Monday, June 1, 2020


After 72 days, we finally had visitors! Aunt Sarah, along with cousins Jack and Daniel, came from Truro for 2 nights of real social interaction! In Nova Scotia, we are now allowed to form 'family bubbles' where people can come together without social distancing, so seeing Sarah and the kids was great. We finally got to show people all of the new trails we've been discovering, and Caleb and Odin  got to interact with other kids! We can't wait to meet back up with them again soon.

Our other exciting news is that we are now the proud owners of 2 sea kayaks! The boys gave one to me for Mother's Day as a way for me to get some exercise and alone time! It is bright yellow and came with the name Chiquita! Of course, Caleb (and Alan) immediately fell in love with the boat, so the next day we found another deal on kijiji and kayak number 2 came home! My alone time dreams didn't last long, but t has been such a great activity for us and a way for us to feel free among all of the COVID-19 restrictions. There are tons of little islands and coastlines for us to explore, and we can take off right across the street from our house, so even a quick evening paddle is super easy. All we need now is a name the second kayak - what goes well with Chiquita?!?

Other than spending more time on the water, we've been keeping up with lots of gardening, painting, crafts, puzzles, games, lego, walks and even some self care (as seen below). Odin was very interested in my face mask, but only wanted a 'beard'. Suits him I think!

Hope you are all well out there. We miss you!

Monday, May 4, 2020

The novelty has worn off...

This was a new phrase we taught Caleb last week during his first 'down' day in over 45 days of us  being isolated! At first,  we were loving this valuable time together. The boys loved their extensive break from school, and happily played together every day all day! We are still doing remarkably well, all hings considered, but this is challenging!! Some days are hard for us. I'm finding it tough to balance quality time with kids (despite spending 24/7 together), alone time, work time and homeschooling time. We also miss our friends, family, teachers and normal life! We remind each other it is completely ok to feel sad or frustrated at times, but overall, we are all very grateful for our health and the health of those we love. 

The boys were delighted this morning when all of their teachers held a parade to say hi to the students. At least 30 cars drove by our house, decorated with balloons and nice signs for the kids, honking as we stood in the driveway. It felt like a really nice way to reconnect from a distance. Good job, Atlantic Memorial!! 

We are keeping busy with lots of fun and creative projects at home. The boys both have lots of school work to complete, but we are trying not to put too much pressure on us. Our main goal is to stay calm happy and reduce the stress of trying to turn in all assignments on time! We know the kids are  learning everyday, plus getting exercise, building, exploring and I think we're on the right  track.

Here are some photo highlights!
Music class with dad

Reading to his stuffies!

Biology class with mom - red-backed salamander discovery!
The pass-off
Odin's assignment drawing a picture and writing about his weekend. He wrote "This is bob he is a red Back" and the picture is the salamander in his hand!

The best news we received last week was that Nova Scotians are now allowed to use local trails and parks! It felt like sweet freedom to explore Polly's Cove with the boys over the weekend. 

Card board creations!

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

April Fool's update

I can't say that a lot has changed in our world over the past few days. We are still at home,  getting along well (for the most part) and keeping as busy as we can while also having lots of down time. Schools in New  Brunswick  are now closed for the rest of the year, so I'm expecting the same announcement for Nova Scotia soon. I recently realized that we are not allowed to drive to any hiking trails, even if the trails are still open. We need to stay home and only go for walks in our neighbourhoods, and we are not supposed to go for leisurely drives, so we are literally at home all the time.  I'm starting to accept that this  is going  to be our reality for the foreseeable future. Thankfully we have a network of ATV trails in the woods behind our house and Caleb said he wants to work on his 'cartography' skills, so we'll be spending  lots of time walking and mapping out the trails! We've already discovered some old foundations and a well, plus other cools ponds and structures, so the trails have really been a great escape for us.

Looking down an abandoned well! It was at least 15 feet deep!

Our mystery village!

