Sunday, October 31, 2010

All verklempt

(Mallory and I in costume, silhouetted by streetlight.)

I know that Halloween is not typically the most sentimental of holidays. But nights like tonight make me happy. In fact, tonight I've been thinking that I am living exactly the kind of life that I want to be living, with exactly the right people. I feel very fortunate. Big, fat, Halloween-filled post to come soon.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

This one is for the Grampas

(Liam's number is 77.)

Friday, October 29, 2010


It is strange to think that our kids are old enough now to be jumping on trends, but apparently, they are. The very first craze to take over the Cook kids are Silly Bandz. (Since I'm sure my parents have no idea what I'm talking about, these are elastic bands that, when unstretched, take on different shapes: cars and trucks, animals, princesses and crowns, etc. The point is to collect as many different shapes as you can so you buy a package and then trade the duplicates with your friends. In the meantime, you wear your collection around on your wrist.)

I really don't see any downside to this. Silly Bandz are under $5 a package so it's not like the Cabbage Patch Kid craze of 1983 or the Tickle Me Elmo craze of 1991. Pretty much everyone can afford to buy into this trend and I think the prospect of Liam spending recess time trading away is cute. (To be honest, I don't think he has done any trading yet, but I saw a kid in his class wearing her Bandz the other day, so I'm encouraging him to wear his to school one day next week to see what happens.)

Thanks to Gramma and Grampa for the very first package of Silly Bandz, and for getting us hooked in the first place.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


For the past several weeks Mallory has been commenting on how much she enjoys being cold. She no longer wants me to tuck her in with her sheet and quilt and she doesn't want to wear a coat. "It's OK mom, I like being cold," she says.

(I always sneak into her room after she's asleep and tuck the blankets in around her anyway. I would rather do that than have her come into my room at 2 a.m. complaining that she is freezing.)

Yesterday she finally gave me a clue as to why she suddenly seems to think it's good to be cold: "Do you know why I like to be cold, mom? Because penguins are my favourite animals."

Mystery solved.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

This, that, and a whole bunch of Halloweeny goodness

These pictures were all taken at a Halloween party the kids attended on the weekend. Halloween crafts and cookie decorating - it doesn't get much better than that.So, I have a new job. This is still a bit strange for me. I wasn't looking for a new job. But my company did some reorganizing and a new spot came up... and I got slotted into it. So now I am heading up a department of my own. I used to think I would be doing this someday... many many years ago... in recent years, I haven't given it nearly as much thought. I am definitely more of a family-first person than I thought I would be before I had a family of my own. Funny how that happens, huh? Anyway, I gave it a lot of thought and decided to try. So here we are. I do expect to be busier and more time constrained than before, but I expect that to happen on my own terms - i.e. I still plan to get the kids to their activities etc. and I if I have to finish some work up at home that night as a result - so be it.

We'll see how it goes. Posting here may get even more sporadic, but at least now you know why.Mallory has skating tonight. I hope she gets to go - she has missed two weeks in a row. Two weeks ago we were at Kalahari, and she missed a lesson. Last week we fully intended to go, but as we were on our way to the rink, she got her hand caught in an elevator door. I swear, I couldn't make this up even if I tried. It was all very traumatic but she was finally freed and is making a full recovery (I did have several minutes of envisioning her as a cripple, and they were scary as hell. Thankfully this was one of those times when it looked a lot worse than it was.)

(It's a good thing I am relaying that story now that I have some distance from it and can sort of laugh about it and brush it off, because if I had posted about it right after it happened, there would have been many many pages soaked with virtual tears.)
How about that Rocky Horror Glee Show? Finally... a good episode this season! As I'm sure you can tell, I am not feeling the Glee love in Season 2.
How about that windstorm, huh? It blew away my mums but that's OK. They were mostly dead, anyway. I went to the pool this morning. I have been going once a week since the start of October and it is really disheartening to see my time for 1500m increase week after week. I suppose this is to be expected since I used to swim twice a week, but still... it was a lot more fun when it went the other way, watching the numbers drop.

