Showing posts with label summer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label summer. Show all posts

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Little Fish

Jeff and I met as lifeguards, have I mentioned that? We both grew up in water. I did swimming, he did diving and waterpolo. We both love being in the water and are completely comfortable there.

Rach is reenacting our lifeguarding days

Having a child who can't use his lower body stumped me. How in the world would he fit in our family? How would he go to swimming lessons? How would we take him to the beach? What in the world would he do in our backyard pool??

I started taking Kingsley swimming when he was a baby at our Centre which has a very, very warm little therapy pool. At the time we moved into this house last spring, I'd say Kinger was the most comfortable in the water of the three of them. He didn't panic when he was dunked (though he didn't like it either), he could float almost on his own on his back, and he really loved just hanging out in the water.

Through sheer exposure to water, the girls have magically learned to swim this summer. It's truly blown my mind. Rachel has gone from a timid floater to swimming in the deep end all day, every day. Cordelia isn't comfortable in the deep end yet, but she's gone from freaking out if her face got splashed to swimming underwater.

Kingsley is finding his way. He wears a puddle jumper in the water, which is a fabulous invention, in my opinion. In June, I had to be thisclose to him to make sure he didn't tip over and get a big mouthful of water. He didn't know what to do with his arms, couldn't stay level, and only went where we took him. I predicted the most boring summer in the world, having to stand in the shallow end keeping him from drowning while everyone else got to actually swim.

workin' on the chest muscles

Fortunately, I was totally wrong. King is a little fish! I don't even have to be near him, he just swims around using his arms. If his face goes in now, it's because he wanted it to (or because Jeff dunked him). He likes to hang out on the stairs and play with his trains (aka bath toys), take the dog for a walk (aka hang onto the tube for the automatic pool vacuum), do push ups on the lane rope, and ride on my back as I swim around. He's also good at jumping in (aka sitting on the edge and throwing himself into the pool).

I don't know what the future holds for him in the pool. I know there is a place I can access for 1:1 swimming lessons that I'm going to tap in to soon and see if they can teach him to swim without his legs. I'm confident that he'll find his way.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Bucket Overflows

Oh, my goodness, the summer is over.

I can't believe I went an entire month without a post. It's been a little busy here and really I've had a wicked case of disinterest in writing. At all. Anyway, I'm dragging my lazy butt away from Pinterest and finishing what I started here with my list of things we've done this summer!

31. Go to the beach - we went to the cottage for a week. That's an entire post that I really need to get to. It was awesome. Lots of beach time!

32. Pudding Painting - the kids loved this. Kingsley freaked out, of course, as soon as his finger touched the pudding. I prompted him to wipe it on paper and then when that failed, to stick his finger in his mouth. Game on. His new fave craft.

33. Splash Pad - ah, can't take credit for this. My mom took the girls a few times. I should've taken Kingsley, but the walk is too long for my knee. Next year!

34. Sleepover at Grandma's - KINGSLEY WENT TOO!! I had a full 26 hours without children. To say that I was giddy would be an understatement. A big understatement. Bigger than big.

35. Playground by our new house - we have gone twice! It's a great park. That's another post as well because it got me thinking a lot.

36. Glittery ice - this was a Pinfail. Ice cubes + glitter + oil. Drop cubes in big bowl of warm water for glittery bubbles floating on the surface. It lasted about 35 seconds and ended with Kingsley freaking out and all of us being covered in glitter for a day. My lawn still has glitter on it.

37. Coloured Spaghetti - very awesome. Whole box of spaghetti cooked, split and soak in a little food colouring and water. Drain and play! DO THIS ONE OUTSIDE. A house full of cold rainbow spaghetti is notsofun to clean up.

38. Indoor scavenger hunt - another girls only game. Rachel enjoyed it, but Cordelia got bored. Maybe next year.

39. Slip and Slide - I found one for cheap at an end of summer sale. It has a little collection of water to slide into that Kingsley loved.

