Saturday, September 26, 2009

News Update.

We interrupt the not-so-regular not-so-schedule posts to bring you the following news update ...

You know, it's been a few months since we've done any major changes in our life ... I suppose we're about due for another one ... just to keep life entertaining :)

For those of you who know us well enough this probably won't come as much of a surprise ... especially after our summer stay at "the cottage", but after an awful lot of thoughts and consideration we have decided it's time to move. We will be packing up our belongs and moving them to the Attercliffe area.

Since our return home from "the cottage" I have managed to settle back into our home and city life. Those of you who have been to our home know that the set-up isn't the most ideal and somewhat irks us that we have our living room in the basement to make enough living space upstairs (it's suppose to be an eat-in kitchen but is too small, so the actual living room has been changed to a dining room/office/playroom and the living room put downstairs). Rob became increasingly uphappy with the house setup, the city and a few other issues. While I didn't particularly like these things either, I could make due with them and can also see the advantages of living in the city. It was decided we would do some house reorganizing during his time away from school while he actually had evenings to do such things - we would make a bedroom downstairs for ourselves and then rearrange the rest of the house in order to get his office and the living room upstairs. Basically this required moving every room except the kitchen and bathrooms.

While we were hashing out how we would go about doing this an e-mail arrived in our inbox informing us that a house had become available in the Attercliffe area. And so we began to persue this ... not quite sure what we thought of the idea just yet. We had always said if the right deal came up and it didn't cost more we'd move to the country ... well it appears this deal has appeared - the difference in rent offsets the extra expenses that come with living further away from everything. Viewing the house made us realize it was a bit smaller then it appeared from the outside, but after much thought and consideration we decided to go ahead. We won'tb e gaining any extra living space ... but at least Rob will have an office and the living room will be on the main floor where it should be.

I will admit that this wasn't a very easy decision. I found it very difficult. I began to realize as much as I love the country and dislike the city .... I really don't dislike the city as much as I thought. I miss my space, I miss the quiet, but I've gotten used to it and the conveniences. When it comes to city living we are very well located and it's hard to give that up. Leaving Hamilton also means we lose the benefits of being a low-income family in this city - no more free dentist, no more cheap swimming lessons and city programs. (At the same time we would have lost those benefits for two years after we file our 2009 taxes as Rob now has an income ... so I suppose that's not a huge factor.) The biggest factor was the extra driving. Thankfully we seem to be somewhat done with excessive doctors appointments ... but regardless it's going to take up a whole lot more time for appointments now. Rob is fine with the extra distance to and from school - already busy divising ways to make the best of this time on the road.

In the end after weighing everything out we've decided to move forward ... forward meaning out in the country on a 1+ acre lot. The kids are extremely excited about this, for which we are very thankful. Rebecca is especially excited about having Grandma for her teacher ... we are working hard to instill in her that Grandma is Mrs. Diek at school and she will not be spoiled but that Grandma is going to be especially strict with her so that nobody can say she is playing favourites. And while Rebecca tells us she knows this, I'm afraid her little head doesn't really truly under stand this and we do have some fear of whether this will cause any emotional struggles ... time will tell. The kids are also excited that they can now have a dog ... seeing as mom won't have one in the house, now there is enough space for one outside the house :) Rob and I are also excited ... just somewhat unsure at times if it's the right decision ... I think I struggle with that more then Rob ... he's just so excited to move into a "real house" (as he calls it), have an office and mostly to be in the country. I suppose whenever a person makes a decision they question whether it's the right one ... but now that we've made a decision we can move forward with it.

It will be November by time we move. Some work has to be done inside the house before we can move in ... so we're not really sure if it will be the beginning or end of November. It's a bad time to be moving the kids around, but thankfully both of them do well in school, so although a mid-school-year move will effect them, hopefully it won't be too major.

And now we return to our not-so-regular not-so-schedule posts ...

Edit: For those of you who are not familiar with the area. It is about a 30 minute drive south east from our house to our new home. The closest town will be about 10 minutes away and the closest major city is 30 minutes away (that being Hamilton). It will take Rob about 40 minutes to get from our house to The College.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Off to Toronto

So here we are a few weeks into school and I'm still not done my summer holidays posts. A couple more and we're all caught up again ... since really, nothing much interesting happens once school starts.

During the last week before school Rob took a few days off and we had a short, but very nice holiday. We decided to leave Matthew behind for a couple days and took off to Toronto for a night. The girls finally got to see the much anticipated Sound of Music. We had told them at the beginning of the summer that we had gotten tickets for them. After that they read the book, watched the video several times and have played the cd almost none stop.

We watched a Wednesday afternoon matinee and had gotten front row seats for a very good price. We were a bit worried that we would be too close, but it wasn't and it was very nice to watch. Since Rob and I had seen the show before and last time sat in the very back we found it very neat to see the difference. Both seats were great, both seats you take in different details. At the back you see the more overall picture and are amazed by the props because you can't really tell how it all works. At the front you really get to take in their expressions and the smaller details and can figure out how the stage props work as you're close enough to see the details ... next time we'll have to try the middle :)

Cameras are not allowed, but I was bad and did manage to take a couple. Since they are without a flash and taken from my lap to be descreet they aren't really good ... but they're proof we were there :)

Waiting for the show to start

The opening scene and the finishing bows

The kids also enjoyed the walk through the city. Although I'd never want to live in the city we do find it quite fascinating to look at and see all the different buildings, peoples, vehicles, bikes etc. On our way back to the hotel we stopped at one very important building to say hi to a few people and have a look around at the place we spent many hours at a couple years ago. When I return to Mac I am often sad because it's all being redone/reconstructed/remodeled and it's changing ... it's not the place I remember, the place that holds all those dear memories. But so far SickKids is still the same place with the same noises, smells and looks ... I hope they keep it that way for a long time. We stopped in to talk to James' nurse and also seen his doctor. As well we had a peep at the floor and his room ... and were impressed that the nurses there still remembered us ... it has almost been two years, we find it quite amazing.

