Friday October 18, 2019 L e a n n e   V e r k l e y not logged in

September review

This month Lindsay, Stacey, Krista and I had a girls night out.  This was kind of a big deal as the four of us spent most of our childhood together, even more of our high-school years together and then life took us in different directions and now we are in a place where reconnecting makes sense.  We enjoyed catching up so much!  We have even planned another get together in the near future!

The school had the curriculum night and book fair, and this year it was done a little differently.  There was a samosa sale, and parent mingle for about half an hour before actually going to the classrooms.  I think this will help annually if we do this for parents to meet each other.  
The kids seem happy enough in their classes, andI think we are off to a great start to the year.  The breakfast program has started.  Easton has already done a class trip to Camp Samac in Oshawa.  There was a Watershed festival, we did so many activities with water, and they even saw Salmon spawning.  
Both kids have field trips booked for October.  I love outdoor learning!

We have done our birthday photo session for Easton.  However, they now just give you digital images and you are to figure out how to print them on your own if you would like to.

Easton did the Zoo Run put on by Oasis and over $59 000 was raised for zoo conservation.  He came in 39th out of over 300 kids in his age bracket, running 800 m.  Mathew from next door also ran the race with him.  Ellie (also next door) ran the little kids race of 400 m and their mom ran the 10K.  It was a really fun day, but also a very busy day.  The race in the morning, hockey in the afternoon, and then Brian had his high-school friends over for a D&D weekend.  Trevor and Joel.  Trevor also brought his daughter Natasha.  Both our kids learned how to play D&D (Dungeons and Dragons) this summer while at summer camp.

The Terry Fox run happened at the kids school and Easton won for running the most of any grade 4's, with 14 laps.  He received a ribbon in front of the school.   He was pretty excited.  He has been training  for Cross Country, so he has built up his endurance!  

We hosted a baby shower for Brian's sister Julie as she is due in just a few weeks to have her baby.  Brian's cousin Tina was generous enough to let us have the party at her place, and we co-hosted what I think was a wonderful shower for this new baby girl.  We can't wait to meet her.  There was so much food and lots of catching up with family.  Hadley was super happy to help pick out decorations, including a selfie wall that people quite enjoyed.  I found this BABY sign in all pink which I think was super cute and sparkled, and we decorated the walls with spirals, cute cut outs of baby girl decals, and balloons.  A bunch of us went in on a stroller, and then she was showered with many other amazing gifts.  I was happy to pass on a little pink and a little yellow dress, both of which I received when Hadley was born.  These were worn by Lisa and Julie, then Hadley, and now they will go to this new baby.  I kept one for Hadley.  The pink and blue one that Hadley wore to Lisa's wedding.  Such special little dresses!  Much thanks to Brian's grandma who made these with love by her own hands.

Shaye came to visit for what was probably one of her fastest visits.  About 24 hours total.  She has a busy month and this was the only time she could squeeze in for a birthday visit with Easton.  Such amazing effort.  I am thankful to have her in our lives.  

Orange Shirt Day was recognized at the kids school this week.  It is an event that started in 2013, designed to educate people and promote awareness about the Indian residential school system and the impact this system had on Indigenous communities for more than a century in Canada.

September was a busy month, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

- Leanne Verkley

Ethan, Easton's first time at camp, and back to school

Since getting back from our trip we have been quite busy.  Our friends Shawn and Violette welcomed baby Ethan on August 22.  However, with back to school prep, their own family visitors and Easton off to camp for a week for the first time, we finally got to meet him on September 1st.  He's so cute and little.
We enjoyed a lovely bbq together and visited for a few hours.  The kids were great with the baby.  I am so happy for Shawn and Violette, they will be great parents!

Easton did great at his first week of summer camp by himself.  He was lucky enough to have Beckett from hockey go with him and be in his cabin, and his sister Ayslin was there also but on the girls side. Easton was so excited to go.  He wrote a letter home but we didn't get it until after school started.  Still so fun!  He enjoyed much spiree and swimming apparently.  Among other things.  He is on the red team while Hadley is blue.  Once you are assigned a colour, that is your colour for every year.  He is excited to go back next year.

While he was at camp, Hadley and I did a few back to school shopping trips as she has grown so much and needed so much.  Plus she got her hair cut in a shoulder length cut which is super cute and adult shoes, that are the same size as mine!
With the new "season", it was time to try on hockey and skating gear, and do more shopping for new gear in the right sizes.  
Guitar and piano lessons also started back up.  

The first day of school went really well, as have the first two weeks.  I have been in the school quite a bit already.  While I have lunch supervised, there has also been a lunch supervisor potluck to go over important information, SCC prep for the upcoming curriculum night, I have been shopping for the breakfast program which will start up next week, and I have already volunteered for an upcoming trip for Easton's class and Terry Fox at the end of the month.  There is a new principal, and he seems lovely.  I am looking forward to the year ahead!  So far the kids are enjoying school well enough.  Easton has already done a presentation about himself.  He had to bring in 5-8 things about himself to talk about, and Hadley is loving having a chromebook which all grade 7's get to have for use at school and at home.  

My nephew Jayden plays for Saugeen Shores and won the provincial championship for baseball this year, so I am super proud of him.  He also had his 11th birthday which we will celebrate at Thanksgiving with the twins who will have their birthdays at the end of September, turning 8,  and Easton turning 9, the first week of October.

Well, off to get some things done around her.

- Leanne Verkley

Our Yukon/NWT/Alaskan/BC Trip

Our Yukon/NWT/Alaskan/BC trip started out with an early morning drive to the airport where we boarded the first of two flights.  One to Vancouver and the next with just a short lunch stopover in between to Whitehorse.
The kids were great on the flights and helpful with their luggage.
Once we had our luggage we tried to catch a few Pokemon in the online game Pokemon Go, while we waited for the shuttle to the Yukon Inn.  Well, it never arrived.  So the kind person behind the counter at the car rental company, shut down his booth, and drove us there.  Of course we tipped him well, but this introduction to northern living was quite unexpected but very welcome.
We got to the hotel, and everyone was hungry, so, we decided to go out for Pizza Hut.  Whitehorse has pretty much all the chains that you can think of.  I think I was surprised at how many chains it had.  
After dinner, we got groceries and loaded them into the small fridge in our hotel room as the next morning we would be picking up our truck and camper and we could just transfer the groceries.
We decided that a good night’s sleep was in order, and then got up early enough to walk to Fraserway RV rental to arrive when it opened.  We saw lovely fireweed along our walk, among other views of mountains and waterways.  I think the kids were glad that we could drive back to the hotel though.  The vehicle was a Ford F350.  Brand NEW!  They only keep trucks for a year and then they sell them to locals.  So all the rental trucks are new.  On the back we had a camper attached in the bed of the truck, so nothing to tow behind.  It had a double bed and a table that folded down to be a little smaller than a double.  It had an almost full size fridge, a stove and sink with storage for all the pots, pans, plates etc, and a small amount of storage for our things as well.  In hindsight, maybe we should have loaded our things into the trailer and asked the hotel to store our luggage for three weeks as the baggage was the most cumbersome.  However… it was fine.  We just juggled a little everyday.  The RV included warm blankets, lawn chairs, an axe, and many other things including a loan of bear spray, for just in case situations.  

After we felt like we were all set to start our adventure, we headed to the SS Klondike.  Here we explored the large ship and did the Xplore kids program which helped Hadley and Easton to stay engaged with the historical site we were learning about.  I love this program.  We did it all through our Eastern Canada trip a while back so the kids were familiar with how it worked and earned two dog tags on this trip for completing the workbooks.

From here we headed to the Yukon Wildlife Preserve.  It came highly recommended from Brian’s sister Lisa as it would show us all the animals we could expect to see in the Yukon.  
The weather is colder so fall jackets were necessary, but we walked for hours around the preserve.
We saw arctic ground squirrels, often coming up to surprise us.  We saw Muskox, mountain goats, moose, deer and many other animals.  The kids felt this walk was long, and we didn’t find the lynx.  
(For others who may visit, there is apparently a bus tour through the park).  

After the wildlife preserve we decided that the Takhini hot springs would be a welcomed retreat to end our day.  We met some lovely locals but mostly just enjoyed the warm water.

That night we stayed at Wolf Creek Campground.  I think we found one of the last spots.  In the Yukon, you can’t prebook sites.  So, upon arrival, you find a site, and then put $12 in an envelope and place it in the mailbox, with the corresponding slip on your site.  I think we got a site at all but one campground.  So, all was good enough with the system.  Included in your $12 site fee, you could burn all the wood you wanted from their bin of pre-cut wood.  

This day was going to include a fairly long hike, so we decided to start the day with a kids request.  Our first breakfast included hash browns, bacon, and eggs.  This became a requested meal throughout the trip.   Then we played a game of Magic the Gathering, which the kids had recently learned from my brother when we were at Mark and Kaitlyn’s wedding.  
The hike we went on offered beautiful views of mountains, water, and trees.
That night the kids were happy to enjoy a campfire.

The next day we drove to Emerald lake, which was a beautiful lake just north of Carcross with magnificent green colours throughout.  If you get a chance to go see it, this is a beautiful lake.  

We stopped in at Carcross as we were told it had a pretty amazing playground.  It was good enough but not as amazing as the write up made it to be.  Still, I think the kids had fun.  We listened to some local live music, stopped in at the general store and bought some local maple candy.  

Next stop Bove Island lookout on route to Conrad campground. From our private rocky beach steps from our campsite, Hadley and Brian “enjoyed” a freezing dip in the water before we played at the park with a zipline.  (Apparently the best park around).  The kids met some locals, and we did too, and they played for a while before we went back to our site to have a campfire.

The next day we went to Carcross Dessert which is often described as the smallest dessert in the world.  We walked across the sand and took a few photos.

Alayuk Adventures was a very authentic dog sled experience.  Highly reccommended.  We arrived and knew we were there when we heard the dogs from around the corner.  We did the kennel half day tour.  
They took us out on a training run in a side by side vehicle with a team of ten dogs who were very enthusiastic about running.
We had lunch with the musher, Marcelle.   Marcelle is an Iditarod and Yukon Quest finisher.   She answered all our questions.  We had the opportunity to pet the dogs, and try out some of the gear, and see the sled she used and how it was packed for a race.  The over mitts she wore on top of her actual gloves were huge!  We also saw a video about the dogs and the lifestyle of the owners.  

From here we went to Myles Canyon and walked across the suspension bridge built in 1922!

We stopped at Fox Lake for the night and enjoyed a steak, rice, and vegetable dinner with our first Yukon Gold beer!  Again our view was amazing as we were right on the water, looking at the mountains.  

The next day we finally arrived in Dawson City.  Here we met up with Brian’s sister and brother-in-law Jeff.  We parked our camper in behind their house and got straight to visiting.    That night, Lisa took us for a tour of the town.  We started at the Downtown hotel where we all had the sour toe cocktail and kissed the toe.  You can drink it fast, you can drink it slow but your lips must touch the toe.  Brian and I were 89 725, and 89 726.  They hit 90 000 while we were in town.  

From here we went to the Pit.  A local tavern.  We saw crazy locals, met some of Lisa’s friends, and listened to Karaoke while we drank the night away catching up.

The next day Jeff took us out to see Dredge #4, a national historic site.  We drove to King Soloman’s dome and saw the gold fields.  Then Lisa babysat while we went to Diamond Tooth Gerties that night.  
We saw two shows.  One of which Brian was pulled up on stage to say a giant tongue twister.  He won a Gerties Garter.  We also met up with Brian’s dad’s friend who was visiting the Yukon at the same time.

The next day we all went to the Midnight Dome to see Dawson from another angle.  

I think claim 33 was the kids favourite.  They learned to pan for gold from Lisa and Jeff’s neighbour and got some actual gold!  From here we headed to claim 6, the free claim site where we tried our luck, but the kids didn’t find anything.  Lisa found a small klinker though!  

In town we drove by the famous kissing building which have shifted due to permafrost.  

The kids were happy to enjoy some fun playtime with Hank, go for a walk to the park with the spiral slide, and try their luck around Dawson for Pokemon Go sitings.  This is where they taught Lisa about the game.  It turns out Lisa’s house is a poke stop, so while our kids have to leave the house to play, she can play from her living room.  (She has historic sites all around her, so levelling up in Dawson is pretty easy).  

The next day we drove in two vehicles to the Dempster Highway.  Jeff was amazing with the kids and showed them lots about fishing.  Easton was really into it!  Both kids reeled in some fish before we called it a day.  Lisa and Jeff went home and we continued on our way up the Dempster Highway.  
We hiked up the Goldensides trail, near Tombstone territorial park, which the kids were not thrilled about but we knew there was a lot of driving ahead so exercise at this stop was a good idea.  We didn’t walk all the way but did walk to the tower.  It was a fairly easy hike, with fireweed and lovely views of mountains.  

From here we drove on and stopped at Two Moose Lake.  Here… we saw… two moose at the lake!  A mamma and babe.  

Lisa told us about a mile by mile reading for the Dempster, so we printed that out and the kids took turns reading it as we went along.  This helped us to find things like elephant rock!  A rock on the distant mountains that looks like an elephant.  

With more driving we finally came to the arctic circle.  It was cold and a little windy but such a cool feeling to say that we made it there!  We took photos with the sign.
As we drove on we saw a bear on the side of the road.  This was the second bear we saw but the first one we could photograph.  This bear seemed unaffected that we were slowly driving by.  He continued to dig away at whatever he was digging and we took photos.

It was exciting to say that we had photos at the Yukon Territory sign, but soon after the arctic circle photos we found ourselves taking photos at the Northwest Territories sign!  I never thought I would get to either of these, so this was pretty awesome!  

At midnight, just outside of Tuktoyaktuk, we saw a caribou.  Since the sun was still up, we could see it easily.  We first saw him on the road in front of us, but then he ran off to the nearby water.  

That night we parked our truck beside the Arctic Ocean in Tuktoyaktuk.  It was SO windy, but with a tip from a security officer, we parked in such a way that we hoped the wind would be okay, and not blow our truck.

The next morning we saw the TransCanada Trail monument, tried Muktuk (Beluga Whale Blubber) at Grandma’s Kitchen, and of course took photos with the Arctic Ocean sign and dipped our feet in the COLD water.  We had thoughts of turning up the heat in the trailer, (which we only did twice on the whole trip), and then running from the Ocean to the trailer after swimming, but we couldn’t park close enough.  As it was, we dipped our toes, and ran and still had numb feet.  
Tuktoyaktuk is the land of the Pingos.  Which for any that don’t know, it is a mound of earth-covered ice.
So, we of course drove around to look at those while we were there too.

There isn’t much in Tuktoyaktuk, but we did manage to go to the visitor centre, look around some shops and buy a souvenir, and before leaving town we saw a motor home stuck in the mud, which either got towed out eventually or became a new home for the town???

From here we retraced a lot of our steps back down the Dempster Highway, but made some new stops too.  We hiked in the rain at Beaver Pond just before leaving the highway and then headed to Dawson to wash the mud off the truck and trailer.  SO MUCH MUD!

Next up, more visiting with Lisa and Jeff.  Lisa took us to the Bear Creek National Historic Site.  Here you could see that the gold mining company town just up and left without really packing up.  Calendars still on the wall.
After this historic walk, and talking with the Parks Canada people, we headed to Palace Grand Theatre where we saw the Greatest Klondiker Show.  Both kids were judges, as well as a third kid we didn’t know, and Brian was pulled into the show since the Parks Canada guy new he needed someone from Ontario.  What are the chances?

When we got back to Lisa’s house, the kids wanted to try metal detecting in her backyard.  So, Lisa brought out her detector that she got a few years back and we played around in her backyard.  We dug up about four spots and it wasn’t until we were about to put it away when Easton got the detector to BEEP… BEEP… BEEP… so we dug and found what we believe to be a small can of 7-up pop in the shape of an earring, likely from the 1970’s.  Cool!  

The next day we went to Peabody’s Photo Parlour where we all dressed up and took fun photos of gold rush times.  

The next day, we drove again in two vehicles,  and after crossing the ferry, we saw Dawson from the other side.  Then we headed to Fortymile, where we began with a picnic lunch before hiking and fishing again.  
We stopped to admire the buildings that people lived in during the gold rush, and we were thankful for them when the rain came even if wall paper was coming off the walls and there were only window frames, and no doors left.  
We eventually made our way to the 40 mile cemetery, and then guessed our way back to the road.

Our last fun event with Lisa and Jeff was to pick wild blueberries and we got a lot of them on the Top of the World Highway.  Yum!  
It is here that we sadly said our goodbyes and we continued on our way to Alaska and they headed home.

Soon after we arrived in Chicken Alaska, we saw a total of four stores, total!  A mercantile, where you can buy all things chicken, a liquor store, which was connected to a saloon with all kinds of hats attached to the ceiling from travellers, and a cafe.
We learned that Chicken is named Chicken because its founders were self-conscious about their bad spelling and didn’t want to spell Ptarmigan wrong.  

We continued on to Kluane National Park.  The park is home to Canada’s highest peak, Mount Logan!  While we didn’t climb that, we did climb the King’s Throne at Kathleen Lake.
It started out fairly flat, but soon became quite a hike with lots of rock.  Definitely challenging.
After an entire morning, we stopped at the throne and didn’t continue on to the summit.  Here we had lunch together celebrating how far we had come.  While Brian and Hadley walked a little further to see if the views were any different, Easton and I rested.  They came back only a few minutes later to say that the steep hike was not worth the effort.  So, we made our way back down where Brian, Hadley and Easton jumped in the icy waters at the bottom.  Hadley was first in… and you could see the shock in her face.  It was cold!  But, she decided to jump in again if Brian was going to do it with her.  So they did.  Then Easton wanted in on the fun and his shocked face after jumping off the dock was quite something!  All were ready for warm towels!  Although, Brian must have been the most shocked as he said the wind wasn’t cold at all when he got out.
Trust me… it was cold.  I wasn’t going in.

That night we enjoyed a nice campfire before heading through British Columbia, on our way to Haines Alaska.  Yes, Easton was in British Columbia for the first time and touched to Pacific Ocean!  (Near Mud Bay).

While driving on, we enjoyed some lovely views of the glaciers, a bald eagle sitting on a post, and after taking the ferry up to Skagway, we saw the White Pass train travel by us.

We eventually ended up at the Whitehorse Fish Ladder where you can view fish through the underwater window.  We learned about the salmon and saw them on monitors through underwater cameras.
We saw the actually ladders but didn’t actually see fish using them.

After returning the RV with 4026 KM driven, we decided that a walk was in order, so we got out our Pokemon Go, and went to tour Whitehorse.  However, it began to rain, so we popped into the Kwanlin Dun Cultural Centre where we accidentally bumped into Scott Martin, a friend both Brian and I knew from High-school.  He was there on a work trip.  What are the chances!   We both live in the GTA, and haven’t seen each other in many years, but here we were in the Yukon!

From here it was time to get all things gathered up in our hotel room, and prepare for the two flights home.

- Leanne Verkley

July

The first week of July Hadley was at camp.  This was the first year that I didn't spend Canada Day with her.  She was a little sad about this but prepared with a really cute Canada Day dress to wear on the day.  Her favourite part about camp this year was seeing the dogs, (Albi, Finn, and a third dog that she can't think of the name for), and doing the camp out in the forest for one night.  Hadley made pizza on a campfire.  She thought this was awesome!

This was a special Easton week.  We spent a day at the waterpark at Canada's Wonderland which he loved but his review was that Wet and Wild from last year was better.  We managed to get a few rides in as well, because the water park closes at 7pm and the rides close at 10pm.
He had a play date with Nathan, and we just did some other fun stuff together.  Parks, bike riding, soccer, we watched Tour do France, etc.

The next week Hadley had a playdate with Tiffany from her drama club.  I had a girls night out to celebrate Patti's birthday, and Brian went to the Bender LAN party while the kids and I went to Wonderland again with my brother Joe.  I know they love spending time with him.  They loved riding the stunt coaster with him.

Another play date in week three with Nathan, we did a few scientists in the school program at the library.  I am always impressed with Scientist in the School, but having it free at the library was amazing!    

While we attending Brian's cousin Mark's wedding to Kaitlynn on June 20th, which was beautiful and rustic and so much fun, the kids spent the night with their uncle Joe.  This is where they learned about Magic the Gathering.  This was the game we played for most of the rest of the summer. I think my brother was proud and happy to teach them this game.  I see new Magic cards as gifts in their future.  They are hooked.

We had a lovely visit at Shaye's house where we went swimming, and spent some time with Nory and her family as well.  There was ice-cream, Muskoka chairs, and Webbers burgers/fries and so much fun!


- Leanne Verkley

Year in Review for grade 3 and 6.

EASTON:
What do you remember about every day at school?
Going to gym, 120% fun.
Who is your best friend?
Matthew.
What is your favourite book?
Pokemon, and Spiderman books.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
Waiter at McDonalds.
What is your favorite food to take to school?
Penne noodles with sausage and cheese.
What is your favorite thing in gym, recess and or extracurricular?
Dodgeball, cross country, soccer and making sand castles in the sandbox.  Indoor recess is chrome book for prodigy.
What is your favorite song?
Old Time Road, Sun Flower, and Rip Tide.
What is your favorite thing to watch?
Ninjago, Nino Kuni Wrath of the White Witch.
Favourite Colour?  Blue
Teacher: It was a rocky start.  He was in a solid grade three class with Mrs. Kamstra for about a month.  Then a few substitutes (maybe 5), until finally Mr. Oikle started in October.  They were in the library until February until they finally got a portable.  This was a 3/4 split class.


HADLEY:
What do you remember about every day at school?
I really liked art with Mr. Cooper.
Who is your best friend?
Harmony
What is your favourite book?
Magic animal rescue, Maggie and the flying horse.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
Cat entertainer, play, cuddle, feed, water, love.  
What is your favourite food to take to school?
Roast beef and potatoes and strawberries.
What is your favourite thing in gym, recess and or extra curricular?
For indoor recess it is chrome book, hangman with Eliana and Aarti, choir, colouring and drawing.
What is your favourite song?
Titanium by David Guetta  
What is your favourite thing to watch?
Winks Club on Netflix about fairies and animals.
Favourite Colour? Lilac.
Who were your teachers?
Mr. Cooper.  Class started as a 5/6 class but changed to a solid 6.

- Leanne Verkley

June Updates

This doesn't mean life stopped, it just means, life was busy, and Brian was finally able to spend some time getting it back up and running.
So... The updates for June:
Hadley and Easton finished up music lessons for the year.  While Easton didn't have a recital, he had a few songs that were easily recognizable.  Most recently Sunflower by Post Malone, Swae Lee from the latest Spiderman movie.  Spiderman into the Spiderverse.  Hadley's song was How Far I'll Go, from the Moana movie.  Both had a great year!  Hadley's recital had my friend Stacey's kids also playing their piano pieces, so we did lunch after the recital.  That was fun!
Jump Rope for Heart was another fun day at the school where the students raised over $4000, and earned a hat day, an extended recess, a free period and a movie day.
We took a day as a family and went to Wonderland, which was fantastic as the line ups are way less before school is out!
I was called for Jury Duty.  Which only lasted two days, but I did my part.  I actually met up with a friend in the waiting room.  Not sure what the chances of that happening are?  I was put on a list on day one, which after a few hours meant that I would have to come back the next day at a specific time.   The next day they actually called me at home and said not to come in.  They had selected their jury.  
However, this meant that I had to miss Hadley's class trip to the aquarium in Toronto, but she had a great time anyway!  I think her favourite part was spending money in the gift shop at the end and travelling to and from the aquarium by GO train.
I was able to go on Easton's Toronto Zoo trip however, which was quite fun.  We saw so much of the zoo!  I was impressed with the boys in my group!
Hadley's Drama Club wrapped up with a final show.  She made a great new friend named Tiffany.  The play was called Sideways stories from Wayside school.   She did such a great job with the two parts she played!
We had our 15th wedding Anniversary.  Which was pretty low key actually.  Dinner out with the family.  
All of the grade 3's did Swim To Survive which is a program to make sure that all students in our region have at least some knowledge of what to do should they fall in water.  During this, Easton found out that he was supposed to be in level 3... all the while taking actual swimming lessons at level 1 that finished basically at the same time that swim to survive did.  So, they said next time we sign him up, we should skip level 2, after a formal test by a supervisor at the pool.  Hadley will be heading to level 6 next time.
There was a volunteer tea at the school which didn't have tea at all, just punch and cake, but it was nice to catch up with the people who help out around the school.
The kids finished school and will be heading to grade 4 and 7 respectively.  More on that in the next post.
There was a clap out for the grade 8's, and all the staff and students leaving the school.  The teacher that I have volunteered in her class for four years is retiring this year and I guess that means I am moving on to other things as well.  Margo was/is a fantastic teacher and she will be greatly missed!  I do believe she was ready to retire, the rest of us just weren't ready to let her go just yet.
Our principal and a few others are also leaving but mostly in the primary section, which I now have a junior and intermediate, so that doesn't greatly affect us.
The kids and I were ready for summer to begin.  We are ready for less routine, warm weather and fun times ahead!  

- Leanne Verkley

Stone

After 5 years of living here, we finally got stone on the front of the house.  We had to redo the tar paper for water protection, but then we were ready to get the stone on.  We did some pre work before the weekend to shop for the stone and other things we would need.  But by the long weekend, things were ordered and delivered and ready to go.  We had Brian's cousin Tina and her family join us for the weekend.  Her husband Jesse is a talented stone mason and worked to get the stone on the wall as Brian did a lot of the mortar mixing and stone moving.  While I did help a little, and we each placed our own stone on the wall, Tina and I were on kid duty for most of the weekend.  Her four kids are quite busy as they are all under the age of 6, so after a day of exploring our house and property, it was time to get the kids out to explore Audley park, Lynde Shores and the Toronto Zoo.  Thank goodness the days were full of sunshine!  We even met up with Wes and Ted at the zoo, and then enjoyed some pizza back at our house with them as well.  Wes and Ted also had two planter boxes they wanted to build so they brought their supplies to our house and were able to make the cuts they needed and use some tools we had to complete their project.  They looked great!  
The stone work took about 35 hours of labour, so the long weekend was necessary to get it done.  It looks so good!  The days were long but it finally feels finished.  Now to get a day without rain so we can do the clean up of scaffolding, and cut stone etc.  
I am so happy!

- Leanne Verkley

Track and Field - Hadley earned two ribbons!

Today was track and field day for the kids.  The weather was predicting rain, but it held off and ended up being a beautiful day.
Easton is in a 3/4 split class, so he was outside all day, however... the grade three's were not participating.  Just cheering.  He would have loved to compete, but he will next year.
Hadley however, did compete... and she earned two ribbons!
5th place for 800 metre running and 6th place for triple jump. Congratulations Hadley!  She was beaming with pride.  She persevered and finished with the result being a few ribbons to wear with said pride!  I am so proud of her!  This is the first year she has earned ribbons, so it was a very happy day indeed!  

- Leanne Verkley

Daffodil a palooza

This past weekend we went to Listowel.  I was able to help my dad out by picking up some koi and delivering them to him for his pond. Then we went to visit with Brian's sister Lisa and her husband Jeff who few in from the Yukon.    We enjoyed a nice walk to the park where we met Lisa's friend Cathy and her dog.  The kids enjoyed some lovely out door time.  Then we enjoyed pizza back at Brians moms house where Julie also joined in the fun.  The next day was Paul's daffodil party where many of the Verkley's gathered for a beautiful day outside.  Flowers everywhere, people everywhere, and we even met Brian's cousin Leahanne's new baby Liam for the first time.
It was a full weekend but it was lovely to see so many people.

- Leanne Verkley

Ceiling Fan Lights for the kids

After living here for almost 5 years (it will be in July), we finally switched the construction lights in the kids rooms to ceiling fan lights in their rooms.  It was a process of looking for the right fan/light that they each picked out.  Then we spent time getting each of them to help assemble their own fan blades and then Brian and I (mostly Brian), did the work to put our hands above our heads for hours to assemble them in their rooms.  Hadley chose a rainbow of colours for her fan, while Easton chose a hockey theme.  I think they will be thankful for the fans in the summertime.
I am thankful that Brian knows a little something about electrical.  

- Leanne Verkley

Hand

Hadley's hand is now the same size as mine.  That is all.  

- Leanne Verkley

Easter

We did Easter a little early this year as we did it last weekend because we were in town.  So it made sense to double up events.
We started out by enjoying a meal with Brian's mom before going to Mark and Kaitlynn's buck and doe.  (Brian's cousin Mark).  We were fortunate to have Brian's mom watch the kids so we could enjoy an adult evening out.  It was nice to visit with lots of family.  We even learned that Brian's uncle Paul was being inducted into the Perth County Agriculture Hall of Fame.  Much congratulations to him!  Then the next day we spent the day with my dad for His and Hadley's birthday / Easter.  It's always a full house when all of us come for a visit but it was nice to catch up since I think it has been since Christmas that we last got together.  
That brings us to this weekend... Easter weekend.  4 days off with the kids and nothing big planned!  This morning we went over to the Greenwood Community Centre to enjoy a pancake breakfast and an Easter Egg hunt (in the rain).  The kids had a great time.  There were only three kids in the 8-12 age group and two of them were Hadley and Easton.  So they were happy with their hull.
I think they especially loved painting the wooden eggs as well.
Then it was back home for a lazy day as it is pouring rain!
I think we all needed some lazy time at home.
We have some ... nice to get done things... ear marked for this weekend, but really, if we only eat chocolate, colour eggs and do another egg hunt on Sunday at our house... that will be fine too.  

- Leanne Verkley

Talent Show, Washington D.C. and ROM

This past week Hadley had put in all the work to do the opening act with many other students for the schools talent show.  On Thursday night she and the others performed Vogue.  She looked so happy!  After the show we packed up and left to head to Buffalo as Friday was a PA day for the kids.  
We saw Niagara Falls at night and then slept before our big drive to Washington D.C. the next day.  Brian worked in the passenger seat while I drove, and this worked well.  The kids were great passengers for this long drive.  
We felt it was time to show the kids where we met, got engaged, and all the monuments we could fit in, as well as our tree where we got engaged under the cherry blossoms at the annual festival.  
From our hotel we walked many times through the walkways of the George Washington University, we saw the Washington monument, the Franklin Rosevelt monument, the Martin Luther King National Memorial, the Lincoln memorial, the White House, where there was a rally going on, but it was very peaceful.  We went to the Smithsonian to learn some American history.  We saw the bat mobile, and the ruby red slippers from the Wizard of Oz, the kids did a bunch of hands on things such as icon art, among many other things.  
While waiting for our table at the Hard Rock Cafe, we went to explore Ford's Theatre where Lincoln was shot and the Peterson house where he later died.  Brian and I have eaten at the Hard Rock Cafe every time we have been in D.C. so it was nice to do this with the kids also.  
We did a rather long walk to get back to our tree for sunset before the fireworks that evening.  Easton's fitbit read over 31 000 steps at the end of the day.  We were all done!
On the way home we explored Gettysburg National Military Park.  Easton was quite interested in the guns that were used.  It was warm enough this day that Brian took out his shorts to wear for the first time this year.  +20 Celcius.  
We also stopped in Hershey Pennsylvania.  MMMMMMMmmmm Chocolate!  We went on the chocolate tour, bought and tasted chocolate, and stretched our legs as the drive home was a long one.  
We got in at 2am, and just for fun... I volunteered for Hadley's class trip to the ROM (Royal Ontario Museum) today.  I had 7 lovely grade six girls, and more steps to add to my already sore body.  
It was a lovely weekend!

- Leanne Verkley

Hadley's 12th Birthday Party

After spending the day on Friday making cake and prepping icing and other cake supplies, Hadley and I managed to really outdo what I even thought was possible with her cake.  It was a rainbow kitten with three colours of icing mixed together with candy and oreos to make the face.  It was awesome if I do say so myself!  
We prepped the loot bags with candy, a sleep mask that was a rainbow unicorn, and some fun lip-balm with the girls initials on them!  I was so happy with these finds!
Hadley invited her two best friends, Ayslin who she plays with every week at Easton's hockey games and practices.  Her twin brother plays hockey with Easton.  So the girls spend a lot of time together!
She also invited her best friend from school, Harmony.  Harmony is in grade 7, a year older than Hadley, but they seem to really enjoy each others company at recess time.  She met her while volunteering to do kindergarten lunch supervision.
The three girls spent the day at the Oshawa Centre.  We started at Build-A-Bear.  Hadley got a fun birthday headband to wear and then the girls picked out a stuffed animal that they got to fluff themselves, adding a heart, and a sound inside them before sewing them up.  Hadley got a kitten of course, that she named Harmony after her friend as this was their first official playdate outside of school and she wanted to remember it, Ayslin got a purple bear, that she named Pinkie Pie, and Harmony got a classic brown bear, that she named Raptor.  They all picked their own birthday's as their stuffed animals birthdays but they all agreed that they would be born in 2019.
There were about 50 or maybe more different stuffed animals to choose from.  After fluffing, they got to "bathe" them by blowing air on them and using special brushes to get the extra fluff off them.  Then came the fun part of accessorizing them!  Hadley picked a super cute and colourful dress for her kitten with a nice bow on it, and she decided she didn't need shoes, Ayslin found some fun candy pyjamas and rainbow shoes, and Harmony made her bear a sporty bear by adding a Raptors shirt and black shorts with black running shoes, and cute army boxers underneath.  
The girls looked so happy!  After taking some fun photos with props, we were off to the food court where we enjoyed some snacks, drinks, cake and present opening.  Then to finish off this special 12th birthday party, the girls got their nails painted and had some fun giggling away with their unicorn sleeping masks.  
I am excited to see what 12 brings.  Every year, I love Hadley more and more!  I feel blessed to be able to provide this happiness to start off her next year!

- Leanne Verkley

2019-03-30 14:28:05

Today we went for Hadley's annual check up.  She is now 102 pounds up from 86.6 pounds last year.  She is excited because now she is able to sit in the front seat because she is tall enough, weighs enough and is old enough.  She is wearing a size 16 kids size clothing and size 5 shoes.  She is now 148 cm up from 139.5 cm from last year.  

I suppose I should note some of her favourite things:  Playing LOL's, clay creation, drawing, reading, skating.   Watching Cookie Swirl C is still a fun pass time for her which is a girl on Youtube who unboxes toys and shows them off.  She still enjoys My little Pony shows.  Her favourite food is steak!  She loves Cat EVERYTHING!  Her best friends are Ayslyn and Harmony.  

- leanne

March Break & My Uncle Steve

This week had ups and downs.  March break is always a week to look forward as I get to spend time with family.  This year it included extended family.
On Friday, it was a PA day.  So we decided to have some down time at home.  The kids were so looking forward to this.  I think they thought that they were going to be on screens all day... however, I broke this up with baking cookies, playing board games and a little outside time.  
On Saturday after hockey we travelled to McCowan Park in Scarborough where they have an outdoor ice skating circle that is chilled from below.  It was a mild day so it had patches of slush, but they were clearly marked by pylons, and it was reasonable enough to enjoy outside time with the family.  There was also a rink where Brian and Easton were able to play some shinny as they both had helmets.  
Sunday morning was hockey again for Easton, we changed our clocks for day light savings, and spent most of the day at home after early morning hockey.  The week ahead was going to be a busy one so a day at home was nice.  
I got news this day that my uncle Steve had passed away.  I was in shock!  Mental health is serious!  Suicide is not what I was expecting to have to wrap my mind around, but here it was in front of me.  I haven't seen my uncle in just over a year, but the last time I saw him, he was happy.  I had the best conversation I had ever had with him... in my life.  He was sharing news about his cottage, about his kids, grandkids and life.  Sadly he had suffered from seizures for a few years, sometimes up to 5 a day due to a workplace accident from a windstorm clean up that he was helping with, and then after many difficult years dealing with this, he finally had brain surgery last spring.  It seems the surgery really changed his personality and things went downhill from there.  I don't pretend to know the ins and outs.  I just knew I had to be there to support my cousins, and other extended family.  My uncles oldest daughter Natasha was like a sister to me when we were kids.  My sister Mandy and I would either stay at her house every weekend or she would be at ours.
Of course I loved my other cousins in that family too but they were 5 and 10 years younger so we didn't have the same connection.  Still, I felt their pain.  I am incredibly sad for my cousins.  They were a very close knit family and will feel very lost as they navigate the next year, and years to come.  I think there were over 400 people at the visitation, and then I attended the private family service that had about 70 or so, with a food and drinks after for visiting time.   I choose to remember him as the soft spoken man that was happy in our last conversation.  
Despite rearranging the March break around this time of grief, I was glad that my kids didn't really know him and could stay home with Brian to enjoy their March Break without such heaviness that my cousins kids will have to endure about their beloved Papa.  

On a brighter side of March Break, we did manage to fit in a movie date to see the Paw Patrol movie where the kids used their gift cards from Christmas.  We stopped in a Nebs Fun World to enjoy a few rides.  We enjoyed some time at Rocket Ship Park.  Chapters had a free day of fun where we did a scavenger hunt, played games, made a craft and Hadley did an LOL toy exchange for doubles that she has.  
Easton had a full hockey practice with Rob Pearson, a former Toronto Maple Leaf.  He was pretty excited to get an autographed card and he even got Rob to sign his stick.  
There was a giant snow hill at the park near the rec centre that the kids loved playing on as it is probably the biggest snow hill they have ever seen.  
Hadley and I went with some friends from school (Ashna and Aria) to the Tales for Tails program at the Pickering Animal Services centre where the kids could read to, or socialize with dogs, cats and kittens!  Hadley loved this!  She even made cat toys that she could use to play with the kittens and then leave them behind for play at a later time.  
There was also homemade pizza, that somehow turned out to be in the shape of a heart.
Perhaps animal cuddles and heart shaped pizza was exactly what I needed.  

- Leanne Verkley

Hadley was home alone for the first time

With only days to go until Hadley turns 12... Hadley decided she was ready to stay home alone for the first time.  After all, she has taken the babysitters course and felt ready.  She knew not to answer the door, not to turn on the stove and to call if she needed anything. Or to go next door if necessary.  I was only going out to the grocery store for one thing, and to the library to drop off a few books.  She thought that an hour would be perfect for her first time to be home alone.  
She did great!

- Leanne Verkley

Winter Weekend - Family Time

This past weekend, while it wasn't officially family day weekend, should have been called family weekend.  We spent so much fun family time together.  We tried out the outdoor skating rink beside the Greenwood community centre for the first time.  This is normally flooded by fire hose, but due to the recent freezing rain, it was perfectly done by mother nature!  We were the only ones there and enjoyed the ice for much of the afternoon!  
Then yesterday we got a great deal on lift tickets for Skyloft Ski Resort which is a mere 20 minutes from our house.  We spent the day on the slopes enjoying the outdoors and family time!  It was a lovely day with great weather! So much fun!  
Skyloft is a small hill and good for beginners or families with young kids.  I had never been on the hills at Skyloft before but if you are a green/blue skier, this is a good place to go for a reasonable price.  
They close at 4pm, so this was perfect to be able to go out for dinner, get showers done and kids to bed at a reasonable hour before school this week.  

