Thursday, August 11, 2016

There and Back Again A Canadian Holiday (part 1)

The Bumper's favorite view

A fairy house
I think I have recovered from the jet enough to write about our vacation trip to Vancouver British Columbia Canada. We went for the wedding of Nana's friends daughter. I was nervous about this trip for a lot of reasons. Firstly the Bumper and I had to get our passports, which in itself was an adventure. It was very hard work getting the Bumper to stand still for the photo. Secondly this trip was also the first time the Bumper has ever been on an airplane.  Thirdly because this was a sort of homecoming for me. We left Vancouver just after the end of my fourth grade year, and I had not been back since. I have long said Vancouver was my favorite city in the world, partially because it is situated in that sweet spot between the mountains and the sea, and partially because Vancouver  become had enshrined in a golden haze of childhood memory; I wasn't particularly keen on destroying the illusion. As it turned out I worried for nothing.

We left early, 5:30 am , on Thursday morning we were all too excited to sleep, which was just as well since the Bumper had a little trouble popping her ears once the plane took off and I had t8 o give her chewing gum to help teach her how. Unfortunately the Bumper persisted in kicking the seat in front of her for the entire flight. I was so embarrassed! I made the Bumper apologize to the lady when we landed in Vancouver. Upon arrival the Bumper was less than enthusiastic. She'd somehow gotten it into her head Vancouver was going to be a giant theme park with a roller coaster right out of the gate. I had to explain it wasn't that sort of vacation. She wasn't immediately won over.

Water Fun
He used to be smaller and I used to be taller
On Friday we met up with Nana's friends R and G and their son S. S and I hadn't seen each other since we were little kids. I admit I was half expecting a curly headed little boy in overalls. Um no! He grew up and so did I, we did that weird double take thing when we realized who we were, we then proceed try and cram thirty years into two hours of catching up. The Bumper took to S right away and he was a very good sport about it. The highlight for her that day was when we went to a local playground with a water park. The Bumper promptly got soaking wet, which continued as a theme for the rest of the week.
Perfect Day for a Wedding

The next day was the wedding. I am a sucker for weddings anyway and this one did not disappoint. It was held at the University of British Columbia boathouse on the Fraser River. My biggest fear was the Bumper would want to jump into the river, but she managed to restrain herself. In fact when Nana's friend R offered a life jacket for the Bumper I promptly refused knowing the Bumper would take it as an open invitation to get right in! Even though the wedding is supposed to be about the bride and groom (I wish them a long and happy marriage), the Bumper and two other little boys her age hit the dance floor and completely stole the show!  I think five years old is the only time you can cut in and steal a person's date it be perfectly acceptable. The Bumper even took a turn with the groom!

After the excitement and drama (the Bumper got carsick on the way back to the hotel) of the wedding we took a couple days just hanging out  going to visit old haunts, such as Simon Frasier University, Burnaby Mountain Park, new to us since it had not  been built when we lived in Vancouver, Lake Alouette-- where the Bumper had her first experience swimming in a lake and I was able to take a couple of long walks by myself. We also took a brief tour of Trout Lake Community Center, our favorite picnic spot, and the apartment play ground where we used to live.
View from Burnaby Mountain

I think Tuesday was probably the Bumper's favorite day. We went hiking at Lynn Canyon, where she braved the suspension bridge and went for a swim in a pristine natural pool.  Tuesday was also the only the heat wave broke. The day the Bumper went swimming was 15C (59F), but she was willing to brave the cold with S and had a ball doing so. We finished off the day by going to a community pool where the Bumper's bravery was rewarded by a long soak in a hot tub.
Yummy Blackberries

The last day was spent going to iconic Stanley Park and seeing the Totem Pole exhibit, having one last dinner with R and G, followed by a walk on a local tree farm. Unfortunately I forgot to take pictures, but the Bumper had fun running races with R and G.

All in all the trip was resounding successes. I loved seeing the Bumper's reaction to the enormous trees and slugs in the Pacific Northwest and she thoroughly enjoyed picking blackberries every chance she got.  My favorite part, however was not the scenery, but getting back in touch with friends and making new ones along the way. We will definitely be back.

