Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Happy 1st Birthday Charlotte!

One year ago, I was holding my brand new baby girl in my arms and wondering how I could possibly be so blessed.

Today, I am astounded at home quickly the past year has gone by. I cannot believe how much Charlotte has grown and developed. I still cannot believe that I am a mommy of 2.

Charlotte celebrated her birthday surrounded by our family and a few baby friends. She had a fabulous time. She was super excited at having such a brilliant Mommy who came up with the idea of having a "Very Hungry Caterpillar" party ;)

The menu consisted of all the foods the Hungry Caterpillar ate in the book:
- Fruit Kabobs made with apple, pear, plum, strawberries, oranges, and watermelon
- Cherry tarts (in lieu of pie)
- Chocolate cake and cupcakes
- A "Make Your Own Sandwich" area including salami, sausage, swiss cheese & pickles
- Lollipops for the kddies to take home with a book

Mommy's Cake & Cupcake
Version of the Hungry Caterpillar
Charlotte grabbing onto her slab of Chocolate cake for dear life (That's my girl!)

I made the party favours by re-using baby food bottles and scrap pieces of fabric. Filled the jar with caterpillars (gummy worms). And added a Thank You tag I printed at home with a graphic I found online.

I printed out colouring sheets from the Eric Carle website for the kids to colour

Mommy & the Birthday Girl

Nan White came to the party so we got a 4-generation shot on Mom's side of the family

With Granny Goosney at the party, we also got a 4-generation shot of Dad's side of the family

Nanny & Poppy Hynes came too!
It was a great party and I'm so thankful to everyone who came out to share the day with us.
Baby Charlotte, like your middle name, you bring so much "Joy" into our lives. Here's to many many many more birthday parties in the future. I love who you are already, I can't wait to see who you become.

Love, Mommy xox

Monday, August 29, 2011

First Birthday Party

Charlotte is turning ONE in just a few short days.

And now I am in a frenzy, as per usual, to find some last-minute party ideas.

I'm planning a small party inviting just my family and a few of the babies who are Charlotte's age.

But, what in the world does one do for a first birthday party? What types of games can we play? How do I decorate? What type of cake? What kind of food do I serve? (Hot dogs are not 1-year-old friendly, in my opinion) What about prizes and loot bags?

I googled. I'm the Queen of Google.

I found THIS website with some great game ideas. I really like the Baby Bottle Bowling because the babies can do it. They live for knocking things over!

Personally, I adore "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" by Eric Carle. And so I also adore these cakes I found online:
(Will I be able to duplicate them? No probably not....)

Again on the caterpillar theme, I love this banner from Ciaobambino's Etsy Shop. It's sold but I think I may be able to enlist the help of my Cricut and DIY it.
Add some colourful balloons and streamers, plates and cups and napkins on a polka-dotted table...and voila!

 As I'm typing this and googling all things "Hungry Caterpillar" I'm loving the idea more and more

Babies at this age love finger foods. So....
Since the Caterpillar ate
1 Apple, 2 Pears, 3 Plums, 4 Strawberries, 5 Oranges and an assortment of cake, ice cream, pickles, swiss cheese, salami, lollipops, cherry pie, sausage, cupcakes, and watermelon...finished off with a leaf...
Then I could serve all of the above....(like THEY did here)!!
Party Favours
Now what about those famous loot bags that the kids love so much?
THIS website has some nice suggestions, all of which are age appropriate for the wee ones:
•beach balls or large colorful playballs

•blowing bubbles
•animal crackers
•picture book
•finger puppets
•stuffed animals
•bath toy
•sand bucket and shovel

Wouldn't it be great, in keeping with the theme I now have in mind, to give every kid a "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" book to go home with (instead of a bag full of candies and tiny party toys they can put in their mouth)?

Have you planned a party for your one-year-old? Did you have a theme? Did you have a big party? Or just a small home gathering with your close family and friends?

Have any more ideas you'd like to share?

