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Calina 3 years 11 months

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– Since I didn’t enjoy having my hair brushed, and I awoke most mornings with, what we called, a rat’s nest at the back of my head, Mom gave me an ultimatum – either I let her comb my hair every morning and put it into pony tails or I get it cut off.  I happily agreed to a hair cut and now I have a cute bob for the summer.

– Sporting my new due, I attended my neighbour, Sienna’s, 7th birthday party.  The spa themed party was super cool.  I had my hair curled, make up done and nails painted.

– I stopped eating all fruit.  This isn’t so cool because I don’t eat many veggies either.  I have Mom totally stressed out.

– I had some “invisible friends” that I spoke with on occasion.  It was really cute when I talked to them because I turned to look at them, nodded my head, and then verbally acknowledged what they had said to me.

– By the end of last summer I was quite a little fish – swimming, putting my face in the water – but when I returned to the pool this summer, my skills were rusty and I was hesitant.  But two weeks of daily swim lessons, and a pair of new goggles, helped get my skills and fish status back.

– It had been a few years since my last trip to Toy R Us, and I didn’t understand what this store was all about, so when I entered the store I exclaimed “WOW! The toy aisle is the first aisle inside the door!”

– I could be labeled as a hypochondriac.  In the spring I endured a cough for several weeks, which went away and then came back again, but that was months ago.  Recently, I had an instant where I had a big cough, reminiscent of my cough in the spring.  For days, maybe even weeks, afterwards, I would warn people to stay away or not share my drink/food because they were “going to get my sickness!”

– Rebecca is now 18 months old, and I have finally fallen into my role as a wonderful big sister.  I loved to hold her hand and help her walk, gave her kisses and hugs, and at times, played nicely with her.

– Mom has been attempting to keep Gus and I entertained, stimulated and busy this summer.  We’ve done some fun science experiments, for which I was always eager to participate.  I think blowing up balloons with a chemical reaction has been my favourite thus far.

Notable quote: “I’m training on it”  – about not wearing pull-ups to bed.

Highlights of the month:

– A day at the Avon-by-sea beach playing in the sand and surf.

– Visiting Insectropolis where I touched a tarantula, a scorpion, a giant millipede and a hissing cockroach.

– Celebrating the 4th of July at our neighbours and staying up late to watch the fireworks.

– Camping at Bass River State Forest with friends, and canoeing down the Wading river.

– Visiting the Bergen County Zoo.

May 2015

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May always feels like the unofficial start to summer.  This month was jammed packed with activity and fun.

– We started the month off with a surprise road trip!  After soccer on Saturday morning, we loaded the kids into the van and told them we were going to find a new restaurant for lunch.  An hour and a half later, we were in Reading PA eating lunch at a very scummy Chinese restaurant.  During lunch we revealed that we were actually going to see the Wild Kratts Live!  Gus and Calina are big fans of Chris & Martin’s television show and were thrilled with the surprise.  The show that afternoon was great and we all enjoyed seeing the creature powers come to life on the stage.  That night we stayed in a hotel, swam in the pool and had dinner out.  The next morning after another swim, we visited a near-by park before we headed home.

– We arrived home Sunday afternoon and celebrated my 36th birthday with a barbeque dinner and chocolate cake.

– Monday mid-afternoon, the kids and I were packed and about to leave for the Turtle Back Zoo, when surprisingly, James joined us!  He played hookie for the afternoon, and we all had fun seeing the animals, which we hadn’t seen since December.

– I joined both Gus & Calina at school for Mother’s Day teas.  These are sweet celebrations where we share snacks and drinks, and I was presented with special crafts.  Each class also had special Mother’s Day songs.

– On Mother’s day I planted flowers in the front flower beds, and we built an enclosure for our garden.  What started out simply planting a few seeds for Earth Day turned into a small garden.  The past few summers we’ve tried growing a few plants, but the deer always eat the plants not long after they are established.  This year James decided that we could build a deer/rabbit/squirrel proof garden.  Equipped with chicken wire, wood and staple guns, we built an enclosure which is 8’L x 4’W x 4’H.  A small raised bed sits at one end, and pots and garden boxes fill the rest of the space.

