Archive for June, 2010

The once and future Reid – Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

Just a few words: I wonder if this pic is a glimpse into the future. Reid’s face seems very mature for Senior Kindergarten graduation, at least to me.

Senior Kindergarten graduation

View More Wordless Wednesday Participants, look at my previous Wordless Wednesday entries, or check out the cute babies and kids at 5 Minutes for Mom.

Message received

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

Reid was angry withh my yesterday morning because I wouldn’t help her wrap herself in two towels. She was cold and I wanted her to put on her clothing. When I got home last night, I noticed this on her bedroom door:

No Mama sign

I didn’t mention it but Reid did, “Remember this morning when I was so angry? I wrote this.” I nodded and she continued, “It’s my room and you can’t go in.” I was looking in through the doorway, feeling relieved, because that room is a mess and someone has to clean it before Grandma Joyce and Aunt Pam come. I’m glad I’ve been banned!

Reid paused a minute and then went to find her pencil – which she seems to keep in Ken’s office – and returned to add to the note. Poor man had nothing to do with the dispute.

No Mama and Daddy signCan I say how happy I am that Reid is starting to write independently? These are very exciting times at our house!

Last day of Senior Kindergarten

Saturday, June 26th, 2010

It seems far more than just 10 months ago that Reid started Senior Kindergarten at the Academy. She was delighted to have Natalie as her teacher and settled quickly into her role as teacher’s pet. (I call it like I see it.) When we decided to put her in her new school after March Break, Reid was sad to leave the kids with whom she’d spent a year-and-a-half and, especially, Natalie but she adapted very well to a new day care for before- and after-care and a school. I’m glad we made the switch mid-year so that she could go through the transition with both Ken and me to offer hugs and so she has had a chance to make friends in a more playful environment.

And suddenly, it seems, it was the last day of school yesterday. I wasn’t quick enough to offer to send cupcakes any day to celebrate her birthday at school. (The rainbow cake was for daycare.) Reid asked if I would bake something but since they had treats on Monday and Tuesday, I knew the rest of the week had already been spoken for, I decided to spring for pizza at lunch on Friday at daycare. It was ideal – Reid loves treating her friends and I don’t love packing lunch. Another parent sent watermelon and they had treats left over from the graduation lunch. It was a fun party, from what I was told.

At school, as near as I can figure, Reid and her class watched a movie and ate freezies and yellow cheesies (whatever that means.  - sounds disgusting to me but Reid smiled when she told me about them). She’d brought her report card home on Wednesday – she did well – and all of her art and other work through the week that the last day of school seemed anti-climatic. If Reid’s was the elementary school someone tweeted about playing Alice Cooper’s *School’s out*, she never mentioned it.

At day care, we gathered Reid’s spare clothes, the last of her art worlk, and then said “good bye”. It was a great place and I’m glad they were able to take her at the last minute and in the middle of the year, but I’m looking very forward to being able to put Reid on the bus at home and then walk straight to my bus. She’ll go to the community centre after school and I’ll be able to walk there and walk her back home. I’ll have to start work a bit later but not too much, I don’t think. When Ken is back, we might not need daycare at all. Imagine the money we’ll save! Even if we keep her at the community centre, we’re still saving a lot. Hooray for full day school, even if I had to wait until Reid was in grade one.

On the advice of Andrea at Peek Inside the Fishbowl, I took a picture of Reid to mark the last day of school. Reid thought this pose was the most appropriate:

Last day of school pic

Compare it to her first day:

First day of school pic

Reid’s earthquake story

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

Reid says that she was in the gym when the earthquake happened. They went back to their classroom to have snack and then, before they finished snack, they had to go outside. Everyone in the school, even the principal, was outside. They stayed outside until the buses came. I asked if kids were frightened or thought it was silly. Reid said, “Everybody thought it was an earthquake. And it was. Everybody was okay. R, a girl in grade 1, fell off her chair and was upset but Reid reports this as interesting not frightening.” When speaking with Ken over Skype, Reid said that a girl in her class was terrified. She looked at me and said, “Really scared.” Like I wouldn’t know what “terrified” meant. Nice mama, but dumb.

The kids were talking on the playground at daycare about the earthquake in much the same way as my colleagues were as we stood outside our evacuated building. Kind of funny in parallel.