Explorer, with lightsaber!
We will start getting homework assignments from the school later this week, so that will  help give us some structure and learning goals. We are going to try and arrange our day with school work/learning/reading/art in the mornings then  play time  (outdoors as much as possible!) in the afternoon, and we'll wrap things up with  family time in the evening (walks, movies, board games). Hopefully this will  keep us all sane for the next  while!

 We are trying to have fun and keep the mood light in the house. I was excited to spice things up a bit last week for April Fool's. Caleb and  I planned some of our classic tricks for Odin, including the bowl of frozen cereal and giving him fake 'juice' that was really jello! We captured a video to  share! Enjoy!

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Hello from our world of self-isolation

Hello dear family and friends!

We've decided to resurrect the family blog to capture a glimpse of our life during the Covid-19 outbreak which has drastically changed our life and millions of lives around the world. With the spread of the novel virus, schools and businesses have been cancelled and people are being asked to stay at home and self-isolate. Alan's tours, along with all public events have also been cancelled, so the four of us have been home for the  past 13 days. But we are surviving and trying to make the best  of this very unusual time.

 Thankfully, we have lots of outdoor space at home with beautiful ocean hikes nearby, so we've been outside as much as we can. I'm still working full time from home, so my work day hasn't changed too much, besides a few extra cuddle breaks and family meals. Alan is helping the kids with different projects to keep them busy, along with lots of reading, writing, crafts and board games. Odin now knows over 100 words on his sight reading list and Caleb is self learning computer programming. The boys are getting along very well and can spend hours playing together. It's been wonderful to see.

They are both currently obsessed with Star Wars, Odin especially, so much of their time is spent in 'Jedi Training' where they battle on the front yard with  their light sabers, practicing moves and playing out different scenes to take on the dark side.

Overall, we are trying to stay positive. There is so much to be grateful for right now - we'll be able to pay our bills, we are healthy and so is our family, we have lots of food and things to keep us busy. I've noticed a big difference in my mindset about how to enjoy being in the moment, and how having literally no outside plans has allowed us to really take out time on hikes or while playing games. We have no schedule except our own, which feels like such a switch from how life usually is. So we are trying to enjoy it and make the best of it, but there is still a lot of uncertainty about what the future will bring and when life will return to some level of normalcy. I hope that the kids look back on this time as a really special period with their family.

So! I've been  taking lots of pictures and I wanted to share them with you! I'll try to update more regularly as it is a nice way to be 'social' and keep in touch with our loved ones who we may not see for awhile. Take care, stay safe and we miss you all!!

Caleb and I did a 6.5 km hike from Polly's Cove to Peggy's Cove. It was beautiful and we did lots of trailblazing to find our way. Caleb said it was in the top 10 best days of his life! We even saw an otter who slid his way down the rocks and into the ocean right in front of us!
Odin after learning how to climb a tree, then falling out! He's ok, don't worry!

Jedi Training in action

A boy and his lightsaber

Nothing like a game of backgammon in the sun to start your day!
I'll get Caleb to do a video about this Arduino project he did with Alan. They built a cardboard run way, then Caleb hooked up LED lights and coded them to fade from green to red in order down the runway. It's incredibly impressive and I truly don't understand it, but it Worked, and Caleb was incredibly impressed. Now we are working on a cardboard airport and Caleb said he'll look after all of the electronics! 

Inside look at the runway with wires and breadboard! I'm amazed that he can do this.

Friday, February 15, 2019

So long, sweet blog!

Dear friends and family - it's time for me to say farewell to my beloved parenting blog. I have written in this space for the past NINE years, and it has been such a source of joy for me to share my parenting adventures with my friends and family. I have loved being able to show my photos, tell stories and keep my precious memories all in one place. I have found however, that I just don't have the time to regularly write posts anymore, so I'm putting the blog to the side - for now. I want to say a huge thank you for all of the wonderful comments from  my readers. I have truly loved this form of communication and my deepest hope is that my boys will one day read it and appreciate it as well. So THANK YOU ALL!!

For now,  one last update from my little family.