– Mid-May could have been called “inch worn mania”.  Teeny, tiny green inch worms were everywhere and Gus and Calina couldn’t get enough of them.

– A warm and sunny Friday afternoon we visited Sandy Hook, a barrier peninsula within view of the Manhattan skyline at the north end of the Jersey Shore.  James took a call during the hour long drive, and was able to join us for the fun.  Since we visited during a cool time of the year, the beach was almost empty, but we did encounter a lot of wind.  We spent some time playing in the sand, and touching our feet in the ocean, and then decided to check out some other parts of the area, including a drive through Fort Handcock.  After a few hours by the ocean, I had a desire to eat fish.  We ventured to near-by Sea Bright and had a delicious dinner at the Sea Bright Fish Company.

– James and I had a very rare lunch date one Saturday afternoon.  Kelly is a nice young lady that came to us through a friend’s recommendation when I was looking for a babysitter.  She visited with us so we could meet each other and she could meet the kids.  When it was obvious that things were going really well, James & I jumped at the opportunity to have lunch out together.  Old Havana served up excellent Cuban sandwiches that day.  We look forward to having Kelly back in the future so we can go out again.

– We also had the very good fortune of meeting Jenny, our cleaning lady’s daughter.  She is a lovely young lady who is going through to be a nurse, and after moments of being in our house, my children had fallen totally in love with her.  She has been helping us out with some occasional babysitting, which has made our lives so much easier!

– Our little friend Alice turned 3, and Gus, Calina & I were so happy to help her celebrate.  Her Sophia The First themed party was so much fun and so beautifully decorated by her talented mom, Tammy.

– Since we often feel squishy in our van when we are traveling, we are now the proud owners of a Thule, which proved to be the perfect addition during our Memorial Day weekend camping trip.

– Gus and his fellow Sunday school friends sang “I’ve got the joy” one Sunday in church.  Singing children always melts my heart.

– A warm sunny Sunday evening was spent sharing dinner at the Nesheiwat’s along with the Friedman’s.  We always have so much fun when we get together with these two families.

– The US Marine Corps visited near-by Orange Avenue School as part of Fleet Week. James and the kids biked to the school to see the three aircrafts which had landed there – MV-22 Osprey, a CH-46E Sea Knight, and a UH-1Y Huey.  Although they couldn’t see the planes up-close, they did enjoy seeing them from a distance, especially when they departed.

– Memorial Day weekend was spent camping at Jenny Jump State Forest.  We had a wonderful time, and I’ll fill in all the details in another blog post.

– I had two girls night out this month!  One evening six ladies got together at our local Irish pub, Kilkenny House, for drinks and dessert.  Later in the month, five ladies, we took a coach service into Jersey City to have dinner and drinks at the beautiful Liberty House.  I also enjoyed an evening out for book club, where we discussed “Tell The Wolves I’m Home” by Carol Rifka Brunt.

– One morning before school, Gus decided that he wanted fresh mashed strawberries for his toast.  James helped him quickly make up a single jar of freezer jam, which turned out to be a delicious treat.

– Gus’ pre-school graduation trip was a train trip to a neighbouring town, three stops west of our town.  Once they arrived at their destination, the group divided into two – one going to the ice cream shop and the other going to a crafting shop – and after a short while they swapped.  I was able to attend with Gus and had fun watching him interact with his classmates and enjoyed seeing the delight on all their faces as they took in all the simple excitement of sharing this adventure together.

– Two days after the graduation trip, James and I took Gus to his kindergarten orientation.  The morning consisted of James and I sitting in the ‘café-gymna-torium’ listening to speeches by the principal, kindergarten teacher and PTA representative, while Gus was off touring the school with his soon-to-be school mates.  He was thrilled to check out his new school, and seemed most impressed by the library.

