Monday, July 30, 2012


This week Liam is back at the YMCA daycamp, which he has really been enjoying so far this summer. But not as much as he enjoyed last week, which was Engineering Science Quest camp, put on by the University of Waterloo's engineering department. The camp runs all summer in Waterloo, and they also have satellite camps that run in various locations over the summer, with Chatham being one of them. Last week was our week, and Liam LOVED it. Every day he came home with cool contraptions he had made - a sea monster that pops up when air pressure is applied, a seal with a light bulb nose and the circuitry required to power it, a claw-type mechanism that grabs stuff... lots of cool gadgets. I thought he would enjoy the camp but be a little bummed that, unlike the YMCA camp, there is no swimming and no weekly field trip. Guess I did not have to worry after all. He will be going back again next year for sure.

In other news that indicates that we share the same DNA, Liam has been talking a little bit about doing the Kids of Steel triathlon at Rondeau in a few weeks' time. He has not made the decision yet and I am not about to get pushy with him, since I don't want to harp on it and I also know he (briefly) considered it last year but then threw in the towel. I am very hopeful that he follows through this year, though of course it'll be his own choice. He is more than capable of completing the event as we have done a few practice sessions in the back yard. However, the KOS event is the same day and time as Mallory's Day of Champions for soccer, and given how much she is enjoying soccer and how well she is doing... it would be a pity to miss that. So if Liam decides that KOS is not really for him, we'll still have someone to cheer on that day. (If he does decide to do it, we may have to split up and flip a coin to see who goes where!)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Captain's got competition

We have a new pet, at least for a few weeks. Last night we were wandering along down by the creek when we came upon some milkweed. I told the kids that I used to find monarch caterpillars on milkweed when I was a kid, and take them home to raise them. Liam was quick and found one of his own right away. We snapped off the stem he was sitting on and brought the milkweed home, put it in a jar with a capful of water, and punched some air holes in the lid. When we came downstairs this morning, the milkweed was completely eaten, save for the stem, and the jar was full of caterpillar poop. Like, a LOT of it. More than the caterpillar's body weight and size in poop. Apparently this means all is well. I don't think it will take long for a cocoon to form, since the caterpillar is a good size already and apparently they only spend a couple of weeks of their lives as caterpillars. I can handle cleaning the poop out for a week or two, and the kids were so excited to run down to the water's edge again today to pick some fresh milkweed to feed their new 'pet'. Here's hoping the metamorphosis happens rather speedily, as in, before we take off for some vacation time.

Monday, July 23, 2012

"I coulda been a contender!"

On the weekend, I had planned to do the Bluewater triathlon, but life had other plans. I hit a snafu when the registration page, which SAID it closed at midnight Friday night, actually closed at 6 p.m. My bike tires were pumped and my wetsuit was packed, but I couldn't register. So there was no race for me.
To add insult to injury, when I checked the results page after the race, I saw that my usually-solidly-back-of-the-pack estimated performance would have, for some freak-of-nature reason, placed me SECOND in my age group in this race. I would have PODIUMED. I would have gotten A LITTLE WOODEN PLAQUE. Man, was I ticked.
Oh well... nothing left to do but enjoy the summer weekend. Soccer, swimming, hanging out in the back yard with friends and family. There were worse alternatives.
Still, I'm not leaving my next race to chance. I'm already signed up for Tecumseh in 2 weeks' time.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The race is on

About six months ago, when we were at the dentist, the dentist was checking things over in Liam's mouth when he said something along the lines of, there are a couple of loose teeth in here, these should be coming out soon. At the time, we couldn't tell that anything was moving at all, but we gave the dentist the benefit of the doubt because, well, you know. The doctoral degree and all.

Fast forward six months, and those same teeth are still firmly attached. It is only within the last few weeks that we have been able to see almost-imperceptable movement when Liam wiggles one of them.
On the other hand, Mallory had a tooth that started wiggling just a smidge not very long ago at all, and now it is hanging on by a thread. Of course, she does not leave it alone - she walks around all day wiggling it back and forth. She is asking for apples to eat in the hopes that she'll bite into one and finish it off. She has her tooth fairy money already spent in her head. (I'm not sure how she knows how much the tooth fairy gives, because I don't think the tooth fairy has any clue yet!)