- Leanne Verkley

Snow Days - Portable - My E

Well, the last two weeks have had four bus cancellations.  The first one was  a huge drop of snow, but then the next two were extreme weather temperatures that dropped below -20C and then today is freezing rain.  So... what do we do?  Read, play monopoly (Easton's current favourite game, which he is really good at!), today I think we will write out the kids Valentines cards, among cleaning and playing with toys and other things.  I was thankful that Easton got to sleep in for two hours this morning.  I think he needed the sleep.
Hadley got up with me at 6am.  Well, with me and the cats who are used to our company at that hour and want to be fed and snuggled.  I tried bringing Hadley into my room for some me and her time as Brian is travelling for work, but the cats kept scratching at the door. While I like our cats, I don't like them in my bedroom mostly because I don't like them sitting on my head while I try to sleep.

This week Easton finally got into his portable at school.  He has had his classroom in the Library since the change at the beginning of the year.  So... now the school will finally have proper access to the school library which I think Hadley will love, and Easton will finally have a classroom with desks!  He had tables before so it was okay, but storage and interruptions to the class were happening all the time.  So hopefully the second part of the year will be a little better with an actual classroom.  This is Easton's first time in a portable.  Usually grade 3 and above are in portables so we were expecting a portable this year as our school is so small, but planning for school numbers were off and then a drastic change at the begging of the year with new students prompted a new class but no classroom, so we waited for a portable until February!  Easton's portable is one of the farthest from the school so now he will have to plan washroom visits, and water fountain runs.  His portable is right beside the grade 7/8 class.  So with the ever popular grade 3/4 boy potty mouths and the grade 7/8 foul language... well, this year has already and will continue to build his character.  I am thankful that he is a such a good kid!
On the note of enjoying him while he is little... He calls me My E.  I noticed it the other day that is his way of saying mommy.  
I love my kids.  I am so thankful to be off work to be there for them whenever necessary.  My plans for the day changed but I don't mind one bit.

- Leanne Verkley

Bedroom Closets

So, when you build your own house and do a lot of the work yourself, sometimes things get left to do for later after you move in.  Like... closets.   The past two weekends were spent building closets.  We built three.  We still have two more to do on the main floor but that is for another day.
We built the inside of Brian's closet soon after we moved in as he needed to have his work shirts hung.   We learned a lot from that build, and tried something different when we did the mudroom closet.
Then years later after living out of laundry baskets for way too long, came the great bedroom closet build.  First we did Hadley's closet, then Easton's, and then mine.  None of them are fancy, they all just have a shelf and a pole for hanging clothes, but they are all functioning.  This is HUGE!  At first I had dreams of all kinds of fun shelving, which may still happen one day, but life happens and well, after years of doing without a closet, I am happy to have a shelf and a pole.  
I spent much of the weekend cleaning out closets and while most of the stuff went back in, there were boxes from each closet that I still have to go through.  Easton has one box left, Hadley has about three, and I have four.  Fun fact... I had a small box of clothes that I fit before I had Hadley that were in my closet... now, they fit Hadley and I just moved them to her closet.  I had a box that was perfectly her size.  This includes fun shirts with Fragle Rock on it and a cabbage patch shirt to name a few.  I have one more box of clothes the that are a little bigger and will likely fit her in the next few years.
Cleaning out a closet is a lot of work!  However, I am happy to say that the stuff that is back in the closets are organized!  
I think it will take me some time to work my way through the other boxes, but I will get there.  

- Leanne Verkley

December 2018

The month was a busy one as you can expect.  Writing and sending Christmas cards, girls outings. This year I fit in a mommy group (Lori, Annie, Patti, Beth, Chaylee, Christine, and Krista couldn't make it, but she was in our thoughts) girls night out at Symposium, another night out with Marsha and Melissa, a breakfast with Barb at the same restaurant, a lunch with Punam at Swiss Chalet where we were serenaded by a lovely bunch of ladies all dressed to the nines.  It must have been a choir lunch.  Of course there was the tree and house decorations that were attended to.  The Greenwood Christmas that included a potluck dinner, carol sing a long, crafts and of course a visit from Santa Claus who brought gifts for all the kids.  Shaye came for a sleepover.  There were baskets filled and decorated for the annual school fundraiser which raised over $900.  
I counted and helped with the three Pizza Days we held each Friday.  There was the school holiday concert where Hadley sang in the choir and Easton played his guitar, while another student played the drums, and another the piano while the rest of his class sang the song:  the sound of silence by Simon and Garfunkel.  I was so proud of Easton for deciding to play in front of so many people.  We also fit in Christmas with Brian's dad in Kitchener with Julie and Wole, Wole's niece Tolu and Patti Jo's dad Bill, Brian's mom at our house with the full turkey dinner where Julie, Wole, Cecelia, and Wole's neice Tolu joined us. My dad with both my brother and sister and her family, and my cousin Pamela who brought my grandma Louch.  I even got to visit my mom.  This visit was with my aunt Nancy, and my brother at my mom's house.
We made time to go out and see the lights in Uxbridge.  I love this.  It makes my heart happy.  We even found the house with the leg lamp on Holsted road in Brooklin from the move a Christmas story.  
We spent Christmas at home opening presents and enjoying the day.  The kids woke up at a sensible 8am, and we opened stockings, had breakfast and then opened presents until almost lunch.  
We went skating at the new outdoor rink in Ajax.  Pat Bayly Square.  It is small but nice to have a free resource like this so close to home.  They flood it often.  The day we went it was plus 9C, so they were actually just taking water off, but it was smooth and had a solid 2 inch base.
We spent many days playing new games and making slime, tobogganing after a quick down fall of snow that came after the plus 9C day,  and other such fun.
I realize this blog post is more of a list of things rather than a story but life keeps happening, so I keep living and loving it!  
We hosted our annual New Years Party with the Benders and the Kohlsmith's.  Board games, balloon drops, music, jello and other such fun drinks and late bedtimes.  All good!
There were haircuts, shopping, dentists appointments and other things as well but they are way less interesting than the above mentioned things.  
I love being busy, and I love taking in every moment.  I also loved that there were days were we could just be at home enjoying our family.  
I am so thankful and so blessed.  

- Leanne Verkley

Star 1 skills - Figure Skating

During the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, Hadley was ready this week to do her Star 1 skills test and she passed!  She is doing so well and we are so incredibly proud of the things she can do on the ice.  
I know this is a short post, but I didn't want to miss reporting on it.

- Leanne Verkley

Christmas is coming...

The last few days have been crazy busy.  On Thursday I took the kids out of school an hour early to take them to see the Christmas train.  Terri Clark sang, and we enjoyed carolling with the revellers.  Always a fun way to collect food and money for the feed the need community.  Raising $7000 in just about an hour.
On Friday we went to the Pickering Tree Lighting Ceremony.  The kids were especially aware this year of what they wanted to do at this event.  Rides!  The lines were long but we got about 4 rides in, saw Santa and Mrs. Claus, sang carols, decorated gingerbread cookies and watched the fireworks all while the event happened by battery power as the power was unfortunately out in that part of town and we didn't actually even notice until it was brought to our attention.  I love this fireworks display!
The Verkley Christmas was in Kitchener this year at Rustico on Saturday.  This was actually a decent restaurant for mingling.  I was sceptical as restaurant meals usually mean eat with your own family and go home, but it was actually good and I caught up with a lot of people, and the food was good.  We were only in the restaurant for about 2 hours and then about 7 hours back at Brian's dad's house.  Brian unfortunately couldn't be there as he was celebrating his friend Shawn's 40th birthday with the guys. Which I also understand was a good time, leading to him going to bed at 6am ish!  (Video Gaming).
We can't do it all... but we do try.  I love this life!

- Leanne Verkley

Shaye's 40th Birthday

It has been a little crazy around here lately.  Brian has been travelling a lot!  He was in NYC for three days, then the day after he arrived home, he left to go with his mom to visit his sister Lisa in Vancouver for almost a week.  From what I understand they had a lovely time catching up and even met up with Brian's cousins Meaghen and Erica and they even explored a Christmas market.  While I am sure that radiation is no picnic, it sounds like Lisa is doing as well as can be expected with it.
The day that Brian and his mom flew home, his other sister Julie went to have her appendix out.  I thought this might mean that my plans to go to Collingwood for Shaye's 40th birthday may have to be cancelled but the surgery was an in and out surgery and she was home a few hours afterwards with Wole to take care of her.
So, while Brian boarded another flight to Vegas for work, I drove up to meet Shaye for her 40th birthday and Brian's mom stayed to watch the kids.
Getting away like this was such a treat.  We went out to see Bohemian Rhapsody at the movie theatre, the story of Freddy Mercury from Queen.  I was amazed and I truly think this movie should win awards.  Then we talked until the wee hours of the morning.  I woke up way too early as I forgot to turn off my regular alarms as it was a school day, (I think I got 4 hours sleep) and was unfortunately unable to go back to sleep, so we went about our day, swimming, and cooking a lovely roast dinner, playing cards and enjoying some indoor time as it was a crazy storm outside.  We ended up talking until 2 am, enjoying specialty wine and cheese.
I was surprised how many people came and went over the few days that I was there despite the crazy weather outside, but it was nice to see all the people that came to bring their good wishes for Shaye's birthday.
I was gone Tuesday to Thursday and came home early Thursday morning so that Brian's mom could go see Julie who has been off work to recover.  
I was ever so thankful for the get-away, and to celebrate my friend Shaye, thankful for an amazing mother in law who has been pulled in many directions too in the last few weeks, and also thankful that both Brian's sisters are doing okay despite their circumstances.  

- Leanne Verkley

Escape the Darkside, and the start of Christmas shopping

For Easton's birthday, part of his gift was an escape room.  He loves riddles and we thought this would be fun.  We originally had planned to do do the Super Mario theme escape room but unfortunately when we called to book they had just changed it to the new themes.  So... from the new themes we chose Escape the Darkside.  When we arrived we were given instructions and a lightsaber, and then... we had to figure out how to start the Millennium Falcon and escape the darkside.  Both kids were a little afraid as we started in the dark but as we solved puzzles and made it through the lazers, I think they began to enjoy it more.
This was my first time doing an escape room.  I think the kids thought finding a key behind a picture was pretty awesome!  

This week I also had two shopping adventures.  One with my brother Joe that was super successful.  I think we mostly finished off all of the kids.  I think I have one thing left to buy for Christmas.  
Now... the adult shopping is another story.
Good thing I still have a month!
The other shopping was with my friend Christine from college.  This shopping trip was less successful and more about catching up in a warm space.
We planned this day a while ago, and then this morning realized how crazy this idea was as it was black Friday shopping.  Lines were long, and people were everywhere!
So, we mostly mall walked and then went for lunch.
Good exercise anyway!

- Leanne Verkley

Grateful

Today I was challenged to find ten things that I am grateful for.
In no particular order:
1.  My kids and my husband.  
I am thankful for my two wonderful children!  I learn so much from my kids, every day; something new, challenging, fun or even difficult makes me thankful for them.  They make me laugh, cry, and feel a true sense of what a mother should feel.  I am blessed beyond measure by having them in my life.  I am thankful for each hug, and cuddle, each deep conversation, and every moment that makes me laugh.  
My husband is a true provider.  He works hard for us to have material things but he works even harder to be present.  We feel loved when he is on the ice with Easton at hockey, or when he is watching Hadley perform at the Remembrance Day assembly.  We feel loved when there are random dances or sing a longs, or math challenges in the kitchen, or even when I just need a break and he takes over.  
I am grateful for my kids and my husband!
2.  Being a stay at home mom.  I was blessed to have a stay at home mom, and I am blessed to be one.  This means on days when the kids are sick, I am there.  When the kids are healthy I can be at school trips, or volunteer at the school or get all the running around for the family done.  Laundry, and other such things can be done during the day and I can even have tea or go for walks with friends while the kids are at school.  Routines are in place and I am present.  No after school care by a provider but rather the kids can be in their own homes, or doing activities that they love.
3.  Family Values.  My childhood had a village.  I had cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents and even great grandparents around ALL THE TIME!  I am thankful for this.  In a moments notice I know that being there for family an easy choice.   I married into a wonderful family who continue to show me what the beauty of family is.  
4.  Friends.  I have friends that share my childhood, mommy friends, school friends, friends that share my love of outdoors, indoors, faith, and even 4 am please call me friends.  I am truly thankful for all my friends.
5.  Material things.  While I am not going to list everything, I am thankful for our home.  It is in a fantastic location with space to breath!  I love country living, with steps to the city.  While I could list food, clothes, furniture and all the stuff we posses, I am thankful for all THINGS that I have.  
6.  Money.  I am thankful to not worry about money.  There are lots of things that we must save to acquire, like finishing our house, but I am thankful for not worrying about where my next meal is coming from or if my kids will have coats for winter.
7.  Health.  The occasional cold comes our way, but I am grateful that our family is healthy.  
8. Travel.  I really didn't travel as a kid.  A few hours from home at most.  As an adult I have been blessed to explore the world.  I am also thankful that we have been able to provide travel experiences for our kids.  The world truly is beautiful.  
9. Pets.  We have two cats that have become part of our family.  Trinity and Marble.  I miss my Tinkerbelle all the time and am thankful for pets in our lives.  
10.  Volunteering.  This gives me a sense of purpose.  I volunteer at the school in the grade 1 class and have every week for the past four years.  I have also started and continue to provide the breakfast program at the school twice a week, I lunchroom supervise, and I am the chair of the SCC parent council.  I am thankful for the time I have to put into this.

Sometimes it is nice to take a moment to take it all in.  I am grateful!  Life isn't perfect so if you direct your thoughts towards the good, you can see why you should feel grateful!

- Leanne Verkley

Spa, Class Trip, Photos, Shaye's 40th, Halloween, Brian's mom's visit, Remembrance Day

So, I guess life has been busy the last few weeks, so I am just now finding time to write about it all.  

There was a random day where I had nothing planned, Brian was travelling and the kids were at school, so I took this day to spoil myself with a gift card that I received from my birthday in the summer.  I spent a few hours at the spa.  It was lovely.

Easton had a class trip to the Pickering Museum and this was the first time they didn't ask for parent volunteers.  I was happy to know that he was able to go with his friends from grade 3.  Things like going on class trips with his peers gets tricky when he is in a 3/4 split class, but he was happy to spend the day outdoors with his friends from the other classes.
Going along with the 3/4 split, Easton has come home singing the national anthem in French.  This is because the grade 4's are learning it and he was either part of the lesson, or over heard it.  Either way... kinda cool that he is learning it.  I think I was in grade 7 when I learned it in French.

After getting Easton's 8 year old photos done a few weeks back, Hadley put our name in a draw to win a family photo session and... we won!  So we went on location to Cullen Gardens in Whitby where the leaves were autumn perfect!  (Sadly there were hardly any of them that showed up in our photos, but we did get some nice family shots which should be ready for Christmas).

Shaye's surprise 40th.  It was a month early... so she was surprised!  I had so much fun putting together a music playlist for this party!  Lots of 90's music and music from musicals, plus 60's music and more!  
There were about 70 people there and she was COMPLETELY surprised!  From music, decorations, invitations, cake and many phone calls in the background... we all thought she might know something was up, but she didn't!  Her brother and his wife even made an appearance from England and her friend Todd from highschool serenaded her with his guitar.  There were happy tears!  
I had rented a room with the intent of having a get away with Brian but both Easton and Brian's mom, our babysitter, fell ill.  So... I had an after party room complete with hot tub.  Jen from camp, Shaye, Shaye's sister Destiny, Randy from camp, and myself stayed up until 3 am talking the night away.  There was an attempt at ordering pizza but when it didn't arrive, we tried to call but the pizza place was closed.  The night was still a lot of fun, even if the pizza didn't arrive.

Halloween.  I managed to get a good visit in at the zoo with the kids again this year.  Boo at the zoo is always fun.  The leaves are so pretty and walking around the zoo in costumes seem to make everyone around you smile.  Hadley was a mermaid, but not the little mermaid from Disney.  She had a green dress that extended into a tail, with a shell necklace, and gloves that matched.  Easton was a Lego Ninjago character and when he was in costume you couldn't tell it was him.  It completely transformed him.  I was playdoh.  I wore a yellow shirt with a printout of the word Playdoh cut out and glued onto cardboard around my neck.  Then I wore a green had for my lid.  All the kids at the school dance loved the costume.  We sold samosas at the school to raise money.  This is always good!

Brian's mom came this past weekend and she and I had a date night to see the movie "A star is born".  It was nice to have a night out.  She then stayed for a few days where she saw Easton play hockey, and babysat so Brian and I could go to the community dance.  She had full intention to watch Hadley skate but she was not feeling well on her skating day, so she didn't go.

There was one last adventure while she was here.  Brian's grandma was not well.  In fact, it was serious enough to call 911 and end up the emergency room.   With thoughts of possible heart attack, Brian's mom and I drove to London while Brian stayed home to watch the kids and get some work done that had deadlines.  When we got there... we were pleasantly surprised to find her well.  We waited for a few results to come and then took her home for the night.  This was well after 1 am.  We had a sleepover in a room at her place which was surprisingly no charge.  Breakfast included.  We got up early to have breakfast as there are only certain hours for this.  Then we got me all set up to take the Via Rail home.  This is such a lovely method of travel.  I didn't have a book or anything with me, so I spent much of my time enjoying the views from the train.  I did however chat a little by text with Brian's sister who is in Vancouver starting some of her radiation treatments, which seem to be going well so far.  I was tired for a few days afterwards but I was so happy I could be there.

Today the school had a Remembrance Day assembly.  Hadley had a reading part and sang in the choir.  It was lovely.  I am so proud of her!

The snow that is mostly rain started today, so it is wet!  But I feel the winter transition coming.  
Never a dull moment.

- Leanne Verkley

Easton is Eight!

Easton's birthday seems to have lasted for about two weeks.  It started with a friends birthday at Nebs Fun World where he celebrated with Krishna, Nathan, and Lucas.  The boys enjoyed bowling, pizza, cake, present opening, rides, the playground area, the arcade, and then when we got back to our house it was time for party part 2!  This is where Todd, Shawn K, Shawn B, and Ryan all came and played LAN party games of Easton's choice for his birthday!  This also included a fun sleepover with Todd! (And the rest of the clan).  The parents even enjoyed some fun late night board game time!  
His actual birthday was on a Tuesday so he was happy to hear his name on the announcements at school!
While unrelated to his birthday, that same week was the Terry Fox Fun and Easton's first ever Cross Country meet against other schools.  He has been practicing for both for about a month including running while at the arena while Hadley skated!  He loves to run!  This made his week!  He came in 25th out of 76 runners!  I was a proud mamma and felt very fortunate to be able to  watch him run!  
I did a few laps of Terry Fox with both Hadley and Easton at the school and watched from the sidelines with the other parents and teachers at the Cross Country meet.
Thanksgiving gives us a great way to celebrate Easton's birthday with family.  We had one weekend where we had a turkey dinner at home and then a turkey dinner with cake at Brian's dads.  Then the following weekend we went to Snyders farm in Waterloo where we met up with Brian's mom, Julie and Wole.  Here we enjoyed a corn maze, a mini petting zoo, jumping pillows (kind of like trampolines, or jumpy castles), a playground area, haunted houses, straw to climb on, pedal cars, and a hay ride.  We then slept in Listowel and had yet another thanksgiving with my dad.  Here we also celebrated Jayden, Jensyn, Beckett and Easton's birthday's.  

The doctors report for this year:  Easton is up to 58.6 pounds.  Last year he was 53 pounds.  He has maintained the 50th percentile.  He is growing like crazy and is up to 129.7 cm up from 123 cm from last year.  This is about the 55% percentile.  

All good!  I can't wait to enjoy every moment of him being 8!

- Leanne Verkley

Adjusting to the new school year

After school started that following weekend we enjoyed some family time as we attended Wes and Ted's wedding.  Easton danced the night away as always and while Hadley danced too, she also took some DJ lessons and helped Brian's cousin Amy play some music for the night!  She loved that!
The wedding was lovely at Brian's aunt Maria's house, and the speeches were heart felt.  It was a nice celebration!

The company I used to work for BMO/GGOF held a work reunion.  It works out so perfectly that the bank distributed people from our small company around the same time that I left work.  This means that everyone feels like reunions are a great idea!  This time Brian's mom came to babysit as Brian had been travelling.  However, he literally got off the plane and headed to downtown Toronto to join us for the evening.  He knew all the people since we did a lot together when I worked there.  Sports and evening outings and such.  This visit even included a visit from an old colleague who was in town from Scotland to surprise an old friend for her 50th the following day.  After many hours catching up, the restaurant comp'd us each a drink since it was revealed that at lot of the people there had been going to JUMP (the restaurant) for 20 years!
After the evening fizzled Brian and I left for the GO train but since there was a bit of a wait, we decided to get another drink close to Union Station and catch up on life.  (Since he had been travelling).  It was nice to have a date night with him in the city!

We are starting to settle into new routines with hockey, skating, guitar, piano, and school.  
Hadley's school return has been smooth sailing.  In fact, she loves school!
Easton's has been a little crazier.  He has had 4 teachers in three weeks.  He started in a grade 3 class (teacher 1), but with new students enrolling he was shuffled into a grade3/4 split class.  However, this was a newly created class, so he had a supply teacher (teacher 2) for a bit.  Then they hired a teacher who was there for two days, but was unable to continue her placement for personal reasons (teacher 3).  So that leads him to his first ever male teacher.  (teacher 4).  Easton has had a male teacher for science before but never all day.  So... fingers crossed he is in for the long haul.  I met him this morning for about two minutes since I was in the school volunteering for the grade one's.
We are still waiting for a portable, so for now, Easton's class is in the library.  At least there will be no shortage of books!

- Leanne Verkley

Grade 3 & 6

Yesterday was the smooth sailing.
It was the first day of school and both kids were ready.  Although there was a moment the night before where the new kitten lunch box was missing, but after a competition to see who could find it... it was located.
Hadley decided on a meow-gical outfit with a kitten unicorn and despite buying a new outfit for the first day for Easton, he wanted to wear the outfit that Hadley gave him so many compliments on over the summer.  A simple blue collard shirt with orange shorts.  Today he wore the new stuff.
Easton has an amazing teacher for grade three.  All the other moms that I know rave about her so I am pretty sure she will be great!
Hadley's teacher is also pretty amazing.  She is in a split 5/6 this year.  Her teacher is her first boy teacher.  He will teach language, math, science and he is super musical so he will teach music.  However, this year she also rotates to a few other teachers for social studies, health, dance/drama, French and gym.  
We took the usual before school photos in front of the house.  (Front door).  Then we drove them to school.  I love this tradition.  We get to be there to see them find their new teachers, and see old friends.  Hadley has 16 girls in her class this year which is so different than the two from grade 1.  I hope this new mix will be great!
Morning routines are easy for Hadley but Easton is finding it a little more difficult.  But we will get there, it's only day two.
I was at the school yesterday for lunch room supervision and found that there are a lot of new students!  So I tried my best to introduce myself to them.  Some from Scarborough, some from Ajax, and some from Guyana amongst Toronto and other places.  
My school mom person, who I have done basically all of my volunteering with, co-chaired the SCC with, and basically spent most of the last three school years with has moved to Markham this summer.  So this year will be different.  However, I did make two other solid mom friends last year, so I will build on that.  But will miss Punam immensely!  We talked three times yesterday!
Today I am meeting up with Patti to see how her first day with the girls went.
Grade 3 and 6 here we come!

- Leanne Verkley

Camp

The last two weeks have been quite nice.  Easton was at hockey camp for a week and Hadley at Camp Can-Aqua for a week.
This meant I had a full week with each kid to get back to school shopping done, shoes, clothes, back packs etc.  Plus I was able to spend quality time with each kid.  
After the run around, Hadley was ready to just chill at home and enjoy time not being out, she was given the opportunity to suggest anything but she just wanted to be at home, so we did that.  We played Barbies, watched movies and shows, and went for a walk down our road.  Easton pretty much did exercise from morning to night while at hockey camp.  He was home each evening but the days were spent at camp.

For Easton's mommy week, he was ready with a list of things he wanted to do on "his time" after we got the back to school shopping done.  We went glow in the dark mini golfing, went to laser quest, and enjoyed a day with our friends Melissa and Cailum at their new trailer.  Swimming, fishing (where Easton caught 4 fish!  He wasn't into baiting the hook or taking the fish off but loved catching the fish!), and shuffle board.
Today was a low key day where we spent time building a lego set he got for Christmas and Easton totally beat me at Monopoly.  

Later today we get to pick up Hadley.  I am so excited to see her!  I can't wait to hear all about her adventures!

So... the bus was late.  It had mechanical failures before it arrived at camp to take the kids home... so they continued with programming until it arrived...6 hours later.  At least the failure was before pick up and the kids weren't on the side of the road somewhere.  
So...it's 10pm, and she is finally home tucked into bed.
Hadley was beautifully happy the entire ride home.  She shared so much detail about her week.  Talked about friends she had made, crafts she had done, food that she ate, and dance/drama routines that made her happy.  She was happy about her cabin mates, and leaders, she washed herself with her biodegradable soap once in the lake... so she's pretty clean.  A real shower can come tomorrow.  She was glad the main competition ran in a different way than it had the year before and was okay with the fact that they didn't win, because it was more fun how it was done this year.  She had toffee on the snow.  She had a different cabin this year but was perfectly okay with it.  I loved seeing her this happy!  
She was excited to get home to her cats though, and a real bed without a sleeping bag.  I think she missed the cats and her bed as much as I missed her.  
Honestly, I am so thankful for her happy week!  

- Leanne Verkley

2018-08-31 22:17:17

Oh, we also got all the new skating and hockey equipment shopped for and I squeezed in a girls night out with my mommy group.  

- leanne

40!

Well, I turned 40!  I feel thankful for every day!
I decided a backyard BBQ was the perfect way to celebrate.  While I didn't count... there were about 40 people, so that's fun!
It was a great afternoon/evening/night catching up, and enjoying the outdoors.  Good food, good company and good fun!
I had friends from public school, high-school, college, relatives including my grandma... it was quite a diverse bunch but the kids were like glue and everyone fed off their energy and made it such a fun day!
The kids swam, fed the horses, played games, and there was even a campfire and charades to end off the night.  Mostly the adults enjoyed some beverages and food, including cake but there were hikes and such that were enjoyed as well.
It was exactly the kind of day I was hoping for!

- Leanne Verkley

End of July to mid August including Easton's first soccer goal!

We ended July with a visit at a park with some school friends.  Ankita and Mirna who I do the breakfast program with brought their kids to Audley park.  All of our kids are in different grades but Easton was in Youssef's class last year as he was in a split.  Zacharia and Aria were both in KDG but Hadley knew them both from her lunch supervision that she did last year and Ashna is just one year younger than Hadley and their classes often did gym together.  This was fun to break up the summer with some school connections.
August started with Easton winning player of the game at his soccer game.  This was for his defence.  He loves to play defence.  This is his second player of the game award this year!
Then there was a weekend LAN party at the Benders which we joined in for one night, Brian stayed more as he rode with Shawn to and from for the weekend.  Easton loved being able to try out Factorio with so many people connected to one game!  Hadley LOVED all the cats and kittens.  Easton was also a fan of the kittens.  They got a lot of love.  We enjoyed fun with jokes and s'mores at the campfire before camping for the night.
The next day we headed to my sisters new trailer.  The kids had so much fun in the water on a water trampoline.  6 kids, 3 adults.  Lots of fun followed by park play and a campfire at night.  The kids went to bed so late but they don't see each other that often.
On the way home we stopped in at my friend Leah's house for a visit.  Sam, Jose, Hadley and Easton played so well together and Leah and I were able to get great a wonderful visit in!  
On August 11th Hadley, Easton and I met up with my brother at Wet n Wild.  This was such a fun day!  Water slides all day and both Joe and I were only a little sore the next day from all the cement and stairs that we walked on.  We opened and closed the park!  The most fun rides were the 4 people tubes where we could enjoy it all together but the sled type rides where we were on our tummies side by side were also a lot of fun!
August 12th and 13th we spent in Muskoka with Shaye.  There was Kwartha Dairy ice cream, Monopoly, trying out her landline to call Brian (this was so fun for the kids).  The kids could't understand how she didn't have cell service or internet.  We got the annual Muskoka chair photo.  This year they almost didn't fit together in the chair but we managed.  We did a lot of swimming and Hadley learned to dive at Gull Lake.  She was so proud and I was so proud of her!  Easton gained so much strength during these two days swimming in the water.  I was so proud of him as well!  It was incredible to watch how strong he got after just two days in a row of swimming!  Her cat Pippa was the most friendly she has been ever.  We ended this visit with a visit to Webers!  So yummy!  
Last night Easton got his first goal at soccer.  This year his team has not been super strong.  Many losses.  However, last night they won. Easton made the score 6-1 with his first goal!  The final score was 7-3.  It was an end to end rush.  An unassisted goal scored just after half time.  He received player of the game for his first goal ever!  He was so proud and I was so proud of him!  He was so happy!  
To quote Brian's description of the play:  "Easton took the ball near the corner, deep in the defensive end. He turned up the field and past everyone by mid field. Then he cut in from the sideline to run straight down the center at the opposing goal with a team of defenders chasing close behind. A slight head fake and then a strong right footed strike to the right side past the keeper and in to the net. Goal!"

- Leanne Verkley

Julie's and Wole's Wedding

In my head, I thought I had blogged about this, but just now, I realized that I hadn't.
On Friday night, July 27th we headed to Cambridge to attend the wedding rehearsal and dinner where we met members of Wole's family as well as both Julie and Wole's friends that would be in the wedding the next day.  
I think this is where it really hit me that Lisa has been sick and wouldn't be at the wedding.  A big deal!  This post is not about her sickness but I think it is important to note that she was deeply missed at this event!  To read more about what is going on with her as it is her story to tell, visit:  http://lisaschuyler.com/

The rehearsal evening went well and both kids were super happy to be part of Julie's big day and were very surprised when she and Wole gifted a bracelet for Hadley and an airhog drone toy for Easton.  I think this is where both kids realized that they would gain an uncle and it wasn't just Julie's wedding but their aunt and uncle's wedding.

Saturday July 28th we woke up at the hotel early to have breakfast before heading to get our hair and make up done.  This basically took all morning.  Brian and Easton went to get some last minute errands done and then met us back at Julie's with food!  We were so thankful that they could do the running around that we needed them to do.
This was followed up with the girls getting formally dressed at Julie's house and Brian and Easton getting dressed back at the hotel where they met Wole for photos.
The girls went outside and across the street with the rock walls for just a few photos before we went to the golf course for pre-wedding photos all together.  

Easton loved wearing his suit and pulled on the coat in such a cute way that you could see how proud he was to be all dressed up at an important event.  Up until days before he was quite nervous about being the ring bearer but after the rehearsal he was sure he could handle it and did amazing the day of the wedding.  
Hadley loved putting on a pretty dress with her new shoes and having her hair fussed over.  She was happy to be with Julie all day, loved her flowers,  and her junior bridesmaid title.
They both loved helping out with a special flag moment at the wedding as well.
It's kind of fun when your entire family has an event to get all dressed up for.  I was quite happy with my dress as well and Brian looked handsome as always.

It was unexpected but such a wonderful surprise to see Brian's grandma Stock was able to attend.  We even got an updated photo with her, which I am grateful to have.  
While not at all the same, but the best we could do, we were able to live stream the wedding to Lisa and Jeff all the way in Dawson.

Brian and I were in charge of the candy table.  Apparently there was a conversation that Julie and Brian had years ago that went something like:
Julie:  If I get married, Brian, you can be in charge of the candy table.
Brian: Sure.

So... we were in charge of the candy table.  Which was actually kind of fun.  There were trays, and containers to shop for, candy with special significance:  Liquorice, and gummy bears because they were a childhood staple at family events.   Fish candy because Julie and Wole met through the Plenty of Fish website.  Rockets because they are Easton's favourite candy which he handed out to almost everyone at the wedding and had an inside pocket stash available to him all night in his coat pocket.  Then there were other candies like hershey's kisses, candy hearts, chocolate hearts, and many other fun candies.  We also went for Stroopwafel's and speculass as they are dutch treats.  

Wole's family came in such beautiful garments.  I really do love seeing what other cultures wear to formal events.  
It was fun to see how much Wole included Hadley and Easton in this day.  Even in the quiet moments when he was dancing with Easton when he thought nobody was watching, or just a nice hug with Hadley while they waited for the photos to progress.  He gained a niece and nephew!  They felt loved I am sure.    
The speeches were heartfelt and I may have teared up.  Julie's smile throughout the day showed pure joy!  
The Nigerian dancers added some extra fun to the event and Wole couldn't help himself but to join in.   The sparklers later in the evening were also quite fun!  
We danced the night away!  
The kids made it all the way until it was time to clean up and then Hadley pushed 6 chairs together to make a bed and Easton just crashed on the floor.

The next morning we got up to meet up with the Helen, Rudy, Sharon, Frank, and Brian's mom for breakfast.  We were joined by Julie and Wole for a few minutes as well and then after breakfast we actually headed back to their place to drop off the van full of stuff that we had packed up for them the night before.

The kids were super happy to find out that the hotel allowed us to come back after checkout and use their swimming pool before heading home.  There were many cannon balls and happy smiles.  

- Leanne Verkley

July

We have had a pretty busy July.  We decided this summer that we were going to show our kids how to experience a few of the awesome things that are within driving distance of our house.  That being said, we did use some of Brian's hotel points and that made it feel more like a vacation!
We started at Casa Loma in Toronto where we explored the castle in the city.  We walked for hours exploring all levels of the castle and even the castle grounds.  We were fortunate to have a beautiful day for this!
We stayed down town Toronto after this as the next day was a busy one exploring Ripley's Aquarium, the Blue Jays game and the CN Tower!  
We arrived at the Aquarium early in the morning which is good because at the day went on it got busier and busier.  But the timing was perfect to bring us outside for a hotdog from the vendors before heading into the Blue Jays game!  We had great seats which were only in the sun for about two innings and then we were nicely seated in the shade as the dome was open!  The jays unfortunately lost 2-1 against the Yankees.  However, the kids had a great time with their popcorn and peanuts, and then after the game they were able to run the bases as it was a junior jays day!  
After some dinner we headed up the CN tower at the perfect time to be up during daylight and then we were able to watch the sun set.  The kids had no problem jumping on the glass floor.  Something they did at the Eiffel Tower also.  I on the other hand was a little less trusting but did manage to step foot on the glass floor.  We came down to the tower lit up and had beautiful memories of a very full day!
Again we stayed in the same hotel so that we could leave early in the morning to head over to centre island.  We enjoyed walking the grounds through the maze and such, as well as Centreville rides, and then a beautiful afternoon on the beach!  
One more night at the hotel as the next day was Wonderland!
This is such a fun time to do rides with the kids.  We picked the perfect day.  It was a Tuesday and all rides had line ups of less than 30 minutes.  Some 5 minutes.  Plus Easton is tall enough to do all the rides that I am comfortable doing.  Both kids love the Wild Beast!  It hurts me a little.  We didn't even go in the kid section as they were having too much fun on the big rides.  By the end of the Day we got both kids on Dragon Fire.  Two upside down loops and a cork screw.  
Hadley got Brian on the VERY HIGH swings, but I stayed with Easton as he wasn't quite tall enough.  
There are two rides:  Behemoth and Leviathan that I can't

- Leanne Verkley

2018-07-29 17:12:24

quite get my head around why people would ride them so... we didn't.  They have crazy drops!  From here we went home for one night to check on the cats.  But we were up and at it again the next day with a trip planned for great wolf lodge. We drove the Niagara Falls and we were able to get into the waterpark as soon as we arrived.  Then we got a text later to say our room was ready closer to dinner time.  We spent many hours in the water going down all the water slides!  We stayed in the Kids camp room which was super cute including bunk beads and a "tent" looking room for the kids to stay in.  The river canyon run was a fun slide as we could go down as a family but some how Brian always ended up going backwards!  The kids loved the Big foot pass which was floating lily pad type game where they had to walk across the water to get to the other side without falling in.  There was also a wave pool and lazy river and even an outdoor pool.  We decided not to do the other adventures that GWL had to offer and made the get away about the water park.  We did manage to see the Falls before we left Niagara to head home for a day.  We needed this day to check on the cats do laundry, and grocery shopping before we packed up again for week two of our vacation!

Once the van was all packed up and ready to go we headed to Peterborough where we stopped at the Riverview Park and Zoo.  Here we walked through a small zoo which was free, and then the kids enjoyed some really great park time with one of the longest slides I have ever seen!  
Then we continued our drive up to Fish Tail Lake where we had rented a cottage for the week.  (This time with a cat sitter in place so we wouldn't have to come home half way through).  This was wonderful!  We slowed things down!  I had time to read a book!  We taught the kids to kayak!  We also canoed.  We had a day were we canoed to our picnic spot.  We had an evening with placid waters where we followed a beaver, but then we eventually got too close and we watched him slap his tail down. We heard the loon calling many times.  Enjoyed much water time!  We played Risk, and Ticket to Ride a few times and MANY games of Euchure. Easton LOVES Euchure!!!!  And he is good at it!  We tried to get some walks in but the bugs were bad.  However, they were fine down by the water for the most part except right after sunset.  It was lovely to have a cottage right on the water with access to canoes and kayaks whenever we wanted!  We baked bread and pizza from scratch with the kids.  And only had one rainy day.  We only turned the TV on for the final match where France beat Croatia in the FIFA world cup.  
Unfortunately there was a fire ban on so no campfires.  We did however enjoy Kwartha Dairy ice cream a few times.  
On the way home we made a detour and spent a few hours (most of the day) at Brian's uncle Jeff's house where they treated us to a wonderful wood fired pizza.  It was sooooo good!  Plus we got to see Geddy (AKA Ginger), one of the kittens who is now all grown up.  Fortunately he was tolerant of Hadley who handled him as if he had been around kids his entire life.  Meanwhile he is pretty much an outdoor cat with indoor sleeping privileges.  I think the kids enjoyed seeing him.  Easton too, although his time with the cat was a little more like kitty snuggles.  
We had a great time making all these memories.  I am so thankful!  