– Our final adventure of the month was taking the kids to Greek Fest.  It was a super hot Sunday afternoon, but the kids still happily jumped in the bouncy house and rode the train.  We all sipped on cool lemonade, but really, the real reason we went was for the food.  James and I dearly miss the amazing La Porte Grecque restaurant that we lived beside in Montréal and often long for their food.  We hadn’t had Greek food in quite some time, so we happily ate souvlaki on pitas topped with generous amounts of tzatziki.  The baklava was sold out by the time we were ready for dessert, but we certainly enjoyed other sweet treats.  When it was time to depart, dark clouds had rolled in, thunder was sounding and big fat rain drops were falling – heavily.  We hopped on our bikes and raced for home, getting drenched, but the kids enjoyed the novelty of getting caught in the pouring rain.

Quick highlights:

– We participated in screen-free week where the kids had no tablets or television, and we all survived very nicely.

– G&C often play “secret agents, who do work in the night”.

– Ugh!  Potty talk seems to be at an all time high in our house.

– Gus lost his first tooth.  He had to hide it from the Tooth Fairy so he could take it to school and show his classmates first.  When she was able to take it, she left behind $1.

– To my heart’s delight, Gus has fallen in love with listening to Stuart McLean’s Vinyl Café podcasts.  We are frequently listening to these in the van, and I smile every time he asks if we can “listen to the stories”.

– We are encouraging the kids to tell each other this, and it’s so cute when they actually do, rather than running to us for mediation: “I know you are trying to hurt my feelings, but I love you anyway”.

– Our Green Card application was finally submitted!  It’s bitter-sweet.  I’m so happy the process is finally over (fingers crossed) as it has taken James a tremendous amount of work over the past 2 years to compile the required paperwork, and I’m thrilled what this will (most likely) mean in terms of security for residing here, but at the same time, we aren’t sure where this puts us for a return to Canada.  Only time will tell what our next major step is, but at the current time, having this load off our shoulder is good.

… Erin

Rebecca 17 months

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I started the month with a few hesitant steps and I ended the month walking more than I was crawling.  I still walked like a cowboy who had been riding all day, but I was walking – getting faster, and was quite pleased with myself.  Since my steps were more confident, I spent even more time pushing “baby” around in their strollers.  I also spent quite a lot of time pushing “cah” (cars) around on the floor.  My interest in books continued to grow.  Mom is such a sucker for children’s books, that my asking for more and more books at bedtime usually meant that I listened to more and more.  Afterwards, I would take a few favourites into bed with me, lay down and read more on my own.  Anything with animals, especially puppies, was of particular interest.  All my reading of animal books has me saying a few animal sounds – sheep “baa”, cows “moo”, dogs “oooo”, cats “oww” and pigs make a cute grunting sound.  When it wasn’t books I was asking for, it was gadgets – the phone, the fob for the van, the camera and especially “pah” (i-pad) – anything with buttons.  The “pah” was most certainly my preferred gadget, and my swiping ability was already quite advanced and I knew exactly where my games were.  Mommy’s a little concerned with my obsession.  My love of reading and gadgets, the ear piercing screech I produced when I didn’t get my way, my very physical body, my curious nature and my slow teething process (the 4th just appeared this month) had me developing more similarly to Gus than to Calina.  Only time will tell, and likely I’ll end up being, just like me.  When Gus and Calina were being funny, I got a huge, big belly laugh going on.  I adored hanging out with them, and loved to sit on them and bounce, and I was always greatly disappointed when they played Lego and I was excluded.  Since I wanted to be just like the big kids, I did a great job of feeding myself with forks and spoons, even with my morning Cheerios and milk.  Two other super adorable things I started recently were: putting my little index finger to my mouth and hushing – just like the old lady in “Goodnight Moon”, and clapping along with audience while listening to Stuart McLean podcasts.  Daddy served up melted cheese on crackers one afternoon for my snack, after waiting a few minutes for it to cool, I asked Daddy, with my signs and sounds “is it hot?”.  He was so impressed with my checking back in with him.  Speaking of my “daddy-dadadada”, he traveled to Prague for work this month and I missed my  SO much.  I loved seeing him on Skype every day and gave him big waves and blew him lots of kisses. Along with Greek Fest, a community picnic and going to the pool, I also took time to go strawberry picking.  I didn’t heed the “do not eat until you pay” rule. I was a serious berry hunter, and devoured what I found.  Over Memorial Day weekend, we camped at Jenny Jump State Forest for two nights and ventured to the Lakota Wolf Preserve where I was thrilled to see the beautiful “puppy”.  And to close out the month, I spent a day at Avon-by-the-sea.  I was not interested in being in the ocean, but I happily played in the sand.    … Becca

