Sunday, May 31, 2009

Photo(s) of the Day May 31st

Quai Du Vin, an unexpected stop on our Sunday drive... This old sign was hung on the back side of a barn on the property, and I liked it's "weathered" look even more than the professional-looking sign out front!

Sophie and Mommy strike a pose in front of some out-of-commission oak barrels on the terrace.

Sophie takes the lead on our self-guided tour of the vineyard...

They've done a beautiful job with their landscaping, with lots of water features... we watched the tadpoles swimming around in this pond for quite a while!
A beautiful Sunday... the perfect day for a family drive. We took off in the late morning headed to Port Stanley, with the idea of buying fresh lake perch from one of the local fish markets on the pier. On the way: a nice distraction when we saw the sign for Quai Du Vin Estate Winery and decided to take a detour. The winery is lovely and we took Sophie on an impromptu tour of the vineyard, pointing out the difference between older vines and newer, and measuring the growth of the vines in different areas of the vineyard. Along the way were an awful lot of great photo opportunities, so today's "photo of the day" became plural... I'll have to scrapbook these and some of the other unposted photos - they're both great creative inspiration and wonderful memories. 

Photo of the Day May 30th

We were off to Farmer Jack's for fresh veggies today, as we're trying our hardest to buy local produce. I've done a tiny bit of reading about the 100-mile diet and would like to learn more about how to incorporate that philosophy into our eating style, especially being a vegetarian living in South-Western Ontario (I don't relish the idea of surviving on cold cellared root vegetables all winter!) Heading out of the market with some amazing looking organic asparagus, I couldn't help but notice their Canadian flag flying proudly above the parking lot... such a beautiful sight, especially backed by the clear blue sky. We drove away feeling a bit like patriotic locavores - It's a start... it's a start!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Photo of the Day May 29th

This afternoon Tecumseh Public School held their annual Fun Fair, a great community event featuring music, a silent auction, a barbecue, and lots of fun games for the kids. One of the highlights for Sophie was the giant Bouncy Castle, where a very long wait in line paid off with some fun bouncing time... between that and her dinner of hot dogs and ice cream, I'm pretty sure the Tecumseh Fun Fair will go down as one of the most exciting evening outings in her recent memory! Aside from the absolute soaking we got when a thunderstorm moved in suddenly, I think all the adults had a great time too... 

Photo of the Day May 28th

Continuing the "Circle R Ranch" theme from yesterday: I mentioned that the goats at the ranch were a particular hit with the kids, and one of Sophie's favourite goats was this one - at her request it's our photo of the day today. Although the goat with the tennis balls on his horns was funny, this one had a nicer face. She says he's "smiling at her", and I can't disagree - he looks like such a happy little guy! 

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Photo of the Day May 27th

Today was a day of "firsts" for Sophie... her first school field trip, her first ride on a big yellow school bus, her first hay ride and the first time she's petted a chicken. Her preschool, Calvary Nursery School, took the kids to Circle R Ranch where they spent the morning learning about potbellied pigs, goats, chickens and horses. Sophie and the other kids got to touch or pet lots of different farm animals, laughed themselves silly at the goat with tennis balls on the tips of his horns (just in case he started feeling feisty with the kids around), and enjoyed pony rides. Chris was able to accompany the class as a chaperone, and it was so much fun to hear about their shared adventure when they got home from school today - a great memory for them to share.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Photo of the Day May 26th

I've been feeling under the weather today... a horribly sore tummy, aching back, and general "yuck" vibe all around. As any other stay-at-home parents will tell you, there is no such thing as a "sick day" when you're looking after kids and keeping a house. I often joke that the commercial where a woman struggles with getting dressed for work despite her horrible cold and finally ditches her business-wear for pyjamas and snuggles into bed with a book (taking a "Benelyn Day" as the commercial claims) looks like heaven to me - the idea of actually taking a day off when you feel like crap is such a luxury. Although I can't afford to take the day off, I'm so lucky to have an understanding husband... Chris picked up far more than his fair share of the household work today, despite having to go into work for a 10-hour shift tonight. He fed Sophie breakfast, got her dressed for the day, threw in a load of laundry, did some dishes and even prepped dinner before leaving for work. With his support, a day that seemed almost unmanageable at one point became so much easier... thank you sweetheart, for being such a great husband, helper, and daddy. I love you. 