We made a point of finding a hotel with a pool and so in the evening the kids spent some time swimming. It was fun to kick back and relax and have that special time with the girls only. It is too bad there is such an age gap between the girls and Matthew, but it is something we have to come to accept and work with. While we hate leaving Matthew behind we realize that it's good and important to take the time with the girls also ... eventually Matthew will get his time also, for now he has no idea what he is missing.

The next day we wandered through Toronto and made a stop at Queens Park to take a tour of the Ontario Legislature Building. I'm not sure how much the kids got out of it ... especially Rebecca, but I know Rob and I appreciated the tour and we know that the girls will take something with them about it, not so much the finer details, but the overall pictures

The first pictures shows the true Legislative Chamber, while the second picture is an imitation room that they use in order to teach people while parliament is in session and then they allow people to sit up in the guest/viewers area and see the action.

The most interesting part of our visit came as we were leaving. We were just finishing up in the gift shop when the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, the Honourable Steve Peters, (the guy who sits on the "throne" in the middle) left the gift shop. Of course we had no idea who the guy was (shouldn't be of course, but we're really not that into politics), but the lady in the gift shop told us and said we should go have our picture with him. So she took us over to meet him and we took a picture of the girls with him. But he felt he could do better and asked if we had a few minutes. We weren't in any hurry so we followed him ... back up to the Legislative Chamber where he allowed the girls to sit on the "throne" and had one of the tour guides take a picture of us. We learned later that before Steve Peters became The Speaker the previous Speakers would not allow anyone to come near "their throne" ... but he quite likes to share it and let people sit in it and have their picture taken.

It was just a couple days away, but they were fun and the kids were off to bed on time so they could be all rested and ready to go on time to Bying Island the next day.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Poor Becca

Today is the first day of a new school year ... today Rebecca is sick with the flu :(

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Campfire! and Chippewa

After our stay at the "cottage" the girls went off to stay for a week at Campfire! This was right after we "discovered" that Rebecca had a broken collarbone. Well the week went fine, the girls had fun, and I didn't get any calls saying Rebecca wasn't doing well. She did need to see the camp nurse a few times because her shoulder was hurting after being bumped or something while playing ... but it sounds like she had fun. Last year the girls also went to Campfire!, but only for a few days, this time it was for a longer period of time ... at first I couldn't imagine not seeing or hearing from my kids for an entire week (altho I've spent a lot of time away from them in the past, we would talk almost daily on the phone) ... but the week flew by and before we knew it it was Saturday afternoon and we were off to pick them up from their busstop.

Last year I spoke of some of the struggles I have with Campfire! (see here) and whether I would send my kids again ... obviously we came to the decision that we would, although I must say that I still have many of the same struggles. Yet,I have to come to realize that I cannot shelter them completely and I do truly feel that what Campfire! is trying to accomplish is good and upbuilding for my kids. I cannot shelter them from everything they might see or hear, but I hope that we can continue to guide them at home each day again so that they are able to truly understand what they are being taught and to take it with them, applying it to their everyday life and encounters.

After the girls had a few days at home to rest the kids and I headed off to Chippewa Creek Conservation to join some friends who were camping there. We decided to just go for the day and stayed at my parents overnight. This worked out well and the kids still had plenty of time to play during the day and sit around the fire in the evening as well as collect enough misquito bites to last them a lifetime. We only went for two days and left just on time on the last day as not even half an hour later (as we were driving) it began to pour down buckets and buckets of rain!!

Left: The girls being energetic and trying to set up the tent (for Matthew to nap in) ... even though they don't have the faintest idea how to do it
Right: Matthew never did nap in the tent, but the girls did for a bit the one night and Matthew had lots of fun playing in it.

Pumping up the boat for added beach fun

The creative way to get
the boat to the beach ... thankfully it made it in one piece, with no holes!

The kids had a lot of fun with the dingy boat and it was well used, by us and by other strangers on the beach
Right: Matthew did not actually go in the water very much, he loves to jump into deep water, but does not show interest in playing in large bodies of water ... he spent most of the beach time wandering around or napping

The girls spent some time digging a hole for some fish and then Rebecca watched the hole while Syvannah and Marietta went off fishing ... they didn't catch anything, so Rebecca's time was somewhat wasted, but I think she still enjoyed fixing up the hole and adding little things to it

Matthew at the beach

Dig a hole, then fill it with water ...

... jump in hole until good and muddy, then sit in it and play with the dirt just to make sure you're well covered in mud

Since beach time was in the afternoon during Matthew's napping hours, he usually only last for a little bit and then he was climbing on my lap and asking for his "bubby" (bottle). Although I no longer snuggle him to sleep all the time ... this old habit has been handy as he is easy to get to sleep elsewhere by just holding him and snuggling him for a bit ... once good and asleep I can just lay him wherever and he'll continue to saw logs, not even noticing the noise around him.