Calina 3 years 10 months

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– I enjoyed practicing martial arts with Gus.

– My classmate Annalise celebrated her 4th birthday with a princess tea party.  Only the girls from our class attended and the six of us had a really nice time together.  We played in the horn on the unicorn, decorated crowns, dined on pizza and cupcakes.

– I had a new bedtime routine, and it went something like this… put on pajamas, brush teeth, read stories, say prayers, get tucked into bed and receive a kiss goodnight.  5 minutes later I arrived back downstairs and stated I’m not tired.  Mom or Dad took me back upstairs, tucked me into their bed with a big pile of books and turn on the reading lamp.  Moments later, I was passed out.

– I closed out my first year of preschool with a chapel service.  My class sang “If I were a butterfly”.  I will miss my teachers from this year, but I’m already excited about new teachers in the fall.

– Highlights of the month: Camping at Jenny Jump State Forest for two nights, attending Greek Fest, the Newcomers Family picnic, Strawberry picking at Melick’s and returning to the Orange Avenue Pool.

Favourite mispronunciation: “guhn-tah” for going to.

… Calina

Camping – Jenny Jump State Forest

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In the days leading up to our camping weekend, I felt totally over whelmed by the amount of stuff our family of five needed to spend two nights in the bush.  I found myself longing for the days when James & I packed backpacks or a few barrels for weekends of camping or canoeing.  Would we be able to squeeze all this stuff into the van?  Would the new Thule provide enough extra space?

We departed Saturday morning of Memorial Day weekend for the one hour drive to Jenny Jump State Forest – a quiet, small and simple campground.  Once we set up and settled in, we checked out the playground and washrooms.  The recycling toilets, which are essentially glorified latrines, were of great interest to the kids.  (There’s now water, so we don’t have to flush?  Everything just falls into this deep hole?  What if I fall in?) We soon discovered that hundreds of fuzzy caterpillars were taking up residence on the exterior of the washroom and the playground, basking in the warmth of the afternoon sun.  Since it was the end of May, inch worms were still propelling themselves from the trees, and the road that led back to our campsite was also a through-way for millipedes.  To my disgust (I don’t love caterpillars) and the kids delight, we were surrounded by many crawly critters. Otherwise, we only encounter a few ticks and one snake.

One of the many reasons that I love camping, is that James takes over the job of cooking!  Sure, I still grocery shop, prep and pack everything, but once we arrive, the meals are only for my eating pleasure.  Friday night was tinfoil dinners cooked on the campfire with s’mores (our new cheater recipe was Keebler Fudge Stripes cookies to replace graham crackers and chocolate) or pie iron cherry ‘cheesecake’ pies for dessert.  Saturday was homemade chili with rice.

Last summer when all of us went camping, we brought two tents, so Rebecca & I slept in one, while James, Gus & Calina slept in the other.  This year we brought our large tent and opted to sleep all five of us together.  Becca was the first to go to sleep, and once she was settled, Gus and Calina snuggled in.  With busy days, lots of fresh air, and later than usual bedtimes, everyone slept through the night – both nights.  Gus and Claina were up at 6 o’clock on Sunday morning – an hour earlier than usual, and were happy to play around the campsite until breakfast.

