Saturday, May 30, 2009

The green corner (finally)

A couple of photos from the fredkid fair. I was waiting for some t.hat show the whole of the green corner but haven't got any yet so I'll just post this. Above you can see just one corner of 'the corner'. The tree branch is decorated with examples of backyard inspired crafts families with young children can make at home, mostly by reusing rubbish and things lying around the house. They included:-
milk carton birdfeeders
pine cone owl
egg carton insects
egg carton daffodils
paper tulips
painted rocks
nature mobile
felt veggies
and the sunflower hanging made using scraps of fabric from old clothing, towels and a bedsheet.

Below shows Tadhg and I checking out the rocks. I loved the chance to talk about rocks- some young kids were fascinated!

The theme was "discovering our backyard" so we had a lot of things for kids to look at and touch- all found in New Brunswick. We had birds, mammals and insects from the university, pelts and bones from the Provincial Parks people, a cast of a beaver track, lots of library books, some spruce saplings for people to take home and lots of paper info. And lastly, one corner was set up for planting sunflower seeds in egg cartons to take home. (We had corn seeds too until someone pointed out that the reason they were red was because they were covered in a fungicide- we checked the packet and, sure enough, it said "keep out of reach of children" so it was quickly hidden. oops)

All in all a great success. I'm already looking forward to next year!

West Africa (and why travel?)

We've done some research, made appointments with doctors, started a packing list and have booked our flights! We're off to West Africa in the summer!! Neither of us needed convincing that now is a good time to go, given that my brother will be working there for a few months this year and travelling with someone else will make it a little easier and more fun! And even better, Jo, Caitlin and Billy will also be coming.

When we tell people we are going, we get a mixture of reactions. Many think it's great, others worry about the wee ones. Well, each to their own, hey ? :)

Anyway, a couple of months ago I drafted a post about travel that I never actually published. I thought I might do it now in the hope it convinces Granny and Grandad not to worry, we've thought about what we're doing! :)

First though, here are a couple of websites about travel with children that I've liked recently. Here and here.

One of them has this saying on it, which I love...

Tell me and I forget. Show me and I remember. Involve me and I understand.

Here's the old post, from back in February...

We are in the process of doing a drastic overhaul of our family's financial management system. So as part of that we've been thinking about what we spend our money on and what we're saving for. Obvious really. Anyway, travel is something we agree is very important so while driving the car earlier I was thinking about WHY travel is so important to me. Steve was doing likewise and I'll try to encourage him to write down his thoughts too.
I don't know whether I'll actually post this because it will probably make me sound like a pretentious know-it-all. Quite accurate then :)

So, why is it important that my children travel? I think it's all about having a broader perspective and better understanding of the world. I hope it will help them be open-minded, empathetic, more respectful of people's differences and excited by our similarities, less quick to judge or be negative, more sensitive to issues of social justice, more determined to make a difference in some way... And that's just to do with people. I also think it will help them feel a bit closer to nature and more engaged with the world around them and its awesome awesomeness, full of awe and wonder... And it will foster an understanding of the interconnectedness of eveything. Did I mention the awe and wonder to be found in the world?
Not to mention getting some street smarts and being travel savvy, and not viewing every little thing that goes "wrong" as a huge problem. It's often when faced with difficulties we learn the most and have the best experiences. And isn't that true of life in general??

So I hope we can introduce our children to the wider world and give them the tools to help them interpret it in their own way. If the travel bug doesn't bite then that'll be fine, but I'd like to encourage it!

What about all the problems inherent in travel? I don't mean that you have to carry stuff and sleep in beds with bed bugs, or that babies cry on aeroplanes or whatever. I mean the debate that continually bounces back and forth in my head. Travel is a luxury and it's unfair that I should be able to do it. Not to mention the awful consequences of tourism on many people and places in the world. I won't get started on that now. Suffice to say that we do our best to travel responsibly and ethically, to tread as lightly as possible and to share and learn rather than take and preach.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Tadhg and green beans

We've been reading a bit about 'baby-led weaning' which is basically just a fancy term for the way I would do it instinctively anyway. But I have come across some good info on things like what to use instead of commercial baby cereals and how babies start solid food in cultures that are less driven by the media and corporate advertising. It just doesn't feel right buying pricey, processed, packaged "food" that tastes yukky when the rest of us are eating lovely fresh food.

