Thursday, November 29, 2007

a sad day in the neighbourhood

Two weeks have elapsed again since my last post. Pretty pathetic. Life seems to be getting in the way (and internet connectivity problems not helping either, arghhh).

I'd have so many fun and happy things to talk about. But an event here yesterday has overshadowed all of that. There was a fire at a neighbor's house. A huge fire. No one got hurt, thank God. It fills me with sadness. Its a house we went to over the years, where we had many happy moments filled with laughter. We never really got to know the new owners who have been here for the past 3 years or so. Needless to say, this event has led to a lot of talks in the neighborhood and in our household, many inquisitive questions from our kids.

I'll let the pictures speak for themselves. And praying that this never happens to any of you.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

the bulleted post

  • smiling busy SAHM trying to keep up with it all and wondering where the last 2 weeks went
  • smiling for my quick trip to Montreal to meet up with some special girlfriends and replenish my soul
  • smiling for my new found love of chocolate martinis ;)
  • smiling with my new MGW t-shirt and new scarf
  • smiling at the fun nature walk I had with SCM this week
  • smiling for the Senators hockey game we attended last week where we saw the son of very good friends stand with the hockey players on the ice during the national anthem
  • smiling for baby boy who is progressing so rapidly in his hockey skills, he's a joy to watch
  • smiling for baby girl who participated in her first Ontario Development Program for gymnasts and did great and had loads of fun
  • smiling at the fact that the twins and I have joined a ski club
  • smiling (widely) for the twins who turned 6 and had a fun and noisy b day party with all their friends and a quiet intimate celebration at home
  • smiling at the fact that I've now organized 18 birthday parties and am working on the 19th
  • smiling for big sis who spent Career Day working at the Montessori school she went to so many years ago and absolutely loved it and the kids have all been asking for her to come back
  • smiling for big sis who started working on the school's radio station
  • frowning at the amount of projects big sis has
  • smiling that I'm able to help with all these projects and that she accepts my help willingly
  • frowning that it's parent-teacher meetings for big sis again, hate those
  • frowning at the thought that I have a cardiologist appointment coming up and will be on a monitor for 24 hours
  • smiling for the great news that my friend just received: the lump in her breast is benign
  • frowning for the wait we are enduring to find out about the lump in MIL's breast
  • frowning for the results we just found out: baby girl is allergic to peanuts as well, as allergic as her brother
  • frowning at the amount of money I'm spending on epi-pens
  • smiling ate the positive results for my shoulder, nothing serious, will just need tons of physio, sigh
  • frowning at having to deal with ALL these health issues
  • smiling at the thought of the big ass 40th bday party we are going to this coming week-end
  • frowning at the fact that hubby and the twins are in Florida for the week
  • smiling knowing that they are having a good time and that the weather is good
  • smiling at having spent so much one on one time with big sis and doing girlie things together
  • smiling at the amount of organizing I've done around the house while they were gone
  • smiling looking at close to 40 picture albums I filled over the past 3 days
  • smiling knowing my babies are coming back home in 2 sleeps

Good thing there's a whole lot more to smile about than frown about/

Thursday, November 01, 2007

its a crazy world out there

You'll hear a news story on the radio and vaguely pay attention to it. Its normal. You live content in knowing that your world is not permeated closely by that situation.

Till it hits home.

There has been several incidents since September of prank 911 calls to local high schools with hoax threats of bombs and arms. It has created a multitude of lockdown situations. Yesterday, it happened at big sis' school. She stayed hidden behind a couch (she was in drama class) for THREE hours. Just imagine the range of emotions going through everyone's heads. Students and teachers alike. They had had drills and discussions about codes to be used in certain situations. Yesterday, they soon realized that it wasn't a drill. It was the real thing. The cops came. Went through the whole school. Checked classrooms one by one and students one by one. Ultimately, it turned out to be a hoax. Yet again, another distorted mind with nothing else better to do with their lives than seek a cheap thrill at the expense of others. Ruin a multitude of people's days. Instill unnecessary fright. Will they get caught? And if they do, what will happen to them? Protected under the young offender's act we'll never really hear much more of it. Does it make others feel like doing it too since there's no retribution after the fact?

As for big sis, she was freaked at first, naturally. She kept thinking of her siblings whom she hoped would never have to go through this (they just had received a notice that they will go through a lockdown procedures discussion next week). She was thinking of her friends in other classrooms. She was thinking of me at home and her dad at work who would worry about her. She was thinking of all the little wee ones in the daycare attached to her high school. But poor thing, she really really had to go pee and couldn't go to the washroom. So apart from her mental anguish, she was physically suffering. Plus they had all worked so hard to organize this Halloween party/dance that never ended up happening because of some lost distorted soul. A real bummer for them all.

As a mother, you always worry about your kids. Now just sending them to school, your worries are elevated to a whole new level. We hugged a lot last night and discussed this all over with her. Of course, as a mom I just want to keep them home where I know they are safe. BUT we must not let them live in fear of going places and doing things either. That is too paralyzing.