Sunday we ventured to the Lakota Wolf Preserve, where we had a great time learning about and seeing these beautiful animals up close.  The preserve is also home to a pair of bob cats and pair of foxes.  Gus listened very intently to the presentations and was quick to ask a few of his many questions.  We stopped for a picnic lunch and ice cream on the way back to our site.  That afternoon we went for a short hike so we could cast Gus’ fishing rod into a pond.

The next morning consisted of breakfast and packing up.  Although camping with little ones is a lot of work, we trust that these adventures are building a respect for nature and a love of camping  in their tiny hearts.  We feel that our efforts are not lost on them, when we hear Gus & Calina say things like…

“This is the best day ever”.  “This is the best meal ever”.  “There aren’t many toys, but it’s still lots of fun!’

… Erin

Rebecca 16 months

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It only took me this long, but I am finally night weaned! Daddy comforted me through my regular nightly wakings for a few nights and the job was done, which made Mom wonder why she hadn’t done this months ago. I enjoy the comfort of my crib and I’m happy to sleep and play in there, but my desire to climb was too much one morning after my nap. Thankfully, Dad spied me on the video monitor balancing on my tummy on the end of the crib. Moments after my rescue, the mattress was lowered to the floor, and there is no way that I’ll be climbing out again. The other things I learned to climb recently were the bar stools at our kitchen counter and the ladder that leads into Layla & Dylan’s tree house. Since crawling was still my preferred means of movement, my little hands, feet and knees were home to many slivers from the back deck and woodchips at the playground. On occasion I would walk holding onto someone’s hand, but a step and a half is the farthest I ventured on my own. My communication skills exploded this month! Ten new words and six new signs were added to my repertoire, which is making me quite conversational and easy to understand, well, as long as you are Mom or Dad. My parroting of words and sounds I hear will only help improve my vocabulary. I love “bee” (birds) and I regularly asked to look out my window so I could see them, and the music from Calina’s music box is very soothing for me at bedtime, so I created a sign so Mom would wind it up before I went to bed. The other thing that erupted in my mouth this month was another tooth. Yes, my third tooth finally made it’s inaugural appearance. Otherwise, my hair was long enough to wear in adorable pig tails and I tried my hand at painting, which wasn’t of any interest to me.
We ventured to Reading, PA this month to see the Wild Kratts Live. The town was nothing to write home about, but Martin & Chris put on a great performance and I showed my appreciation by clapping along with the audience. That night was my first time staying in a hotel, which didn’t cause me to lose a moment of sleep. Dad played hookie one Monday afternoon, and we all went to the zoo together. My favourite part was seeing all the budgie “bees” up close. Visiting Sandy Hook beach was my first visit to the Jersey shore. A sunny but very windy and cool Friday afternoon allowed us about an hour of playing in the sand before we sought a less windy part of this barrier spit. We made sure to take the time to drive past the light house and through Fort Handcock before departing.
… Becca

Here is Becca on the morning of her 16 month birthday.  This is the most solo walking she has done thus far.

Calina 3 years 9 months

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– Mom introduced me to a new game that I fell in love with.  It goes like this – two players take turns saying these lines…  “I one the world”, “I two the world”, “I three the world” etc, until someone says “I eight the world”, at which point I break into a big laugh and say “What?  You ate the world?”.  And it’s not always the world, because it’s fun to substitute other words in too.

– A guest reader is a special person that comes to our classroom and reads us a story – someone other than the teacher.  Mommy was that special person one day and read “Mortimer’s First Garden” to us.  I was very proud to sit right beside her.  Afterwards all the school gathered in the courtyard to release several butterflies that we hatched during our butterfly study.  It really was a springy day with butterflies and a story about gardens.

– “Goodnight Gorilla and Where the Wild Things Are are my favourites” – books that is.  At bedtime I like to read Goodnight Gorilla to whomever is tucking me in.  There aren’t many words, but I can certainly take my listener on a great picture walk.

