Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A few more cabin pics

I can't believe the Blogger computer geeks can't simplify the process of getting photos in the right place. Or maybe they have stock in breweries, because the process definitely drives me to drink. I don't have the energy to move them around right now, so this is sort of jumbled.

Thought I'd post a couple more pics from the cabin. It seems like a long time already since we were there, so it's a nice little reminder for me.

Chloe developed some sort of weird skin affliction when we got home. She had a rash and puffiness on her forehead and eyelid, to the point where she couldn't fully open her eye. We went to the doctor, but he could only diagnose it as some type of "skin irritant." Poison ivy was a possibility, but it never blistered or crusted over. It could have been a reaction to Bounce sheets, which were all over the cabin. A large, rash area appeared on her back, as well as smaller spots in a few other places. Yesterday morning she looked the worst yet, but it looked a bit better today. She allowed me to take a picture on the condition that it wouldn't appear in the blog. This is all she permitted me to post.

The kids each painted pictures of something they liked about our week away. Since Neve doesn't follow any rules she doesn't want to, she painted a miscellaneous flower.
Chloe painted the sunset:

Spencer painted the sand cliffs. He had a hard time deciding between his two favourite things: the sand cliffs and the can crusher at the cabin. I convinced him the sand cliffs were more picturesque.
Overlooking a swampy area where we often saw beavers swimming around:

The waves were huge (by our standards) on one of the first cool, rainy days.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Week at the cabin

I think this is the longest blog break I’ve ever had. There are many things I am falling behind in. I’m trying to enjoy the last bit of summer holidays while keeping up with work and other stuff, but I feel like I’m coming up short in all areas. But rather than spend time complaining about that, I’ll jump right to our cabin update.

The cabin was in the Victoria Beach area; just past the no-cars-allowed part. It was very clean and fully stocked, so all we needed to bring was our clothes and groceries. My only complaint was that it was about a ten minute walk to the beach. It rained the first few days and then turned sunny on Wednesday. The rainy days weren’t as bad as you would think; I had brought enough crafts and activities to last for a month of rainy days. The kids drew, painted, made rings from a craft kit, watched movies, played cards, read, and more.

Once the sun appeared, we went to the beach, biked to the bakery and store in Victoria Beach, walked/swam through the water to Elk Island, watched the sunsets, and explored the area. The kids loved the sand cliffs, which was a high bank of sand that you could run down right to the beach. It really is gorgeous out there. The beach closest to us was always quite empty and naturally beautiful. It’s amazing that there are such great places only an hour or two from home. The best part of the vacation was that it was so relaxed – time meant nothing. I spent most of the week reading “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” I was obsessed with it and ignored the children more than I felt good about.

There was a storm on Friday night and the hydro went out for about 12 hours. It was so dark and so quiet, it was eerie. Luckily there were lots of candles so it was sort of cozy, but I was pretty happy when it finally came back on in the morning.

It was a great week, but we were all happy to come home too. This week we saw friends: a Quarry date with the Dunsfords (I’m kicking myself for not taking pictures), tea with Lisa and Theresa, an evening with Blake & Kristin, a BBQ at St. Vital Park, as well as a work BBQ Friday night. We also did most of our back-to-school shopping. Today I took the kids (plus Bella) to the Rosenort festival. It was a cool, wet day, but we had a good time. The highlight was the ping pong ball drop, which involved a low-flying airplane and a guy releasing bags of ping pong balls. They were all marked with numbers which determined the prize they got. The kids thought that was the best thing ever. You’re all going to want to come next year. There was a little marketplace with lots of cool stuff. Corinna was there with all her cute sewing, as was Teresa with her yummy Epicure. We ended the day with Jim & Sabrina – we had an eclectic dinner of Chinese food, pizza, and chocolate chip cookies, followed by a game of cards (I won, thanks for asking).
I’m sort of hoping tomorrow will be a rainy day. I hate to say that, but I really need to get some inside things done and it would feel wrong to waste a good, hot end-of-summer Sunday. We’ll see what the morning brings…

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The week in pictures

I'm lagging behind here. It's been another full week, so I'm just going to slap up a bunch of pictures and call it a post.

My brother Dan arrived last Friday and we spent a fun weekend with my family at my parents' house. The days were filled with trampolining, zip-lining, volleyball, bubble-blowing, water-balloon playing, climbing to dangerous heights, biking, swimming, tillactering (refer to photo of Chloe riding a contraption my dad made), launching pop bottle rockets, playing games, visiting and of course eating to counteract all that physical activity. The weather was perfect and the kids are already looking forward to next year.

Also this week, we had a Quarry day, a dinner at my sister's, and a BBQ at our house for Dale's mom's birthday. Dale's sister and her girls left to go back to Florida today, and my brother Dan is still here for a few more days, but we said our goodbyes already because we're leaving for the lake tomorrow. It's always sad to see them all go, but we had a really nice time with them.