40. Slime - ooey, gooey.

41. More volcanoes! This time we did a big one in a waterbottle. Pretend we actually made a volcano like you did in elementary school ;)

42. Campfires and s'mores. It came with the cottage!

OK, so we didn't hit 100. I'm sure we did 100 cool things, but it felt like a big blur and there was a lot of repetition. We never did read all of the books on our shelves - I had to clear the shelves and pack them all up to do some reno's in the playroom.  Our apple test with organic vs not organic ended today and it was pretty interesting. Looks like pesticides really do prevent break down of produce? OK, it's not totally scientific, but kinda cool.

The organic apple is the far left on the left and the bottom on the right

All things considered, I was pretty impressed with the fun stuff we did. When you add in the ridiculous amount of renovations I've done on our house, it's been one of my busiest summers.

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Buckets Continue

We have crossed off a bunch of stuff again on our summer list of things to do. It has been an insanely busy two weeks, where I have wished numerous times that I had a nanny so that I could stop harassing the grandparents to babysit twice a day, every day. Our house is in full throttle renovation-mode and our new house is in full throttle picking-the-details-mode. As if that weren't enough, toss in a handful of doctors appointments for Cordelia and I, PT appointments for Kinger and I, and a day at the hospital for routine tests for Kingsley. Can we go on vacation now??

fish tanks are very distracting when you have to wait forever to get called in

Anyway, here is the fun stuff that we've been doing:

21. Pretend Makeup: I haven't actually given this to the girls yet, but I have made it and got it all ready to break out at the perfect moment of insanity. They love to play with my old make up, they love to do/pretend to do face painting. I *think* this is going to go over well. At least Kingsley will one day thank me, I'm sure.

22. Play-doh: the ol' stand by. I'm trying to desensitize Kingsley to the feeling of stuff on his hands. He freaks out if he has ANYTHING on his hands, which is crazy making for me. 

23. Crafts for Grandma: my mother in law gives the kids pink flowers on their birthdays every year. This year on her birthday we did the same! 

it's their hand prints!

24. Jello: I take no credit, I found this in one of my pins somewhere. I hate jello, I think it's rather gross and I associate it with vomiting. Playing with it seemed like a good idea. I wanted this to be one of those desensitization things for Kingsley, but the girls were driving me bonkers one nap time so I brought it out early. It got disgustingly awesome. Afterward, their hands were completely dyed red, which reiterated my distaste and decision to never eat this nasty stuff again. 

25. Mini Volcanoes: I think everyone and their uncle has done this pin, except us. It had so much hype and build up that I was certain it was going to be a bust. We finally got around to doing it and it was a 5 star success! All three loved it and there was a solid 40 minutes where the three of them completely got along. That's a rarity.

26. Ice Block Toys: this also had a lot of build up. Rachel saw me pin it ages ago and has been begging to do it since. I finally got around to doing it. Another winner! It was a good morning under the tree on the front lawn. The 12 year old neighbour came over with her 2 year old brother and both were intrigued and wanting to play as well. Not quite sure why, but this was a winner. Save it for a HOT day to facilitate.

27. Catch bugs: there was a moth in my kitchen. The girls are in love with ladybugs, butterflies and by default, moths. I'm hoping Mothy lives until the morning when they've promised to release her into the backyard.

28. Shaving cream: not sure where I saw it first, but I thought playing with shaving cream would be another way to desensitize Kinger a bit. Other kids love this! Mine did not. Kind of a fail. Kingsley freaked out and wanted nothing to do with it.

29. Swimming: I cannot believe I have only been in a bathing suit once this summer and my kids weren't even with me. This knee is slowing me down. Thankfully, my mom and Jeff's mom have taken the girls swimming. Pretty soon, I'm going to take them all. 

30. Date Night - no kids! For his birthday, Jeff wanted tickets to an annual outdoor concert downtown. Four bands were playing, but he was only interested in two of them. We don't get out much, so it was fun, even though it poured partway through. 

