Saturday, June 27, 2009

Random things about now

Tadhg and Brendan can wear the same shorts. (B out of nappies and T in big cloth ones= same size)

Brendan absolutely does not cope well on less than 7 hours of night sleep.

I take back my statement about not washing lettuce. The last lot had slug babies on it. If you already knew about that then you can laugh at my naivete.

Tadhg likes dairy. And he had pizza last night. And strawberries today. So much for going slow on the allergens.

Our canoe received a few scrapes on the underside this morning on the Nashwaak River. Only little ones but it's hard when it's such a beautiful boat.

The pool is far too cold for Siobhan. Probably for Steve too but he pretends it doesn't bother him.

Melon is our new favourite fruit. And Alma loves it too.

Siobhan and Brendan have made a decision. We will tidy up the living room periodically during the day. Like before lunch and supper.

Alma and Bill dig up the neighbours' gardens at night.

Brendan peed on the neighbour's lawn today.

We think a raccoon has figured out how to open our compost bin. We're going to tie a bell to it and catch it in the act. Camera ready by the bedroom window.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Fiddles on the Tobique

We've just had a great weekend. Mmmm... let's see if I can think of a better adjective than "great". It was different from anything we've done before. The whole experience was uplifting. It was certainly challenging at times. It was very interesting, with not a dull moment. It was also inspirational in many ways, from the people we talked with to the peaceful surroundings on the river and, of course, the utterly fantastic music that made me say for the hundredth time (but with a lot more gusto) "I am going to learn to play the fiddle."

A few more photos. (Some courtesy of Betty and Harvey, thanks)

Party time on an island.

The rain meant many fiddlers didn't bring out their instruments but there were a few hardcore musicians out there!

Tadhg asleep in his hammock at the front of the canoe.

My friend Allison made our beautiful canoe with her Dad, and this is Betty, her Mum.

Tadhg and Steve on a sand bar stop.

Photo of us coasting down with the current. The whole trip was about three or four hours long and Brendan was happy the whole time.

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Brendan throwing rocks in the river. And look at that beautiful boat! We received countless compliments on the canoe and many declared it was the best boat on the river. We also heard that Tadhg was the youngest on the river!

Lots and lots of canoes.

Calmly drifting downriver. This is the life. We are hooked. This section of the Tobique River had the perfect width, depth, velocity, scenery... We are on the lookout for similar rivers now, beats a big boring lake any day! (Just kidding, I love lakes too, but this way I can let Steve do the paddling without feeling guilty that I'm not pulling my weight)

Poor Tadhg was dumped into a mini canoe for a photo shoot. It was built by canoe builder Bill Miller who started the Fiddles on the Tobique event 16 years ago and hosted the supper and music night we went to.

Brendan makes friends with every dog he sees.

And lastly, if it works, a short video. It just shows about a third of the musicians who gathered to jam and me, Brendan and Tadhg watching and listening. Bill Miller is the one with the spoons.

All in all a very worthwhile experience. We'll be back again. We've already forgotten the "challenging" part, namely camping in a tent in a field with a dirty portaloo for a loo, no running water or hard top shelter with the rain pelting down and a hyper two-and-a-half year old resisting sleep. Phew... once they were finally both asleep we all slept soundly till 7.30am and awoke to a dry morning. Bliss.

The rest of the photos will be in a web album. (link to right)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Travel Health

We've had two medical appointments in the last 10 days. Other people's worries were beginning to rub off on me a bit so I was appreciative when both our own doctor and the travel health clinic nurse brought me back to my senses. If you listen to all the scaremongering you'd have a hard time travelling anywhere these days :)
So we are happy, healthy and will be fully prepared by the time we leave. There was not a hint of disapproval from them about going to Africa with a baby, and the nurse had recently been to Cameroon and was jabbering away about how wonderful an experience we were going to have.

So one of the costs of travel, and not only in money terms, was that we've had to have a bunch of jags (or 'shots' in Canada). For a mother who considered not vaccinating her children, I've certainly done a good job of ignoring all the research I did on the topic. Brendan had typhoid, Hep A and Yellow Fever vaccines at the clinic. He sat on my knee, facing me and cuddling after the first one, and he cried as I talked about how we needed to do this so that we could go and see Uncle Paddy and Aunty Caitlin in a big plane and see giraffes and monkeys in Africa etc. I was trying not to cry myself. I experienced a very strange tangle of strong emotions but thankfully it was very short-lived as he only cried for a really short time. Phew, thank god that's over with.

I had a couple that have lapsed and we got a Yellow Fever waiver certificate for Tadhg because he's too young.