Liam is a little bummed about the fact that his sister is probably going to beat him to the punch on this one, but he is being realistic about the fact that her tooth is way looser than his, and at least he has some wiggling going on. If it weren't for that, I think he'd really be upset.

I only wish that Mallory's loose tooth were her double-wide. It's not - it's the one beside it. I am dying to see what pops up underneath that double-wide, whether it will be something normal-sized or something else completely different.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Wasting time

Aunt Amy sent an email with a link in it, asking if we'd seen the following video:

Yes, we have! According to Mallory, "Call Me Maybe" is her third-favourite song. We listen to it a LOT.

I have to say though... I think I like this version better. (When will the spoofs end??)

And one more video that I think my family will appreciate. (The original of this song is unfortunately VERY popular with my kids, their friends, their school, their daycare... it's everywhere. It was played at the school's family Christmas dance. Not really appropriate, but what can you do??)

Monday, July 16, 2012

Incest, in a completely sweet and adorable kind of way

On Sunday, Liam made it up to Mallory by finally agreeing to play what she wanted to play. And what she wanted to play was getting married.

Mallory arranged all the details of the wedding herself. She wore her best dress, her favourite necklace, a bracelet and one of her Rapunzel doll's artificial hair extensions in her hair. (She also refused to let me brush her hair and since the wedding occurred around 10 a.m., she has a nice case of bedhead going on.)

She also picked out the ring Liam would give her (one of her costume rings) and chose Liam's 'good shirt'. Liam got to choose his own bottoms. Liam's other contribution to the whole thing was that he drew Mallory a bouquet to carry. I find it funny that he put the flowers in a vase of water, but he has not been to many weddings in his lifetime, so the bouquet concept is still a little foreign to him.

Mallory arranged chairs all through the house, and most of them were occupied by her dolls. Mom and dad got pretty much back-row seats. I did have a good vantage point to see Mallory coming down the aisle:
 But I was pretty far away from where the vows were exchanged. That happened on a couple of kitchen chairs that Mallory had tucked into a corner of the living room. Here Liam is, putting a ring on it:
After the wedding, Mallory requested Bruno Mars, so we all danced to "Marry You" on repeat about ten times in a row, and ate pretend cookies and drank pretend pink lemonade (Mallory does not like the real stuff.)
And after it all, she made Liam a lovely thank-you card. There's a picture of the two of them in their wedding clothes on the back.

This was all quite hysterical to watch. It was awesome of Liam to go along with his little sister's idea and to be a good sport about it all (wearing what she wanted, etc.) It was super awesome of him to contribute the flowers. It was sweet to see Mallory get so excited about the event. She clearly has weddings on the brain these days.

And when the real deal comes, twenty or so years from now, I in no way expect to get off so scot-free as to think that lemonade and cookies will suffice.

Sunday, July 15, 2012


Mallory had an awesome soccer game on Saturday. She scored a hat trick - three goals in quick succession. She did great.

However, the day ended on a down note when she erupted into a screaming fit in the pool later that afternoon. Liam did not want to play what she wanted to play, and she lost it. We removed her from the pool, towelled her off, and sent her to her room. She continued to scream so she was in her room for the rest of the night. I would say this is by far the worst tantrum she's ever thrown. We never went through a really awful terrible 2's stage, but now I have so much more empathy for parents struggling through their kids' fits! First hand experience will do that to you, I guess.

She had a looooong sleep, and seems much better today. Last week was tiring; both the kids started day camp at the YMCA, so it was a total change of schedule for the whole family. Here's hoping this week does not end so badly, because camp week #2 starts tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


 Last week, we spent a lot of time with our cousins. First up, we met our local Chatham cousins Ethan and Jonah at the splash pad. Unfortunately, we picked the rainiest day of the week to do this. Who would have thought we'd get so much rain in July? But the kids were already wet, so they were not at all bothered by it.
 Then, our out-of-town cousins traveled to our house on the weekend. Lilly had her first swim...
...and these guys were in the water too. Funny how I have two redheaded kids without having red hair myself, and my sister has two blond little boys... well... you know.
And, it wasn't just the cousins who made the trip to town - it was the aunties and the uncles (and gramma and grampa), too. Mallory was attached to Amy's hip for another glorious afternoon. She had a good cry as Amy left, but she has picked up the pieces of her life and moved on now.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Under water

The last few days have been full of trying to keep cool during a few days off at the beach and splash pad; soccer; a visit from family; and oh yeah, now we are back into that work thing. Hoping to catch up here soon, but for now I am off to bed. I never thought I would so look forward to going to bed at such a young age. But then again, I usually still think of myself as 17, and it's only when I see actual 17-year-olds that it really occurs to me that I have another twenty years under my belt.