Photo of the Day May 25th

Sophie and I were playing out in the yard today, pretending to be flamingos looking for shrimp to eat so our feathers would turn pink. Although it can be exhausting, I love how she comes up with these imaginary games... I'm blown away by how she takes the new information she's learned and reinforces it through play. At one point in our game she grabbed this small bunch of flowers from the bush in front of our porch and brought them to me saying "I love you mommy flamingo!", and she rested her head on my shoulder. 
Awe, there really are just no words to say... no way to explain to her how much I love my "baby flamingo", as a human or any of the other forms she takes!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Photo of the Day May 24th

I've always been a fan of interesting jewelry. Whether it's something "little velvet box" worthy, a "turn your skin green" bauble, or a vintage necklace that belonged to my grandmother... if it appeals to me it becomes a favourite, pretty much forever. One of the pieces on constant rotation is an wonderful bracelet sent to me by my girlfriend Angéline - it's got multiple strands of pretty beads, all strung together and connected with a set of long filigreed bars. With beads in a wide variety of colours it matches pretty much anything I wear, and has the added bonus of entertaining Sophie... she likes to spin it around looking for the little pink, heart-shaped beads. My favourite part? Every time I wear it I think of my wonderful friend... it makes her feel a bit closer even though we're geographically far apart. Thanks Angéline!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Photo of the Day May 23rd

While tomorrow is actually our niece Courtney's sweet sixteen, we had a family get-together this evening to celebrate so she could spend the "official" day with her friends at Canada's Wonderland. It was a nice mix of grandparents, parents and kids and everyone had a lot of fun... I was going to suggest that the abundance of energetic games in Mary's yard could be explained by six kids under sixteen years old, but I have to say some of the adults got in on the fun just as much as the kids did (Uncle Al, I'm talking to you!) I'm not sure where the hockey sticks came from, but apparently Uncle Al thinks they make a great accessory when playing hide-and-seek-tag... yikes!

Photo of the Day May 22nd

I so often have the camera out when the kids are out playing in the yard, because in addition to being my daughter's own personal paparazzi, I also like taking photos of the little boys I look after. Aside from the fact I think they're some of the most perfect and charming boys on the face of the earth, I also know that when I'm apart from Sophie I want to know what she's been up to - what sort of things she's done during the day, games she's played, etc. What better way to provide that for Rhys and Rowan's parents than having a camera at the ready to capture some of our daily fun? This shot is one of those moments... we had the sprinkler out on the lawn for the kids to run through, and I snapped this great shot of Rowan on the move, soaking wet from the "rain" as he was calling it. Sweet childhood moments like these too often pass by without us taking the time to appreciate them... I'm grateful for my always-handy camera and for having started this blog, which together give me the perfect excuse to capture these moments and hold onto them, not just in my heart.

Photo of the Day May 21st

Two of what I've been calling "mystery tulips" have recently bloomed on our lawn... they're right next to the path leading to our front porch and are clearly very different breeds from one another. One is red with sharply pointed petals (shown above), and the other is yellow with a feathery red boarder and round petals. Not only did we not plant these tulips, but ones we have planted (all the way around in the back yard) are a completely different breed again. Although these two flowers are completely out of place just sprouting up randomly on our lawn, I can't bring myself to pick them... Sophie has been enjoying a daily check on the mystery tulips that includes trying to figure out exactly what time of day they go from being closed to open. She also waters them regularly... a good little gardener-in-the-making I seem to have on my hands!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Photo(s) of the Day May 20th

How would your face look if you were disappointed that Santa didn't bring you a present?
How would your face look if you were hearing something that made you happy (like mommy coming home after being out?)
How would your face look if I snuck up behind you and yelled "boo!!!"?
How would your face look if you were really sad?
We've been talking with Sophie a lot lately about emotions, and how people look when they're happy, sad, etc. Those conversations lead to some fun games where we try to make our faces look like the emotion that one of us calls out... I recently brought my camera out to capture some of those amazing faces.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Photo of the Day May 19th