Look at that cookie he is attempting to shove into his mouth. Can you believe all the stuff he has piled on there? He took a few bites and then decided that was plenty and left the rest. Mallory, on the other hand, polished hers off. She is not a girl to let any stray sugar go to waste.

Monday, October 25, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like... Halloween. Out-of-date edition.

This post has been written, titled and sitting in my draft folder, waiting for accompanying photos, for more than a week. I thought I would take pictures of the costumes-in-progress but never got around to it until this weekend, when the costumes were finished and modeled for us. I'm not rewriting the post now, so here goes.

It's the third week of October, and I have started my Christmas shopping and finished my Christmas cards... but I have not yet finished the Halloween costumes. And, chronologically speaking, Halloween comes first. I guess this is kind of backwards in the grand scheme of things, but hey, I get carried away sometimes.

I love me a good homemade Halloween costume. This is not to say that I am a purist or a snob, because my kids have worn several lovely store-bought Halloween costumes, as seen here and here and here and here and even here. In other words, we have bought more Halloween costumes than we have made, at least as far as the kids are concerned. (This is Mallory's drawing of herself in her Halloween costume. I just love the way she fringed the outside of the hat, and the dots on her pants are the cowprint chaps. She is also holding her ghost treat bag in her hand. She takes up only a tiny fraction of the page and crams all that detail in. Love it.)(Here she is in her actual costume. She is dressed as Cowgirl Jessie from the Toy Story movies, which have been VERY popular in our house this year! As you can see, her drawing was pretty darn accurate.)

I think my love for homemade harkens back to when I was a kid and my mom made most of our costumes (this was before there was such a good selection of costumes in the stores - things change in 30 years!) It was almost ritualistic - the trip to the fabric store to pick out a pattern and supplies, the exciting dashes home from school during the last few weeks of October to see what kind of progress she had made on them each day. My mom is not a perfect seamstress but as a kid I always thought it was kind of magical that she could whip up these creations that had me looking exactly like, say, a jack-o-lantern. And it always looked perfect to me.

It's also a lot of fun to spend lunch time with Chad scouting out Value Village when we assemble our Hallowbash costumes each September. With enough return trips, we always seem to find exactly what we need, whether it's a striped orange shirt or a pleated red skirt, to complete each look. (I had a heck of a time getting Mallory to both smile and look at the camera for me. I think it must be the age, because a few years ago, this was Liam - unable to smile and look at me for a simple photo. Every shot I love of him from that time is a candid, because posed shots just weren't working. Now, Liam can totally perform on command. We spent 15 minutes trying to get one shot of Mallory, and didn't even wind up with one of her smiling and looking at me. On the other hand, Liam was done in literally 20 seconds. He makes a fine Cowboy Woody, also from Toy Story.)

We (I?) decided to make the kids' costumes this year because it seemed easy enough to do. We were talking about (generally) real clothing and nothing crazy, so we decided to give it a whirl. The kids came up with their own interpretations of what they thought their costumes would look like. (Though to be honest, I went back to the movie for inspiration when it was needed - I wasn't about to take Mallory's drawing at face value!) (Liam drew this a few weeks ago - his interpretation of himself and Mallory dressed up for trick-or-treating. He later decided that he didn't like how he drew the black lines on his shirt to make it a plaid shirt, though, so he decided to do another drawing.)

Mallory's costume started off with a white button down shirt (Value Village), a pair of jeans with a hole in the knee (hand-me-downs), some cow print fabric (clearance table remnant), some yellow quilting fabric, red trim and white felt. Here is where we are at today. Not quite finished but getting there. Chad is putting together a belt buckle for her and also found her an authentic Jessie hat. My plan to spray-paint the black hat I found her at the dollar store was perhaps not so well thought out.