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Stop and Stare

I walked in and ordered a hot chocolate because a) I'm a chocoholic, and b) I don't like coffee, although I had entered a coffee house, of sorts.

I walked out back to catch a view of the ocean. It was beautiful, as it always is.

I turned to go back inside and saw him. He was standing long and lean, dark eyes looking out from beneath a tattered baseball hat. His skin was darkened by the sun, screaming out from hours spent outdoors, that gorgeous colour I have always envied. He had a face I could not take my eyes from. A face so well-defined, I found myself imagining I was sitting at an easel, charcoal in hand, sketching the lines.

He began to turn and walk away. I'm not sure how much one can read in a walk. To me, it said he was accustomed to being on his feet, naturally inclined to balance and sport, but with a sense of caution that seemed to keep his confidence from full display.

And then he turned and I saw the other side. The other side of his face, that is. Dark, but not from sun. A map of dark burgundy-brown. A birthmark, a facial nevus, so prominent, it suddenly explained the slight air of guardedness.

I sat down and mingled a little with the girl behind the counter. As he paced back and forth, sipping, chatting with his friends, I couldn't help but allow my eyes to follow him. I was drawn.

He sat with his friends, then, and they brought out a guitar. He strummed along quietly in the corner. Everyone watched as they sang a few lines, hummed a few tunes. Not nearly loud enough to classify as entertainment, I thought, but loud enough that I could watch without suspicion. He seemed to open up then, chatting more, flirting a little with a girl who had stopped to speak to him. In that moment, he was a guy in his element. A guy who didn't have a single fault on display.

Most of us spend our lives, when we walk among strangers, with the ability to hide. We are not on display. We are just walking in and out of peoples lives with no reason for anyone to stop and stare. I wonder if he had the luxury. Was he teased? Did he try to hide? Had he learned to not notice when someone looked at him? Did he assume they looked at him because of his "flaw"?

I was happy, then, that I saw the un-marked side of his face first. I knew, without a doubt, that I had not stopped and stared for the wrong reason. I was the stranger in the crowd who noticed him simply for having one of the most beautiful faces I had ever seen. I wanted so desperately for him to know that.

I hope he has someone to tell him. I hope he believes it.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Difference

Akin to an old post I did HERE, I was thinking the other night about the differences between us. The hubster and I, specifically.

Jamie got home 9:30ish p.m. and I finally got to head for the shower.

My version:
  • Go to the bedroom to get my pj's.
  • Realize I still have a basket of clothes sitting on the bed waiting to be put away
  • Put away the clothes
  • While I'm putting a dish towel in the drawer in the kitchen, I realize the sink is still full of dishes
  • Wash the dishes
  • As I'm washing the dishes, I notice one of charlotte's bottles to wash
  • That reminds that I should get a bottle ready for her for if she wakes in the night
  • I mix the formula and put it in the fridge
  • Yell out, "Jamie we're getting short on milk, can you remember that tomorrow?"
  • Head to the bathroom again
  • Go to the linen closet to get a towel
  • See that Sarah has knocked over the stack of facecloths
  • Straighten and refold the facecloths
  • Straighten up the counter top and give it a quick cleaning off
  • Pull back the shower curtain
  • Pick up the toys in the bottom of the tub left from the girls bath
  • Wring out a facecloth left in the bottom of the tub
  • Go to throw facecloth in the laundry basket, basket is full
  • Bring basket to the laundry room
  • Go back to the shower again
  • Turn on the water...and FINALLY....
  • Shampoo, soap up, shave, in as little a time as possible just in case cause, ya know, the baby might need me in the five minutes I so selfishly took to myself.
Hubsters version:
  • Get up
  • Tunnel vision to the bathroom
  • Grab a towel off the hook
  • Turn on the water
  • Shower
  • Done!
Any other Mommies out there feelin' me??