Coral is turning into a lap cat!! She's still very skittish, but is slowly getting used to a level of affection!

Caleb turned 9 last month - his last year in single digits! He continues to amaze me each day with his sharp mind, contagious laughter and kind heart. He has earned a new nickname at school which he is incredibly proud of - Mr. Scientific!! He suits him perfectly. He loves Harry Potter, lego, building and designing new things and music, especially noodling around a recording tunes on his keyboard. He literally has spent 40 of the past 48 hours figuring out different versions of 'Crocodile Rock' by Elton John, which is apparently his teacher's favourite song! I tried a few times to turn his attention away from playing that song AGAIN, and asked him to make his Valentine cards for his class. He did a couple, then  went back to the keyboard. At bedtime, he realized he had only made 4 cards and felt terrible that he wasn't going to have cards for everyone the next morning. I thought this was a great learning opporuntity for him, so I said that he had procrastinated all day and now he'd have to wake up an  hour early to finish his cards while Odin and I slept in. It just so happened that Alan had to leave early for the airport the next morning, so he woke Caleb up at 6 and told him to get to work. Alan also started a fire for him before he left, so by the time I got up at 7, Caleb was stretched out in front of the fire, eating a muffin, the cat curled up beside him, looking very relaxed and happy. He had deeply enjoyed his quiet hour to himself and asked if he could do it again another day! So much for my harsh parenting lesson!!

Caleb's 9th bday part crew
Odin is still my strong-willed and stubborn, but so loving and cuddly little boy. He brings so much laughter to our home, and I am very proud of the adventorous person he's becoming.  He is also a hopeless romantic and is managing not one, but two marriages in his pre-primary class! He opened up to me one night before bed in what I hope was our first of many relationship talks. He first asked if you could be married to two people at once. I said no, then he was silent for a bit before saying that he is already married to Gabby but then Tempy also asked him to get married, but he didn't say yes or no. We talked about this a bit - I did encourage not jumping right into marriage at 4 with anyone, but he insisted he really wanted to be married and then he was silent again. I thought he was asleep until it all came out - he DID already say yes to Tempy, so he was already married to two people! It was obviously a real dilemma for him, so we chatted some more then he said - "It's ok, I'll just talk to them about it tomorrow at school - No worries!"  then fell asleep. He's apparently decided to keep both wives judging by the over the top amount of stickers both girls received on their Valentine's cards, while zero stickers were put on the cards for any other classmates!

The other reason I've been neglecting the blog lately is because our sponsored refugee family has arrived in Annapolis Royal! This has been one of the most amazing and rewarding experiences of my life. Anna and her 4 children - Wendy, Kelvin, Philemon and Elsa have become a huge part of our lives. They are settling into their new life, new schools, new home, new community and new culture and they are slowly starting to believe that the winter will pass and the sun and leaves will come again! The boys, who have been part of our sponsorship efforts since the very first meeting 10 months ago, have fallen madly in love with all of the kids, especially Elsa who just turned one. She is so adorably beautiful, sweet and super chill, so the boys often carry her around and shower her with attention. I'm so happy this family has come into our lives and I have no doubt that this will be a lifelong friendship and meaningful relationship for the rest of our lives. I hope the boys have learned compassion, the power of community, kindness and an appreciation for all people and cultures around the world through this process.

Waiting for Anna's arrival at the airport

New friends

That's all for now, folks!

Thank you for the support and for sharing in the ups and downs of my parenting journey so far!! Can't wait to see where we are 9 years from now!

Lots of love to you all, Ashley

Thursday, September 6, 2018

FOUR! (And end of summer highlights!)

Happy 4th Birthday, Odie!
We once again ended our summer vacation with a bang - a backyard birthday bash for Odin that included 24 kids and 38 people in total! Odin had an extra special September the 1st. We hit the market in the morning for our mandatory Saturday pretzels from the German Baker, spent a few hours on rides at Upper Clements Park, went for multiple rides on Odin's new training wheel bike, and then celebrated all evening with friends. Yes, he slept very well that night!

