Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Back Home

After a fun filled and busy week in Montreal, we finally arrived back home. Brendan was great the whole way but Tadhg wasn't impressed being strapped into the bucket for 10+hrs. It started snowing around Quebec City and it became a bit of an issue at Edmunston. The road conditions where bad enough that we almost stopped and got a room for the night. Once we got to Grand Falls, the weather cleared out and it was smooth sailing.

Once home, Siobhan put the kids to bed while I unpacked the van. There was so much stuff we literally could not see the landing. Exhausted from a long drive, I decided to take another day off from work in order to get the house back into a routine and hang out with the family.

Here's a picture of Brendan helping me out with supper. This is the new tagine which Mom & Dad bought us. Our friend Colin just got back from Alabama so we had him over for a Morocan Tagine to chat and catch up.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Meet the Grandparents and The Big City

We went over to Montreal for 10 days to spend time with Steve's family. We didn't get around to posting while we were there so I'll just do a quick summary of what we got up to.
We introduced Tadhg to his grandparents and Scott's family. The ages of the all the boys promises some fun times ahead when the cousins get together. Dustin is 3, Brendan is 2, Duncan is 1 and then there's Tadhg. They played really well together and it was fun to watch.
Scott, Dustin, Steve and Brendan went swimming on the first day and we just settled in. The next couple of days were spent playing at home, going to Fundomundo (a big soft play that adults can go on too), checking out second hand book stores, Value Village and a couple of nice shops in Pointe Claire Village, having lunch out, eating supper in and handing Tadhg over for cuddles with his Granny and Grandad whenever we could! Brendan's "granny and grandad" comes out as waggy and dad dad- very sweet.
On Wednesday we went into downtown Montreal on the train. Brendan was seriously thrilled about the train and going through a tunnel. He provided a running commentary along the lines of... "lots of people on train, going tunnel, dark, no sky, people sleeping on train, cars outside, lots of people..."
Our route took in the Biodome (an ecosystem museum of sorts), Saint Hubert Street where Steve and I breathed a sigh of relief at being somewhere with nice cafes and restaurants, interesting shops and a vibrant and busy kind of atmosphere, then to the Waldorf shop where we oggled lots of beautiful wooden toys and took mental pictures so we could copy them (one day), then to Steve's Aunt Margie's flat via a long walk and two buses while carrying a pot of daffodils, then back towards downtown where we walked around a bit and chose to eat in a great Middle Eastern restaurant. We finally got the subway home and Tommy picked us up. I feel like I'm starting to get a feel for Montreal now but there's still a lot of exploring to do!
On Thursday we left Brendan with his cousins and went for a delicious meal at an Indian restaurant that Shannon recommended. It was a reminder of what it was like when it was just the three of us and Brendan was tiny.
On Friday we drove to Ottawa and saw thousands upon thousands of geese heading north. Steve laughed at me and said I was like a kid in a candy store! I've seen huge numbers of shore birds and flamingoes but never that many geese so I was excited.
Ottawa was lovely. The weather was perfect and we walked a few kilometres around streets and along the canal and had lunch at a fabulous veggie restaurant. While in there we met a lovely girl with her two young kids who told us all about living in Ottawa and said, among other things that we shouldn't miss the Children's Museum. It was too late to go that day so we decided to find a place to stay the night. Found a good B & B right near the market, had a nap then went out for a walk, a smoothie at a diner and then took a delicious Thai meal back to our room.
The next morning we headed to the Museum of Civilisation. It wasn't the best start as Steve trapped Brendan's finger in the car door, but after putting a cold pack on it for a bit and noticing he could still bend it we went in and found the Children's Museum. It was wonderful, probably the best I've been to in terms of how interactive it was. There was so much to do but of course Brendan would have spent the whole time in the driver's seat on the Pakistani bus.

On Sunday we met Paul, Nat and Zach for brunch at Moe's and then all the Riffs ate at Scott and Shannon's in the evening.
All in all a nice break, good to get away from home for a bit and it was great to see Brendan and Tadhg getting to know the rest of the family.
Brendan keeps getting his bag and saying that he's going to the airport to go on a big plane to waggy dad dads. It's a shame to be so far from both sides of the family. I'm going to print out some big photos of everyone and stick them on his wall so we can talk about everyone. Which reminds me that we must get hold of a photo of the latest addition to the family... Eilidh is already 3 months old. How time flies!!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Colour in our lives