Liam's costume consists of a men's yellow plaid shirt from Value Village (cut down to size, though I should have cut the shoulders even further in), his own jeans, cowboy boots from Value Village, cow print fabric, and a hat from the dollar store as well. (Edited to add: we wound up buying Liam an authentic Cowboy Woody hat, rather than using the generic cowboy hat.) Chad is also making him a belt buckle. His hat came with a sherriff badge which Woody's hat does not have. Luckily, the badge was removable, and will be used on his vest (where it belongs) instead.(Liam's most recent depiction of Halloween night. Here we all are setting off to go trick-or-treating together. That's Chad and me with the kids. Little do they know we will be dressed up right along with them! I'm pretty excited for it.)

Mallory's shirt still needs some trim and Liam's vest also needs some trim, but we are almost done with some time to spare. Good thing - Cindy just sprang on me that she wants the kids to bring their costumes this Friday... as in, nine days before Halloween. (Hey, didn't this also kind of happen last year??)

Luckily, I had already started Liam's vest which was proving to be the most daunting of all the pieces. He had been pressing me to start it and I was procrastinating, for fear of cutting into the fabric, making a mistake and not being able to find any more. (Remnant, remember?) I told him I would start one night this week after he went to bed and then he told me that he would play with Mallory so that I could start it at an earlier hour. Awww. And when I did start it right after dinner, while he was still awake, on Monday night - he was SO excited. Now I just need to get their costumes finished up so that I can spend a bit of time on mine... which is a surprise that they don't know about. And work on it will definitely have to wait until they are safely sleeping in their beds.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Cook Family Photo - 2010 Edition

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

After a break

A few weeks ago, I made it to one of Liam's hockey practices for the first time in a couple of weeks. Chad and Grampa Bruce were already there watching him. I searched the ice for him and had trouble picking him out of the crowd of identically-dressed little skaters. "Where is he?" I asked Chad.When Chad pointed him out, I could hardly believe it. He was skating so, so fast. I mean, it's all relative, right? He was skating so much faster than I had ever seen him skate before. He was handling a puck. He was weaving in and out of cones. In the three sessions I hadn't seen, his skill had markedly improved.And so I felt bad for him this past Saturday, when we took him back to hockey for the first time after missing two lessons on account of his illness. Two lessons is a lot of time to lose. He was noticeably slower this time, more tentative and unsure of himself. He had lost a bit of what he'd gained and of course, the other kids had gained more.

He was happy to be back though, and no doubt he'll be back up to speed in no time. Hopefully there aren't any more unforseen absences in our future. I think we should be OK until the Christmas craziness sets in.(Liam gives one of his trademark shy-smiles after catching Grampa's eye.)

To tide the Gleeks over til next week: Rocky Horror Glee Show preview

Monday, October 18, 2010

At the patch - 2010 edition

Once we got home from Sandusky, and Liam rejoined the Land of the Living, we finally made it out to the pumpkin patch to get our gourds for the year. Though who am I kidding - we don't go to a 'patch', we go to a farmer's market where the pumpkins are already picked and piled and we just mosey around until we find the right ones.

Still, it's festive. And well decked-out with assorted Halloweeny decorations, most of which are those big tacky inflatables. The kids love 'em.

