Archive for the ‘Sarah’ Category

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.

Who planned that weekend?

Monday, May 25th, 2009

Sometimes I decide that we can do more in a day than really we should take on. I did that on both days of this past weekend. On Saturday, Reid and I were up early to make rhubarb cake and lasagna for supper. She even set the table for supper so that we’d be ready. I managed one of the fastest showers of my life and we got to Reid’s swimming lessons just 2 minutes late. Immediately after the lessons finished, we headed to the Melon Heads at Place d’Orleans so that Reid could get her hair cut. Reid had asked on Thursday to get her hair cut like Ken’s – basically a long brush cut – but we said “no” to that but did offer a shorter hairstyle. I hunted through Lands End catalogues and parenting magazines but couldn’t find any pictures of girls with hair shorter than their chin. The Internet let me down, too. Lucky for me, Reid had decided that she wanted her hair still “long” just shorter than it was. In the end, her hair is cut to chin length and she is cute as always.

Next, we went to the photo studio at Loblaws. I’d forgotten to make an appointment for Ken and Reid to have their pictures taken for Mother’s Day. It was late enough that we decided that we might as well do Father’s Day pics, too. We all smiled and posed on cue. Reid had asked me if I’d brought any things for the pictures. I’m not sure what it means that she knows to ask if I’ve brought any props. I didn’t, if you’re wondering.

We had a late lunch at the food court and then Reid and I took a bus to the National Arts Centre for the last concert in the TD Family Adventures series. This one featured Veronica Tennant, the former ballerina, as the co-host and was called “Dance with the NAC Orchestra”. A local dance school supplied dancers for a number of the pieces, including the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy from the Nutcracker and a work by Bach that featured a tap dancer and contemporary dancer. Many a child, especially the little girls, left the concert hall spinning and planning their own dance career.

On our way to the bus stop, we saw some of the Ottawa Race Weekend crowds. They’re the reason we took a bus; with the races, there were many road closures. I’ve been meaning to travel more by bus on the weekend, since I have a bus pass and kids 5 and under ride for free but hadn’t been that organized yet. Driving allows for more poor planning ;+)

We walked in to the smell of almost-cooked lasagna and in that instant, I decided that I’m going to make lasagna for company more often. I’d cleaned the kitchen hours earlier and wasn’t stressing out just before people arrived. Stephen had a school project to work on and Peter was out of town, which meant that only Sarah and Ben were with Melissa. The kids sat at Reid’s little table and were well-behaved with only one small kicking incident. Maybe there were other troubles but they weren’t noticeable from the table the adults were at. I highly recommend separate seating for kids and adults. The kids do, too, since sitting at Reid’s table was offered as a choice this time. Ken disappeared upstairs to work on his French while Melissa and I enjoyed our tea from fancy china cups. Tea tastes better or you drink it slower or something when you use the fancy cups. Reid and Ben conned Melissa into reading a couple of books and then it was time for bed. As busy as the day was, I was happy not to be super-tired. It was hectic but not stressful.

Which was good, since we had a few things to do on Sunday. Reid and I were at the garden centre/nursery before it opened on Sunday and took our time selecting vegetables, seeds and decorative plants. Reid was happy with our plant car – she was boxed in on the one side by plants and on the other by stuff that usually rides around in the cargo area and there were plants in the front. We’d barely got the plants unloaded when Bruno showed up to help. I don’t know how parents with two kids manage the eagerness. I was reminded that I haven’t spoken much French lately. Sigh. We did get some flowers planted before lunch, though. After lunch, I took Reid to M’s, a friend from school. Reid was so excited to be going to a friend’s house when it wasn’t for a birthday. I didn’t point out that she’d only been out to one at-home birthday party. The mom said that I could run errands or whatever as she thought the girls would occupy themselves. From all reports they did just that, spending most of their time in the backyard. I returned from my trip to the consignment store and St Vincent de Paul store where I’d made drop offs in time to hear the girls starting to get on each other’s nerves. Three hours was just long enough, I think. We’ll invite M over right away. Reid is thinking that she now has Sunday afternoon plans for the rest of her life. I’m not shutting out the possibility of activities that don’t involve M but I don’t think I’ll be killing Reid’s dream quite yet.

Bedtime was welcome on Sunday. I’ll try and plan for somewhat less this weekend. I guess.

Trick or treat – Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

At the door, waiting for the treats

View More Wordless Wednesday Participants, look at my previous Wordless Wednesday entries, or check out the Wordless Wednesday HQ. You’ll find lots of cute babies and kids at 5 Minutes for Mom.

A scary crew

Saturday, November 1st, 2008

Trick or treat

Compared to the two vampires Reid was trick or treating with, her skunk costume didn’t seem so scary. She was a hit with the people at the doors – it helped that most of the other kids were bigger.

Three body parts indeed

Thursday, September 25th, 2008

Reid hasn’t brought much home from school since the first few days when she came home with a craft each day. I’m not sure if they are doing work sheets instead of crafts or if Reid is just choosing other activity centres. She has been drawing, though, and last week brought home a picture or herself – or maybe it was me, Reid’s story about who it was changed. The person in question had a large head from which arms and legs protruded. There were two eyes, a mouth and a nose that had two nostrils right were nostrils should be. Okay, maybe more where nostrils are on a pig but, since I don’t think I’ve ever drawn nostrils on a person, I was more than a little impressed.

Reid was in charge of making a birthday card for Sarah and decided to draw stick figures of Sarah, me and herself. These figures had heads and bodies – potato-shaped like me but not so much like Reid and Sarah – as well as the requisite limbs and facial features but no nostrils. The scale was wrong for nostrils. Maybe Reid has an eye for scale already. Maybe I don’t need to continue with my RRSP savings, maybe Reid will be a famous artist before I retire and I’ll live in luxury. Sigh.