So preparations are underway. I used an old cotton curtain liner to make a mattress slip for Tadhg's little tent today. We can use it on both sides and then wash it out every few days and it should dry in no time. I adjusted a shoulder bag I've had for a while but have already decided that I'd rather make a new one from scratch so that it's just the right size and has the right number of pockets and dividers in it. Ummm, we'll see if that can be brought to fruition. Watch this space.

Happenings in June

Want to catch up before we head of to the Fiddlers on the Tobique festival this weekend so this one will be a list.

- Lovely lupins everywhere. I've stopped the car a few times and picked big bunches for the house. I have no qualms about picking lupins simply because there are so many of them.

- Brendan has been nappy free during the day for a week now. I realised it was me that was holding the process up when he said "do a wee wee mummy?" and I said "no, darling, do it in your nappy" because I had just strapped Tadhg into the car and wanted to get home. Poor Brendan. So I grabbed the bull by the horns from that day on and made more of an effort.

- Tadhg is eating everything he's offered now. Main foods so far are toast and butter or humous, pasta, all sorts of veg, apples and bananas and melon, melon, melon. I've mixed rice cereal with fruit for breakfast a couple of times but am generally avoiding anything processed or even pureed by me. It's a much easier (and lazier) way of feeding a baby.

- Steve has nearly finished his first two courses. Exams today and then a two week respite before it all starts again. Good Luck in the exams Steve!!
Time for a photo. Not a great picture but I just love the emotions it rouses in me. I love seeing my boys all laughing and playing together. Lots of fun times ahead!

- We are loving the garden. And the best thing about growing your own? I don't bother to wash the lettuce. I hate washing lettuce. So far the lettuce, radishes and herbs have been really tasty. Fresh herbs almost every day. Just need the bugs to disappear now.

- Cycled all the way into town the other day. Took an hour and 10 mintues to get to the small craft aquatic centre where we had a picnic and threw rocks in the water. We have a bike trailer that a friend kindly lent/gave us and it is perfect for the boys. Tadhg slept all the way and Brendan and I chatted about what we saw on the way. I was pooped because it was a very hot day (not to mention that I am dangerously unfit at the moment) so we phoned our backup and Steve duly arrived to take us home. He then decided to cycle home, I think just to see what it was like, so we swapped vehicles and he got home in half the time.

- I'm now vice president of Birth Matters and am currently trying to rustle up some people to walk in the Canada Day Parade here in Fredericton for a spot of awareness raising and public education.

- CISV is back in full swing with the Austrian delegation arriving on the 10th July. I'm not involved too much as the families and the leader have it all under control so I just have to do the odd thing here and there but will help out when the Austrians arrive. I've also volunteered to help with a regular activity during the next school year that brings 11/12 year old kids from CISV and the Multicultural Association together.

- And I've joined the Breastfeeding Promotion Committee. More on that later as I'm just finding out what it involves.

- Lastly, Steve and Brendan have been enjoying the pool. Brendan is a bit slow to get in but then it takes a lot of convincing and bribery to get him out. Tadhg and I are yet to venture in. That might have to wait for the temperature to rise a few degrees.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Old Orchard Beach

Steve's family were all in Maine having a week's holiday at the beach. We had decided not to go because we had lots on- two meetings, a dinner and Steve's classes- but it was always in my mind that it's really only 6 hours away and it's so important for the boys to spend time with their grandparents and cousins so maybe we should go anyway. So on Monday night at about 10pm I asked Steve what he would think if we went down without him and he was all for it. So I ran around and threw a few things into a bag and said I'd decide for sure in the morning. The morning was beautifully sunny and We had had a good nights sleep so we ran around grabbing some more stuff, Steve packed the car for me, I made a picnic and off we went.

5 and a half hours was actually more like 8 and a half after all our stops. For the main picnic stop we found a lovely spot down by a river and spent an hour throwing rocks in the water. A woman and her two year old daughter stopped to chat and we had one of those encounters you usually only have when travelling- we shared our life stories and talked quite deeply for an intense hour or so and then it was time to part ways and never see each other again. I didn't even get her name! But her daughter was called Anna, pronounced the scandinavian way and we had a lot in common. Brendan managed to whack her in the head accidentally with a rock but her mother dealt with it the same way that I would.
At our lunch stop. Tadhg did a few rolls down the hill but I had anticipated it and was between him and the river so that I could catch him. He was like a runaway ball or something. We all thought it was hilarious.
We also stopped at a gravel pit and a bakery to cheer Tadhg up. Brendan was so good but by the last half hour we were all totally fed up and were really pleased to arrive.

