Monday, 31 October 2011

And the "worst costume of the year" award goes to....

My husband, who decided to go out as a "hipster" robot this year. He made it himself, can you tell?

Warning: photo posted below may not be suitable for small children, or sensitive adults.

Because I don't want anyone to have nightmares tonight, I will follow this up with a much less frightening photo.

Spooky dreams everyone!

Happy Halloween!

This evening we caved and decided to take Jake trick-or-treating in our neighborhood.  At first we weren't going to for a few reasons, including trick-or-treat time was cutting it close to his bedtime, he wouldn't be allowed to eat (much of) the candies anyway, and he's sort of at the in between age where he gets it but he doesn't really get it so we figured he wouldn't know any different either way.

But yesterday we went to a halloween/birthday party and all the kids were dressed up in their costumes and having way too much fun, and my husband and I thought what the heck 'tis the season, we might as well let him indulge in the experience.  So today after we got home from work we ate a hearty dinner and fished out Jake's old Easter basket we improvised as his treat bag and headed out the door.

J and I at the birthday party. He's the lil engineer, in case you were wondering :)

And we're off!

And we are very glad we did, because our boy had the time of his life.

I didn't know what to expect from my boy. I thought he might be shy, or maybe have a bit of a meltdown or two because he was getting tired.  What I did not expect was for Jake to bound up the stairs dragging us up behind him to knock his little fist on doors, and dig into the offered candy bowls with the vigor and enthusiasm of a kid who appreciates good candy. He had smiles for everyone, and left each treat sight with a hearty "Bye!"  It took maybe a house and a half before he decided that trick-or-treating was definitely worth his while.

We didn't go far, we didn't have to. Hitting half the houses on one side of the street on our block resulted in this:

The final loot. No bad for half a block, eh?

I am still not sure what to do with it all. To be completely honest the Mr. and I have already made a good dent in the goods, but whatever happens to the candy I am glad for the family memory.  It brought a smile to our boy's face that stretched from ear to ear, and it made my husband and I feel like we were 8 years old again.

Happy Halloween everyone!

Thursday, 27 October 2011

A few of my favorite things

So far the crisp, cool days of Fall have been good to us, filled with a great many adventures from carousels to pumpkin patches.   But for all of these big and exciting moments we've had recently there have been just as many, if not more, lazy days around the neighborhood and at home just soaking in these shorter, quieter days.  And these times have been just as special.

A few of my favorite of these moments recently have included trips to the Farmer's Market, where baskets of fresh vegetables, fruits and flowers stood out with vibrant colours of Fall.

 And taking breaks between playtime and naps to munch on snacks and rehydrate.

Then there are those perfect evenings that consist of little more than cuddles and worn out books on the couch with dad.

Or the spontaneous dinners at Oma and Nonno's, where surprises are always lurking.  Last weekend it was my brother's old horse that my parents dusted off and presented to Jake, who went completely wild with happiness and joy.

Who could blame him?

 And on this last visit Jake was lucky enough to get one on one story time with Oma.

So while it might be darker outside, colder outside, and rainier outside, inside it's still been darn pretty good.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Pumpkin Patching

Last year we did not visit a pumpkin patch. Instead we ventured out to our local grocery store and dropped a pre-picked pumpkin into our shopping cart between the cheddar cheese and the asparagus. We came home, carved it and took a few photos of Jake propped up next to it. At the time it seemed like a nice first Halloween experience for our boy.

 But this weekend, after my sister called me to invite us along on her annual family pumpkin patch visit, I learned that we missed out last year because pumpkin patches are a must when preparing for Halloween.

Checkin' out the goats on the farm

Hey Jake, I'll race you to the pumpkin patch!

We parked the car and Jake pretty much bounded out of his car seat, pointing and shouting "pumpkin! pumpkin!" as he took off down the muddy path after his older cousin, Oliver.  The next hour was spent getting muddy, touching as many pumpkins in the patch as possible, lugging the best and roundest ones we could find into a pile at our feet, before finally selecting the very best one to take home.

It was messy, it was muddy, and it was worth it.

No more grocery store pumpkins for these Boyds!

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Birthday! Birth-day!

This was a weekend of celebrating birthdays.

On Saturday morning we attended my oldest nephew's 4th birthday party.  It was so much fun to be a part of this day, especially for Jake who discovered his passion for Carousels and made off with his first ever birthday loot bag.

I couldn't help getting nostalgic though.  I mean, I remember when this boy was born. Standing in the hospital room holding this little pink baby bundled up tight in a white swaddle cloth, thinking to myself how much our family was going to change (for the better!) and how instantly I had absolutely devoted myself to him in that very moment. This boy was the first baby born in either my, or my husband's families, and we were both so besotted, so stunned by this tiny little perfect person that I didn't, couldn't imagine loving anyone more.