It's a beautiful sunny morning and Brendan is busy colouring at the kitchen table. We found some super "silky" crayons at Hot Toads recently and Brendan has been using them almost non stop since they were opened. I have no idea how they are made- most likely a petroleum product but they go on the paper so smoothly and the colours are wonderful. I'm hoping to pick up some beeswax crayons in Montreal next week to give them a go too.
We've been doing a few crafts to take to Montreal with us for Granny and Grandad and the cousins. Brendan now tells me what he is "drawing" such as birds, the "sun coming up", trees, daddy and "daddy going work red jeep fly helicopter".
We've also taken the winter things off the season table and tree and I'm starting to think about spring. I don't really want to jump the gun- I think we had a couple of snow storms later than this last year. Our indoor tulips are doing better than expected and the crab apple branches are opening up, although the timing isn't very good as we'll likely miss the best of the blossoms when we are away next week. The seedlings are doing well and our neighbour will be looking after them while we're away.
We haven't noted Brendan's favourites for a while. Bears seem to be a theme.
-Books read almost every day include Old Bear, Bear's New Friend and We're going on a Bear Hunt (with the story on CD)- He likes to watch me act it out along with the CD but doesn't usually join in, which is odd as he loves acting out other scenes and pretending to be things.
-His stuffed bear ever since his friend Grace stayed the night with her teddy bear.
-Hiding the schleich brown bear in the pile of clean laundry.
-Pocoyo and fruit salad by the wiggles on you tube.
-Playing in the sandbox on the deck (a mixture of flour, rice, wheatgerm and lentils)
-Playing with water in a bucket.
-Covering pages with colour until it turns black.
-Naming the colours of the bunting flags, crayons, his toys, anything.
-Ice cream, ice cream, ice cream! (We mix fruit with frozen yogurt)
- Any type of pasta with sauce.
-We've made a smoothie nearly every day this week.
-"Make cookies" is a regular request.
-Playing "smackdown" with daddy.
-He loves to interact with Tadhg- he shows him things, puts blankets on him, makes him smile, takes his boots off, strokes his head and ocassionally sits on him.

And there's so much more... I love this age. He's a very cheerful little soul who chats away to people and loves to be outside. Our occasional altercations are usually about hitting, pushing and shouting "no!" and "Go away!" but he is starting to understand I think. He's actually getting pretty good at sharing and taking turns but there's a long way to go yet :)

And Tadhg's favourites?
-Bouncing on your lap to various horsey tunes and rhymes.
-Having his nappy changed.
-Daddy carrying him 'just so' in his arms, facing out.
-Eating milk and smiling at his mummy while he eats.

Monday, March 16, 2009

One of those days

I love days in the house when we don't do an awful lot other than playing, but I also love those days when you do so much you lose track and exhaust yourselves. The other day was one of those. We...
went to the auction house to check what was up for auction that night, dropped in on a friend to borrow a new wrap, met Steve for lunch, went to the bank, paid the barber our IOU from Brendan's haircut the day before, went to the bottle exhange depot, then to the dump (which Brendan was fascinated by), then to the shop, then home to wait for Steve to get home from work, then we made a picnic supper and went to the auction (we were sensible and didn't get anything) then finally got home, had a bath and went to bed feeling fulfilled and sleepy.

On Friday we went to the library and had an interesting 'moment'. Brendan was right next to me and then literally about 6 seconds later I spotted him through a window OUTSIDE the library walking towards the road!! He is so fast and he figured out how to press the wheel chair access buttons. He is working on staying close to mummy and I'm working on using those eyes in the back of my head.

sliding and splashing

Tadhg- a future waterbaby?

Yesterday was a busy day. We were planning to go skiing but when none of our friends were able to make it we decided not to go- it's not as much fun skiing on your own and Steve and I were planning to take turns staying with the boys. Nevermind, the snow wasn't the best anyway as it's covered in a hard icy layer at the moment and we'll hopefully manage to go skiing near Montreal next week.
Our day turned out to be wonderful. We went to the park to meet a couple of friends and bumped into a few others who had had the same idea. We played in the snow and went sliding but the best bit was playing in the woods. the overhead trees, a little hill and the frozen surface made for some great sliding fun for two year olds and adults alike. I had a spectacular fall while carrying Tadhg again but managed to protect him from landing too hard and amazingly he didn't even wake up. Here we are just after my fall- lucky Brendan could happily walk on top of the foot of snow.

Steve, Brendan, Grace and Rachel playing under the trees.

