Thursday, February 28, 2013

One to remember

Yesterday's snowy February day that went something like this...

- A big snowstorm
- A neighbour and I start to shovel and chat
- We rope in a teen from down the street to help
- Kids play in the snow
- We're joined by others as they get home from work and school early
- Everyone helps to dig out a stuck car
- People work together moving from one driveway to the next
- Some wet kids come in to play
- Some beer goes out
- Everyone comes in to our house
- Food appears; two pots of soup, quiche, bread and fresh baked biscuits (bread rolls), veggies, hummus
- Drinks appear; beers, port, baileys
- Four families (8 big and 7 small people) eat, chat and play together through the evening
- Spirits are lifted, smiles and laughter abound, kids run around, carefree and happy...

This is the way it should be but so often isn't these days. Steve and I both thrive on this kind of togetherness and community and we seem to have landed on our feet with this street. There are always kids outside and playing together, asking for favours and helping each other is easy, people care about each other and value being good to each other, even a wave and shouted greeting across the street helps to brighten our days.
Yesterday's snowstorm-get-together combined with recent friend finding success has us now being able to imagine Ottawa as 'home' and a place we could stay for a while.

Lots of good times ahead! 

Of course I wasn't willing to get distracted from the fun to get the camera out, but here's one from our street this morning (including fogged up patch on lens!) as the snow continues to fall lightly...

Monday, February 18, 2013

Our house

As always furniture placement is a work in progress in our house :) The current arrangement is not ideal, given the small space and the fact that a three seater sofa is considered essential if we all want to fit on it together, but it works just now and keeps us cozy around the fire. 
I took a few pictures at about 6.30 this morning before the place became a tip again!

 The boys were playing with the cat, some yarn and the hot air vent one morning so Steve had the idea of tying bits of yarn on so that they blow about whenever the heating comes on. Lots of fun for a while!

Here are the boys checking something out in the atlas. Brendan is very sweet and authoritatively instructs Tadhg on all sorts of interesting things, some of which are spot on and some of which are hilarious misconceptions. We are mastering the art of not correcting at the time but choosing a concept and a good moment and getting the right version in at some point.

They are both interested in various geography concepts and regularly come out with things like "polar bears and penguins never meet" and "that's east because there's the sun" or "which direction/how far is it to...?" and "did you know that the Pacific is the biggest ocean and that it touches Canada?"

Brendan asks questions such as; "Are floods good or bad?" and "Will Ottawa ever be under an ocean again?" and "Is New Mexico a different Mexico and why is it 'new'?" and "Can we go to China someday?"

Tadhg loves to share new knowledge and asks "do you know... (whatever)" to which we are supposed to answer "no" so that he can be clever and share new information! Maybe we praise too much!? 

And one last one just because I am loving our cozy living room at the moment... the blankets and cushions, the warm fire, the colour, the drawing stuff always around... all important for cold February days when more time than usual is spent indoors.

A new space

While chatting with a new friend one morning last week as we volunteered together in our sons' classroom, we discovered a mutual interest in thrift store shopping. She picked me up on Friday morning and took me out to introduce me to a couple of new ones I hadn't yet discovered. I spotted an old child sized desk for $10 but resisted. For the rest of the day I couldn't stop thinking about how perfect it would be for Brendan. So the next morning I went back to find that all furniture was on sale and got the desk for 5 bucks. Our plan is to sand it down and paint it in the spring but for now it's sitting in the back hallway, under a window that lets in the afternoon sun, perfect for after school quiet time.

One recent story snippet complete with patriotic, war based illustration... "In (the) past two of my brothers died in a war. Now we built a secret weapon that can destroy the bad government. It is called the 'super star destroyer'."

Happy New Year (and some wacky teeth)

Brendan's class at school touched on Chinese New Year last week.He came home with many more questions than answers though so we spent some time reading about it, doing a couple of Zodiac related crafts and some writing. We found out that there is an annual dragon parade in Chinatown just a few km from our house but that it clashed with skiing time. Given the choice, Brendan chose the parade and Tadhg chose skiing so we split up and spent the day in pairs.

 The parade was a little disappointing in size (for me only, Brendan loved it as he had no expectations). We went with some friends and watched the various parts of the parade pass, then ran to overtake and watch it all again, repeated three or four times. Each child was given some lucky money in an envelope and we were treated to a firecracker show on the road just feet from the kids.We then went into a lovely little cafe called Raw Sugar for hot chocolate (a place I've been meaning to go to for ages and will likely blog about separately).

And check out these teeth! About two hours after this, while playing on the floor under a table in a pub, the right tooth fell out, unnoticed by it's owner. He popped his head up from under the table and smiled at me and I thought "something's not quite right here" and looked down to find the tooth right beside my foot on the pub floor.

January round up

Lots of cross country skiing (and walking/sitting by the fire/chatting by Siobhan)
Bringing a reminder of spring into the house
Rady, steady, go! The baby belly is getting bigger. A rare bike-able day in January.

Museum visits 2 (Aviation and Science & Tech)

Walking round an icy neighbourhood

Lots of indoor activity. Volcano building here.

Den building and PJ days.

Decluttering therapy- I should have taken a before photo. These shelves had been a dumping ground since unpacking 4 months earlier)

Brendan's space craft came home from school. He made this at home and took it in to school which inspired a whole space theme in his class for a while.

We celebrate with a cake and the red plate when Tadhg learns how to go to sleep by himself at night. Though it hasn't quite lasted :)

Belle Belle

A few birthdays and lots of writing and drawing

Delicious wholesome meals at home, this tagine made by Steve.

A few trips to the library for books and play.

Quiet days at home for both Steve and Siobhan while the boys are at school. And lots and lots of baking- Siobhan's doing, though it has to stop if I'm aiming for a 9 pounder, not too much bigger :)

And lastly, a couple of storms, one seriously cold cold snap, one miserable thaw and subsequent icing over of everything, but most importantly; lots of sunny days!