Tommy, Linda, Scott, Shannon and the boys were there. Scott and Shannon didn't know we were coming and we woke them up from their nap and Brendan was a little crazy from being stuck in the car all day but we all recovered and went out to their usual fish restaurant.
I just love seeing the boys with their grandparents. It makes me miss my parents a lot more for a while but hey ho, can't do anything about that :) I had intitally wanted to call Tommy and Linda granny and grandad but am possibly changing my mind. Partly because Brendan is picking up Nana and Papa from Scott and Shannon when they say it within earshot anyway, but mostly because when we look at pictures and tell stories of my parents and I use the words granny and grandad then it's just confusing so maybe I should refer to them with the different terms. I don't know, I guess we'll just go with the flow and see how it pans out. Tommy and Linda are good at saying granny and grandad considering it's not the norm for them and they don't seem to mind it so we'll see. Anyway, does it really matter we use one term and the cousins use another? It was like that for us and our cousins and worked fine. Maybe I should just not think about it so much :)

Anyway, we had a good time on the beach, played with Dustin and Duncan, went looking for trains, did some shopping, walked around a bit, had a couple of nice meals, spent an evening sitting outside with a beer while all four kids slept. But we missed Steve of course, and Brendan has got to the stage where he can ask where his daddy is. Heartbreaking sometimes.

I'd love to post some pictures but I didn't take any! Not for want of trying. I either left the camera in the room or just didn't have enough hands for taking pictures. I intended to get one of all the boys together and Tadhg on the beach (He is the same age now as Brendan was when we first went to Old Orchard Beach) So hopefully Tommy will email us a few and we can add them on here after.

Have a busy week and weekend ahead. A doctors appointment for jags, a birthday party, playgroup, a fishing and lunch thing on Sunday. And on top of that, I'm now vice president for Birth Matters which makes me feel like I have to live up to the name and be productive! I have some work to do for that and CISV too. Oh, and I'm also going to the Breastfeeding Promotion Group's meeting tomorrow morning to see if I can get involved. The garden needs some work and I need to start sewing a few things for our trip (mini sheet sleeping bags, little gloves for Tadhg to keep the mosquitoes off but which won't have insecticide on them, a bag for the trip and something else that I've temporarily forgotten about. That list is long enough anyway)

Sunday, June 7, 2009

We could have stayed at a Best Western but......

After feeling a little bit left out on the fun Siobhan and the boys had down in Old Orchard Beach, I thought I'd suggest meeting up with them on their way back. Keen on breaking up the drive, Siobhan thought it was a great idea and left it up to me to sort something out. After a quick look at the map, it became pretty obvious what to do. We could have stayed at a Best Western but Baxter State Park seemed more us.

I made the bookings and it worked out great.... eventually. When I first showed up, Siobhan seemed pretty frazzled. Going from a beach holiday to an unplanned wilderness stay can be difficult when thousands of black flies and mosquitoes swarm on fresh meat. Lets just say that turning round and going home crossed her mind until she saw our accommodation. (Despite you forgetting the bug spray!- Siobhan)

We had a really awesome cabin. It had 2 bedrooms and a common living area which had a table, some chairs, a wood stove and a propane light.

With a quick reassessment of the situation I got the go ahead to unload the Jeep. It involved a short walk through the woods and took about 30 minutes but before we realized it, the cabin was set up, we found some hidden bug repellent and had supper cooking.

Although Brendan seemed to snack on everything and anything, we had some really nice burgers, various salads and a couple of Coronas. After supper, we had a quick clean up and then got the the boys to bed. So that gave us a chance to sit out on the deck and enjoy the rest of our Coronas. Perfect!

After a really comfortable sleep on these old single beds pushed together, we had an awesome fry up. Well, fed and raring to go, I packed the car up and picked up the canoe rental. From there, we set off for two laps around Daicey Pond. The backdrop was incredibly beautiful with Mount Katahdin.

From there, we set of for Kidney Pond to have a look and speak with a Park Ranger. The Ranger recommend Moose View because it was a short simple walk for little ones with the possibility of seeing a moose. As we started off, I asked Brendan a couple of questions....

"Brendan, do you want to see a moose?" He replied "No".
A little frustrated, I then asked him, "Brendan, do you want to see a bear?" He replied "No".
He then quickly came back and stated, " Everybody go a see a cow, moooo".

Well we didn't see a cow but believe it or not, we did see two moose foraging in the water for food. Again, perfect.

With the day passing quickly and a long drive ahead, we headed to the front gate, had a quick stop at the Baxter State Park Visitor Center and had lunch at Togue Pond beach. Brendan had a quick splash in the crystal clear lake while I boiled up some corn for lunch. What a great time. I'm glad we stayed at Baxter in a cabin instead of a Best Western.