Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Knocking items off our to-do list

This is Liam's summer journal. I realize that it's upside down here, so allow me to translate. It reads:

"June 28, 2010
Caught first fish
Blue gill
I saw 10 swans
I saw a peacock
Caught my 2 fish

June 29, 2010
We fed fish"

In case it isn't obvious, Liam and Mallory spent Monday and Tuesday out at the park with Gramma and Grampa. I so wish I had been there to see this in person.(I would love it if Blogger offered the option to publish in strikethrough script, because the progress we've made on the list this week has really been something!)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

From the sidelines

Liam had some visitors at his soccer game last weekend... Cousin Ethan came to watch him.For some reason, that was really, really funny.Mallory wanted to hold Ethan during the game and when he went off to do something else, she came up and whispered in my ear, "Can I hold him again?" He is gaining on her quickly so we'll have to fit in the holding while we still can.It was a lot easier to get a good shot of one or the other of them, than it was to get one of the two of them together.

Monday, June 28, 2010


Last night as I was tucking Mallory into bed, she whipped her head back and cracked my nose. Loud enough for there to be an audible crack. And it hurt like hell - enough so that I was in tears. She said she was sorry and I said I was fine, but 15 minutes later, I heard her crying in her room. I went in and asked what was wrong and she said she was upset because I was crying after she said she was sorry. I explained to her that even mommies and daddies sometimes cry when they get hurt and that I knew it was an accident. I felt bad that she was taking it so hard, but strangely glad at the same time. It's nice to know that she has a conscience!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Relay For Life 2010

I was asked to photograph this year's Relay For Life, which took place a few weeks ago. I've finally sifted through everything... here are some highlights from my time there that night.

Relay For Life 2010

Friday, June 25, 2010

Cook Family Summer To-Do List

(Liam and Chad check out his school yearbook.)

We've spent some time over the past few weeks brainstorming a summer To-Do list. This is what we have so far. I think we can cross a few of these off already... we'll see how much progress we've made on the rest of them on Labour Day!

1. Go swimming (Mallory’s suggestion!)
2. Make homemade ice cream
3. Go camping
4. Throw a BBQ
5. Go rollerblading
6. Have a campfire in our backyard
7. Watch fireworks
8. Make s’mores
9. Make homemade lemonade
10. Go to Erieau
11. Go to a splash pad
13. Have a picnic
14. Go fishing
15. Take pictures in a field of flowers
16. Catch a frog
17. See Toy Story 3
18. Give ourselves pedicures
19. Learn to ride without training wheels
20. Go to Rondeau
21. Pick blueberries
22. Spot a moose
23. Celebrate the end of the school year with ice cream
24. Pedal boat around Lake Victoria
25. Catch a firefly
26. Go to the farmer’s market
27. Climb a tree
28. Build a sand castle
29. Read Charlotte’s Web as a bedtime story
30. Press flowers
31. Go to the Cone and Shake Shop
32. Invite friends over for a swim
33. Visit Fawn Island
34. Take a time-lapse night-sky photo
35. See Peter Pan at the Stratford Festival
36. Get Mallory out of Pull-Ups

(We knocked #23 off the list last night.)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Year one... done!!

Today was Liam’s last day of school. It really does feel like just yesterday we were walking him to school on his first day/everyone else’s second, with his homemade name tag pinned on and his too-small lunchbag. I don’t know where it all went.We’ve been giving next school year a lot of thought over the past few weeks. This year, Liam was a ‘B’ day student and we currently have a request in for him to switch to ‘A’ days next year. The driver behind this was the realization that the ‘A’ calendar lines up much better with our every-other-Friday-off routine. Having said that though, there are drawbacks. Number one, some of Liam’s best friends at Cindy’s have requested ̵ 6;B’ day status, meaning that he will not cross paths with them very often once the summer is over. Number two, he won’t have many friends from this year’s class in next year’s class. Back on the bright side, Mrs. Garrow will be an ‘A’ teacher next year, and we would love for him to have her again. Plus, most of the boys in his current class are senior kindergarteners who will be moving on next year anyway; switching him to ‘A’ days might put him in closer contact with more boys his own age.

As you can see, there are many reasons to both move him and to keep him where he is. I am really trying not to waffle on this decision and to simply let it play out from this point forward.To mark the end of the school year, we were invited to his classroom for a small pageant of sorts this week. I never did come up with a super-cool end-of-year treat, but Liam helped me put together some simple vanilla mini-cupcakes that went over well nonetheless……and then we went in and were treated to a ‘year in review’ show of sorts. The kids sang ‘Canada in My Pocket’ to recall their unit on the Olympics, ‘The Seed’ to summarize their study of plant life and ‘Five Green and Speckled Frogs’ to wrap their frog lessons. They counted by fives and tens. They showed us how they do the Macarena with the months of the year. Then the SK kids got their kindergarten diplomas and the J Ks got achievement certificates… and then it was snack time, and the day was over.(Liam gets all coy and shy whenever we come into the school. He has this face he makes for most of the song where it looks like he is sticking his tongue into his cheek to stop himself from smiling. I know that neither Chad or I are the most emotive people in the world, and so he comes by it naturally. But I hope that he one day learns that it is OK to smile!)Liam came home with his report card today and he’s officially moved on to SK next year. My mommy heart is proud and full to bursting. We will take him for ice cream to celebrate.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Better late than never