Let's pray that all our kids come home safely today and everyday.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Looks like it'll be yet another warm day for our trick or treaters. A global warming perk? Big sis spent hours fine tuning her "corpse bride" outfit and make-up as they are having a dance today at school (such an important event in a pre-teens life) and going trick-or-treating with her friends. Baby girl and baby boy where disappointed that they couldn't wear their Halloween outfits at school this year. Such is their policy. But they are looking forward to tonight. The pumpkin is carved and awaiting to be lit. The bags are ready for our special guests. The spiderman and pink bunny rabbit outfits are ready to go.

Be safe!

Friday, October 26, 2007


Thanks for your comments guys, you certainly know how to make a girl feel good !

And LOL at the important stuff, like what I wore: long black skirt with slit down the side, sequined black high heel pumps, shimmery blue/purple blouse with rhinestone buttons and matching earrings, small satiny evening clutch, hair done the previous day at the hairdresser, meticulously applied make-up and, ahem, my little secret weapon "a tuck everything in the right place" undergarment ;)All in all an understated elegant look and an inner confidence and happiness radiating through. Oh, and a handsome well-attired and well-groomed hubby on my arm! A winning combination.

This is where we went: amazing food and the best cosmos I've ever had! Had to consume the alcohol early on as we were driving back home right after.

Out of 38 students in our class, 13 where females. The largest percentage ever in the school's history at that time. Many male professors where unhappy about this situation. So we had to prove ourselves even more, work harder than our male counterparts and got scrutinized even more. We didn't have a single female role model in our teachers. We were trailblazers. And we all did really well.

After the reunion, I realized that 7 out of 13 female classmates were still single and another two had gone through nasty divorces. That leaves only 4 of us in long term relationships. These girls went after their careers, but at what cost. Its becoming more and more difficult for them to enter meaningful relationships. It takes a mature, confident man to go out with a successful woman and not feel threatened by that. Much easier for our unmarried male counterparts. Three of them just got married in this past year and started families.

Just made me realize how lucky I am to be in a happy place in my life, because ultimately my friends, that's what its all about.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

my other life

I'm a SAHM. And I've grown to love it. BUT if you told me 25 years ago that that's what I'd be doing, I'd have looked at you as if you had two heads.

From my early teenage years, I was focused on a career in the health field specifically. I was going to help people, make them better, discover something important. I had a vision and was intellectually motivated. I studied hard, worked hard and did eventually reach my goal. All is good, right? Not. Something was missing. Something that I'd never honestly given much thought about. But this feeling in the pit of my stomach kept nagging me and grew and grew. I wanted kids. All of a sudden I wanted to be a mom. Which I eventually became but it was a hard road. And to my biggest surprise, being a mom became more important than working hard at my career. All of a sudden my life's aspirations changed. Who would have known.

This past week-end I went to a conference relating to my previous career. Ran into a lot of colleagues, former employees. And the nagging question was always: "Don't you miss your career? When are you going back to work?" As if I'm not working now :~)

Then I attended a very special supper: my 20 year class reunion! Even though I didn't feel like going at first, I'm glad I did. In the matter of a few hours, we reminisced about so many little events. Funny how some people remember certain things so vividly, things that I totally forgot about.

24 years ago, 40 total strangers got thrown together. For 4 years we endured the most stressful situations, we saw each other at our worst and at our best. Good times and bad times. We laughed, we cried, we learned about each other and about ourselves. Needless to say, we got really close, didn't have a choice. Some lifelong friendships were created. Even though we don't all see each other often, our bond is still there. There was a lot of hugging going on. And trying to catch up with what happened with our lives: marriages, divorces, children, illnesses, people spread out all over the country. I was glad to see so many of them and how there lives turned out. But how does one summarize 20 years in a few minutes over drinks? It makes one invariably rethink our stand in our lives. Of course, the question often came up: "so where are you practicing now?" So many where surprised that I, one of the most driven in the class, was actually "retired" and a full time mom. Those with children understood and respected and admired my decision. Others were left quite perplexed. Even though everyone told me that I hadn't changed at all, the person they knew back then feels like someone different than the person I am now.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

from one extreme to the next

My last post was all about a fun-loving week-end of quality family time, tranquility, relaxation and appreciation of nature in all of its fall beauty. (By the way, no one seemed to notice that my first picture was taken from the air. Hubby and I went for a half hour flight on a Cessna from Rockliffe airport up towards Camp Fortune and back. Beautiful.) This post describes our past week-end which was fun-loving as well BUT adult-only in a bustling noisy metropolis, tiring with the amount of activities we packed in and the little sleep we got. (Blogger FINALLY let me post some pics!)