Perhaps, had we not gone just an hour before we had to get Liam over to the arena for hockey practice, he would have been wearing something a little nicer than his sweats. Oh well. There was all this talk about a pumpkin shortage this year, and I heard that canned pumpkin was really hard to come by a few weeks ago. Well, pumpkins in our neck of the woods are selling dirt cheap right now. If you ask me, there is more of a pumpkin surplus than a shortage. We got in on the 5/$10 special so I let each kid pick out two pumpkins and then chose one myself. For Liam, the pumpkin picking is all about bigger=better. He will try his best to hoist his pumpkins into the wagon but is even more pleased with himself when he cannot manage it. For Mallory, it is all about the 'twirly stem'. She found a few pumpkins with more than their fair share of tendrils dangling and thought they were awesome, despite their diminutive stature. This year, in addition to all the decor, the market we were at also had somebody dressed up in a costume, trying to wave people in off the street and get the cars to honk their horns. He was dressed in a black cape and had an orange pumpkin head and long orange fingers. He scared the crap right out of Mallory. She took one look at him and burst into tears and clung to me for dear life. Luckily, we had already gathered our pumpkins by then and were just checking out the rest of the market. Liam was not scared by him but did not turn his back on him, either. He was constantly monitoring where Pumpkin Man was and what he was doing, and reporting back to us. By the time we got back into the car, Mallory had calmed down a bit about Pumpkin Man. As we drove away I was explaining to the kids that the guy in the costume was probably just a high school student trying to make some money on the weekends. We went home, picked up Chad and Liam's hockey gear, and turned around to head to the arena. On the way we drove past the market again, and this time Mallory was laughing and telling Chad to watch for the funny guy out front in the costume. I think the layers of glass and steel that separated her from Pumpkin Man were a big confidence booster.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Where we've been

Liam is finally back to normal. The poor little guy was miserable for more than a week. His first day even remotely back to normal was last Thursday, but even then he had a few bouts of tummy soreness and didn't go to his swimming lesson because he was still too fatigued from the illness.
As luck would have it, we had planned a mini-vacation of sorts for last week. We were set to leave for the Kalahari resort in Sandusky, OH on Monday, and despite the trip to the ER on Sunday, we decided to go ahead with the trip. There was nothing we could do for him at home so we decided the best thing for him would be to go someplace fun where he could keep his mind off of it. So (after checking on our international health coverage, just in case), off we set.
Kalahari is no further for us than Great Wolf Lodge in Niagara Falls and we decided that it was time for a change of scenery. Chad took care of all of the arrangements and I mostly stayed out of the planning, and I was pleasantly surprised by pretty much everything. We had a huge suite that included a full kitchen and the price was really reasonable. (Of course, our trip was mid-week and off-season, which helps immensely.) The main benefit to Kalahari over GWL is that there is more to do outside of the water park. Kalahari has a whole zoo on premises as well as more play spaces for the kids to burn off some steam once they are out of their swimsuits. There is also a larger area for very little kids to play, and Mallory really enjoyed this. (We had trouble even coaxing her into the kiddie pool at GWL, so this was a plus.)
Our trip did not start off well when our GPS got tempermental and crapped out on us while we were on the road. That's the bane of becoming dependent on technology, I guess - when you don't have it, you are SOL. We vaguely knew that we were trying to head south and east but we wound up heading west on Telegraph Road and eventually stopped at a store to pick up a new GPS - after we tried stopping a couple of places to buy a map, which they apparently do not sell anymore. Note to prospective GPS customers: it's impossible to find a GPS with Canadian maps when you are shopping in an American store. They all come loaded with Puerto Rico as the only international destination instead. The GPS was later returned, but not before it helped us find our way to Ohio.
The first 24 hours of our trip were pretty much a write-off for Liam, who was still very unwell at that point. He would enjoy himself for ten minutes and then suffer stomach pains for equally as long. We did manage to visit the zoo and hit the water park for less than an hour, but we felt really bad for him and so spent a lot of time in our suite. The next morning I called the doctor's office back home and the nurse OK'd us to give him some Advil, so we ran out to pick some up, and with that Liam's condition improved remarkably and we could get on with our vacation.
Definitely one of the highlights of the trip was visiting the zoo, and we paid a ridiculous amount of money to buy some animal feed so the kids could interact with the animals. It turned out to be well worth it because we are still talking about the kids feeding the animals now nearly a week later.
Since it was off-season, we did miss the camels and giraffes, who have moved to their winter quarters already. We also weren't able to use the outdoor waterpark features or adventure activities (zip lines, rock climbing walls, etc.) but we had enough to do in our time there without those features. We came home on Thursday and Liam was well enough to head back to school on Friday and to hockey on Saturday, so I think I can safely say that this little episode is behind us. Thankfully none of the rest of us got sick, either, though Mallory was being testy today and my first thought turned to: is she coming down with something?