After the snow fun we went to Cheyanne's for a scrummy lunch combo- our picnic we had taken to the park and some lovely hot pasta. Grace and Brendan then helped to make cookies to kill time before we went swimming. The pool was packed but a good time was had by all. We'll try to make swimming a more regular activity from now on. Can't wait for the day I can take them both on my own- I probably won't wait too long, knowing me.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Making things

Steve and Brendan have perfected the art of cookie baking. Which is not necessarily a good thing as they they are so easy to eat but unbelievably bad for us. They use the River Cottage recipe which is quite quick so Brendan stays involved in the whole process and the cookies come out wonderfully soft and squishy. Yummy. I finished this little needle felted and embroidered dandelion for Jen. It's a bit summery for this time of year but then maybe that's the point. The base is from an old jumper and I pulled apart some of the yarn leftovers I got from a charity shop. I'm loving the reuse, recycle ethos- makes you feel very wholesome and good. I'm going to try another one and make the seed heads stand out a bit more but hopefully Jen will appreciate getting my first ever attempt at needle felting!
I've finally started the set of bean bags I've been planning for months. I did a couple of practice ones and settled on this shape- a sort of squint off-square shape that ends up looking like a triangle. Each one only takes a few minutes to make so now that I've decided on the fabric and pattern it should take no time at all.
Here is the first one in action as Brendan tries to throw it in the basket. It took a while to grasp the concept of staying on the towel but we got it!
At the library the other day the kids had to pretend to be a dog and complete an obstacle course. Brendan managed the jumping and going through hoops but when it came to throwing bean bags in a box he kept running right up to the box and throwing it in from point blank range. Quite funny.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Winter to spring transition

The same thing happened this time last year. The deep snow has a hard icy crust on the top. Brendan can walk effortlessy across the frozen surface but with every step that I took I broke the surface and made what looked like elephant prints going across the garden. Lots of fun.
We cut a few little branches from the crab apple tree. In one of the gardening books we have out from the library it says we should be able to trick them into thinking it's spring and they should blossom. Hmmmmm. We'll see about that.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Lollies and paints

A couple of things we've been up to. We made smoothies and lollipops from the left over tropical fruit that I didn't quite manage to make into a fruit salad in time for the Sri Lanka night. Everyone was fairly stuffed anyway so it may not have been eaten. Brendan loved this mango lolly made with mango, orange juice, some yogurt and a little bit of sugar.
I look HUGE in this photo but I still love it. Here's Tadhg hangin out on my lap while I dream and doodle about this year's gardening plans in our new gardening diary that Steve put together. The first of the seeds are planted and a bunch of others from old seed packets are being tested to see if they might still have some life in them. I'm sure updates from the garden will be a regular feature of the blog this spring and summer. Too many ideas and not enough time, space or money to achieve them all. We'll do our best!We also went back to the clay cafe again, this time with about twenty other friends, little and large. Tadhg spent much of the time being ignored in the centre of the table (Not really, everyone gave him lots of attention but he is so easy going that I just about forget he's there sometimes :))
That's it for now. Steve is entertaining Tadhg while I get this post done before bed and I hear lots of giggles so want to go and join in the fun.

Almost forgot, I wanted to write about something that happened last night. For a few minutes I'm sure I was the happiest, most blissful mummy in the whole world. Brendan, Tadhg and I were all in bed, Tadhg in the middle. I lay on my side facing my two babies, who both stared back at me with such beautiful, peaceful faces and listened intently while I sang to them. Then Brendan sort of curled himself around Tadhg as I do when we sleep, and he put one arm around the top of Tadhg's head and stroked my hair, and with the other hand he played with Tadhg's fingers. It was the sweetest thing I've ever seen. Absolutely perfect. There was so much love oozing between us and I could see the future stretched out in front of us and all the good times we're going to have. The only thing that would have made it more perfect than perfect would have been if Steve was there too. Alas, he was off flying around having fun somewhere. Plenty more times like that to come though.
Soppy, but hey, this blog is for recording these things. Good night now.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Sri Lankan Dinner Night

Switzerland, then Lebanon and now Sri Lanka. I've just been racking my brains for something these countries have in common so I could joke about it but nothing is jumping out at me. They have, however, all inspired the international dinner party group we are a part of. We're four couples from our neighbourhood who've decided to get together once a month for dinner, with the hosts serving cuisine from a country of their choice. It was our turn last night and we chose Sri Lanka for a few reasons...

-we love curry!
-we wanted the challenge of finding some interesting ingredients.
-we have a very genuine cook book bought in Sri Lanka.
-I've been there so should know something about it.
-we wanted to use our machete and coconut grinder! (See photos)

We spent most of the day in the kitchen and taking turns with one or other of our very patient boys. After lunch we went for a walk in the sunshine and both of them fell asleep in the handy double buggy. (Thanks Granny and Grandad)
By the time everyone arrived at 7.30pm the only thing left to do was get Brendan to bed. That is easier said than done so we resorted to putting the laptop in our bedroom and putting a film on for him to watch from our bed. It kept him entertained for a while.
The food went down well, if you'll excuse the pun, and the house was looking lovely withe the table opened out and lots of pretty lights and candles on.
The next one will be a Ukrainian meal. Can't wait.