Tuesday, December 20, 2016

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas!

My parents asked once again for a photo with the grandkids, while Adam and I  longingly looked on! 
We spent a wonderful weekend in Fredericton celebrating the holidays with family. Odin and I returned home yesterday to Alan who was patiently waiting to see us after being away for the past few weeks. The fire was on, supper was cooking, the tree was lit and it felt great to have my husband back! Caleb stayed in Fredericton for a few extra days and will come home on Thursday, along with my parents, who will be spending Christmas with us in our new home this year. We are so excited for our family vacation to begin!

Caleb and I took a vacation day together last week to get our tree, finish up our shopping and spend some quality time with each other. It was wonderful, and you've got to love those 6 year old smiles!!
Fredericton was wonderful, as always. We had a great time with the Jeffries family for a pizza party and cousin play date. Caleb was busy writing Santa's 'Naughty' and 'Nice' lists. I nearly fell off my chair laughing when he read off, in all seriousness, the naughty list which mostly included made up names, but also one Mr. Donald Trump. That's my boy!

Ice cream party!
We also joined my family for their annual Kings Landing supper, which was a night filled with great food, company and music. Odin was in love with the musicians and jumped out of his seat to sing a dance for everyone in attendance. We returned home to perhaps the greatest gift of all. While we were on our way to dinner, my brother stopped by my parents' house and set up a full sized 'leg lamp' on display in their front window (an exact replica from the one in the classic movie Christmas Story). It was a hilarious sight to return home to and made for a great story for us to tell for years to come!!

Glorious! Or at least my dad thinks so, my mom quickly moved this from the FRONT window, to a more discreet location! 

Odin stealing the show!

All the kids joined in for this carol
With his buddy, Aunt Colleen!
Christmas spirit!

Odin has been pulling out this ridiculous pose quite often - turns out it is his Grinch impression!

Here he is with my preferred pose!
Have a wonderful Christmas, everyone!!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016


It's that time of year again! Meeting Santa at the annual Annapolis Royal Tree Lighting ceremony.

We awoke to our first light dusting of snow this morning and it has got me feeling a lot like Christmas! I've done most of my holiday shopping, we've started our annual advent calendar tradition, we've decorated the house, written our letters to Santa....but now that we have some snow - I'm ready to fully embrace the holiday season. This year will be a special one. Odin is fully on board with all things Christmas. He is singing carols, talking about Santa, watching the Grinch (who has become his new favourite character, along with his beloved Gruffalo) and admiring the wonderful trees and lights around town.

Odin knows he'll be getting some presents and when asked what he would like Santa to bring him, he excitedly says 'An excavator and a cookie!'. Caleb would like 'anything that uses electricity that he can build himself and will move, like a rocket'! A pretty good representation of our lives in 2016.  I'm planning a 'mom and Caleb' day on Friday for us to finalize our shopping, get our tree, and spend a fun day together. I can't wait to decorate the tree with the boys and add a little more Christmas magic to our home. When Alan returns home from tour on the 18th, he'll be greeted by a winter wonderland.

Getting out some decorations!

Our friend's hosted a Christmas party and candy cane hunt. Odie found one and proceeded to sit down and eat it - the hunt was over for him!

We watched some friends last weekend while their parents were out of town. They ran into some snow on the drive home and didn't get back until later than expected. All 4 kids fell asleep together by the fire, and my heart grew three sizes!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

"Odie no like that!"

  It has become clear that we are raising two very different little boys. Completely different beasts, actually. Caleb has always been a very agreeable, easy-going guy. Odin, on the other hand, is proving to be very stubborn, strong-willed and often unwilling to budge on even the smallest things. I'm sure much of this is typical for a two year old who is just learning to assert himself and have some control over the world around him, but wow...we are quickly learning to adjust our parenting styles to handle our second little fella.

  It started a few months ago when his sweet litte 'No thank yous' turned into 'No, Odie no like that'. At first, those words seemed quite innocent and kind of adorable, but now when I hear those words, I begin to brace myself for some serious negotiations - and the stakes are high! He usually states these dreaded words at meal time. Often before he even gets a peek of what is being served on coming on his plate - it could be a plate full of cake and candy for all he knows - he will let us know he does not like the supper option and will refuse to eat. To deal with this, we either have to send him to time out for a few minutes until he agrees to return and eat without any problems, or we somehow find ourselves playing an ever-evolving game of  'open your mouth for the airplane'. It turns out that he loves this game. So much so that it has expanded to Odin saying which vehicle it should be (no, not a plane - a backhoe!...a helicopter.... an excavator!) and the exact sound the vehicle needs to make (no, a race car says 'Zoooooom' not 'Brooooom').  

