Monday, June 14, 2010

Balance Bikes Rock

This is the coolest bike in the world! We found it in a wonderful little toy shop in Mons and couldn't resist. He absolutely loves it. I took a couple of video clips on the first day and will take another this week sometime to show the difference. But here he is showing off his skills today after only a couple of weeks' riding.


Ending with a flourish.
As he started to experiment with lifting his feet he would ride up onto the verge to slow down. He is now getting to grips with slowing down and stopping- although going downhill is still a scary affair (for me watching that is!)

It was a perfect evening today. There had been a thunder storm earlier in the afternoon so it was a lovely fresh post-storm evening with incredible lighting and a recent rain smell. Steve worked on the picnic table he's building for the boys while we watched and played in the front garden. Look at him go! I think he could really get into woodworking.
Can't wait till this is finished. Should be light enough for Brendan to move it around on his own and put it where he wants in the new garden. Or at least with a friend, once we find some. After watching a few episodes of the Green Balloon Club (a British TV show we watch online) he now wants to have his own club to sing songs and play in the garden.
He still goes to playschool once a week for a couple of hours and the teacher says he may not be that interested in drawing and colouring (or anything that involves sitting at a table and concentrating) but he certainly loves to perform and to build and take things apart. Just thought I'd record that here- who knows how he'll change and grow and what he'll be interested in at any point in the future. It is such a privilege to be a part of this whole thing. Wow I love my boys so much.
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Sunday, June 13, 2010

special places and pals

I'm keen to get a few more words and pictures in about some of our favourite, regular spots and our favourite people in Fredericton before we leave. Here's Brendan with Maddie clambering up a dirt pile, obviously.

We'll miss these guys. Sophia has been a great listener and source of good, chilled out, oh-well-what-the-hell kind of vibes whenever I needed them. Here we are walking past the beaver pond on the farm near our house. Baby Mac on her back and I must have had Tadhg with me.

Here's the other wee beaver dam just outside our back fence. We've spent many hours hanging out on this small patch of muddy land. Never did see a beaver though. Maybe I'll take Brendan out there one dawn or dusk before we leave.

And this is not in Fredericton but down in Fundy National Park. We camped out in Lindsey and Matt's back garden and then spent a night in the park itself with Cheyanne and Grace. Was too busy enjoying everyone's company and only managed to get this one photo. Must remember to take more next time we see them.

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Three Generations On The Beach

With our time remaining in Canada becoming very short, we were able to sneak in a quick beach holiday with the family. After work on a Friday, Siobhan, the kids and I made good time south to Old Orchard Beach, Maine. The boys really did well on the trip down until we actually tried to get settled in the motel room. At one point I took Brendan out for a walk while Siobhan got Tadhg to bed. We went for a quick walk down to the centre and lets just say Siobhan wasn't too impressed when Brendan ratted me out, "Mommy, I had pizza and french fries for bedtime snack". Well I guess 10:00pm was kind of late.

My parents where the first to arrive and they helped us get the beach warmed up for the arrival of Dustin & Duncan. In good Riff tradition my Dad brought down a load of beach toys. Before we knew it, we had a dam which rivaled the Hoover Dam and the boys loved swimming in the deep pool behind it. This is Tadhg leading Nana & Papa through the waves.

Once Scott, Shannon and the boys arrived, it was a pizza & fries for all then more construction on the beach and swimming in the ocean. It was really awesome watching the 6 boys interact. Yup, even Scott and I. Although it looks like he has the advantage, he quickly gave up once I threatened to take him into the surf.

Brendan having fun on the beach.....
And in the water.

This is Brendan leading Duncan down the beach. Brendan loved running back and forth along the water. I swear he could have done that all day.
We're looking forward to seeing the rest of Shannon's photos- we didn't get many, the trip was a bit short. Lots of fun though. Can't wait till next time.
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Forest Fridays

I am so grateful for chance meetings! How different our time in Fredericton would have been had we not been in the right place at the right time and struck up conversations on a number of occasions. And through one person we would meet another and then another until we found ourselves surrounded by wonderful, interesting, supportive people. We have felt quite at home here and now that our time here is coming to an end we are realising how much we're going to miss everyone.

One such group of people is our Wednesday playgroup. I used to call them my greeny group. We had been here a year already and I was excited and relieved to finally meet a bunch of people who shared many of our own ideas about parenting within this crazy culture of ours. Anyway, through that group we have met some of our dearest friends here and we will miss them all.

Here are a few photos of our latest Forest Friday walk. It's a waldorf/steiner inspired group and is such a lovely part of our week that we are determined to start one of our own once we are settled in Mons. We go for a short circular hike in the woods in Fredericton's wonderful O'dell Park. Tadhg is the youngest and Brendan is one of the oldest. We go along a trail, over some bridges, scramble up a rocky path, past a waterfall, a pond, a cave, a mud patch and, of course, lots and lots of trees. Half way round we stop and gather in a circle and share a home baked healthy(ish) snack and sometimes sing a song or listen to a story.

Here we go... The beginning of the hike.

"Water" is one of the few words Tadhg pronounces very clearly.

Tadhg having a closer look at a fern.

Regular stop to investigate the "cave".

Brothers in mischief. (I shouldn't say that, should I? Self-fulfilling prophecies and all that :)

All in all a special time. And we've met even more wonderful people in the last couple of months and feel sad to be leaving before we've got to know them better.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

wanting time to speed up for a change

12 days until official packing begins but we are surrounding by boxes and piles of "stuff". We are feeling a little overwhelmed by the shear quantity of material belongings we own and almost every day one or other of us says "let's just get rid of it all!" But, of course, we don't. We have got to the point where we like everything left but still have way too much.
I'm looking forward to the three+ weeks we'll be living out of our bags- a chance to escape from it all for a while. And we are determined that, as we unpack every object at the other end, if it doesn't find a sensible home in the new house then it's not staying. Hah, we'll see how that goes. We dream of selling it all off, leaving for somewhere else and starting again with nothing. I just double checked with Steve to confirm he agrees and he said "and the kids too?" haha very funny :)
Our lovely friend and babysitter, Sam, very bluntly reminds me regularly that we wouldn't have this problem if we didn't bring something home every time we go out. So true. Maybe one day we'll make some drastic changes. Little steps for now though.