Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Well, we did it, we braved one of the busiest weekends on the highway heading up to cottage country in order to share in Thanksgiving weekend with my dad and Carol at their cottage on Drag Lake, near Haliburton. The truck was loaded to full capacity, despite the fact that we were only going to be there until Sunday evening (as Raider rides vip in the trunk, though this trek he had to share it with the folded playpen). I hadn't actually yet been up to the Muskokas past summer, even though the cottage is winterized, so I was anxious to see what the landscape would look like. I knew the water level would be down, as my dad had kept me informed of the constant drop as summer progressed, and I knew I should possibly expect some cool weather (and indeed the nights were chilly). And though the drive is always a long one, we were hoping to have a nice relaxing weekend up north. Which we did.

It was worth it; the weather was gorgeous, the turn of the leaves beautiful. (Even though blowing leaves off the property kept my dad and Greg occupied for much of Saturday morning.) Raider got to play with Skye and Angel, running free in the yard to explore the dried up creek bed and wrestle with Skye when they had a burst of energy. The difference in the onset of fall up there compared to south-western Ontario is astounding, and though I hate to see summer go I, like Carol, feel there is something about fall - that smell in the air and brilliant colours ablaze perhaps - that makes me not seem to mind the change as much. So we spent much of the weekend outdoors, as we were blessed with wonderful weather, even for the north.

And of course Isaiah was happy to be outdoors, discovering the fallen leaves and moving dirt with the Tonka trucks the neighbours Ted and Tina had salvaged for him earlier in the summer. He loved chasing the dogs and exploring the woods, climbing up hills and on rocks. His growing sense of independence was manifest in his explorations, though he never really strayed too far from me. He is definitely growing into a little boy, though, favouring digging and throwing, breaking and upturning. (See Greg, that one afternoon dressed as a mermaid by Mikayla had no effect on him whatsoever, he is all boy, don't worry.) I did at one point remember the very real possibility of running into a black bear, and had a small sense of panic in wondering how I would save my boys from its wrath, but seeing as the possibility was rather slim, it slipped from my mind as quickly as it came. And so we remained outdoors for much of the weekend.

Braylon enjoyed the fresh air too, especially when we took him on the boat for an afternoon cruise around the lake. His unknowing imitation of the front of the boat Titanic move was brilliant, his face aglow, grin wide, and hair waving wild in the wind. He is such an observant little boy, taking in all of his surroundings in amazement and wonder. He was able to sit on the seats with us (and at one point seated snugly on the floor on a blanket between Raider and Skye, his two protectors), as his strength to sit himself up is incredible. At one point he was leaning upright against the side of the boat, standing on the seat, when we tied up with the neighbours to drift along the lake and have some snacks.

Everyone enjoyed the boat ride, actually, even the dogs. Skye found a spot to bask in the sun, and Isaiah was quick to assume captain, pretending to drive the boat (though someone had the bright idea to show him how to honk the horn). Angel bravely got herself right on the edge as, for a small dog, she is quite agile when she wants to be. Their new boat has plenty of room for dogs, kids and adults (and snacks and drinks galore - I think I gained another 10 pounds this weekend, pounds I'd earlier sworn to lose for our trip to Mexico at Christmas). And Raider curled himself up to snooze on the floor (it's really what he does best).
Our second afternoon on the lake, we came out earlier and he had not yet had his afternoon nap. Although his eyes fell heavy en route to the boat ramp to load the pontoon into the lake, he was wide awake once aboard as his memory of his ride the previous day was crystal clear. In fact, trying to get him to nap took a great deal of effort, but eventually he gave in to the rocking of the waves once we'd been on the lake for an hour or two. My eyes grew heavy at one point as well, though I faught off sleep as best I could. There's just something about the air up north that helps induce a sleeping state, I think!
Isaiah loved that boat, that's for sure. You should've seen his face light up when Grandpa picked up speed. He was half bent over the side of the boat, reaching to touch the splash from the water with his fingertips and jumping up and down on my lap in sheer excitement as we bounced over the waves. And had he known the water was as cool as post-winter's thaw, I don't think even that would've stopped him from jumping in for a swim, were it up to him. (And we did in fact see some people do so, on purpose... and not just when loading the boat out of the water, either!) Greg had thought he'd go for a dip before I reminded him just how cool the lake would be at this point in the year; I thought it too cruel to throw him in off the boat so he'd remember for himself in the future.