More pictures are coming soon!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Meatless Monday: Breathing space and Frontyard Gardens

Butterfly enjoying our marigolds
I try to keep the tone of this Blog light and homey. I talk about crafts, cooking, writing, reading and of course The Bumper. With what has been going on in this country lately, those kinds of things just didn't seem very important. What is the point of chatting about flowers, or how many beans we have been picking (a lot!), the progress made on my latest pair of socks, or crochet project; when we have two shootings of un-armed Black men in a week, the retaliatory killings of police officers who were just trying to do their jobs, yet another un-armed Black man shot by a police officer this week, and hateful, fearing mongering political rhetoric on the parts of the candidates for the highest office in the United States.

I wanted to cry out: "Where are you God?!" It seemed like He was very far away. I almost decided to give up blogging.  Then I read a note from a friend of mine's mother "We can rest assured that nothing is happening God did not allow, even though we may not understand." Okay slow down take a deep breath the world is not coming to and our country is not going down the tubes, in spite of what sensationalized media stories and self serving politicians would have me believe. Please note I am not being dismissive of those in true need. I am not saying I am going to bury my head in the sand about issues I feel strongly about and simply say "God's in charge and I don't have to do anything." I am saying that being overly fearful and anxious is counter productive. I am saying I am not going to let negativity depress me. I am saying will I will continue to blog about my family, crafts etc because these things are important to me and bring me joy.  I will continue to to blog about these things to be a place of thoughtfulness, rest, calm, comfort and encouragement in a media world dominated by the sensational, cruel and vapid.

We are leaving for vacation to Vancouver British Columbia Canada on Thursday. I hope to have some great pictures and stories to share.
The cherry tomatoes do not stand a chance!

In the meantime this Meatless Monday is all about the front yard garden We started a front yard garden last summer and have continued it this year. We are growing tomatoes, peppers, eggplant right along our front walkway. It so fun and easy to pick things as they ripen on our way back inside the house after a long day or even first thing in the morning after checking the mail and fetching the newspaper. The Bumper loves to eat cherry tomatoes, as soon as she picks them.  I love sneaking her vegetables in on her this way! I highly recommend front yard gardening who says walkways are only reserved for flowers?

p.s. Expect another post on canning tomatoes and pepper relish this year!


Monday, July 4, 2016

Happy Independence Day!

Inspired by the wonderful Yarnharlot,,  for this year's Independence Day celebration I am posting a few of the things I like about living in the wonderful United States. In no particular order:

1. Freedom of the Press- I'm a writer so this one is obligatory.
2. Freedom to practice my religion without government interference.
3. Separation of Church and State- see number 2.
4. Our National Parks- I'd like to visit all of them; have some beautiful wilderness in the country.
5. The states are United and we its citizens can move in an out of them with ease.
6. There are three major mountain ranges within our borders: The Appalachians, the Rockies, and the Sierra Nevada.
7. The longest river is the Missouri River, but the biggest is the Mississippi.
8. Four of the five great Lakes, Lake Erie, Lake Huron, Lake Ontario and Lake Superior share a peaceful and prosperous border with our northern neighbor Canada.. Lake Michigan is the only one that does not border Canada.
9. Our national bird, the bald eagle became the symbol for our country in  1782.
10. The bald eagle was take off the endangered species list in 2015.

May all you have happy and safe 4th of July.


Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Blast Off to Kindergarten

Getting Ready

I celebrated a  small but sentimental milestone; the Bumper finished Pre-Kindergarten today. She came home with a real report card and everything. Next year she will be a real live Kindergartner. Her class put on  a performance for the parents. They danced and sang songs to show what they have learned this year, among them were the ABC's, Los Colores, and Abra Mis Ojos (Open My Eyes Lord). It was cute beyond words.
Jet Packs!
Afterwards we sat in the playground and the Bumper crawled up on my lap. "Mom," she said, "I'm sad."
"Why?" I asked.
"Because I won't see my friends for the whole summer, and even when we come back Mrs. H won't be my teacher. It won't be the same."
I had nothing to say, so I sat an rocked her for a while. She was right and all I could do was hold her and let her know I was not going anywhere.

I am glad she is still little and her mama rocking her was enough to chase the sadness away.

