Sunday, April 22, 2012

A Month in the Life... February 2012

It was a busy month (which month isn't, really)! Between multiple trips to the Children's Museum, Valentine's Day, and our Oscar party, we were jumping here at Casa Burton!

Sophie put on a dance performance in the dining room, and decided that she needed a greater audience than Mom and Dad. Her solution? A crowd of animals, complete with fan signs chanting her name. Are we in trouble as she gets older?

Our cat Gabby, loving up one of Sophie's tiny stuffed animals (one that didn't make the "fan club" cut above). Don't be fooled: she's loving enough, but this particular lion had been exposed to catnip before being handed over...

Winter in Canada = skating time! We're enjoying skating as part of the school curriculum, so Sophie and her friend laced up their skates and put on their helmets all month long in gym class... a great way to improve their skills!

Much to Sophie's disappointment, our previous next door neighbours moved this month. Their 3 kids and Sophie would play constantly - they were over in our yard at least a few times a week. We've welcomed new neighbours though, who (while childless - a big detractor in Sophie's book) seem lovely... this was the "welcome to the neighbourhood" card I slipped into their mailbox.

Puppy love... we've all had puppy on the brain lately. I'm not sure what's causing it, but we've all been talking about "when we get a dog"... the mind set wasn't helped by the day we spent at the Children's Museum in February, when ARF came with lots of puppies to love up. Sigh...

Baking bread is great any time of year, but when the wind whips and the thermometer drops below 0, it really seems appropriate! These two loves were baked to accompany a nice lasagne dinner... mmmmm!

With a family membership to the Children's Museum, we're very much regulars. One weekend in February we thought it would be fun to turn our regular family date into a playdate for Sophie, and we invited two of her friends along! Sophie, Olivia and Julia clearly "got into" this Egyptian exhibit!

February = Oscar Night!  We glammed up and welcomed friends over for our yearly party celebrating the glitz and glam of tinseltown! It was a fun night... good food, good friends, and lots of little golden men!

Teresa, one of our VIP's, makes the most of her photo op on the way in the door on Oscar night. Next year, we're trying to figure out how to incorporate a cheering crowd... 


A Month in the Life... January 2012

Well, it's come to this: we're too gosh-darned busy out there living life to sit down in front of the computer and blog about it! In an effort to compromise, I'm going to keep our little blog up and running, by under the guise of a monthly snapshot instead of a weekly or daily one. Still a wonderful way to keep up with friends and family far and wide, but not enough of a time commitment that I can't keep up with it. So that said: what happened with the Burton family in January 2012?

 Summer and Sophie went to the JLC to see "Disney Live!"... our little princess naturally wanted to dress the part!

We took advantage of some of the rare snowy days of this odd Canadian winter by getting out there and playing whenever possible! 

Chris practiced his photography skills, both with friends and on his own... he's getting to be quite the shutterbug! 

We laughed. Cause this is us... in our most natural state! 

 We cheered on the London Knights at a home game at the JLC (and despite the smile on my face, they played well under their capabilities that night... sigh!)

Chris and Summer spent an evening at the London Food & Wine show, a belated anniversary "date". Wonderful... it was fun visiting all our favourite wineries without having to drive to Niagara! 

Summer and her mother Pamela went on a long-planned cruise, to celebrate Pamela's perseverance through her recent health challenges. With a perfect cabin aboard Royal Caribbean's Navigator of the Seas, they had a wonderfully adventurous and yet relaxing week away...

Summer, raising a toast to Chris, who sent the lovely cheese and fruit tray and bottle of wine that she and Pamela enjoyed as the ship sailed out of Fort Lauderdale. There couldn't have been a more perfect bon voyage present from her honey back home...

Pamela, sipping a "Bahama Mama" aboard the sailing ship Random Wind in St. Maarten. A slice of heaven, without a doubt.

Walking the canopied path around the walled city of Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. It's a wonderful city with an amazing history and enough diverse architecture to keep your neck craning upwards while you walk the cobblestone streets. Fantastic. 

 Some of the amazing architecture of San Juan, Puerto Rico. Summer and Pamela enjoyed a walking tour that included a progressive lunch at several small local restaurants while stopped here, and both are ready to go back at the drop of a hat!

 The final stop of the cruise, Labadee Haiti, a private peninsula run by Royal Caribbean. White sand, plentiful swimming, blue skies, attentive staff, and ample opportunities to enjoy a "Labadoozie", the local speciality. We found lots of little slices of heaven on this trip actually!