The coming week will not be very exciting, I'm afraid. I am in Olympics mode now. The Opening Ceremonies were awesome and I'm so excited for the games to begin! I'm doing my best to get the kids hyped up. So far, Kingsley is not impressed. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

More Buckets

Our summer fun is continuing.  Some of the things we've done this week are ongoing, so they're started and if I remember, I'll let you know how they end ;)

First, we had more playdates this week. This summer is turning into a blur of appointments and dates - designers, builders, therapists, doctors... for once it's not Kingsley who is monopolizing the schedule! In between the stuff I *have* to do, I am trying to entertain the kids with other kids. It's getting tight. We had three last week and only space for one this week. The girls are going to be disappointed.

10. Read all the books: in the midst of all of my packing and purging, I've decided we should read all of the kids' books at least once this summer. Crickets, that's a lot of books it turns out. I think we're maybe 20% of the way through, if that. My plan was to hide the ones we didn't love in the pile of things to sell. Things are not going according to plan.

11. Organic vs sprayed: I saw this picture once that showed an organic apple beside an apple sprayed with pesticides. The organic apple had broken down and started to go bad beside the chemically preserved apple. It reminded me of that gross McDonald's experiment in Super Size Me. We are trying to test out whether it was a legit photo or not. If nothing else, it's brought up a lot of discussion in our house about organic vs non organic food, farming, GE/GMO's, chemicals and all of those things. So far, one is waxy and the other is not.

12. Movie Night: We watched Beezus and Ramona, which was a fabulous movie. I was a huge Ramona fan as a kid and Rachel has started reading some of them. The kids loved this movie as much as I did. Kingsley now thinks there's nothing funnier than yelling GUTS!!!

13. Picnic (on the front lawn)

14. Coloured Ice: a Pinterest find. I thought maybe I'd talk to the kids about mixing colours. The girls gave me exasperated looks and said they already knew it all and proceeded to dump in all the ice cubes and make shades of brown/green, then Kingsley splashed it everywhere and had a grand ol' time.

15. Visit the library: we do this weekly. They love Kingsley there, he loves them, the girls love books. There's a lot of love here. It's a fantastic place and I'm glad that there's a huge new library by our new house also.

16. Toilet paper clothes: I decided to do this one while Kingsley was napping, figuring Rachel would just turn him into a merman and he'd get annoyed with the whole thing. I really thought the girls would love this one, but it lasted about 5 minutes and then the Toilet Paper Party began and that was the end of it.

17. Soap cloud: The long version of how to do it is here, but basically you take a bar of Ivory soap (and only Ivory, something about the air whipped in, no other type will work) and put it on a big piece of waxed paper in your microwave. Cook it on high for a couple minutes and watch it grow and grow. I can't quite describe the texture, but it's pretty cool. Then you take it outside and let the kids go to town. It turns into soap powder, more or less, so fill the kiddie pool and have some fun. If you're a lazy mom like me, you know where this was going ;)  *ahem* totally kidding, carry on.

18. Random dollar store toys: who doesn't love big bubbles and lacrosse with sponges?

19. Sprinkler: Kinger has more interest in watching than getting sprayed, but the girls could play in the sprinkler all day if I let them.

20. Indoor play place: I took the girls today. Rachel had a birthday party there and Kingsley was napping, so I snuck out with Cordelia. There are two places like this here and their both "accessible" in that you can take a wheelchair in there, but once there, there's absolutely nothing for Kingsley to do except sit and watch or eat a snack. The girls probably won't get to go to these places too much anymore because of this, so when opportunities pop up I take advantage of it. The girls have gone to a handful of birthday parties at either of them. I try not to think too much about when Kingsley's in school and starts getting invited to parties at places like this. Or not invited.

Well, there's another week. I'm afraid next week won't be nearly as exciting for the kids, but I get to start picking plumbing accessories and kitchen cabinets! :)

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Buckets for Everyone!

I'm afraid my obsession with love of Pinterest is getting a little hard to hide. Fortunately, it is making me quite the cool mom/wife around these parts, so no one is complaining. I am doing my very best to put everything I pin to use in some form or another. One of the trendier things to pin these days are bucket lists of summer activities and thank goodness for that! Since we're busy renovating and doing crazy things to get our house ready to sell, the money tree is picked thin this summer and I found myself in desperate need to do cheap things to entertain the kids this summer.

