November 1, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Don't mind us... just the ghosts next door.

We hope you had a fabulously terrifying Halloween!

From our Fright House to yours.


October 15, 2012

Checked Another Thing off the Someday List

Scott and I had a really good weekend! We went to Las Vegas with our good friends Will and Wayne to see Madonna! 

This was a pretty exciting event for two of us and, well... tolerated by the other two. I'll leave it to you to guess who is who in that scenario.

I've mentioned my Someday List before... well, I just checked off another 2 items:
  • Attend a concert for a big star.* Check!
  • And have really good seats.** Check!

The Material Girl, in person.
Technically speaking I have checked the first one off several times as Scott and I have seen several big name concerts like Metallica, The Rolling Stones, AC/DC, Van Halen etc. I enjoyed all of those concerts but this one was kind of special in that we had to travel to get to the concert.

We found it kind of funny while people watching before the show to see the wide variety of age groups attending the concert. Some of that might have had to do with the price point for tickets or that we were in Vegas, after all. But I think it says more about the age of her fan base.

Will had been amused last week when telling one of his students that he was seeing Madonna in concert soon. The eight year old responded with "Madonna? Never heard of her. Have fun anyways."

My hair may be mostly grey now but I do not consider myself old. Not by any stretch. I turn 40 this year and as far as I am concerned I am just getting started. The best is yet to come.

Thanks Madonna for putting on a fun and entertaining show! And for still being around and relevant enough to have huge world tours when I -finally- had the means to see you in concert. You rock!

Vegas was awesome! I had a great time, guys. Thanks for the happy and fun memories!

* I would just like to say that I was pretty young when I wrote some of this list and going to a concert was kind of a big deal for me then. It wasn't something I was typically allowed to do.
** Being able to GO to a concert was one thing but being able to get seats where I could actually clearly see the spidery veins on the back of the star's hands- and not just be in the same zipcode as the star/group- was another. AWESOMER!

October 9, 2012

Happy 10th Birthday Olivia!

Our big girl turned 10 this weekend!

To celebrate I would like to tell you 10 wonderful things about Olivia:

Happy birthday to me!
1. She is cautious but she is very brave.  She rode the Bullet (waterslide) at Grand Beach this summer, did gymnastic camp with her sister, ran for class rep in her new school...but she still doesn't want to go on The Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disney. And that's okay.

2. She is a proud ginger. Yeah for genetics!

3. She is a kind sister and generous friend. She has many of the same friends that she has had since pre-school.

4. She is a talented musician and artist. She also dances and sings.

5. She is fun AND funny.
Hey! How you doing?

Here's our princess!
I have always called this "frozen booger" face.

I'd rather kiss a Wookie!

6. She is a smart and good student. A hard worker!
First day of Kindergarten.

7. She gets frustrated because everyone says that Georgia looks like me and Finn looks like Scott and that she looks like no one. I say she's the lucky one that looks just like herself. She has traits from both sides of the family. She certainly has her parent's sense of humour...she is a smartypants just like them.

8. Olivia is a water baby. She is a very strong swimmer and loves to spend time in the water.

9. Olivia had to wait until her 10th birthday to get her ears pierced. 
I was only nervous for a minute or two!

10.Olivia makes both Scott and I very proud to have her as our daughter. Seconds after she was born the doctor turned to me and said "It's a girl!" and I responded with a very certain, and possibly condescending, "I know." We were so glad to hold her in our arms.
Our angel

I always liked this shot better.
Seemed more... representative.

We love you very much. We know you are a big girl now but we still say: Happy Birthday Baby!

September 30, 2012

In praise of little suckers... and physics

Um, yeah (giggle)... now that I have your attention. I'd like to talk about the work involved in draining a pool. Quoting a funny, albeit fictional, physicist... Bazinga. Bet you didn't see that one coming. Get you mind out of the gutter.

It is the end of the season and it is time to put the pool away.  I like getting the pool out and putting it up for the season but putting it away is nice too.

Typically running the heater anytime past the end of August is like throwing money out the window. We kept the heater on until September 9th this year and did well to use it most days through the summer.

Finn and Grandpa Bob in the pool
on the last day of heat.
Pool temp 28C.
 I think we turned off the heater right after they got out of the pool and not even two days later the temperature had dropped to:

Yowzers! How's that for heat loss?!
 Now, in years past we have drained the pool, with jet pump and hose, through our fence into one of the many empty adjacent lots. But now all the lots are filled. I am sure that although our new neighbours are trying to water all of their new sod that they would not appreciate 40,000L of chemical-ed water being drained into their yard.