 His strong opinions have recently extended into clothing choices. Not once has Caleb ever given a second thought about what I've asked him to wear. Odin, on the other hand, has a lot to say about his wardrobe. He has a particular affection for his robot shirt, and often asks (or demands) to wear it. His fashion choices became a real  issue when I presented him his new winter coat one morning. We were rushing to get out the door to meet Caleb's bus when I tried to get him into his new red coat . Well, he absolutely refused. "No! Odie no like red coat. Odie like blue coat' (his now too small spring coat). I tried and tried, until I realized we were going to miss the bus. So I threw on the old blue coat and off we went. I began to understand how serious he was about this battle when he went up to the first adult he saw at the bus stop and proudly said 'Odie no like red coat. Odie like blue coat.'. The mom looked at me empathetically, and gave me a knowing nod. She knew the kind of morning we'd been having. We went back home and I once again was unsuccessful in getting him to wear his new  coat to day care. 

 That night I was telling my parents this story over Skype, and I showed them the red checkered 'mackinaw' print jacket. My dad immediately left for a minute, only to return wearing his fleece mackinaw jacket. Well, that changed everything. Suddenly, Odin's red jacket was not only acceptable, but completely cool. He now wears only that jacket, which I can totally deal with - at least until Spring time comes.

Although Odie keeps us on his toes, he also continually makes us laugh, makes us smile and certainly makes our world a much more interesting place!

Fierce wildcat cousins!

 'Excavator - hey dirt, see ya later!'

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Fall update

November is here already, and so much has happened to catch you up on. Here it goes!

1. Pre-Halloween Prep:
 Yes, we did a lot of prep to get ready for the big day. Including, but not limited to, several practice 'trick or treating' sessions and a decorating factory (Caleb's words) where we worked tirelessly pumping out ghosts, pumpkins and spooky signs! We also carved up some pumpkins which was extra special because we invited some of the kids from our Sudanese refugee family over to join in on the fun. It was interesting trying to explain what we were up to, but thankfully google provided me with some photos to show the kids, and then we got down to business. I had the kids draw faces on the pumpkins and I carved them out exactly as they were drawn. We placed candles inside and turned off the lights so the kids could appreciate the full effect of their creations. The results? Hilarious.
Hugging a baby pumpkin
2. The big night:
Following our practice sessions, Odin knew that he had to knock on a door and say 'trick or treat' but he was absolutely not prepared for the number of times he would actually get to do this and the crazy amount of candy that he would be awarded with. He could not believe it. The first two or three houses he said his 'trick or treats', then he began running up to front doors basically yelling 'Candy!! Candy please!'. He also turned out one of his first complete sentences 'Mom! Odin has candy!'. He was dressed as an adorable lion and grew quite concerned when someone asked him if he was a real lion - "Oh, no! Costume.' He replied very seriously. He then proceeded to tell each homeowner we visited that he was not a real lion, it was, in fact, only a costume. Too cute.

Caleb was a perfect little vampire. He waited patiently for his little brother, helped him up stairs, introduced himself to new neighbours he hadn't met yet, and then rushed home to take part in handing out candy. He was literally yelling with excitement every time someone knocked on our door, which *may* have had something to do with the amount of sugar he had just consumed! He also immediately set up a Candy Store on our couch and very generously offered to sell me things for only $1 each! Little did he know I was instead  planning to just steal things after he went to bed.

A beachcombing photo op for my Instagram page! Odin wore this yoda hat to daycare and insisted on keeping it on all day, even at nap time! 
He switched into his lion outfit at night.

Being 'fierce'!


3. Parties!
Our friends hosted a big Harvest party and potluck dinner on their farm and it was a blast. Lots of old games like bobbing for apples, tug-of-war and three-legged races. The games, great food, great company and a farm full of animals made for a great Autumn day.
We also had a couple of fun birthday parties to attend including one with a tractor ride through an apple orchard! A true Annapolis Valley experience!

This is very difficult if you have no front teeth!

Little brother had to give it a try!

Farmer for a day!
Tractor ride!

4. Beautiful weather!
 We've had an absolutely beautiful October with mild weather and evenings that are still light enough to enjoy some outdoor time before bed. We tried to make the most of it with a few post-dinner hikes.

Playing Hide and Seek!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016


Fall hike

Caleb did all the decorating for this year's Thanksgiving dinner, and he included a chart on the wall for each of us to write 5 things that we are thankful for. Here's what we came up with:

1. Family
2. Water
3. Food
4. School
5. Animals

Mom (Me!):
1. Wonderful meal (made by Alan, including 3 pumpkin pies made from scratch using Grammie Jeffries recipe)
2. Long weekend
3. Health
4. Wonderful grandparents
5. My 3 boys

1. Our new yellow house
2. Cooking a nice meal
3. Sunny
4. Music
5. Hot baths (Alan was suffering from back pain over the weekend, and was very appreciative of anything therapeutic!)

1. Rain (it was a very rainy, windy day)
2. Wendy (daycare teacher)
3. Pumpkin pie
4. Excavators (this is a very popular word in his blossoming vocabulary)
5. Being happy

Here are a few more recent photos:

I recently had a girl's night in Saint John with my mama and sister-in-law. It was so, so much fun!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Growing boys

Hammock time
I was away overnight this week and Odin woke up as soon as I got home at 9pm. I couldn't wait to see him, so I rushed to his crib, scooped him into my arms and realized HE IS HUGE! It seemed like he had grown inches and gained 5 pounds overnight. I know I've said this before, but I was completely struck by how he is no longer a little baby, but has now grown into a legitimate boy. I got choked up for a second as I hugged him harder and realized the days of us having a baby are in the past. We are now in a different stage. We now have two boys, and big ones at that. I must add that Odin sleeps really well these days. He wakes up maybe one night a week, which is so much better than where Caleb was at his age. After 6.5 years, I'm finally sleeping again!

