Monday, November 30, 2009


It's the last day of November today and we're gearing up for christmas. I made this advent calendar with some help from Brendan, Steve and Brian. I took a bunch of old envelopes and cut them in half. Next year I'll save envelopes from post we receive- these ones are unused but ancient, those airmail ones are at least 20 years old- shows how often I write letters :(
Each envelope has a card in it on which I wrote an advent activity to do that day. We'll see how it goes- I'm sure some will work and others will be a complete flop. I'll try to keep track in case we do this again.
Brendan is working on his scissor skills so really he just cut up magazine pages and glued them together.

Here's our bungee Santa that hangs over the kitchen table.

We went to the Gagetown Village Christmas fair yesterday. One of the vendors at our Saturday market has a small farm there so we met some friends there for lunch. We met the goats, a big pig and some chickens too. The food was gorgeous- it was a treat to eat some wholesome, home cooked food- not easy to find in Fredericton.

And finally, Tadhg in a pair of trousers I made from an old T-shirt last week. He loves to go on this little slide on his own now. I can't believe he's nearly one. I have no idea what to get/make for him for his birthday. Will need to put some thought into it.

We've decided not to go to New York next week so that we can just save money for our trip to Montreal and the UK. So we'll be able to have a little birthday supper with Daddy and maybe a couple of friends.
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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Rocket Day

After two years of waiting, I finally got to launch the Estes Canadian Arrow rocket model which I built over a two year period. A big part of the excitement was the fact that I got to launch it with the whole gang.
This is us ready for the first launch of the day.

Brendan was interested while the rocket was being set up but not so sure after the first launch. It was louder and scarier than expected and I don't think he liked it much.

The first launch went well except for the fact that the parachute ripped away from the rocket and was lost to the winds. With a bit of ingenuity, we did a field repair by using Tadhg's spare nappie. We shredded it and attached it to the shock cord to act as streamers.

Brian and I where all set for the second launch but it was a "3.. 2.. 1.. dud". The ignitor burnt with a puff of smoke but it didn't ignite the engine.

The last launch of the day was awesome, the engine burnt through two layers of the blast plate and the rocket landed pretty close to us. Brendan enjoyed this one a lot more from a distance.

In the end, Brian, King and I got to launch one each. King was the recovery guru who would take off after each launch to pick up the rocket. Even Siobhan enjoyed it.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Mei Tei making

Just finished the mei tei carrier I promised Jo. It's much more professional looking than the one I made for myself a couple of years ago.
The patterned fabric is one that I bought at the Djenne market in Mali. I bought the black twill here and reused some old fleece for the padding.
(I just looked back and realised we didn't do a post about Djenne- not good as it was one of our favourite spots in Mali)

There's a baby boom among our friends at the moment so I'm hoping to make three of these as presents.
I used a combination of two tutorials linked to below. Thanks very much to those girls for the detailed instructions. I still made a couple of mistakes but nothing that will affect the strength of the carrier.

The next one is half done and I've made it a little bigger for an older/bigger baby.

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Organized chaos

We finally finished the cabinet. It's in the corner of the downstairs room and holds various things we use for arts and crafts. It needs a little rearranging so that Brendan can help himself to certain things but while others remain well out of reach.
Here he is experimenting with lots of different drawing media. He's just getting the hang of holding a pencil properly (almost) and drawing circles. But each time we get stuff out he is only interested for a matter of minutes.
Something he loves to do at the moment is perform for people. Yesterday at playgroup in the park, he stood up on the climbing frame and yelled "look a t me" and then did the sticky kids peapod rhyme, with actions, for 6 adults and a bunch of kids.

Five little peas in a peapod pressed.
One grew, two grew and so did all the rest.
They grew and grew so fat and round.
The pod went pop! and they fell to the ground.
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Monday, November 16, 2009

Craft cabinet before

Brendan and Steve adding shelves to the "new" rickety old cupboard that will be our arts and crafts cabinet.I saw this old wardrobe in a thrift store and thought it would make a good cabinet to keep all the crafty stuff we are gathering in one place. It's been sitting in the garage for a couple of months but we finally got round to sanding it down, adding shelves, fixing some really rickety bits and painting it white. It's nearly finished so I'll add an AFTER photo soon.

We gathered some driftwood from the shores of the head pond last weekend and I decided to make this branch into a place for Brendan to hang stuff in his room.

Now to work out what to do with the rest of the sticks and logs we dragged home.