And we of course enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner too! Carol made all the traditional dishes, save for the way we made the turkey. Greg and the boys helped my dad and Ted (well, mostly Ted) deep fry the turkey once we'd returned from our afternoon on the lake. That was the fastest I've ever seen Thanksgiving dinner come together in my life, and it worked well for a cottage dinner since their kitchen is limited compared to at home. Yes, it was a weekend spent enjoying food as well, as Carol brought up homemade apple and pumpkin pies (and my dad, notorious for having stashes of candy and chocolate around the house, applies that rule to the cottage as well).
We did manage to get out for exercise too, though. Isaiah picked leaves for the horn to decorate the table on our morning walk, though the ones he brought home were not the first to be picked up. He discarded many as we walked up and down the road, but finally helpd pick out an assortment of full shaped leaves. Our walk on the following morning was nice as well, and Isaiah got to walk both Skye and Angel at one point, which he thought was pretty neat to do. He's always wanting to be grown up - Carol caught him imitating her with his hands behind his back, strolling down the road - he's desperate to do the things we do.
So that was our weekend. Who knows what next year holds - a newly made tradition or, as last year, another football game? I'm hoping we at least continue to gather for a Thanksgiving meal, because I always enjoy time spent with family... even if it's a Sunday spent watching football, Greg, which is another Thanksgiving (or in our house weekly) tradition it seems!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Back Peddlin'

Oh he's desperate to move, that we knew. He's been determined to reach far ahead of him for toys when he's sitting on the ground and, as of late, he's crawling all over us whenever we lounge on the couch., jumping or bouncing up and down, rocking his body to plummet himself in any random direction. So when I put him down for tummy time today, Braylon proved me wrong (see, all it takes is a little post noting my worries at his stale progression at times). Now he's really genuinely trying to crawl, even if it's a back peddling motion instead of forward advancement. It'll come. That's how it was with Isaiah as well.

And Isaiah, he's on a mission to demonstrate mastery of new feats daily. I knew long ago he knew many a word, but not only is he using them all now, and correctly at that (he knows all the words in all of his books, pretty much), he's stringing sentences together like nothing. And I think he may even be beginning to understand the concepts of tomorrow and yesterday. We went and fed the ducks last night on our bike ride and that's all he could talk about today. He remembered doing so with absolutely no prompting whatsoever. The rate at which he is changing is remarkable, although some things I'd like to avoid (for instance, he was in a screaming mood this evening and does not take no for an answer - well, save for his answer to us - when we ask him to stop). He's always wanting to help me, though recently my little clean freak has developed a fear of the vacuum that is worsening each time I pull it out. Today we were making a birthday cake for my mom, though, and he doesn't quite understand why he can't do everything I do. Most of the times I catch him before any major catastrophe happens, but today when he was helping to bake he was just too quick. He broke an egg all over himself in a split second, and then was quite a mess (which he'll tell you about - those words are definitely in his vocabulary too: mess, dirty, etc.).

Anyhow, I obviously haven't found time to update my files with new photos, but I thought I'd just comment without them because if I wait to do that I'll likely not post anything, or at least something completely different, as most certainly life with these boys would be already have seen something new by then!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


I'm not even back to work yet, and I'm contemplating ways to avoid doing the work I know I should already begin to tackle. It's called the art of procrastination, and I'm definitely a level four on the evaluation rubric! It's just so damn easy to do nothing. Not that I'm doing nothing, exactly, but the life of an English teacher is a busy one, one I'm not sure I'm looking forward to returning to with two young boys. But it is inevitable, work I must.