And now he is 4.  Four big years old. He plays with Lego, and I am talking the small stuff that most of us need a magnifying glass to see. He sneezes into his elbow better than most adults I know, and uses a real knife and fork to eat his dinner.  He's the big boy my small boy looks up at with big round admiring eyes. And this weekend I watched as he sat glowing with all his little people friends singing happy birthday to him and I couldn't help it, I cried. Just a little.

The very next day we got news that our newest nephew was ready to make his debut in this world, and bright and early on Monday morning over a bowl of soggy cherrios and oatmeal with Jake we celebrated the good news of his arrival.  Now he is the new little baby, wrapped tight in that white cloth, pink cheeks puffed out with the newness of his breathe, tiny fists curled up above his head, and just that quickly I am once again overcome with as much love and undying devotion as I was four years ago.

It did not escape me this weekend just how full the circle has come. I am blessed, and don't I know it.

Happy birthday Oliver and Tristan!

Wednesday, 12 October 2011


Thanksgiving is not a national holiday where my parents come from.  Turkey isn't a traditional meal, and you won't find many pumpkin pie recipes in Swiss cookbooks.  My mother never had to think about roasting a bird for 8 hours, or cooking yams, or finding just the right cranberries before she came to Canada, and yet somehow over these last many decades her ignorance of all things Thanksgiving has turned into this:

And when I find myself sitting a long table, adorned with tributes to Fall and filled with all the people I love, eating a perfect Canadian roast turkey dinner (with the best stuffing ever), I find myself having a lot to be thankful for.  She didn't have to take the time to learn how to make all of this, nor did my parents have to adopt this holiday, we would have been fine with out it, but they did so that they could share with us all the sides of our heritage. And Mama, I am thankful.

I'm not exactly sure how to teach Jake the importance of this holiday. In fact, I am not convinced that thankfulness is something that can necessarily be taught.  For the most part, I think that the true meaning of gratitude is something that Jake will just come to understand on his own.

Of course we do all the usual things parents are supposed to do, like take every opportunity we can to teach Jake how to say "thank you" in every language we know, or pausing before each meal to give thanks, and at night before sleeping I always make sure to cuddle him close as we murmur a little prayer of thanks for all that we've been given throughout our day.

Yes, that is Jake's face behind the serving spoon. He's reaching for the yams.

So while my husband and I try to be as aware as we can to insert our "thank yous" consciously and meaningfully into our daily routine, we are also trying not to stress too much about it. At the end of the day all we can really do is surround him with family, home, and heaping spoonfuls of love and just hope that he gets it.

And maybe one day, once I have slaved for many years to perfect my own version of a Canadian-Swiss infused thanksgiving, he will look at me with his cheeks stuffed full and say "thanks for dinner mom."  And I'll know: he's got it.

 Hope you all had an equally happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Taking it all in stride: thanksgiving edition

There are some weeks that are just crazy. Pure chaos one could say.  Weeks where everything seems to come together all at once in the perfect storm of upheaval.  Family colds, overtime at work, one final and nasty bout of teething, no available child care, and whole a lot of driving around. I'd go on all that has been going on for us in the last ten days that has kept me from posting recently, but this is Thanksgiving weekend, and all the chaos aside I am feeling pretty thankful.

Thankful for family that came through and took care of Jake for not one but two whole days, during a time when he was not feeling well. Thankful for a friend of a friend whom I barely know and who owes me nothing who went out and found a child care solution for us. Thankful for great-grandpas whose open door policy saved us a lot in gas money and peace of mind. Thankful to my mama who offered to give up her hard earned vacation to come and watch my boy if I needed. And thankful to have a child who put up with it all without a fuss... okay, with minimal fuss considering.

I know there will be weeks to come that will be harder and more chaotic than this. Weeks where things fall through and go wrong, and generally unravel out of my control.  Weeks where I will just fall behind on everything in my household from laundry to Muffin Mondays to family time. 

Water parks are just as fun without the water.
But I know that those weeks of pure chaos are short, and few between.  The weeks that have the majority holdings around here will always be a little chaotic and I am okay with that. Some things will fall behind, while others get more attention.  The natural give and take of family life.  One day laundry is about two weeks behind, but dinners are an ace every night for a week. I am learning to accept that this is the new balance of my life since becoming a mother, and to be thankful for it.

Sure last week was one for the birds, but it's all good now.  My boy is back to his happy and smiling self, I have a turkey feast lined up tomorrow that would put Martha to shame, and my laundry is (almost) caught up with.  I'd say things are looking up.

Tunnels: the latest obsession

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!