Maybe not. Either way, Reid has more artist talent than I do. I’m not even a smidge jealous. I’ll know what to say when the doctor asks me if she draws people with at least 3 body parts next time. I might even bring an example.

Friends – Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

Friends on a fence

View More Wordless Wednesday Participants, look at my previous Wordless Wednesday entries, or check out the Wordless Wednesday HQ. You’ll find lots of cute babies and kids at 5 Minutes for Mom.

Fun afternoon with the Funky Mamas

Tuesday, April 8th, 2008

We attended the last event of this year’s Dreamweaver children’s series, which is presented by Performing Arts Council of Cumberland Township (P.A.C.C.T.), on Sunday. After Jack Grunsky’s concert in November and Goldilocks and the Three Canadian Bears in February, we had high expectations for the Funky Mamas and we weren’t disappointed. The 5 women delivered a mix of traditional and original songs with energy and flair. They played many different instruments including guitars, a drum, fiddle, ukelele, banjo, and even a washboard and handsaw. Each of the women sang, sharing the lead and harmony in the various songs and taking turns leading the audience in the actions that accompanied the songs. They invited a few kids to come on stage for the last song and as more and more kids came up, they made sure that the children and instruments would be safe but welcomed them all. Reid was one of the few kids who remained in their seats but she liked seeing Sarah and Ben on stage. In fact, Reid was entranced by the performance as a whole. She did dedicate some attention to what Sarah and her friend did, too. When they clapped, Reid clapped. When they sat on the folded-up chair seat – you know how kids do, without opening the fold down seat – Reid sat that way, also. It was sweet, and yet worrisome, to see Reid checking on Sarah and her friend to determine what was socially acceptable. Sweet that she cares and Sarah is generally a good role model but worrisome to see how I am clearly losing influence.

The Funky Mamas are performing in and around Ottawa over the next week, including an appearance at the Mrs Tiggywinkle’s in Westboro on Friday morning. If you live nearby, you should drop by. They’ve also posted a schedule of upcoming appearances around the province. There’s a mailing list to which one could subscribe as well.

On a sadder note, the Dreamweaver folks won’t be putting on any events next year. There’s a new arts centre in the works for east Ottawa but there is enough uncertainty around it that it’s safer to wait. They are looking for volunteers to help plan their 20th season. You can contact them at to offer to help them.

Why Reid needs to grow just a bit taller

Monday, December 3rd, 2007

As we were getting ready to leave Melissa’s on Thursday, or at least when I was telling Reid it was time to leave Melissa’s on Thursday, I told Reid that she needed to give everyone super-good goodbye hugs and kisses because we wouldn’t be seeing them for 10 days. Reid started giving each of the kids and Melissa and Peter without any prompting a few months ago. Sarah, Melissa and Peter accept them with enthusiasm. I suspect Stephen likes them but can’t let on because he is a very nearly 10 year old boy.

Ben is certainly the least enthusiastic recipient of Reid’s affection. He stoically accepts the hug but avoids the kiss. Last week, Sarah was trying to hold Ben down while Reid tried to kiss him. When I noticed what was happening I made them let him go and explained that people get to decide for themselves what happens to their bodies. This week, Reid was stretching herself as tall as she could, all of the way up on her tiptoes and could only reach the underside of Ben’s chin. She reached up and tried to pull his head down but wasn’t tall enough for that either. Poor kid, she needs to grow just a bit taller. I told Reid she needed to ask Ben if he wanted a kiss and when she did, he said “no”. The answer seemed acceptable to Reid as she gave him a squeeze and went in search of Stephen.

Beach girls

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2007

Reid and I went to Petrie Island with Melissa and Sarah on Saturday. It really isn’t an island but the sand on the beach is lovely. We were test driving the basket of sand toys that I picked up at the end of last summer. I got them out on Friday morning when I thought we were going camping that night. Reid was excited to see them – she’d noticed them in the basement a few times over the winter and spring but I’d never let her take them from the furnace room. When camping didn’t happen, I decided a trip to the beach was in order and so there we were. Stephen was at a friend’s cottage and Ben had gone away with his grandparents and so it was just us girls. We spread out a couple of towels and Sarah and I began building a number of castles before settling on a compound and accompanying wall. Reid did some building, too, but she also continues to delight in destroying castles. She did respect the “no destroying” rule on the castle and keep, though, so that shows some maturity.

We ate a picnic lunch on our towels. I’d brought sandwiches for us – PB for Reid and PB&J for me –  but couldn’t bring for Melissa and Sarah since they’re white bread folks.  I also brought some peppers, cucumber and carrots and was reminded that Sarah eats only carrots. Remember when I talked about Reid not cleaning up her plate when we eat at Melissa’s? I should maybe have thought of how Melissa mostly cooks the meals that her kids eat while I just expect Reid to eat whatever she is offered. Or not. We also had fruit and Melissa brought cookies. I love her for many things but having a friend who almost always has homemade cookies is truly a joy.

After lunch, Sarah and Reid got water from the Ottawa River to help with their building (a mess, mostly) and to wash their feet. Reid happily trailed after Sarah for a long time. They tried to play with the collapsable flying disc – like a Frisbee (TM) but nylon and it goes into a little pocket, so not *really* all that like a Frisbee, I guess – but the wind was strong and they did more chasing than throwing it back and forth. Many giggles ensued and so it wasn’t a total loss, especially for Melissa and me since we needed only to sit on the towels and watch.

I wonder if we’ll swim in the river this summer. Reid hasn’t liked bodies of water with waves so far in her life and swimming at Petrie Island is often forbidden due to contamination. If we can have such a nice time without swimming as we did, though, there will be many trips to Petrie Island in our future.