Basically our plan is to not have a plan and just go with the flow. If he's interested he can try. As long as it's fresh and softish and he can pick it up. Anyway, here's a video of his attempt at eating green beans.
We weren't going to actively encourage this because of our upcoming trip (see future blog post) but he seems to love it so we won't hold him back!

Blogger isn't letting me attach the video so I'll try again later. Here's a photo instead.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Early gardening time

Here's Brendan playing with his skittles he got from Caitlin for christmas.
Below you can see the veggie patch ready for planting.
Jelly mouse out to dry. Tadhg loves this toy which is manifested in his continual mauling of it so it gets thrown in the washing machine when it starts to smell.

And just a nice one of Brendan.
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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Fundy weekend

We headed to Alma and Fundy National Park last weekend for a geocaching event and to visit some new friends we've made recently.
The going down was a little slow- Tadhg is a great car traveller provided he is either wide awake and happy or already asleep when he goes in, but he doesn't drift off to sleep with the car movement like almost every other baby on the planet does. Well, sometimes he does, and on that particular car journey he was just getting to sleep when we stopped at a shop in Sussex for a few things... big mistake. He woke up and all hell broke loose. So the next part of the trip, which should have taken about 45 minutes, took about twice that long as we kept stopping to try to help him sleep.

The geocache event was a success. Steve walked/ran 41 km over the two days, much of it in the rain and some of it with 5 year old Ira for company. Needless to say he was feeling both sore and refreshed by the end of it. He was pleased that he completed both the 2008 and 2009 challenges and got his "coins" to show for it. He also found time to spend with us and Lindsey's family in Alma. We met fairly recently in Fredericton and really enjoy their company. The best bit for me was when Lindsey and I left the kids with the guys and went out for a pddle in their sea kayaks. We went out of the estuary into the bay, along the cliffs for a bit and to the beach to see the others- Brendan was intrigued to see his mummy in a little boat just offshore. It was so peaceful and inspiring and lifts your spirits!

We got a rare photo of the four of us.

Ira emerging from the little cave he was sheltering in during a downpour when we were on the beach. An below is Steve and Brendan taking their time heading for shelter as they were already soaked.
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Friday, May 15, 2009

The leaves are out.

Went for a lovely walk along the old road by the river. This used to be the main road from Fredericton to Oromocto until the new road with a steel bridge was built. Actually I bet the "new" road bridge is the old railway bridge. ??
Brendan with his collecting bag.

Collecting things that are too big for the bag.

Some beautiful white birch. The silver birch has always been my favourite tree, and Uncle Phil's, but these white birch look suspiciously similar. Will have to find out if they are actually different species or if it's just the name.
And a great climbing tree! Is it just me or are good climbing trees harder and harder to find these days??

Tadhg along for the ride.
Brendan could throw sticks and rocks in the water all day.
We must have interupted a beaver mid-chew. I had never seen anything like this. They had taken down a very tall maple tree and were knawing in a few different places to make lengths about 1-2 feet long. It was either a whole gang of them or one very industrious beaver who couldn't finish one project before starting another.
Some chewed wood chips went in the collecting bag.

Found a few bits of drift wood to bring home for the garden. This plank is not so natural but will make a good border for our sunflower patch.Posted by Picasa

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Planting starts

Brendan planting the Dahlias that grandad gave us. This was a couple of weeks ago so they should emerge soon I hope. We check every day.
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Midwifery is catching!

Midwifery is new to New Brunswick. At the moment there are still no midwives in the province but hopefully there soon will be! Legislation passed last year, and the government is now working on setting things up so that the Midwifery Act can be proclaimed, thereby allowing midwifery to be integrated into the publicly funded health system.

Since the day I found out I was pregnant with Brendan, when I immediately started to read about pregnancy and birth, a passion has been growing and growing inside me. I feel so strongly that it is every woman's right to be able to (at least try) to birth the way she wants to.
There are oh so many things wrong with the whole culture surrounding pregnancy and birth in our society- to the point where many of the practices that are now considered "normal" or "progressive" or the "safest" are almost barbaric when you really look at them. And I am certainly not anti-hospital or bothered by doctors or radical in any way. (Well, not really, although I totally understand those who are and where they're coming from.)

