Archive for the ‘Pastimes’ Category

Calgary Stampede breakfast in Ottawa

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

We were invited to a Calgary Stampede breakfast at a friend’s house last Saturday. I’ve never had pancakes and bacon cooked on a barbecue before but I think those westerners onto something! Many guests brought fruit as their contribution to the meal. Our hosts laughed and said that fruit didn’t usually appear at Stampede breakfasts. That’s Ottawa for you.  The food was great and the company was wonderful – as dozens of kids wandered around the front lawn, stopping sometimes to dance to the country music. Our hosts hired the Cow Guys (of course) to entertain as well. The show was funny and impressive and was truly fun for the whole family.

Cow Guy with a rocking horse in mouth

Reid’s thoughts on vegans, vegetarians and such

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

Reid’s been thinking about food a lot lately. She asked one day if people only ate meat. I said, “No,” because I wouldn’t want her to decide to be a carnivore (though it’s hard to imagine her giving up bread).

On Saturday, as we left the CHEO Teddy Bears’ Picnic, Reid wondered aloud what the people who were just arriving would eat since the pancake breakfast that we’d enjoyed was finished. She decided they would probably have sandwiches – chicken and ham and something, maybe cheese, for the vegetarians.

Vegetatians made her think about vegans and then, of course, about LeeLee. Reid noted that vegans were vegetarian but not all vegetarians were vegan. My girl thinks in Venn diagrams, it seems. And then the conversation took a turn for the weird. Reid said, “It would be weird if a vegan picked their nose and ate it.” To which I replied that no one should do that! After a couple seconds, I caught up with Reid’s thought process. “Because vegans are supposed to eat any animal products?” “Yes,” said my little lady, delicately sipping her lemonade. Ewww!

CHEO Teddy Bears’ Picnic

Saturday, June 23rd, 2012

Reid and I went to the CHEO Teddy Bears’ Picnic on Saturday morning and, wow! did I not realize how much fun it would be. How did we miss it for the last 7 years?

We ate our pancakes and sausages as the grounds of Rideau Hall started to fill. Wrapping a sausage in your pancake makes it a finger food, right? Reid is all about finger foods and I was all about enjoying the sunny day. We wandered over to the face painting tent and then we met this guy:

Reid and the Governor General

The Governor General, David Johnston, seemed quintessentially Canadian – friendly, approachable and the sort of person who would be good to have with you on a long roadtrip.

Next, we met up with friends and watched the mascots parade and then sang along with the crowd to a few songs – including the Teddy Bears’ Picnic, of course – and then watched as local Olympians were introduced. Go, Canada, go!


We headed over to ride the carousel and then the kids shot some baskets at a kid-size basketball hoop and then they played with soccer balls.

The Teddy Bears’ Picnic is going on our list of things to do next year.

Photograph – Monday moments

Monday, October 24th, 2011

If you looked at photographs from much of Reid’s childhood, you would think, “Wow, that kid goes a lot of fun places with her dad.” You might also think she does cool activities and wonder who was with her. To a large extent, I’m reluctant to give up control of the camera and Ken only occasionally takes it from me and gets me in a shot. Until…

Until Reid grew old enough to ask for the camera (expecting it to be shared) and to take pictures of both Ken and me – at the same time. All of a sudden, there we all are standing together at the top of a hill, overlooking a forest and lake at Deerhurst and Reid took a picture of Ken and me. Soon enough, the picture is printed and hung on a wall. We admire Reid’s photography skills and thank her for bringing us both into the photographic record.

Capital Mom provides a theme each Friday for these Monday Moments. Others have written about their own moments. I also wrote about other  Monday Moments.