Scott pulled out our trusty jet pump and tried to use that to drain the pool. He bought 100ft of hose to drain the water to the front street. But after several hours of pumping the level in the pool had not moved by more than a 1/2".  I think we actually may have lost more to evaporation than by the pump.
Before AND After picture using the jet pump.
Scott couldn't get the pump apart to see if there was an abnormally large bug or small pool toy stuck in the impeller. Consultation with our pump expert, Dave, netted only the advice to take it apart. Pry it apart with a screwdriver, he advised. Although that was sound advice and, was tried, we thought we'd stop before Scott ended up bleeding. (Isn't that how all these stories end?) So we moved quickly to Plan B.

Plan B: New submersible pump!
Don't judge me on the cleanliness of my pool.
This little sucker worked like a dream. We had water flowing down the driveway in seconds and didn't have to freeze our arms to the elbow fussing with the hose under the very cold water.

We turned off the pump at bedtime, after having only run for a few hours, not wanting it to run through the night but we had enough suction going that it continued to drain because the water level of the pool was higher than the drain hose. Hydraulic head rocks! So we woke the next morning to an essentially empty pool.

That left all the hard work and heavy lifting for today. It went smoothly. After 4 or 5 years of putting this same $500 Costco pool I say we are getting pretty good at it. We'll see if this puppy can last one more summer. However, both Scott and I came inside afterwards and had a nap. My arms currently feel like they are made of lead.

What pool?! Can't prove we have a pool.
We had a great summer and we are looking forward to seeing what fall brings!

September 16, 2012

Happiness smells like lemon cookies

Does this smile make my head look square?
If I were a post card, right now, I would say "You wish you were here!"
Today is one of those beautiful late summer days where the grass is still green but the leaves are starting to turn yellow. The air is cool but not cold. Sitting in the sun without a sweater is a palpable pleasure.

I have been busy in the kitchen this afternoon and the house smells wonderful! This is my most favourite way to spend a Sunday afternoon.  I have made a big pot of chili and some fresh french bread for dinner. I made pumpkin bread for breakfasts this week. And I have made a new recipe discovery: Lemon Crinkle Cookies.

Pumpkin bread and Lemon Crinkle Cookies!
One of my favourite knitting blogs directed my attention to these cookies. I knew I would like them. If I had to describe what happiness tastes like I would say it tastes exactly like these cookies! They are a light sugar cookie with a sharp lemony tang. The powdered sugar adds a sweet but not over-powering finish.

Otherwise we are all business as usual. Almost all of our activities started last week and has put us in a nice back-to-school routine. The only thing outside of routine right now is Scott. He has pneumonia. He has meds now but clearly he has a long road to recovery ahead.

The kids have been fascinated with the ipod/computer game Minecraft these days. In fact, we've had to limit their ipod/computer time so that they can say that they have done something other than play Minecraft. The people in these games have little square heads with pixelated smiley faces. The people run away from green-faced zombies or creepers who are, I presume, trying to eat them. I went to work this morning and I came home to find Minecraft being played a whole different way. This way I don't mind at all! Although, I should probably go and look at the mess in the basement before I committ to that sentiment.

We're not playing Minecraft on the computer! 

I'll get you zombie!
Don't mind me.
Just your friendly neighbourhood zombie/cat.
Happy Sunday to you. May yours be spicy and warm too.

September 6, 2012

Back to school, or They're Tears of Pride, DAMMIT

This is a photo essay for today.
Back to school day.

The traditional on the front step first-day of school picture.

Grade 1 here I come! I am in full time school now.
Me: sniffle

I am in Grade 3!
Grade 5! New school! Junior High!

Me: Never mind, I just have something in my eye.
All our big kids getting on the bus.
Me:  Good bye, have a great day! suppressed sob
I... may... have sat alone in the van for a minute after they got on the bus. My heart just grew so big all of a sudden that it caused my eyes to leak for a minute there.

September 3, 2012

Happy 8th Birthday Georgia!

It is Georgia's 8th birthday today.
In her honour I will tell you 8 wonderful things about Georgia:
1. Georgia is a very kind and generous sister and friend. She is the little "mother hen" of any play group.

2. Georgia is very funny and has a very infectious laugh. She is the kid that is hardest to yell at because she can make you laugh when you are trying to be serious.
3.Georgia has her own unique sense of style.  She enjoys bright colours.
She wore this bathing suit  & cap
for an entire summer!


4. Georgia likes stuffed animals. We hope she grows out of this before the house is overrun.
This is Georgia at bedtime.
Enough already!
Grandma Abel, I am looking at YOU!
5.Although she is very easygoing she has a titanium backbone and CANNOT be convinced of something different once she has made up her mind.
She said she wanted her hair all kinky.
Apparently she changed her mind.
6. Georgia is a smart cookie! Her current favourites are science; especially sharks and dinosaurs.

Look what we made at Science Camp!

7.Georgia is a budding gymnast. She works hard at her sport and bends like she has no bones!
8. Georgia makes Scott and I very proud to have her as our daughter.
I swear this was just yesterday!
We love you baby. Happy Birthday!