Baseball Festival Day – Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

Putting her body into the swingReady to hitHitting the ballWaiting on the moundReceiving baseball medalMedal and cap

Summer ice skating lessons

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

Reid is taking a month of CanSkate this summer. I’d thought about signing her up for a week of hockey camp but her coach suggested CanSkate instead. He was worried that she might not enjoy being the only girl. Reid has definitely enjoyed the program, though she prefers the less structured practices on Thursdays to the lessons on Tuesdays. On Tuesdays, she has to follow directions more closely and who doesn’t like to avoid working on skills with which they struggle? Reid has taken a few courses through the City of Ottawa’s recreation department but the CanSkate is much stronger, in terms of structure and working on fundamentals. It’s more expensive, too, but I think it’s worth it.

Reid has improved her forward and backward snowmen, is starting to “make snow” when she stops and occasionally skates on one foot. Her two-footed hops still seem to involve more motion in the shoulder area than in the foot area. From the stands, it seems like her skate don’t leave the ice at all. They do a drill where the kids are supposed to bounce tennis balls on the ice and catch them again. I’m reasonably sure that this exercise would be difficult for Reid if she were standing on a floor in bare feet. Still, she is getting better at this, too.

It’s nice to come to the rink when it’s humid outside but cool inside. It’s less nice to be wearing flip flops when your 40-odd-pound kid steps on you while she is wearing ice skates. On the bright side, it seems that Reid’s skates need to sharpened. It hurt but I have only a small cut. Skating lessons were easier when Ken was in charge of tying skates but I’m considering this to be my pre-season training. Hockey begins in earnest in September. I have to get ready for my dressing room duties.

All aboard the Hull-Chelsea-Wakefield Steam train

Saturday, June 19th, 2010

Reid’s Kindermusik teacher and some other Kindermusik teachers arranged a group trip on the Hull-Chelsea-Wakefield Steam Train for today. Melissa, Peter and the kids joined Reid and me for the adventure. They picked us up at 8:45 and we started what should have been a 20-minute drive. With the two closest bridges closed – one under construction, the other the location of an accident – we ended up driving for about 45 minutes and the kids were starting to worry about missing the train by the time we finally got to the train station. Fortunately, we had been told to arrive half-an-hour early.

Our tickets assigned us to the Aylmer car and, as we learned when we boarded the train, to four-seat groupings across the aisle from one another. Reid sat with Sarah and Stephen and Ben sat with Melissa, Peter and me. The trip to Wakefield (and back, not surprisingly ;+) took 90 minutes. Kim, the staff member assigned to our train car told a few stories and passed out activity books and crayons to each of the children. Sarah and Stephen barely opened theirs but Ben and Reid put quite a bit of time into theirs. A couple of the train’s musicians stopped by to sign to us – a country and western song and a traditional French Canadian one – as well. All the kids were pretty well behaved until Kim announced we were less than 10 minutes from Wakefield. It was like she had released silly gas into the train car. Not just our kids, but most of all the kids, were instantly fidgeting and eager to get off.

We made it off the train quickly and went directly to the turntable to watch the musicians turn the steam engine around. Next, we started walking to the covered bridge. The kids were only dawdling a bit since they were hungry and we told them we’d have a picnic once we got to the covered bridge. Halfway there, the sky got dark and it was obvious we were lucky that we brought our rain coats. We made it to the covered bridge just as the first raindrops began to fall. We unpacked our lunches and started eating, enjoying the sound of rain on the metal roof and the fact that we were dry. We had to move midway through lunch when the rain started to blow in the windows. The longer it rained, the surer we got that we were going to have to walk back in the rain. The kids and Peter were lucky enough to have rain proof coats that mostly lived up to their billing. Mine was water-resistant and it couldn’t resist so much rain falling so fast. Melissa’s looked like it should have kept the water off but it most definitely did not. We were all soaked from above the knee to the tips of our toes by the time we got back to the train. Melissa and I were extra-lucky to have wet shirts as well, thanks to our coats. It was more funny than troublesome, though, as the day stayed warm and we were able to laugh at how wet we were getting. Reid, especially, liked the puddles and being out in the rain. Our only disappointment was missing the musicians performing. I suspect that they didn’t, due to the rain, but we’ll never know.

The ride back to Gatineau seemed longer than the ride to Wakefield. We took a walk to the snack shop / souvenir car and managed to resist all requests for purchases but other than that, there weren’t new diversions for us. Sarah and Stephen read, Ben played solitaire and Reid hopped around the aisle, making friends and talking lots. I was envious of the dads I saw having a nap on the return trip.


But here I am, at 10:15, still awake. I’m silly sometimes.

Jump! At the Cardinal KOA

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

Reid jumping

View More Wordless Wednesday Participants, look at my previous Wordless Wednesday entries, or check out the cute babies and kids at 5 Minutes for Mom.