It's taken me many, many pins to create a list of a billion cool things to do with all three kids. I'll admit, I was worried that King's wheels would make it hard to find enough suitable things to do, but turns out it hasn't been hard at all. After one notsomuchfun trip to Dollerama, we spent $30 on supplies and were set to go. Here we are so far:

1. Go for ice cream.

Kingsley has discovered he loves chocolate anything. that's my boy. 

2. Go to the drive-in.

3. Glow stick bath.

they LOVED this. we're going to do it again the next time it's gloomy out. also exciting - Kingsley is officially out of his bath seat and sitting independently in the bathtub. mini milestones. 

4. Build a fort.

this was Rach and Cor's club hows. they did let Kinger in to visit though.

5. Make popsicles (we ate them and have no pictorial evidence. they were apple/strawberry and very delicious).

6. See fireworks.
you can't tell, but Kingsley had a love/hate with the fireworks. he loved watching them, but did not love the sounds. 

7. Make cookies for friends (again, no pictures. we actually had to do this one twice because we ate the first batch before we could deliver).

8. Write letters to people.

if you get a letter from us, we expect one back. just sayin. 

9. Have playdates with friends (also, no pictures, but we're going to have more so I'll try to remember next time).

Not bad for week one! 

Our Big Plans

We've been working on something for nearly 9 months now. Jeff has been really keen on keeping it hush hush for reasons he probably wouldn't care for me to elaborate on ;) but since it's consuming my life right now, I've decided there's no real need to keep it quiet. And most of you probably know already!

Yup, we're building a house. It's not actually going to look like that one since we had someone far craftier than me design it, but that is our property there. You know how people say building a house and/or moving is super stressful? They're right, I don't recommend it. We have gone through phases of being consumed with it, then phases of nothing, then more, then less... Right now we are in GO GO GO mode.

When we bought the house we currently live in, I had every intention of making it our forever home. It's in a fabulous neighbourhood with all the usual things you would want when you're raising a family. I was 4 months pregnant with Cordelia and we were outgrowing our rental, so we took the plunge. We knew when we found the place that it was going to be a bit of work. Not a fixer-upper necessarily, just very, very ugly. Kind of like if they took a house in 1987 and preserved it perfectly in that lovely pastel shell-and-flower wallpaper decor, can you picture it? We had a 10-year plan to update everything when the threat of children destroying it had passed. Sometime last year, however, we realized that our 10-year plan would have to be fast tracked to a 5-year plan because this place has stairs, corridors, and just isn't right for Kingsley, nor is the school nearby. Thus, we need to sell.

It was pretty exciting designing a dream home, I won't lie. The floor plan is amazing, I am so very excited about it! Shortly after picking the lot, I met with our builder with a 5 page list of things that I had decided our new house would need. As if by magic, he made every request work. It's going to be completely accessible, but in a very subtle way. We have accounted for the fact that we have no idea what kind of kid/teen/young adult/adult Kingsley will be or how long he'll live in this house as best we can, while also remembering that he's just a kid and it's not HIS house.

There have been all kinds of delays thanks to Mother Nature and the housing Powers That Be, but the plan is that it'll be done sometime before Christmas. I hope.

In the meantime, I am desperately trying to make this house look a lot less like this house! If we can survive the reno's, purging, minimizing, and cleaning, we can survive anything. THANKFULLY, I am off crutches and able to walk on my torn ACL. The doctor and surgeon reconsidered my case and decided I'll be fine until I get surgery, if I'm cautious.

I am really sad to leave the house where I brought two of my new babies home, where my babies turned into toddlers and toddlers turned into little girls. I love this ugly ol' house! I am trying to soften the blow by endlessly pinning ideas for the new place. It's working. After all, how rough could life be if your biggest source of stress is trying to convince your husband that grey is the new taupe?

Wish us luck! :)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

June, June, June

It's June, which means it's Spina Bifida Awareness month. I have been trying and trying to come up with some kind of post to address it, but I'm blanking. It's taken me three weeks to realize that we're just not in a SB state of mind lately. I guess that in itself is indicative of something that people should be aware of: SB often takes a back seat.