- leanne

Year in Review Grade 2 and 5

End of school year questions:

EASTON:
What do you remember about every day at school?
Attendance.
Who is your best friend?
Tarin
What is your favourite book?
The One and Only Ivan.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
Someone who works in a restaurant.
What is your favorite food to take to school?
Noodles.
What is your favorite thing in gym, recess and or extracurricular?
Dodgeball.
What is your favorite song?
Castle on the Hill by Ed Sherran and Titanium by David Guetta.
What is your favourite thing to watch?
Tiny Turtle and Little Lizard on Youtube.
Who was your teacher?
Teacher: Mrs. Hermann

HADLEY:
What do you remember about every day at school?
An hour of math.
Who is your best friend?
Ariana
What is your favourite book?
Bobcat Rescue by Susan Hughes
What do you want to be when you grow up?
Foster cat parent.
What is your favourite food to take to school?
Strawberries.
What is your favourite thing in gym, recess and or extracurricular?
Playing ponies at recess with friends.
What is your favourite song?
Titanium by David Guetta.
What is your favourite thing to watch?
Cookie Swirl C and Stampy on Youtube
Who was your teacher?
Mrs. Marquis (same as grade 1) .

- Leanne Verkley

Year in Review

- Leanne Verkley

Year in Review

- Leanne Verkley

Busy few weeks

The last few weeks have been so busy that I can hardly believe we are already into the second week of June.  
My cousin Megan came for a visit with her new boyfriend Paul.  They were going to stay one night, head to Kingston for a conference and then do their own thing from there but we had so much fun that she came back for a second night after the conference.

We had a fun night out at the Brooklin Fair again.  Lots of rides, music, food, and fun!  We even got to see one of the teachers at the kids school's son's band play so that was cool.  

Shawn K, the best man from our wedding got married to Violette on June 2nd and we were so excited to share their day with them.  It was a wedding in Scarborough which worked out perfectly as the morning was busy with Hadley doing her first ever piano recital, also in Scarborough.  Hadley played A Thousand Years by Christina Perri.  She did such a great job!  From here we had lunch out, went to the wedding and then since we were in Scarborough we were able to check out the Blue Sky Bakery between the wedding and reception.  This is a bakery owned by the parents of Kids in Hadley and Easton's class.  Following some yummy treats we went to party at the wedding reception which was in Vaughn!  Easton had dance moves that lasted all night, and Hadley made it until about 11.  I was feeling a little under the weather but made the most of it as it was such a special day.  

Scientists in the school came to our school and I helped out with the grade one's and the grade twos.  I was there all day and had a blast with bugs and microscopes.  

Jump Rope For Heart.  This year the kids decided to get their pledges on the same sponsor sheet and work together.  While they were aiming for $1000, they got to $350 after making many phone calls!  They even wrote out thank you notes for all that sponsored them!  

This year we decided to check out the peony festival in Oshawa.  The kids know peony's from playing Minecraft.  The flowers were beautiful, being outside with family was lovely, and there were crafts and food everywhere!  

We took the kids to the humane society for the first time.  They saw all the animals that needed forever homes.  Hadley thinks she has found her calling... feed and cuddle kittens until they find forever homes.  We played games, and did a few things on site to raise money for the humane society as they were having a fundraising fun day.  We got our cats nails clipped and enjoyed the day.  The kids loved it!  They even came home with adopted stuffed animals.  

Julie's wedding shower was this past weekend.  There was a fantastic turnout at Ed and Nora's.  There were games that included hula hoops, toilet plunger tosses, bottle knock downs with panty hose on heads, skipping and spoon/egg races.  We had a good time!  Just a side note:  Nora's new kitchen is beautiful!  

Life is so busy but I wouldn't have it any other way!  I love enjoying each awesome moment!  


- Leanne Verkley

May long weekend

This may long weekend we didn't go anywhere but instead we stayed home and did some much needed work.  After many hours of rock picking, a lawn mower oil/filter change, and lawn cutting, we were able to enjoy the back yard with a tent set up, and the first campfire of the year.  S'mores, and other such fun.  I love family time.

- Leanne Verkley

Asian Heritage Day

The kids had an Asian Heritage Day at school since a large portion of their school population is from these parts.  There were chopsticks to try, marinates, sari's to try on, food to try, henna and  games to play.  I think the parents were amazing to let the school borrow a lot of items to view or try.  The kids had a fun day!  I volunteered and was able to try on a sari with Hadley and help out with some crafts and other fun.

- Leanne Verkley

Science Rendezvous / Mother's Day Weekend

This weekend Brian was away at a LAN party with his friends.  This was two fold.  One, for a fun weekend away and two, he needed to get some friends to sign his passport paperwork to get his new passport done.
So, while he was away the kids and I enjoyed a fun day at the University of Ontario in Oshawa.  There was 4 fun filled hours of science.  While there was so much to do, I will list only a few of the highlights...
The kids had beakers filled with coloured water and dry ice, and placed bubbles on top to make dry ice bubbles.  (Fan favourite) They spent some time doing forensics using magnetic powder to see their finger prints.  They walked through a mock crime scene where they had to solve puzzles to find out who did it.  
There was a biodiversity dig where they discovered different rocks, and looked at cool bugs.
There was a dry ice rainbow that helped them to understand PH levels.  Acid versus base.  They put their hands on the fun electricity ball where they could watch the plasma follow their hand and even light up an LED light bulb just by them coming close to each other.
We made ice cream with liquid nitrogen, and butter with salt water and creamers and a little shaking.  
Easton loved the water rockets that he could set off.  We put mentos in diet coke and watched it explode.  The kids planted some flowers, and played with oobleck.  Hadley had fun with the clothes pins as she used them to pick up small pieces of feathers and other items to make a nest as a bird would.  They made structures out of jube jubes and tooth picks.  Then there was a fun trivia challenge from the day, and prizes were given out.  We only did about 3/4 of what was there.  So much fun FREE stuff to explore!  It was amazing!  
After we enjoyed dinner at McDonalds and this was followed by time at the blue park.  I had heard a lot of kids at school talking about it, so I decided to take the kids there, and sure enough... it was like I remember my childhood.  After dinner everyone goes to the park.  5 kids from Easton's class were there plus about 10 others from the school that I recognized.  Easton thought this was like an ultimate play date!  Hadley met Madeline who was visiting her grandma and they really hit it off.  
What a lovely day!  
Happy Mothers Day!

- Leanne Verkley

Ezmae

Brian's cousin Alex brought his new baby Ezmae to Paul's house yesterday and we mixed Daffodil-a-paloza with a baby shower.  The spring Verkley potluck was lovely despite the rainy weather.  We managed to go through the daffodil maze, play outside a little and still enjoy BBQ'd food (thanks to Paul) even with all the rain.
There were only a few vehicles that needed to be pulled out of the mud, but there was a lot of man power, so it was all good.  We fortunately were not stuck.
Ezmae is so cute and so little!  Both Hadley and Easton loved holding her.  Adina was a rockstar about letting my kids hold her.
There are so many little ones around now.  I love it!  

- Leanne Verkley

Niagara Falls

We were in Niagara Falls for the weekend.  Unplanned but necessary.  Brian was in Vegas all last week for work and while out one night, someone went into his hotel room and took his laptop bag.  In said bag was his work laptop, our good Nikon camera, all the lenses and camera accessories, and his passport.  Among other things, sunglasses etc.  
So, after Brian researched a few options to get home, boarding his flight on Air Canada was not one of them.  However, he was able to fly to Buffalo via United Airlines, take an Uber to the Rainbow bridge and walk across the border to meet us in Niagara Falls.  He had his birth certificate and drivers licence so he said walking across was easy.
When life gives you lemon, it is best to make lemonade.  
So, we took advantage of Brian's work covering the cost of the hotel, and made a mini vacation out of it.  We took the kids to Fallsview Indoor Waterpark.  
We got the two day pass and spent many hours enjoying the waterslides.  Hadley even did the waterslide that went basically straight down (even after my review of how it was so scary that I didn't want to do it again... she still wanted to do it... and then did it again with Brian)!
For the most part we rode down the slides on two people floating devices.  Hadley was got brave enough to do waterslides on her own a few times and even went down the bowl all by herself.  
What a great weekend of making memories.  We enjoyed beautiful weather walking by the falls, enjoying Hershey's chocolate just plain good family time.
I am thankful that Brian was able to cross the border easily.
Next up... figuring out insurance claims and filling out new passport forms.  

- Leanne Verkley

STEM Day

Today was a busy day for me at the school.  While I volunteer all the time... like three days a week... I usually only volunteer for less than 3 hours.  However, today I was there all day.  In the morning we prepped the bagels, eggs, cheese, and fruit and then sent it out the breakfast program for the entire school.   Then we got ready for the STEM day event.  We prepped more food and then after a short presentation in front of the parents who arrived, we as parents got to explore 4 different lego stations.  1. Bending Lego with 1X2 blocks.  Seeing how you can make a circle and other shapes.  Hadley later did this and made a crown.  Then we did Lego car races learning about aerodynamics.   We did Symmetry Lego on a board which Hadley's class also did later building something that was completely even on both sides.  Then we programmed Lego robots to move.  After this session we were free to go explore all the classrooms and their stem projects.  Like I said, Hadley did bending Lego and symmetry Lego.  Easton did Musical fruit electricity where he put a wire on his wrist that was set up to make an electrical connection through fruit and play an instrument as seen on a computer.  He also played pong and packman and other games in the same way.
There were lots of other things going on.  Marble runs, building cup towers, magnetic movement, building airplanes, virtual reality exploration and I think the day was enjoyed by all.

- Leanne Verkley

Crochet and black kittens

Over the past two weeks Marsha, Melissa and I have been getting together to learn to crochet.  I had some knowledge of the true basics but time by time we are learning new stitches.  
I was really sick over the weekend.  Couch ridden for two days.  So... I made a scarf using the half double crochet stitch.  I look forward to the weeks ahead where maybe we can make other things.  If nothing else it is a creative outlet where we get together to eat, drink and have fun!  Plus the kids were able to see the two black kittens who are not so little any more at one of the visits.  They loved that!

- Leanne Verkley

Easter

On Good Friday the kids did the Easter Egg Hunt in Greenwood. This year it was broken into age groups and eggs were hidden in different areas.  Each kid got about 5 eggs and met the Easter bunny.

Hadley and I went to the Pickering Easter parade.  The boys were not interested in going but Hadley wanted to go.  This was our first time and well, it wasn't super awesome to be honest.  There were what felt like ten minute breaks in between floats, and lots of just random cars.  The highlight was the Easter bunny near the end which Hadley said was the same as the one from Greenwood and my friends two kids were in the parade.  
I did have some lovely Hadley and me time!  So that made it all worthwhile.  In fact we even did some grocery shopping afterwards and she was so helpful!  

On Easter Sunday we coloured eggs, had an egg hunt in our house, and of course enjoyed the loot brought by the Easter bunny.  Hadley is sure he must be real as she doesn't ever see the sugar eggs that were left and Easton says he must be real too because how would his parents go out the night before when all the stores were closed to get the chocolate bunnies.  It just isn't logical.  
We had a lovely ham dinner together.

Monday was no school but Brian had to work so we enjoyed some time walking down our road, playing in the ditch, mud and with the neighbours.  

Then the following Saturday we went to the Elmira Maple Syrup Festival where we enjoyed a wonderful pancake breakfast with some of the best maple syrup of course.  We also bought a bunch of other goodies to enjoy.  

This was followed by a lovely visit at Brian's moms house where we had Easter dinner, and celebrated Hadley and Julie's birthday.

Sunday we also celebrated Easter but this time at my dads.  Again we were able to link two birthdays.  Hadley's and my dads.  

All in all, a good Easter!

- Leanne Verkley

Hadley is 11

This past week we celebrated Hadley's 11th birthday!  The morning of her birthday she enjoyed breakfast in bed, with balloons and streamers decorating her room.  At school she gave out mini cupcakes to her class and her french class sang to her.  She was also glad to hear her name on the announcements.  After school she opened the presents from us.  A learn to draw book with a mechanical pencil.  She has since drawn two of the people and describes them as her best drawings ever!  
We also got her the LOL surprise doll perl surprise package where the mini dolls are in a bath fuzzy that needs to dissolve before revealing the dolls.  And Easton got her mini Hatchimals figures that need love and rubbing to crack open their eggs to reveal the cute toys enclosed.
We had dinner out at Montana's where she wore moose antlers and they sang to her.

Today we went for Hadley's annual check up.  She is now 86.6 pounds up from 73.8 pounds last year.  She is just over the 50th percentile for weight, which is about the same as last year and completely average for kids her age.  
She is wearing a size 14 clothing.  
She is now 139.5 cm up from 133 cm from last year.  This is around the 15th percentile.  This is the same as last year.  This apparently short for her age group but she seems similar to her peers.  
Hadley was asked how she is at school and during extra curricular activities, how she is around her peer group and family.   Her blood pressure was 110/80 which is normal.  
Overall an easy check up.
Another healthy year for the books!

- Leanne Verkley

2018-03-26 21:45:08

I suppose I should note some of her favourite things:  Playing my little pony at recess, skating, she loves to draw and play with clay.  Watching Cookie Swirl C is a fun pass time for her which is a girl on Youtube who unboxes toys and shows them off.  She likes the show MIa and Me, and of course the My little Pony shows.  LOL toys and Hatchimals are her favourite toys at the moment.  She enjoys board games, specifically Ticket to Ride and the Game of Life and Clue.  Her favourite food is stewing beef!  She loves Cat EVERYTHING!  She is in size 4 shoes.  

- leanne

2018-03-31 20:12:27

I should also note that Hadley is now in size 14 kids clothes.  (Usually her age matches her size... soon she will be in adult clothing).  

- Leanne

Nebs and Putting Edge

Today I decided to let the kids be in charge of the day.  Hadley chose the morning to go to Nebs fun world where we enjoyed double the tickets (march break special) at the fun fair type rides.  They loved the mini roller coaster, the skylight screamer, and the new dark ride XD interactive game.   Then a game of bowling and arcade time.  Easton tried a game kind of like whack a mole in the arcade and won an astounding 500 tickets to claim at the prize desk.  He won a large and small ball, a sticky hand, a popper toy and rockets candy.  Hadley got a cute little key chain that had a donut on it and a small bouncy ball.

In the afternoon Easton decided that we would go to putting edge where we would enjoy a round of glow in the dark mini golf.  It is here that Hadley and I both got a hole in one on the last hole!

It was a fun but very full day!  
We enjoyed a rather pleasant bedtime routine.  Although it went late, it was pleasant.  

- Leanne Verkley

Zoo and Skiing

This past weekend was the beginning of the of the March Break.  So as a family, we kicked it off well!  
We visited the Toronto Zoo, specifically to see the pandas as they are only here for a few more days.  We are so fortunate to have had them in Toronto for the past few years.  They were here long enough to have two babies, but after March 18th they will be moving on.  So we went on a beautiful day and saw all four of them up close!

Then we took the kids skiing for the day.  While there is grass and lots of sunshine in our backyard, the weather was -1 and perfect for a day on the slopes.
The snow was a little grainy but ok with a 50-70cm base, there was hardly anyone on the hills so it was a great day to be out!
After skiing all day, we were surprised to see that the kids could have kept going into the evening!  
We all had a wonderful day!
It started with a little learning curve as it had been a year since we were all on the hills, but by the end of the day we had a nice mix of green and blue hills to enjoy!

- Leanne Verkley

She's growing up! Hadley's First Shower all by herself!

Yesterday was a pretty amazing day for Hadley.  Earlier in the week she had worked very hard to get a science project done that she was super proud of, and yesterday she got to present it in front of her class and the grade twos!  She was so proud of her work and rightly so, she put a lot of effort into finding out if coke, juice or water would freeze first.  Her presentation was good, her bristol board looked great and she learned that it would take one hour and forty five minutes to make a slushie with her juice.  
She came home beaming!  She even said that the teacher noticed that Hadley had taken some notes during the presentations that would be super helpful to her teacher, perhaps she could be her teachers secretary.  Hadley loved this!  

Then later in the night Hadley noticed that she should have gone up for a shower well before bedtime but there was still 15 minutes left until bedtime... she promptly went upstairs while I was in the middle of a great game of checkers with Easton (which we ended with a tie), got in the shower, washed her body, shampoo'd and conditioned her hair and came down with everything done on her own!  She usually does most of this anyway, but up until last night I have always had to check to make sure that the shampoo and conditioner were completely out.  But she did it!
She is growing up!  I can't believe she will be 11 this month!  

- Leanne Verkley

2018-03-08 22:12:21

Hadley unloaded and loaded the dishwasher tonight... what is going on?

- leanne

There's an ocean in my boots!

For the past week the kids have been playing (with me a few feet away) in the ditch down at the end of the lane after they got off the bus.  
Slightly frozen water can be a lot of fun!  
Yesterday Easton felt the movement of the ice below him and the slow sound of the particles breaking way and he knew exactly what was about to happen... after just a few moments he finally broke through the ice and felt the icy water flow just over his boots.  He came out smiling and then said... "mom, I think there is an ocean in my boots!"  He promptly took off the boots and walked up the house in his socks smiling the entire way.  I took a video of this and I love the pure joy of watching him explore the outdoors!  

- Leanne Verkley

Sick and tired for Valentine's Day

The last three weeks have had Brian traveling to Chicago, New Jersey, and New York with brief weekend home stop ins mostly for hockey and laundry; However we did manage to fit in both his parents birthdays.  
Both kids have been sick in this time but mostly Hadley who has missed 6 days of school over the three weeks.
Yesterday after two days of basically no sleep for me, her fever finally broke.  
Today she is just tired as she was just uncomfortable all night... so another day off school.  Hopefully she will be well enough tomorrow to go back to school.  Sadly she is missing Valentine's day at school.  Easton took her cards in for her classmates, and since Brian got home last night at midnight, I was able to go out to the grocery store this morning to get some fresh food, the drug store to replenish fever supplies, and also bring home some Valentine's flowers.  

- Leanne Verkley

Olympics 2018

This is the first time our kids are going to experience the Olympics from home.  in 2010 we went to Vancouver (Easton was in utero) and in 2014 we went to Sochi.
So this morning even though Brian was in New Jersey, we all got up at 6am and did a video chat with Brian while watching the opening ceremonies on CBC.  It kind of feels odd being at home.  
However, the kids are at a good age to experience this with their friends at school.  Unfortunately things ran a lot differently this year in South Korea and going to the Olympics was just plain difficult.  
So... we will try this new experience with the kids.  They seemed excited about watching Canada walk in this morning as they were all cuddled up in their blankets on the couch... and while the weather interrupted our antenna at the exact time the Canadian's walked in, we were happy that we live in the age of internet where we could look up the live feed on CBC, back it up a minute or two and watch what we missed.  
It was a little crazy to get the kids to the bus on time but we managed and everyone left for school happy!
I love the Olympics!  

- Leanne Verkley

2018-03-10 14:59:13

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Anne Marie's birthday

Last weekend we travelled to Julie's house in Cambridge to celebrate Brian's mom's birthday.  The kids, Brian, Julie and I sang both to Brian's mom and then Brian's mom later sang with us to celebrate Brian's birthday.  Brian has been travelling a lot and we didn't know if we could fit in another family visit  so soon so this opportunity was perfect.  
Since Julie and Brian's mom had no plans to watch Superbowl we left around 4pm so we could get home in time to watch the big game.  The kids loved the chips and snacks and the half time show by Justin Timberlake and were interested enough in the game itself but since it was a school night they only watched until the halftime show was over.
The Eagles won 41 to 33 against the Patriots.  This is the first time ever that the Eagles had won a Superbowl.  So that was cool!  

- Leanne Verkley

John's 68th Birthday

Yesterday we celebrated Brian's dad's 68th birthday.  He, Patti Jo and Julie came to watch Easton's hockey game and then lunch, snacks, decorate your own cupcakes, and a roast beef dinner.
All with the NHL all star game in the background and just dance wii games going on as well.
It was a lovely day.

- Leanne Verkley

My uncle Ed

On January 17th my uncle Ed passed away from pancreatic cancer.  It hit hard and fast.  Apparently he felt ill over Christmas but managed until December 30th when he went to see a doctor.  After multiple tests they found stage 4 cancer and gave him 6-18 months.  From there it went down hill fast until his passing on January 17th.  Next month he would have been married to my aunt Debbie (my dads sister) for 40 years.  (They have been together my entire life).  
To be honest I didn't really know him.  I mean I saw them probably quarterly when I was a kid but the kids played in one room and the adults sat and talked in another.  I did know he liked to fish as my papa Jack also liked to fish.  They went to Disney every year, so I remember hearing stories about that and dreaming of the day I would go.  We spent time with them at my grandmas cottage annually near Sauble Beach but again the adults did their thing and the kids played separately.  In my teen years we visited much less and when my parents divorced and I went on to my own adult life even less still.   I do remember my parents going to Memphis with them on a road trip one year.  My mom said my uncle loved to drive the scenic route...which was apparent in his stories that were told this past weekend.  (My parents are not long drive type people so I bet that was enjoyable for everyone)!
However, the end goal was Elvis so... I am sure it worked out.  
I learned yesterday that he was a welder, loved gardening, specifically his roses, he was a steak and potatoes type person, he adored his kids and from time to time the slot machines called him.  
I think my grandma was thankful that I was there, my cousins Christina and Pamela played host (of course having their up's and downs), while my aunt went in and out of comprehension as people spoke with her.  My cousin Trevor needed space from all the people so I really didn't talk with him much.
I am sure they will all be lost without him.
Moments like these make you take some time to realize how precious life is and to enjoy every gifted day we have!




- Leanne Verkley

More Christmas and New Years

On December 15th, I got together with my mommy group.  I love those girls.  10 years of friendship bonded by our firstborns who only sort of know each other.  Then cemented friendship with a little more glue as we all had second children around the same time... again, those kids barely know each other but the moms have kept their sanity by understanding each others trials and successes.  So, we celebrated the season and the bond that we share.
Hadley's class had scientists in the school but no volunteers were needed as they are all big enough to stay on task, so instead I helped the SCC put holiday baskets together for a fundraising raffle that was held at the holiday concert.  
They looked beautiful and we raised over $900.  
Brian's mom came to stay with us for a few days and she was able to enjoy watching the kids concert.  Easton did a cute and pretty lengthy song called Hot Cup of Cocoa. So cute!  And Hadley did a Victorian Christmas dance and song.  It brought me to tears to watch it.  It was beautiful.
Brian and I took advantage of having a babysitter in town and went with Shawn and Violette to see Star Wars, The Last Jedi.  
Julie joined us for one day to celebrate Christmas on the 23rd.  
The next few days were lovely days spent with our immediate family.  Low key.  We put a new little something on our stockings, watched Cat in the Hat Christmas as we do every year, and had some turkey.
On the 27th we got together with our neighbours to go skating, and met up with my friend Melissa and her family as well.
On the 28th we had Christmas with Brian's dad in Kitchener.
New Years Eve started with a bring your friend to hockey, so Hadley, Brian and Easton went for a fun skate as I don't have full hockey gear, I watched and took a few photos.  Then we had a quick lunch before our guests arrived to commence our gaming evening.  For the most part the kids were amazing!  We did an early countdown thanks to Netflix which allows you to put a countdown on at whatever time, and then we played games until 4am!  Easton was up through the night with leg pains, and a 2am hot bath finally helped him to sleep.  But hey... I was up anyway.  
My house is a mess, but there has been so much love pour through in the last month!  
Today I woke up to two dear in the yard, and then after almost a full day of visiting with the guests who stayed over, my family joined me to check out the Uxbridge Fantasy of Lights.  I had been wanting to see them all December but life got busy.  Then... tonight was the last night and we made it work.  I am so glad we did.  Christmas lights make my heart happy and this did not disappoint!  
Happy New Year!

- Leanne Verkley

2018-01-13 22:06:58

On January 7th we had our final Christmas with my dad.  This year was particularly difficult to schedule with my family, but we made it work before the kids went back to school.  It's always a little crazy but its my family and I am happy to get together with them.  We enjoyed some Chinese food, opened presents in a crazy fury, (my dad got us a personalized fire pit which is super awesome)!  We celebrated Lyndyn for her birthday, and talked until it was super late!  Then it was the long drive home before school in the morning.  
Fun times!  Christmas is done... now to get the tree out of the house.  

- leanne

Verkley Christmas

This past week has been a busy one preparing for the extended Verkley Christmas.  Shopping to do (I spent an entire day shopping with my brother for gifts, which was so nice and a fun tradition that we have), and then I did a very large grocery shop!  We had 35 people in our house yesterday!  With that comes a week or more of clean up, a few projects being completed like the mudroom closet, and now a week of post party clean up.
I wouldn't change it!  I loved having my house full of so much love!  The 12 foot tree was trimmed and set a beautiful scene with light Christmas music in the background.  While I cooked two turkeys, Hadley made two desserts (apple crisp and holiday Rice Krispie squares), and just before eating I made salted potatoes, the rest of the potluck included a third turkey, a ham and a plethora of other wonderful food!  
By the way, Easton came home from school this week and told me he learned the word plethora, so I am glad to be able to use it in this post!
It was a joyful day indeed.  
Everyone made quite the trek to come here but everyone seemed happy to do it!
All in all a wonderful day!

- Leanne Verkley

Music, Mudroom, Parade, Holiday Train, Duffin's Creek, Pickering Tree Lighting, Tree, Wood Signs

While we are always busy, the last few weeks were no different.
The kids are practicing their instruments routinely.  Hadley is a few new songs each week.  Soon she will try songs that she recognizes but for now they are the standard two line songs with just a few notes.  She happily practices and it sounds lovely!
Easton is playing songs that are recognizable like Wild Thing by the Troggs and Time Of Your Life by Green Day.  He likes that he can play them but doesn't love to practice.  Although when people come to visit they both happily put on their little concerts.  (So practice time on those days is amazing)!

Brian and I have been working hard to get the mudroom closet functioning.  Up until now we just had a space with doors.  Now there are shelves, and a coat rack.  SO MUCH BETTER!

We took the kids to the Ajax Santa Claus Parade to kick start the holiday season.  While it was green and warm it still jolted us into Christmas!
Then I took the kids out of school about an hour early so we could go to Oshawa to see the CP Holiday Train come through.  This year Colin James and Emma Lee sang the carols.  The lights on the side of the train were lovely and even had a Canada 150 tribute however it was so early this year at 3pm that it was still light out and hard to see the lights even though they were on.

I was fortunate enough to go with Hadley on her trip to Duffin's Creek.  In the morning we learned how to make an A frame shelter with ropes (that they needed to learn how to tie a knot with), logs, and tarp.  Then each child got a turn to light a match and build a small fire.  This was very exciting for them!
In the afternoon the kids did a mapping exercise where they had to locate things around the property while keeping note of where north was.
I remember doing something similar as a kid at a place called Wildwood.  FUN TIMES!

This past weekend I took the kids to the Pickering Tree Lighting Ceremony.  It is always busy but always good.  This year Splash & Boots sang, (we managed to find a spot literally under the tree near the front and the kids could see fairly well, then we were eventually able to get them right up front when a few people left to do other events), the kids did a Christmas tree craft, saw Santa and Mrs. Claus, went on some rides, and of course we enjoyed the fireworks and saw the large trees with all their beautiful lights!

We are hosting the Verkley Christmas this year so we decided this weekend to go pick out our tree and because it is a special year (hosting and all), we decided to go BIG!  We got a 12 foot tree!  It looks amazing!  I can't wait for it to open fully and decorate it!

Shaye came this weekend for our Christmas visit as her family Christmas was in Oshawa this year.  The kids were spoiled with My little pony figures for Hadley and Pokemon cards for Easton.  Shaye and I decided to gift each other an experience this year.  So we went and painted wood signs.  They turned out fairly well actually.  The group that was there were regulars and we were the new people so they seemed pretty excited that we were there.  Lots of laughter and some concentration.  


- Leanne Verkley

Hockey life

In the last few weeks we have been hockey busy.  First we made a last minute trip to Orillia to visit with Shaye and go to the Hometown hockey event put on by Rogers Sportsnet.  There were games, entertainment, Beavertails, and more.  Plus we enjoyed a lovely dinner out with Shaye. Deep fried pickles are sooooo yummy at Brewery Bay!
Easton has started power skating and after only a few lessons we already see an amazing difference!  He is so fast now!  In fact he won player of the game today at hockey!
Hadley is doing First Shift Hockey, she mildly enjoys it but has decided that once it is finished, figure skating is for her.  Not hockey.   At least it gives her ice time.
Speaking of figure skating, she is gaining so much strength in her figure skating and starting some really cool spin moves.  The three turn, and the mohawk (like a three turn but with a foot switch).
Both kids are so fun to watch on the ice.
There is always a lot going on but life is good.

- Leanne Verkley

Music, Derek's 40th, Verkley picnic, Hockey and skating, school, Halloween, Nathan's birthday and Hometown hockey OH MY...

Both kids have started music lessons.  Easton on the guitar and Hadley on the piano (keyboard).  Easton can now play wild things by the Troggs fairly well after only a month of lessons, and Hadley just started last week and is on her way to playing Merrily we roll along also known as Mary had a little lamb.  I was fortunate to find teachers that come to our house.  It is a beautiful thing!  I can hear and watch them while prepping dinner, or other things.  Plus then I know how to help them practice throughout the week.  
We went to celebrate Brian's friend Derek's 40th birthday.  It was fun to watch Brian with his public school friends.  
The next day was a Verkley picnic at Brian's aunt Maria's.  These are always fun.  So much food and people to catch up with.
While there is the regular hockey and skating for Easton and Hadley, we also signed Hadley up for First Shift Hockey.  She get's 8 weeks of hockey and all equipments made by Bauer is included.  The catch is that it is only for kids that have never played hockey before, so Easton couldn't do it.  However, he will get her hand me down equipment when he grows.
There was a potluck at the school for all the lunch supervisors which was fun and the food was fantastic.  
I volunteered to help Hadley's class make apple crisp.  There were apples everywhere and the kids peeled, sliced and mixed while I helped with the oven.  MMMmmmmm.
The breakfast program is going strong at the school.  Twice a week we serve bins to all the classrooms with 3-4 food groups to choose from.
We managed to fit in a visit to the zoo with the kids in costume for Boo at the Zoo as well as a fun event at the Greenwood community centre where there were crafts and games for the kids.  Hadley was Anna from the movie Frozen and Easton was Captain America.  This year I was a cat and Brian felt that Captain Canada needed to make an appearance, so he wore all the Canadian gear he could find and carried around a hockey stick while trick or treating.  
We had a Halloween dance at the school which was a lot of fun!  
I volunteered in Easton's class on Halloween so that stations of fun could happen.
Easton's friend Nathan had his 7th birthday party which was a NERF party.  The kids had an amazing time!

- Leanne Verkley

2017-11-06 08:29:41

Ooops, this was supposed to go in the original post but I will put it here... Yesterday we drove to Orillia for the Hometown Hockey event.  There were games, activities, stage shows, beaver tails and more.  Plus a fun day with my friend Shaye and a fantastic meal at Brewery Bay!    

- leanne

Thanksgiving

The last two weekends have been full!  
We had three thanksgiving meals which allowed us to visit a lot of family, we met Julie's new boyfriend Wole and had some adult gaming fun at Brian's moms playing ticket to ride after the kids went to bed.   Unfortunately my mom wasn't feeling up for a gathering but instead my brother Joe and I squeezed in a visit with my aunt Nancy and uncle Kent to see their house renovations that my dad did.  I can't believe the changes!   Then we enjoyed a full day with my dad, Brenda, my sister, her husband, my brother, all my nieces and nephews and my sisters exchange student Rochelle who was super fun to talk with as we could share European stories.  
Finally we finished the weekend with a duck dinner at Brian's dad's house.

This weekend we had a visit with some of Brian's public school friends to celebrate Brian's friend Derek's 40th birthday.  I think the boys had a fantastic time.  Hadley made the best of the million little boys with nerf guns and finally put herself to bed in a back room all by herself at a sensible 8:30pm, while Easton and the boys ran around the house until 12:30am!
The adults played board games and reminisced with BEvERages of course.

And just because it worked, we also fit in a Verkley fall BBQ with a garage full of people and about 100 pounds of beef to be BBQ'd at Brian's aunt Maria's.
Then on the way back home we took Brian to the airport for his first trip with the new company to New York City.  

I am thankful for all the wonderful people we have in our lives!

- Leanne Verkley

Easton is Seven!

Easton is seven!  On the weekend after hockey, we hosted his birthday party with his friends at our house.  The result... he wishes he could relive that day over and over.
We went with a Pokemon theme.  We decorated the house, made loot bags together, and I stayed up late making a Pokeball cake and then we were ready for the party.
Easton had three little boys over to our house to help him celebrate and they were busy!  They started with some Super Smash Bros.  on the Wii U, then there was basement basketball, and hockey, a pin the pokeball on the charzard character game, outside fun, hide and seek, tag, cake, presents and playroom fun.
Then on his actual birthday, I was able to be at the school to volunteer with the Terry Fox run.  I ran a lap with each of the kids and then helped with the lap counts for kids by punching holes in their lap cards.
Easton did 15 laps and Hadley did 10.

There is always an adventure to get birthday photos done and this year was no different.  I booked in July before we went on holidays and then after getting both kids hair cut, we were headed to get photos done only to find out that the photo studio had closed down in August.  So... now that the kids were all dressed up, hair cut and styled etc, I really wanted to get their photos done, so we headed to Walmart for a photo shoot.  We managed to get a few good photos but the catch is that it takes 3-4 weeks for the photos to come in.  OH WELL.

All in all, I think Easton felt well celebrated.  We now have a seven year old boy in the house!

- Leanne Verkley

2017-10-11 22:01:23

The doctors report.  Easton is up to 53 pounds;  This is up from 42.6 pounds last year.  He is in the 50th percentile.  
He is growing too.  He is up to 123 cm from 110.5 cm last year.  Also in the 50th percentile.  
No concerns from the doctor.  All good!

- leanne

Schools in

Well, we are now into the second week of school.  The kids seem to have great teachers.  Hadley has the same teacher she had when she was in grade 1 and Easton has a new teacher to the school who is great with technology and sends me texts every few days about what they did in class and what I can ask Easton about -  I LOVE IT.  Currently he is working on zones of regulation, a Wits program about feelings, and gaining class points to earn a classroom fish based on achieving their personal goals, following rules and routines.  
Easton's current goals are to sit properly, raise his hand before speaking, and sit quietly in the reading corner.  
Grade 5 and grade 2 this year!
Hadley has worked on a self portrait, and some ripped paper art.  She is learning the names for mother, father, sister, brother, uncle etc in French.  Science, she is learning about cells and Hadley said the 6 grade 5's from the split class join her class.  It sounds like for science only.  She says she has read a little, wrote about herself and will have a math test on Friday of 0, 1, and 2 times tables with some doubles addition.  She said the teacher is working up to see what the class knows.  

Back to the first day.  The first day was super easy.  Hadley was excited with her new kitten outfit, and all the kitten school items we could find, and Easton had new clothes, backpack etc but the feeling I got from him was just thankful he had the stuff he needed.
We took the usual before school photos and arrived about 5 minutes early to the school to briefly see each kid off with their new teachers.
Hadley has 24 kids in her class and Easton has 18, but of course those numbers can change.  
Hadley had two of her closest friends change schools this year, so this year will be interesting as she spreads her wings to new friendships.  There are two new girls in her class and a few girls from the other class from last year that have been mixed into her class this year.
We have started some new morning routines which Hadley seems to completely have embraced.  Easton is still working on it but we are making progress.
Pretty much their morning routine looks like this:
Wake up, get dressed, make bed (this is new this year), washroom, eat, feed cats (Hadley does this, also new to her this year), brush hair (Hadley has been doing a great job with this on her own this year but if she wants her hair up, I help) and teeth, put lunch and water in their backpacks (another new responsibility to them), and then if there is any time left over (there is usually about 25 minutes for them to watch something or play a game on their devices or laptops before they get shoes and coat on, kiss/hug, get on the bus.

Easton has started a speech program at the school where he will get 11 sessions to work on his R and L sounds.  He has also had two evaluation skates and should get his team assignment for hockey on or before this Friday to start Saturday.  Hadley got a new skating outfit and upgraded skates that I was lucky enough to find used at the skate exchange.  They had one pair in her size!  She is now into specialized skates!  She also starts Saturday.
Brian started a new job at Cognizant.  All of these new beginnings!  All on the first day of school!
I have been busy at the school.  A few days of lunch monitoring, a few days of breakfast boost planning, which is set to start in two weeks, I have started volunteering in the grade 1 class again this year (which happens to be Matthew from next door's class) and next week I am helping out with the book fair.  
Plus the regular every day stuff.
The kids have logged into their prodigy accounts (online math program that is awesome) and they are quite pleased with the new changes for the new school year.  Yay!  
Also my nephew Jayden turned 9.  We will celebrate Jensyn and Beckett, who will turn 6 later this month and Jayden, and Easton who will turn 7 all together at Thanksgiving.
All in all, life is good!



- Leanne Verkley

Camp Can-Aqua

This past week Hadley spent 6 days at Camp Can-Aqua.  This year she was the only intro camper from the Toronto area so they did a home pick up.  The intro camp was mixed into another two week camp so she had the privilege of camping with a larger group this year.  After 48 hours I got a call from camp with a brief update that she had done some canoeing, a spa day, and some yoga.  She had 6 girls in her cabin and two leaders.  I missed her like crazy.  I was okay from Saturday until Tuesday and then I started to really feel her missing.   It was quiet.  Easton and I kept busy with some back to school shopping and with lots of playdates.  We had one playdate that was mostly games, one that was a splash pad and park, and one that was backyard water balloon/water gun fun.  The last one was with Nathan who he hadn't seen since school.  The boys were so happy to see each other, they giggled with so much laughter.  We also found out who the kids teachers were for the upcoming year and were happy to know that both kids had their best friends in their class.
When Hadley finally came home on the coach bus on Friday, we met her in Thornhill and Easton couldn't have been more excited to see her.  Me too.  The excitement to hug her was bubbling inside me.  :)  She sounded like she had a wonderful week.  It was a little cold at night but good times were had.

- Leanne Verkley

Hockey Camp

This past week Easton attended Headstart hockey camp.  It ran from 8:30 am - 4pm every day for 5 days.  The first morning Easton was a little nervous but after arriving in the dressing room, he saw his coach for soccer, and his coach from this past year at hockey.  So, within minutes of being there he already knew 4 kids that would be spending the day with him.
Then... he was all good.
All week when we dropped him off he never even looked back.  He was excited to go and had great stories at the end of the day.
We were even fortunate enough to be able to come watch a few games throughout the week as they provided a schedule for parents.  I think it will be good that he has played a week of hockey before they do the team placement skate next month for the coming season.
The last day there was pizza and freezies plus a video game truck and an ice cream truck for fun after the kids were let out at the end of the day.  He loved this!  Hadley did too.
I spent most of the week shopping with Hadley for back to school stuff, and getting reorganized from our trip.  Lots of laundry etc.  
We did manage to have some fun playing games and other stuff too but it was a busy week.  Especially since Hadley would be leaving on Saturday for her week at Camp Can-Aqua.  