My first attempt at a true birthday cake! A very flat and imperfect dinosaur that the kids all loved. I'll call this a success!
Caleb spent at least 1.5 hours before Odin's birthday working on decorations like this amazing sign. complete with a string of Os!

Diving into the main event!


Upper Clements Park Merry-Go-Round!
Train ride selfie!

Our last few weeks of summer have been equally action packed. We had Aly and Ava stay with us for a week to help me babysit the kids and we spent a weekend with family at Greg's fishing camp on the Miramichi. My favourite day was during a recent camping trip, where we played on the beach for hours while Caleb's set up a hermit crab sanctuary. We captured dozens of hermit crabs and provided them a selection of new shells. It was fascinating to watch the crabs check all the shells out before selecting a new one and being released back into the 'wild'!

Another amazing highlight was watching Alan play an afternoon outdoor show in Lunenburg last weekend. All summer we've kept a list of our top 10 summer fun goals, and one that we hadn't been able to cross off was finding a 4 leaf clover. I remembered finding them a lot as kids, so I thought once I actually started looking again, I'd find a few right away. This proved not to be the case, despite many attempts of sitting in clover patches over the past few months! Then- on Sunday afternoon during the show, Caleb sprinted over to me with a giant smile on his face - he had found a coveted 4 lead clover! He's still smiling about it a few days later! Wonderful way to end the summer!

Here are a few more photos and a birthday interview at the end!
Cousins in summer mode!

Best babysitters ever

Our annual 'Mom and Kids' camping trip had to be changed to a super sleepover at our place due to heavy rains....on the driest summer on record. Bad luck, but we turned it into epic times with an indoor tent! 
Fishing with Greggy

Canoe selfie. Odin also received his first stitches in August. He fell off his bed in the middle of the night and stood up and banged his head on his trunk. Tough times for a very tough little boy. He's healing up nicely. 

Feeling the summer vibes. 


Photo by Odin

Family shot on the Lunenburg waterfront

Second day of pre-primary and Grade 3! It's crazy to have both kids at the big school this year - and who is organized enough to get a photo on the first day of school!?! Not us this year! 
And now for an entertaining attempt at an interview with a newly minted 4 year old!

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Summer Sampler

Water babies!!

It's August already, and I haven't posted in awhile...but I have lots of photos to share today! We've been having a great summer jampacked with family and friend adventures! Here are a few highlights!

Boys spend a week in Fredericton! My mom provided a great list of all the fun they had -

3 big bike rides
bonfire at Uncle Jay and Aunt Gale's
swims at Donna's pool and YMCA
Covered Bridge potato chip factory tour in Hartland
World's longest and shortest covered bridges
Linda's birthday party bbq
Huge water fight with neigbours (Aly came running to inform us that they've got big waterguns that aren't from the dollarstore! So it wasn't a very fair fight until the hose and buckets came out!)
Interviewed on the radio while at Mactaquac beach with the Gaudet family - Caleb is still so proud to be a 'celebrity'!
Wrote a song with Monica and Tanya (Roar like a Tiger)
Went canoeing at Eric's
Went to 3 different playgrounds
Wilmot Splash pad
Visited the camp in Mactaquac where Alan and I got married - and caught 2 sunfish
Library with Grampie John
Caleb went to cooking school at the Superstore and made a delicious strawberry themed menu!
Science East

Train bridge bike ride

Covered Bridge chips - choose your own seasoning - Odin opted for chocolate, raspberry and lobster- combined! He ate the whole bag!

We then followed that week up with a week-long staycation at home! We visited the Balancing Rock in Digby Neck, went camping for 2 nights in Dunroamin to celebrate Alan and my 10 year anniversary (!!), played a full game of Risk, had several swims and took in the Natal Day fireworks! Great family time, but now I need to go back to work to get some rest!!

On ferry to Long Island to visit Balancing  Rock
Balancing Rock!
Sunny in all her glory on a waterfront camp site!
Late nights...
....Followed by naps in the camper!