We went from one extreme to the other from one week-end to the next. Funny thing is, I REALLY loved both!!! Let's see what's in store for this upcoming week-end ;)

Thursday, October 11, 2007


This past Thanksgiving week-end was simply spectacular. We had some excellent family time, re-connecting with each other while engaging in some out of the ordinary activities. No schedules, no activities. Lots of free time to sit back and relax and enjoy the magnificence of a Canadian fall. All in all great for the soul. I'll let the pictures elaborate. And stay tuned for details of this upcoming week-end. Another special one ;)

Thursday, October 04, 2007

still hurts

Yesterday was my yearly physical and big sis' too. We went together; but she goes in on her own now, sigh, big girl that she is. But the doc then tells me everything that went on ;)

Long story short, I needed an Xray and figured we'd go right away to the lab as it was just down the street and a quiet time of the day we were told. I walked in to that particular lab and right away a major chill went right through me. Last time I was there was precisely 15 years ago. When I checked in, they had my address of 15 years ago which really confirmed it.

That day, in that lab, was not a happy day at all. I had just suffered a miscarriage at 4 months with my first pregnancy. A trip to the hospital confirmed it but they wanted an ultrasound to see if "everything" was expulsed and rule out the need for a D&C. (not sure if they even follow that protocol these days). So off to this lab we went. I hadn't cried at all up until the point where the technician put her probe up you know where. The sobs started coming out uncontrollably. She had the worst bedside manners and was giving me heck for moving so much while she was trying to "see". A black day in my life for sure.

As I was sitting there in the reception room, all those emotions came right back up. I actually had tears in my eyes. Why is it that after all those years it still hurts? I was sitting there looking at my beautiful soon to be 13 year old daughter and thinking how she could have had an older brother or sister. I was also definitely counting my blessings on having healthy and beautiful children.

Oh the heartaches of motherhood.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Terry Fox day

Today is the Terry Fox National School Run Day. All 3 of my kids are involved and I will be joining them later on today for a walk. Such a worthy cause raising funds for cancer research. Years ago, in a previous life it seems, I was part of such a research team, studying the fundamentals of cancer onset at the DNA level. It was such an intellectually stimulating and challenging period of my life, working side by side with some great minds and fun-loving people.

Thankfully up until now, cancer hasn't permeated our extended family. I pray it will remain that way.

As for Terry Fox, what a hero, in the true sense of the term. The Marathon of Hope, 1980. I so vividly remember following his day to day progress while preparing to enter my first year of university starting an undergraduate program in microbiology and immunology eventually leading me towards the aforementioned cancer research. Terry's spirit may have very well, in some small way, led me there.

But what is truly amazing, is how his dream is still living and strongly at that.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

hard decisions

Last Friday, hubby and I went to a meeting. Not a really fun one. But a necessary one.

We are redoing our wills.

Our original ones were done up when we first got married, when life in a sense was much simpler. No assets of any kind. We were young and picking guardians and executors was easy: our parents.

But now, 21 years later, our lives are at a whole different level. Many more assets and 3 kids makes drawing up a will so much more complicated. Discussing what would happen if one of us would die is gruesome but required. Taking care of the monetary aspect is one thing but how do you decide whats best for your kids if you are not around. Who would take care of them with as much love as we have? Who would have their utmost best interest at heart? Who would be well enough and committed enough to take care of that? Hard decisions to make. We have some serious thinking to do.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

ode to september

September is such an expensive month. Back to school supplies, new clothes and shoes, registration for extracurricular activities and all the paraphernalia/equipment that comes with that, it certainly adds up. Worse than December it seems.

I'm sitting here at my desk gazing at this stack of papers. A stack that really irks me.

A stack of what you're thinking?

Fund raisers.

Why is it that everywhere you register they bombard you with fund raisers? Between the kids' 2 schools, gymnastics, badminton, hockey and 2 dance schools, I'm faced with a multitude of vending options: the ubiquitous chocolate bars, cookies and muffins, magazine subscriptions, cards and wrapping paper, gas coupons, labels, calendars, Christmas cards and decorations, tea and coffee, golf tournaments, walkathons for CHEO and Cancer research. Will I be harassing my neighbor and friends and family with all of this? Most probably not. I'm not comfortable with sending the kids door to door. I may approach a few people perhaps. Ultimately, I usually end up giving a contribution myself.

Want to buy something from me?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

in memoriam

Life is settling down to some routines now that we are in our third week of back to school. Which is a good thing. I get to go back to the gym or do my daily walks more regularly and I even can throw in some "down" time to read a book and even the newspaper!

Two stories have caught my eye. Two people have passed away this past week. Two well known personalities, different genders, different life stories, different areas of expertise YET both have contributed in their own way to better the world we are in. What a great legacy to leave behind. Something we should all strive for.

First Luciano Pavarotti: that voice which enchanted millions of people worldwide. This particular song gives me goose bumps each time I hear it. His collaboration with countless of other singers broadened the spectrum of his genre of music. A true and unique virtuoso.