BlogHer, take 3

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

I’ve been lucky enough to attend BlogHer twice and am gearing up for a third trip. For some reason, Ken was the one who discovered that BlogHer even existed - and that BlogHer07 would be in Chicago. He encouraged me to go and, of course, I took Reid. (I took Reid everywhere, she nursed until she was 4.) At my first BlogHer, I wrote that I’d finally found a playgroup that I wanted to attend and this sense of belonging has kept me returning.  Reid and I weren’t staying at the conference hotel, though, and so I headed back to see her, Aunt Karin and Shea as soon as the sessions ended each day. I attended only one evening party. Admittedly, the conference, expo hall and party schedule were all much smaller but I was at a point where being away from Reid for 8 or 9 hours was more than enough.

While I was in the conference, Aunt Karin, Shea and Reid saw the sites of Chicago. They had a wonderful time and I was a teensy bit jealous. I planned a vacation to Chicago in 2009, in fact, so that I could see some of the amazing sights that they had taken in. This might mean I’m like the kid who wants to eat the cake and have it, too.

Last year, I attended BlogHer10 and I sort of brought Reid. We arranged to go to New York City with Aunt Pam for five days before BlogHer started (I’d learned my lesson about not seeing the city the conference was in) and then Reid and Aunt Pam left while I stayed on. It’s a scary thing, kissing your child goodbye when you know that they’re going on an airplane without them. Statistically, flying is safer than driving but it’s a less familiar risk and I was worried. They got back to Grandma Joyce’s safely and weren’t troubled at all and I stayed on to attend the conference and many parties, kid-free.

For BlogHer11, I am blending these approaches. We’re going to arrive in San Diego on Monday and we’ll explore La Jolla, Legoland and other exciting venues (to be named later) together until Thursday. For the conference itself, I’m planning to attend the sessions, have supper with Reid and Cousin Sari (Reid likes people to have their “rank”) – unless they’re not done exploring whatever part of the city they head to that day – and then go back for parties. Anyone who is missing their kids will be welcome to join us for dinner.

I don’t think Reid will mind me leaving for the evening because she’ll have her super-cool cousin (who is at least 30, I’m a responsible mom) to hang out with. I think it will do me good to have a break from the unreality of the conference – it’s fun but it doesn’t seem entirely real – and also to get a bit of sensible food in me. I recall eating way too many canapés in lieu of supper last year.

While I’m in the conference sessions, Sari and Reid will see the sights of San Diego. We have a membership to the Canada Science and Technology Museum, which entitles us to free entry to more than 330 science museums in North America, including the Rueben H. Fleet Science Centre and the San Diego Natural History Museum and I imagine those will be on the list of places to visit. (If you don’t have a membership to your local science museum, I highly recommend one. It’s a great deal for so many reasons.) I’ve bought Go San Diego cards so that we can visit lots of places and not have the pressure of “it cost $$$ to enter, we’re staying” for the venues that aren’t as amazing as we thought. Sari and Reid will be able to choose from the list of 48 options. We’ll have Monday to got to the beach and then we’ll get our tired (and, hopefully, happy) selves onto the plane on Tuesday.

Whew! I’m tired just thinking about it. ;)

Do you have strategies for when you take your family to a conference? A story to share from having done so in the past?

Running with the pack

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

RunningReid and I took part in the 2K Family Run on Saturday as part of Ottawa Race Weekend. All participants received race t-shirts and time chips to attach to their shoes, which had the effect of making Reid feel like a “real” runner and also enables me to tell you that Reid ran 2 kilometers in 13 minutes and 48.9 seconds. That’s pretty fast and put her in 86 out of 469 females under 8 years old. She ran much of the distance with only a couple of walk breaks.

Reid, Barbara, Sarah and BenWe started our race in the company of Sara and Ben. Sara is one of my Losing It In Ottawa blogger buddies and Ben is her fabulous son. It was fun to have friends in the start corral with us and also to have people to share stories with at the end of the race.

After the race, Reid commented to me that this race was her longest ever. I agreed that it was true. Next, she grinned and said it was also her second. That, too, was true I said. Reid said that she also wants to run a 5 kilometre race next. I recommended a few more 1 or 2 kilometre races but now I’m wondering if we should train for a 5K. The thing with little kids is that they tend to run hell bent for leather and then fade on longer distances. With my Garmin GPS watch, though, Reid might be inclined to pace herself.