So every so often I've thought "I should do something about this". I've thought about breastfeeding support work, about birth prep classes and various other ways to help. I came across Birth Matters over a year ago and went to a couple of events they put on. Anyway, long story short, I'm now directing some of that energy into this group and trying to help with it's work.

Birth Matters is a non profit group that was initially set up to lobby the government to legislate midwifery, and is now working on putting pressure on them to follow through in a timely fashion as well as trying to encourage all the stakeholders to communicate and work together. We also want to be able to influence the way in which the midwifery model will actually work and how it will be implemented. Lots to do!

The website has more info if anyone wants to look.
A core group of 5 or so has been working on various things over the past couple of years but there seems to be a bit more momentum as we approach the date the government set for midwifery implementation. Last week I helped write a press release and a letter to the editor for our local papers.. We got a front page story last week too! We are now asking the government to be more transparent and to give regular updates on the progress. There are understandably a whole bunch of things that need to be set up. More on that later...

Last week we received a letter from the Health Minister inviting Birth Matters to nominate someone to stand on the newly created Midwifery Council of New Brunswick. We have a few people interested so tonight we're meeting to discuss it.
Thought I should include a relevant photo. Well this is close. It's not a newborn baby, but here is Tadhg having his very first taste of solid food. He managed to pick up some sweet potato and get it in his mouth but then spat most of it out and smeared it around the place. We're going to do more hands on, help yourself foods from earlier this time. Finger foods and a huge variety of tastes seems to have worked well for Brendan. (I shouldn't tempt fate but he hasn't been 'fussy' yet)

Busiest two weeks ever

It has been a full two weeks since we last posted and for good reason (sort of). They've certainly been the busiest two weeks since Tadhg was born. Biggest things of note have been...
Steve started university part time!
The Fredkid Fair (Siobhan volunteered for the Green Corner)
Birth Matters
And at home...
Selling stuff on kijiji including the boat
Fixing up the jeep and motorcycle
Steve built a bench for the deck
General house and garden stuff and decluttering for a yard sale next weekend.

And our normal day to day things have stayed the same. Playgroup in the park on Wednesdays and Tales for Tots in the library on Tuesdays (painting dinosaurs below)

And this weekend we are off to Fundy National Park so I thought I'd better get this blog updated before it seems like a mammoth task and then I would miss stuff.

Tadhg is asleep and Brendan is happily playing on the lower deck with a wash tub of water, some plastic cups, a few rocks and I think I saw a big bit of wood being carried about. He's been in twice to give me a dandelion he's picked. Ahhhhh so sweet :)

Our friend Grace stayed for the afternoon the other day while her mummy was working. Tadhg conveniently slept all afternoon so I didn't really get a sense of what having three might be like! Here they are having a picnic in the garden.
If it's nice weather we spend most of our time outside. Tadhg either sleeps inside, is worn in a carrier, sits in the swing, rolls around on a blanket under the big umbrella or jumps in the jolly jumper thing hung from a beam under the deck. Brendan can keep busy out there himself for hours while I potter about. We've had picnics, tea parties, turned over all the rocks for bugs, built a bench, made a rock garden... It's very different from last year- now that he is in full exploration mode. There is always something to discover.

Friday, May 1, 2009

wee wee

It was 30'C the other day. We went to toddler time at the library, then to the park, then had a picnic, then went to our friends' house to share ice lollies and jump off beds, then home for a nap, then we stripped off and sheltered from the sun in the basement for a bit, then Brendan did two wees on the floor, then, just as I was in the hands on bit of making home made burgers and thus covered in raw meat, he walked over carrying the potty and very proudly showed me the remainder of his wee wee that he hadn't spilled on the floor yet. Whoooppeee. First pee in the potty! I quickly washed my yucky hands and did my little celebratory dance for him. He joined in and we danced around the room a bit before phoning to tell granny and grandad and "Dudin" he peed in the potty. We left the wee there to show daddy when he came in an hour later and the two of them flushed it away saying "bye bye wee wee". He was so proud of himself and so were we. It was a fun day but I went to bed feeling a little sad at how quickly he's growing up.