I felt we lost much of the Victoria Day long weekend this year because Chris worked Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings - it was impossible for us to plan a road trip or other big family event when he was either sleeping off his last shift or getting ready for the next one. Today we decided to make up for it by doing a real holiday-weekend-style road trip (despite the fact that it's Tuesday); we went to Grand Bend for the afternoon. This kind of beach day is one of my favourites... it was beautifully warm(ish), sunny and the beach was almost deserted. Nothing to hear but the crash of the waves on the sand, and Sophie's laughter as she ran in and out of the surf. She found endless entertainment in picking up driftwood and stones and throwing them into the waves, watching for how quickly the driftwood would come floating back to shore. At one point Chris snuck one of her driftwood sticks away to write her name in the sand, and when she discovered it she told us she needed to walk all over it so her footprints would make the letters stick. So sweet.

Photo of the Day May 18th

Happy Victoria Day!
Chris and his mother revisited an old family tradition today by taking Sophie to Woodstock for their annual Victoria Day parade - he and his family used to drive down for the parade every year when Chris was a kid. It's a long-standing Woodstock tradition that's run for over 60 years, and in combination with the Victoria Day Carnival at Southside park makes for a great family outing. Sophie loved walking in her daddy's footsteps during this trip down memory lane... with marching bands and floats, playgrounds and merry-go-rounds it was a great way for Sophie, Daddy and Nanny to spend the day.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Photo of the Day May 17th

This afternoon was bright and clear, although a bit (okay a LOT) windy, and the beautiful sunshine inspired us to walk down to Tuckey's Home Hardware for some wood chips to smoke a pork shoulder on the barbecue. Sophie rode her bike while Chris and I walked, and although we got quite wind-blown we had a lovely time. After our stop at the hardware store (just outside of which a cherry tree is swiftly loosing its blossoms, scattering them across the sidewalk) we walked down Wortley Road and stopped for coffee and "the worlds best brownie" at the Little Red Roaster. I love living where we do... Old South London has everything we could ever want. We're surrounded by old trees and green spaces, quite close to downtown, surrounded by schools, and within walking distance of our bank, grocery store, library, pet store and about a hundred other places that make for either excellent window shopping or people watching. Talk about home sweet home...

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Photo of the Day May 16th

There was a little girl, with a little curl...
When Sophie arrived home from her sleepover at Aunt Mary's house I noticed two small changes. First, her toenails were bright fire engine red (wow!) and second, her hair was in ringlets. When I give Sophie a bath I almost always use the hairdryer on her hair, mostly to straighten her bangs a bit and also because it makes her laugh. When she had a bath at Mary's this morning I think her hair air dried - and it makes such a difference in her curls it's amazing. Instead of the mass of fluffy curls that she normally runs out of the bathroom with, she's got these amazingly tight spiral ringlets. Next time I give her a bath I'm going to be tempted to dry only her bangs and see if I can recreate that Shirley Temple inspired 'do again!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Photo of the Day May 15th

What started as a busy day has melted into a quiet evening. I woke up late this morning (that double edged sword of the extra sleep feeling so good but being hating the resulting rush) and the day passed quickly in a blur of grocery shopping, doctor's appointments, housework and cooking. Now that evening has fallen, Sophie is at her Aunt's house enjoying a sleepover and Chris is at work, which means that I have the very quiet house all to myself. As usual, I felt fidgety for the first couple of hours so I busied myself with exciting activities like cleaning the litter box tidying up Sophie's room... but that feeling has passed and I'm relaxed and truly enjoying the quiet time to myself with a book and a glass of wine. I even lit all my pretty scented candles, the ones I usually put on when company's coming over, just for me. Cheers!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Photo of the Day May 14th

Our friend Rowan is here today, and has been following Sophie around like a puppy dog... Sophie is in turn charmed by how much he wants to be with her and do what she's doing, and then frustrated that she can't seem to get a moment to herself (hmmm... I can't possibly relate!) To be fair, she's been following him around today too - each time we've changed his diaper today she felt the need to lay right down next to him so they could play while I took care of business. I snapped this shot immediately following one of those diaper changes... clearly during one of the moments where they were both quite happy to be doing the same thing at the same time!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Photo of the Day May 13th

... which isn't actually a photo at all, but a video. A first for our Photo-of-the-Day!

