Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Spring Break

We head to Vancouver at least twice a year.  It is a bit of a slog getting down there: 13 hours in a van isn't a fabulous way to spend a day, but we all survive...I have a few tricks up my sleeve -which doesn't included a DVD player I might add - which help ALOT).  This trip, we decided to head down during Spring Break to piggy back the training Mike had to do down there.   

When we get there, it is a wonderful reunion and we have a very relaxing time.  We typically do all the same things when we are there, staying close to my mom and dad's place with the odd visit thrown in with a few good friends.

Here are a few favourite pics from our most recent trip:

It was a trip full of memories, relationships, friendship, laughter, outside, playing, reading and flowers.  

Exactly what a break should be.

Monday, 11 April 2011


We had a week off school a few weeks ago - it's called "Spring Break" - and yes, according to the calendar, it was the season of spring, but practically speaking, there was still 3 feet of snow in my backyard, and I wasn't seeing much in the way of spring-like behaviour.  

So, we packed up the van and headed to Vancouver for the week, just to see a bit of green and this "Spring" that people have been promising for a while now.  

And green we saw.  And pink.  And purple.  And yellow.  And blue.  And red. 

I just couldn't get enough of the flowers all week long.  Maybe it is my gardening genes.  But more likely, it is because there is something so miraculous about Spring.  What seemed dead amazingly produces these gorgeous flowers.  What seemed lost is found again.

And right now, that is the affirmation of Hope I really needed.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Lovely, Lovely, Lovely Green

This morning I dropped Ephraim off at preschool, excited that we could walk outside without mittens and toques.  Mostly though, I am loving the sun.

It is up early and goes to bed late.
In the morning, it shines through our east facing window, leaving rainbows all over the walls.
In the afternoon, it's rays warm my face as I stand in front of the south facing window and watch the drip, drip, drip of melting snow everywhere I look.
In the evening, it is so bright in our west facing kitchen that I find myself shielding my eyes with my arm while I am cooking dinner.  

But, I digress.  

As I was walking up our front walk after dropping Ephraim off, I noticed something green (GREEN!!!) pushing it's way through the receding snow.  I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the beginnings of one of the many primroses that I have in the front (one of my very favourite plants in this cold northern climate). 

I actually started to cry.  Literally.  And then I went and grabbed my camera.  

It has been a long, cold, snowy winter -  but today is the day that Hope has once again won.  Spring is on it's way.

As much as I hate winter, I know that without it, these little green plants would not be nearly as miraculous.  And with the sun shining and my primroses poking their beautiful green-ness out of the show, winter has almost become a distant memory.

Not quite, but almost...

Motorcycle Party Goodness

I have a confession to make:  I am one of "those" parents when it comes to birthday parties.  

You know the ones.  They pick a theme.  They spend hours searching and brainstorming ideas about games and decorating that fit with the theme.  They pick colours and coordinate the invitations and balloons and thank you bags.  They drive all over the city looking for a particular item that would be 'perfect' for the party.

And try as I might, I just can't talk myself down from going over the top.  That being said, I have mellowed out a bit since the first one...

Ephraim's fourth birthday was no different.  He decided on a motorcycle-themed party (admittedly with a bit of influence from me) but what I didn't realize is that there is absolutely no (and I mean zero) in the way of party ideas, party favours, party anything with a motorcycle theme.  

I enlisted the help of a friend who is a motorcycle fanatic, raided his garage, and came home with motorcycle helmets and motorcycle fenders and motorcycle seats and motorcycle boots and motorcycle get the picture.  The basement ended up being a pretty motorcycle-friendly place.

Ephraim had a few friends over and we spent the afternoon doing all things motorcycle.  We began by decorating the thank-you bags with cut up motorcycle pictures...

And then headed downstairs to the basement...

...where we began the 'structured' part of the party with a book (as I always do):

...we played a fun game of dressing up as a motorcycle driver and ran around the basement making motorcycle noises...

(as a side note, most of the kids didn't want anything to do with dressing up - but Ephraim had been walking around the house with the helmet, boots and gloves on for the previous two days)

We then played a few games of motorcycle bingo and a few motorcycle racing games (which I couldn't get pictures of since I was the only adult in the room)...

Next on the agenda:  motorcycle cupcakes (my Silhouette machine came in really handy for this party), some 'gasoline' juice (aka apple juice) and the obligatory popcorn twists (no Stolte party is complete without them)...

And of course, the gift opening...

And then the kids all went off to play by themselves for a while.  Over the years, I have learned that as much fun as party games are, really they are happiest when they are playing their own games together.  Free play - and lots of it!

After every party, I always feel a bit let down.  I feel like it wasn't quite enough or I could have done something different.  But then I upload the pictures, and realized that this is the reason I put so much work and effort and sweat equity into these days:

I want this little boy to know that he is important.  I want this little boy to know that he is loved beyond measure.  I want this little boy to know that the day he came into this world is a day that we will celebrate each year with joy.  

And I want this little boy to know that I would go to the moon and back to make his birthday one to remember.