- Leanne Verkley

Europe Part 2.

Well, Hadley was a trooper on about 4 hours of sleep.  She took her brothers luggage and rolled it along to help out.  We took a very early morning flight to Tenerife, Spain.  
Canary Islands here we come!
We arrived early to our hotel.  This time the Ritz Carlton.  We would stay here for the remainder of our trip.  The resort was HUGE, and beautiful.  We cashed in some of Brian's travel points in order to stay here.  Our room had a view of the ocean and the courtyard where we would later listen to live music in the evenings.  Surrounding the grounds were banana plantations everywhere, or volcanic rubble.  
Since we arrived early, our room wasn't ready, so we enjoyed some lounging time on the grounds.  We didn't plan well enough to have our bathing suits with us, so we just enjoyed some time having lunch and enjoying our surroundings.
After finally settling into our room mid afternoon, we took a drive to town to get some food for the room, do some laundry at the local laundry place and have an easy pizza dinner.  That night we went for an evening swim and called it a day.
The next morning we spent a few hours planning our week.  We booked a cable car for that evening as there was only limited availability but we of course wanted to go up the highest mountain in Spain at Tiede National Park.  
Easton was completely unaffected by the altitude of the mountain, and had energy to spare.  The rest of us took in the view, one step at a time.  
That night at a local hotel near the mountain we tried salted potatoes for the first time, which were tasty (and later we learned this would be served with most meals), we were blessed with a beautiful sunset, and a starry night that was pretty amazing since there was no light pollution.  Brian was happy to get a pretty good shot on our camera of the milky way as well as spending a few hours playing with settings to photograph the North Star.  
The next day we spent the morning at the hotel.  The kids wanted to just relax in the morning, so that is what we did.
For lunch we went into town and had lunch at a local restaurant.  The drive up the road was interesting, and after we parked, we used the railing to walk up the street.  :)
Hadley noticed that Tenerife had a pearl store and was very interested.  So, we took her shopping for her first ever pearl bracelet.  She was beyond happy!  I think she felt so grown up with this experience.  
We took a few minutes after that to look into the banana plantations, and then we headed back to our resort to get ready for a resort walk to their private beach.
This was beautiful.
I was surprised that the kids didn't say anything about some of the women and young girls being topless, but I think the waves had their attention.  European beaches, quite the experience, but once you let yourself decide that this is normal, it really isn't that distracting, just at first because it is different than what we are used to.  
The next day we spent the day at Siam Park.  Tripadvisor says this is the #1 water park in the world. I was impressed but I am not sure what makes it #1.
We had a great day in the water.  The lazy river, the water slides and just enjoying some quality family time.  
The next morning we went to the marina and saw the morning catch being carved up for the local restaurants and then boarded our catamaran for our three hour tour.
We had a great time whale and dolphin watching, Brian and Hadley enjoyed some ocean swim time off the boat, and our family avoided seasickness, however; some on the boat were not so lucky.  At the end of the boat ride I was gifted a bottle of champagne to take with me.  
For lunch after the boat ride we ate at the marina.  Easton gave Brian's fish a kiss.
It was the day before my birthday but we were flying out on my birthday so we celebrated with a beautiful steak dinner at the hotel.  Hadley wore her pearl bracelet and the hotel brought out drinks and dessert to celebrate.  Then we went for an evening swim.
A great day.
On my birthday after only a few hour flight we arrived in Brussels, Belgium, we went to Atomium, and enjoyed more Belgian Fries, and the Laeken Fireworks fun night.  
Fireworks on your birthday on the last day of your European vacation is pretty perfect.
Then we ventured home on the long flight that was delayed by about an hour but the kids were great on the plane so it was all good.
I love holidays.  

- Leanne Verkley

Europe Part 1.

After months of planning, most of which Brian took charge of as he is the road warrior, we embarked on our European adventure.  After a long flight through the night we arrived in Brussels Belgium.  We didn't stay here long, it was just the best (cheapest and available place to fly to for the dates we wanted).  We rented a car and again, Brian the road warrior with little sleep on the plane took the wheel and drove to Munster Germany.  Here we had a stop to wander around, stretch our legs and see the three cages.  In short:  In 1534 Munster got recaptured and the 3 leaders of the Anabaptists got murdered. Their bodies were put into 3 cages on the tower of St. Lamberts Church.
Brutal.  The cages are still hanging today.

After, we decided to lighten the mood and eat some bratwurst while in Germany.  The kids seemed to rather enjoy this.  We found a food truck alley and enjoyed the sounds of all the people enjoying time outside.
From there we drove until we got to the Ferry that took us to Denmark.  We booked Scandlines Ferry before we left so this worked out rather well.  We mostly just enjoyed dinner on the boat and a sunset that had beautiful reds.  We arrived to our hotel very tired.  Bed was very welcome!
In the morning we sought out danishes.  While in Denmark... you will see a we tried to taste local specialties throughout the trip.  :)
The kids had pastries as they couldn't decide on a danish that looked good enough to eat.  
This day was a bit rainy but not too bad.  We took the VERY EXPENSIVE bridge to Sweden, had some Swedish meatballs at Lilla Torg (a small square), and then explored Malmohus.  There were cannons, beautiful rooms, people dressed up, and we even enjoyed a small aquarium, before moving on.
While driving to our hotel we saw an IKEA, so of course we stopped.
That night we had dinner at Nyhavn, in Copenhagen Denmark.  People were everywhere!  The boats, colourful buildings, and live music, and food were fantastic!  
After dinner we wandered on to Amalienborg.  This is where the royals reside.  There was a horse and rider statue that looked amazing with the sunsetting behind it and we saw guards that looked similar to guards you would see in England with the bearskin caps.  
We had to convince the kids to walk on as they were quite tired but we pressed on to see the Little Mermaid.  A major tourist attraction based on the fairy tale by Hans Christian Anderson.  It has been there since 1913.
The next day we decided the kids would need a kid friendly day.  So we spent the day at Tivoli Gardens.  This famous amusement park had beautiful gardens as well.  It was suited for all ages.  The park has been around since 1843.  There were people enjoying the gardens with books in hand, people enjoying live music and food, and also people like us enjoying the rides.  The mountain coaster built in 1914 is one of the worlds oldest wooden roller coasters that still operates.  
The next day we found ourselves in Billund, Denmark.  This is the home of The Lego Group.  Lego was founded here.  There really isn't anything else in this town but Legoland.  This is another amusement park that the kids were thrilled about.  We each made a lego character to take home to represent ourselves.  We also bought a few lego people to trade with the ride and store operators.  There was an amazing lego mini village.  It had place like Nyhaven, and Amalienborg, Neuschwanstein and other great displays of the Netherlands and so much more.
That night we drove to Hamburg, Germany.  The next day we had a swim day in the hotel and also went out to explore and enjoy German pretzels by the water.  There were a lot of swans.  Perhaps they get a lot of pretzels given to them.  
That night we arrived in Applingdam, in the Netherlands for dinner.  Despite the drizzle in the air, we went to see the hanging kitchens.  These are basically extensions over a canal from a brick building.  We didn't spend too much time here before heading to The Hague, Netherlands.  We would stay here for a few days.  
Brian found some King mints that his grandpa loved, plus some other black licorices that were so salty.  We tried to go to the beach but it was way too windy.  Sand in our faces!  So we wandered around the city instead with Hadley using the GPS to get us back to our hotel.  
Next up... Amsterdam.  We arrived by train and were welcomed by an uncountable number of bicycles.  We took a boat taxi, showing the kids the Rijks Museum, and spending most of the day at Vondelpark.  The kids loved a tree that had fallen and was now considered a climbing structure.  Both kids ripped holes in at least one spot on their clothing but they loved playing there anyway.  
We wandered through and found most of the six playgrounds throughout.  Some were safe.  One was like tree top treking with rope bridges to other tree houses.  One was a climbing structure that if you missed one grip, I am pretty sure you would die.  One had a cool swing that three of us could use at the same time.  Let's just say we played at some, and not so much at others.
That night we found a local restaurant called Carter bar and Kitchen.  We tried bitterballen, which none of us loved but we can all say that we tried it.  We also had a nice chicken dinner with lots of cheese and some beer.    
At the Van Gogh museum Hadley pointed out things she had learned in school.  I loved that she could link this!  
The day was full, not at all what we expected but lovely.
In the morning we drove to Kinderdijk.  The kids sat in a giant wooden shoe, stood in smaller wooden shoes, saw the windmills, climbed inside a windmill, and even pretended to give a windmill a spinning start for a photo.
Later that afternoon we met up with Marion, Ben and their daughter Susan and her daughter Fena Verkleij.  They showed us around Trekkertrek, treated the kids to shirts, ice-cream, and more fair rides.  
That evening we were invited back to Brentano.  This is the Verkely family farm.  Brian's great grandfather bought the farm over a hundred years ago.  It was built in 1796.  The house is lovely!  The kids got to feed calves, see Ben milking, we were lucky enough to had Marion give us a lesson in cheese making.  
Before leaving we went up to see the attic.  This is where some people used to hide during war times.  Ben even found a real sword when he was a kid.  Easton loved holding it!  
The next day was a beach day at the North sea.  We saw so many people kite surfing.  The air was cool, in fact I had a jacket on and only put my feet in, but the kids both put on their bathing suits and went in full force!  We built a dyke, and canals and watched the tide come in to demonstrate how water flows.
A little history at the Canadian War Cemetery before leaving the Netherlands.  We saw the crosses row on row.  Even a poppy or two and some Canadian flags.  The kids showed great respect while we were there.  
We drove on to Brussels, Belgium where we actually spend a little time this time.  After some Belgian waffles for breakfast, we played some Pokemon Go as we wandered around Brussels Park, we saw the Royal Palace of Brussels, we made a stop to see the peeing boy, which apparently is a must see.  Meh!  Just a naked boy fountain but very popular by the tourists.  
I was happier at the next few stops.  Godiva for chocolate, which we all enjoyed at the Grand Place.  (Brussels Town Hall).  Then we found the Museum of Cocoa and Chocolate.  We watched a professional chocolatier make Belgian chocolates right in front of us and then we got to enjoy the goods!  
After our dessert we went for Belgian Fries with Mayo.  Everyone loved the fries!  I am pretty sure Easton had fries once a day on this trip despite our best efforts.
That night we met up with Brian's old colleague from Bell, Matthew.  
Matthew quit Bell to pursue his career in Opera singing and move to Belgium with his family.  His lovely wife Maggie and their kids Malcolm and Duncan entertained us with great games, Belgian Beer, dinner and conversation.  They had just moved into their house so they were excited about the future possibilities of their life there.  
It was a lovely evening spent mostly in their backyard.  
The next day before leaving Belgium we went to where the Trappist Monks brew Orval beer and make cheese at Orval Abbey.  We explored the grounds including some gardens, and ruins.  We had a quick trip to Luxembourg where we walked around seeing the city and fortress that that was founded in 963.  I love seeing Unesco World Heritage sites.  
We walked a lot of stairs, had dinner on a balcony, Brian ate a local dish, that we will just say was like jelly and ham... and then we found a fantastic park.  The Luxembourg people know how to build great parks!  The food... well, that is another story.  
We also stopped at Park Merveilleux.  An amusement park that had a small zoo, a miniature railway, cars the kids could ride, playgrounds that were the most amazing playgrounds I have seen, fairy tale scenes (with stories in other languages), and restaurants.  
That night we drove to Champagne, Spain.  We saw the vineyards which were quite impressive.  The land was not flat and very different than our farm land.  There were grapes that were purple, and some that were green.  We tasted them, and found them to be sour.  Afterwards we had dinner, with champagne of course.
Next up Reims Cathedral.  This is a cathedral that the kings of France were crowned at.  
After some intense driving on the Champs Elysees, we arrived at our hotel.  While we waited for our room to be ready, we spent the day walking and exploring.  We started with some Crepes on the Champs Elysees.  The Nutella ones were delicious.  We tried the sugar one too.  
We ventured to see the Obelisk, played a little Pokemon Go en-route to the Louvre.  
We saw the original lock bridge near Pont Neuf, and took in the beauty of the Notre Dame Cathedral.  
Then we took our time at the Eiffel Tower posing and having fun in the Champs de Mars park.  We took a shoe photo like the one Brian and I took years ago when we were last there and then after a lengthy wait in line, we went up to watch the sunset on the tower.  Easton loved that he could climb some of the tower, Hadley loved the ice cream at the top.  
The kids had no fear on the glass floor.  Jumping and dancing.  I put both feet on but that was about it.  
We decided to come down just at the glittering lights were coming on.  Hadley got to press the button to bring us down and Easton got to press the button to open the doors.  
At the bottom we enjoyed the glitter display on the tower and took it all in.  Magical.  
After a long walk, we stopped for some pizza, which was two for one, so the kids decided to donate some of our pizza to a family living on the street.  
It was late, but the arc de Triumph looked fantastic at night, so of course we stopped for a few photos before heading to our hotel some much needed sleep.
Brian, got up early to take in Paris just before the sunrise.  He said the round-about around the arc de Triumph was a lot less crazy at this time.  
We joined him at a much more civilized hour... around 8 am for pastries and macaroons.  
Then the day was spent at Versailles.  At first we thought the line was so long we wouldn't get in, so we walked around the back just to see what we could see, and found an entrance with no line to just the gardens.  Perfect.  We went into the gardens, through the mazes, and saw the musical fountain shows.  
That night we went to the Canadian National Vimy Ridge Memorial.  When I saw V-W Vinen on the wall, it all became more real.  (My dad says he had the war medals somewhere and will show me some time). I felt proud and sad.  
From here we drove to the Brussels airport to return our rental car, and then to the hotel to sleep for a few hours before part 2 of our trip would begin.  






- Leanne Verkley

Trolls, Trekking, Mini Golf, Ginger and Zoo

The last couple of days have been quite busy.  We took the kids to see Trolls, the movie in the park.  Despite it starting at 9pm, it was great!  The kids loved the outdoor experience!  The weather was perfect!  
Then I had a day where plans changed so I called up my brother and we decided to take the kids trekking.  There is a place in Stouffville called Tree Walk Village and it is essentially webbed ropes between trees with little tree fort type houses that have slides and ramps to run though.  Two hours of this and I was tired but the kids kept running!  
After this we enjoyed dinner out and then did some glow in the dark mini golf.  It was a lovely day with my brother.  So glad the day worked out this way!
Ginger our orange tabby now known as Geddy has found a new home with Brian's uncle Jeff.  He is working on a friendship with their dog but it may take some time.  :)
Yesterday with some last minute planning we managed to get together with my sister and her family at the Toronto Zoo.  
I had a lovely time with them.  I think they had a great day also!  My kids thought it was a super treat to get popsicles from the concessions, they also rode the carousel, and we came back to our house to feed the horses and enjoy some pizza together.
I had a great day with my nieces and nephews, my sister and brother in law.  

- Leanne Verkley

First two weeks of summer.

The first week of the summer was mostly consumed by swimming lessons.  This is the first time we have done a week long lesson rather than weekly lessons and the first time we have done outdoor lessons.  We lucked out as the week was the sunniest we have seen all summer.  SO MUCH RAIN this year!  
We managed to get signed up for the summer reading club at the library, and go to a few different parks.  We had some fun at the skate park with the scooters, and my cousin Megan came to stay for a night and watch Easton's soccer game before heading off to a wedding up north.  
On the weekend Brian came home from Boston late but the LAN party was already started when he arrived close to midnight.   5 guys... having a fun summer weekend!
I took the kids strawberry picking and I think all the guys were thankful for the fresh summer fruit snack.  MMmmmmmm, Ontario strawberries!
This week I took the kids for their dentists appointments and I was able to take an afternoon to go into Toronto to spend the day with two old room-mates from post secondary.  One was just in for the summer from South Africa this time living with her brother in Toronto... I think teaching in China is up next for her.  The other lives in Brantford, so Toronto seemed the mid point to meet and it worked out.  We had a long lunch and then walked around to Nathan Phillips Square, the Eaton's Centre, enjoyed a free 7/11 slurpee for their birthday and eventually found our way to John Street for more food.
We have had one playdate with Hadley's friend Ariana for about three hours at a splashpad/park.  I think the girls loved it!
We have filled our three feet deep pool and had some outdoor fun for hours in the backyard.
We are about two weeks into summer holidays and I can't believe how fast it has gone already.

- Leanne Verkley

Happy 150th Birthday Canada!

This year marked Canada turning 150!  I remember when it turned 125.  I don't actually remember what I did on Canada Day per-say, but I do remember attaching a letter that I wrote to a balloon in hopes that where ever it floated off to, someone would find it and write back...and they did!  I remember coming back in September and being one of the few people who received a letter addressed to the school with my name on it.  It was found in a farmers field.  
So with that memory, I tried to get the kids school to do something similar and the vote was for the environment and sadly no balloons would be set free.  However, we did try to take a photo of the school with kids dressed in red and white standing in the shape of 150.  I so badly wanted to be the photographer but I wasn't allowed on the roof, so I will be happy enough with the photos that the principal sent me.  
On the actual Canada Day we drove to Atwood to celebrate where Brian celebrated many childhood Canada Day's.  
The day started with a parade of over 200 floats.  Some had lots of decoration, some were just trucks but they all counted.  The pool had a float that had a pool filled with water that the people on it were splashing to the crowd.  Hadley wasn't a big fan, but at least she dried quickly.
During the parade we talked with Brian's extended family.  (Krista, Cooper, and Griffin (Adam was not well), Brian's cousin Steven and his wife Melissa, Nora, and Ed).  
After the parade we put our lawn chairs back in the van and minutes later the DOWN POUR of rain came, so we went into Krista's house for about an hour before heading over to the carnival type festivities.  The kids loved this!  There were jumpy castles, PLINKO, knock down the milk cans, ring toss, skee ball, cotton candy and more.
There was a beer tent, baseball going on in the background, and an open pool for a public swim and then at dinner time, the famous pork-chop BBQ.  So yummy.  Brian's dad and his wife Patti-Jo joined us for this dinner.
After dinner we did some park time and then did some visiting with my dad and Brenda, Shawn, Todd and Julia who joined us for the fireworks!
All in all a good day with family and friends celebrating our heritage!
Happy Birthday Canada!  #150!

- Leanne Verkley

Canada's Wonderland

This past weekend we had plans that fell through leaving us with an entire day that was unplanned.  SO... we took the kids to Wonderland!  It was spur of the moment and awesome!
The weather this year has been rain, rain and more rain.  I really can't believe how much rain we have had.  However, that day, it was perfect.  Warm but not too hot, and no rain.  Line ups were about half an hour long and reasonable.
We were sure Easton was going to love the day but Hadley had previously not been a thrill seeker when it came to roller coasters, however, after a first go at Thunder Run, she was all set for the day and took on the Wild Beast, The Vortex, The Goaster Coaster, Wonder Mountain's Guardian, The Fly, Silver Streak and a few other rides.  Of course key rides we also enjoyed were White Water Canyon, and the Krachenwagen (bumper cars)!
We even finished the day off with a second go of Thunder Run at night.  
It was a fantastic family day!  I really can't believe how well the day went.  One for the memory books for sure!
The night ended with The Tragically Hip playing on the loud speakers and a Canada Flag being displayed on the mountain.  
I love that Canada #150 is celebrated all around us this year!

- Leanne Verkley

Science Centre

Yesterday I was fortunate enough to join Easton's class on their trip to the Ontario Science Centre.   The trip lasted all day but felt super short.  I had a group of 5 that kept me on my toes.  We explored two different kid zones and then one space area.  This tied nicely into Easton's project that is due in a few days about astronauts.  I couldn't believe how tired I was after I finally got the kids into bed.  
Then today I was so tired I actually had a nap in the afternoon.
Hadley also had a class trip to Nebs Fun World on the same day but only teachers were supervising and no volunteers could go.  She seemed to have a great time though!  I think this week will be interesting as the kids are over tired, but school is almost done for another year so I will take it easy on them as bed times are about to get later anyway.  

- Leanne Verkley

2 Black Kittens

Last night my friend Marsha picked up the two black kittens formerly known as Midnight and Moonlight.  They are now called Finley and Fiona.  I love the names.
Butterscotch has not shown any signs of missing them.  
On a side note:  She has been meowing like crazy for the past two weeks in the middle of the night for an unknown reason.  We originally thought it was because of the kittens slowing down on the nursing but it continued.  So we fed her more wet food for a few nights thinking maybe she is just particular and hungry, but it continues.  So... we really aren't sure.  Maybe she is in heat, but we can't let her out as she isn't spayed and is still nursing from time to time.  About once a day for each kitten.
We got an update  today that the kittens are doing well.  They slept in one room last night and over the next little while they will be given access to more rooms.
Marsha's family have two little kids to love them.  I think it will be a great fit.  These two black kittens are going to a household where two black cats had previously lived and were loved until sickness set in.  
Hadley and Easton miss them of course but are okay with it.
I am happy they found such a great home.

- Leanne Verkley

Camp Can- Aqua

This past weekend was a fun one despite the rain.  There sure was a lot of it too.
We arrived Friday night for family camp around 8pm.  There were snacks and a campfire to welcome us that first night.  Plus a nice sign on our Loon cabin that read:  Welcome Verkley Family.
We took in the beauty of the lake and sang some songs and Easton even "played" the guitar at campfire.  S'mores and such were also enjoyed.
The next morning we got up and went for a canoe ride before breakfast.  It was lovely.  The water was calm and it was so nice to be one with nature.  Hadley and I shared a boat and Brian and Easton shared a boat.  
With so much rain the kids enjoyed playing with lego for quite a bit of the weekend.  Hadley made a duck which was pretty fantastic, a camp sign, a unicorn, a chocolate bar, a fidget spinner and a few other things.  Easton made a duck and some pretty amazing rainbow clouds.  
Spiree was the new favourite game.  Kind of like tennis, but kid sized.  
Of course there was table tennis and oversized outdoor chess too.
In woodworking Hadley made a wooden spoon and Easton made a toy car.  There was a lot of sanding to these projects.  
We found a giant soccer ball to play with which was about the size of the kids.  It was yellow and blue and lots of fun to roll down the hill.
Motor boating and paddle boarding were also enjoyed.  I was impressed that I was able to stand on the paddle boards.  The kids found it no trouble at all.
We spent only a few minutes doing archery as the mosquitos were so bad.  However it was still a highlight for Easton.
There was a Marty Party (Andrew Martin is the director but everyone calls him Marty), this was for adults only while the kids watched a movie.  (The Secret Life of Pets).  This led to a whole new adventure.  When we went to pick up the kids... they weren't there.  I guess in the hustle of everyone leaving they didn't see the adult that was in charge of them, so they made the decision to stay together and walk to the cabin.  
Well, let me tell you, that within 3 minutes of them missing, the entire camp staff was looking for them.  I went straight to the cabin, found them, restarted my heart... and then found out that a search party was already in motion.
Marty let the search play out as a practice round for camp.  This makes me feel good about what they would do when I am not around.  Still, there is a sinking feeling when you don't know where your kids are...even if it is only three minutes.  

The next day, a majority of the kids were interested in putting on a play for everyone so that was fun to watch.  It was about animals that were locked up and let loose.  
Brian and I did some glass etching while the kids practiced the play.  After having an intense talk with the kids about staying put until we come back... we left them with the leaders to practice.  I think they really understood.
Before we left camp Easton got the ring on the hook and was super happy.  A perfect way to end the weekend.  
It was also father's day... so we went home and Brian was given his gifts.  Easton made a lovely note and a picture of Brian giving him a piggy back ride.  Hadley made an origami mens shirt and a nice card.
I love spending time outside with my family.  

- Leanne Verkley

Kittens - Stairs

The kittens learned how to climb stairs the other night.  Through the night I was up with Easton with his growing pains and I while I was rubbing his legs, I asked Brian to get me a heated pad to help sooth his pains.  This is when kittens were discovered on the main floor and not in the basement.  So... now they are everywhere.  The biggest game of hide and seek.  5 kittens and a cat all over the house.  They are super cute, super curious and there is lots of food to put out and lots of litter to clean.  But the cuddles make it all worth while.

- Leanne Verkley

Fence at the Rental

There is a reason we waited so long to fix the fence at the rental.  Neighbours and money.   We all had to agree at the same time and be able to pay for it at the same time.
We have great neighbours but that being said we have different ideas.
So... to put the experience in the best light... I am glad it is over.  It looks great.  (Aside from the one side being slightly higher than the other side, but that could just be how the ground is).
It is safe, it looks clean, it has that beautiful wood smell, and the gate works wonderfully!
I hope the renters are happy.  :)  
Since having the house as a rental for almost three years now, we have done three major projects, tree removal of 5 large trees, a new air conditioner and now the fence.  Of course little stuff has come up but I am happy to be able to do the big things too.  


- Leanne Verkley

Kittens

The kittens are growing like crazy.  Hadley is amazing with them!  She checks on them morning and night and makes sure each one gets at least 5 minutes of being held each day.  
This week we put the litter box near them and set each on in it.  Then... they began to use it.  Success!
Up until now Butterscotch has been taking care of all messes.
They are much more active now.  Last night they didn't sleep in the box like they have been doing  but rather near the golf clubs in the basement.  They wander like crazy.  At first this was stressful on Hadley because sometimes they are hard to find.  However now she knows that cats need to explore and she is better with it.  Especially since she understands that they will eventually come back to Butterscotch for food or they will come back for the litter box.

- Leanne Verkley

STEM

Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.  Today the SCC put together a STEM day with a grant that we got last from an application that we put in last year.  The day included a morning of cutting up fruit and vegetables, setting up cheese and cracker trays, as well as dessert trays.  Then an hour of key note speakers in the gym for parents where we got to build structures out of 20 pieces of spaghetti, one yard of painters tape, one yard of yarn, and one marshmallow.  The idea was to build the tallest structure possible in 18 minutes to hold the marshmallow at the top without puncturing the marshmallow.  Our structure did not hold up at all.  But it was fun.
In Hadley's room her group was given sponges, tongue depressors, cotton balls, dish soap and a few other items to try to clean up a simulated oil spill.  (A bin full of water with oil in it).  Easton's group was given 40 jube jubes and as many tooth picks as they needed to build the tallest structure they could in 18 minutes.
After school we went to buy supplies.  With mini marshmallows and tooth picks, we had our own competition for tall structures.  Then we built a bridge as a family.  There was a suspension element added and then names were made with tooth picks and marshmallows.  
What a fun day.

- Leanne Verkley

Track and Field

Today was track and field at the school.  It was Hadley's first ever track and field.  Every kid participated in every event.  She said her favourites event was long jump.
I went to the school today to help with pizza day and while I tried to check out her events, I had just missed the last of the girls running and her other events wouldn't start until second period after lunch, so, I didn't see her participate but I did see how the events were run and while I was there for lunch duty I did see lots of kids practicing.  They spent the entire day outside!  It was a beautiful day at approximately 16 degrees.  
What a nice way to spend a Friday.

- Leanne Verkley

The kittens

At around day 10 the kittens eyes began to open.  This is very exciting because it means they are starting to move around more.  Between day 8 and 14 we started by taking one kitten out and holding it for about 2 minutes and then putting it back.  Then finally around day 14 Butterscotch now keeps them in the box after we bring them out...but only until it gets dark.  Then she carries them off to hide them.  This time behind a spare mattress.  From what I understand, this is normal in the wild to hide them in different locations while they are learning to walk around.
Hadley wakes up every morning to check on them and do a head count.  She is very fond of them.  Easton loves them too, but he would rather spend a few minutes with them and then move on.  
They are super fun to have around.  Their little noises are very cute.  They are so fun to cuddle.  

- Leanne Verkley

Basketball

Easton has been enjoying playing basketball, but after two weeks of going to the 4-6 year old group, I asked when games start, and the coach said they don't play games at this level.  However...he thought that Easton was strong enough to try out the grade 2/3 level.  So this week we took him.  Of course the kids were taller, and more skilled, but I have to say Easton was able to keep up for the most part.  He has never played a real game but he does shoot hoops with us everyday and has for months.  So while the game rules will need to be learned, his skill with the ball is about the same as the other kids.  After this week we asked him if he wanted to go back to his old group or stay with the new group.  His reply was:  easy and no games, or hard but fun.  I think I will stick with hard but fun.

- Leanne Verkley

Pigmania

Today I was fortunate enough to join Easton and all the kids under grade 2 on a class trip to see Pigmania.  A musical story about the three little pigs.  It was done by the same people that did Goldirocks which I saw last year with Hadley.  
It was a rainy day so a perfect day to enjoy an indoor outing.  
I always feel blessed that I can be at school trips.  So thankful.

- Leanne Verkley

Easton can ride a bike!

This morning started with an Easter Egg Hunt in Greenwood.  The kids loved it!  Plus Easton saw Steven from his class and Andrew his twin (in another class).  
Then this afternoon with the amazing weather, we decided to take the kids to the old neighbourhood.  To the spot where Hadley learned to ride her bike.  Today was Easton's turn.  After just a short while and a few frustrating tries, he got it!
We first had him just try to hold his feet up, he did that over and over again until he could finally ride down the small hill with his feet up.  Then he tried it with his feet on the pedals.  
It's official, we have a two wheeled bike rider!   He LOVES the freedom!  
We are so proud of him.  We brought his bike but he preferred Hadley's bike.  So both kids learned on the same bike.
A beautiful family day!
Easton was so confident that he rode all the way to the park!  (Where there was new equipment and we met up with Adam and James and their mom Tara).  Then he rode back to where we parked the van.
Awesome!  Congratulations Easton!

- Leanne Verkley

Kittens!

Last night after dinner Butterscotch started to show signs of labour.  Panting and looking for places to hide.  So we monitored her and eventually she just laid down beside me and wanted me to pet her.  I knew bedtime for the kids was going to be a bust.  But this was such an amazing opportunity for them to experience.  By 7:45pm the first kitten was delivered.  All black.  Hadley was so excited.  The second one came at 8:04pm and was a tabby, possibly calico mix like Butterscotch.  By 8:28pm we had three.  This one a ginger.  
The excitement slowed down at this point.  Butterscotch was a rockstar and knew exactly what to do.  There were cute little kitty cries and then babies eating.  By almost 10pm Easton had fallen asleep and by 11pm Hadley finally fell asleep.  
Then at 11:20pm the fourth kitten arrived.  Another black one with little to no fur on its feet.  Maybe ginger feet?
Then at 11:25pm another all black one.  This one born breach.  We woke Hadley for these as she had just gone upstairs.
She said now that the kitties were here, her dreams have come true!
I stayed up until just after 1am and all seemed well.  Then at 5:55am, Hadley was up!  There were only two kitties at the birth site.  So, I got up!  Only to find her carrying them to a secret place behind a spare door in the basement.  They all seem fine.  
The kids can't wait to hold them.
Butterscotch is a fantastic mom!
Hadley made a powerpoint presentation before school with three photos.  Pregnant Butterscotch, 5 kitties on day one, and 5 kitties hiding behind a door on day two.  She was so excited to run to the bus to tell Donna her driver.  She yelled kitties, kitties kitties all down the lane.
She can't wait to tell people at school!
Easton wanted to share too.  So he told about how there were three when he went to bed and 5 when he woke up!

- Leanne Verkley

Mandy and Jensyn

On April 8th Jensyn was in a skating competition about half an hour from our house so Hadley and I went to meet up with her and Mandy!  The girls picked the restaurant and the dessert place.  
We went to a kabab restaurant for dinner and Marble Slab for ice cream afterwards.  Hadley's ice-cream was strawberry with marshmallows, gummie bears, nerds, and extra strawberries for good measure.  It was a fun night out!  

- Leanne Verkley

Skyzone

April 2nd Hadley went to Mahima's 10th birthday at skyzone.  Easton was there and lucked out as Mahima's mom had paid for an extra kid that didn't show up, so he got to go play!  The place is full of trampolines!  Even some walls had trampolines!  There was dodgeball, just jumping, basketball, a pit to jump into and a rope climb to try.  Then of course pizza, and cake!  Both kids had a fantastic time!

- Leanne Verkley

Hadley's 10 year old check up

Today we went for Hadley's annual check up.  She is now 73.8 pounds up from 60 pounds last year.  She is just above the 50th percentile for weight, which is about the same as last year.  
She is wearing size 10-12 clothing.  
She is now 133 cm up rom 129.5 cm last year.  This is around the 15th percentile.  Last year she was around the 25th percentile.  This apparently short for her age group but she seems similar to her peers.  
Hadley was asked how she is at school and during extra curricular activities, how she is around her peer group and family.   Her blood pressure was 118/80 which is normal.  
Overall an easy check up.
Another healthy year for the books!

- Leanne Verkley

Butterscotch

I thought I would do a separate post for Butterscotch even though we got our new cat on the March Break.  March 13th.
For the past 6 months we have missed our dear Tinkerbelle so much, so we decided that durning March Break we would get a new cat.
On the first weekend of the March Break we went to Listowel on the Sunday to celebrate Hadley's birthday with my dad.  She was turning 10, and he will be 60 on April 6th.  So with my sister's busy schedule we decided to celebrate them together.  Then we slept over at Brian's mom's house, had a wee celebration for Hadley with gifts and singing and such only to head out to our friend Shawn's parents farm who a few weeks earlier we had made arrangements to get a barn cat from them.
She is perfect.  Calm, cuddly, gives you space, and yet loves to be in the same room as you.  
When we got her, we literally took her directly to the vet in Listowel to give her a once over.  She was dewormed, de-flea'd, and... well that was it because the rest of her exam showed that she was in fact PREGNANT.  To be honest we don't actually mind, but after this litter she will be chipped, spayed and get her shots.  :)
I kinda love that the kids will get to experience this.
She doesn't really climb where she isn't supposed to but that could be because of the babies in her belly.  She is approximately 3 years old and has had one litter before.
A cat's gestation period is just over 60 days, so without paying for an ultrasound, it meant that the vet was pretty sure she was more than halfway through her pregnancy since she could tell without such devices.  :)
However, we were lucky enough to have a co-op student at the vets so they used the ultrasound on her anyway to check for heart beats, but they didn't give us any more information (how many etc) other than they seemed healthy at this point.
And once again, we are a cat family.

- Leanne Verkley

March Break

This week was March break so we have been crazy busy.
The kids got new shoes for spring and we tried out laser quest with some school friends for the first time, they loved lazer quest!  
We enjoyed Lynde shores and the beautiful outdoors / animals, Hadley even pet a goose.
We have been to Home Depot to do crafts, and this time the Home Depot character came out for the fun.  
Groceries is always a fun activity.  :)
Then we went to see Trolls at the Cineplex, and while both kids had moments where they didn't think it would work out in the end, by the end... they both said they loved it!  It was so colourful and had such great music.  The songs have been in our heads all week!
We have also done a swim at the community centre and had an orthodontist appointment for Hadley.
Thursday we met up with Patti, Alicia and Chelsea to play in Greenwood.  We had hopes to skate at the outdoor rink but it was thawed.  So we just played outside.
Then in the afternoon we headed to Disney On Ice.  Both kids loved it.  Originally it was going to be a Hadley and me date but after we found out that Brian had to work we were lucky enough to find a seat right beside ours still available!  I really can't believe it still!
It was a really fun afternoon!  And above all odds we bumped into my friend Mary from C4 and her daughter Makayla.
Friday was a clean the house, bake a cake and get ready for Hadley's birthday party kind of day.  
The evening started with pizza for dinner, a little Wii Dance, then they were so hot that they went outside with their drinks and toasted to Hadley.  This was followed by cupcake decorating where icing and sprinkles went everywhere.  Hadley directed a band in the playroom that had Easton on drums, Laquoia on keyboard, Kennedy on guitar and Ariana and Hadley singing the hit song Sunshine in my pocket by Justin Timberlake.  The conversation from the night mostly revolved around the movie Trolls so it was good that we saw it earlier in the week!!!  After this there was  a puppet show and then craziness in bed!  I think they finally settled down just after 11pm!  I heard a lot of hash tag and then whatever they were talking about...  and then just a lot of giggles.
The next morning the girls slept until 8:15am, then they enjoyed a pancake and bacon breakfast with syrup, jam and whip cream... and fruit on the side.
Then we were off to Nebs Fun World for bowling, pizza lunch, rides (the tilt-a whirl type ride and the slidder (up and down type ride), then an indoor playground which they played hide and go seek in, followed by arcade fun.
We were all tired by the end but I think Hadley's tenth birthday party was a success!
Sunday Easton had an early hockey game that they won with literally about 2 seconds to spare. 4-3!
Then later in the day Shaye came to visit and she and I went to see the new Beauty and the beast movie.  So fun!
We talked until about 1am!  
Hadley woke up today to a closed door that had balloons all over it held in with Happy Birthday crepe paper, so when she woke up and opened the door, balloons came in on her to start her day!  Then there was a hunt for 10 signs around the house that said "Look who's Ten", followed by a waffle birthday breakfast, presents - Troll playdoh from Easton, Build-a-bear clothes, lip gloss, nail polish, books and pokemon cards, as well as her iPod Touch,  from us.  Shaye got her Lego Elves, and a new Muskoka Bear wear hoodie.
And she took cupcakes to school.
I think... a success.
And I got the kids on the bus in time!  Then Shaye and I met up with Rachel and Sarah, friends of ours from our Camp Hermosa Days, like 15-20 years ago!  
Now back to the regular schedule.  
Did I mention, I love March Break!  I had such a great week... sleep is for the weak!




- Leanne Verkley

Brian has been travelling...

In the last few weeks life has been a little crazy...
We did a pancake breakfast at the school which tuned out amazing.  We all had a great time, volunteers and staff/students.  With a little effort I was able to get the pancakes and real maple syrup donated and the rest came together easily.  
The kids are now registered for spring swimming and Easton in spring basketball.  Hadley is still considering her spring sport of choice.
There have been some play dates with the neighbours, a hole in my van tire, hockey practice and playoffs, and Hadley achieved her level 5 badge for skating!
In the last two weeks Brian has been to Las Vegas, USA then Cape Town, South Africa followed by Johannesburg, South Africa.  He was home for 15 hours between travel from the USA to South Africa, where we balanced sleep for the un-slept, a hockey practice, a birthday party that Easton was invited to for Andrew from his hockey team, laundry for Brian and a little girl with a fever.
Then there was just over 50 hours between South Africa and where he is this week.  In those hours we balanced a hockey practice where Brian went from airport to ice, a hockey game, a birthday party for Hadley's 10th/my dad's 60th, a birthday gathering at Brian's moms and a skate with Brian's cousin Adam and his little boys in Listowel for Paddyfest.  Then Brian was off on the way home from Listowel to Boston the last three days with a delayed flight to Toronto last night that led to a hotel stay rather than a home stay because his flight was early this morning to Edmonton.
He must be so jet lagged.  
In the last month to paraphrase Brian:  We were in the Western hemisphere. Brian was not. We were in the Northern hemisphere. Brian was not. We were in winter. Brian was in summer. But are are still only a slack message or a video call away.