– Gus and I play make believe quite a lot. My favourite thing to pretend lately is to be a fireman from the show Fireman Sam, and we have to put out a fire at the “Whole Fish Café”.

– I love to solve little math problems.  For example, when Daddy says something like, “If four horses run into the barn, and three run out, how many horses are still in the barn?”, I respond, with almost no hesitation, with the correct answer.  At which point, Daddy is impressed and we do another one.

– I can count to one hundred with some help.  If someone can prompt me on every 10th number (10, 20, 30, 40 ect.), I’m comfortable filling in the sequence in between (31, 32, 33, 34 etc.) and I also have the patience to sit and actually do all the counting.

– Any injury, small or big, is serious and requires lots of attention.  I know this very well since i get many scrapes and bumps.  So anytime I hear someone say “ouch”, I’m quick to check on them with a very serious “Are you okay?”

– The highlights of the month were going to Reading, PA to see the Wild Kratts Live, hosting Mom in my classroom for Mother’s Day tea, an afternoon at Sandy Hook Beach, and attending Alice’s ‘Sophia the First’ themed 3rd  Birthday party.


April 2015

Since May is almost over, I best fill you in on what we did way back in April…

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– James and I aren’t pranksters by nature, but come the eve of April fools day, we feel compelled to do something for the kids.  Last year’s simple jokes resulted in melt downs and tears, but with Gus and Calina being a year more mature, we were certain they would see the humour in our efforts.  We  (1) constructed a trail of shoes, as though they were walking, from the bottom of the stairs all the way to the kitchen, (2) swapped our regular kitchen chairs for the kids little chairs, and set dolls up around the table, (3) put a life-like baby doll in the high chair (3) put the kitchen chairs around the kids little table, set a tea party and seated teddy bears around the table, (4) set up a face-off between the Lego Storm Troopers and Goldy the bear who was riding horse back. Simple. Nothing too crazy.  Well the morning of April fools was very disappointing for Gus and Calina because they didn’t like our jokes, and only wanted a repeat of the jokes we did last year.  Oh well.  Two years of foolish failures.

– Our little friends Maggie & Alex hosted their second annual Easter egg hunt in their back yard.  Each parent pre-delivered 10 filled plastic eggs per child, and then Mommy Courtney hid them in the yard on the day of the party.  It was a 3 o’clock shot gun start for the approximately 50 children that were there, and the competition was fierce.  Calina collected slowly and got a few eggs, and Gus stuck to his 10 egg limit.  The best part of the afternoon was when all the kids played rather happily together – on the play ground, doing crafts – so the moms could chat.

– We spent Easter weekend and spring break in Canada.  Check out Rebecca’s blog for all the details.

– School jumped right into celebrating the Week of the Young Child upon our return from spring break.  Each day had a different theme: Crazy hat/hair, rainbow, sports, block party, wacky socks.  Gus and Calina had fun dressing up for each day, and really enjoyed the block party.  The block party always ties into their study on ‘community helpers’.  With the street closed off to traffic, the police and fire departments and an EMS park their various vehicles for the children to climb in and explore.  May this be the only time that Gus and Calina are in the back seat of a police cruiser.

– We started a weekly Thursday picnic lunch play date with Gus’ classmates.  We pick a different park each week, and whoever can join does, and we hang out and play for about two hours.  It’s nice for the kids to have this extra time together in their final weeks of preschool.

– Gus started martial arts class at the community center.  He is really enjoying the class, and is also happy to practice at home.  Since he’s going to be a ninja when he grows up, he sees how the skills he is learning will be helpful in the future.

– When my friend Holly asked for some company for the  Warriors for Warriors 5K race, I said I would join her – and I signed Gus and James up for the 1-mile fun run.  I did a minimal amount of training prior to the race, and by race day, hadn’t actually done a 5K run.  Holly was also feeling under-prepared, so, we mostly walked the 5K.  I LOVED my first 5K race, and probably loved it more than if I had actually run it.  The weather was gorgeous, I was outside exercising and had spent the morning catching up with a good friend – what wasn’t to love.  Gus enjoyed running the one-mile loop, and with the exception of taking a short-cut, ran the whole way.  James was such trooper, and pushed Calina & Rebecca in the stroller while he kept up with Gus.

