today is the final post wrapping up last summer's road trip. And I thought blogging about our road trip would get me back into blogging. Ha! At least I've managed to get back into blogging, and I have now blogged about our entire trip, so I guess you could say I've succeeded. (As long as you have a (very) broad definition of "success.")
At the end of our very long road trip, we decided to take a break and instead of driving around Georgian Bay (7 hours and 46 minutes), we drove across Manotoulin Island and took the Che-Cheemaun Ferry across Georgian Bay. Taking the ferry took two and a half hours and the views were gorgeous.
We were soooo happy to be out of the car, even if it was a little windy.
I think Rachel took these pictures! The kids hijacked the camera and we ended up with A LOT of... interesting... pictures!
The ferry was so pretty. And did I mention it was windy?!?!?!
We bought the kids captains hats as souvenirs and they LOVED them. We also had a little snack.
I loved seeing this little island with a lighthouse. I would love to spend part of a summer here. It was so isolated.
There's just something about being on the water that I love. And I think one of the kids (Sam?) took this picture of the gull winging over the water. Taking the ferry was such a fun experience and a good end to our long road trip.

And that's the end of my Summer Vacation 2016 Throwback Thursdays. Thanks for reading along. My next few #tbt posts will be about a few things that happened in April so they're much more recent :)

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Weekend What (On A Wednesday)

This past weekend was a full, but fun, one. It started off with heading to the theatre to watch Miss Rachel dance her heart out as a gem in Alaadin's cave. She was a little unsure about her fans (Dave's parents were also there), but eventually she warmed up :)
Saturday morning Dave took the kids to synagogue and I took a few hours to putter around the house. I love mornings to myself where I just get to do whatever I want to. I tidied, I cleaned a few rooms, I admired Rachel's family tree (each leaf has a different family member's name on it)...
... I finished a book, and I rearranged my birthday flowers.
On Saturday afternoon we did some yard work and Dave cleaned our bedroom. Then we did an errand and got ice cream. Yum!
I volunteered at the dance performance on Saturday night. I was a "runner" which means I got to lead kids from their waiting rooms to the stage. It was pretty fun to run around backstage, and you would never guess from being in the audience all the hustle and bustle of getting hundreds of kids on and off the stage.
On Sunday we went to church, ate pizza, watched the Blue Jays, mowed the lawn, and Dave made a couple of great salads and BBQ for supper. Then both kids wanted tea so this is the only picture we got of me and the kids on Mother's Day but it's a pretty good one :)

For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you already know the day ended with a bang with Rachel and Dave coming down with food poisoning. Rachel threw up six times between 10pm and 3am and Dave got nauseous around 10:30pm so he was down for the count.

In between cleaning up after Rachel, I reminded myself that some people (including me when I was in my thirties and single) pray hourly to be a parent and that means in both sickness and health. So I feel like the weekend didn't end the way I wanted it to, but I did get through it with a little perspective, so overall I'm counting this weekend as a win!

Friday, May 05, 2017

The Only Kind Of 'Thon I Like

So I've never thought of myself as a marathon person. Even though I love the idea, the reality is that I can't even run 5km so 42km is (probably) out of reach. However, I have discovered a kind of 'thon which I do love and can really get into and that's a readathon.

The first one I ever did was Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon. Dave gave it to me as a birthday experience and I read for 23 1/2 hours straight. It was awesome :) You can read about some of that experience here, as well as in the blog posts surrounding that post. I have since done four other Dewey's Readathons, although not reading for 24 hours straight. And as those who follow me on Instagram well know, I just participated in another one this past Saturday.

I also did my first 24in48 readathon this past January and I loved that too! It's a readathon where you track your actual reading time to read for 24 hours out of 48. For Dewey's I spend a bit of time on Instagram cheering on other readers which is so fun! For 24in48 I do that too, but it doesn't count towards my 24 hours of reading time. I'm really excited to participate in my next 24in48 in July!!!
One thing I like about Dewey's is that the organizers have worked it out so that everyone is reading for the same 24 hour period. So some people are starting at midnight, others at 8am, others at 6pm. For the past few readathons, our whole family starts off reading at 8am (my start time) and Dave brings us breakfast in bed. It's been a super-fun tradition and the kids really love it! I started this readathon off by reading Red Queen, the first book in Victoria Aveyard's Red Queen series.

Then usually Dave takes the kids to the synagogue for the morning, and then Dave's parents take them for the afternoon, and sometimes the night. They did this in October so Dave could join me in some evening and late night reading.
Another readathon tradition is that Dave brings me a sandwich from my favourite sandwich place. Yum Vincenzo's! By lunch I had finished Red Queen and started Al Capone Does My Shirts, a book Janice recommended to me. It's about a twelve year old boy who lives on Alcatraz (his dad works there) in 1935. It is the first in a series, and it was good.

After the first readathon, Dave has supported me in participating as much as possible but also encourages me to not shut everything out. And also to get at least a little bit of sleep. This time around I took pictures at Tessa's 16th birthday party for a bit in the afternoon. Then I walked home, reading The Circle by Dave Eggers.
After Dave brought the kids home, I read a chapter of Ramona the Pest to Rachel. I've really enjoyed rediscovering this series by reading it to her! Then I settled back in to finish The Circle. I was pretty tired so I headed off to bed around 1am.
I woke up the next morning around 6am and was fairly tired. I cheered on other readathoners on Instagram for a bit and then realized that Rachel had woken up and stolen my reading chair. Gasp!
However, I picked up one more book, the graphic novel, Nimona by Noelle Stevenson, and raced through it, finishing it at about 8:10, just after the official readathon ended. And here is my final tally of books. I read Have You Filled a Bucket Today? to Rachel sometime in the early morning, at her request.
I love reading so much and getting to sit and do nothing but read for a whole day, or a whole weekend, really is bliss! If you are at all interested, there are a ton of readathons. Some of the ones I've read about recently (but not participated in) are Bout of Books, Tome Topple (where you read books which are 500+ pages), and Spring Into Horror. And I think there is probably always a Harry Potter readathon going on :) Here's a fun article about readthons.

Besides reading ALL THE BOOKS, one of my favourite things about readathons is connecting with other readers all over the globe. I get so many great book suggestions, and when you see the same book popping up all over the place, you know it's going to be a good one. Instagram accounts of book lovers I've met through doing various readathons is my main source of inspiration for books to read.

I also love that Sam and Rachel are growing up knowing that not only is reading important, but it's also important to make intentional time for your passions. After all, I may not be a marathon person, but maybe they will be.