Friday, August 19, 2011

James Squires Photography

I love photography and I just had to share a photo taken by a friends little boy, James Squires. The church was behind him as he was taking this shot of a bubble and the resulting image just happened to have the reflection of the church captured inside the bubble! Seriously, no photoshopping here! Isn't that amazing and wonderful?!

Keep working on your photography, James, looks like you're headed down the road to awesome!

You can see this image at National Geographic Kids HERE.

Or, check out more of his photos and become a fan on his facebook page HERE.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

I DO Clean my House...

Honest, I do.

Apparantly, I "forgot" a few of the high places.

Spider web on the ceiling fan

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

#3. Visit Lanse Aux Meadows

En route to St. Anthony last weekend we decided to stop by and see the Viking site, "Norstead", in Lanse Aux Meadows.

It was on my 101 in 1001 list. I had never been there before.

I've always been incredibly fascinated by the fact that Vikings sailed here and settled for a while. Fascinated as my mind churns up great fantastic stories of mystery and romance, intermingled with a battle with the sea as they crossed the great Atlantic in a boat with oars so large I cannot imagine anyone rowing them!

And so, I was very excited to visit. We showed up almost at the last minute and the girl let us in for FREE!! (She told us not to tell so...shhhh!)

When we walked down to the site and the first building, the "Boat" House, we were greeted by this man.

He approached us with his crazy white beard, sun-bronzed skin, and beautiful blue eyes, spoke to Charlotte and immediately sent her into a fit of hysterics. He thought it was because he was "scary", though in fact it is because Charlotte has severe stranger anxiety and had screamed her head off at cooing soft-spoken old ladies in flowered dresses. He proceeded to explain the long house was where the women were, where everyone slept, ate, and "made love". He said the women (plural) had already tried that day to convince him of love-making but, alas, all he had was his powder horn (pointing to said attachment on his right hip) and even that was a little "soft". Mom looked at me with shock on her face (but laughter in her eyes, I might add), which he noticed, and commented, "Isn't it wonderful when you can talk about such things and the children have no idea?" I very nearly began to argue that point but thought better of it since Mr. Santa-Viking himself did earlier point out how he often got in trouble for talking too much and I was, five minutes into our visit, much inclined to believe him.

We walked on...

Next, we visited the blacksmith shop where we were greeted by just about the prettiest young Viking I could have ever encountered, and said so. He merely gave me a 16-year old smirk and set off into his spiel about the power of the village blacksmith, who had the ability to deny anyone he didn't like weapons and even cookware. And so, he shut the windows and doors of his smoke-filled shop to the outside to keep the secrets of his trade alive only for his son, to whom the knowledge would be passed. But then that great power and secrecy turned into an early death (estimated at 25-35 years) due to smoke inhalation complications. On the up-side, he was apparantly quite popular with the ladies who seemed to like the idea of power and wealth accompanied by a short life span. I had to admit the idea had some merit.

The church was the next stop. They called it a church. I honestly have no idea what type of religion or belief system the Vikings practiced. Since it was Sunday, Mom and Charlotte sat in the pews while Sarah and I stood in the pulpit and spoke briefly about how the present two would probably be the extent of our congregation if we were in charge of "preaching".
The "Church"

Sarah and I standing in the pulpit

I liked the Viking ship hanging from the rafters

From the church we went to the longhouse with the women mentioned earlier. Here, they explained how everyone - up to 25 men and their families - basically slept together on a row of fur-covered beds, with the exception of the King and Queen of the village who had the priveledge of a private bed chamber across the room. Clearly, there was no room for secrets. Literally, no room. The longhouse was also where all of the cooking was done and meals were taken.
The trading post was attached to the longhouse. Sarah refused to trade her mini bubble blower or her lip gloss for a knitted bracelet but her cuteness got her one anyways. She chose the pink one, of course.

Mostly, Sarah and Charlotte were interested in the animals - the chickens, rooster, and a pig. Sarah was quick to point out an error on the town map. The map displayed 4 pigs, where in fact there was only 1 pig. And the chicken coop was not on the map at all. She was not impressed over that error. How was she, afterall, supposed to know about the chickens if they were not on the map?