Then Anita Roddick: mother, environmentalist, entrepreneur, visionary, humanitarian, founder of the The Body Shop and actively involved in countless charities worldwide. Truly inspirational.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007


Just how many of those can we fit in one long week-end? And how much equipment does one need to participate in all of them? Answers: many and lots and lots

It started off with skating. yes, indoor ice skating. You see, baby boy is starting hockey this season and is actually having try-outs next week-end. SO, we wanted to make sure he was still able to skate, which he is of course, but more so skate with all his new equipment. I swear, he looks like a linebacker on skates :)

We packed the hockey bag: 5 pairs of skates, all of his hockey paraphernalia and other gloves, helmets and long pants and such. Very weird to go skating when its warm and sunny outside and we 're all wearing shorts. So off we went for an hour skate. By the time we were done, we were sweating and hot and even more hot when we got outside so the minute we got home we all literally plunged in the pool. So then we swam for over an hour. The day was still beautiful, so we decided to go golfing, just a little 9 holes. Off to pack 5 sets of golf clubs and dress everyone accordingly. The twins had a blast in the golf carts and kept score for mom and dad and big sis.

Next day, started off with some roller blading. So on came the elbow pads, knee pads, wrist guards and all. A good hour of that. Of course, everyone was warm afterwards so in the pool again. Followed by some kite flying, basketball hoop contest and then some biking (helmets and guards back on). They actually learned how to start on their own now too.

Following day, met up with a few families and had a fun impromptu game of soccer, kids versus parents. What a hoot! Then some more swimming followed by a drive to the local tennis courts for an hour of ball whacking.

Phew, all that exercise helped to compensate for the all the food and alcohol intake;)

Monday, September 03, 2007

suburban incident

Now, I don't live in the burbs having traded that years ago for life in the countryside. But most of my friends do. One particular couple and their children moved into their brand new dream home in a brand new suburb a few months ago.

A few nights ago, they were all sleeping peacefully when at 2 am the front door rang. Alarmed and groggy, the man of the house went downstairs to find a neighbor (who just returned home from work) holding onto a teenage boy! Apparently this boy was caught breaking into the family van parked outside. The boy, all of 14, was squirming and complaining that they were holding him too tight and they were hurting him so they loosened their grip. Mistake. The kid took off on foot. A few minutes later, the cops came and they all went searching for him and found him along with a buddy in crime roaming the streets. The cops actually KNEW him having been caught a few times before.

This story has had me enraged for the past few days. First I feel for my friends who've had to go through this. But my biggest questions are: where were these kids parents? what are 14 year olds doing roaming the streets at 2 in the morning? shouldn't these parents be held accountable for their kids' actions? how come these kids get away with this type of behavior? they've been caught before, but nothing gets done about it and they get to go back home and glow in the knowledge that they got away with it and most probably getting a rush out of it intensifying their desire to do something else again. There's something wrong with this Young Offender's Act. If they're old enough to think out such crimes, they are old enough to suffer some consequences: a fine to be paid by the parents? community work? a day or two in jail? something!!!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

this morning

everyone left me

by bus

by motorcycle

and all I have left with me

are knots in my stomach

hope you are having a great first day back at school...

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

last few days of summer

The days are getting shorter. The days are getting cooler. We are all enjoying our last days of summer lounging around in the morning. Next week the routine of making lunches and sending kids off to school will start again.

Soccer season has ended for the little ones, they both did so well and were so pleased to receive their trophies after their tournament day. Big sis' turn this coming Sunday.

Its the twins last gymnastics lesson today. They have been in the pre-competitive level all summer. Baby girl will keep going in the fall but I had to pull out baby boy as he will be starting hockey instead. Kind of breaks my heart to pull him out as he is doing really well, but there are only so many extra-curricular activities we can juggle :(

We had a High School Musical kind of week-end. The second one had its world premiere last Friday night. A whole bunch of kids got together to view it a friend's house complete with lots of snacks. Of course, we had to watch the first one before that. And now, we are all humming the songs from the movie!

We went out and bought big sis a new computer. Got really tired of finding her on mine all the time. Its an early b day and x mas gift :)

Spent all of Saturday at Greekfest, (some amazing pics on that site)watching big sis dance in her group as well as other troupes who came from Montreal. All 3 kids had fun volunteering at the kids' tent. Met so many people we know there. Ate way too many loukoumades. Looking forward to next year already!

The twins are so happy with their new feat: they can start swinging on their own and jump off when the swing is up high in the air. They've been out there in our park doing it for hours.

Big sis went to school yesterday for a half-day orientation: got her schedule, her locker and found out who was and wasn't in her class. Luckily, most of all her best friends are in her class, one of the most important things!

Yesterday, we went along with 20 other kids and their moms down to Morrisburg:
Prehistoric World in the morning, picnic lunch in a park by the St Lawrence and an afternoon at Upper Canada Village. I hadn't been there since I was in 5th grade. Oh what fun for all! But boy was I pooped last night!