Friday, July 6, 2012


I'm currently taking a few days off work to hang out with the kids. Yesterday morning we had more storms roll through, which put a damper on outdoor activities for the early part of the day. So we went over to the library to stock up on some indoor fun. At the end of the school year, Liam had started bringing home Cam Jansen chapter books and really liking those, so when we got to the library I showed him the bank of computers that house the library catalogue, how to type 'Cam Jansen' into the search field and look up the shelf number that holds those books, and then we went off to find it together. On the shelf there were probably twenty Cam Jansen books and he had a great time picking out a few to bring home. He rounded the collection out with a few Magic Tree House books and then when we got home, he immediately drew up a list called "Cam Jansen" where he intends to log how many of the series' books he's read.

Oh, and he's got the first one three quarters of the way done.

I don't think I need to worry about Liam losing any of the reading skills he picked up this school year over the summer.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Beginner Triathlete? More like, Beginner Don't Do Anything.

It's been a frustrating week, training-wise. I've accomplished very little on account of the weather. It seems like there have been storms every day at both 5:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. which have precluded any possible outdoor mileage. (It happened again this morning; one look out the window, and the bike ride was cancelled and I was back in bed.) I've been too lazy to take it inside.

Oh well. On a totally unrelated note, let Mallory serenade you. She only knows a couple of verses so there is some repetition involved, but I spared you the worst of it and edited most of it out.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


Right now, the kids are at Camp Gramma and Grampa, out at the trailer. We dropped them off Monday night and they are coming home tonight.
Tuesday was supposed to be this awesome, what-will-we-do-with-ourselves-with-so-much-time-on-our-hands kind of day. But I woke up not feeling well, so I deferred my workout until evening.
Then it poured all day long, I got home later than I wanted to, and as soon as I had changed into my cycling shorts + helmet + gloves + had water bottle ready to go... I was wheeling my bike out the door, and the thunder started rumbling again. I am way too chicken to go out in a thunderstorm; I don't even like to bike when the pavement is wet.
So then I thought, maybe I'll go for a swim instead. Except... oh yeah... my local pool is closed for resurfacing. OK, I'll make the drive out to Blenheim. Except that I got online to check the schedule... oh yeah... no open swims in Blenheim on Tuesday night.
So I made dinner... and the minute we were done eating, the power went out. So, no watching the movies I have recorded, no searching my hard drive for photos someone requested, no placing a photo order or RSVPing to birthday party invitations... no getting a bit of work done from home. I figured I would use the chance to catch up the kids' paper-n-paste based school scrapbooks, now that the school year is over, but I gave up on that after a while because with so many clouds in the sky, it was just too dark.
The power came back on a couple of hours later. Pretty much right in time for bed. So much for our awesome we'll-have-a-blast-without-the-kids day.
On the bright side, the kids are going back to Camp Gramma and Grampa again in August for a couple of days, so we get to try again. And also on the bright side, at least dinner was done cooking before the power went out. Not sure I would have wanted to attempt eating salmon that was still raw in the middle.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Happy Canada Day

Happy Canada Day 2012! We spent a bit of time messing around in our back yard last night, taking these pictures.
I found some 28" long sparklers this week so I bought a package, and I roped Liam into coming outside with me as it got dark to light them up. (You KNOW Mallory wouldn't go near them with a ten-foot pole.) There were only 3 in the package and they burn for about 3-4 minutes each, so our time was limited. Still, we managed to get a few keeper shots. I just need to work on my penmanship... and my drawing skills. Can you tell that's supposed to be a maple leaf?
While we were mucking about with sparklers, others in the neighbourhood were using the real deal. There was a pretty cool fireworks display being lit up down on the path. Not sure which neighbour undertook this, but thanks for the free show!
Nice and colourful. We'll check out the city fireworks tonight, but I will not drag my camera along to that.
One more that shows a bit of behind-the-scenes. Next time I find the big sparklers, I'll pick up a few packs. This turned out to be a lot of fun.