And thus concludes our trip to Norstead, Lanse Aux Meadows - a little journey back in time where love-making might, in fact, not take place in the 25-man longhouse after all, but rather up behind a tree somewhere, splinters and pine needles be *cursed*.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

39 Years

It was cold and rainy. That's what she remembered most. Cold. Rainy. The perfect setting as she stood watching her father's casket being lowered into the ground.

He was just 38 years old. Much too young to die. She was just 10 years old. Much too young to watch her Dad suffer and lose a battle with leukemia.

Standing at the edge of that same cemetary, with his parents, was a boy. His blue-eyes were transfixed on the little brown-haired girl who stood with tears in her eyes and the weight of the world on her shoulders. He just couldn't stop staring. Despite the sadness overshadowing her face, she was the most beautiful girl he had ever seen. He imagined happier days and seeing her smile. He didn't understand it, didn't know where the thought came from, but he knew that one day he was going to be the one who made her face light up again.

"That girl is going to be my wife one day," he promised to himself.

He walked away but never forgot the promise he made that day. Her face before him, he went through his teenage years, and moved away from home at the ripe young age of 15.

She walked away to a life of poverty and struggle, a life of sadness. She turned away from childhood that day. There was no place for being a young girl in a house with 5 younger siblings and a mother who had no choice but to leave home to do the "Man's" work.

She was ignorant of the promise made to her by the blue-eyed boy. It was terribly hard, but she had hope in her heart just the same. And at the delicate age of 14, she moved with her mother and family, away to Ontario. Unbeknownst to her, her future drove by her street every day on his way to work.

Work for him was first at a car wash, then for an automotive company painting cars. He loved cars. But he loved her more. So, in 1971, he travelled back to his home in Newfoundland. He sought her out, knocked on her door, but she wasn't there. They told him her address. It wasn't possible! Could he really have spent the last several years living only a few houses away from her? How could their paths not have crossed?

But, they were not meant to meet in Ontario. They were destined to be at "home" in Newfoundland. And it wasn't long before she returned.

He wouldn't risk letting her out of his sights again and asked her to marry him. She said, "Yes!" with a sense of relief, like she was being rescued. And on this day, August 11th, in 1972, in a tiny church on a hill, she wore white and walked down the aisle, timid as a church mouse, into the arms of her boistrous young knight, dressed in a trim black suit.

Has it been a fairytale? Hearing that story, told often by Dad, always made me think it started off so. I know it hasn't always been since. And yet, they have endured with an everlasting love and devotion to each other and their family.

Happy Anniversary to you, Mom and Dad! Wishing you many more years and the fairy tale ending you both deserve.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

#2 See an Iceberg

It's on my 101 in 1001 list of things "to-do" and I'm so happy to say I've finally seen my first iceberg. And 2nd. And 3rd. And 4th. So exciting!

This year in St. Anthony, NL., the icebergs have been sticking around longer than usual. Normally, they leave the harbour and are out to sea by June. So Mom and I decided it would be great to take a little weekend road trip - just the girls - to the great Northern Peninsula.

We left late Saturday evening and stayed overnight in River of Ponds at some little roadside cabins. Lovely little cabins. Sarah was super excited. She's always so excited to stay somewhere new and this was no exception. I love her enthusiasm until it's time to go to bed and then needs a great deal of "encouragement" to retire for the night.

Sunday morning we were off and, after a few stops, arrived in St. Lunaire-Griquet, about 14km's off the highway. Upon entering the town, we were greeted almost immediately by a great looming mountain of ice! I veered off the main road, went down some dirt roads, up a hill, down a private driveway by the beach (because we can do that here in Newfoundland), all in the hopes of catching the best possible view. And what a view it was! Sarah was so excited, she couldn't wait to get out of her seat and out of the truck! Mom kept saying, "Wow!" and I took photo after photo, my interpretation of seeing something totally amazing and awe-inspiring.