 Summer is an avid member of Cruise Critics, and was excited to have the opportunity to meet with several other members during what's known as a "cabin crawl" - with several different classes of cabin to explore (including the Royal Suite!) we had a blast travelling around and getting to know one another...



Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Week in the Life... September 13 to 19

If you're quiet and head for the back half of Woodland cemetery, you're quite likely to see several deer...
.
...but only if you're VERY lucky will you stumble across the mythical Sophie-doe!
.
Feeling fancy... I made Salmon & spinach Mille-Feuille for dinner one night this week - delicious!
.
Park(ing) Day London... the Museum of Curiosities spot hosted by CityLights. My personal fave was the mummy...
.
Yup... anarchy is about to rein. Guy Fawkes and Guy Fawkes Jr. at the spot hosted by the London Short Film Showcase...
.
Sophie chats with her new little friend, a stuffed Echidna she was given at the "Day in the Park" booth hosted by (who else?) Echidna Solutions Corp.
.
Sophie and I having a right giddy time at the Yo Gabba Gabba concert... what a wacky experience!
.
Sophie and her friend Aideen at Aideen's little sister Keelin's birthday party on Sunday
.
After starting the week quietly with a walk in Woodland Cemetery looking for deer, I'm swept up in a wave of volunteering once again... I do seem to keep recreating this situation. After spending last weekend working furiously on the school newsletter I chaired a meeting for the newsletter committee, attended a meeting for the South Collegiate Alumni Association, and hosted a coffee drop-in at school. Busy, busy... but I still had time to enjoy lots of Sophie-centered events this week too.
.
We spent part of Friday exploring Park(ing) Day, an event that challenges our car-focused way of life by reclaiming downtown parking spaces and re-imagining them as people-focused spaces. In one of my favourite spaces they had even carpeted the parking spot with sod to create a real grass surface, and set up park benches, plants, and a generally very inviting environment. I noticed several people stopping by just to relax, even if they weren't taking part in Park(ing) Day. At another space Sophie and one of the Park(ing) Day hosts build a Lego masterpiece in a reclaimed parking spot they rechristened "LEGO SPACE!" - it was a great, think-outside-the-box creative endeavor.
.
Saturday was spent at the much-anticipated Yo Gabba Gabba Live concert at the John Labatt Centre. If you're not familiar with Yo Gabba Gabba, it's quite the kids show phenomenon... and it's also completely nutty. I couldn't possibly explain it clearly, but I'll attempt to sum up: An orange-jump suit and fuzzy hat wearing dude named "DJ Lance" walks around with his magic boom box, then opens it up to reveal a set of five strange alien-like creatures that live inside... they dance and sing and generally horse around before climbing back in the boom box again. They sing about such riveting challenges as eating all your vegetables (There's a Party in my Tummy!) and welcome special guest that constantly surprise me (Sean Kingston, Elijah Wood, Jimmy Eat World!) It's surreal, and kinds psychedelic, and a heck of a lot of fun. Chris and I generally take turns sharing kids concerts with Sophie... I took her to Playhouse Disney Live, he took her to see The Wiggles, and I have to say I think I lucked out being the one to take her to Yo Gabba Gabba Live - I haven't laughed that hard in a while!
.
We rounded out our week with a birthday party and good long playtime at The Children's Museum, making for a great kid-centered end to a pretty exciting week for us...
.

A Week in the Life... September 6 to 12

Sargent Sophie pretends to radio her dispatcher Dad on OPP Family Day
.
One of the many OPP Family Day demonstrations... the Tactics and Rescue Unit shows off their rappelling skills (upside down!)
.
Sophie participates in the Bike Rodeo at OPP Family Day - she passed with flying colours!
.
How is it possible we've arrived at the first day of school already???
.
Sophie and Rowan watch their "witches brew" bubble... nothing like baking soda, vinegar and food colouring to entertain!
.
Sophie and Rhys show off their "robot", complete with the instructions for making it (which Sophie's displaying.) Two prouder kids I've never seen...
.
Yay for family fondu night!
.
The official "end of summer" is upon us (let's all say BOO!) with the arrival of Labour Day and the start of school. As usual, Chris's work held their annual "Family Day" event on Labour Day, giving us the opportunity to see displays from many of the OPP's different departments including the K9 Unit, Emergency Response Team, Tactics and Rescue Unit (shown rappelling above), Ministry of Natural Resources and more. This year Sophie was able to participate in the Bike Rodeo, with her "big girl bike", which made her quite proud... and she and Chris enjoyed hot dogs while watching the K9 unit demonstrate suspect take-downs and their dog's ability to sniff out drugs concealed in household items like flashlights and tools. Great fun for all!
.
The start of school... wow. Sophie's now in Senior Kindergarten, which makes her feel awfully special - some of the younger siblings of friends that were in her class last year are just coming to school as JK students, so she's able to help "show them the ropes". We're so lucky that she loves school the way she does - no scenes of hiding behind Mom at the school doors, or crying as she's being led in, thank goodness. With the start of her school year, so begins mine... my "full time volunteerism" has begun again, with meetings this week to discuss upcoming Curriculum Presentations, to help Home & School develop a parent survey, with the Principal to discuss School Council for the year, and with the Thames Valley Parent Involvement Council to discuss grant applications and the upcoming Director's Forum. A busy year for all of us has just begun...
.