- Leanne Verkley

Brian is 40!

This month has been a busy one.  Aside from Brian being in Mumbai India and Valentines, there was Brian's 40th birthday!
To celebrate we had a house full of people, hockey day in Canada on in the background, cake, decorations and great conversation.  The day was supposed to include outdoor skating at a rink near our house but the plus 9 temperatures changed that.  So, inside worked, as the slush and melt happened outside.  The party went well into the night until about 1am.  
Family day we spent swimming, gaming, and just being together and adjusting back to school schedule after partying and early hockey.
Report cards came out this month and as always we were super proud of our kids and their accomplishments.  
Hadley achieved level 5 Control in skating and did a mini recital where she got a participation medal and Easton is starting playoffs for hockey.
Every Wednesday for the month the kids wore their Valley View school pink shirts for anti bullying.  
The breakfast boost program has been keeping me busy at the school twice a week.  I am still in Easton's class once a week and a few times a week I help with lunch supervision, so I am keeping busy while getting to know the kids that are at the school.  Next week we are doing a pancake breakfast for Pancake Tuesday so this week I have been busy preparing for that.
The days are full of a little bit of this and a little bit of that, and everyday I am thankful.

- Leanne Verkley

Nathan Phillips Square

Tonight Brian had to go into Toronto to get something from the Dell EMC office, so after school, we all joined him and then once he was finished work, we met up to go skating at Nathan Phillips Square.  I don't know why this was something I always wanted to do, but it was.  And now, with the lights of the T O R O N T O lit up with the buildings aglow, and the fresh winter air swirling around us, we can all say that we have experienced it!  So cool!  The kids loved it!  

- Leanne Verkley

Hadley-extra curricular

Hadley is so busy at school these days.  They have been having black top only recesses due to weather because there is either ice, or mud on the field.  So for the past two weeks all 350 plus students have been up on the paved area and it get's busy.  So they have introduced activities during recess.  All of these activities Hadley seems interested in.  Currently she is doing knitting club, choir, spirit club, and folk dancing.
I love that these are available to her and she loves it too!  

- Leanne Verkley

2017-01-30 12:39:09

Today at lunch Hadley was asked to join the Eco club, and since she found out that it was on Monday's (her only free day), she was in!  The next event they are hosting is sweater day.  They will turn the heat down in the school, and sell hot chocolate.  

- leanne

Donald J Trump

Donald Trump is now the president of the United States.  I wish him well.  The media is playing a huge role in how he is viewed as he is a businessman, and television personality turned politician.  We will have to be careful to make sure we hear what he says in context and not how the media wants us to hear it.  I will admit I have a bit of a guard up, but I am trying to be open minded.  He is definitely different than Obama.  Lots of people are just waiting or wishing to see Trump fail.  
Like him or not he is in charge for the next four years so I wish him success.  
His inauguration was fine.  A few performers decided not to play due to threats, and the numbers were lower than Obama's although nobody can seem to agree what those numbers were.  However, it is hard to compare numbers as Obama was the first black president!  The numbers don't really matter except I think there were more people out the day after inauguration.  
On January 21 the day after the inauguration, over 5 Million people worldwide and over 1 Million in Washington, D.C., came to march, speak and make their voices heard.   They stood for women's rights and a variety of other causes including immigration reform, health care reform; protection of the natural environment, LGBTQ rights; the rights of Muslims, racial justice, and workers' rights.   I hope each and everyone of the people that were in Washington and across the United States at the rallies voted.
The next four years will definitely have change, we will just have to wait to see how it all works out.

- Leanne Verkley

2017-01-29 20:15:20

After week one.  All I can say is I am tired of him being president already.  

- leanne

Back to routine...which is ever changing. Hadley got Level 4 at skating!

Well after the break from school, our schedule has been a busy one.  Brian spent last week in London England, and he is in Boston this week.
The van had a rabbit chew through some wires.  We took it in as their was a light on that suggested brake issues, and when they opened the hood they said a rabbit jumped out, then it happened again this week.  No rabbit jumped out, but the same wires were chewed.  The fixing is not fun to pay for but at this point I am not sure what to do to keep them out of the hood of the van.
The first two Tuesday's of January were snow days for the kids as their was freezing rain/ice and terrible roads.  
Hadley achieved level 4 at skating.  She got ribbons for agility, control, and balance and a badge to tie all these things together to complete level 4.  We treated her to Subway for dinner when Brian was home on the weekend.  Her choice!  
The weather is not quite winter and not quite spring like.  It is just mud mud and more mud.  The kids have had blacktop recesses for a week and I think it will continue this week.  They are craving to run around in a bigger space!  
There was a PA day last week so Easton shared his left over coins from the birthday party at Chuck E Cheese's that we went to in December and both he and Hadley had a fun time playing the games!

- Leanne Verkley

Holiday Break

During the holiday break we hosted our annual New Years bash.  This year it was Shawn, Delena, Todd, and Julia.  Shawn K. and his new girlfriend Violet.  She is lovely!  We also had Shaye join us.  
The kids loved the balloon drop, and are now at a point that they look forward to it.
We watched the Netflix New Years count down around 10 pm and then took about an hour to get the kids to bed.  The evening went on with games until 5 am or somewhere around there.  
The next day was low key even though the kids were up super early at just before 7 am.  Yes, you read that right, I think I got two hours of sleep.  
There were a few days of rain which allowed for fun with new Christmas presents.
We took the kids skating at the Tim Horton's free skate day.  There was also a brand new 3D printing demonstration at the library where the kids made a rock-topus.  An octopus with his fingers up like a rockstar.  
We took the kids skiing at Dagmar.  The kids were amazing on the slopes!  They were able to really apply their skating skills.  We started on the carpet and worked our way up to the quad chair lift.  Even Easton went on the quad chair lift with us.  All green hills.
I was so proud of them!
I finished off the break with a girls night out with Patti and Annie.
The break was wonderful.  After one day back the next day was a snow day.  So maybe now we are back to routine???

- Leanne Verkley

Christmas

It's that time of year when the Christmas whirlwind hits.  
It was a white Christmas which was/is beautiful and super fun!
School went right up to December 23rd, so that made the running around a little easier this year as I had every possible second to prepare with the kids in school.
In fact that night after school was let out we went to see the Christmas lights at Ilona Park in Pickering.  Then Saturday, Christmas Eve was a peaceful day at home.  No rush, just pure family time.  We went for a walk down the road to deliver presents to the neighbours, played some family MineCraft, stitched our stockings, had music and baking going on, and Cat in the Hat Christmas movie for good measure.  It was lovely.  
Christmas day was equally wonderful.  We opened stockings, had a bacon and egg breakfast, and then opened presents until late in the morning.
The kids spent the day playing with toys and just enjoying the day at home and we had a lovely roast dinner.
Then the travel chaos began.  While it is always a little crazy, I wouldn't have it any other way.  I love that we have so many loved ones to visit!  Lots of food, family and good times.
Hadley's favourite presents this year: her American Girl Doll.  It came with the name Camille, but she changed it to Audrey with Camille as a middle name.  Then Poppits came second, which is a super soft doh toy that has an air popper to pop out shapes.  Third for her were sparkle Shopkins.
Easton's favourites were his Pokemon Go book,his Captain America shield and his Star Wars toys.
Both kids got so much, it is hard for them to pick just three things.  
Everyone was spoiled.  Brian seemed very happy with his new helicopter for the great-room, and while I had many great gifts, I am super happy with my new Ninja blender.
Today is a relaxing day at home.  We have spent hours outside building a really amazing fort and the house is a mess but we are having a lot of fun!
It was a lovely Christmas!
  

- Leanne Verkley

December days...

On Friday my dad came down to help me fix the door at the rental, and while he was here, he was also able to go to the kids Christmas concert!   They loved that he was there.   I loved that he was there!  
Hadley sang in the choir, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, and Jingle Bells (this was in harmony and she sang alto).  Easton's class sang a song called December Nights, December Lights.  

On Saturday Easton's hockey team had a winter fun day.  The day started early at 5:20 am!  The snow came in full force Friday night, so we had to budget time in for clearing the van in the early morning, plus the roads were very slippery, so we took it slow to get there.  
It was all worth it to see their faces as Santa joined them on the ice to play some hockey with them!  Mrs. Claus and an elf were there too!
Hadley even got a visit from Santa, Mrs. Claus and the elf in the stands.  

Easton got his hockey pictures in and we now have a rookie card for him.  

On Sunday Easton had a birthday party for Andrew and Steven (Steven is in his class, and twin is in the other class).   They had lots of fun at Chuck E Cheese's.  Pizza, games, cake, and good times.  

Later, Sunday afternoon we spent some time just playing around our property with the kids.  Fort building, snow races, and collecting greenery for a front porch display.  


A busy but good weekend!

- Leanne Verkley

Easton lost host first tooth!

Easton litterally lost his first tooth.  We were outside tobogganing and the next thing I know his tooth is out and in the snow.  We didn't know even know it was wiggly. He was surprised it was out but totally calm about it.
Easton wrote a note to the Tooth Fairy:

Dear Tooh Fairy
My tooth fell out.  In the snow.  
Can i ples have mony?  Love Easton

He got a Star Wars tooth brush and a twoonie.  He finally got to use the tooth pillow that I bought for him when Hadley started loosing teeth.
Although it has yet to have an actual tooth in it.

He was pretty happy about the entire experience but said it felt funny.
He went to school and told his class all about it.

- Leanne Verkley

Tinkerbelle

Its' been 3 months since Tinkerbelle went missing.
Both kids mention her often.  Hadley is definitely ready to get another cat.  She misses having a cat around.
I still check the websites to see if she has turned up at one of the shelters.   My mind knows the reality of her not likely returning, however, the unknown whereabouts of her is difficult.   Tinkerbelle was/is our families heart cat.  
There is no manual for a missing cat and how to handle it.  So I handle each event/season as they come.  The Christmas tree is up and last year I remember worrying that I would have a cat in the tree.  This year... I wish I could watch her investigate.
The grief was a little overwhelming the first two months, now I find myself just remembering little moments, and thinking of her with love.  

- Leanne Verkley

It's the most wonderful time of the year...

This weekend was the start of the Christmas hustle and bustle.  Friday night I took the kids to the Pickering tree lighting ceremony.  They had a great time as usual.  Crafts, sing a long, character meetings, Santa, rides, cotton candy, popcorn and so much more.  
Saturday we went to the Santa parade in Whitby.  Hadley was excited to get so many candy canes.  After the parade we went out to get our tree.  We hope to decorate it some time this week.  For now, we are just watching the tree unfold in the living room.  I can't wait to see it with lights and decorations.  
Today we met up with my brother to go Christmas shopping at Vaughn Mills mall.  It was a long but fun day.  Successful but there is still more to do.
Christmas is coming... the music has changed, now all we need is snow.  

- Leanne Verkley

Vegas

This past weekend (Friday to Monday), I joined Brian on his work trip.  He had to go to Vegas for work Monday to Friday so we decided that since Easton didn't have hockey the weekend  right before Brian's work trip that this would work nicely as a weekend where I could join Brian away for the weekend.  
This was our first weekend away just the two of us in about ten years.  
Brian's mom and sister watched the kids.  They loved their weekend and we had a fabulous time also!  Apparently there were lots of games played!  We are super thankful that they were able to babysit!
After arriving Friday night it was late (Toronto time) but we were trying to adjust to Vegas time so we went out for beer and nachos.  There was so much hustle and bustle.  It was a little cool but we sat at an outdoor patio with heaters and planned for the weekend ahead.
Saturday we got up and spent about 6 hours playing Urban Adventure Quest.  We paid to have an app on our phones that lead us around Vegas (Amazing Race Style), where we had to look for clues  and solved puzzles to get to the next location.  We also played Pokemon Go on our phones, which Easton loved as the items I collected are connected to his device at home, so he got all the cool items I collected!  
One of the stops on the Urban Adventure was at the Wedding Chapel.  I was always curious to see what these places looked like but never would have gone to check it out otherwise so this was a nice excuse to check out the chapels.  While we didn't venture everywhere we did go to quite a few places.  I really like how the Venetian is done. It had authentic looking buildings and gondolas.  
With our flight and hotel covered by points, we splurged and got tickets to a show to see Carrie Underwood, for her Story Teller Tour.  It was fun to get dressed up, go out for dinner (at the Village Buffet in Paris) and have a nice evening out at the T-mobile Arena.  She had multiple costume, and stage changes, and our seats were great!  
We stayed at the Cosmopolitan hotel and got a room upgrade due to Brian's status.  So we got a one bedroom with a had a hot tub right in our room.  
The weather during the day was warm enough for no coats, but at night it got cool.  There were a few Christmas displays around but it didn't feel like winter at all.  
We rented skates and skated on top of our hotel during the day and then came back and did it at night as the rental was for the entire day.  They had blowers to make fake snow but it was actually just bubbles.  Still it made for fun atmosphere once an hour for 5 minutes.  The workers said we stood out because we could actually skate.  They were not surprised at all that we were from Canada.  
We also had a fun time on the High Roller.  It is like the London Eye in England.  A large ferris wheel.  We got there at the most perfect time, just before sunset.  During the 30 minute ride on the High Roller we saw the sun go down and the Vegas lights come up!
We walked by the Bellagio fountain a few times before actually seeing the water display.  Always fun!  The last time I was in Vegas was before the kids were born with Mandy, Jason, Joe, Brian and my dad.  
By the end of the weekend I was happy to be heading back to see Hadley and Easton but I was supper thankful for the weekend away.
This was my first solo flight.  I only had carry on luggage and myself to worry about.  It was so easy!
What a great weekend!  

- Leanne Verkley

Steven Page

On Friday night I joined Shaye and Nory and we went to the Danforth Music Hall in Toronto to see Steven Page.
Without getting into all the nitty gritty details, he was a lead singer of the group Barenaked Ladies.  (I have enjoyed their music since my first year of high school).  However, there were many pressures that lead to him leaving the band.  
This tour was called Heal Thy Self.  It was raw, and awesome.
He spent much of the last year and a half trying to figure out what was important to him and music always came first.
He played new and old stuff.
Playing with him was Craig Northey from the Odds on guitar and Kevin Fox on cello.
Nory's step dad taught Steven Page in post secondary music and recently Steven Page tried to friend Shaye on Facebook.  Why?  Nobody knows.
The night started with Brian watching the kids so we could go out for some greek dinner on the Danforth.  So yummy!
Then a delightful (late) evening of music.  
I was so tired the next day but it was so worth it!

- Leanne Verkley

Halloween

This year was another fun one.  We had three carved pumpkins.  Each kid designed their own with Brian's help to carve their 2d images into 3d  jack-o-lanterns.  
Then Brian and I made the third one.
I of course was on seed and goo duty.  Always fun.  I really can't believe anyone else doesn't want to do this job.
Brian's mom came down to spend the weekend with us.  We tried to go to the zoo after school right before trick or treating but they were closed by 3:30pm.  So, for the first time, we only took photos outside the gate and not inside like every year since Hadley was born.  Still, we were there.  It counts for something.  
We then went to McDonald's for dinner, followed by trick or treating fun.
We were out for about an hour and a half and the kids got so much candy!
We met up and went door to door with Matthew and Ellie on Buggy Lane.
Hadley bumped into two girls from her class at school.
I dressed up like Anne from Anne of Green Gables, however when I took the hair/hat off, I looked more like Marilla Cuthbert.  
Hadley was Lippy Lips.  A shopkins character.  Easton was Yoda.  Both were super cute.
This year we went to Ed and Tina's for the first time to trick or treat.  They are the house just left of the castle on Salem.  We were their first ever trick or treaters in 8 years of them living there.  
I fully expect and welcome an unexpected visit from them at some point.  :)  Their kids and our kids go to the same school so we see them often enough.  Such nice people.  
The last stops were at the two houses on our street.
Then after counting candies and getting data ready for Hadley's data management of candy at school the next day, we actually had our door bell ring.  Andrew (from our street) who was out earlier when we stopped by.
So nice.  
Another successful Halloween.  

- Leanne Verkley

Finding Dory

Tonight was movie night at the school.  Both kids didn't want to go at first.  Then a few days ago both kids changed their minds.  
Tonight, after the movie Hadley said to me... I am glad I changed my mind.  
Both kids had friends there and it was like a giant pajama party with movie popcorn and drinks.  Gym mats were spread out and the kids had blankets and pillows.
After the movie I asked both kids to help clean up 15 things. (Popcorn bags, water bottles, kool-aid jammers) Easton was super proud to say he cleaned up 22 things.
It was a good night.

- Leanne Verkley

Thanksgiving

This past weekend was a busy one.  It started with PA day at school and an appointment for Hadley to re-exray her arm.  Turns out it was good enough not to recast!  She was very happy about this!
Saturday after a very lovely drive, seeing all the trees changing colour, we went to my dads house to celebrate Easton's birthday and Thanksgiving.  We also saw my brother, my grandma, my cousin, and my sister and her family.  There was turkey and pie, and cupcakes for the kids to decorate.  My dad recently bought the house next to him so he was eager to show the kids around the new outdoor space and they all followed him with just as much enthusiasm.  
Sunday we were at Brian's moms house and we ate more turkey with Julie her new boyfriend Fidelus (sp?) and Cecilia.  I brought cake here and this was fun to celebrate Easton, Cecilia and Fidelus as they all had birthdays in October.  Cecilia's was actually that day!
Monday we were at Brian's dads and celebrated with Patti-Jo, her dad Bill, and Julie.  There was more turkey, more pie, and more cake.
My mom wasn't up for Thanksgiving this time round, but I did talk with her and wish her well.
We were fortunate that there was a hockey tournament so Easton's team did not have hockey this weekend.
After a very full weekend, it was nice to get back to routine.

- Leanne Verkley

Easton is Six!

I can't believe Easton is 6!
This morning Hadley woke us up at 6:10 am (an hour before sunrise) so that we could help her boil eggs (just the whites) for Easton's breakfast in bed.  She also served him an apple, honeydew, and a milk with a birthday boy ribbon on the side.  She was so excited to make his day perfect.  There were balloons on his bedroom door, and streamers throughout the house as per his request.
Today after his morning hockey practice (which Brian helped to volunteer coach) we celebrated with his friends at Nebs Fun World.  He loves it there!  
I think the best part was watching Easton and his friends all cheering for each other.  They truly wanted each other to do their best.  That was awesome.  
After bowling, pizza, and cake we tried out the new play area.  I was really impressed!   It is large and clean and the kids loved it!  Of course after this they went to the arcade to finish off the fun.  He truly felt celebrated and had a fantastic day.  

I feel a little off this week.  Brian was away in Germany (Frankfurt) last week, and it was quite a week, so the stuff I would normally think of, I didn't.
First Hadley was sick.  Vomiting sick.  Then after finally going back to school and getting back to routine, at skating she fell, and that lead to a very late evening with me and both kids in the ER to get her casted.  (The swelling was so much that they put a cast on and asked us to come back in a week and a half (the next time they had a free appointment time).  Hopefully it is just sprained but we will see this coming Friday.  I am happy to report that while she wasn't thrilled about the cast at first, it also hasn't really stopped her from doing the things she loves.  Like left handed bowing and getting a strike today at Easton's party!  
Then Wednesday of course both kids were in the courage assembly at school and it was Easton's special helper day so even though they were both up very late 11:30pm or so, they both got up at 6:30am to be ready for school.  That day seemed to go fast and that night was an early night for all of us.  
Thursday night the kids and I were at the school for the parent council meeting (I am co-chairing this year).
Then Friday was the Terry Fox run at the school and Brian came home.  
Saturday hockey practice and then it was birthday party prep for the friend party on Sunday.  
So that leads to things I should do this week in regards to Easton turning 6... 1.  birthday photos and hopefully 2.  a doctors annual appointment for Easton.  
This week is also full of life stuff but hopefully I can get those done as well.

My little boy is six!  
He is so much fun, a character to be sure.  Lots of energy, smiles, and gentleness all in one little boy.  I love him so much!  Happy birthday Easton!

- Leanne Verkley

2016-10-06 20:07:04

Easton is up from 42.6 pounds to 46.7 pounds.  He is in the 60th percentile.  
He is up from 110.5 cm to 121 cm.  Last year he was in the 50th percentile, this year he is in the 85th percentile.   No wonder he had growing pains all the time!

- leanne

Terry Fox

Today I went to the school to run with the kids for the Terry Fox run.  
This year I couldn't make it to the melanoma run for Lisa, and just weeks ago I found out that a second colleague from GGOF (BMO) passed this month while we were away on our camping trip.  Marta was so sweet and had been battling cancer for many years, yet she always insisted on going to work regardless of what she was going through. I had the pleasure of working with her and I have always been so impressed with her dedication to the company, and her overall desire to help everyone.   She would bring a smile to my face during all conversations.  When I was on maternity leave she told me that she looked forward to my blog posts as she would check for a new post daily.  :)
So, today, I ran for Marta.  
Hadley ran 11 laps and Easton ran 13.  Each lap approximately equal to 1 KM.
I did about 7 laps, and then helped track kids laps for the rest.
It was a beautiful day to run for the cure.  

- Leanne Verkley

Tinkerbelle

It has been three weeks since Tinkerbelle went out and didn't return.  
Truth is, she was on the front porch laying beautifully when I checked on her at 7:30pm on September 4th, but she didn't want to come in as it was still light out and a beautiful summer evening.  
There is a lot of guilt on my part for not bringing her in at that moment.
The next morning and days that followed I walked all over our property, drove our country block many times, checked neighbouring barns, texted people close by to keep an eye out, posted in many forums, and registered with animal services, vet offices and pet stores.
Now, three weeks later, I still weep.  I miss her like crazy.
The sound of coyotes haunt me.  
I dreamt last night that she came home.  It was nice to see her if only in my dreams.
I still have hope that she will return someday and try not to think the worst.
We have told the kids that it is likely that she will never return.  Hadley's response was that she would rather give her away, even though she loves her, rather than have her lost out there.  This is very mature in my opinion, and breaks my heart as I feel the same way.  Easton believes she will either come back one day, find a new home or is dead.  
They both understand prey vs. predator.  They both hope for the best and talk about her often.  
Seeing pictures on my facebook memories are both happy and sad to see.
We miss her.  We all miss her!
She was a perfect fit to our family.

- Leanne Verkley

Tinkerbelle

- Leanne Verkley

Camping

Well, since Brian started his global role at work in April, I think he has travelled pretty much every week since.  So, we decided that we would take the kids out of school (the second week of school), to go camping.  
We drove the first night to Old Quebec City and stayed at the Marriott (on free travel points).  Then spent the next morning walking about the old city.  The kids really enjoyed seeing the canons, the horse carriages, and park areas.  From there we drove again to Gaspesie National Park where we had pre-booked a Hutopia.  Basically it is a tent inside a tent, it comes with a BBQ, four resin chairs for around the campfire, four above the ground beds (just mattresses, so we were still in sleeping bags), a table and a small kitchen (no sink but a lot of other things like a kettle, silverware, plates and bowls, wash basin, soap, cloths, and tea towels, a mini fridge (which was a super luxury), a cheese grater, pots and pans, glasses, and a toaster).  They also had a table with four chairs in the outer tent.
Oh, and a mini heater.  SUPER LUXURY! Not to mention a light!
We had super windy nights, hot nights, and really cold nights.  
We took the kids to Mine d'agates du Mont Lyall, to go mining.  We were looking for geodes (Sphere rocks) and found amethyst and smokey Quartz. Both rare. We also found beautiful other geodes.
The next day we went hiking up Mont Jaques Cartier, at 1,268 m (4,160 ft), it is the tallest mountain in southern Quebec.
We saw two black bears off in the distance on the way up but the real treat was seeing three caribou at the top.  This was quite a difficult hike and I was super proud of the kids for this accomplishment.  It was very windy at the top!  
We did other smaller hikes throughout the trip which were very nice as well, but the leaves were still all green.  
One hike was to Lake Paul where we were off roading it.  Our GPS thought we were crazy but it did have some nice views.  However, no moose sightings that we had been hopeful for.  
There were only a few times where screen time was missed, and we did check in at the information centre and then the only restaurant mid week with our email/facebook and to let the kids play on the IPad (Prime Defenders was the game of choice, which was new to them).  
We cooked a hobo meal right on our campfire (ground beef, small potatoes and sliced carrots with butter, salt and pepper).  It was so yummy!  
We drove back a day early to attend Easton's hockey evaluation skate.  He had two days of drills (one hour each) where the kids were being reviewed for team placement.  
Saturday was at 3pm, so that was a decent hour, but Sunday was 6:15am ice time.  That was early!  I got up at 4:40am to make it on time!
And just like that, we are a hockey family.  
It was a great week.  Now to get back into routine with school tomorrow.  

- Leanne Verkley

School Started

On Tuesday School started again, Easton started grade 1 and Hadley started grade 4.  They both like their teachers which is great!  Once at school they both were so aware of what was expected of them, they greeted their friends, got in their lines and then there was no looking back when the bell rang.  
Easton is in a small class of only 16 kids.  But with lots of his kindergarten friends mixed in with a few new people and a few people from the other kindergarten classes.  He is also in the class with the teacher that I have been volunteering with for two years already, so we are very familiar with each other and she is GREAT!
Hadley has five or six grade four girls which is refreshing from the year before with only one other girl.  This includes one of her best friends (who she met two years ago in grade 2), with her other best friend(who she met in grade 1 and 2) in the other class.  She is in a 4/5 split.  
I am excited to see how they grow this year.  
It is Friday now, they both seem a little tired but we are slowly working on moving bedtime back to the right time.

- Leanne Verkley

Camp Can Aqua

Hadley is home!  She went to the intro to camp week at Camp Can Aqua this week and it was 6 days instead of the 4 days like she did last year at Camp Walden.  She loved it!  She said she sort of missed us but it just felt like we were close if she needed us but she was okay to go have fun.  Awesome!  I missed her like crazy of course but I am so glad she had this camp experience.  She said there were three girls, and the rest were boys.  
When the bus did the pick ups, she was the only child signed up to be picked up in Toronto, the rest were Oakville, and Ottawa, so they picked her up from our laneway.  Cool.  Then they dropped her off the same way!
She came home full of energy and happy.  
She made a harp in wood working, said she enjoyed receiving the letters we sent, and said her favourite part about being at camp was her friends.
She swam, built with Lego, did archery, tummy boarding, and tubing, they celebrated one little boys birthday, and had a club med day which was water activities.
I am sure there was so much more, but the most important part was seeing how happy she was.
Success!  

- Leanne Verkley

2016-09-02 15:50:56

Brian was in Vegas all week, so it was just Easton and I.  We did an indoor playground, Joey's World, in Bowmanville, went to the movies to see secret life of pets, which Easton thought had too much evil in it.  However, the popcorn was a highlight, we had a park day, a grocery day, and then a library/movie at the library (Angry Birds) day.  

- leanne

The last few days

The last few days have been super busy but oh so fun!
On Saturday we celebrated Leahanne and Henry getting married.  Brian's cousin Leahanne (on Brian's dad's side) and I have had the same name since 2004, however her last name is now changed.   So from one Leanne to another, much congratulations!  
The day was hot, however, he kids totally rocked the dance floor!  Hadley had all the groomsmen swinging her around, and Easton was dancing around the entire room.  It was awesome!  
We stayed late and got home at 2am, but we all had a fantastic time!  The bride and groom looked so happy!

The next day we hosted Brian's two sisters and Brian's cousin Paul (from Brian's mom's side), his wife and two kids.  
Again, a good time, with way too much food!  
We were so tired after this that we cancelled a playdate on the Monday and had a relaxing day to recuperate.  

Tuesday we met up with my brother Joe at African Lion's Safari and had another fantastic summer day.  I am truly grateful for being able to fully enjoy time with my children.
We did the safari bus ride, the water park where the water slides were a big hit, and then saw the three shows!  We even did the petting zoo area and so much more.
I love that we were able to get together with Joe on this day.  

Wednesday the kids had dentist appointments to have a good cleaning before back to school, okay, so the timing just worked out.  :)
Then we packed up our overnight stuff and headed to Toronto where Brian has been staying all week for work.
Hadley was signed up for a work with your child day on Thursday with Brian at Linuxcon.  She was so excited!
Brian had a gala to attend Wednesday night so I took the kids swimming and then did my best to get them a good night's sleep as the next day was going to be long.

Thursday Hadley practically raced through the morning prep, breakfast and walk to work and Brian said she did fantastic, even winning a baseball cap for a well answered question.

Easton and I spent the day in Toronto taking in some sights.  We went to Ripley's Aquarium and arrived at Ripley's just after a wonderful hotel breakfast at around 9 am.
There were about 3 dozen people there but we walked right in.  There was space between us and the next visitors so it was good.
We took our time, enjoying the moving sidewalk through the floor to ceiling aquarium section, and then played for about an hour and a half in the kids play area, then went on to watch a diver feed the Rays, and then we had the opportunity to touch the Rays ourselves.  Easton really wanted to go back through to do more at the play area, so with time to do so, we got in line, waited for about 15 minutes to get in and then what happened next was pretty much unbelievable...  there were thousands of people, we couldn't see the aquariums at all, everyone was stepping on everyone and their strollers, and the play area was a ZOO!  We did not stay long on this second run through.
After getting back outside, we found there to be about a three hour long line just to get in to said zoo.
SO glad we went when it opened.

So, it was time to move on.  
It was about 1:30pm now and time to find some lunch.  We grabbed some food from the food truck and headed over to the CBC building where Easton and I sat on some comfy couches and watched the news on the big screen, then went for a tour of CBC, years past.  We saw things like the treehouse and easel from Mr. Dressup, The Friendly Giant castle, and information boards for the first broadcast for hockey etc.  Easton tried out some sound making fun by crinkling things in front of a microphone, and opening and closing door latches.

From here we went to the roundhouse just south of the CN tower to see the trains and we even rode on the mini train.  $6 for the two of us.
There was a playground there too where we spent a little time but Easton said it was for little kids so not too long.
Then we saw a huge grey cloud off in the distance, so we started walking to the place where Brian and Hadley were for the day.
Enroute we saw Adam, James and Tara.  Adam was in Hadley's kindergarten class and we use to walk to school with him almost every day.  We were taking a detour as there was a suspicious package found in a building near where we were so we were taking a longer way which worked out since we got to see them.
And then... we got caught in the rain, so what did we do?  We started to sing of course, and run and skip.  

Then after meeting up with Brian and Hadley, you would think out day would be done, but no.
It so happens that my old colleagues were getting together to toast to our dear friend Lisa (who sadly lost her battle to cancer) as it was her birthday this month.
It has almost been a decade since I left, and yet we all get in a room and it is like no time is lost even thought almost everyone there is now working at a new company.
Seriously they were fantastic people to work with.

After a couple of BEvERages and some food, it was time to call the day to an end and head home.

  

- Leanne Verkley

38

Yesterday was my birthday and it started with breakfast in bed (after being up all night with Easton with his leg pain).  
Then the day included home made gifts from the kids, a clay cat from Hadley and a list from Easton that said : How we know mom is the best, she cleans the floor.  I love her, you know that.  
So cute.  
Then Synthia watched the kids while Brian and I went out to Mongolian Grill for dinner, a movie (Bad moms, it had some cute relatable moments and I believe the crowd clapped in unison at one point), and then a dessert at Montana's.
Perfect.  

- Leanne Verkley

August Long Weekend Travels

After two weeks of Brian travelling for work, he arrived home Friday evening only to get into our van and travel with us for the weekend.
We started by venturing up to Sudbury.  It was nice to have a hotel already booked and ready for us as we arrived very late.
The next day we got up and fully used our day.  We started at The Big Nickel.  It really is BIG!  We took the kids to Dynamic Earth and explored the mine.  This was a first for all of us.  We got to wear hard hats, and saw pick axes and shovels and other machinery from time gone by.  Easton got to put the dynamite in the wall for our explosion.  Hadley was a little nervous about this.  
Both kids connected with mining a lot from the game MInecraft.    We saw the huge smoke stacks and even took pictures holding nickels in front of the big nickel.  

From there we went to Science North.  I always feel like we could spend way more time there but I was happy again with our visit.  
Brian held a tarantula in hopes of inspiring the kids curiosity, which later led to Hadley almost kissing a snake.  
There is a water play area that is mixed with quarts and obsidian, I think this was a highlight for everyone.  Again, another link to Minecraft as the kids mine both quarts and obsidian in the game.  
Hadley tried out a robotic astronaut arm, and while both kids built a car for racing out of K'nex, Easton LOVED this!
There were things to jack up, and gears to play with, magnets and iron filings.  There was a giant operation game, chess, and phones, and so much more.  SO MUCH FUN!

From here we went to camp at Fairbank Provincial Park.  We had the most amazing fun playing monkey in the middle football in the water.  I don't know why it was so fun, but it was quality.  
Of course there were sand castles and such too but playing together in the water was the most fun.  
Later while driving at Goat Island we were first in line at the stop light to see the Little current swing bridge let some boats pass through.  
We enjoyed some lovely ice-cream at Farquars and then took part in the Haweaters festival (apparently there is a Haw Berry, and haw eaters are people born on the island) on Manatoulin Island.  There were egg on a spoon races, beach ball kick races, tug o'war, balloon tosses and hula hooping.  Plus jumpy castles.  

From there we went to Bridal Veil Falls.  The kids loved playing here.  
Soon it was time to take the Chi Chee Maun off the island.  We tried for the start tour but the sky was far too cloudy.  
We should have pre-booked this but we didn't have exact plans for when we would be going through so, we got on the standby and it worked out.
That night we had a campsite booked but when we arrived it was MORE than raining.  So with our new van, we put the sto-n-go seats down for a place to put the kids sleeping bags and we made the best of it in the van.  

The next day we drove by both Brian's childhood cottage and my childhood cottage.  That was cool.  
This was followed by a visit at my sisters.  I loved seeing the cousins play together.  We enjoyed dinner together and then there was a VERY late drive home.  (THANK YOU BRIAN)!
What a great weekend!

- Leanne Verkley

Playday and First Pitch

Yesterday was a full day of school friends over for Hadley.  
Mahima from 9:30-3:30pm and Ariana from 12:30-4:30pm.  It was so fun to watch with only one major "we don't want to play the same way" moment.  
There was hours of toy play, feeding the horses was a highlight, Wii game play, and it ended with a few minutes of Hadley showing Ariana her Minecraft world.
Then last night Easton was presented with his participant trophy from Baseball.  There was pizza and frozen treats, raffle prizes and of course the trophies.  Easton walked off the stage with his little trophy held high above his head.  He was proud and it was very cute.  I loved this moment for him.


- Leanne Verkley

Myles

20 years.  
20 years ago things changed.
In April I met Brian on the senior class trip and then by June we went on our first date, from there I went to camp and when I came back my cousin was hit by a car and died.  
Through this Brian was by my side and I knew he was someone special.  (Our detailed story maybe another time).
This post isn't about Brian, but I think it is important to mention that 20 years ago there was so much good happening in my life and sadly there was also a bomb that hit my family.  A big huge bomb!
1996 is bittersweet for me.

The nine years prior to this tragic day in July, my family felt huge.  Daily life included 8 cousins almost all of the time at one house or the other.  Or at least one aunt, and a grandma connecting with us daily or every other day.
There were always kids (family) around, and it was normal to me.  
Then on this tragic day it all changed.
Probably it would have happened slowly anyway as my sister and I were 17 and 18 and now dating (Brian and Jason), and thinking about post secondary soon anyway, but in reflection, everyone grieved hard and in their own space and way.  Sometimes we understood each other but lots of times not so much.  We did everything together and we didn't know how to deal with a missing piece of the puzzle.

A little about Myles, he was a funny kid, while I don't remember why exactly I just remember he made me/us smile often, in fact we called him Smiley.  
He loved magic, both the actual magic and the card game.  He wanted to be just like my brother and would mimic him often.  
I don't know why I remember this but I seem to remember he had an unusually large head (funny things that you hang onto).  
He was 8, but July 23rd would have been his 9th birthday.  I seem to remember my aunt either wanted to buy or had bought him a lotus flower card which he would have loved for his birthday.  I don't really know anything about magic the gathering card game but I remember this so it must have been special.  
He was sure that my mom's banana muffins could cure anything, common cold to bruise.  (Perhaps just an excuse to come to our house).  
I remember (I think the summer before), all he wanted for his birthday was to have a pie in the face.  So that was arranged.  I remember him being so happy.  So incredibly happy his laugh was infectious.
I was fortunate enough to travel the year before to Florida with him and his family.  We enjoyed a long drive to Orlando, and then Disney and Universal studios as well as much motor home camping time.
While I had done the Ottawa trip with my school in grade 8, this was my first long trip.  Our immediate family vacations usually included no more than 3 hours of driving.  So this was huge, the beginning of my travel bug.  :)  Plus, a well remembered and cherished vacation to hold onto.  So very cherished.  

I don't know how to do his memory proud but I do think of him often.  Especially in the last year as I have my own 9 year old child.

20 years and yet in moments it feels like yesterday.  Always remembered.  






- Leanne Verkley

Hair Donation

I have been growing my hair since, well a long time.  My hair actually grew to my pant line, the longest I think I have ever had it.  It was so long.  Long enough that I could tie it in a knot and it would stay up in a bun without an elastic.  But really too long to manage.  
So, after about 6 months of talking about it with Hadley, who had equally long hair, we were both ready to make a big cut and donate.
After much research I have decided to donate to Pantene Beautiful Lengths.  
First, they only needed 8 inches in case Hadley only wanted the minimum.  
Second they offer free wigs to women cancer patients.  Free is huge for someone battling health issues.  They don't need financial burden.

When we got to the salon they talked us both into 10 inches as that would ensure any dead ends would still allow for the 8 inch minimum.  HOWEVER, when we got home and measured, they actually took 12 inches off of each of us, plus the extra inch they did to even it out after the initial cut.
While it is a bit shorter than I had envisioned, I know it is going to a good cause and it feels so healthy.
I can't wait to start showing Hadley how she can brush her own hair.  Perhaps even a lesson on putting in her own pony tail will come soon.  :)
When I asked Hadley how she felt about her hair cut, she said, she likes how it will be easier but she misses her long hair.  No tears or anything, she has just always had long hair.
She and I are both happy that we can do something for a good cause.  