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Bonfire Night

This is a bit belated- these photos were on the wee camera which has been hiding out somewhere. We went to Jen, Rich and Maeve's for bonfire night. Maeve and Brendan played so beautifully together, with lots of giggling and fun. As we left, Maeve wrapped up one of her own soft toys and gave it to him as a gift. (I checked with Jen before he accepted it :) ) It's a little lamb that he has named Doey. He has slept with it snuggled against him every night since then. It's the first time he has latched on that strongly to any soft toy- even Robin Bear and Jellycat don't stay in the bed for multiple nights in a row.
Here they are playing on a swing.

And then these are from another walk at O'dell. Climbing the monkey trees and exploring the bear cave.
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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Travel Plans

Early December: road trip to NYC. Siobhan and boys only during Steve's exam week.

Christmas: Montreal for a family Christmas with the Riffs

Late December/January: UK to introduce Tadhg to the Skehans (about time!) and meet FIVE new babies!

Lots to do before all that happens. We've started on some homemade presents. We'll be travelling light again so will need to put some thought into packing.
NYC will be fun. We're going in one van with our friends Cheyanne and Grace and will be staying on a christmas tree farm an hour's train ride from Manhattan. Will stop in Portland on the way down and then go into the city a couple of times and maybe spend a night there. Other days will be spent enjoying the snow (fingers crossed) and nights will be spent by the fire, enjoying a glass of wine and (hopefully) hand sewing some christmas pressies. Can't wait:)
We'll also have Tadhg's first birthday away without Daddy. No biggie though, they can have a chat on the phone like they did today- Tadhg is really funny when he shouts into the phone at Steve.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Thursday, November 12, 2009

This week

Went to O'dell park for a bit. Steve dragged Brian and King to the top of the hill to find a bunch of geocaches while the boys and I walked our favourite trail with our friends Cheyanne and Grace.

Snack time in the middle of changing the den/craft room into a more organised and attractive space. I'll do a before and after photo in the next couple of days when it's all finished. This is one of our regular snack/brunch sometimes instead of lunch food. Crackers, cheese, apple, homemade pumpkin jam, tangerines and water to drink.
And Brendan loves his big lego at the moment. He builds "houses" in different colours and then takes them apart and rebuilds them. It can keep him occupied for hours.

A few things I want to record at the moment...
Brendan says "I'll gis ko you" (I'll just show you) and "let I do it" all the time. It makes me smile every time.
We have a couple of tricky parenting questions that we are pondering at the moment. How to talk about death being one. Yesterday, B and I were marveling at a warthog on a Planet Earth episode when it was suddenly attacked and eaten by lions. What do you say? So we've been thinking about that stuff a bit lately (I mean me and Steve)
We've been going to gymnastics for a few weeks now and Brendan LOVES it. If we were to only get out once in the week for one activity, this would be it. So we've also been practicing forward rolls and balance beam stuff at home.
Tadhg is most definitely walking now. A good 10 steps at a time.

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Thursday, November 5, 2009

Wild Woods

We decided to go for a long walk today. We cut through the woods at the end of our street, across the fields and through some of the forest on the farm, then onto a trail for a bit and finally found a nice spot by a stream to hang out for an hour or so. Here they are checking out the flowing water.
We explored a bit and stopped to look at lots of little things. Here's a cool tree root and then a Brendan pointing to a big birds' nest we spotted.

We stopped in at the Asian supermarket for some sort of container to keep our big lego in, Brendan and Tadhg liked all the fish tanks and the gaudy ceramic dogs with baskets and the like.
Here they are on the way home, sharing a box of raisins.

Shortly after that Brendan was walking a stretch of the trail when he decided to sit down and refused to move or get back in the buggy. I kept walking a bit to see if he'd follow. When he didn't and I was about 50 or 60 yards away I ducked into the woods and peeked through the tree branches to see what he'd do. He looked up and when he didn't see me he started crying and running towards us. I immediately jumped back out and felt awful guilt at making him think he'd been abandoned. A mean experiment :(
Anyway, as I got back to him two men appeared out of the trees (I think there was a workplace of some sort just through the trees). They asked if everything was alright and then said they had seen a BIG bear right here (with arms stretched right out wide) just last week and that there were coyotes here yesterday. Aahhhhhh. I had just heard on the radio the other day that a woman had been killed by coyotes on a trail in Cape Breton.
Well, it was another 6 or 8 hundred yards to the road so for the rest of that stretch I was visualising myself going all wild animal like myself and protecting my babies and fighting off hungry coyotes and swinging a stick at them and sticking my fingers in their eyes... The adrenaline was pumping just thinking about it. And I got a crook in the neck from looking into the woods the whole time.
As I imagined the end of the world, the two of them fell into a lovely peaceful sleep.

Oh so sweet.
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