Prior to closing two months ago, the Embassy Hotel in London's Old East Village was an alternative music hot spot, featuring both up-and-coming local and well established National and International punk and metal bandsAside from its long musical history, its exterior is well known to Londoners for an amazing collection of graffiti art and tile work, some of which was expected to be preserved when the building was demolished to make way for a new 150 unit high rise condo. It looks like that preservation isn't to be, as the Embassy hotel went up in flames last night... Chris was nearby and caught some of the action for posterity.

Photo of the Day May 12th

Sophie is one happy kid. Now, I'm not trying to fool the world into thinking that she's all smiles and chuckles with not a drop of temper (believe me, the whole "fiery redhead" myth will not be dispelled by her) but she's got a smile on her face and an easy laugh most of the time. She's just so into whatever we're doing, whether its washing vegetables for dinner, working on a project or (more often than not) playing some creative imagination game where we're being bunnies... she really seems to be enjoying all the experiences that life has to offer. A good example - Sophie walking to a restaurant with her cousins Brandon and Courtney. They're not doing anything in particular, not playing a funny game or telling stories... they're just together, and that togetherness is so wonderful to Sophie that her smile lights up the whole parking lot. I hope she keeps finding joy in those little things... it's such a beautiful gift.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Photo of the Day May 11th

I see you!
When Sophie and I were playing around with the camera yesterday we snapped a couple of up-close shots of ourselves, including this rather cool (I think) photo of my eye. I've stared into Sophie's eyes many times since she was born and I know their facets inside-out... the same can be said of Chris's (what with that that loving gazing we've done at each other in the past 11 years.) But I don't think I've ever really looked closely at the iris of my own eye... it makes me smile to see much of Sophie's colour in that green-flecked blue.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Photo(s) of the Day May 10th

Happy Mother's Day everyone!
My daughter Sophie and I are spending the day together, just the two of us. We've done exactly nothing all day long. Ate breakfast and lunch, played some games, pretended to be bunnies and foxes, played some more games, took some photos. We're heading out to dinner tonight at Red Lobster with Chris, his mom and sisters... a nice mom's get-together to round out the day.
I'm sending much love to my own mother... I wish we could be together today, but since we can't I hope she knows I'm thinking about her and sending love across the miles. Sophie and I have called her twice to leave messages on her answering machine and we look forward to chatting with her after dinner. I hope you all have a chance to wish a very happy Mother's Day to all the moms and mother figures in your life today!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Photo of the Day May 9th

Wine has been on my mind lately. No, I'm not developing a "problem" or anything, its actually a combination of an upcoming class I've created called "Wine-y Wednesdays" (where participants will decorate wine glasses and make wine charms) and a couple of really good meals we've had lately that paired well with wine. This evening we're going casual, enjoying some home-made burgers with sweet potato fries and a glass of Merlot. The bottle we opened, with its beautiful lion and crest detail shown here, is a French wine from Yvon Mau - it's gentle and smooth with a nice berry finish... it should meld well with the slight spiciness of the fries, which we seasoned with sea salt and Tandoori Marsala. Cheers!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Photo of the Day May 8th

At the end of our trip to the Children's Museum yesterday we made a stop in the gift shop. It's one of the few places that I really don't mind buying something to bring home because so many of their toys and games are both educational and reasonably priced. Sophie's choice today: Magic Bubbles, a very concentrated form of liquid that makes bubbles you can actually touch - they don't pop right away when they come in contact with surfaces. Naturally we broke them out this afternoon while playing in the backyard with our friend Rowan, and they were a hit! Here you see one of those very durable little bubbles resting on a blade of grass... pretty, and pretty cool!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Photo of the Day May 7th

Sophie and I had a "play date" at the London Regional Children's Museum this morning with our friends Matt (from preschool), his little brother Tyler and his mom Stephanie. The Children's Museum is a fantastic place for kids... there's just so much to do and see! We were particularly interested in the "Pack Your Bags" exhibit, which hit close to home since we've been talking so much lately about taking a family vacation on "the big white boat" in February... it was neat to look at (and play with) passport checking equipment, a hotel front desk, big rotating maps and more. The big hit with Sophie this trip was the Space exhibit, where you can "drive" a mock Mars Rover, climb aboard a Space Station, and even push buttons in Mission Control. This handsomely painted fellow watches over the Mars Rover, making sure you don't get lost I'm sure... 