Notice the boat to the left - it looks so teensy-tiny!
If you haven't already got it on your lifes "to-do" list, seeing an iceberg - another of nature's finest - is a must!

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Regatta Bike Parade Part 2

I would be remiss if I did not continue my last post by showing you some of the other fantastic bikes from the Regatta Parade. This is really an exciting event for the kids and gets the parents and kids working together on some fabulous ideas for strollers, wagons, and bicycles.

This "Purity" wagon was my absolute favourite.
Purity is a Newfoundland company that makes yummy candy, syrups, jams, cookies, and these "Milk Lunch" crackers. Ashlynn and Alara's Nanny made the box of cookes for their wagon in an almost exact duplication complete with ingredients, nutritional information, barcode label, etc. And she had even sewn a bunch of the pillows to look just like the crackers themselves. Genius idea!
Sarah's little friend Phillip had a boxing ring! And yes, although it is very well hidden, there is a bicycle under there. Phillip won a prize...great job!

Michael was the cutest Big Red Dog ever as Clifford.

Jeffrey had to take his silver space helmet off after that long peddle - he was sweating under there! His "Bonne Bay Blaster" also won a prize!

Although I don't have pictures of the rest, there were many more great bikes:
-one little boy was a duck hunter in his stroller, all dressed in camo with a duck hiding among the reeds.
-6 year old Emily made her very own fire engine out of a cardboard box and you could see she put a lot of her very own artwork on it. She won a prize too!
-One family got together and dressed as punk rockers with crazy neon hair wigs and instruments in tow.

And there were many more with balloons and streamers and face painting and bright beautiful colours!

Personally, I think we Bonne Bay crowd have got this Kids bike parade thing conquered. I googled "Kids Bike Parade" ideas and didn't come up with anything as good as what we have. You can have your huge adult parade floats and your flying blimps...We've got the best kids bikes ever!

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Bonne Bay Regatta 2011 Bike Parade

As a child my siblings and I never participated in the Annual Kids Bike Parade at the Bonne Bay Regatta. I don't know why. I should ask.

Getting my own child involved didn't even cross my mind. Seriously. I guess it just wasn't in my range of "normal" so I didn't consider it for Sarah.

Until last year when Christa (she couldn't believe I hadn't already considered attending. She ALWAYS did the bike parade as a child. Apparantly I missed out on some good times.) came home in July with baby Jesse and had this fabulous idea: Sarah would be the "hunter" on her 4-wheeler bike all dressed in camo and Jesse would be the moose in the forest. It was an awesome idea and went over really well. We had the cutest little bike in the parade ever!

This year, with the parade on my radar, but without Christa for an idea, I hadn't the slightest clue what I was going to do. The night before the parade, I was in a little bit of a panic. For those of you who don't me, this is normal for me, I almost always work at the last second, and find it unleashes some of my best "work". I enlisted Mom's help. She's the carpenter of the family. And by "carpenter" I mean she's able to measure accurately, saw a piece of board off, and use a hammer to construct a basic structure.

Building the frame

Attaching the frame to the bike

 Painting the details - these are the castle doors

11:19pm: Flags Flying from the castle towers and all done!!

10:15am: Princess Sarah has arrived, decked out in her finest dress, and is waiting to get started
Sarah peddling her little heart out (she was very excited!) with Margie pushing Charlotte in the stroller

We had a fantastic time in the summer sun. Sarah had never gone on the road with her bike and extremely excited to be peddling all the way around the Woody Point loop. She needed a little guidance up the hill (thank you to Christa's dad, Barry) and also needed help staying out of the ditch when she started looking at the other kids instead of looking in front of her....haha!

Although she didn't win a prize, I personally think Sarah's bike turned out wonderfully and was definitely one of my favourites.

And then when it was all said and done, we finished up with a free ice cream from the Lighthouse Restaurant - a welcome treat!

Charlotte may be big enough to go on the tricycle next year - I wonder what we'll come up with...