Then Caleb heard me come upstairs, and asked for me to come into his room for a cuddle. He told me about his day at school and showed me how loose his bottom tooth was. He's losing teeth left and right these days! It felt so good to spend a bit of time with each of my boys before they fell asleep. I was only gone for 36 hours, but I sure missed them.

His two front teeth FINALLY came out - one while eating an apple slice and the other while eating a piece of cake. It's safe to say they were ready, considering the new ones are almost grown in!

As Caleb is getting older we are asking him to take on some more responsibility by helping with various chores. I thought I good one would be to get him to stack the new rolls of toilet paper in the bathroom. When I walked in to find this hours later, I realized that I should have explained the task a bit more clearly!!
We had a great couple of days in Fredericton for the Harvest Jazz and Blues festival. I got to see two nights of music (a great David Myles/Classified show, and a Hot Toddy show). For Hot Toddy, I went out with one of my best friends in the world, Adele, who has been living with her husband and two boys in Australia for the past several years. My incredible parents agreed to watch all 4 of our little boys (with the help of Aly and Ava) while we enjoyed a night of catching up. It was wonderful, and all the kids got along great.

Building international friendships
The kids got to visit the new Fredericton water park, and it was a huge success!!
Odin being charmed by Grampie's infamous dancing chicken. He pulls this out every few years to completely fascinate a new grandchild!

One of the many benefits of dating a sweet musician - backstage access!

We also brought Sunny to Fredericton so we could load her up with more items from our parents' basements - furniture, toys, wine making supplies and after all these years - all my pez. As I said to some, "you know you're an adult when you finally move your 600+ pez collection out of your parents basement and into your own home." Well, it's happened folks. They are officially unpacked and on display in Annapolis Royal. Come check them out!

My pez, in all their glory!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016


My baby is all grown up. Well, not quite yet, thankfully, but he is now TWO years old. His Sept 1 birthday fell on an action packed week. I took the week off to spend some time with the kids before Caleb started a new school year. We did our annual 'Mom and Kid' camping trip, spent a day hiking and canoeing in Keji, had friends visit and hosted a big housewarming/birthday party in our new backyard. Unfortunately, we also spent a day in Sussex with Alan's family for the funeral of his grandmother Jeffries. It was a sad occasion, but it was a very nice celebration of her life and it always feels so good to have the whole Jeffries family together. Here's how our last week of summer went down:
1. Mom and Kids Camping Trip

I made 'Happy Camper' t-shirts for the kids this year. They were a big hit!

4 moms and 6 kids joined in on the fun at Blomindon Park this year.

Cale and Kai about to get dirty on the beach!

3. Housewarming/Odin's second birthday party

We wanted to invite all of our new friends and people we've met who have welcomed us into our new community. We opened up our home and backyard and over 60 people arrived to celebrate. I was especially excited that our newly relocated family from Sudan attended the party. The 6 kids (ages 4-19) were a bit shy at first, but it didn't take long before they were into the snacks, playing badminton with balloons and pushing Odin around on his tractor. It's hard to express how amazing it felt to be able to host so many wonderful people in our own home.

It's a party!

People couldn't believe the number of kids in attendance. Here are a handful of them - not bad for our little 'retirement community'!
And of course there was some music - which delighted Odin as he started a one-man dance party!

"Go faster!!"

3. Back to School/ Caleb's New Smile
Caleb lost his front tooth and he's now left with a winning smile!! (It's ok if you think it's a tiny bit frightening!). One tooth fell out, and the other migrated into the middle - a perfectly appropriate smile for entering into grade one.

Yes, my son *slightly* resembles Sloth from the Goonies!
We had a big final day of vacation before I headed back to work and Caleb started back to class. We followed hours of outdoor play with preparations for our big day ahead. We laid out clothes, ripped the tags off his new school sneakers, cleaned out his bookbag, packed a lunch for the first time in months, and headed in for an early bedtime. Tuesday morning we were up and ready to roll. I snapped the obligatory 'first day of grade 1' photo, then drove Caleb to school to start his new year off on the right foot, only to realize (AFTER I was in the building) that school doesn't start until Thursday. Parenting fail on my end - but two bonus summer vacation days for Caleb! Who would have thought that school didn't start until Thursday?!? I'll know to check next year. Haha.

First day of Grade One photo (Take One!!)
4. Video time!!

Odin is a super adorable little boy. He talks non-stop, although 90% of what he says is about trucks. He can make great short little sentences, like this morning when I was packing him up for daycare and he declared "Odie No Wendy's, Odie Beach!!". I wish, little fella, I wish. He loves to joke and make people laugh. He is strong, brave, physical, gentle and loving all at the same time. Here he is singing some of his original tunes and showing off his signature dance moves. Sorry the aspect ratio on the video is a bit off - he does actually have a very nicely shaped head!