A Week in the Life... August 30 to September 5

Reason # 451 that parenthood is interesting: after prepping dinner I walked into the living room where Sophie was watching TV to find her pretty much covered in Kleenex. Her explanation? "I was a little bit chilly..."
.
Sophie and her newly-won stuffed donkey prepare for a helicopter ride at the CNE
.
Truly mind-blowing sand sculptures were some of the many artistic and creative endeavors we saw at the CNE
.
My little ham checks herself out in the hall of mirrors
.
Having a little visit with one of the President's Choice "Super Dogs" after the show. Looks like all that performing has worn the dog out!
.
Sophie's last appointment with Beth at the Thames Valley Children's Centre. We'll miss going, and so appreciate all the work Beth has done helping Sophie with her speech.
.
This week's big event was our family trip to the CNE in Toronto... neither Chris nor I have been there since we were kids, and we thought it would be an awesome thing to do with Sophie. As soon as we pinned down a date we called our friends Heather and Barrett in Toronto to see if they might be free, and they were able to join us in the evening - it made the day simply perfect. It was mind-blowing... so much to do and see everywhere you turned. And I have to say, although it was expensive, you got so much more for your money than we get at London's Western Fair. Admission tickets to the CNE were only $4 more than the Fair, and all the shows were free once we got inside... we saw stage shows with cartoon characters Sophie likes, the President's Choice Super Dogs, an ice-capades style skating show, and even Bedouin Soundclash in concert without paying a dime over and above our admission price. As you can tell just from the list of shows it was a busy day... add sight-seeing in many of the arts-themed buildings, eating both lunch and dinner, going on rides, checking out the huge agricultural building, and visiting with our friends, we were exhausted by the end. I have to give Sophie huge credit for her ability to handle it though... we arrived at 11am and didn't leave until 10pm (11 hours!) and she was still going strong by the end. Not even the torrential downpours that hit several times during the day got her down!
.
This week also marks Sophie's last appointment with Beth at the Thames Valley Children's Centre. Sophie's been going to the TVCC since she was 2, when we identified that she had some challenges with her speech. Beth and the Speech Pathology staff at the centre have been wonderful to work with, and their sessions in combination with our work at home have really helped Sophie work learn and practice the sounds that don't come naturally to her - she's come a long way, and we'll miss seeing Beth's smiling face now that our time at the TVCC is done!
.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