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Photo of the Day May 6th

As part of my Stampin' Up business I teach crafting classes from my home - a great outlet and a wonderful opportunity to get together with other creative people and share what I love. I spent part of the morning creating samples for some of my upcoming classes, one of which is called "Wine-y Wednesdays". At this class attendees are invited over to my house to enjoy a glass of wine while we make two wine-themed projects - a set of two etched wine glasses (one of which is shown above) and a set of six wine charms. Interested in joining me? Throw me an email at or leave a comment after this posting to let me know!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Photo of the Day May 5th

Another busy day... I suppose I should stop writing that, since every day seems to be a busy one! After returning home from a meeting and lunch at my friend and newsletter co-editor Julie's house, Sophie and I spent quite a while out in the yard watering the new grass and playing. After that a trip to the grocery store and bank, the health food store and the LCBO... then finally home to make dinner. Tonight we had a tomato, basil and mozzarella tart (shown above, just before I put it in the oven) with Caesar Salad for dinner - lots of fresh flavours and some wonderful spring-time colours too. My mouth is still singing from the flavour of the garlic in the salad dressing!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Photo of the Day May 4th

One of my very favourite signs of spring are flowering magnolia trees... I'm completely entranced by them, their beauty, their colour, and even their short blooming time. They're like a special gift from nature that arrives every spring and reminds you to stop and really enjoy the beauty around you, because it doesn't always last. On our way to preschool this morning I noticed that the magnolia tree living about a block from our house is starting to fade... the tell-tale hints of brown are beginning to appear on the petals and a few have already fallen. I took a moment to take a picture, capturing their fleeting beauty before its gone again...

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Photo of the Day May 3rd

Mmmm... Sunday. And a beautiful Sunday to boot! It's been sunny and I've had all the doors open as I prepared tonight's dinner. We're having a traditional "Sunday Dinner", something that we don't do as often as I would like - it can be difficult with Chris's odd schedule, as many weeks he actually works on Sunday evening. But tonight we're all together, and will sit down over pork chops (and fish for me), corn on the cob, oven roasted rosemary potatoes, garlic-grilled asparagus and a home-made apple pie. Sophie's been my big helper in the kitchen today - she peeled all the apples for the pie, washed the potatoes, helped strip the rosemary from its stalk and blended up our marinades. Here, she's brushing the egg glaze on the top of the apple pie. I love my little helper, and we all love how the house smells when we bake an apple pie... sigh!

Photo of the Day May 2nd

Daddy and Sophie share a smile after finishing their meal at Tecumseh.

Last night was Tecumseh Community School's second annual "Multicultural Friendship Dinner", catered by the Canadian Council of Muslim Women. We went last year and enjoyed the sense of community, meeting new people, and enjoying some yummy international food - this year was much the same. The meal itself featured dishes from Trinidad and Tobago, Pakistan and India, and the crowd was diverse. We chatted with our neighbours at the very long dinner table, and Sophie made herself a new little friend named Catarina... a lovely night all around. 

Friday, May 1, 2009

Photo of the Day May 1st

It's been a fun, kid-filled day around our house... our friends Rhys and Rowan are here and chock full of energy, so we've been busy, busy, busy. Snapshot of 9am: fogging up the windows and drawing pictures in them. Snapshot of 10am: car races in the dining room. Snapshot of 11am: creative picture-making on the Light Bright. Snapshot of noon: racing coloured marbles down the front stairs (which can get quite competitive, actually). Snapshot of 1pm: stripping everyone of their dirty clothes out on the back porch. Snapshot of 2pm: finishing up lunch and getting ready for naps. Snapshot of 3pm: nap time (for 2 of the 3 anyway)... whew! Snapshot of 4pm: I hear stirring... which means I had better finish up this entry and get ready for more craziness! And since I can't possibly post all those snapshots, here are Sophie and Rhys sharing a laugh during our game of marbles. Those smiles make all the running around on these busy days worth it!