We've been busy doing the usual June things. Cordelia is done preschool, Rachel is wrapping up SK, Kingsley and Cordelia's playgroup finished. We've been swimming, gardening, swinging, biking, rolling, reading, and playing.

I've also taken a detour from my yoga and occasional running, did I mention that? I started playing soccer, which I have never played before in my life. I'm generally horrid at team sports and anything involving moving objects, but kind of figured, why not? Everyone else was playing ;)

Week one, I pulled a quad. Week four, I rolled my foot and pulled something there. Week seven (this past Sunday), someone went Tonya Harding on my knee. I'm not entirely sure what happened. I remember going for the ball, then I was hit and there was a disturbingly loud and gross sound from my knee and I dropped. The doctor today said I have a tibial eminence avulsion, which he explained as a chipped bone. I googled and it's apparently something that most often happens to preteens who fall off their bikes. Fantastic.

ohemgee, Mom, you are such a klutz

Kingsley and I now have matching knee immobilizers. Mine is called a Zimmer splint, but it's basically the same thing only mine is more rigid and I have to wear it all the time. I get crutches, too.

So, that's where we are at the start of our summer. I can't carry Kingsley anywhere because I can't walk without crutches, I can't drive, I can't swim, I can't do much of anything. I'm not really sure where we are going to go from here, but it's going to be interesting!

**Go here to find out more about Kingsley's awesome shirt

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


One of the best things about living in southwestern Ontario is that we are smack in the middle of a triangle with lakes on the left side and the bottom. 30-90 minutes in one of those directions and you hit a beach. Lots of beaches. Gorgeous beaches. With beaches come cottage towns.

I think at some point in most adults lives (in these parts anyway), there will come a time where you sit down and contemplate: can I buy a cottage? Often 'cottage' is substituted with 'boat' or 'trailer' or 'camper' because those are equally awesome summer accessories, but for us it's always been cottage. Jeff and I have talked about it and decided probably not. But, growing up we rented a cottage for a week or two every summer and that seems to be the tradition we're going to continue with our family. 

This is one of those things that upset me quite a bit when we got Kingsley's diagnosis. This dream of summer time spent at the beach seemed to be crushed. How could a kid on wheels hang out at a cottage??  Enter: blogs. Seriously, other bloggers have saved our summer. If THEY can all take their kids to the beach, what am I all worked up about? ;)

Last summer, we rented a cottage with my sister and her kids. It was your typical tiny, shack-ish cottage right smack in the best location ever. Kinger was only 6 months old at the time, so not any big difference between having any 6 month old baby hanging out with you at the beach. This summer, we had to think a little bit harder to find the right place, but WOW did we ever find it!

Our cottage was not actually a cottage. It was a 5 bedroom bungalow just a short drive from the beach. It came equipped with everything you could possibly want in a cottage vacation: fire pit, trampoline, hot tub, volleyball net, horse shoes, bikes, toys, TV/DVD, on and on... Completely unreal. What really interested me was the open concept, lack of carpets and the long, level driveway. It wasn't perfect - there was a hill in the backyard, the entry ways all had stairs, it was a bit of a walk from the van to the beach, and the bedroom/bathroom doors were all standard width, but it was as close to perfect as we could've wanted.

We had a fantastic vacation at the beach. What meant the most to me was the realization that concern over what Kingsley can/not do did not have to interfere with what the girls would want to do. Some things, like the sand dunes (a huge wall of sand that you climb), Kingsley would not likely ever be able to enjoy, so we took the girls during naptime. Likewise, the playground nearby was not accessible, so we hit that during a naptime. But the beach, the restaurants, the market, walks in the neighbourhood, and campfires were all a go for Kinger with some help from us. All three of them had the opportunity to experience the best of cottage life, which is just the way it should be.

Family memories - check!

(OK, I know, I know. It's the end of September and yes, we did go to the cottage at the start of August, but better late than never! ;))
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