– Spring soccer commenced and Gus is trilled to be back on the field practicing his skills.

– We went for two family bike rides this month.  Our first ride of the season was a short ride to our neighbouring town of Garwood for ice cream.  The second trip was a little farther (10.7 km round trip) away to Westfield, and that trip also included a stop for ice cream.  Hmmm, there may be a trend developing here.

– Twice within the school year, the students in Gus’ class have to present a “teach and tell”, like a show and tell, but a little more instructional/educational.  Gus really wanted to take a toy to school, so we considered some of his more educational toys, and he decided on Lego.  What he prepared was a lesson on how to build a simple robot.  He compiled enough pieces so each student could build their own robot, and he could walk them through the building process, step by step. James really spent a lot of time helping Gus prepare for his presentation, making sure he was practiced and comfortable. The morning of the presentation, James needed to be a fly on the wall, and arrived at school in time to watch Gus’ presentation sneakily from the hallway.  Two very proud and excited boys arrived home from school that day!

– To honour Earth Day, the kids and I planted a few seeds in small pots.  We planted a real mix of seeds – turnips, sunflowers, morning glories, zucchinis and marigolds.  It’s been fun to watch them sprout!

– Our neighbour kindly lent us his fire pit and we had our first bonfire of the season.  Gus & Calina were excellent helpers when it came to building and maintaining the fire.  James and Gus sat by the fire until well after Gus’ bedtime – chatting, looking at stars, roasting marshmallow, bonding.

– Gus & Calina, along with some fellow schoolmates, sang at church for Preschool Sunday.  Afterwards everyone was invited to gather in fellowship hall for refreshments, games, balloon animals and face painting.

– Our friends Katie & Monte have beautiful backyard, which we had the chance to enjoy one Sunday evening.  Our family gathered there, along with Holly & Sean, for a barbeque dinner.  The kids played happily together while the adults watched over them from the comfort of the patio.

– I met with my wonderful book club ladies to discuss “The Storied Life of AJ Firky” by Gabrielle Zevin.  A fun and easy read.

– I always joke that Mortimers are competitive, and Gus is no exception to this.  He is very competitive and always wants to win or finish first.  Lately, we have many conversations about how participating  and having fun is what’s really important.

Rebecca 15 months

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At my recent doctor appointment, I weighed 19 pound 4 ounces and measured 30.5 inches tall. Satisfying my insatiable desire to climb was what kept me slim. Scaling the new shelving in the play room and our play kitchen were my latest accomplishments, and I also spent more time sitting ON the kitchen table than AT it. Maybe someday I’ll tackle Mount Everest, and maybe, Mount Kilimanjaro too. With the warmer weather, I was able to enjoy climbing at the playground, and in general, enjoyed being outside, especially if it meant driving in my Cozy Coupe! Pointing to my coat and trying to pull it off the hook helped to make it known that I wanted to be outside. With my increased desire to communicate I added five signs and five words/sounds to my otherwise limited vocabulary. The signs I used most frequently were “orange” and “milk” which I asked for all day long. Acting out Patty Cake Baker’s Man and the Itsy Bitsy Spider were other ways my little hands were busy this past month. Getting people’s attention can be difficult, but I was pretty good at it. When I saw a stranger approaching me on the sidewalk, I insistently waved until they noticed me, and then I flashed them my big gummy smile. It was a sure way to get a “hello” and a smile in return. Since blowing ones nose and washing ones hands are tasks everyone should be skilled at, I’ve been practicing. I have to admit that it’s quite adorable when I hold a tissue to my nose and blow – and hand washing is just really fun. Speaking of fun, I enjoyed looking at animals in books – penguins, cats, dogs – anything really, and in “Hooray for Fish” I liked to search for and point out Little Fish on each page. During my recent trip to Canada, I realized that I also enjoyed real live animals. I don’t encounter animals often in my day-to-day life, so living with Grandma Cathy’s two dogs and three cats was very exciting for me.  My greatest accomplishment this month was moving my crib from Mommy’s room into Claina’s room!  Although I miss having Mommy so close, I easily adjusted to my new sleeping quarters. My strawberry blond locks had grown quite a lot in the past few months, so much that it could be deemed unruly. To help tame my locks, I took to wearing clips, which I quite liked and would even request. Sun hats and helmets on the other hand, I didn’t enjoy wearing and discarded as soon as possible. That being said, I did wear my bike helmet for my first ever Chariot ride! Nestled in beside Calina I was comfy enough to fall asleep for a good portion of the ride. I also cozied up beside Calina in the Chariot to participate in the Warriors for Warriors one-mile fun run with Dad and Gus on a sunny Saturday morning. Prior to my eight days of Easter/Spring break spent in Canada, I attended Gus & Calina’s chapel services, tagged along to the community Easter egg hunt and enjoyed a rainy day hike from the vantage point of the backpack carrier.