Matching outfitsCan I explain the matching outfits? I saw the Running Skirts display at the Army Run last September but resisted buying one. Once I registered us for the 2K run, though, I couldn’t resist buying matching skirts for Reid and myself and then, once we had matching skirts, matching t-shirts and headbands seemed necessary. Reid loved it that I was her “twin”. We’ll have to run several races to get our use out of the outfits.

Reid with medal Everyone who completes a race receives a “Finisher” medal. Reid was delighted with hers. Now I’m wondering what to do with the collection of race medals that we’ve begun amassing.

When I was getting ready for my half-marathon run on Sunday morning, Reid asked how far I would be running. I told her 21.1 kilometres and she shook her head. “No, Mama. Yesterday I ran 2K. How many “K” will you run?” I grinned and told her that it was 21.1K and then I explained that the “K” represented kilometres.

I had to be downtown for my race at 8:00, for the 9:00 start. I asked Ken and Reid to come later and cheer me on near the end. They were stationed within the last kilometre, right where I needed them most. I was more than a little tired after more than 2 hours of running but I wouldn’t let myself be walking when I saw them. Nothing like pride to keep yourself going! Seeing them at the side of the road brought tears to my eyes – good ones – and the tap of the hand that I got from Reid gained me at least 10 seconds.

Reid’s Red Carpet Celebration

Sunday, May 15th, 2011

Reid took part in A Red Carpet Celebration skating carnival last weekend. It marked the 40th Anniversary of the Gloucester Skating Club. Reid was excited to be participating – a very good thing since she performed Friday night, Saturday morning and again on Saturday afternoon.

Reid’s class skated to a Hannah Montana song. I don’t know the title and Ken seems to have blocked any knowledge of what the lyrics were. My running clinic conflicted with Reid’s lessons and so Ken was the only one who saw and heard the weekly practices. He seems somewhat traumatized. ;+) (Just kidding. Sort of.)

We first put Reid in the CanSkate program last summer to reinforce her skating skills since she was struggling at hockey. She made such progress that we enrolled her again in September. I have to confess my anti-figure skating bias. When I was growing up, lo those many years ago, the kids who weren’t good skaters were made to feel like they were wasting the teachers’ time and taking ice time from more deserving skaters. As you might guess, I wasn’t one of the skilled skaters. I had some enthusiasm at the beginning but not much talent. I didn’t want Reid exposed to a “be competitive or go away” culture. The CanSkate program was not like this at all. There is a competitive stream but there are also lots of learning to be done without following that stream.

When Reid brought home the form about the performances, I asked whether she wanted to participate and she said, “no”. The day before the deadline to submit the forms, I asked again and the answer was “yes”. (It seemed better to ask again than to have a kid full of remorse at missing a deadline.) For several weeks the kids who signed up practiced at the end of the regular class. Finally, there was a practice on the Monday before the performances and I got to watch. Reid concentrated so hard to do the right move at the right moment.

At bedtime on Thursday night, Reid was stressing about the performance but I reassured her that even Olympic skaters fell sometimes and that the main point was to get back up and continue skating. I wonder if Reid’s worrying is common or if I can take “credit” for it. I certainly get butterflies myself.

When I took Reid to the arena on Friday night, they said she could stay with me for an extra hour or go straight to the dressing room. Reid chose the dressing room option – I guess the butterflies had subsided – and I half-watched the other kids performing. I didn’t watch too closely because we had tickets for Saturday morning, too, and wanted to be surprised with Ken. I couldn’t ignore the 3 and 4 year olds, though. They were so small and so cute that they brought tears to my eyes. How did Reid get to be so much bigger than these little ones?!