- Leanne Verkley

2016-07-08 21:03:12

I loved doing this together.  

- leanne

Canada Day

This year we went up to Brian's aunt and uncles house (Teresa and Jeff's) in Huntsville.  They call their place Peckers Knobb as there are so many wood peckers up there.  
We were only up there for one night but managed to see a lot of Verkley's while we were there.
The last time I was there I am pretty sure they were placing the first log, and now there are some rooms.  While it is still a long way off from being finished, it has some really beautiful spaces.
I am really looking forward to seeing how their great room will look one day.  We sat under said great room roof for most of the weekend as it provided beautiful shade, but did manage to play some ladder ball, frisbee, and basketball (in their great room) and go for a hike in the woods.  
We had s'mores at the campfire and enjoyed just being outside.

- Leanne Verkley

SK and Grade 3 year in Review

End of school year questions:

EASTON:
What do you remember about every day at school?
Centres, he liked K'nex at Wondertime the best.  
Who is your best friend?
Nathan, Lucas and Krishna.
What is your favourite book?
Star Wars 5 minute stories.  
What do you want to be when you grow up?
A dad.
What is your favorite food to take to school?
Candy and hotdogs.
What is your favorite thing in gym, recess and or extracurricular?
Noodle tag.  (Same as in JK).
What is your favorite song?
Everything is Awesome!  Lego song.
What is your favorite thing to watch?
Little Kelly on You Tube videos about building stuff on Minecraft.
Teacher: Mrs. Hulcoop, ECE: Mrs. Patel who married and is now called Mrs. Kavarana.  

HADLEY:
What do you remember about every day at school?
Going to the library in the morning almost every day while the grade 4's had French and singing O'Canada.
Who is your best friend?
Ariana and Mahima
What is your favourite book?
The Fairy books by Daisy Meadows and Rescue Princesses by Paula Harrison.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
A cook and a video game tester.
What is your favourite food to take to school?
Strawberries in the morning, chips int he afternoon and for lunch fries and crispy chicken.
What is your favourite thing in gym, recess and or extra curricular?
Spirit Club and Yoga.
What is your favourite song?
All Katy Perry songs.  Shakira Waka Waka.    
What is your favourite thing to watch?
Cookie Swirl C and other channels mostly to watch Shopkins toys being opened and played with.
Who were your teachers?
Mrs. Ferrier from September until December in the morning only.  Mrs. Chevers in the afternoon from September to December in the morning only, then all day from January until May.  Then when Mrs. Chevers went on maternity leave, Ms. Mear came for all of June.

- Leanne Verkley

Earthbound, Primary Playday, Peter and Romanda's wedding, and Storybook Gardens

The past few days have been very busy!
On Friday I joined Eaton's class at Earthbound kids.  This was a fun farm day.  There were slide rides, rock walls to climb, tricycle races, seed planting, animal feeding, and other fun games.  I was glad to be able to be there.  In the afternoon I headed back to the school for Hadley's primary play day.  

Saturday we headed to London to celebrate at Brian's cousin Peter's wedding to Romanda.  It was fun to see almost all of Brian's cousins, and other relatives that don't live close. Brian's sister Lisa even flew in for the event.  
Our friends Ryan and Jenny watched the kids which was perfect as they live close to where the wedding was.  

Today we took advantage of being in the London area and took the kids to Storybook Gardens.
I hadn't been there since I was a kid.  
There was the classic Humpy Dumpy, Old Lady who lived in a shoe, fun area, and then it felt like most of the rest was new.  A beautiful park with a slide that I think was about 30 feet tall... the kids loved it!
Brian and I took the Tweedledee and Tweedledum photo that we both remember from our childhood.  The one where you place your head in a cut out of their bodies.  
There were rides that included swings, slides with potato sacs, foam tipped archery, an elephant ride, a carousel and what I think was a classic train ride.  
The day was hot, but perfect family fun.

- Leanne Verkley

2016-06-26 20:55:04

I guess I am tired, I meant to write about Hadley's primary play day.  There were parachutes, water races, freezie breaks, obstacle courses and much more.  So fun to be able to attend this and enjoy the day outdoors!

- leanne

407 extension

The extension for the 407 will open on Monday, but today (Saturday), they had an open house  so to speak where you could walk, ride your bike/stroller/wheel chair/roller blade etc, along the road.  
They opened up two kilometres in Whitby for three hours.  
Access was from the south-east corner of Roybrook Avenue and Baldwin Street South. Highway 407 was open between Baldwin Street and Anderson Road.
There were three parking lots where you could get a shuttle bus from and then they would take you on to the opened section of the road.  
There were games (mini golf, face painting, basket ball, and connect four as well on the side of the road.  
It was a beautifully HOT day, so they also had water bottles to hand out.
We walked and used scooters along the road, and used chalk to write our names on the road to commemorate the day.
I really hope the kids remember this and tell the tale later in life.  

- Leanne Verkley

2016-06-18 21:43:03

I suppose I should also mention that we threw a frisbee around and a football.  Next week will be very different!

- leanne

Kindergarten play day

On Friday I was able to help out at the kindergarten play day.
I had group 7 and 8.  (Easton was in group 7).  Thirteen kids and lots of fun outdoor games.
A dinosaur dig, under over water sponge toss, fill the bucket from one water to the other, obstacle course, spoon races, potato sac race, and much more.
The day finished off with freezies that I was able to acquire from KISCO, who generously donated them for all the kids.
Another day that I am thankful to be able to volunteer at the school.

- Leanne Verkley

Camp Can-Aqua Family Camp

This past weekend we took the kids to Camp Can-Aqua.  It was their family camp weekend.  We enjoyed some good quality family time together.  
While the weekend was a little cool, we certainly made the most of our outdoor time.
The first night we unloaded our stuff into the Hawks cabin which was a little bit of a hike up a hill, but not too bad.  After a little walk around we were able to enjoy our first campfire for the weekend.  Songs, and marshmallows were enjoyed by all.  (The second night we brought out the s'mores-enough said!  YUM!)

Saturday morning we decided to take a hike around Beaver Lake.  We saw flowers, wild strawberries, and enjoyed time playing on the low ropes.  The weather was cool all day but did eventually warm up around 5pm. So after some arts and crafts (making a Verkley flag), the kids spent some time learning how to play chess on the outdoor large chess board.  We also enjoyed outdoor ping pong, wood working where we made a family mallet (this reminded me of shop class from grade 7/8), we tried out archery, basketball, frisbee golf, and building at lego mountain.  Lego mountain was basically like a million pieces of lego for open play with a mountain building challenge as an optional fun activity.  Hadley made a sign that said "Art".
I loved the archery personally as I hadn't done it since high school.

Easton seemed very interested in learning how to play the guitar, so Scott, one of the staff members brought out a kids guitar and both kids had a fun time with it.  Both during the day and at the campfire later that night.  

Camp Can-Aqua taps their sugar maples so we were able to go on a tour of the sugar shack, and even try out maple milk.  (Kind of like hot chocolate???)

Around 5pm it warmed up so Hadley went for a swim and tried out paddle boarding... well, she sat on the board and paddled.  There was also motor boating to take out a few people while they water skied.  
All weekend Easton played this ring toss game and he actually got the ring on 4 amazing times.  I got it on once and Brian got it on once, but Easton was super successful!

After a beautiful sunset, we played minute to win at the campfire.   There were activities that were challenging for kids and adults.  Hadley and I tried to pile blocks on a plate on our heads, while Easton tried to pile Jenga blocks on a popsicle stick in his mouth.  Both kids tried out the shoe kicking challenge, trying to get their shoes on a small square space.  

Sunday morning we took to the water in the canoes.  Going one way was super easy as the wind took us, and as you can imagine, coming back was quite the challenge but with perseverance we made it back!  
We enjoyed the actives around the camp for the morning and then headed home after lunch.
It was a good weekend of family fun.  




- Leanne Verkley

Brooklin Fair

Tonight we took the kids to the Brooklin Fair.
We started the night out by watching the tractor pull.  There was a lot of black smoke coming from each machine but it was pretty exciting to see how far each tractor could make it.  After about an hour we moved on to wander through the farm machinery.  
The kids were anxious about getting to the rides so that was next.  They carefully planned out how they would spend each precious ticket and fully enjoyed themselves.
We bumped into Andy K., and his three kids (Brian used to work with him at Bell and EMC) and chatted for a few minutes before both of our kids encouraged us to move on.
At the end of the night we bought some fair fries, which are kind of like hockey fries... just plain good... the ones that come with the wooden stick and are deep fried to perfection, and then you add ketchup and lots of salt.  Mmmmm.
While eating our snack we watched a little more of the tractor pull and then headed home just before 10pm.
The kids are rarely up to see the fireflies so we spent a few minutes outside with them to enjoy the dancing insects.  
BEAUTIFUL!
I love family time!

- Leanne Verkley

Hadley was player of the game

Last night Hadley was player of the game.
While she enjoys playing baseball, there is still some times where we find her building sandcastles and the first two innings of last night's game were no different.
However, there was a TSN turning point after the third inning.
She was asked to put on the back catcher equipment to try it out.  She had been a little unsure of this however with a little encouragement she decided to give it a try.
From this point on... She was super engaged in the game and even had her first hit of the season.  She was so excited to get to first base that when she got all the way around she was still telling everyone about getting to first.  
She then realized that it was her first time on second, and third and all the way home.
She was so happy!
Before this inning her team was down 5-0.
Then in this amazing inning we scored 5 runs to tie it up!
Hadley was super proud of how she helped her team to go from a loss to a tie.
With all this excitement and engagement in the game, she earned herself player of the game!
Way to go Hadley!

- Leanne Verkley

May

This has been a very busy month.
Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that Brian has been travelling so much.  He was away for 15 of the days.  
The kids and I busied ourselves with swimming lessons, a movie night at the school (Zootopia), playdates with the neighbours, hockey registration, baseball starting up, volunteer work at the school (the regular, as well as some extra work to hopefully get funding for a breakfast program next year, and jump rope for heart); I hosted an Epicure party, we met up for dinner with Melissa and Cailum one night.  Then came the long weekend, which Brian was also away for, so we went to the Markham Museum, which had a cool construction zone play area, mini golf and a few other cool areas.  
One of the nights we went to our old neighbourhood for fireworks and Adam and Hadley were happy to be reunited.

This week Brian is home, and since he had been working so much he was able to take the morning off and join Easton and I for his class trip to the Pioneer village.
It was a fantastic day outside and Brian's group (with Easton) and my group were actually lumped together so it all worked out perfectly!

Last night was the Lakeside fun fair.  The kids always have a blast at this event.  It means a late bedtime, and sugary snacks but good times.  I saw about 5 or so of the parents I knew from when Hadley was there, and a bunch of kids.

This morning we went to a MOM2MOM sale, and then spent the majority of the day at Easton and Hadley's baseball photos.  After Easton's photos we took the kids to McDonalds for lunch, and then after Hadley's pictures there was a skills competition followed by pizza, chips, timbits, and cotton candy.

This week I am helping out with scientist in the school for the grade one class, and EQAO scribing for three days for kids that need a little help getting their ideas on paper for provincial testing.  So the pace isn't slowing.

However, I wouldn't have it any other way.

- Leanne Verkley

Reset

This past weekend I attended the C4 Women's getaway which was called Reset.
It was held at Fair Havens in Beaverton which made the location perfectly (almost) halfway between Shaye and I.  So, we attended together.
We met at the McDonalds Friday night and had some dinner before heading to register / find our rooms, partake in the first main session of the weekend, connect in small groups and then Chocolate Fondu!  
Let's just say we were up until about 1:30 pm.  (Every night).  So, my sleep didn't get reset.  I will mention however that the room we got was one of the best rooms.  Similar to a hotel room.  Two double bed and a washroom with shower.  From what I hear, most got a single bunk bed with two shared bathroom/showers for about 20 people.  So we definitely scored there!
Saturday morning I got up for the boot camp.  We ran, we did squats, and more until we felt it.  (It is Monday... I still feel it).  I was glad for the shower in our room after this.
Then we had an amazing breakfast, another main session which included singing, a lesson which was followed by a breakdown into small groups, and then lunch.
My plan was to reset that sleep thing but the reality was that I went to learn about mosaic tiles (and make my own which is a little more fun than tiling a bathroom, I can assure you).  Then I went to learn how to pull, twist and taste "Tire Ste-Catherine".  Or taffy that was similar to Halloween kisses.
There was about half an hour before dinner so we did have some time to just sit and chat but sleep didn't happen.
The food was so great!  Perhaps it was because I didn't have to cook or clean, but it was seriously good.
After dinner there was another main session where some brave women shared their life stories. We took these inspiring stories and then broke into our small groups where we talked until the wee hours of the morning.  During this time we also enjoyed a taco dip snack that was quite enjoyable!
Shaye brought Fun Dip which was a sugar snack that we enjoyed many times when we were campers at Hermosa together.  It was fun to have her there with me!
Sunday morning I had to leave right after breakfast so that I could watch the kids and Brian could get to the airport for work but I felt satisfied with my weekend away.
I am not sure I have done that in about 9 years.  I mean I have left the kids with Brian or other family members for a night for a wedding or other things but not an entire girls weekend get away.  It was nice.  Despite the rain/snow.
Yup... snow.  On May 15th.
Crazy!

- Leanne Verkley

Florida Vacation

Brian came home from Miami on April April 20th, got his laundry etc. done and then on April 22nd after packing up, and cleaning the house, we headed to the airport for a noon flight to Orlando.  We parked at Park n Fly Valet using Brian's free pass as he had accumulated points from work so that was awesome!  This was especially awesome as Brian would not be flying back with us as he would be heading to Vegas for work directly from Florida.  
We arrived at dinner time, grabbed some McDonalds and then headed to Legacy Vacation Club (using our time share) and got settled into our two bedroom plus den condo.  The kids ended up using the den for their bedroom and the space was perfect for us with a kitchen, living room, two bathrooms and a Jacuzzi tub.
Saturday April 23 we headed to Magic Kingdom.  This was a long day!  Brian's mom, and the kids were certainly troopers for this crazy long fun filled day.  I think we spent 14 hours in the park.
We had three fast passes. We used Winnie the Pooh, and Thunder Mountain (Easton's absolute favourite ride... this kid loves roller coasters!!!).  We missed the Mickey one early in the day, but we were able to see Mickey (the only talking Mickey) at the end of the night with only a 5-10 minute line up.  So it was all good.
The fast passes were super helpful with the line ups! We were also able to enjoy the parade and fireworks including watching Tinkerbell fly from the castle.  If I ever go again I will make time to go early to the parade line ups as spots fill up fast!  Like an hour before the parade if I want a bench.  And... you want a bench!
By the end of the night nearly midnight Easton's legs were sore and this was the only time on the trip that I really wished we had a stroller.  The rest of the time I was thankful that we were past that stage and the kids could walk, skip or dance as you do in Disney!
Sunday April 24th, we spent the day at the hotel.  After a morning swim / splash pad time Brian's mom relaxed a little in the afternoon (I hope) and Brian worked (for just a few hours), while I took the kids to the park and an art class.  Hadley painted a snake and Easton painted a cupcake.  We also played in the arcade.
That night we went out for dinner at Golden Coral.  So yummy and so much food!
April 25th was our day at Epcot.  We had three fast passes here.  One for Test track which was a crazy fast car ride that we were able to design the car and its specs before riding.  Lots of fun.  We also went on the Finding Nemo ride, and the journey into imagination ride with Figment.  We waited in line for Snow White as she is rare to see.  Then had dinner in the Morocco themed restaurant. The food was good, and the atmosphere was great.  The only thing that would have made it better is if Jasmine and Aladdin showed up but unfortunately we missed meeting them by minutes.  
We stayed to watch the fireworks that celebrated the world and then headed back to the hotel.
April 26th we were back at the hotel.  This day we did some pool time, mini golf, tie dye, and Bingo where Hadley one two rubber ducks (one that was holding a beach ball and the other with a tiara and a wand).  Then after the kids were in bed Brian and I took advantage of his mom being on the trip as we had someone to watch the kids.  So we explored Disney Springs (once known as downtown Disney).  We found two pubs to enjoy live bands and had a great night out.
April 27th we were at Disney's Hollywood Studios.  The day was FULL of Star Wars adventures for the most part...however, there was a Frozen show with Elsa, Anna and Christoph.  Again we had fast passes for rides.  One for Star Tour (a movie/Star Wars ride), then Toy Story which is so much fun... the kids and the adults would have done this again if at all possible but the line for this is crazy!  Then we had a fast pass for Disney Junior Live musical show.  
Hollywood Studios is where we were able to meet up with Michelle, Derek and Margaret for just a few minutes as their day was planned and full as was ours.  I couldn't imagine they were in Florida at the same time as us, let alone Disney, and never mind the same park!  So cool as it was definitely not planned!  Michelle saw a post of mine on Facebook and messaged me in hopes we could meet up.  :)
At the beginning of the day we waited in line for what we ended the day with... Jedi Training.  
Hadley didn't want to do it but Easton did and LOVED IT!  He got to wear a jedi robe, get a light saber, and Darth Vader, and Ren came out as well as others to "fight" with the kids.  The kids used the force to push them back.  It was awesome to watch!  A perfect way to end the day!  From here we went to Brian's mom's favourite restaurant, Cracker Barrel.  
April 28th we were back at Magic Kingdom.  This day started off with brunch in the castle where we met 5 princesses.  We were greeted by Cinderella, and after being seated Hadley was handed a magical wand and Easton was given a sword.  Plus both kids received a wishing star.  Then after food was served the princesses made their way to greet us.  We saw Snow White, Ariel, Aurora, and Jasmine (who we hoped to see in Morocco).  It was great to meet so many princesses at the same location without the line ups!
Then we went about our day using our fast passes for Peter Pan, Enchanted Tales with Belle where the kids acted out the story and the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ride.  Hadley was hesitant but loved the gems inside and Easton was eager as he LOVES roller coasters!  I rode with him and we both had our hands in the air for almost the entire ride!  He was also screaming with Joy!  He couldn't scream any louder.  This is what we finished the night off with.  Everyone was tired so after talking about it, it was decided that we would skip the parade and fireworks and avoid the crazy departure with everyone else later.  
April 29th we took the morning to clean up a little, and chill in the hotel room.  Everyone had their own time to do their own thing.  Then we drove two hours to Honeymoon Island State Park where we spent some time on the beach, looked for shells, swam and just enjoyed some sunshine.  The evening was spent on Captain Memo's Pirate Ship.  This is amazing!  The kids had water pistol fights, they did a search for gold coins, they had their face painted, and then there was a certificate given to each child and a dance party, all this and included in your price were free drinks for kids and adults alike.  The sunset was a perfect yellow/orange circle and everyone left with smiles on their faces.
April 30th we were at Animal Kingdom.  This park has a completely different pace than the others.  We did the Kilimanjaro ride which is basically a safari ride seeing everything that would take you days to see in Africa on Safari, but seeing it in 20 minutes.  Then we did the river rapids which is like white water canyon at Wonderland.  Brian's mom got soaked!  This didn't bode to well as our next and last fast pass was for a showing on Finding Nemo the musical (in air conditioned theatres).  Aside from being wet all day we all had fun and ended with a Lion King show before heading to the hotel.  This was quite well done.  Lots of acrobatics, and float like displays.  
This park closes early so we were back at the hotel by 8pm.  After getting the kids to bed, and cleaning up/packing, Brian and I took advantage again of an hour out.  This time at the swimming pool bar where we watched some hockey and talked.
May 1st we all headed to the airport.  After getting us to where we needed to be, Brian went to catch his flight for work to go directly to Vegas.
The flight home was smooth but the baggage took a long time so we got home late.
It was a great trip!  I am so thankful to be able to take our kids away for vacations!  Thankful for a great mother in law who was great to have with us on this trip and also helpful in grabbing a few groceries on the way home.  
Synthia stayed at our house and watched over Tinkerbelle while we were away.  Thankful for her too!
Hadley was so excited to see Tinkerbelle and gave her a big squeeze and Tinkerbelle was happy to see us too!  It was clear that she missed us!

- Leanne Verkley

GoldiRocks

Today Hadley's class went to see GoldiRocks.  It was a musical for the grades 1-3 students.
I was super fortunate to be a volunteer with her class.  A lot of the kids in grades 1-3 know me, which is cool.
Hadley was crazy happy that I could join her as I am usually at the school volunteering in the kindergarten and grade 1 class.
Another day where I feel blessed to be available for my kids.  

- Leanne Verkley

Rocketship Park

On Friday the kids had a PA day and because of how the week went, it was a grocery shopping with the kids kind of day... and then... we checked out Rocketship Park.  This is a park that is near our house but we have never been there before.  
The kids loved it!  
The park is in the shape of a rocketship!

There was also a participaction around the park with fun activities that reminded me of of the Listowel park from when I was a kid.  (Only newer and made of metal instead of wood).

Good times!

- Leanne Verkley

Supply lunch monitor

Well, today I got on the supply list.
I had no intention of getting a job today.
I went to the school for the character assembly and then found out that the lunch monitors were short by one person today.
So, I offered to help.
Well, it turns out that this is a paid position.  I was handed a healthy amount of papers to fill out and then... I had my first shift.
Today, was Easton's room which made it super easy as I already knew their names.
I took the class outside for 30 minutes, and then watched over them while they ate for 20 minutes.
I have no intention of doing the lunch monitoring daily, but being on the supply list is fine with me.

- Leanne Verkley

Shoes with laces

This past week Hadley informed me that her shoes were too tight.
So, we went to buy her some new ones, and well... the shoes with velcro which she has had her entire life were black, or white and the very colourful pink and purple ones had laces.  So... after not much thought, she decided that if she could tie a bow in the summer, she would sit in the store until she could tie one now.  And... she did.  (While a loose bow, it was still a functioning bow).  
It took her a few days to feel confident to leave the house with the new shoes because she was afraid they would come undone.  However, yesterday was the day that we went to the park and she wanted to wear her new shoes.
She was so excited to wear them!
She keeps doing things that are so fun to watch as she grows!

- Leanne Verkley

Hadley's 9 year old check up

Yesterday Hadley had her 9 year old check up.
Hadley is now 60 pounds up from 53.5 last year.  
She is still at the 50th percentile for weight, the same as last year.  
She is wearing size 8-10 clothes.  For some reason most articles of clothing don't come in size 9, which would fit her perfect, but for now, we work out the difference between 8 and 10.  
She is 129.5cm tall up from 123.5 last year.  She is in the 25th percentile for height  A little shorter than the average girl her age, but I don't see any difference amongst her and her friends.  
This years check up had basically the same questions as last year about how she is at school and during extra curricular activities, how she is around her peer group and family.   She asked about eye sight and hearing.  
Basically the doctor wanted to know if I had any concerns.  Nope.  
Over all it was a great appointment.  

- Leanne Verkley

Hadley's 9th birthday weekend

This weekend we celebrated Hadley turning 9.
On Saturday we had Brian's family over to have cake, dinner, and presents.  (We will celebrate with my family next weekend at Easter).  
Sunday (today), we celebrated at Nebs Fun World.  Hadley (and Easton) love it there.  
Bowling, followed by pizza, cake, presents, and then rides, and an arcade.
So much fun in one afternoon.
I can't believe Hadley is 9!
I am so blessed to be her mom and I love watching all that she accomplishes!
The night before her birthday she lost another tooth.  She was so excited that the Tooth Fairy would come and leave something for her on her birthday.
Happy birthday Hadley!

- Leanne Verkley

Sick... March Break

So, sickness has been through our household.
It started about two weeks ago.  I was in Easton's class when one of the little ones vomited across the room.  Poor thing.  
Then about three days later Easton got it.  Then Hadley, then Brian.
Somehow it missed me.
However after only two days of healthy in our house, Easton started with a fever, and it began again.
This time I was down for a few days, and Easton ended up with Strep.
This brings us to March break... half way through and we are all finally healthy enough to do something.  However all week there was rain!
So, we did a lot of cooking/baking, we started our indoor garden, and we went to Chapters as they were having some indoor activities.  Making stuffed animals, and Lego building.  Hadley and I went for a pedicure, and each kid had a playdate.  Both kids did a cooking class at the Superstore and that brings us to the Friday of March Break.
Well... at least spring will be here soon.  

- Leanne Verkley

The play date

About three weeks ago I had the idea that the kids should really have their friends over.  So after we celebrated Valentines day and Brian's birthday with a family skate and dinner out to the Imperial Buffet, I got home and started to think...I need to arrange a playdate for the kids.  
I sent out what felt like formal invitations for a play date a few weeks out.
This is so different from when I was a kid.
Easton has regular playdates with Matthew next door on a whim.  So that feels normal.
However, for friends that live farther away, perhaps it is just how it is done now, or the fact that we live in the country?
In any case this weekend was our first free weekend so today Hadley had Mahima and Ariana over while Easton had Nathan over.
The kids had a fantastic afternoon with their friends, and I would highly recommend having friends come over for each kid.
There was a small window at the beginning where Hadley's friends hadn't yet come and a small window at the end where Easton's friend had left and I would say that was the trickiest part, if there was a tricky part to the day.
It is actually so easy when they have friends over to play with.  I did some reading and folded the laundry, and provided a snack.  
All in all, I would say a play date success.  
I would love to do this more often for them as it allows them to play without screens and with peers who like to play similar things.

- Leanne Verkley

New Computer

After 9 years of service, my old Macbook Pro served me well.  
However,  after 9 years of use and abuse (it is still in daily use), it is merely a youtube machine for the kids.  
It lost a key, and finally was not able to even update itself to use applications on google drive.
So, with little function left, it was time to retire to sticky little fingers.
This week, our new Macbook Pro arrived.  
The technological difference between the two machines is night and day.  
Plus, everything seems so fast!
It is a beautiful machine!

- Leanne Verkley

Lunches

Hadley has been making Saturday lunches for about three months now and she loves it!  On the menu have been things like grilled cheese, noodles and ground beef with garlic bread, cut up vegetables, sandwiches, pizza, etc.
This weekend Hadley upped her game... cereal was poured for us with milk on the table for breakfast, then her lunch of hot dogs and french fries, and dinner of bacon, eggs, and hasbrowns.  Three meals in one day!  
Love this girl!  She is growing up!  

- Leanne Verkley

January

This month my friend Michelle from Georgian came to our house to have a visit.  It had been about a year and a half or so since I last saw her, and her baby Margaret is now two!  We had a lovely visit, with food, and karaoke and kids in full dress up gear!

On the 14th Lyndon turned one!  I can't believe it!  The year went so fast!

Easton has been doing so well with hockey, and quite enjoys it!  We have slowly got him more and more gear.  He is starting to look like quite the little hockey player.  
Hadley has decided that she would also like to try it out, so she has now done a few of the free learn to play hockey sessions as well!

Easton's class did the character assembly at school for Honesty.
His class said a lovely poem, and one night Easton asked me "mommy, what is a policy."
So cute.  

Easton has also been continuing with his speech therapy.  Most of his beginning S sounds which were previously D sounds have changed to S sounds.  Dop is now stop for example.  So we continue to work on the S sound in the middle of words.

Yesterday we picked up Brian's aunt Cecilia and headed to Kitchener to Mother's Pizza to celebrate Brian's dad's birthday.  While there we also saw Mike, Heidi and their baby Maggie!  

Next up February!  Maybe winter will come.  Wednesday's temperature forcast is 12 Celcius.  

- Leanne Verkley

Beds

Beds.  New beds all around!  So, Easton has been growing like crazy, and the day bed that we made out of his crib was just not cutting it.  This was a bit emotional for me as it meant no more use for the crib.  (Maybe one day we will make it into a spare double bed in the basement as it is meant to convert but for now it is will be taken apart).  We decided to give him our bed which is a queen size bed and is still in great shape despite buying it in 1999 (when Brian moved to Toronto).  The decision for this was two fold, he would get a bigger bed and an old bed for jumping and such made more sense as a kids bed.  
If it weren't for Easton needing a bigger bed, this bed still has lots of life left in it and we would have kept it for ourselves.
He was happy to receive it, and the new Star Wars bedding to go with it!
So, with this, we now needed a new bed.  So, we went bed shopping.  This is actually just a lot of laying down.
We spent some time on Brian's lunch hour to do this with the kids at school and then some more time where we brought them with us to multiple stores.  
After much research, price comparing (which is difficult as every store has a different bed name even if made by the same company), and after many 15 minute lay down tests, we decided on the Simmons Beautyrest Elite Everrest King mattress from Sleep Country with some new down feathered pillows.  

Here is the blurb from the website in case anyone is interested:
The centre third of the mattress contains a Titanium Lumbar Core so your body gets the support it needs. Evolution

- Leanne Verkley

My Uncle Paul

So throughout the month of December my uncle Paul had not been doing well.  His body was giving out and then Cancer came along!
On January 2, I met up with my dad to celebrate his life.
It was fairly interesting to me actually.  I mean, I felt sad for my dad, and the people who were close to him, but I wasn't close to him, so to me, it was interesting to learn about him.
I didn't know him very well, but I know he and my dad were close before I was born.  A lifetime ago or so they say.
I know they kept in touch but maybe only saw each other annually.  Until recently.
I think I actually only saw him less than I can count on my hands in my entire life.
However the interesting part to me was how well the family handled themselves.
So... if you can follow...
My grandma and grandpa had my dad, my uncle Paul and my aunt Debbie.  Then they got divorced, and my grandpa had more children, which are half siblings who were there to celebrate my uncles life.
I only ever saw my uncle Paul with my grandma's side and yet my grandpas side (half siblings) were there.  
I was privy to both sides growing up, but never together.  So to have these people in the same place was odd, but okay.
Then there is the other odd part...
My uncle Paul worked for a fencing company for 21 years, which I think is awesome loyalty!
The odd part though is that half the people in the room only knew him as Vinny.  A name I had never heard this before.
He certainly lived in a difference pace of life from mine, but he was my uncle, and I was glad to be there for my dad.
May he rest in peace.

- Leanne Verkley


So, I was happy to take the kids to the Living Nativity show in Uxbridge.  It was an outdoor display, with people in costume, live animals and music to show the story of the birth of Christ.  It was a bit cold, but that helped to make it feel like December as we have been having unseasonably warm temperatures.  Sometimes in the double digits!
Shaye came for a nice visit to celebrate Christmas with us.  Amongst other things, the highlight was making apple cinnamon tree ornaments.
By December 23, just about three weeks after the last tenant left Rands, we did a few reno's and now, it is rented again!  The house looks great!  It certainly needed a refresher and I am happy with how it turned out.
Star Wars... For the few weeks before the new movie came out, The Force Awakens, we spent much of our free time introducing the kids to the old Star Wars movies.
Brian had done a lot of reading about which order to do this, and after much conversation, we decided to try Machete order.  4,5,2,3,6.  
The basic idea is to show the introduction of the characters in movie 4/5, then flash back to 2/3 (skipping movie one, since it is mostly self contained) and then move forward to movie 6. Followed by the new movie 7.
For the most part I would advise this.  However, there were just a few small things in one that I now want to show the kids from movie one.
So, the next time we will do movies 4,5,1,2,3,6,7.
Brian and I have now seen movie 7 and were happy with how it was made.  
Easton is eager to see the new movie and Hadley... a little.
Christmas Eve was fairly organized with just the right amount of last minute chaos..  
Some shopping, wrapping, and we ended the night with stitching something onto our stockings and lots of music and cookies with some left out for Santa along side the carrots and milk.
Christmas day was wonderful.
We woke up at a decent hour, around 8am, opened our stockings, had a lovely bacon and egg breakfast, opened gifts, had lots of family time, and then had a turkey dinner followed by a drive to south Pickering to see the Christmas lights.
On the 26th we had Christmas with Brian's mom and sister Julie in Listowel (more turkey and Brian's mom's amazing stuffing)!  We played Brian's new game, Ticket to Ride, well into the wee hours of the morning!
We took advantage of the time difference and facetimed his sister Lisa as she is on the west coast.  :)
December 27th was a bit crazy, but it all worked out.
We went to my dad's Christmas for 11 am, and we were going to stay until about 4pm and then head to the Verkley Christmas which was also in Listowel, but my sister had van troubles, so we visited with my dad until 2, headed to the Verkley Christmas from 2-6, then back to my dads when my sister was able to get to Listowel and we celebrated until about 9... when all the kids were tired.
On the 28th we headed to Kitchener to do Christmas with Brian's dad.  Another lovely day, with lots of food!
December 29th, we were at home, and I had a bunch of things to do to get our house ready for New Years, so we invited Matthew from next door to come over and the kids played while I started with the very long house work list.
On the 31st, there were just a few things left to clean, so I got the family to help out, and then I braved the grocery store... you should not do this on the 31st!  However, I got back mid afternoon, and we were ready for our evening of fun.
This year we had Shawn, Delena, their kids Todd, and Julia, as well as Shawn K.
We did an early kids Netflix countdown around 9pm, with a balloon drop from our upstairs and the kids were so happy!  They loved it!
Then after about an hour or maybe a little more of settling them down, they were all in bed.  
This is when Shawn K's famous 7 layer dip came out to accompany our gaming which went until 2:30am or so!
A good time had by all!
Happy New year!
  

- Leanne Verkley

December so far...

It has been a crazy busy month.  Brian traveled for work for the first two weeks.  So... that equals crazy.
However, we managed to get Tinkerbelle into have her teeth surgery.  She had 5 rotted teeth, and they were in need of removal.  She is doing well and is now working on learning to eat hard food again.  
We went to the Pickering Tree lighting Ceremony which was super fun as always.  Lots of Christmas carol singing, crafts, Elsa, Anna and Christoph from the movie Frozen were there as well as Puss in Boots.  Then the kids even got their picture with Santa and Mrs. Claus.  
The bonus for them was a ride on the tea cups, cotton candy (for Hadley) and popcorn (for Easton).
There was a brief trip to Listowel to deliver Lindsay's dogs to her aunt (as Lindsay is still in England and her mother in law is travelling to England for Christmas, so an exchange had to be made).  
Then I met up with my friend Shaye and we sorted boxes for Operation Christmas Child in Kitchener.  This was followed by a shopping trip with my brother, and the kids (as Brian was away).  
There was a day where the propane tank had to be lifted, and reset after putting better material underneath it, so coordinating a crane operator, a bulldozer and a propane mechanic who all had their own 4 hour windows was SUPER fun, but it worked out.  
December 11th came and marked the one year mark since Lindsay's sister Sarah passed.  It was a hard day.  Many facebook messages brought up some good memories.  I cried.  I facetimed Lindsay which was nice.  She had been waiting to put up her tree until after this day, so it was perfect that she opened up a small ornament I had sent over for her to open on that day.  My brother was also super awesome and took a photo of Sarah's resting place on that day, so I could send it to her.  
The kids had a snow ball at school.  A winter dance.  They loved that and I was so glad to be able to volunteer to help out with it.  They also loved that it was pizza day, and I was again able get KISCO to donate freezies to the school for their frozen event.  
My friend Shaye got a promotion?  Well, she is moving from nights to days after 12 years at her job, and she is also changing her weekends from MON/TUES to SUN/MON.  Super excited for her!
Christmas cards went out before Christmas which was a bit of a miracle.  :)
Brian's sister Lisa turned 40!  We were glad to be able to facetime her.  The kids made a cute little video to send as well.  
This year the school decided that with the teacher strike, only the kindergarten classes would do a concert.  
So, Easton got up, tried not to look at us, but then sang his heart out to a mitten song, as well as a snowy pokey song.  Super cute!
When we asked him later why he didn't want to look at us, he said because then I would smile.  
Today is the last day of school before the holidays, and the kids are getting out an hour early... I better get a few more things done!

- Leanne Verkley

Easton can read.

Easton can read.  Not just a little but he can really read!
I went back to review Hadley's November SK progress which you can find here:
http://ajax.verkley.com/blog/leanne/index.cgi?sid=1096&user=leanne
She was well beyond where she was supposed to be and so is Easton.

Years later, of course what is expected changes, and Easton obviously has an older sister to help cheer him on. So he is doing really well!

Easton is at a level J/K or level 18.  This is equivalent to where the grade 2's should be at the half way point of the year.
I remember being very proud of Hadley in kindergarten and I am also very proud of Easton.
I love that they love reading!

- Leanne Verkley

2015-11-24 22:45:40

https://www.google.ca/search?q=fountas+and+pinnell+levels&biw=1440&bih=792&tbm=isch&imgil=Ri_SXFivQkKPnM%253A%253B-VL-sv5vlBdsmM%253Bhttp%25253A%25252F%25252Fmpardington12.wikis.birmingham.k12.mi.us%25252FClassroom%2525252BLibrary&source=iu&pf=m&fir=Ri_SXFivQkKPnM%253A%252C-VL-sv5vlBdsmM%252C_&usg=__Gqy6AsLtyZ8p5TXxgq_O8lpa9rc%3D&ved=0ahUKEwj036CS0qrJAhULcz4KHTruDLQQyjcINg&ei=PSxVVrTNCYvm-QG63LOgCw#imgrc=L3c5TEscjVDRdM%3A&usg=__Gqy6AsLtyZ8p5TXxgq_O8lpa9rc%3D

- leanne

2015-11-26 08:41:28

Easton got the academic award at school yesterday!  Hooray!

- leanne

Fred Penner

I was fortunate enough to join Easton's class to go see Fred Penner.  While I took in the nostalgia of his performance, I realized how much he had aged since my childhood (seeing him on TV).  What does this say about me? The performance was about an hour and a half, with nothing but Fred and his guitar. No log or backdrop.  No props..
While I thought it was a great length, the kindergarten kids who had minimal connection to him thought it was a bit long.
He sang puff the magic dragon, you are my sunshine, and the cat came back, as well as many more songs.  
I again, feel so grateful that I can be part of these trips.  Easton loved sitting with me on the bus.  

- Leanne Verkley

2015-11-24 22:27:22

A link to the post about Hadley's Kindergarten trip to Fred Penner... http://ajax.verkley.com/blog/leanne/index.cgi?sid=968&user=

- leanne

Thankful and sleepy.

Last week wore me out!  Hadley was sick from Tuesday until Sunday.
What this meant for me...a feeling of being thankful that I was also not sick and that I have this beautiful little person to need me at 3:30 am.  
I think I was up every single night a few times.  Sometimes there were fevers, sometimes there were vomit adventures, sometimes just coughing, one night just for kicks, Easton was up with leg pains.
And... to add to the week of no sleep, (I was up anyway), the carbon monoxide detector went off at 5 am.  So, everyone went outside until the fire department cleared it.  (They had a zero reading, so we really don't know why it went off).  
It was a crazy week of playing catch up on sleep and keeping laundry at bay.  
Hadley went back to school today so I am hopeful she is on the mend.  
Now to clean the house!