A rainbow cake for Reid and others

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

Reid’s daycare teacher decided to celebrate the birthdays of all of the kids whose birthdays fall in the summer tomorrow. I immediately volunteered to bake the cake that they would share. I’ve been looking for an opportunity to try my hand at a rainbow cake, like the one Amy at Muddy Boots made. I doubt I’d enjoy the additional stress in the midst of planning for a real party but without the rest, I was keen. I started the cakes at 6 and finished by 11:25. I’m so wired from the sugar – mmmm, marshmallow fondant – and I’ve got a second wind, that I decided to write down what I did.

I followed Amy’s directions for the rainbow cake -basically, I added gel icing colouring to white cake mixes – and also followed her directions for marshmallow fondant. Her instruction to grease your hands with Crisco was critical to success!

Adding the food colouring to the cake batter was a bit like making playdough. I loved the vivid colours.

Stirring in the food colouring

Just look at them! You know the cakes are going to be amazing.

Six colours of cake batter

In order to avoid baking 6 cakes – 2 at a time in my little oven -I put two colours in each pan. Another time, I think I’ll try 6 cakes.

Pouring a second colour into the pan

I need to learn how to bake cakes with flat tops. I had to cut the rounded parts off of the first two cakes. Of course, this meant that I had to try the cakes, just in case.

Cakes ready for marshmallow fondant

I melted a small bag of marshmallows in the microwave in only 1 minute and added about half of the 1 kilogram bag of icing sugar before remembering to add the 2 tablespoons of water called for in the recipe.

Stirring icing sugar into marshmallows

The water kneaded in easily and I added probably 3 tablespoons when all was said and done.

Marshmallow fondant ready to roll

Amy mentioned chilling the fondant overnight but I didn’t have the time and it rolled like a charm still warm.

Marshmallow fondant rolled out

I measure against theh top of my cake-taker to see the size of marshmallow fondant I would need and then draped it over the cake. Marshmallow fondant is much more forgiving of irregularities in the stacked cakes than regular icing. If only I could figure out how to make cream cheese-flavoured fondant, I’d switch to it entirely.

Cake draped

I used some more icing gel to colour more marshamallow fondant to decorate the top of the cake. Reid has been very interested in rainbows lately, thanks in part to They Might Be Giants’ ROY G BIV, a song about the colours in a rainbow. I couldn’t manage indigo. She’ll have to tell the kids its ROY G BV instead.

Coloured marshmallow fondant

And here is the final product. Ta da! (If I can get a teacher to take a picture of the cake once it’s cut, I’ll post it, too.)

Finished cake

Edited to add: I asked Reid’s teacher to take a pic of the cake once it was cut since I couldn’t see the inside. She sent this piece home with Reid. You can’t taste the food colouring.
Slice of rainbow cake

Camping in Cardinal, part 1

Monday, June 7th, 2010

As the time until Ken’s departure draws nearer, we’re looking for things that we’ve been meaning to do together or things we would do if he were here. We decided that camping at the KOA in Cardinal belonged in at least one of those categories. When I made the reservations and was able to get one with a porch swing, I took it as a good omen. The weather forecast calls for rain – making me remember all too clearly the last time we three came camping – but I’m holding on to the swing omen.

Ken and I got everything packed and then went to pick Reid up. The car was full with just a nook in the back seat where she would sit in her seat. Despite our best efforts, we’re ended up crossing Ottawa in the middle of rush hour. The drive that Google Maps said would take 1 hour and 12 minutes took much, much longer. We quickly unloaded the car and I prepared fried hot dogs and chips for supper. Nutrition isn’t my top priority when we get to a camp site. I think I learned that from Grandma Joyce.

After supper, Ken built a fire while Reid and I went over to the jumping pillow. I couldn’t face the pool but jumping isn’t so bad. Reid was excited to stay up late and I was looking forward to toasted marshmallows. Reid was looking forward to eating raw marshmallows and toasting others for me to eat. I like mine golden. Ken likes his to be on fire and then extinguished but still Reid has to cook for me. Reid was so pleased when she managed her “first-ever golden marshmallow”, after one sacrificed to the fire and another to the grass.  At this point, I must pause to say, marshmallows seemed much bigger when I was a kid. The miniatures seem right but what used to be “jumbo” seem much less so than they did back then.

We finally headed to the bathroom for a final visit about 8:30. As we went out the door, one of the friendly KOA people noticed that Reid was holding a wet paper towel to her arm. Worried that she was injured, the young woman asked if we needed first aid supplies. I assured her that we could manage the bite, that the cool water helped. We really don’t need to encourage Reid’s sense of drama over mosquito bites. Another time I should probably pack insect repellent and after-bite lotion. Reid’s flesh seems to be particularly appealing to insects. And to her mama, though I only *pretend* to bite.