Father's Day has come and gone and I never did get any sort of tribute done. What can I say... we are experiencing our first 'the last week of school is nuts' year.Well, school only accounts for a small fraction of what's going on, but it's a long story.Here Chad is on Father's Day, opening one of the myriad of gifts he received from the kids. The jars they decorated at Cindy's contain candy and the paper bag above with the 'Please Keep Refrigerated' label is some homemade BBQ sauce that Liam made at school.In the background, you can see Captain polishing off the last of the pancakes, bacon and eggs we had for breakfast. Damn cat.These are the two best posed pictures of the day... gritted teeth and all. Please tell me this gets easier as the years go by!!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

One of my favourite times of the year

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Like she needed to ask

Last night, Mallory was being impossible at bedtime, getting up several times saying she had to pee, was too hot, was too cold, etc. In other words – stalling for time.

I took her for one last trip to the bathroom and told her she had better not get out of bed again. I tucked her into bed and as I did, she reached up to pull my cheek down to her, gave me a kiss and asked, “Do you still like me, mom?”

More than words can say, sweet pea.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Deja vu

On Sunday, our company’s annual Family Day took place at TJ Stables. (I have mentioned TJ Stables on here enough this past week that I am sure that anyone doing a Google search of the term will wind up on my site!) Although they were forecasting rain for the day, I checked the radar loop before we headed out, and it didn’t indicate any moisture in the area. Sure enough, the rain held off and the sun even came out for a bit to make for a great day.We were expecting large crowds so we arrived a few minutes early and planned to hit the popular attractions first. Things were not quite set up yet, so we strolled around. As luck would have it, we ran across the face painting lady, who invited us over to her gazebo. Liam and Mallory flipped through her pages of designs before settling on a cat and a fish…After the face painting, we went straight for the pony rides. Mallory was saying all morning that she wanted to ride Licorice, having heard that Liam rode him on Friday. Unfortunately for her, Licorice was taking a break on Sunday. She got to ride Nelson on her first go-round and Penny on her second.We visited the petting farm…And the inflatables…And then went for lunch. During lunch, they announced a scavenger hunt, so we decided to try that when we finished eating. The hunt was held in a large wooded pasture where trail rides pass through. On the list of items to collect were things like a pinecone, an acorn, etc., and then, a horse shoe. Knowing those horse shoes were out there just about drove me crazy. We walked around and around this pasture for about an hour looking for the damn horse shoes, and never did find one.

Not long after starting the scavenger hunt, Mallory needed to pee, so I hauled her back out to the port-a-john and then back into the pasture we went. When we had reached the far back corner of the pasture, she decided that she had to poop. Like, now. I told her I would take her back to the port-a-john but that she would have to hold it for a while because we were pretty far back in the woods. “I can’t! My bum is squeezing it out right now!” she said. So, Mallory took her inaugural shit in the woods. And as luck would have it, even though she normally poops like a rabbit, a little trail of pellets indicating that she hasn’t had enough fibre that day, this poop was not nearly so neat and tidy. The first wipe was done with my list of scavenger hunt items (so much for completing the list!) After that I resorted to various leaves, praying the entire time that none were poison ivy. In the end, I got most of it off, vowed to give the panties she was wearing an extra pre-wash soak, and couldn’t help but laugh when she said as we finished up, “Wow, that was a lot easier than I thought it would be.” Speak for yourself, Mallory.

Then we high-tailed it out of there so that nobody would trace that particular little treasure back to us.We finished up our day on the farm with a brief stint at the fishing hole for Liam (no catches) and another romp in a bouncy castle for Mallory, which did not stop her from crying when they deflated a short time later, “But I want to go again!...” Well, I assume she was talking about the bouncy castle, but you never know. Part of me is now worried that I'm going to find her outside in the back yard with her pants down, too preoccupied with the sandbox to want to make the long trip back into the house.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Field trip

On Friday, I dropped Liam off at school and then drove out to TJ Stables to meet the kids who were being bussed over. We spent a fun day doing all sorts of barn-y things. The first part of the day for our group consisted of pony rides - 4 for each kid. Lest you think I was just there for fun, I was actually put to work - they gave me Mickey on a lead and had me walk him around and around in circles, sidestepping poop piles, making sure that 18 kids each got 4 rides. There were other ponies too, of course, but I was lucky that on the very first go, Liam wound up on my pony and we got to do it together.

After the pony rides, there was the petting farm and tour of the stables and some relay races and a visit to the on-site teepee. We ate our packed lunches on the bleachers and then watched some stunt riding before heading home to pick up Mallory and set off on our next adventure - more to come.

(I sort of went back and forth over posting these pages, because I don't have model release forms from the other 17 kids in the class. Then I decided to go ahead and post them. My philosophy is basically that anyone who's out in the public domain is fair game. I hope that doesn't sound crass, but if you're out in public, then others are going to see you there, KWIM?)