All right, enough procrastination, time to hit some bills now, yuk. Will post pics later!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

one of those mornings

Kids went shopping with dad last night and baby girl left behind a special trinket of hers. She's still devastated and crying about it this morning. And of course no one in that store has found it. Sigh.

Didn't have a ring tone on the phone all morning, took me over an hour to figure out that one of the phones just died. Sigh.

MIL came here two weeks ago and left a watermelon in the cool room in the basement. Except she forgot to tell me. So this morning, I went down there to get something and found the remnants of one exploded watermelon with juice e.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.r.e. Spent the last 2 hours cleaning that up. Gross. Can't get the smell off my brain. Ain't going to be eating watermelon for a while. Sigh.

And of course it's raining too. Sigh.

Things can only get better now, right?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


When I fell in love with hubby, oh so many years ago, his ethnicity wasn't much of an issue with either of us. But with the appearance of kids, we became more keen in sharing our respective heritages with them. Hence why they attend French school and Greek school too on Saturday mornings. Starting last year, I enrolled all 3 of them in Greek dancing as well. Big sis has done amazingly well and has performed several times at several events. Now that our community's annual greekfest is underway, my kids are performing a total of 6 times all together. Big sis is also volunteering for the first time at the kids tent doing face painting mostly. Needless to say, we are spending a lot of time there! And after the dancing is done, we get to eat some scrumptious authentic Greek food. And I have to admit, my favorite is having a "frappé" (cold whipped coffee) and some "loukoumades" (fried balls of dough sprinkled with cinnamon and drizzled with honey.


Monday, August 13, 2007

soccer family

Soccer season is approaching the end. At 3 nights a week, we've spent our fair share of time in local parks. Its been a great season, all 3 kids improving tremendously in their skills. A few more games and year-end tournaments are all that's left.

As one proud mom who kept track of three sets of schedules and fields, performing taxi services, coordinating snack duties, e-mailing parents to keep them abreast of team details, who sat by the sidelines watching and cheering week after week, making sure everyone had clean uniforms and kept hydrated, I will now bestow some well deserved awards:

Most Valuable Player: big sis! who is always there to encourage her teammates and keep up the team spirit and fill in whatever position she's needed in

Most Improved Player: baby girl! who did a complete 100% reversal from her attitude last year when she never spoke to any of her teammates or coaches, who never once touched the ball during play and who is now "right in there" taking the ball down the field, chatting up a storm with everyone and having pure fun

Best Athlete of the Year: baby boy! he lives for this sport, he can visualize plays that his teammates just don't, he plays intensely and passionately, he practices all the time, he encourages his teammates from the sidelines, he has tremendous abilities in form and function and power and the cutest thing ever is his fist pumping after scoring, a true natural

Best Coach of the Year: hubby! who will come home after a hard day at work, put back his supper in 10 minutes flat and head out. He has coached big sis for the past 5 years, parents always telling me on the sidelines how much they appreciate his devotion and expertise and who this year pitched in with both baby boy and baby girl's teams when needed.

Best Moment of the Year: last Friday night is twin's night as usual with hubby at one park with one of them and me at another park with the other. Their respective teams are loosing 1-0. But the scores then get equalized when baby boy and baby girl both score for their teams at the same time at different fields!! (we know this as we called each other on our cells). That was beyond cool :)

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

the good, the bad and the ugly...the pics

Thanks guys for all your comments!!!

Yes, the good will prevail forever as that is what I caught on film, uhhh on digital card I guess is more the proper term now?. The bad and especially the ugly will get relegated to the depths of our memory banks.

Here are a few moments for your enjoyment:

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

the good, the bad and the ugly...part 3

And now for the ugly:

Before we left, we had extensive discussions with the kids about what to eat and not eat, what to drink and not drink, washing teeth with bottled water, about washing hands frequently and all. Mostly because of baby boy's peanut allergies and also because of the dreaded "tourista".

As I said, hubby was a little tense and strung out for the first little while. So we had him book himself a scuba diving excursion on the 3rd day and a golf game on the fourth. Gets up to go diving and tells me his stomach is feeling funny. Off he goes. When he returns a few hours later, I can tell he's not well. I figured it was the boat that made him seasick. He spends the rest of the day in bed. Next morning, he can't go golfing. He's been vomiting all night. He's got diarrhea and severe stomach cramps. We send him off to the hotel's doctor. They want to send him to the nearest hospital, but he settles for over $US200 of medications. He ends up spending the rest of his holidays in the room, lying down. He couldn't keep anything down. He had moments were he felt a bit better and would come out with us for a little walk or lie in the shade on the beach but that's it.

I felt so bad for him. The main reason I booked this holiday was for him. It was a lot more than we intended to spend on a summer holiday but I really felt he needed to really get away instead of just staying home. I had to argue with him to get him to agree to finally go. Plus the weather here had been so-so and wanted him to get some sunshine. And now this :(


So I basically spent the whole time with the kids on the beach and him in the room.

