Posts Tagged ‘summer vacation’

It’s hard to believe that Peter finished school just a week from yesterday.  We’ve had things going on pretty much non-stop since then.  He left on a Boy Scout camping trip that night and was gone until Sunday.  Both boys went to Totus Tuus (the Catholic version of vacation Bible school) this past week.  However, there were different shifts for younger and older kids.  Simon went during the day and Peter went in the evenings, which meant four trips a day into town for drop-offs and pick-ups, not counting trips into town for other reasons (grocery shopping, library, immunizations for Peter).  Don was super busy and stressed as he was preparing for a major work event Thursday night, so I did most of the driving.  Poor Clara had to have her nap schedule shifted around because of it and didn’t get as much of my attention as usual.  Wednesday night was a Totus Tuus potluck, which was fun but meant that Simon and Clara were up past their usual bedtimes (and Simon was already tired from all the stimulation of day camp).  Thursday night was Don’s work event; the kids and I made an appearance there before I had to drop off Peter at Totus Tuus and get Simon and Clara home and to bed.  Yesterday (Friday), my dad arrived in the late afternoon.  He is riding his motorcycle to Alaska; yesterday was the second day of his journey, as he started in southeastern Michigan.  Today we hung out with him and did some repairs on our RV; we’re leaving tomorrow for a short trip and my dad will be heading off in the opposite direction.  I would rather stay home and relax for a couple days instead before “Valentine” (the orphan we’re hosting this summer, not his real name) arrives on Tuesday, but Valentine can’t leave the United States while he is with us, so we’re taking a quick trip to Canada while we can.  We’ll be picking Valentine up from the airport on our way back home.  I can imagine that it will blow his mind to be picked up from the airport in an RV.  I did say in the welcome letter I wrote to him (which one of Don’s colleagues helped translate into Russian and which he will receive tomorrow) that it’s a two-hour drive from the airport to our house, and I showed our house in the video I made for him, so he should understand that we don’t live in the RV, but I’m sure it will still be somewhat shocking.

I plan to share the hosting experience here on my blog.  Realistically, though, it’s hard enough to find time to blog now, and I’m sure I’ll be even more tired when I have another child–and one who speaks little English and is not used to living in a family setting–to take care of.  So I’m not making any promises as to the frequency of blog posts or the level of detail that will be forthcoming.


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My 30th birthday was on Sunday, the 28th.  I didn’t have any special plans for it; I don’t care that much about my birthday.  (I remember when I was working as a grocery store cashier in Alaska–a summer job since I was a substitute teacher during the school year–and my co-workers were surprised that I worked on my birthday.  It was a day of the week that I usually worked; why would I bother requesting it off?)  The most I did was buy some candles and decide on a type of cake for Don and Peter to make for me.

The day before my birthday, we went to our local mall.  We had a race: Don and Peter biked there (Peter on the Trail-A-Bike) and I went in the car.  It’s less than a kilometer away, so they actually beat me, because I had to stop at two lights and they took a shortcut.  I browsed around the library while they bought me a birthday present and stowed it in the trunk of the car, then they rode home and I did some grocery shopping (putting the groceries in the back seat so I wouldn’t see my present).  They made the cake that afternoon.  After Peter went to bed, Don gave me an envelope with a gift certificate for a day off without Peter, but with Don.  The certificate didn’t tell me what we were doing, other than that we needed to be at a certain address in Chatham (a two hour drive away) at 10 am.

In the morning, after breakfast, we had birthday cake and I opened my presents.  They gave me chocolate, bubble bath, and a bath pillow.  Then we headed to Chatham, where the address turned out to be a Tim Hortons.  We waited a few minutes for Don’s mom to show up and she took Peter.  Don then gave me a second envelope, which contained tickets for a show in Stratford called “Ever Yours, Oscar.”  We drove home and packed, then drove to Stratford and got there just in time for the 2 pm show.  It was a dramatic reading of excerpts of letters written by Oscar Wilde.  We had “stage pillow seating.”  I’ve never heard of such a thing before.  We actually sat on the stage on pillows.  They were the cheapest seats, but in my opinion, we had the best view in the house.  There were only 15 pillow seats and we were the second couple to arrive, so we got to sit right in front.  The show was entertaining and gave me a better understanding of Oscar Wilde.  After the show, I opened the third enevelope, which contained a certificate for “a relaxing and romantic evening with her favourite guy” with a note at the bottom, “Over 5 years old.”  It had details on where we were spending the night–in a boutique hotel in downtown Stratford.  We checked in to our gorgeous room.  It had a view of the river,  a fireplace (that looked like an aquarium), a king-size bed, and a jacuzzi.  We went out for an amazing dinner at an Italian/Mediterranean restaurant, then spent the evening enjoying ourselves in our room.  (Note: jacuzzi + bubble bath = LOTS of bubbles)  We had to be up early in the morning in order to pick up Peter again, but before we left, I had a fantastic breakfast of mixed fruit on top of homemade granola on top of yogurt and some peppermint tea.  All in all, it was a truly memorable birthday and a wonderful surprise from my incredible husband.

Yesterday was Canada Day.  It was my first Canada Day in Ontario, though not my first in Canada (I was in Quebec for Canada Day in 1999 and in British Columbia in 2001).  I nixed the idea of going to fireworks since we just went to the big fireworks show in Windsor a week ago.  Don wanted to go to a historical re-enactment thing, but the weather looked lousy so we gave up on that idea.  We ended up riding our bikes to the mall for pizza for lunch (the mall was closed but the pizza place was open) and there was a clearance sale on flowers and other gardening stuff going on in the mall parking lot.  I’d been wanting to plant some flowers next to our front door, so I came back with the car and got some red and white impatiens and white petunias (going with a Canadian patriotic color scheme in honor of the day).  I planted the flowers and did my best to hack at our overgrown bush with a pair of scissors (how I missed the hedge trimmer we sold in our garage sale!).  Now my landscaping is complete and I’m glad that the area I have to tend is not any larger.

I’m finding a reasonable balance between getting things done around the house, spending quality time with Peter and Don, and doing things for myself.  I’m enjoying the stay-at-home-mom-for-the-summer thing.  Peter and I have been going to the library once a week, going grocery shopping about every four or five days, going to the playground when the weather is decent (which hasn’t been often–it’s been gray and damp or raining often), doing math and reading lessons, and this week I started doing a read-aloud of a chapter book (in three days, we’ve read the first three chapters of The Wheel on the School by Meindert DeJong).  Next week, Peter starts his swimming lessons–they’ll be on Tuesdays and Thursdays for the rest of July.  I’m a little nervous about how that will go, considering how much he dislikes having his face get wet, but we’ll see.

One final note is that we are having a blast with the Wii Fit that I got for my birthday from my parents.  It has so many different games and activities and is fun to use–you forget that you are exercising!  Don is on it right now as I type.

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