- Leanne Verkley

Halloween Weekend

This weekend was a busy one but oh so much fun.  
On Saturday we took Brian's mom to the Boo at the Zoo fun.
I love how much decorating they do for Halloween!  This is the 8th year I have taken the kids to the zoo for Halloween!  The leaves are absolutely beautiful and I love the tradition!
Then that night Brian's mom also came with us trick-or-treating.  The weather was great!  (A light mist but no actual rain, and a good temperature).  
We even did some trick or treating with the neighbours.  
We were all up way too late but it is always so fun to watch the kids sort their candy afterwards.  
Sunday I took the kids to the park to wear off some of the candy energy.  I met up with my friend Christine and her two kids.  We had a great time.  We were both a little sad that everyone else in the mommy group had other engagements but after trying three dates to get everyone together it just proved too challenging with everyones schedules.  
Still a great day at the park and we took a photo of the kids in costume anyway.  :)

- Leanne Verkley

Monster Mash

Today was a busy day day!  
It started with getting the kids on their Halloween costumes for school, but then I was in full clean the house mode before I was to head out for the day.
I volunteered at the school for the Monster Mash, dressed up of course.  The kids had a Halloween dance, followed by pizza lunch, a bake sale, and the kindergartens did a Halloween parade through the school.  
Then all the class rooms had their own parties.  
I think the kids had an amazing day!
After school we had some of Brian's long time family friends come for a dinner party.  Rudy and Helen.  Easton was calling Rudy Rudolph all night which was awesome!  
I think everyone had a fantastic time, but I am exhausted!

- Leanne Verkley

Volunteer of Distinction

Last year at the end of the year I was nominated for the Volunteer of Distinction award at the kids school.
Then last night I was fortunate enough to have Brian's mom babysit while Brian and I got all dressed up to attend a ceremony to be recognized at the board office.  
It felt a little like a graduation ceremony.  
I arrived and got the appointed paperwork.  Then the principal and vice principal presented me with flowers, and the teacher I did most of the volunteering with gave me a small gift of appreciation.  
This was followed by my name (as well as all the others from each school in the district) being read a loud as I walked across the stage and received a certificate and small gift.  (Engraved pen).  
Afterwards there was a reception and then Brian and I went out for a drink and some food at a local pub.  
It was a fun night out.

- Leanne Verkley

Pumpkinville and Prime Minister

This past weekend we took the kids to Pumpkinville at Greenwood Conservation area.  My friend Melissa and her son Cailum joined us for the fun.  
Hadley and Easton loved the jumpy castles, the petting (feeding) goats, llamas, and donkey area.  Plus all the other outdoor fun.  
I especially loved that it wasn't raining this year.  :)
Afterwards the kids played Minecraft at our house and then we enjoyed pizza.  
It was a lovely way to spend the day.  

On Monday our government changed from Conservative (Steven Harper) to Liberal.  Justin Trudeau won.  When his father was in office, I was in kindergarten.  
We took the kids to the polls, and Hadley told us about how her school had set up voting stations in the library and she got to "vote".  I am so glad she got to have that experience.  
This seems to be a pretty big change for Canada.  We will see how the next four years pan out.  

- Leanne Verkley

Thanksgiving weekend

This past weekend we celebrated with Brian's cousin Steven as he was married at the family farm.  He and Melissa had a beautiful wedding and the weather was spectacular.  The children danced all night.  At about 11 pm Hadley fell asleep on the stage and minutes later Easton thought that was a good idea too.
They both were very patient during the speeches and dinner and had such energy for the dance floor afterwards.
The following day Brian and I went for a walk at the Listowel park.  We enjoyed the Partici-park which brought back so many memories for me from my childhood.  My grandma took us grandkids around this walk so many times!  We did all the activities throughout the hike and enjoyed the fall colours and some park play as well.
Then the rest of the day was Thanksgiving / Jayden, Jensyn, Beckett and Easton's birthday at my dads.
We brought Brian's sister Lisa home with us on Sunday night from his sisters as she was home for Easton's birthday the weekend before and for the wedding and was going to go to the airport from our house on Monday.
Monday was a day at home.  It was nice.



- Leanne Verkley

Easton is Five!

I can hardly believe that Easton is 5 years old!
He is such an amazing part of our family.  He makes us laugh all the time, he is strong and yet has such a gentle side to him.  
On Friday we celebrated by having him take cupcakes into the school for his classmates.  Then in the afternoon, I joined in the fun for an outdoor run for Terry Fox.  It was a beautiful day.  
That night Brian's mom came to spend the weekend with us.  
On Saturday we got his 5 year old photos done and then went to Nebs Fun World.  (He wanted a party at the same place Hadley had her party).  HE LOVED IT!
From bowling, pizza and cake, to rides and arcade time, it just made him completely happy!  Then there were presents.  
After the kids were in bed, Brian and his mom drove to the airport to pick up Brian's sister Lisa.  She took 4 planes to get here and would be able to celebrate with us on Sunday with the family.  (She came a little early for Brian's cousin Steven's wedding which is next Saturday).  

- Leanne Verkley

2015-10-08 12:41:43

I have now taken Easton for his annual doctors check up.  He is 42.6 pounds up from 39.4 last year.  He is in the 60th percentile.
He is 110.5 cm up from 104 cm last year.  In the 50th percentile.  
All good!


  

- leanne

The first couple weeks

The first couple of weeks of September have been a little crazy.  
Brian started physio for his ankle, the same day my massage therapist gave me my last visit for my hip pain.  She said I am now on an on call basis.  If I am pain, don't let it go, but otherwise I don't need regular visits.  :)  Good news!  

Then there were the preparations for skating.  Buying new gear, skates sharpened etc., and finally getting the kids back on the ice.  Hadley showed improvement from the second she got on the ice.  She was so confident!
Easton happily went along with the lessons but will have to be encouraged to skate backwards.  
Both seemed to quite enjoy being back!

There has been some outdoor maintenance of trees at the rental, so Brian and I took care of it while the neighbours were happy to visit with the kids.  

The kids were sick, with Easton off school for one day and Hadley off for two, but we seem to be back to normal (aside from some sniffles).  

Hopefully this week is a little lower key.  

- Leanne Verkley

Another school year

The long weekend was a low key one.  We went to the zoo on Saturday, and saw my favorite animals the Red Pandas.  Such cute faces!  
On Sunday we had our friends Steve and Joy over to watch the Jays game.  The Jays are doing so well this year... I am hopeful for a World Series win!
Monday was super low key.  In fact we spent the whole day indoors as it felt like 40 degrees Celsius outside.  So, the entire family set up their computers for a day long venture playing Minecraft.  The kids were in their glory.  They loved playing video games all day.  It was the last day of summer holidays so I am glad they were so happy.  
Today we started another school year.  Hadley in grade 3 and Easton in Senior Kindergarten.  
Hadley easily felt at home, and only expressed a little hesitation about being in a portable this year.  Easton was a little more nervous for some reason, perhaps a new teacher?  However, at the end of the day he said she was very nice and he quite liked her.  
Both kids had stories about their day.  Hadley most liked how they made Minion name tags for their door, and Easton liked the pink playdoh.  
We drove them to school in the morning after taking photos and then we were able to enjoy the first day drop off with them and they rode the bus home.  


- Leanne Verkley

Trees

The trees at our old house (now our rental house) have been hit by a storm.  
So, now after many years of debating if they should stay or go, the decision was made for us.  5 trees have been removed.  
3 plum trees, one cedar and one lilac.  I am really only sad about the lilac.  
Although the plum tree was beautiful when we first moved there, it has deteriorated and was quite ill looking prior to the storm anyway.
The backyard looks bare, and the grass/yard now needs work.  There are funny bumps where the trees used to be.  Now I will have to find out how to fix that.  
However it is once again a safe backyard.  

- Leanne Verkley

Muskoka

I spent the last two days with my girlfriend Shaye at her Muskoka home.  
Every summer we spend a few days up there and it is usually around my birthday.
Of course I was spoiled with gifts, but it was just super nice to spend time with her.  We did a lot of swimming, which the kids loved!
This time we also went to one of her friends cottages where I met three of her close friends and we enjoyed lunch and more swimming.
I realize that I am so very fortunate to have long lasting friendships.
I have MANY.  I am blessed!

- Leanne Verkley

My Birthday #37

My birthday was great!  Yesterday Brian's mom and great grandmother came for a visit and I received a very colourful bouquet of flowers.  This was the beginning  of celebrating my birthday.  Today, my actual birthday I woke up to Hadley making be breakfast in bed.  She did everything herself.  She brought me three carrots, an apple, and a banana.  Perfect.  I was surprised with many gifts.  Hadley made me a home made sign that said Happy Birthday, she made me a dog out of melted wax circles, she also made a melted pot with steam coming out of it, and a melted flower.  (She made these at Camp Walden and was so happy to show them to me).  Other presents included new couch cushions, cookies, ice cream treats, popcorn, and reeses peanut butter cups.  

While Brian was at work I took the kids to Coburg beach.  A bunch of friends from C4 were going so we met up with them.  We enjoyed cupcakes on the beach, played in the very refreshing water which was fantastic and then headed home when the lifeguards left due to thunder.  Until then it was perfect.  
Even though we drove home in the rain, we got home and the poor weather was done.  
So, after unpacking from the day, we headed out for dinner as a family.  We had pizza hut and then DQ cake.   My favourite!  
I was showered with facebook, and text messages as well as phone calls.
All in all, a good day!

- Leanne Verkley

Tinkerbelle

Before we built the house Hadley had requested that we get a cat.  We told her that we would get one once we were at the new house.  
For multiple reasons it didn't happen in the first year we were here.  However, it has now happened.  We have welcomed Tinkerbelle into our family.  
Tinkerbelle was already named but the kids agreed that they wanted to keep the name.  
She is a 6 year old indoor/outdoor cat that has been living with my friend Lindsay's parents but they are going on a retirement adventure so they needed a permanent home for their loving cat.  
This is where we come in.  
She made the drive from Listowel to our house perfectly.  
Once we let her out of the cat carrier she explored every nook and cranny in our house, the kids thought this was a very hard game of hide and seek.  I think she probably explored all night.  
She did eat after a few hours of being at our house and this morning it is clear that she used the litter box.  These are good things.
We plan to keep her in the house for a while until she knows this is home.
She is a smokey grey colour and a very affectionate cat.  Brian got her to purr last night and Hadley woke us up at 5am to say the cat was purring in her room.  
I did hear her meowing a few times in the night.  Hadley said she took her to the food this morning when she woke up and she ate some of her breakfast that we left out in her dish.  
I bet she will sleep all day today.  
Welcome Tinkerbelle.  

- Leanne Verkley

Baseball

Baseball is now over.  While Easton's fun night was rained out, he will still get his trophy later this week when I pick it up.
Hadley however had a bring a friend/ fun pizza night, where she got her medal, and won a hat.

- Leanne Verkley

Camp Walden Solo

Hadley went to Camp Walden on her own for four days. This felt like a big milestone for an 8 year old and a mommy of an 8 year old.
We were only home for four days and then she was off to Walden for four days.
I cried as she got on the bus, Easton said "this is sad right mommy?"  
While she was excited all summer about doing this on her own, she had changed her mind about going that week.  However, she went and it sounded like she had a good time. She was ever so grateful to be home though.
I think she didn't want to miss out on what we were doing (which wasn't much as we just needed some time at home).  We had been in close proximity for most of July, so this separation felt long for me, so I can imagine how it felt for her.
The camp sent an email letting us know that she had arrived, she passed her swim test and went to bed easily on the first day.  Then, we didn't hear anything until we saw her get off the bus four days later.  It was the most magical love when she returned!  She missed us! We missed her!  I think I had a 24 hour conversation with God going on.  
I am thankful she is home and thankful she had the experience.  

- Leanne Verkley

East Coast

On July 3rd we embarked on our summer adventure.  This would take us to the east coast, but most notably to Newfoundland and Labrador.   This would mark the last of the ten provinces for Brian, Hadley and myself... and Easton if you count that he was in my belly during our trip to the Vancouver Olympics.

We started in Quebec City.  Hadley was most taken by the blue and white flags.  We enjoyed some walking around the city and the kids enjoyed rolling down the hills.  We ventured to Sainte Anne de Beaupre, we lit candles and prayed for a safe journey ahead.

From here we traveled to Baie-Comeau where we enjoyed some evening music at our campground as well as a community campfire with s'mores and the like!

The drive from here was rough and at times washboard like.  The roads were wide with very large trucks building the road as we went along. For many hours we had no cell service.  We were so happy to arrive in Labrador City!  We checked into our hotel, and then as we came out to get our things... we had a flat tire in the parking lot.  We were surprised but happy that if we had to have a flat tire, it was in a city with a Canadian Tire, and in a place where we had a hotel, and cell service.  All blessings.
In and around Labrador City there were minors mining iron, lots of them,  and almost everyone (if not everyone) was not originally from there.  There was not much to do in Labrador City but we did manage to take the kids to the beach.

On the way to Happy Valley-Goose Bay we stopped at Churchill Falls which was actually nothing more than a drip of water compared to what could have been flowing through.  Instead they used all the water to make energy.
Power lines were everywhere.
In fact when we arrived in Happy Valley Goose-Bay we were surprised to find out that all the hotels in town had three year contracts with the construction crews for the new Muskrat Falls Hydro Electric Dams.
After trying at least four hotels and calling all the B&B's in town and no campsites anywhere we had no where to sleep, so we considered pitching our tent in a random town location but just after 10 pm, we received a phone call back from one of the B&B's that said they had one room left with one bed and a bathroom.  Hooray!

After some more northern driving we drove through Mary's Harbour where we saw our first ice burg.  We woke the kids to take photos and we were all excited.  Shortly after this we arrived in Red Bay.
Here we found pavement again!
We arrived in the evening and just before we had dinner at THE local restaurant, we went down by the water only to find two travelers who had just come in from the water with their big smiles and pieces of ice burg.  We were fortunate enough that they shared some of this burg with us.  We all licked it and then we added it to our cooler, although it didn't really stand a chance at staying in the form of ice.
After dinner we walked through the gift shop at the restaurant and asked a few questions about the campsites that were about 20 minutes away.  We tried to call to make a reservation but there was no answer.  Then the workers all suggested that we make camp at the community centre as there were washrooms open all night and free WiFi.  Well, we decided to take them up on the free Wifi before leaving town and while we were parked outside of the community centre another person happily suggested that camping here was a fine option.  (As he was here to borrow some tools from the fire hall which was attached to the open all night community centre/dance hall/library/fire department).  So... we set our tent up on the back deck as it was the exact size of our tent.  Free accommodations, free Wifi, all our devices were charged up by morning.  This was all good. The town folk seemed to think this was normal for people passing through.  
In the morning we took a tour through the whale exhibits, and started the kids Xplorer tag collections (from the 12 National Parks/Historic Sites).
Then as we were about to leave we found our van would not start.  So after going to THE local gas stop, the owner said he couldn't leave the store but I could take his truck to try jump starting the van.  WOW, small town indeed.  I went back to where Brian was with the van, which was right next door and the same person that said he couldn't leave the store was now following me.  Well, long story short, we got the van jump started and were on our way.  I have a soft spot in my heart for this small town.

Just after leaving we found some snow still on the side of the road, so, we naturally got out and had a snowball fight because when can you do that in July?
Most of the trip was colder than we had expected with nights going down to about 10 C, and days under 18C.

From here we went to the Point Amour Lighthouse just outside of Blanc Sablon.  It was pouring rain so we admired it from the van as we ate lunch prior to taking the boat across to Newfoundland.

After arriving in Newfoundland, we experienced L'ans Aux Meadows.  We drove to the northern Peninsula, where we found the first European presence of the Norse people.  Here we found sod buildings over 1000 years old.  We walked a bog walk where we saw cliffs and water, and explored the Viking village.  This UNESCO World Heritage Site had people dressed like Vikings and they encouraged us to not only see the village but to try on the costumes and thoroughly explore all that was there.

Throughout the trip we had beach stops to collect shells and skip stones, as well as park stops; but a favorite was at Arches National Park.  It was stunning!  Easton was sleepy but we got him out anyway.

We took a fairly long hike to the Western Brook Pond in Gros Morne National Park where we got on a boat tour that took us to see Fjords and waterfalls, all while sitting in a boat (for an hour) while it rained on us.  While beautiful and worthwhile, it was cold and wet.  The water here is said to be some of the purest in the world.  We had our eyes looking for Moose, but alas after much searching not one on our whole trip.
We did a few more small hikes in Gros Morne National Park seeing waterfalls and the like, however one of the coolest ones was the Tablelands.
After a hike that seemed long (by the kids standards), about 2 hours return, we were able to see a rare example of rock that lie exposed from
when the continents moved.

We moved on to Gander.  This was emotional for me.  I didn't know it would be so emotional but after exploring the aviation museum, and doing the fun things inside with the kids, we got to the last exhibit where there were letters and news footage of 9/11.  I cried.
I felt proud of how Canada helped out that day.  I also remembered where I was and what I was doing that day.
I was at work, and being as I worked in the Financial district I knew right away about the Twin Towers.  Brian however was in Montreal in a closed door meeting with no knowledge of the news until around 11 am.
I couldn't get a hold of him.  There were no trains going home, people were advised to stay off transit, so, with nothing more to do at work as we were all evacuated, I walked to where I was supposed to play beach volleyball that night.  A long walk, but I had time to kill and no transit so it gave me a place to be.
I worried about Brian, alongside all others who worried about their loved ones.  I was grateful when I finally heard his voice and that he managed to squeeze his way into a 4 person rental car with 5 people in it on route to Toronto.  There were no planes and all rentals were taken!
Brian was in the car with someone who had a loved one in New York, who they later found out was safe.

From here we collected ourselves and headed to Terra Nova National Park.  With rain in the forecast we decided this would be a good night to try out the Otentik's.  This is a cross between a tent and a cabin.  There are 6 single beds.  Four on the bottom and two above, with an indoor table and four chairs.  This site also had a BBQ and an outdoor picnic table that was screened in.
It is here that we finally managed to meet up with Brian's dad's cousin.  We had been texting her throughout our NFLD adventures and thought we wouldn't actually meet up, but here we found ourselves 10 minutes away from each other so we were able to meet up and chat for the night about our adventures.

St Pierre was next. We left Canada by boat and after just a one hour boat ride we were in France.  There is a small island just off the coast of NFLD that takes you to France, and so, for Bastille Day, (their equivalent to Canada Day), we went to party!
We enjoyed free wine at lunch, and all kinds of small town celebrations!  Games like connect 4 in large size that Easton managed to win a ten Euro gift certificate to any restaurant in town.  There was a merry go round, hockey shoot outs, and much more!
The day was full of celebrations and we finished it with a lobster dinner and fireworks.
The next day, the town seemed more like a ghost town.  So... we moved on.

Signal Hill and Cabot Tower were up next.  We drove to the top of the hill to see Cabot Tower which like all good monuments was under construction, so we went for a hike down the hill.  I sent a text message to Lindsay across the ocean as she is living in England right now.  It seemed like the thing to do.  :)
The kids really enjoyed playing with the cannons along the path.

Next up was Terry Fox mile zero in Saint Johns.  This was neat as we have been to the end of his journey in Thunder Bay.

At Cape Spear, the Eastern most point in Canada we were able to see many whales from the lookout point!  The birds would give away where the whales were going to be next.  It was fantastic to watch.
To add to our whale watching, we decided to take a whale watching / puffin tour in Bay Bulls.
There were so many of both!

That night we stopped at Butterpot Provincial Park.  Here we found a full camp.  So, the lady at the desk offered us the day use area for free where we could set up a tent.  This proved to be amazing!  We had a beautiful sunset and met another couple who also were camping in the day use area (only in their trailer).  We talked until we went to bed, as there was no campfire pits, we just enjoyed snacks and conversation.
(More about this lovely couple later).

The next day we went to Castle Hill National Historic Site.  We toured the grounds and the kids did a scavenger hunt.
Then it was time for the BIG boat ride.  16 hours from NFLD to Nova Scotia.
On the boat in the evening is where we met up with Harvey and Darlene, from the night before.  We found out they are from Huntsville, and exchanged email addresses.  We sat with them as we enjoyed what I imagined to be cruise like live music.  Hadley even managed to get Harvey on the dance floor.  It was quite fun!
We had a four bed room.  Two bunks that were cozy but roomy enough.  There was a small desk and a washroom with shower.  Perfect.

The next day after getting off the boat we went to the Alexander Graham Bell Museum.  Here we saw many old phones, the kids learned about rotary dialing, amongst other inventions from Bell.  We also enjoyed flying kites outside.

Cabot Trail.  This stunning drive was long but I am glad we did it!  The land is beautiful and it is mostly coastal.  We had great weather for it too.

After many hours in the car, we arrived in PEI.  Here we shared Anne of Green Gables with the kids.  This was super fun as we watched the movies prior to going.  Plus we have memories of Hadley mastering her walking skills on the hill at the house. She had just started to walk and this hill helped her to master the skill.  So, while we were here, we had both kids run down the hill.  We also walked around the grounds and of course had some cordial.
Easton only likes milk and water to drink and after basically forcing him to try a sip, he later asked for a second sip and caught on video, said that he also now likes cordial.  :)
On our way to the bridge we saw the birth place of Lucy Maud Montgomery, the author of Anne of Green Gables.
We also stopped to touch the red dirt in a potato field and have some ice cream from COWS.    Here we treated the kids to Moocraft shirts.  A play on words to the Minecraft game that they both love to play.
It was fun to cross the confederation bridge with the kids.  It is SO long!

New Brunswick.  We went to Magnetic Hill.  This is always fun!
Speaking of fun, we were at Hopewell Rocks after this, and while Brian and I thought the mud was super fun, both kids... not so much.

More driving with a quick stop at reversing falls.  Which is more like reversing river but... ok.
Hadley thinks she saw a seal here.  Maybe.

Last Canadian stop... Ganong Chocolate Museum.  All the chocolate you can eat while you learn about the inventors of the chocolate bar.
So yummy and interesting!

Shortly after this Hadley finished her 800 page Disney Princess Comic Treasury Book.  (This took her two days).

We drove to Acadia National Park in Maine.  We got there late and all sites were full.  We did manage to get the wheel chair spot as we arrived 10 minutes before closing.  So at least we had a place to stay. However, the next day we saw how full the park actually was.  It was a Wednesday and driving up Cadillac Mountain was insane.  Easton, Hadley and I walked faster to the top than Brian could drive it.  There were people everywhere. The only beach had no parking for miles.  So... we moved on.

Arriving in Easton Massachusetts, Easton had such pride for "his town".  We took pictures with things that had his name on it and visited the library, and a community building that was donated to the town by the Ames family. (The family known for inventing and producing shovels).  In the community building the kids were happy to see that Minecraft was set up and there were two extra remotes.  So, while Brian and I enjoyed some free WiFi, the kids played.
Later we tried to go to the Historical Society of Easton but it was closed.  So, we were on the road again.  For dinner we stopped to have pizza in a park while listening to the Belcherton Community Band on their 30th anniversary.  Then that evening we arrived in Hadley, Massachusetts.  Again, more pride for "her" town.  We took pictures with her and her sign, went to the town hall, and then, just outside of town took the kids to glow in the dark bowling.  We spent the night in Hadley.

The next day in the car both kids learned to tie a shoe.  Neither one can tie it while on them, but in front of them, they have a loose but correct bow.
We stopped in Niagara Falls at the fashion outlets to get a new outfit for the kids first day of school and new shoes.  Then we explored the states side of the Niagara Falls.  Pretty too, but our side is much better!
So, on the Canadian side we took the kids GoKarting.  SO MUCH FUN!

From here we went to Listowel for what felt like a few hours just so we wouldn't have to take the kids home only to take them out to Kerwood the next day to a bridal shower for Brian's cousin Steven and his wife to be, Melissa.

When we arrived home that night, I was tired.  The house smelt like wood as everything had been closed up, and it was clean.  
I didn't unpack until the next day.  It took ALL day!  It felt like the van exploded in the house.

- Leanne Verkley

End of year questions JK/GRADE 2

I asked the kids a few questions as I have done every year with Hadley since she started school.  So here they are:

EASTON:
What do you remember about every day at school?
I sang O'Canada and we did attendance.  (Hadley also noted O'Canada in her JK year in review).
Who is your best friend?
Jessica.  This seems consistant from the beginning of the year.
What is your favourite book?
All of my books.  
He went through a few phases this year.  At one point he loved the Berenstain Bears, then there was the Bear wants more books, Spot books, but truly, he loves all books.  Just like his sister!
What do you want to be when you grow up?
A mom.  (Hadley also said this).  Then he said I want to make and play Octonaut games.  
What is your favorite food to take to school?
Hotdogs.
What is your favorite game in gym?
Noodle tag.  (Same as Hadley in JK).
What is your favorite song?
Ghost Busters.  They had a YouTube video dance that they followed along to at school.  If your area was cleaned up, you could go to the carpet and dance along.  They just started it within the last month but he truly loves it!
What is your favorite thing to watch?
On TV it is My little Pony, and on the computer it is Stampy (A guy playing minecraft and narrating what he is doing).  
Teacher: Mrs. Risdon, ECE: Mrs. Patel.

HADLEY:
What do you remember about every day at school?
O'Canada, attendance, calendar, agenda, pick a book, my friends.
Who is your best friend?
In fairness, for all but three weeks there were only three girls in her class, so how could she not pick two best friends.  Mahima and Ariana.  
Savanah joined the class the second week of June so she did name her but I don't really know how close they are.  
What is your favorite book?
The Fairy books. By Daisy Meadows.
Hadley has read so many of these chapter books.  They are usually between 65 and 70 pages long and she can read them in about an hour.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
She wants to make movies and shows.  (I was surprised by this as Hadley isn't really a fan of watching movies but she was sure this was her answer).
What is your favorite food to take to school?
Noodles and ground beef with strawberries as a snack.
What is your favorite game in gym?
Dancing.
What is your favorite song?
Dark Horse by Katy Perry.
What is your favorite thing to watch?
On TV it is My little Pony, and on the computer it is Stampy (A guy playing minecraft and narrating what he is doing).  
Teacher: Mrs. McIntyre.  This was Hadley's first year in a solid grade class.  She has always been in a split class.  


- Leanne Verkley

Last week of school

Tuesday was my last day volunteering at the school for the year.  In the grade one class I helped a little girl with her year end presentation about community helpers and in the kindergarten class I took down a lot of artwork, and filed a lot of things to go home with each child.  Easton's teacher will not be returning as she was hired on for just this year, so her class room will have to be cleaned out.  
I was gifted a beautiful potted plant, some lovely cards and a picture of the grade one class that had all of their signatures around it. I truly enjoyed volunteering.  I felt like I made a difference!

Wednesday was actually quite a difficult day.  While there have been all kinds of days where I think of Lindsay's sister, this day for me was particularly difficult.  It was her birthday.  I spent the day texting with Lindsay, and crying a lot.  

Thursday was the last day of school.  Hadley was awarded the overall Academic Excellence Award for her class for the year.  We were so proud of her and so happy to be invited to watch her receive it in front of all of her peers.  
After school Hadley was invited to attend a pool/pizza party at a classmates house.  Mikah, lives about two minutes away and she was so excited for the party.  His mom picked her up from the school with a few other classmates.  I dropped off her booster seat and then I took Easton over as I was the extra parent volunteer to be eyes on the pool.  Both kids had a great time!  Easton didn't go in the pool but was happy to be the one to fetch the basketball as it came out of the pool often!  We stayed quite late but there was no school so... why not.

Friday ~ This morning I found out that one of the horses next door (Willow) had passed through the night.  I found out that the boarded horse had a history of epilepsy and got tangled in a fence.  This particular horse was low on the pecking order so I didn't really get to become super close to this horse as it was hardly ever close to the fence when I brought carrots.  I don't know much more.  We were truthful about what we knew to the kids and they took the news well enough.  
Today is my sister's birthday!  We spent the day at the library, we cleaned out the van, Hadley read a book, Easton played trains, we watched a movie, and I cleaned out back packs, amongst other things.  
It actually was quite a beautiful day weather-wise so I was glad we spent some time outdoors too!

This week has been a true mix of emotions.  

- Leanne Verkley

Father's Day, Anniversary weekend

Last weekend we spent Saturday helping our friends Shawn and Delena move to Listowel.  The move took way less time than we thought so we were able to add a Father's Day visit in with my dad and then on the way home we even stopped in at Leah and Tom's new house in Wellesley as they too were moving the same day.  
Sunday was the 19th anniversary of the first date that Brian and I went on.  (To prom).  It was also Father's Day and the first day of summer.  
This kids had cute cards that they made at school and we did a flower scavenger hunt where we found 20 kinds of flowers around our yard in 20 minutes.  We broke up into teams and then put our collection together to count at the end.

- Leanne Verkley

Bowmanville Zoo

Easton had a final class trip to the Bowmanville Zoo yesterday.  I was happy to be able to be part of that adventure.
I arrived to find out that 2 of the volunteers would not be able to join us so my small group became the group of 7.  Which out of 23 kids in his class that were attending that day is a high percentage.  
I am sure glad that I volunteer so often and they know me and I know them.
We did the walk around the zoo (kind of petting zoo/farm like, just pen after pen of animals in no particular order and not really matching the map at all as some animals were no longer there) which took about 1 hour, then we watched what I would describe as a mini half hour circus show with the animals.  
By this time the kids were very hungry so we ate lunch at the picnic tables.
It was a beautiful day which I was very thankful for as the days around this day had rain.
After lunch they played in a park area for a bit, and then we saw a few more animals before ending the day with fair type rides:  A merry go round, a boat ride and a tilt a whirl ride.  All of which looked very old.  However the kids didn't mind.  
I think everyone had a good time.

- Leanne Verkley

Swimming lessons

Hadley and Easton just finished up their latest swimming lessons on Monday.  
With lots of work being done, Hadley is now moving on to Swim 3.  Her biggest thing to work on is endurance and swimming without touching the bottom.
Easton will remain in Salamander with leg kicks and endurance to work on.  
Both seemed to love being in the pool.  

- Leanne Verkley

Dedication

On the weekend I made the long drive with the kids to Port Elgin to celebrate with my sister and her family as all four children were being dedicated at their church.  
We got there on Saturday so we were able to make the 9 am service on Sunday.  
I was so glad that I could be there.  

- Leanne Verkley

June 12th

During the day I had a few of my C4 Moms group friends come over for a tea party as one of the moms, Leah, is moving.  So we gave her a send off party.  She isn't officially moving until the end of school but this day worked for everyone.  It was a lot of fun to have real tea cups with saucers, cake and fruit.  

Also on this day, Brian and I celebrated our 11 year wedding anniversary.  We had Synthia come over for the evening and watch the kids while we went out to The Keg for dinner, and then to see Pitch Perfect 2 at the movie theatre.  It was a lovely way to celebrate!
I can't believe that in just 3 days from now on the 21st, we will celebrate being together for 19 years!  Crazy!

What a great day!

- Leanne Verkley

Camp Walden and the last two weeks

The last two weeks have been so busy.  
I had the privilege of spending the day with Easton's class as they had a pioneer from the Pickering Pioneer Village come to his class.  She was dressed as a pioneer and talked about and showed how yarn was made.  The afternoon was spent outside with all three kindergarten classes at the park near the school/village.  We also enjoyed frozen treats.  

My friend Krista had her 40th birthday party, and in true Krista style, it was almost wedding like.  There were about 80 people in the top of a pub, with personalized water bottles and personalized snacks.  There was cake and good times out with with mommy group.  

C4, my church had a parking lot party.  It was rainy and cold but we ventured out anyway.  There were about 5 jumpy castles, similar to the ones at the baseball day, and with the weather as it was... there were no line ups.  After the kids were finally soaked, it was more like water park fun, and they really got into it.  They didn't realize how cold they were until we had to go.  

Easton has been dismissed from Grandview because of his age.  So, to continue with the speech therapy, Brian's benefits cover a minimal amount which I hope to utilize.  We have had one session with the new worker.  He is also on a two year waiting list to see someone within the school system.  

I started a 10 day ab exercise program, which I did for 7 days.  It was 10 minutes of intensity every day, which sounds like a little but it was actually awesome.    The only reason I stopped was because the instructions were on facebook and we went away for the weekend to Camp Walden... with no internet.  
Now let me tell you about Walden...
Brian was away in New Jersey for three days of the first week of the above and then four days in Boston for the other week so he literally came home and we went away on a family camp vacation.  
We drove just over three hours (past Bancroft) on Friday to arrive for dinner.  We were greeted at the gate, put our things in the cabin (Muppets in the Comic section... which Easton, all weekend called Muffins in the Cabbage (cabin)).
Then we found our name at a table and learned how camp meals went.  The meals were pretty awesome compared to camp meals that I remember.
The kids enjoyed park time, we all received camp shirts, there were arts and crafts where we made bead jewelry and pictures.  Easton made a picture for Brian and Hadley made a picture for me.  Easton's had a tent and a rainbow, and Hadley's had a few beautiful flowers with a bird and a heart.  
We also went boating.  Easton and Hadley both got to steer the boat which they loved.  We tried water skiing and I sort of got up on my third try.  I couldn't believe Easton and Hadley both gave it a try as well.  However the icy water was a bit of a shock for them.   We went out as a family on the canoes.  Easton was at the front of my canoe, and Hadley at the front of Brian's.  It was clear that Hadley was making a real effort to figure out how to help.  Easton on the other hand though that the paddle was VERY heavy.  
We all went swimming and enjoyed time on the giant water trampoline despite the cold water.  We swam out to the triangle ice-burg slide and went down once.  That was enough for everyone.  It was hard to climb with the kids and it was quite high for them.  Easton was a bit nervous of how high it was.  Plus he knew there was COLD water at the bottom.  
We enjoyed land sports as well:  Road hockey, tennis, rock wall climbing, basket ball, and tether ball to name a few.  
Apparently there was archery but I didn't see it.
Hadley and I enjoyed campfire time while Brian and Easton went to bed.  
There was adult evening time where staff were monitoring the cabins, however Brian and I took turns for this.  He went Friday night, and I went Saturday night.  The evening had food, and BEvERages.  Plus they had the hockey game on the big screen.  Tampa won against Chicago.  This was the only screen time I had all weekend.  There was no internet there.
Both kids enjoyed adding their names to the cabin before we left and Hadley said it was the best weekend ever!
I know I fully enjoyed this family time.  
On the way home we stopped in at Brian's favorite place... Bon Echo for some beach time.  

- Leanne Verkley

Fun Fair Weekend

Friday night we surprised the kids by taking them to Hadley's old school for their Fun Fair night.  We had a BBQ dinner at the school, and then went to the carnival type activities inside the gym.  
Both kids had a fantastic time, won lots of loot, and we even met up with lots of old friends.  Some of the highlights were the plinko game which is very similar to the game found on the price is right tv show.  The jars jars jars game where they drew a popsicle stick which had a number that matched a jar, and they won the contents of the jar, and the dice horse race game where each kid had a horse head on a stick which they pretended to ride as they waited for their number to be rolled on a dice to race to a finish line.  I was surprised how much Easton remembered about the school since he was 2 when Hadley went to school there but he was very familiar, even with a few of the old friends that he hasn't seen in a LONG while!

Saturday was picture day for Hadley for baseball.  I am SO happy we made the switch from her Ajax team to the Whitby team!
Picture day was fantastic!  It was well organized to allow a new team to arrive every 10 minutes for 5 hours.  After your photo, the team would go to compete against each other in a race around the bases, throwing the ball the farthest, and hitting the ball the farthest.  This was followed by a pizza and cupcake lunch, and multiple jumpy castles which both kids enjoyed!  Because of the ten minute delay between teams it made it so that the castle fun was not crowded at all.  
After this we went to buy the kids a new bat.  The bat that we had at home up to this point was great for when they both were really little but now a real bat (kid sized) seemed like something they would both benefit from.  So we found one that was fitting for both of them.  Lime green in colour.  
Hadley also talked us into batting gloves.  They are black with pink and EASTON on them.  
Following this, we headed to the airport where we picked up Brian's sister who was stopping in Toronto on her way home from Barcelona.  
We only had about two hours with her so the obvious choice was Dairy Queen treats.  It was nice to see her if only for a few hours.  
Then today, the kids had some Minecraft time in the morning, and then as a family we spent some time outside.  Hadley was VERY impressed with how her new gloves made her a "super star!"  She was swinging better than I have ever seen her swing and now had some weight change from one foot to the other.
Easton also had some really strong hits.  They both wanted to run the bases too.
This was followed by sand and water fun.  They both got so messy but they loved every minute of it!  They made mud pies and an ice cream parlour.
Let's just say the rest of the evening was spent getting the mud off of everyone.  
Good times.  

- Leanne Verkley

Livin' the cottage life

Life has been a bit crazy, so, with no real plans for the May long weekend, we decided to enjoy our home and the cottage life that surrounds it.
There were movies... We introduced the kids to Anne of Green Gables.  I loved sharing this with them.  Hadley had lip quivering cries for when Diana and Anne were no longer allowed to be friends.  Then when Matthew passed, she had full understanding that people get old and their bodies die as they don't work as well as they once did.  No tears at all.  
Saturday Hadley and I went for a pedicure.  It was lovely.  
Sunday we had Melissa and Cailum drop in for a surprise visit.  Again nice, as the kids play so well together.  We also spent some time with Matthew next door, and there were bike rides, the lawn tractor got an oil change, and the hose came out for both cleaning and cooling.
We set up our tent and camped in the backyard after a campfire complete with roasted hotdogs and marshmallows that found graham crackers and chocolate.
Both kids love s'mores as do I!
It was supposed to rain all day today but nothing... so, we went to Hadley's baseball practice and Easton's baseball game.  
Lilacs are in full bloom and the fragrance is one of my favourites!  I am excited for summer!  

- Leanne Verkley

Baseball for Hadley

Hadley has been excited all week about baseball!  
I know it will be a challenge during the school year as most of her games start at 8pm which is an hour after she is normally in her room for bedtime.  
(She usually reads for that hour, so she is normally awake at that time, but she is not normally awake at 9:45 which is the time we got home from the game last night.  Then she was hungry).  I think she finally got into bed just after 10pm!
Hadley played third and then she was the sub who sits out as three people need to sit out each inning, and then after going up to bat she was hit in the hand by the ball, which stung on COLD hands, so she sat out the next inning too.  Then just before it was her turn to go up again, the game ended.  So, while she didn't get much play time, she did watch the entire game.  By the end of the game her hand was just sore and cold but she could move it.  
She originally wanted to go home, but also wanted to be a team player so she stayed to watch and cheer.
They awarded her player of the game and she won a free pita from Pita Pit.  
I was so glad that Brian was able to stay home with Easton so he could get a good night sleep... however after I got home, Easton had leg pains that went until 4am!  And Brian was so sick.  So a good nights sleep is questionable.  
Anyway, both kids got up okay... a little late but nothing crazy, Hadley's hand was fine, I just had to drive them to school instead of the bus but they were on time.
Easton was super excited about his special helper day and Hadley and Easton both shared the excitement of Jump Rope For Heart today.  
I am so glad there is a long weekend this weekend to give Brian time to get better, and hopefully we can all catch up on sleep.