On the last day, we were slated to get picked up by the bus to bring us to the airport at 8:30 a.m. I packed everything on my own, dragged all the luggage to the lobby. Upon checking out, they tell us the plane is delayed by 5 hours!!! At that point, I think he's going to loose it. All he wants is to go back home. He decides to follow the doctor's advice and gets a taxi to drive him to the local hospital. Meanwhile, I go back to the room with the kids and we spend another day, albeit guiltily, on the beach. I keep abreast of how he's doing with the hotel's doctor who calls the hospital regularly for updates. Mid-afternoon, we get in a taxi (kids and luggage and all) and meet him at the hospital. He's been getting IV meds for the past 4 hours and is feeling much better. Good enough to travel anyways. Thank God that we have private insurance and thank God that I know enough Spanish to understand everything that's going on. They check him out and drive us to the airport in ambulance no less. Of course, the kids, who've been absolutely tremendous through this whole ordeal, think its pretty cool. Specifically when the driver puts the siren on to get us through traffic!

We get to the airport, only to find out the plane is delayed for another 2 hours...7 hours total. I find him a quiet spot and get him to lie down while I keep the kids busy. We finally fly back and make it into Montreal at midnight (instead of 5 pm) and make it home at 3 a.m. Upon waking up in the morning, he drives himself to the hospital where he spends the day getting tests. We are still awaiting results.

He lost 10 pounds, we spent all this money for him to get sick and spend his week off in a hotel room AND the weather was apparently great here while we were gone. Dammit. I doubt he'll ever want to go back there and will hold me responsible for this unfortunate turn of events. But for myself, and especially the kids, it was a great get-away. The kids did really have a blast and getting exposed to another culture was so enriching for them. They picked up quite a few Spanish words and bought the CD of the music they played there and listen to it constantly.

Every trip is an adventure.

This one a bit more so though.

Oh yeah, and aunt Flo had to make its nasty appearance right in the middle of the week. Oie vey!

the good, the bad and the ugly...part 2

today: the bad...

So our annual summer vacation brought us first to Montreal for a few days where we usually stay at the in-laws. Its a smaller home with not all that much for the kids to do. Thank god for a local park to let them burn some steam off. Except when it pours rain... all day. Then there's not much to do and they can get all fidgety and rambunctious. So we had to come up with outings to get them out of the house.

We had promised them we'd go to La Ronde. We woke up that first day to major clouds and a forecast of heavy rains for the afternoon. Darn. We decided to go anyways. We arrived right at 10:30 when the doors opened. Because of the ugly weather, not many people showed up so there were absolutely no lineups. We got to go on so many rides! First it was drizzling but by the end it was cold and POURING. By the time we went back home we were all soaking wet and freezing. The next day, the torrential rains continued. So we all went to to this exhibit. Again, because of the rain, loads of people decided to go to this indoor activity. So we had close to a 3 hour wait to get in. We had lunch, checked out the other attractions at the Science Center. The exhibit, as controversial as it is, proved to be totally fascinating.

Our flight was leaving from Montreal at 7 am. We had to get up at 3 am to make it to the airport at 4 am. Made for a long day of traveling and some pretty tired people. When we arrived, the heat and humidity hit you like a ton of bricks which didn't help with the grumpiness. As soon as you arrive, the quest for your almighty American dollars starts. They take a picture of you (which they will sell for 8$US upon your return), if you go to the bathroom, there's a lady there expecting a tip. Some porter grabbed our bags before we had a chance to say no and had to tip him too. When we finally made it to the hotel, of course our room wasn't ready. Happens often and I was prepared, hence why I packed my bathing suit and the kids' in my carry-on. Big sis and hubby didn't. Well, we got changed, grabbed a lunch and went to the beach right away. They sat in the lobby moping.

I knew hubby was tired and needed to relax. But often when you're that tired, it takes a while to unwind. So for the first 3 days, he was tense and abrupt and complaining about this and that and made me secretly hope he wasn't around as he was ruining everyone's mood. I just ignored him, had fun with the kids and kept ordering "cervezas" for myself ;)

Big sis wanted to go on a banana boat ride: she didn't want to go alone and hubby was in a pissy mood, so I volunteered. It was nuts. She had a blast, I was petrified. During the last turn, her and I were ejected into the ocean which hit me hard on the left side of head. I ended up with a black eye. Looked like someone punched me so I got quite a few stares over the week. Its now at that yellow stage.