Chloe's big excitement this week was getting contact lenses. She's been doing remarkably well with putting them in. I remember getting mine when I was a bit older than she is, and it took me a long time to get them in at first. But then again, I also fainted when the optomotrist put contacts in my eyes the very first time, so she's way ahead of me.
Chloe and our neighbour girl decided to take the bus to Polo Park one afternoon this week. They've never done it before, so I gave them detailed instructions about where to get off and where to catch it afterward. It didn't occur to me, however, to tell them they should cross Academy to catch the bus - I just assumed they knew. Thirty minutes or so after they left, Chloe called me to tell me they were on Main Street. With the advice of the bus driver, they had gotten off, crossed Main Street, and were waiting for the home-bound bus. They had to wait 20 minutes in an area filled with colourful characters and were very relieved when the bus finally came. Later I wondered if I should have gone to pick them up, but I wouldn't have arrived much before the bus, and I think it was good for them to work it out on their own. And now they'll have a good story to tell. I wish I had a picture of them waiting nervously on Main Street.
Last, but not least, here is Neve with her new Build a Bear, McKenna. This was a belated Gift Card Day purchase. McKenna is the new ee-ee (temporarily, I'm sure).

We've spent this rainy day getting packed and prepared for a week at the lake. I hope the sun is just resting and will return to its rightful place high in the sky tomorrow with no pesky clouds covering it up. Have a great week, everyone!

Thursday, August 05, 2010

I don't even know how we fit this much into one week

Since we finally got out and did a few things since the last post, I thought I’d better write them down in case we do nothing else the rest of the summer. If my next post is the back-to-school edition, that’s a bad sign. Things have definitely improved since my last post. Except for one dud of a day, I’ve enjoyed myself more and have done some fun things with the kids.

We spent the day at Dale’s brother’s cabin in Hecla last Saturday. It was one of the most gorgeous days of the summer and we had a really fun, relaxing day. It’s so beautiful there and the kids just love it. Dale’s sister and her family are here from Florida, so it was a good family day. (Hecla sunset at the top).

Sunday we woke up to rain, so we changed our water park plans and had a Gift Card day instead. We’ve accumulated a stack of gift cards, so we set out to spend as many as we could. The kids got books at Chapters, Chloe got junk at Claire’s, Dale & I got the second season of Arrested Development at HMV, we all got frappucinos at Starbucks and went to a movie (Despicable Me). Of course, we always overspent the gift card amount, so our free day was fairly expensive. We had four Starbucks cards, but two of them had a zero balance and the other two had only a dollar or two left. Oh well. We still have quite a few gift cards left, so there might be a Gift Card Day II in our future.

On Monday we went to the water park in Portage la Prairie. It was crazy hot and everyone had a lot of fun until a kid (not ours) threw up in the pool. They had to shut the pool down for two hours; luckily it was already 4:00 and we would have probably left in the next half hour anyway. I would hate to be the parent of the child who threw up and wrecked everyone’s fun. Being the vomiting child wouldn’t be that great either. Luckily it didn’t affect our appetite so we stopped at DQ to use up another gift card.

Also this weekend, Spencer and I began organizing his Lego. When he gets a new Lego set, he puts it together and keeps it that way in labelled plastic drawers. Over time, the sets have been partially disassembled and mixed up with other sets. His closet doors couldn’t even close anymore because he ran out of drawers and Lego was everywhere. For years, I’ve been encouraging him to just mix it all together so he can use his imagination and build whatever he feels like. He finally agreed, so we broke it all apart and dumped it all into one big pile. I thought it would be a quick project, but we have been sorting ever since. I hope to have an ‘after’ picture to share before the back-to-school edition.

This photo doesn't even capture the full magnitude of the situation

Other activities this week included appointments, a bike ride with Jan, lunch at Teresa’s, Rainbow Stage (Dale, Chloe & Spencer), bowling (Neve & I), Folklorama (Chloe), and a morning outing to Osborne Village, where Spencer’s highlight was finding merchandise with questionable graphics or sayings on it. Many times I heard him say (with much delight), “Look at this!! This is so inappropriate!” Most of it wasn’t really that bad, and I believe it’s good to take the kids out of their sheltered little bubble once in a while.

Speaking of which, I think our next we’re-not-in-River-Heights-anymore field trip will be to the Dollarama downtown. I was in the office today and popped in there for a few things. It's always colourful in there, but today was like a circus sideshow. I would like to work there for just one day - I would have blog material for years.

I'll end with my dud day. Inspired by a co-worker, I decided to BBQ dinner on Tuesday night, entirely on planks. Cooking is not my strongest skill, so I don’t know why I thought this would be easy, but I did. After spending most of the day grocery shopping, prepping, and cooking, I ended up with bland salmon, potatoes that I ended up doing in the oven, burnt cookies, and a warped, smouldering plank (I even soaked it beforehand). In the end, Chloe wasn’t home for supper and Dale didn’t get home until after 7:00. We didn’t finish eating until about 8:00, so the whole thing was a bit of a long, wasted day. Moral of the story: Shredded Wheat for supper.
They don't look burnt here, but I got distracted by my multi-tasking and they ended up dark and crisp and very difficult to scrape off the plank. Pictured at the bottom is my attempt at garlic/cream cheese/mashed potato blobs before the plank caught on fire and I stuck the whole casserole dish in the oven instead. As Spencer would say: FAIL.