Calina 3 years 8 months

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– I’ve been out riding my bike, which I really enjoy, and I’m getting better each time.  I really have to focus on peddling, since my feet just reach the peddles, but when I do, I can ride it all by myself.

– The Spring chapel service is a time when the children at my school to invite their families to church to hear the Easter story and listen to beautiful music.  My class sang “Spring is Near”, and then I joined all the students in singing “Easter Time” and “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands”.

– I like to take my time doing most things.  I don’t usually move too quickly.  These two characteristics did not give me an advantage at the community Easter Egg hunt.  Hundreds of plastic eggs were scattered across the park, and when whistle sounded to start the “hunt”, the mob of children ran forward quickly scooping eggs into their baskets.  I trailed behind slowly enough that by the time I reach the far side of the park, my basket was still empty and there weren’t any unclaimed eggs in sight.  Unknown to me, a kind Mom realized my situation and tossed a few eggs near-by, which I delighted in picking up thinking that I had finally found some!

– While in Canada for spring break, I hurt my left hand on Grandpa Mike’s treadmill.  It had pulled some skin off the palm side of my thumb, which required two Band-Aids, changed frequently, for a whole week.   Lots of drama and favouring my hand by holding it close to my chest also helped the healing process.

– I had a wonderful spring break.  The highlights of the week were playing with cousins, visiting with friends and our days at Fulton’s Sugar Bush and the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum.

– The Week of The Young Child is  an annual celebration which  recognizes that the early childhood years (birth through age 8) lays the foundation for children’s success in school and later life.  During this week at school, each day has a theme, so I participated in crazy hair/hat day, sports day and crazy sock day.  Although rainbow day fell on one of my non-school days, I still made sure I wore lots of colours.  Thursday of that week is always the community block party, where my school invites two other near-by preschools to visit the community helpers “touch a truck”.  The street near my school is closed to traffic and is then filled with a fire truck, a police boat/car/scooter, ambulance, ice cream truck and other emergency vehicles.  It was so much fun getting to sit in all those vehicles.

– Last summer when Rebecca was so tiny, we weren’t able to have family bike rides.  I was excited that she is big enough this summer and all five of us can bike together again.  Rebecca now joins me in the Chariot, and Mom pulls us behind her bike.  Although the biking is fun, the best part is that our route always leads us to an ice cream shop.

– From the comfort of the Chariot, Rebecca and I participated in a one-mile fun run with Dad and Gus.  This race was a fund raiser for a local school and the Wounded Warrior Project.

Quotes of the Month

– When I failed to see the humour in Mom & Dad’s April Fool’s Day pranks: “This is a terrible idea!”

– When departing the Community Block Party: “But we didn’t play with blocks?!”

… Calina


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