Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Fun with nature!

 I was trying to think of fun art projects for Cale and I to do over the weekend and decided that instead of buying new supplies, we should just head to the beach and see what we could find. It turned into a really fun activity for both of us. Turns out there is no better way to keep a 2 year old happy than with some paints, a bottle of glue and a pile of rocks! I think I know what Alan will be getting this Father's Day!

Mussel shell butterflies
Bottom right is a picture of dad (which I'm sure you could tell)
Work of a budding sculpture
Pinecone porcupine

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Miramichi Adventures

Last weekend was the 4th year in a row that I've taken my Little Brother, Tyvonn, to Moosecall. Somehow it was also Cale's third summer visiting the camp. I love watching them both experience the wilderness, and we had lots of encounters from the moment we left Fredericton, including a moose, deer and rabbit all on the drive into the camp. Tyvonn and Caleb spent the weekend fishing with my dad and uncles. I could hardly believe that Cale is big enough to sit by himself in the canoe and reel in the line on his little fishing rod. The biggest excitement of our trip came on the drive home. My dad stopped his truck to drop off a bag of garbage at the dump, and a giant bear dramatically leaped out of the dumpster, did a backflip in the air, and raced off into the woods. The boys both had a great look at the action.

Now we are home and all the animal sightings are clearly still on Caleb's mind. The past two nights, when I was  sure he was asleep, his little voice asks "Mama, can I ask you a question? What animal came out of the dumpster?" I tried to hold back my laughter as I answered "Was it a bear?"...."YES, MAMA!!! IT WAS A BEAR!!!" he responds, then falls asleep. Then this morning he asked me to tell him a story about Santa Claus and his moose! I can't even imagine what he'll be saying after next years trip.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Home and gone again

The perfect beach in Tobago
I'm home. Tobago was amazing - gorgeous beaches, undeveloped coastlines, rain forests, coral reefs, mangroves, incredibly friendly people, delicious Creole food, I even saw a giant leatherback turtle lay her eggs on the beach. I was amazed that only 50,000 people inhabit the island - less than the population of Fredericton! My meetings went really well (yes, I was there for work) and I have a much better idea of the work I'll be doing in Jamaica in the Fall. I can't wait to soon call the Caribbean my home.

But, even as I was swimming in the warm ocean and watching a sea turtle hide beneath a rock under my feet, I missed home. The first night away was tough for me and for my boys. Caleb tried desperately to get Alan to go back to the airport and hop on a plane to find mommy. But, after that first night, Alan and Cale had a really great time together. The plan was for Alan to take Cale to Fredericton the following morning, but they ended up enjoying their one-on-one time so much that they spent a few extra days in Halifax. It makes me so happy to know that I have such a capable, hands-on and super fun husband.

And I arrived just in time for Mother's Day. I was spoiled with wonderful breakfasts and dinners (complete with washed dishes), canoeing, hiking, tennis and sunshine. I must say, this is quickly becoming my favorite holiday. Birthdays are nice, but I feel like I've actually earned Mother's Day - I deserve to be spoiled! We packed as much family fun into the weekend as we could as Alan left this morning to tour in Australia for a month. I'm glad we have an adaptable son who doesn't seem to mind the constant travel in our lives. We'll both miss dad, but this is our last extended time apart before the Fall. Before we know it the summer will be here and we'll be spending our weekends at music festivals or camping together, packing in lots more family fun.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Packed bags and paintings

We got a canoe (thanks, Greggy)! Our summer fun factor has just gone up significantly!

This is a long overdue update. Things have been busy around here the past couple of weeks, but I'm excited to say that I'm heading off this afternoon for a week long vacation. Well, it is actually for a workshop and several meetings, but the fact that I'm heading to TOBAGO sure makes it feel like a vacation. A week on my own. It will feel very strange without my little barnacle attached to my side and I know I'll be more than ready to come home at the end of the week, but days of sunshine, beaches and uninterrupted sleep sound pretty amazing right now! I'm also excited for Alan to have Caleb for a week. It will be really nice for them to have some one on one time. Male bonding.

I'm amazed by this picture Cale painted of Alan. You can actually make out eyes, a nose, a smile and lots of hair. If you really try you can also see a bit of a beard! I'm one of those crazy proud parents, I know, but seems like a big accomplishment to me! 
In toddler world, we've entered the 'no' stage. I've heard about this stage, but being in the midst of it is more trying than I would have imagined. Cale basically says no to or counters everything we say right now. "Let's go this way." "No, let's go that way." "Would you like some cheese?" "No"...as he takes a bite.
I know it is normal for Cale to be asserting his independence, but I really hope this stage passes soon. I try to be patient and offer lots of choices - would you like cheese or an apple - and to explain why I'd like him to do something, but I find myself saying no, don't and just getting a bit frustrated more often than I used to. Again, it seems like the perfect time to getaway and let Dad deal with it for a week and who knows, maybe he'll be on to a new phase when I return!