Tomorrow it's back to work, school, and Cindy's house, though Liam was at school on Friday and Chad and I have been on constant check-in with the office for the past week, so really the only return worth mentioning is Mallorys' return to Cindy's. Cindy was planning to spend her week off last week renovating her family room and Mallory is itching to see the progress. It'll be nice to have some incentive to help get her out the door tomorrow morning.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Celebrating Thanksgiving, Cook Family style

Following two days of non-stop throwing up, Liam spent the past two days complaining of stomach pain. And when I say 'complaining of stomach pain', I mean sometimes he seems perfectly fine - and two minutes later he is writhing around on the floor, clutching his belly and sobbing, and it seems to be getting worse, not better. Finally this morning I took him into the emergency room. It was getting scary just how suddenly and how hard it was hitting him, and the fact that he has barely eaten for the past 5 days was kind of frightening, too.

Anyway - it turns out that he has an infection in the lining of his stomach, brought about by the flu or whatever it was that he started out with on Wednesday. This immediately brings to mind that time when he was 3 and caught the stomach flu which led two weeks later to a secondary infection in his hip. It didn't occur to me to bring this up at the hospital this morning, but I will definitely ask our family doctor whether this is some sort of pattern the next time I see her. There's nothing we can do to treat this infection, just wait for it to clear on its own.

We were supposed to have dinner with the Cooks yesterday and with the Robinsons today, and neither of those happened thanks to Mr. Sickie. My consolation prize was that yesterday I did get to watch the live Ironman championship streaming all day long. Although even that didn't go as well as I'd hoped - the athlete I was most interested to watch pulled out before the race started, and the one I wanted to win wound up in 11th after leading through a large part of the race. Still, the coverage was impressive, given that it wasn't major TV network coverage, and it was exciting to see it unfold live. Yay for technology! It was also a nice trip down memory lane for Chad and I, because we honeymooned in Kona and the grounds of the resort we stayed at are the main staging area for transition and the race finish. So we were all like "remember this" and "remember that" all day long. (And I am busy plotting a return trip, perhaps to coincide with a big wedding anniversary, though it won't be the big one that's coming up next year.)

Today, after going stir-crazy for so many days, being cooped indoors with sick kids, watching DVD after DVD while sprawled on the couch because Liam is in no mood to do anything else (and this is Mallory's idea of nirvana), I slipped away this afternoon and took my bike out for a spin, determined to enjoy at least some of this last hurrah of summer. I wound out the River Road pretending that it was the Queen Kaahumany highway and that I was cycling through lava fields rather than corn fields. And after 30km I was back home, very glad that I didn't have another 150km ahead of me, and then a marathon to run after that!

Chad made a quick trip to the grocery store to pick up some deli turkey for sandwiches and a pumpkin pie, so that is the extent of our holiday celebration. Though of course, Mallory was quick to point out when he came home that she does not like turkey and she does not like pie. Or so she claims.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

About a week ago, Captain broke the first of the Fiesta dishes we bought last spring. Funny, I always thought Chad would break the first one. Nope... that damn cat was trying to scavenge some leftovers off Mallory's plate and pushed a little too vigorously, and now we are down one Scarlet dinner plate.

(Note to self: hie thee to Macy's next time in the US, and buy a replacement.)

It was only a few days later that Captain, who is (a) a really bad cat and (b) not as limber and lithe as he used to be, tried to jump up on the table while we were eating. Except that he didn't quite make it, and in the midst of his flailing around, he somehow managed to pull the tablecloth and all of the dishes that were on it onto the floor.

(As an aside, you should have seen the look of shock on Mallory's face when this happened. There was milk and ketchup all over the floor and walls, and she was speechless. The look on her face almost made having to clean that whole mess up worth it.)