Big sis has been to a few horseback riding camps over the years. So I promised her we'd go to this excursion where you get to ride horses on the beach. We get the information, we pay up. We meet the person we've been talking to at the lobby and they get us on a bus which already has a few other people on it. Its an open back kind of bus and the driver is enclosed in a cab up front. They told us it was a 15 minute ride, which by Dominican time I was expecting to be 30 minutes. Next thing we know, the other people with us get dropped off at some other hotel and then its just big sis and I. This guy is going fast. We have no clue where he is going. We can't talk to him. He's on his cell phone in the enclosed cab, big sis and I can barely hear each other talk cause of the noise of the wind. We are driving through little villages filled with colorful little homes were the chickens roam free. We are traveling through pastures with goats and sheep and cows and huge mountains in the background. As beautiful as it is, I'm starting to get a bit worried. Especially when an hour later he turns onto this really bumpy dirt road in what seems like a godforsaken place. My adrenaline is surging, I'm getting ready to fight or flight. But after a few minutes, we see the ranch and all the horses. BIG sigh of relief. The people there are really friendly. They get us acclimatized to our horses (poor things big sis says, not as well fed as our horses back home) and we start riding with 3 other people. We go through a bit of a tropical forest and end up on the beach where the horses, ecstatic for sure to get here, start going really fast. I'm hanging on (last time I did this was well over 25 years ago) but am also taking in the sound of the horse's breathing, the feel and the smell of the salt water splashing on me, the turquoise ocean and the sun setting. Its absolutely beautiful. Afterwards, they take us through a local village. A great learning experience for big sis. She got to see how local families live in little homes, with outdoor showers and all. A real eye opener for her. The cutest little kids waving at us. She just wanted to go over and hug them all.

And the humidity, the humidity. Everything feels wet here. All the time. Books, money, bedsheets, everything always feels damp. And everything in the room has that faint musty/moldy smell to it. By the time we had to repack, some of our suitcases had a light coating of mold on them, ewwww. No wonder I've been washing for the pst 2 days just to get rid of taht smell which is on everything we brought.

Monday, July 30, 2007

the good, the bad and the ugly...part 1

home sweet home

we are back home

going away is great but nothing beats coming back to the comforts of home, especially my bed which is the only place I seem to be able to sleep properly and soundly

as I look back at the past 2 weeks, that Ennio Morricone song from that Clint Eastwood movie comes to mind (a song which I performed ages ago in front of a whole auditorium with other fellow music school students)

thank God there was more good than bad and more bad than ugly

today: the good...

no cooking, no cleaning, no laundry, no schedules for mom for the whole time that was worth it!

First we spent a few days in Montreal One of those days was spent at La Ronde, an amusement park I hadn't gone to in 25 years! So many memories there of my childhood and rowdy teenage years ;). Was great to see my own kids enjoying themselves . There were rides for everyone and lots of laughter too!

We finally headed to the airport for our flight to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. The kids were buzzing with excitement and me too. Nothing like going somewhere new to get me all tingled up!

The flight went great, kids got cool toys and we saw Blades of Glory, what a hoot! Upon our arrival, we were greeted by locals dressed in national outfits and a band playing local music. Talk about putting you in the mood. Right away we were surrounded with the flowing language of Spanish around us. A short ride in a mini bus saw us to our sumptuous hotel. We hadn't done an all-inclusive package holiday for a very long time and I was looking forward to it. Its great with kids cause whenever they're hungry or thirsty, there's something available for them.

The beach turned out to be absolutely beautiful: white sand going on forever, turquoise water, little waves, swaying palm trees, comfortable lounge chairs with cushions and towels, absolutely idyllic. There was a Kids Club where the kids went for an hour one day but they much preferred to stay with us. And there was so much to keep them busy: building sand castles, going in the super humongous pool complete with jacuzzi s, getting a drink at the swim up bar, Spanish lessons, pool aerobics, introduction to scuba diving, archery (where good old mom proved to be unbelievable), rock climbing wall, several games of indoor bowling, beach and pool volleyball, beach soccer, snorkelling, beach bocce ball competition (where yours truly won first prize...a bottle of rum!), pool tables, nightly shows, foosball, got the girls hair braided and big sis got a henna dolphin tattoo. We basically took advantage of everything available.

We added a few extras: bartering with the locals at shops right on the beach, hubby went scuba diving (one of his most favorite activities); big sis and I went on a banana boat ride (completely nuts) as well as an excursion to a nearby ranch where we got to go horseback riding on a beach at sunset...absolutely phenomenal!

I was in heaven. Lounging by the pool or the beach while the kids would entertain themselves and go get themselves drinks at the bar or food at the cafeteria. I actually got to read two whole books, usually unheard of on holidays. And it was so wonderful to hear a multitude of languages around us. The hotel was filled to capacity which surprised me. The vacationers were mostly Puerto Ricans, other Dominicans, Spanish speaking Floridians, Europeans from Spain and France and Italy and Germany and a very few Canadians and Americans. I really got to practice my Spanish which was awesome. Our French proved useful too as a lot of the workers there come from nearby Haiti. And baby boy was quite taken by the Europeans habit of going topless on the beach;)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

a multitude of firsts

When kids are little, there are so many firsts to record: first time smiling, first time laughing, first time eating peaches, first time crawling, etc, etc. Those early firsts come in fast and furious. And then they tend to slow down but every once in a while, there's a few more.

That has been the case around here.