So that means that I've begun to sort through my "stuff" in the basement - which, for not being finished at all yet, is completely full. I'm hoping to have an office soon (read: please, Greg). But I've not really done much with it besides organize it (reorganization is a perfected Herr trait, right James and dad?). I need to do some planning and reading and thinking about school. Obviously I don't want to, or else I would have started (or even stop this blogging business in exchange for prepping school work), because I'd really like to think I've a ton of time left before my maternity leave comes to an end.

However, I don't. Braylon will be 8 months already this weekend. (Although, side note, I don't quite think he's as advanced as he should be at 8 months... I can't remember how Isaiah was, but I don't remember ever feeling as though Isaiah was behind; in fact, it was the exact opposite. But I'm not convinced Braylon is as far in things as he should be. No teeth yet. No crawling. No eating vegetables that I haven't snuck into his cereal. Ahh, but I'll save this tangent for another blog at a later date, I suppose.)

And then there's so much else to do. I feel as though my to do list is always growing. I've got passports to apply for in order to go to Mexico for Richard's wedding, health cards to get (I've still got the old school red and white card, but it's becoming increasingly complicated to make that one work smoothly for me), a second birthday to plan (and then a first a few months later), among a list of so much else. Sometimes I just like to think I have nothing to do at all (wouldn't that be nice)!

And so on those days I decide to stop and enjoy life, especially with the constant reminders of how short life can be. I take a lot of things for granted and I don't always stop to smell the roses. So I'm trying very hard to live life to the fullest, to enjoy each and every moment and do what I enjoy most in life (hence the absence of any real school work).

Side note (I'm notorious for random tangents as a teacher, by the way): I do love teaching, otherwise I wouldn't do it. I DON'T enjoy the planning and marking in terms of the time it consumes, time not spent with my boys (all four if you count the dog).

So what am I spending time doing, you ask? Well, trying to find things to do that the boys will enjoy and hopefully remember when they look back in life. My mom and I took them apple picking on dwarf trees so that Isaiah could help. Weeks after he still proudly exclaims, "I pick apples" (it likely helps that he has a visual reminder of his efforts in that I've still got 1/2 a bag on my kitchen counter despite making an apple crisp, an apple cranberry cake, and apple muffins thus far).

Even Braylon had fun that day, and though he couldn't pick apples himself he held onto one apple for much of the time. When Isaiah decided Braylon should be enjoying a fresh apple directly off the tree as he had (he ate 2 whole apples in less than an hour), Braylon thought he'd relieve some gum pain instead by "gumming" an apple held by big brother.

I really hope I remember these moments when I look back too. I try to take pictures of the big things, but I miss a lot (although I finally got a phone with a camera - in fact, I skipped right through to a Blackberry)! And obviously I can't photograph everything (nor should I). But I do need to get our video camera out - I think we've taken maybe 5 minutes in total since having these guys. Awful. I must change that!

I've also gone with Greg to watch another NFL game live in Buffalo - his beloved Oakland Raiders. I much prefer that to watching 12+ hours of football on the couch on Sundays (though I'd rather do that than mark, which is what I normally do on Sunday afternoons when I'm working)! I am now the proud (please note some sarcasm implied in that as you read, since blogging does not truly allow my rich sense of sarcasm to come through) owner of my own Russell jersey! Actually, to be honest, I did want one, even though Indy is my team and I've nothing to support them, because all the boys wear their Raider gear on Sundays! As you can tell by Greg and Braylon last Sunday, the game was ever so exciting (likely one reason why they fired the head coach since).

Anyhow, I've got laundry to fold and dinner to prepare (work I MUST do), so I bid you adieu for now. I need to upload some new photos so I can fill you in on what else we've been up to. I'll put that on my to do list!