A Week in the Life... August 23-29

Sophie's earnest letter to the tooth fairy, complete with illustration of a tooth that's sad because it's been lost. Note the little tooth fairy to the right - I bet she'll find it.
.
My Cooking Club Challenge entry, Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese salad. Isn't it pretty?
.
One of the many interactive displays at McCully's Hill Farm, and old-fashioned corn de-kerneler. Sophie had a blast running the cobs of corn through the contraption and watching the kernels fly!
.
Are we spoiled or what? Our lunch from SPLAT-fest... sun dried tomato and feta on puff pastry, fresh garden tomato stuffed with couscous salad, and colourful heirloom tomatoes with locally produced goat cheese... top it all off with a glass of Cave Springs wine and life is good!
.
Sophie enjoys the children's area at McCully's Hill Farm
.
Sophie took "losing a tooth" to a whole new level this week... she told me that one of her teeth was loose, and that very afternoon (while I was out for a lovely lunch with my friend Meagan from California) it popped out. Unfortunately for her, it happened while she and Chris were sitting in front of the corner store, enjoying ice cream... the tooth apparently fell out of her mouth and into the gravel near where they were sitting, and despite Chris's efforts, it just couldn't be found. Poor Sophie was so concerned that the tooth fairy wouldn't come since there was no actual tooth to put under her pillow - so she drew a picture of the tooth instead, and dictated a letter for me to write the tooth fairy in explanation. Before bed we tucked the letter under her pillow and guess what? Turns out the tooth fairy is pretty understanding about these things... and Sophie found a toonie waiting under her pillow in the morning.
.
For the past few months I've been participating in a foodnetwork.ca event called the Cooking Club Challenge... each month a recipe formerly featured on a Food Network show is chosen by members, and then everyone makes it. We take pictures of the finished product, talk about how we may have changed the recipe to suit our tastes, and generally chat about the process and the end results. I enjoy participating not only to get cooking tips, but because it challenges me to make dishes that I otherwise wouldn't think of... this month's chosen recipe is a great example of that. It's Lynn Crawford's Roasted Beet & Goat Cheese Salad - don't get me wrong, I love a good salad, but with beets? I just never think of cooking them. In my mind beets remain those little cubes covered in purple syrup that come from a can. I used to have them at my Grandmother's house and thought they were great when I was five, but I grew up and now think of them much like I think of bologna or Pogos... kinda yucky kid-related food. So this was a great challenge for me, and I really loved the results - I'll be adding this recipe to my go-to salads for sure! To make it that much nicer, the picture of my beet salad was used on foodnetwork.ca's main page as the link to the Cooking Club Challenge section of the website. My beets are famous!
.
Speaking of food, we spent a wonderful afternoon at McCully's Hill Farm in St. Mary's this weekend, enjoying SPLATfest, their annual Tomato Festival. Tomato target practice, heirloom tomato and cheese tastings, horse drawn wagon rides, canning demos, live music and more... it was a wonderful way to wrap up the week, and enjoy one of the last weekends of the summer.
.

A Week in the Life... August 16-22

Time to say goodbye to my Dad - thanks for a wonderful visit and we're already looking forward to next time!
0
The three musketeers in Victoria Park, exploring and feeding squirrels...
0
Without a doubt, the kids ate far more peanuts than the squirrels did!
0
Play time in the shark pool - despite the water being "straight from the hose" cool, everyone had a blast!
0
Mmmmm... that "new baby smell"... there's nothing in the world like it.
0
How obvious is it that Sophie's asking "Can we get a bunny??? PLEASE????"
0
My little honey and I at Heather's bridal shower. Sophie was starting to get a bit tired of watching presents being opened without being able to open any herself!
0
Sophie and "Red Haired Grandma" enjoy snuggles over breakfast at The Farmer's Kitchen
0
Another busy week - it's no wonder the summer is flying by so fast! Chris and Sophie spent some extra time at Tecumseh this week, as we volunteered for the annual summer watering program. So much naturalization work has been done on the school grounds that it's important to keep it watered and cared for throughout the year - not just when the kids are in school. Luckily there's a great group of parents and community members who volunteer to be "in charge" of the school yard's upkeep for one week each summer - it takes the pressure off the organizer of the naturalization project and allows a large group of people to feel a real sense of ownership and connectedness to the flowers, plants, trees and gardens at the school. It's also a lot of work, and I commend Chris and all the other volunteers for giving it their all - the yard looks lush and wonderful thanks to all your hard work!
0
Unfortunately we had to say goodbye to my Dad this week... it's been great having him here but real life beckoned and he had to head back to Montreal. After we dropped him off at the train station I took Sophie, Rhys and Rowan down to Victoria park to explore and feed the squirrels, one of my personal favourite simple and old-fashioned activities. The kids had a blast and wore themselves out - but not enough that they couldn't come home and splash around like crazy in our little shark pool!
0
My youngest cousin Heather is getting married this fall (you may recall I blogged about making their wedding invitations earlier), and this weekend was her bridal shower. Unfortunately Chris had to work, so Sophie and I made the long drive by ourselves. We made the best of it, stopping both on the way up and back at a few cool places to stretch our legs and either picnic or shop, and I made the trip on so much more sleep than last time that it felt like a breeze! We stayed with my cousin Sandy and her family which currently includes a five-week-old foster baby, so I got a much needed dose of "new baby smell" in addition to a really great visit with her. Throughout the weekend we dearly enjoyed spending time with not only my cousins but my Mom, Grandfather, Aunt and Uncle. Family: they feed the soul, they really do.
0