Praise God for a Good Year

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Bring on the Summer

The Bumper gets her green thumb from her Nana
The Bumper's last day of pre-k is tomorrow. She is excited for summer vacation to begin. The Bumper is not a morning person (except on Saturday) and it has been a struggle to get her to school by 8am every morning. I am looking forward to the break from that at least.

The Bumper has a a wonderful school year, but not without some rough patches. She is a very high energy little girl and behavior no one would blink at in a boy often gets question when she does it. That being said she got into trouble the third day of school for yelling at her teacher. Her teacher however is very savvy in the ways of wee ones and quickly figured out the Bumper had misbehaved because she wanted to get sent home. So her teacher and I came up with a better way to deal with her disobedience. If she misbehaved in class she would not get to play on the playground at recess or after school. For the most part this worked very well all year. This school year also taught me I am the parent of THAT child. The one who makes other parents shake their heads and raise their eye brows, but that is a post for another day.

This summer we are going on a trip out to Vancouver B.C. Canada. It will be the first time the Bumper has ever flown. I am nervous, she is thrilled and asks about it everyday. She has began X-ing out the days until we leave. Unfortunately we do not leave until the end of July. It is going to be a long wait!
I have been very busy meeting personal writing goals for my novel. Writing is hard work and has not left much time for blogging. Still I hope find some balance this summer and I am looking forward to spending time with the Bumper and just slowing our pace down a little.


Monday, March 21, 2016

Lazy Weekend

I spent a very relaxing weekend at home with the Bumper. We stayed in most of the day, watching movies, playing dolls, and putting together puzzles, Saturday except for in the late afternoon when I decided a bit of fresh air seemed in order. We wandered over to the local school yard where the Bumper happily climbed, swung, and slid; until raindrops splattered our faces and we ran for home. She won. I am still recovering from a cold, but the Bumper had no mercy and ran full tilt.

Sunday was Palm Sunday. I normally enjoy the recreation of Jesus triumphal entry into Jerusalem, followed by a reflection on the passion and crucifixion, but I discovered yesterday that an empty stomach, a head cold and a hot church are a bad combination. I nearly passed out right in the middle of service! Fortunately a quick trip outside in the cold air, made me feel much better and I was able to take Holy Communion. Still it was embarrassing and I hope not to make a repeat performance anytime soon.
Palm Sunday also marks the end of  Lent and the beginning of Holy Week and Easter. I thought about what my small sacrifices might have meant in the larger scheme of things. While it isn't much, I am still glad to provide an example of cheerful sacrifice for the Bumper. She is watching, even when I don't think she is. After church I headed over to my knit and natter group, but no one was there. So I sat in my car and knit by myself listening to the rain fall. I can't recall when I have had a more peaceful two hours.

Yesterday was the first day of Spring, and this morning ice covered the car. Oh well, it is better than last year. I am hoping the cold snap will be brief and we will have a warm Easter Sunday. Of course here in the Mid-Atlantic anything can happen weather wise and usually does!


Friday, March 18, 2016

Sleepy and Slow

This morning was one of those mornings. The kind where I get up too late and run around in circles trying to get the Bumper out the door when she has emphatically stated she does not want to go to school. She was tired and I was tired and rather than get into a power struggle I slowed the pace way down. We had a breakfast of cold cereal, much to the Bumper's dismay as she prefers a hot breakfast and the Bumper pulled out all the stops on the go slow chart. She wanted to do everything except get dressed for school. I let her. I went about as though she were not there, putting things away, and starting my morning work routine. In between times I manged to get her dressed in her school uniform. I then told her if she was sick, by all means she ought to stay home--in bed. She decided she would much rather go to school. It was an hour late, but we went.

I understand her reluctance. For some reason the time change hit all of us especially hard this year; and we were all out late last night celebrating St. Patrick's day, which made getting up this morning very difficult.  Still I had to be firm and make her go. I was glad I did; because as soon as we got to school the Bumper perked up. We walked in on her teacher asking what Easter is really about, instead and the Bumper slid into her seat, like a ball player heading for home base, hand waving wildly in the air shouting "Jesus!".

Enthusiasm is a good thing.