Friday, September 23, 2011

Meet your farmer


Last Sunday afternoon we participated in an event called “Meet Your Farmer”. I think this event is held all across Canada but one Sunday in the fall, farms open their doors to the general public. They give tours, sell their wares, and allow us all to catch a glimpse of what life on a farm is like.

We visited a farm just 30 minutes away from us in Windsor, NS, the Oulton’s Farm. They have a large apple orchard, organic chickens and turkeys, exotic animals, and beef (altho we really didn’t see that aspect).


                                                                                              Little chicks.


                                                                                              Bigger chickens.


                                                                                      A donkey with some llamas.



IMG_8854 And last but not least, the exotic birds. It was a great day to get out and experience a local farm.

The real birthday

IMG_8821 Gaëlle told us over and over that she wanted a peppermint cake for her birthday. Silly me. I thought she wanted a peppermint tasting cake and so for her party, I thought the kids might not all like the taste of peppermint. I foolishly went to the store and bought a cake for the party. Then I thought I would make the peppermint cake for her actual birthday with the family.

As I’m getting ready to make the cake, it becomes clear that what she really wants is a cake that looks like a peppermint. A green peppermint. So, ta da. Robin worked his green sugar magic and Gaëlle had a peppermint cake.


The birthday girl with the cake decorator. And notice the birthday cup. It comes out for every birthday.


My mom had left a box for Gaëlle’s birthday and she had been waiting an entire month to dig into it.


It was filled with cooking goodies. Mixes and cooking utensils. Pure heaven for Gaëlle.


Keeping with the cooking theme, Kaylin got Gaëlle a play microwave. And as Gaëlle is on a Fancy Nancy kick, she also gave her some fancy accessories. IMG_8832 

Her crown is stupendous. That’s fancy for “great”.


Emily gave her a coupon for girl time which she redeemed the very next day. Kaylin drove Gaëlle to Emily’s new apartment where they painted their nails and then they went out to a movie. Ooh la la. Still staying with the Fancy Nancy theme.


We gave her a scooter for her special day. Notice the glamour girl taking it for a spin. I let her go without her helmet just to try it out. Now, she has to take off the crown and wear her helmet.


The big sister also got in on the action. The scooter carves and turns and is actually quite fun.


She couldn’t wait to cook and the first thing she made was yellow jello. Altho, it wasn’t a huge hit with her. She likes red better. But the rest of the family had no problem eating it.

Happy 6th Birthday Gaëlle. We love you so much and we love the joy, laughter, and energy you bring to our family.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Birthday Girl


Gaëlle is now 6.  She has been planning her birthday for a year now. We actually forbid the birthday talk because she was constantly telling us who was coming and who wasn’t going to be invited. So shortly before the big day, we allowed birthday talk and guess what?  She could not decide what she wanted to do and who she really wanted to invite. It’s easy to plan. Much tougher to commit.

So, I basically planned it without much input from her. Last year we went old school and just had an old fashioned at home party. It went so well, and with a few logistic issues, I decided to do the same thing thing year.


IMG_8769 We started with some easy crafts; door hangers and we put their names on their treat bags. Gaëlle and Peter love love love crafts. So this was good.



Next, onto some party games. 2 teams battling it out over water.

IMG_8782This was break the balloon game which was a huge hit with the boys but not so much with the girls. Emily jumped in to show them what to do.

IMG_8784Pass the multi wrapped present. Notice mom’s hands gently redirecting Gaëlle who was more than ready to help anybody unwrap their present.

IMG_8786   Spend a little time outside playing on the zip line. This is a huge hit with all the kids.

IMG_8787 Time for pizza, but it was hard to say bye to the zipline.

IMG_8785 IMG_8792 IMG_8803

Big smiles all around. Cause now it’s time for cake and then it’s time for presents.


It’s interesting to see Gaëlle’s reaction to presents. Most people assume the younger kids are going to be ecstatic with gifts and with stuff. I mean, they’re from Haiti and all.  They should be so grateful. But they really don’t know how to react to “stuff” and so they can be a little underwhelmed and not quite as excited as one might expect to see.

IMG_8818 However, Gaëlle received a couple of craft kits and she really was pleased with them. That afternoon, she and Peter broke out the first one and they made a couple of pom pom critters.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

In Memory of Tee

Last year one of the boys Emily fell in love with from Thailand died unexpectedly. It was heartbreaking for not only her but also everybody else from Rainbow House. When she talks about him, in my mind, I see an energetic and mischievous little boy; full of fun and joy regardless of his circumstances. Emily has a page on the Future for Five website with some of her favorite pictures of Tee.

Emily has been raising money to send to Rainbow House by selling shirts. The shirts currently being sold are going to support the camp where she was paired up with Tee.

But for those who don't want to spend money on a shirt, she has had a special fund going in memory of Tee. So many of the kids who pass through Rainbow House, whether it's kids from the day program or kids from orphanages, don't own any toys. Tee loved teddy bears and so she raised money to take his friends to Build a Bear in his memory.

Emily just received photos of the trip to Build a Bear. I can't even imagine the fun that must have been for the kids. I love this first photo because the kids are sitting there staring at the big bear full of amazement.

It looks like the staff and the volunteers did a great job walking the kids through each stage of making a bear and really helping them build a memory as well.

Each child has his own unstuffed bear.

What would a bear be without a heart?

The stuffing goes in.

Lots of happy children.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

DDR Part 2

We have had Dance Dance Revolution for many years but for the past few years, it's been packed away. We decided to break it out again this summer for Peter and Gaëlle.
They have been having a blast with it.

Their goal is just to make it through a song without failing and having the song shut down on them. Peter can pretty much make it through a song but Gaëlle rarely makes it through a complete song.

The former DDR champ even graced us with his presence. We used to have a lot of fun watching Josh and Kaylin and Emily compete with each other for dominance. Good times.

Going... going... gone

Gaëlle has not shown any interest in taking off the training wheels from her bike. In fact we didn't think she was physically ready because she leans on the training wheels whenever she rides her bike. She seems ackward still. She never has asked to have them removed. Strange because she is so athletic and physically powerful.

But on Thursday night Robin just took them off. And guess who was able to ride her bike the very first time he let go? Gaëlle just took off.

No problem.

The only issue she has is starting on her own. But on Friday night when she went to ride her bike again, there was no stopping her. We should have guessed she could do it. There was no teaching involved. She just went. Go Gaëlle!

First Day of School 2011

School started on Tuesday here and I've got to say I am a major fail at taking pictures on the first day. Our morning wasn't rushed or stressed but I just didn't haul out the camera. But I grabbed this one right before we went inside.

Gaëlle is in her class and completely focused on her stuff.

Peter's class was completely on top of things. They lined up at the door and went right inside and straight to their seats. No chaos there.

Only Peter was excited about the first day of school. Gaëlle didn't end her year on a high socially so she seemed very ambivalent about going back. Hopefully she will be more successful in her academics and her social interactions. Both kids are teacher favorites but Gaëlle has a more difficult time with her peers.

The first week is over and true to form, Peter is just bubbling over with excitement over what they are going to do this year. There's a new boy in his class and Kaylin encouraged him to befriend him. So we get nightly reports about the new kid and what they said to each other.

Gaëlle has hardly said a word about her class. We don't know about any new kids and we don't know anything that they did during the day. We can ask but she just has nothing to say. She never says that she likes this activity or she doesn't like that activity. She just doesn't talk about her day at school. So.... we'll see where this all goes.