Luckily for him, none of them broke, though I still need to make a trip to Macy's. Needless to say though, Captain has been in our bad books all week long.That's why I was so surprised to see this come home in Liam's backpack the other day. Of all the things to be thankful for... why the damn cat??

Unless it's because he realizes that Captain is this close to wearing out his welcome around here.

(Liam is still sick, sick, sick. Still throwing up 48 hours later and completely miserable. I have a really bad feeling that whatever it is might start making the rounds... ugh. Our Thanksgiving plans this weekend may be en route to going out the window.)

Randomness in October

Speaking of cookies, how do you like our new seasonal cookie jar? It came out of the cupboard last week. It replaced my previous cookie jar, a big red apple complete with leaf and stem that I found at Value Village for $3 - very apropos for September and a great score! I don't have themed cookie jars for every season/month but I am headed in that direction. I wish I'd bought the gingerbread man-shaped cookie jar I saw a couple of years ago... when I went back for it, it was gone. Lesson learned: no more indecision!

Last night I started making the kids' Halloween costumes. They are mostly items we picked up at Value Village but with a few crafty/sewing components to them. I had all the supplies purchased six weeks ago but have been procrastinating on assembling the costumes because I always fear messing something up. I need to get over that. It's a costume - who cares if it looks a little wonky??

Liam was sick ALL. DAY. LONG. yesterday. He threw up again in the early afternoon and then seemed to be doing better, and he had drank so few fluids over the course of 24 hours that I started pushing him to drink more and to eat a few bites of something. Sure enough, he threw that all up, too. I guess he knows when he's ready. We're keeping him home from school today. Even if the nausea has passed, he needs to build some strength back up.

I hate pukey kids. I would rather deal with a dirty diaper any day of the week, no matter how bad. Vomit is my weakness.

Here's Liam during happier times: decorating those Halloween cookies (which are now all gone!)This weekend, I am very VERY excited that the Ironman world championships are being held in Kona. The NBC condensed broadcast doesn't come on until December, but you can bet I will be hanging out in front of the computer as much as possible on Saturday to catch the live streaming. Watch this highlight reel from last year and tell me you aren't inspired to go out and accomplish something.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

This would be my Facebook status update, if I ever really used Facebook

Liam has thrown up about six times since dinnertime last night, I had already started making five pans of cinnamon rolls for the United Way bake sale and had to finish them, Mallory's pull-up leaked and she wet the bed, my washing machine (which is only 2 years old) is leaking on the floor and of all the nights to leave my laptop at the office, I left it last night so it could finish FTPing a file. So this morning I had to pack a sick Liam into the car, drop off my baking, pick up my computer, drop off Mallory at daycare, Liam puked again the minute we walked in the door, and now I am trying to get some work done on my last day before vacation. If the repair man can’t come today I am going to scream bloody murder because I have a pile of vomit-soaked laundry like you wouldn’t believe.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Not completely reformed just yet

A few weeks ago I was talking to my sister and mentioned that I recently started a subscription to National Geographic. (I think it's a hallmark of being a child of the 70s/80s if you grew up with musty old boxes of this magazine lying around - which you then used for every single geography project you ever did. I would like my kids to have that same option, despite the fact that I know they will use the internet for everything instead... sigh. I will at least enjoy them in the meantime - the recent one about the Gulf oil spill is just amazing.) I got a rate of about $15/year and honestly, it's just such an interesting magazine.

Anyway, my sister's response to this was something to this effect: "What is this, a full lifestyle makeover? You're doing triathlons instead of baking and reading National Geographic instead of People. What's next?"

I just wanted to let it be known that on the weekend, we pulled out our Halloween cookie cutters and our orange and black sprinkles, and made up a batch of thematic cookies.

And then I ate one while reading my most recent People, the one with Kate Gosselin on the cover.

New habits may come... but old ones die hard.

(See our pastry rendition of Captain up top??)

