Monday, August 27, 2012

Biking fun

Even though Gaelle is so strong and athletic and has been riding her bike without training wheels for a long time, she still seemed uncertain on her bike. Until this summer. Now she pedals like crazy and loves to ride her bike. Peter and Robin have ridden their bikes together but we haven't done much as a family. On Saturday we headed out to one of the trails in Halifax which was perfect.

The scenery was nice and the trail was flat. Just right for our family.

Enjoying a little snack at the halfway mark.

Healthy apples and a beautiful day. We can't wait to do more of this.

Go Stingers Go

Gaelle played summer soccer again this year and true to form, she was quite the power house. She has a muscular and athletic body and has the energy of a dynamo.

It is the most fun to cheer her on. We just have to start yelling her name and she takes off. Her speed is amazing. It always makes me smile and the other parents just stare in amazement. 

Her coach let the girls play any position they wanted. Gaelle chose to be the goalie at least once a game. Even though she can be aggressive as a forward, she was also great as a goalie. She was able to stay completely focused on the game and cut down the angles and played great.

Needless to say, she was probably more excited about her candy than her trophy. 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Catons Island Family Camp 2012

For the 3rd year in a row, we headed across the beautiful St. John River to Catons Island Family Camp. Fake Aunt Di and Uncle Marc were visiting so they went with us to the island to spend some quality time with us, but more likely to visit with their daughter who has been working at camp all summer. 

As you can see, Gaelle is delighted with her top bunk status. The entire family stays together in one cabin and if a family wishes, they can share a cabin with another family. This is the first summer we remembered a night light and flashlight. However, we did forget a few other items; pillows for the younger kids. Oops.

The 3 oldest. Always glad to be back on the island. At least good sports about being back on the island.

The first night starts with a bonfire with hotdogs, marshmallows, etc. Just general smoke and goodness.

Gaelle checking to make sure it is just right and mom checking to make sure she doesn't get too close to the fire.

I wouldn't even want to make a guess about how many hot dogs and marshmallows Peter consumed. He was having a blast and eating it all up.

Just so happy Kaylin could get the weekend off. She has been working so much this summer and it meant a lot to me that once again, we were all able to be together.

Saturday night, the camp staff put on a typical campfire like they would for the kids. And the kids just love it. I think Emily and Kaylin were happy to relive old camp memories as well and I even got into the spirit. 

A video showing some of the campfire silliness. 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Family Visit part 2

The 4 cousins had no problem entertaining themselves. They played games and the boys even made up their own game which they convinced one adult to play with them. But we all know Uncle Tim is just a kid at heart.

Have I mentioned that my mom is the ultimate party planner. One night Robin and I were surprised with an early 25th Wedding Anniversary party. 

There was a special dessert.

And of course, decorations and gifts. It was quite a surprise and a lot of fun.

One of the birthday gifts from earlier in the week was Bananagrams so we had a few giant games. It's just a treat to find a game that all the kids can play and that they all enjoy and we know they are learning in the process. Pure genius. 

We ended the visit with what was always a highlight for our older kids. They missed it this time but the younger kids all enjoyed it. We walked there. By this time the youngest grandson had joined us from Massachusetts. Just a side note on him. I wish I had more pictures to illustrate how busy, joyful, smart, and loud he is. What a lot of fun. Gaelle did her best to boss him around but he could easily hold his own.

We did see some fun things, but the price was a little high at this one. 

Gaelle did her best to be the big cousin. Sometimes David obliged her, sometimes not.

Just a moment to take a little rest and a little breather with Aunt Herlinda and Uncle Tim. 

This seene was repeated over and over. The house was full. But my mom had everything under control. We had such a great time with lots of laughs and lots of play time. Lots of baking and lots of sharing. Just a great time of connecting with family.

On the way home one of the rest stops in Maine had this moose statue. The kids still don't get that. But they wanted their picture taken with the moose. And they weren't the only ones. We noticed others walking over with camera in tow. 

Family visit part 1

When I heard my sister and her kids were planning on being in NJ this summer, we worked it out so we could go down and spend some time with them and with my parents. The 4 cousins had a great time together. The oldest was just so patient with the youngest. I was just so impressed with her sweet and helpful spirit. Plus she's a ton of fun. The boys are vastly different in so many ways and yet they have an absolute blast together. They get along so well. I really wish they could get together more often but California is kind of far from Nova Scotia. 

Even though the kids did great at entertaining themselves, my mom had different activities to amuse them. She organized a candy hunt and it's pretty easy to see they got into the spirit of the hunt.

Grammy and Grampy with half of their grandkids.

Me and my mom.

My mom is far away from her grandkids and because she doesn't get to see all of their birthdays, she always organizes a GIANT birthday party for all of us. Complete with decorations and lots of presents.

A party wouldn't be complete without candy.

Peter and Joseph getting into the thrill of the presents. My mom doesn't just pass out presents, she makes it an event. We have official present passer outers and then some kind of game is involved with the presents. This time the presents weren't marked. We opened our gift and then had to guess who it was for. Hilarity ensues when Grampy is given the princess tiara meant for the 6 year old girl. 

In Nova Scotia our beaches are beautiful but the water is usually cold. There are a few times when the currents are just right and we are treated to nice swimming water, but all too often, the water is ice cold. So I wanted to take the kids to the Jersey Shore to swim in warm water. It's not bath water, but it's pleasant. 

The sand was just right for digging and playing.

Grampy did his best to not get burned by the sun.

We went to Sandy Hook which is a beautiful national park, but the beach we selected was different from other Jersey beaches I've been to. The shoreline took a pretty drastic drop and there was really only one crashing wave instead of a set of them. But when the waves came, they were powerful and fortunately all the kids did well with it and didn't get scared by the force. 

We also chose Sandy Hook because of the historic sites. We took a tour of the oldest working lighthouse which was fascinating. And we could see the old military village where in WW2 there were 12,000 residents. Hard to believe. 

The light was working and it was warm up there. 

Apparently the boys counted the steps all the way down. 

Another activity we did with the kids was the Turtle Back Zoo. Robin really wanted to take the kids to the Bronx Zoo but we decided the smaller closer zoo would be preferred by the kids. It was a good choice. There were numerous water sprays throughout the zoo to cool the kids off. 

There was a canary house where the kids could feed the canaries with see on a stick. The birds didn't really want to eat until they were sitting right on the stick. 

Grampy and the boys soon learned the secret of getting the birds to climb on their sticks.  

Just a quick break to rest from the heat.

One nice thing about this zoo was the volunteers who walked around the exhibits and talked with the kids. Here we are at the Gibbon enclosure learning the difference between monkeys and apes. We all enjoyed our trip to the zoo and I'm glad we were able to share family time together.