The minute hubby started his holidays, he declared: "that's it, the twins are going to learn to ride their bikes with two wheels only!" So off came the training wheels and on came the full face mask and elbow pads and knee pads and wrist protectors. And after quite a few sessions and a major case of sore backs, they finally got it!! It seemed so symbolic to me, letting go of that seat, seeing them pedal on their own. And the pride! Ah, the pride on their faces, priceless. We still have to work on getting them to take off on their own but they now know how to stop properly. The full face mask replaced by a bike helmet, but I think I'll keep the other paraphernalia on for a little while longer. If anything, for mom's peace of mind ;)

As for big sis, she just came back from her first week away at a canoe-camping camp. A big step for her, and a big step for her dad! I was willing to let her go a few years back but hubby refused. This year he finally agreed.

And what an awesome experience for her. A week with no TV, no computer, no watches, no indoor plumbing, no nagging mom;) They canoed for 3 hours a day, moving from island to island and setting up camp and hiking and rock climbing. She did bring her camera and couldn't wait to show us all the amazing photos she took. She had to eat whatever was given to her, even if she didn't like it cause that's all they had. They sang songs, they enjoyed the nature surrounding them, they developed friendships. Every day since she comes up with anecdotes of thing that happened at camp. It was a major boost for her self-esteem and she came back a much better person. More patient with her siblings, more helpful around the house, hope it keeps up!

The camp monitors gave her a glowing report, her bottom line being: "mature, reflective, thoughtful of others and with a lively spirit" Of course, she can't wait to go back next year and even set her goals on becoming a camp counselor when she's old enough!

Here's a few of her shots in no particular order:

Monday, July 02, 2007

the canada day week-end

Canada day week-end 22 years ago: hubby popped a ring and THE question at a camping trip near Lake Placid, in a tent while it was pouring rain outside ;)

Canada day week-end 21 years ago: our very own big fat Greek wedding followed by 2 weeks in Barbados. Last year we celebrated our 20th with a las Vegas trip. Did we do anything special to celebrate this year? Not really, we just felt like staying home with the kids. No cards, no presents and that's OK. I guess after so many years we are confident in our love towards each other.

Canada Day week-end 12 years ago: we baptized our first born and had a huge pool party/catered BBQ here at home to celebrate. It was a glorious day and all present vowed to return to our home every year thereafter for Canada Day. And amazingly, over the years, it has always happened plus or minus a few people.

Canada day week-end this year: a house full of people, relatives mostly, busy with picking strawberries (yes again), made more jam and a Canada day cake, decorated the house with balloons and flags and some body parts with little Canadian flag tattoos, lots of swimming, trampolining, street hockey, soccer games (the kids' and FIFA U20 on TV), board games, flying kites, eating, talking, drinking, doing dishes, eating again, watching the Snowbirds fly over the house(they do that every year, real cool)and finally some fireworks at Petrie island. The cool weather didn't put a damper on our mood and the occasional shower made for some gorgeous rainbows :))

Monday, June 25, 2007

strawberry fields

We are lucky enough to have just down the road from us this great place called Proulx Farms. We headed there yesterday for their strawberry festival. Inexpensive pure fun. Tents were set up where local merchants had some of their fares set up for us to taste. Face painters left kids with cute strawberries drawn on their cheeks. A little petting zoo raised lots of oohs and ahhs over a variety of farm animals. Mazes made with bails of hay and giant slides needing potato sacks had the kids giggling uncontrollably.

But of course we came here to head towards the strawberry fields. armed with our baskets, we climbed aboard a tractor pulled wagon which led us into the fields. And the fun began. Running around trying to find the biggest strawberry. Eating freshly picked fruit, ymmm. The temperature was perfect and the strawberries plump and juicy.

Got some ice cream on the way home and feasted on a great dessert at supper time;) Looks like I'll be making some jam today!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

graduation present

So the twins' first week of holidays included trips to the doctor (with two vaccines each, ouch), trips to the dentist and trips to the eye doctor. As a special treat and as a reward for all this good behavior, I also got them tickets to a show: Hi5 at the NAC (their first time there).

I left early enough, our so I thought. But didn't count on getting stuck in traffic due to a demonstration by Ethiopians and then finding the parking lot I usually go to full because of the local Jazz festival, so parking option 2 was full too and ended up at a local mall to park. When we stepped outside to cross the road, the heavens opened up and buckets full of water came down. So we waited. By then the kids were a little freaked from all this excitement and were crying, a little worried about missing the show. But after a while, the heavens obliged, the sun came back out. We got there a few minutes late but were rewarded with great seats: center stage, second row back.

And it was awesome!

The energy, the colors, the singing, seeing my little ones dance and chant along. All the turmoil to get there was soon forgotten.

And bless their hearts, on the way out they saw all the trinkets that are sold at these kind of places and they looked at me and said: "we don't need any of these mom, coming here was great enough!" Talk about mother's pride. So instead they came home and made some of these all by themselves :)