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Thomas turns two

The kids and I had to make a speedy getaway from Chad's race on Saturday in order to make it to Thomas' birthday party at Springridge Farm in Milton. I felt bad leaving Chad with several muddy miles to go, but he was understanding. We didn't want to be late and miss the wagon ride. Luckily, Pinehurst is not far from Milton, but the rain was not quite so bad there. Still drizzly but we managed to fit in all of the farm activities we had been told to expect.Springridge hosts an annual Fall Festival and is exactly the kind of place I would take my kids on a regular basis if we lived closer to it. It was beautiful, and you could easily spend a day there with the kids. The whole region is beautiful at this time of year, really. There were several spots on the drive in from the 401 where I almost pulled off the road to take a picture because it was so scenic. But we were trying to make good time... so onward we pressed.When we first arrived at the farm, there was a wagon ride part way up the escarpment to take in the view. Then it was into our own private party room for lunch.Following that, the kids decorated little baskets before heading back out to the farm, where they were allowed into the chicken coop to collect an egg. I think that was the highlight of the day for both Liam and Mallory. Clearly, the pony ride was not the highlight for Mal. She is not one to turn down a pony ride, but she has yet to look like she is enjoying herself on one!We petted the farm animals and went through the Boo Barn a few times, then went back inside again for some cake.With that, the party was over, but we spent another hour outside before I was finally able to convince the kids to get into the car and head for home. We petted some more animals, played on the slides, jumped around on the hay bales, ran through the corn maze, and otherwise got ourselves filthy dirty. It was pretty fun.I had uploaded a photo of Thomas here, but it seems to be missing. Oh well... the complete set is on Flickr, if you are so inclined. Happy birthday, Thomas!

Monday, October 04, 2010

Run for the Toad - 2010 edition

On Saturday, Chad once again took part in The Run For The Toad at Pinehurst Conservation Area. He's done this once before, last year, on a day when we had much better weather. This year was cold and raining: not a good mix. Chad left the house at the crack of dawn and the kids and I followed behind not long afterwards. The rain made for some slow driving conditions but we made it there in time to see the race start and catch a glimpse of Chad before he disappeared into the woods.This race has a tent city set up on the premises to take care of the hordes of runners and onlookers, and I'd baited the kids to get out of the car and into the rain and down to the starting line to see their dad off by promising them a trip to the Tim Horton's tent as soon as the race was underway. Then I had to make good on that promise. We spent the first part of the race blissfully drinking hot chocolate and eating chocolate doughnuts under the shelter of the food tent. We stretched that little activity out for as long as possible, but eventually we evicted ourselves. Our next stop was at the children's tent where colouring materials were available, and the kids busied themselves with a few crafts to pass some more time. By this point the lead runners were done their first lap and I figured Chad would soon be making his way out of the trees. I asked the kids if they wanted to come outside to wait for him with me and with a quick glance at the sky and the rain pouring from it, they both said no. So I set off on my own (still within eyesight of them) and was able to catch Chad on his way past. That's a picture of it at the top. As he was running by, Liam was coming out of the tent to tell me something, so Chad is waving at Liam as he sees him coming through the crowd.After the colouring had run its course, we wandered down to the beach. We were already in rain gear and couldn't get much wetter so I saw no harm in letting the kids splash around a bit. Plus, it helped to kill some time. The race was a 25km cross-country run on very hilly terrain, so as you can imagine, it was a fairly lengthy event. By this point I was starting to hear some complaints from the kids about the wet and cold, and it was nearly time for us to leave anyway. (We had driven separately from Chad as we had another place to be by a certain time and knew we'd have to miss the end of the race as a result.) Luckily, the course crosses through the road we had to take back to the car with 3km left in the race, and we waited there to see Chad one more time before leaving.

With that, we wound through the maze of park roads until we found our car, jumped in, cranked up the heat, defrosted our extremities, and set off for our second destination of the day... more on that to come.