(I also went back and forth on how to document this trip of Liam's. Should it be part of my family yearbook? Part of Liam's own scrapbook? In the end, I think I've decided to print the pages and put them in his school scrapbook. Who knew that the filing system involved in memory-keeping would need to get so complex??)

(OK, changed my mind. I blurred the kids' faces out. Better safe than sorry.)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Happy 40th anniversary, Mom and Dad!!

Wishing you many more happy years together.

Adam & Beckie

Click through to Flickr for the set.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

BP Spills Coffee

Thanks to Aunty Jenn for providing the last photo I needed to finally put this page to bed

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

The home stretch

On Friday, Liam’s class is going on their end-of-year field trip to a local horseback riding farm. And the funny thing is that 48 hours later, our company’s social club is hosting our annual Family Day there as well. So for Liam, it will be a return trip, though I’m sure he doesn’t mind. And it is much easier to explain to Mallory that she cannot go on the field trip when I can smooth it over by pointing out that she will be there in just a couple of days. Lucky for me, Liam’s school field trip coincides with one of our flex Fridays, so since parents are invited to meet the group at the farm, I plan to spend my morning there with him.

I have a hard time believing that Liam has just a couple of weeks of school left. His first year is over already! We are busy pulling together a teacher gift for Mrs. Garrow. Also, we’ve been invited to a special end-of-year event in his classroom for which no details were forthcoming, other than that we should bring a camera and we may take a snack in for him to share with the class. Would I be a bad mom if I made something fun like mini cupcakes rather than something healthy like a fruit plate? Something like the summery cupcakes here or the apple-shaped cake pops here.

We got the schedule for next year and although Liam is a B day student this year, it works better for him to be an A day student next year, to better line up with our flex Fridays. Unfortunately, two of his best little friends at Cindy’s were requesting B day status the last I heard. I will be sad if their schedules head in opposite directions. The older he gets at daycare, the more important I think it is to have other kids there his own age. He’d be bored to tears if it were him and a house full of two-year-olds. Anyway, anything can happen at this point and we are not even sure that our request to switch to A days will be honoured (though the school considers our work schedule a valid reason to try). Most important of all will be to have him back in Mrs. Garrow’s class again, and I’m willing to put up with him being a B day student if they have to do that to make it h appen.

(Yes indeedy - I did finally finish off the 5-year-old portraits!)

Monday, June 07, 2010

We picked the wrong park to go to tonight

Tonight, we rode our bikes over to Liam's school to play on the playground. We spent some time on the kindergarten playground and then, as we always do, moved over to the primary playground and finally the intermediate playground for a romp before heading home.

While we were at the primary playground, a boy came riding up on his bike, with his dog running beside him. Liam was on one side of the playground and Mallory was on the other. The dog ran right up to Mallory and as she squirmed a bit, he started to bark and then nipped at her ankle.

The kid, who was maybe 9 or 10, looked at me and said, "When Max bites someone, we put him in the cage." I said, "Does he bite people a lot?" The kid said, "No, not really." Of course, by this point I was holding Mallory and she was crying. There was no mark on her ankle but I think she was pretty scared. I said, "When you have a dog that bites, you shouldn't be bringing him to the playground." The kid muttered something about the dog having slipped out the door behind him, and then he took off with the dog.

Mallory wasn't actually bitten and although I was pretty mad, I didn't feel right lambasting a kid when it was his parents who should have been getting the earful. I also didn't feel like following the kid home to ream him out. So I let it go. I just hope Mallory doesn't develop an irrational fear of dogs from this.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

A few more from last weekend

...and contrary to my threats (promises?), nobody has had any digital liposuction done. Not even me.

Thursday, June 03, 2010


Finally, things are back to normal and I have a little room to breathe, so it's time to catch up. On the weekend I turned 35... not a big number, but a semi-big number. (It's funny... this year Mallory turned 3 and Liam turned 5, and I have birthday photos of each of them holding their numbers. I suppose by rights I should do a session with myself and both numbers together, no??) I want to stress here that I am *ONLY* 35 because on Monday morning when I returned to work, a coworker who'd heard about my party came up and congratulated me on turning the big 4-0. I hope that's not because I am not aging well.Anyway, Chad managed to pull off a mostly-surprise party for me. I sort of kind of knew something was up, and started putting a few more pieces of the puzzle together the day prior, but he did all the legwork - invitations, caterer, cakes from my favourite bakery, etc. - on his own to win Husband of the Year. (Don't worry... retribution for his next milestone birthday is currently being planned. :) )
The house and yard were packed with many family and friends, new and old. It was great to see everyone and I felt very honoured that they all made the effort to come. Everyone is so busy, and as someone who can be very selfish with my time... I really appreciated the people who gave up a night and came, the people who travelled a distance to be here, and the people who are such great friends and make me feel so special. I felt very loved and grateful to know so many wonderful people.In fact, the next day, on my birthday proper, the kids were out of the house and Chad was watching the French Open. I headed out for a bike ride and reflected on where I am at 35 and I felt pretty lucky indeed. I think I can confidently say that there is no place else I would rather be right now.(I'm still soliciting for photos from the night... I was having too much fun to take very many once the event was underway!)