I volunteered in the dressing room from 1:45 til 4:15 on Saturday afternoon. Being confined to a regular-sized dressing room (with typical accoustics) with approximately 30 children was a bit of a challenge. I’m not used to spending long stretches of time with 5 and 6 year old boys and they’re louder and more active than Reid and her buddies. There was hitting and pushing and way more noise than I like. I guess moms of boys get used to it slowly as their own sons grow but I found it a big culture shock. Also, I question the intelligence of parents who send their kids into public with electronic devices that aren’t labelled. Really, when Mabel’s Labels says that they make “labels for the things kids lose”, they mean the DS and Leapster and that sort of thing. As the adult volunteer trying to mediate between two kids each claiming the same toy, I didn’t have nice inside thoughts to say about the parents who sent the electronic devices unlabelled.

In each of her performances, Reid followed the routine with great care. She did particularly well near the end when they cocked their hips and let their Hannah Montana attitude show through ;+) I wasn’t allowed to take pictures during the performance but I did take a few when we were in the dressing room. You can see the attitude that Reid took with her onto the ice.

Reid ready to skate

Reid on a bench

Reid with her hat

A silly girl with a messy face and hands

Saturday, April 23rd, 2011

Guest post written by Reid, photographs by Barbara

Blowing eggs The beginning of the story: how it started. One day Reid was blowing eggs at her Grandma’s house for Easter.

Dipping eggs in dye Reid likes to hold the eggs in the bowl of dye instead of using the dye thingamajigger.

Dying eggs Once the eggs were dyed and dried, Reid painted them.

Painting eggs Look at how messy her hands are.

Cake batter After Reid was done dying eggs, she helped Aunt Pam with the cake for Easter.

Decorating the egg cake Reid put icing over top of the white icing that Mama had put on at first.

Egg cake is decorated The icing that Reid was putting on was the colours that are primary and one colour that was secondary and one colour that was tertiary.

See Reid’s hands and face! In the end, Reid was very messy.

Hiding – Monday Moments

Monday, April 11th, 2011

We live in a townhouse. When Reid was small, we were always on the same floor to be safe. And close. And, yet, we played hide-and-seek together. It went something like this.

Mama counts and allows time for concealment before beginning the hunt. “Is she behind the curtains in the living room?” she asks. “No. Maybe she is beside the bookcase?” And so it went, from speculating about the hall closet, bathroom, under the table, beside the china cabinet and in the pantry to the end of the couch.

Wondering aloud built suspense as Reid knew her non-hiding spots were being ruled out. It prolonged the game. There were, after all, only so many place to hide on the main floor. It gave Reid ideas for places to hide on her next turn and when to look for her mama. 

And, though they could both run and hide, it made Mama think of her own mother reciting a poem by Henry Cuyler Bunner, called “One, Two, Three”;

It was Hide-and-Go-Seek they were playing,
Though you’ve never have known it to be–
With an old, old, old, old lady,
And a boy with a twisted knee.

The boy would bend his face down
On his one little sound right knee,
And he’d guess where she was hiding,
In guesses One, Two, Three!

Capital Mom provides a theme each Friday for these Monday Moments. Others have written about their own moments. I also wrote about  Monday Moments.

Saving us money

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

For reasons not exactly clear to me, Reid is interested in ways to save money. She isn’t thinking obvious ones, like eating at home instead of at a restaurant or not going places that charge admission, though. When we first started talking about Reid taking cello lessons, she said that it would be a good way to save money on electricity since we wouldn’t need to listen to the radio, just to her playing the music. We talked about taking art classes this morning and immediately Reid suggested that she could write and illustrate books. So that I wouldn’t have to buy any, of course. It’s good to have an artist/performer in the family to save costs right. (No, I never point out how much money the lessons cost. ;+)

At the supper table tonight, Reid was talking about how good it be if she could take art classes near the pool where her swimming lessons are held, especially if there is a gas station and bank nearby. She explained it all clearly: we could walk from the swimming lesson to art class without needing gas but when we did need gas, we could walk to the bank to get the money and then drive to the gas station. Many of Reid’s sentences are at least as long as that last one. It’s a gift we share.

I’m not sure if these are the first signs of Reid as a budding accountant or financial advisor but it’s nice to know that she has an eye on the bottom line.