- Leanne Verkley

2015-05-15 10:35:31

She was the only girl on her team but was happy to see that one boy was from her class last year.  :)

- leanne

2015-05-20 23:08:34

UPDATE:  This week I found out that there was an all girls league in Whitby.  So, after investigating, I found out that it has a musical warm up, it is run with three centers that help the girls learn to throw, catch, and hit.  This is then followed by a fun game with all 6 teams on the field... a tag type of game.  Then a one inning game at the end against one of the other teams.  
The other bonuses are that parent involvement is highly encouraged and the games are at 6:15 p.m. every week.  SO MUCH BETTER!
So, I talked with the Ajax league and let them know my concerns about her being the only girl, and the 10PM late nights and they agreed to give me a refund.  
Hadley tried her first night with the new league and I think it is a much better fit!  

- leanne

Scientists in the school

Today while volunteering at the school I was able to join in the fun with Easton's class for Scientists in the School.  There were many tables set up.  Marine biology, paleontology, meteorology, and chemistry.
I was in charge of the Chemistry table.  We learned about protective lab coats, and glasses, we learned that Chemists work in a lab.  Then we made potions as some kids called it.  We mixed water and sand, water and salt and learned what it meant to dissolve or not dissolve.  We mixed baking soda with water, and then baking soda with vinegar.  We discussed how water and vinegar look the same and are both liquids but after smelling them, they are VERY different.  Some kids thought the vinegar smelt like chips.
All of the kids loved the chemical reaction to the vinegar and water.  
I had a great time and am so glad to be able to be a part of these special days.  

- Leanne Verkley

Daffodils, Artists in Motion, Mothers Day, C4, Grandview, Swimming, Books, and Baseball for Easton

We have been quite busy over the past two weeks.  There was the Daffodil party at Brian's uncle Paul's house.  The flowers were in perfect bloom.  They were everywhere and it was a great time!  We even had four flowers bloom at our place that we planted last fall.  
This past week I was fortunate enough to be able to volunteer in Easton's class for the Artists in Motion Day.  They made these cute bears which I later received as a gift for Mothers Day.  Hadley also had the Artists in Motion team come to hear class and I received a cupcake that she made.  Lovely!!!
Mothers Day weekend included a trip to the beach as the weather was nice.  I was made a beautiful breakfast, there were flowers, and the gifts previously mentioned.  
C4 had a clothing swap on Wednesday.  I love this as I usually end up with a lot of lovely items for free and I get to donate things (to get them out of my house) and whatever is left, the Church donates to women's shelters.
Easton just finished his last class at Grandview in this block of time. He has been working really hard at being able to use the S sound.  The latest techniques are to put his hand on his shoulder to make the S sound and then finish the word by taping his hand.  Also, to say tttttttttttt ssssss.  This is used for words that have S at the end.  Both very helpful.  I am proud of how hard he has been working on this!
He has made such incredible progress that I am sad his sessions are ending.  However I feel he is very aware of what he is working so that is fantastic!
Swimming lessons are about half done.  The kids seems to be doing really well.  While both kids like to swim, I think they also like the library time before their lessons.  Hadley has been taking out 5 of the fairy chapter books each week and finishing all that she takes out.  This is seriously impressive!  
Easton started baseball tonight.  He is on the Jr T ball team.  4 and 5 year olds.  
He had such a fantastic time playing tonight.  He received his #9 Jersey and couldn't wait to do whatever coach Ian asked.  
They did some warm ups, practiced hitting and then each team took the field (basically lined in front of where the pitcher should be) to catch the hit balls from the T.  Then it went back and forth so that each player hit twice.
Since rules were merely a suggestion, it was just a lot of fun to watch.  
Easton tried so hard, and ran wherever the ball was hit.  On occasion while fielding he ran the bases with the players from the other team.  He was very polite if someone got to the ball first and in one instance, someone lost their shoe on the way to first and he returned it to them.  
I was very proud at how well he played.
He was all smiles all night.  He truly enjoyed himself.  

- Leanne Verkley

I thought it was spring...

This week the kids started swimming lessons and we had a few days of beautiful weather and then... yesterday and today... we have snow.
I am not sure I remember when we last had snow a week before May.
It was so cold this morning that I put snow pants and winter jackets on the kids.
Since today was pajama day at school, they were a little disappointed that their bus driver would not see their pajamas but I think they understood that warmth over ruled fashion.  (I hope they always understand this... fingers crossed).  

- Leanne Verkley

Ontario Science Centre

Today was a pretty fantastic family day.  The morning had the kids playing minecraft wonderfully together.  They really do love to play this together and weekends are really the only time that allow them to have any substantial time to play if we don't have other plans.  So they were pretty happy!  
After the morning play, we had a picnic outside before heading to the Science Centre.  
The kids got along so well... all... day!  They held hands as we walked up to the entrance, they took turns well, and took in all the fun!  Easton's favorite part to the day was the dam building/duck races, and Hadley loved the a musical video experience where she could sing Let it go from Frozen.  
Although there were many other fun things like a large marble run, bubbles, nail pushing art, magnets, hot air balloons, mirrors, gears, ball races, large lego, roof building, shopping/stocking, and so much more.  We really only had time to explore floors 4 and 6.  There is so much there.  
I am super thankful to my friend Lindsay who received a coupon from her son's school, and wasn't able to use it before she moved to England.  So... the coupon came to us.  The coupon took the $22 per adult and $13 per child = $70, down to $4.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Four dollars.  $1 per person.  Plus $10 parking.  So... I am so thankful!  
It wasn't super busy, and we were able to just enjoy a day with the kids without a huge price attached to it.  
I love family fun!  

- Leanne Verkley

Physio/massage therapy

When I was pregnant with Easton I had incredible pain, sometimes I couldn't even walk.  Then after he was born, it got easier, however I couldn't sit on the floor without pain, and sometimes just laying on the couch would cause pain, and let's just say I let that go for three years.  Fast forward to now... after a year or so of physio and massage therapy, I have booked my last appointment for the middle of June.  8 weeks out!  Then, if all is good, I will be on an on call basis should pain arise.  Hooray!  

- Leanne Verkley

Scientist in the School

On Friday I went in to the grade one class (neither of my kids are in this class but I volunteer there once a week as that is where I am needed).  I usually do all day Tuesday.  Mornings in the grade one class and afternoons in Easton's class.  However this was a special day for the grade ones so I went on Friday morning instead.  
They had a scientist in the school.  
We did all kinds of liquid/solid experiments.  
We raced water, dish soap and ketchup.  We blew up balloons with vinegar and baking soda, we made juice by adding things to water to see what would happen.  We made magic mud with cornstarch and water.  It is a solid that kind of melts away to a liquid when you play with it.  
There were also songs and other fun things.  
I was so glad I could be part of it.  

- Leanne Verkley

Jays Home Opener

On Monday night we arrived early in Toronto for the Blue Jays Home Opener.  This allowed for us to meet up with Julie, Ed, and Ben as well as Melissa, Ray and Cailum before the game.  
We had such a good time.  Even though they lost against the Rays 2-1.
We enjoyed hotdogs, cotton candy, and popcorn and the kids liked the singing of O Canada, take me out to the ball game and the like.  
They also enjoyed the clean up crew in the 5th inning.  Both kids stayed awake until the end.  
We let them sleep in the next day and then took them to school after they woke up naturally.  It still took all week to turn them back around from staying up so late but it was such a fun family outing that I am glad we did it!

- Leanne Verkley

A mix of life...

Last weekend we celebrated Easter and my dads birthday on Good Friday.  Then Saturday since we were in Listowel we took advantage of taking the kids to the Easter Egg Hunt at the park.  This park holds so many dear childhood memories for me.  It is where I would hang out after swimming lessons or baseball, where I would meet teenage friends, where my grandma would take us for walks around the river for the participaction walk, my sister got married there, there is a huge rock that will always hold a special place in my heart as I grew and learned to climb it, I watched my great grandfather enjoy many evening walks around the river, we feed the geese and swans, we walked over a bridge/dam that once mastered felt like you could conquer anything... it really shouldn't have been safe for anyone to walk on, but we watched for when the water was low (they built a new bridge later), it is where we had so many family reunions and so much more.  
So... it is really fantastic to see my children also enjoying this place.  
This particular day was actually quite cold, however I was there with my dearest friend Lindsay and her two children.  
This was bitter sweet...  
After the egg hunt we enjoyed hot chocolate and my heart cried.  Followed by my eyes.
My friend was moving to England to join her husband who will be the lead horse in Warhorse.  I am so happy for him, and so happy for her to join him there as he has been there since January.  She plans to come back, and so far it is a one year adventure, but my heart still hurts a little to know she is so far away.  We have been friends since Kindergarten, and we made best friend status official in grade seven as she carried books for me while I hobbled on crutches with a broken leg.  We were in each others weddings and while she isn't gone forever, it stung a little harder as she is the friend that lost her sister to cancer so quickly just before Christmas.  
So, leaving was difficult as my eyes were blurred.  We felt each others love and took a piece of each others hearts to hold onto.  
The day went on and we celebrated a wonderful Easter with Brian's mom and sister.
Sunday we were back home and the kids were longing for a day of video gaming.  This worked out perfectly as our neighbour Sarah offered to give me a riding lesson.  Let's just say I love it!  I can't wait to learn more and be able to trail ride.  For now, I am in the arena, but I am hopeful that there will be many future rides.  
On Tuesday I volunteered again at the school.  In the morning with the grade ones and in the afternoon with Easton's class.  
Wednesday was pamper me day at C4 Moms.  So, I got my nails done and my hair straightened.  It was lovely.  Extra special to be pampered as Brian was in Vancouver all week.  
Friday was special as I was able to join Easton's class to go to Brooks Farms.  It was a trip to the maple sugar bush.  At 6 in the morning it was cold and raining with thunder and lightening.  However by 9 am when we arrived it was a beautiful day.  We did a train wagon ride to the bush, then a learning tour with a sample of taffy.  This was followed by lots of outdoor fun.  There was a huge blob that was kind of like a jumpy castle, a huge pirate ship to play on, a sand box with lots of toys, hay to climb on, slides and lots more.
Today we had a birthday party for Sam.  My friend Leah had it at her house and Hadley and I were invited to stay as Brian was away in London for a LAN party weekend with his friends.  I think Josie (Sam's sister) enjoyed the girl company at what would have otherwise been an all boys event.  
Easton got his hair cut today.  He has been saying that he wants his hair long like Hadley and I for a while now but it was sticking up all over and looking a bit crazy over his ears and at the back, so I talked him into a cut.  Not a buzz like we normally do, but a cut.  I think this is his first hair cut where we didn't just buzz it off.  He looks so cute!  More importantly, he likes it.  
So, there you have it... a small picture of life at the moment.  

- Leanne Verkley

Stove top

Our range had a fuse break after the power went out the last time.  
Thus causing the stovetop to stop working.  Well, after 3 weeks of no stove top, I finally have it fixed under manufacturers warranty.  
That was a long three weeks!  

- Leanne Verkley

Spring Pancakes

On Friday the kids had a twin day at school.  This was also the day that they celebrated Earth hour by having the lights turned off and it was the same day that I went in to volunteer to to make pancakes for the school.  I love spring!  Mmmmmm maple syrup!
I helped mix what felt like a million bowls of batter while others chopped fruit, and flipped pancakes.  Then after everything was served, there was clean up duty.  Everything went very smoothly.  It was fun, but I will have to remember next year to be on flipping duty and not on mixing duty.  :)

- Leanne Verkley

Jack and the Beanstock

Yesterday I had the privilege of joining the grade 1, 2, and 3's on their musical class trip to Jack and the Beanstock.
It was local, in Pickering, so I met the busses there.
Overall, I think it was a well done musical with decent signing, good costumes and set.
I think Hadley's favorite part was dancing with Ariana, and Mahima at the end.
I am so happy to be able to join in such events.  :)

- Leanne Verkley

Easton Reading JK

While I know Hadley was reading early, I can't seem to find a post about her leveled reading in JK.  So, I really think I should note Easton's.  
I did find a post about early SK for her...http://ajax.verkley.com/blog/leanne/index.cgi?sid=1096&user=
Basically, she was level 10 in November of her SK year.
I have been testing Easton slowly using PM leveled reading.  He is reading at a 7 level.  This is equivalent to an E in Fountas and Pinnel.  Or... where teachers hope he would be at when he finishes SK.  He still has April, May and June of JK to go.  Plus a whole year of SK.
When Hadley was in SK, level 6 is where they hoped she would be at when she finished grade 1.  (Things change so fast!)
I volunteer once a week in the grade one class and Easton is (in my opinion), equivalent to some of the readers that I read with.
I am proud and happy that reading comes so naturally to both Hadley and Easton.  
Hadley is now reading the Rainbow Magic Series chapter books at a rate of about a book a night.  Approx. 69 pages.  (They have a small drawn picture on every page and she is quite enjoying them.  

- Leanne Verkley

Hadley's 8 year old check up

Today Hadley had her 8 year old check up with our new doctor.
She is already up to date with her immunization so at this check up she is now 53.5 pounds up from 47 pounds last year.  She is now at the 50th percentile for weight up from the 25th percentile.  This is where the doctors would like to see her!  She is wearing size 7 or 8 depending on the brand of clothing.  Moving more and more to size 8.  
She is 123.5 cm tall up from 120 cm last year.  She is in the 30th percentile for height.  A little shorter than the average girl her age.  (Last year she was in the 50th percentile).  
This years check up had questions about how she is at school and during extra curricular activities, how she is around her peer group and family.  
Basically the doctor wanted to know if I had any concerns.  Nope.  
There were nutrition questions.  Hadley loves to balance what she eats.  All good.
She wanted to make sure that she was okay with body image, she wanted to make sure there was a balance of physical activity to electronic play.  
She wanted to know about sleep habits, how she responds to discipline, she wanted to make sure she was aware that helmets and seat belts etc. are for safety and necessary.  As well as sun safety and dental care.  
Over it was a great appointment.  


- Leanne Verkley

March Break and Hadley's birthday

This was Easton's first March Break.  He loved it!  So did Hadley!
Friday was a PA day, so I let the kids do whatever they wanted around the house.  They loved this!  It was mostly screen time fun.  Wii U, Youtube (Stampy Minecraft videos), some My Little Pony shows, and then actual playing of Minecraft.  While there was other play that went on, I think I will call this day... Screen day.  Saturday Brian and I worked on some projects for the house.  We installed a light, and got started on the barn board frame for the bathroom mirror and just spent some time together as a family.  Sunday my friend Leah was going to look at houses so I watched her two kids Sam and Josie, and they played well all day with my two.  On Monday I took the kids to the zoo, which was a bit of a zoo, especially since I had to renew our annual membership.  However, we spent most of the day there so the line ups to get the membership and entrance were worth it.  We went with my friend Melissa and her son Cailum.  
Tuesday I took the kids to Lynde Shores.  They love it there!  Hadley was super excited to have a bird eat out of her hand.  (The chipmunks were still in hiding, but the swans and other birds were out).  This was also St. Patrick's Day!  My girlfriend Christina had her third baby.  Evelina.  So... Wednesday I watched her two oldest Sophia and Elisa while her and her husband could peacefully spend the day at the hospital.  
Thursday Brian was able to come with us to the ROM.  It had quite a few interesting things.  The kids really liked the Minecraft rock exhibit.  Plus there was a hunt for secret words which helped them to navigate through the museum.  
Friday was Hadley's actual birthday and with the busy week, we used this day and called it Birthday prep day.  There was cleaning, shopping, groceries, cake making, etc.  Then our Friends Jenny and Ryan came.  Ryan, Brian and Shawn went out to see a movie, while Jenny and I stayed in and watched two movies.  Saturday we had family over to celebrate Hadley's birthday.  Her cake this day was Frozen themed.  Which I am actually quite proud of how it turned out.  The big gift this year seemed to be books from many people.  She has already read three of the chapter books we gave her since Friday, (65-70 pages each) and it is now Monday morning just after they have gotten on the bus.  So... I think she likes them.  
They are the Rainbow Magic Fairy books.  I found a really good deal on the books so we got her ten thinking it may be a while for her to get through them, but not at that pace.  I LOVE IT!
Sunday was her friend birthday party.  She wanted it at Nebs Fun World in Oshawa.  Her cake theme for this day was spring, she wanted lots of flowers because her birthday was the first day of spring and who doesn't like a flower on their piece of cake!
There were 9 kids in total counting Easton and Hadley.
They bowled, then had pizza and cake, this was followed by a rides (Easton used his tickets for the go carts while Hadley went on the round roller coaster type ride and then the jumpy castle).  Every kid also received 32 tickets to the arcade.  So just before leaving we enjoyed time in there.
It was a full and fun day.
I know I had a great March Break!  Plus I now have an 8 year old!

- Leanne Verkley

Skating level 2 for Hadley

This week was the last week of skating for the kids.  I am proud to say that Hadley has achieved her level two badge. She has worked incredibly hard this year and achieved two ribbon and a badge on her last day.
Big congratulations to her!

- Leanne Verkley

10 am

Last night I had a girls night out which was fun and full of laughter.  Always a good time with my mommy group.  
But the 10 am title of this post comes into play when I note that the kids got up (I think around 7 am) and entertained themselves until 10 am!
I wasn't completely asleep as I heard them talk about having something healthy so they could eat an Oreo. They talked about hotdogs for breakfast but decided against it.  I think I would have even let that one go if it had happened.  
It was pretty awesome since most days I am up with them around 6 am!
I can't remember the last time I slept in that late.  

- Leanne Verkley

Shower

It has been 8 months since we moved in.
We basically got the house to code but still had~HAVE lots to do to finish... perhaps the house will never be finished.
In any case, we have been bathing since we moved in and after much labour, we have tiled, grouted, added the silicone, and fixtures and can now shower!
It is luxurious!  
The water pressure is good, and the temperature is good.  (I like HOT showers and have long hair, so both are important!).  
The bathroom is not finished by any means.  There is still stone work to do, a pedestal sink to install, we are currently using a handheld mirror and the closet isn't functioning yet as a closet.  Still... I am happy and clean!  

- Leanne Verkley

Immunizations

With the recent outbreak of measles I thought I should book all if the immunization that are due.  

Easton is now caught up with his measles and chickenpox boosters.  So both he and Hadley are good until they are 12.
Brian and I were due for tetanus.  This is the one that makes me reflect on the past ten years.  Mostly because it means that it was 10 years ago that we went to Africa!  At least it will be in October of this year.  CRAZY!
My arm is still sore and it has been two days.  Easton hasn't complained once and Brian understands my pain.
I feel good that we are all protected!  

- Leanne Verkley

Montreal

This past week Brian was in Ottawa/Montreal for work, so, since Friday was a PA day for the kids, we thought we would join him and make it a Valentines Day, Brian's birthday, family day weekend.
So on Friday I drove MANY hours with the kids and finally met up with Brian at the hotel.  There was swimming that night in a warm pool which the kids loved!
Saturday we went to the Biodome where we walked through replicas of four ecosystems found in the Americas. The building was originally constructed for the 1976 Olympic Games.  It hosted both track cycling and judo events.
Here we also saw the penguin exhibit which we nicely tied into Hadley's recent project at school.  :)
Easton liked the hands on exhibit where he touched a sea urchin and a starfish.  
Following this we went to the insectarium.  There were many insects from around the world on display.  Lots of butterflies, bees and ants.  
There was an ant display that was particularly good with tens of thousands of ants working hard.
We also got to have a ghost mantis walk on our hands.  It was so light.
That night we took the kids swimming again.  
In the morning we decided to abandon our trip to skate on the Rideau Canal as the temperatures were approx.. -40 with the windchill.  
We decided instead to take the kids swimming and then head for lunch at McDonald's.  Kids choice.  
While there, our van's starter broke.  So instead of heading to the nice warm botanical gardens that we had planned, we spent about 5 hours eating lunch, playing in the play place and trying to get our roadside assistance to assist us.  (On a day that apparently everyone needed roadside assistance... On a Sunday... before the holiday Family day).  Good times.
Easton was tired from the swim and playing and took a nap at a McDonalds table.  Hadley was quite patient as she knew the situation was out of our control.  
It was after 6 p.m. when we finally had our van towed to a Canadian Tire close to the hotel we had stayed at for the past few nights.  We taxi'd from the McDonald's and met Brian at the Canadian Tire, dropped our keys in the drop box, and then went to our hotel.  
It was Brian's birthday so we made the most of it and ordered some appetizers and cake in the hotel restaurant.  Not exactly how we planned to spend his birthday but we were all together.
Monday we were stuck at the hotel until the van was fixed, so... more swimming.  At least the pool was warm.  :)
Later in the day we had everything fixed and we headed home.  
Not exactly the weekend we were expecting but we were all together.  


- Leanne Verkley

This week's stuff...

This week Hadley read a 23 chapter book in three sittings.  Chapters 1-5, 6-8 and then 8-23.
She loved the Frozen book so much that once she finished it... she started it again.  

Both kids are really into playing the game Minecraft.  Easton is trying so hard to read what he can.
I love how he wants to read because it is fun for him.

Easton is also growing all the time.  It feels like he has growing pains quite often.  (Thank goodness for heating pads).  
I just went through and changed up a bunch of his clothes to the half size higher.  He is between a 4 and a 5.  Depending on the make of the clothes.
This week we took the 5 point harness car-seat out.  It has been WELL loved and he prefers the booster now that he is over 40 pounds.  It felt like the end of an era.  

Math seems to be a fun competition between the kids right now.
Hadley is working on simple multiplication and Easton is working on counting by 5s and 10's to 100, (he can do the 10s perfectly and is very interested in the 5's but they need work), and addition up to 15.  

This weekend we went to visit our friends Heidi and Mike and their new baby Maggie.  Then we celebrated Brian's cousin Ben's birthday at the farm, which was followed by a celebration of Brian's mom's birthday and a very quick visit to my dad's.  We let the kids stay up to watch the first half of the Superbowl and then the Katy Perry halftime show.  Which Hadley loved.  (It was a good show!)  I am kinda glad that today was a bus cancellation day though so they could sleep in.  Plus it meant I could play with them!  We had train tracks through the house, we built a hut in the snow, had Matthew from next door come over, cleaned both kids rooms, and just enjoyed a snow day together.  :)


- Leanne Verkley

January 25th

This date marks 13 years that we have owned the Rands house, my friend Shaye's moms birthday, and it also marks Brian's dad's 65th birthday.  
A milestone for sure!  Their house was full of celebration and food.  
Fun times had by all.  Nice to catch up with people; even though we saw most of them at the Verkley Christmas there are always new stories to enjoy.  


- Leanne Verkley

Who it - Brian

For years whenever candles needed to be blown out, or when food needed to be cooled down Easton would ask us to "who it".  Both Brian and I knew it meant blow it out.  It was his thing and we would smile every time he used it and it was the one thing we never corrected because it was cute and he would grow out of it.
Well, this week, he used the word blow.
I didn't catch it but Brian did.  I was a little sad that this little boy was transforming into a big boy but also proud. He figured it out.  All on his own.  
He is growing up.

Now... both Hadley and Easton are quite enjoying the game of Minecraft.  Brian's character has his actual name as do all of our characters, however; for some reason Easton has taken to calling Brian by his name in real life too.  All the time.  :)  Another thing I remember Hadley doing around the same age.  
http://ajax.verkley.com/blog/leanne/index.cgi?sid=929&user=leanne


- Leanne Verkley

Date Night

This week Brian and I were able to go out on a date.  I had a girlfriend come over and watch the kids.  Leah will have me watch her kids next month.  It was a nice exchange.  
We saw the last of the Hobbit movies.  It was nice to get out just the two of us.
There is something awesome about movie popcorn!
Much thanks to Leah for making this possible.  

- Leanne Verkley

New Year's Eve

For New Years Eve we had a few friends over and this year we were able to do a fun balloon drop from the upstairs.  The kids (and us) loved it.  We volleyed balloons for a while.  We enjoyed Wii U fun, and board games.  
There was a lot of food and fun!

- Leanne Verkley

Christmas

On December 20th, we had two loads of gravel delivered to make our driveway a little larger and easier to turn around.  It is by no means complete but much better.  This was also done in the nick of time for the Verkley Christmas party which was hosted at our house on the 21st.  It was awesome!  I don't know how many people were there but my best guess is between 40 and 45.
I was in charge of turkey, and mashed potatoes, the rest just showed up pot luck style.  There was so much food, and then... there was so much dessert!  
In my memory will forever be etched how Hadley could not believe that Santa came to our house!  It was an amazing childhood moment that I hope she carries with her. We got a tree this year that is the biggest yet!  Between 10 and 12 feet, and BEAUTIFUL!  home-made decorations filling in the spaces between the colourful lights.  I could stare at it all the time!
On December 23rd, Hadley went to a Christmas baking class at the Superstore.  She had a great time and I got some shopping done.  :)
Christmas Eve, I felt prepared with gifts wrapped, and stockings ready.  It was actually quite enjoyable.  
Christmas day we spent a leisurely day at home.  Opening stockings, a big breakfast, then more gifts, and family time.  It was so nice.
The gifts this year to note within our family were pots and pans, Wii U Mario Kart 8, Octonaut toys, Elsa doll from the movie Frozen, and My little Pony items.
On the 26th we had Christmas with Brian's mom and sister in Listowel.  Then Kitchener with Brian's dad, Patti-Jo, Chris, Patrick and Alisha on the 27th.  Then back to Listowel with my dad and Brenda, my grandma and cousin Pamela, my sister Mandy, her husband Jason, and their kids: Jayden, Jensyn, and Beckett as well as my brother Joe.  
I was excited to see my sister.  Mandy is due to have a baby in January and she looks great!  
Today I am home, and it is a clean up day... although the kids want to play with everything so it is slow going.  Oh well... There is always another day for cleaning. :)  Although I have to get it organized for New Years and one more Christmas with my mom on the 3rd.  


- Leanne Verkley

Sarah

The past two weeks have been tough!  
After 6 weeks in the hospital being treated for pneumonia, we found out that Lindsay's sister Sarah had terminal cancer.  A few days later there was talk about removing a lung, and then she had gone downhill so quickly that that wasn't even an option any longer.  So from there it was about making her most comfortable.
I was able to drive to London to go see her while Brian watched the kids.  (I went with Shaye who was staying over after her Christmas dinner in Oshawa, and then she and I spent the Monday distracted by helping out at Operation Christmas Child). Shaye was awesome!  She drove the return trip of six hours with me as I was in no condition to drive and she stayed with me and their family for the day.  

Leaving the hospital was hard.  Both of us knew it was our final goodbye.  I had only done one other final good bye like this and it was with my great grandpa.  It hurts.  
Sarah was totally aware of what was going on.  There were tears and much heart ache.  Her body was failing but she managed to whisper a few words including:  Bye, I love you.

Lindsay and I have been friends since I was 5, so Sarah has been in the background of everything.  She was 33 years young and cancer had taken over completely on December 11th.  
The visitation day was long but I felt happy to help with whatever I could while they talked with many who held Sarah dear.
The funeral was intense, but had glimpses of her strong character shine through.  Crazy music that she loved, like it's all about the bass by Megan Trainer, funny stories like her going on a girls night out with her cousin and then going back early for her precious sleep and putting the chain across, and her famous "whatever" quote.
I couldn't see Lindsay's face from where I was sitting but I could see her dads.  (He was the emcee at our wedding).  The raw emotion was beautiful and yet stung, ripping at my heart.
While growing up if I wasn't at home, it was likely I was at their home or their cottage.
I went on two major trips with Sarah and Lindsay without parents.  One to England and one to the Dominican.
Sarah was like a little sister; She was not always the easiest to get a long with but still there was love.  






- Leanne Verkley

Christmas Concert

This year's Christmas concert at the school almost didn't happen.  The weather was terrible, and half the school thought the busses were cancelled but the school was actually open.  I drove the kids and then stayed to volunteer as the roads were awful.  Then Brian joined me for the daytime matinee around lunch time to watch the concert.  It was so cute.  Easton's class joined the other two kindergarten classes and each class sung a song and then all three classes sung together.
Easton has been singing Suzy Snowflake for weeks.  :)
Hadley's class joined the other primary classes and sung MANY songs from the nutcracker.  I was impressed with all of the songs.  The older kids did some artwork and reading while the younger ones sang.  
I was glad to see it during the day as the night time performance had very few kids.  
Easton fell asleep on the way to the school for the evening performance.  However he did a great job.  They both did.  
It certainly helped me get in the spirit of Christmas.  
This weekend we finally went out and got our tree.  I LOVE it!  It is more than 10 feet tall!
The count down is on.  
I think I better get on the shopping!

- Leanne Verkley

Operation Christmas Child

This year was the first year I went to volunteer with Operation Christmas Child.  My friend Shaye was here for a visit as she had a Christmas party for her family in Oshawa so we arranged to go together to Oakville.  It was so much fun.
While the reservation for our volunteer status was non existent when we arrived we were still able to help out.  Instead of helping with the boxes, we sorted the items that are not able to ship in to categories so that they could be donated locally.  I was happy to be able to help out!

- Leanne Verkley

Pickering Tree Lighting Ceremony

Last night Brian was working late so I decided I would take the kids to the Pickering Tree Lighting Ceremony.  It was awesome!
Everything was free!  We started with games, and crafts ~ both were awesome and high quality!  This was followed by a stage show that included two of the kids favorites.  The Octonauts live show as well as Anna and Elsa with Christoph from the movie Frozen.  The kids LOVED it!  Santa and Mrs. Claus also came out before the actual tree lighting and then a full fireworks show.  We ended the night with a small train ride which Easton was eying up all night and Hadley raved about the cotton candy.  
5 Stars!  Definitely recommended!  

- Leanne Verkley

Volunteering

Yesterday was my first day volunteering in the school.  I had sent in a form saying I was available and the grade one teacher approached me asking for help.   I spent a good portion of the morning doing math with the kids, but I also did some photocopying.  
There were two kids who knew me.  One little girl is on the same bus as Hadley and Easton and the other was Hadley's reading buddy from last year.
It was a fun morning.  I am excited to do this weekly.  :)

- Leanne Verkley

LAN Party Weekend

So this past weekend was the first LAN party weekend for Brian and his friends at the new house.  
There were 6 guys in our basement with their computers all hooked up and ready to game for the weekend.
Shawn's wife Delena came with their two kids.  
Having Delena here was a huge help with the cooking and cleaning and our kids played well together.  So that was fun.  
Saturday was a busy day.  We took the kids to the Santa Claus Parade in Pickering in the morning.  The kids really liked that.  Then it was back to the house to have some lunch.  This was followed by a surprise visit from Brian's aunt Cecelia.  It was nice to see her after her Africa/Holland trip, however it was a short visit as we were on our way with the kids to see the CP Rail Holiday Train.  The train came in to Oshawa at 4:30pm, (it was still light out), and then about 10 minutes after arrival the lit up train opened up and the band The Odds sang some Christmas music for the crowd.  The kids took turns being lifted up by myself and Delena.  We were thankful that the show was only 1/2 hour.  It was dark when we left and the train looked so cool with the lights.  
While the guys played their video games well into the night Delena I played cards and board games.  
It was a really busy weekend but a fun weekend had by all.  
I think it will take me all week to actually clean up my house.  :)

- Leanne Verkley

Moms Meet Moms

Last night was the moms meet moms at Valleyview P.S.  
I was really hoping to meet some of the moms from either Hadley or Easton's classes but no such luck.  There was about 20 moms that came out.  Some with kids that are Hadley and Easton's age but not in their class.  I did however meet some of our neighbours and I won a gift certificate to get my hair cut.  So... all in all, not a bad night.  Plus I started my Christmas baking.  I must say it was the best shortbread I think I have ever made.  :)
I was also happy to watch the video that was prepared to show what kids in the school loved about their moms.  Hadley said in the video that she loved that I would go swimming with her.  :)  Cute.  The grade 8's put the video together.  They interviewed the kids and made the video.  

- Leanne Verkley

Babysitting

The other day I found myself helping out a friend whose babysitter backed out on her last minute.  So for the entire day I had a one and a two year old to enjoy.  These two little girls reminded me of the pleasure of having really little ones in the house.  They also reminded me of the work.  
We spent the day exploring the toys we have, there was block building play, colouring, tea party time, kids computing fun, grocery store play, feeding the horses, drums and piano play, and then... one went down for nap time.  
This allowed the oldest one and I to bake.  She looked so cute in Hadley's little apron and chef hat.  The day passed by fairly quickly.  I quite enjoyed it.  
I was on duty at the church the day after for watching the babies during C4 moms so I got my fill of babies.  
The next day I appreciated all that my kids can now accomplish on their own.  
Like no more diapers. :)

- Leanne Verkley

A week indoors...mostly

So last weekend I was sick... like week, and tired and bed ridden feeling just ugh... sick.  
So Brian was awesome and let me stay in bed for two days.
Brian also took the kids out for a hike which was awesome.  (Hadley got a head full of burrs, which was not so awesome, but about an hour later and lots of leave in conditioner and her hair was back to normal).  This wore me out so it was back to bed for me.  
Then Monday morning before the kids were even up, Brian left for Vegas for work.   I took it as easy as I could on Monday, and then after taking Tuesday to disinfect the house... BAM!  Easton was sick through the night leading him to take the rest of the week off school.  
Ok, here we go.
So the week was as low key as possible.   Only leaving the house when necessary and lots of low key games, crafts and TV time.
By Saturday I really needed to get out of the house.  So, I took the kids to get their skating photos, and then I brought their capes to take them for what I called a Super Hero Hike at Cullen Gardens in Whitby.  We were only there for about an hour or so as this was all the energy Easton had but it was super fun and nice to be out of the house with some fresh air.  I want to go back to explore some more.  Lots of great photo ops at this place!!!
We went home and enjoyed some more TV to recoup from the outing.
Then at around 7 pm I was reading my email to be reminded that it was the last night of the Christmas Safety Village display.
So I made a last minute decision to take the kids.  We walked around viewing the lights and displays for about half an hour and then the kids were done.
Bedtime was easy.  
Today is Sunday.  Easton is still sick but does have a little more energy for around the house play.
Brian called today to say he was up all night with a fever and has decided to cancel his flight and lay in bed at the hotel.  UGH.
One day at a time...
Hopefully this week brings more health to our family and I am ever so glad that Hadley hasn't got this.  :)

- Leanne Verkley

2014-11-16 13:36:48

Oh, and we had a bird in our basement yesterday so that was fun.  I opened the door and walked around the basement until the bird flew into a window, and then finally flew out the door.  So glad it didn't fly upstairs.

- leanne

Skating

The kids are really getting this skating thing.  Hadley is starting to get more competitive and works really hard on using both feet now.  (Her right foot previously stayed on the ice most of the time, Easton does this currently).  She also is learning how to skate with some gliding backwards, and lift a foot while skating.  These all need practice but she is starting some fun new things and it is quite enjoyable to watch.  
Easton now gets up with ease.  In fact he knows that he gets positive attention for doing it well so sometimes he falls on purpose.  
He is also gaining great speed.  He smiles or laughs when he passes someone because he is proud of himself.   It is amazing to watch both of them strive to be better than the others in their class.  Not in a mean way just in a self betterment way.  They both received ribbons recently.  Hadley got her Agility 2 ribbon and Easton got his Pre-Can Skate ribbon.  It was exciting that it was on the same night.  They don't wait until the end of a season, they hand them out as they are earned!  I am so happy for both of them!  

- Leanne Verkley

Legoland Discovery Centre

On Sunday we were finally able to use the Legoland tickets that Shaye bought our family last Christmas.
The kids LOVED it!  THANKS SHAYE!
We got there and the fun started right away.  There was a mini Lego factory tour to see how Lego is made.  Then into a moving car we went to the Kingdom Quest laser ride to take down some Lego men.  This was the most fun for Easton and I.  With me taking the win on this one.  
From here we went to the 4D Cinema where we had a light spray of snow on us.
We walked through mini-land;  An area that had quite a few of the Toronto main attractions, and skyline built with Lego.  Some even were playable.  Like the Rogers Centre had a ping pong type of lever to try to hit a ball into the field.  :)
Both Hadley and Easton enjoyed the racers build and test area.  As a family we made and raced cars down some cool slopes.  Sometimes they broke, sometimes they flew.  We went to the master builder academy and we all learned how to make planes out of a kit.  (Unfortunately we didn't get to keep the plane but it was still fun).  
We went on the Merlins apprentice ride which was a pedal ride.  The more you pedal the higher you go!  
Followed by the fire academy construction site.  The kids played in this play place for a while.  Hadley built a tower using giant Lego to use while throwing herself on a wrecking ball, and then she rebuilt it for Easton to try.  (A fantastic mommy moment to watch her want to share this with her brother).  
Near the exit, we tried out the Ninjago Laser Training Camp.  Basically try to make it to the end of a hall without touching the lasers.  Easton ran through with me, so... I think Hadley and Brian may have to take this one for the win.  

Now for the people looking for my fun vs. cost review:
The fun... worth it.  The kids loved it and both Brian and I had fun with them!
The cost... $16 per person plus tax.  (Lucky for us they were a gift).
Then $5 per lanyard to stamp at stations as you go.  With a prize for turning this in at the end.  My beef with this... it was a pin for their shirt... on Noember 2, with a Halloween logo.  Really?  $5 for that?
Also to note, there is only one entry.  No re-entry and no food of your own to bring in.  We ate before we went in to avoid paying high prices for food inside.
One last thing that was frustrating... The plane that we built... was not sold as a kit at the end.  And all the pieces the kids played with to build their cars, specifically the huge wheels, were not available for purchase in the store.

All in all a good experience.  We put everything aside for the day and played Lego with our kids.  :)

- Leanne Verkley

Mommy Group Halloween

On Saturday November 1st we held the 8th annual mommy group Halloween at our house.  We have plenty of room and it was way more civilized than at Easton's party.  We kept the kids indoors so there was no misc. food outside.  We kept them upstairs so the basement didn't have misc. food and those two rules helped ALOT to keep it more under control.  I LOVE hosting and having people over.  The clean up... well... at least I have time for it when all the others go back to their day jobs.  
I think the kids love having people over too.  
There were 7 out of the 8 families able to attend and we got our annual photo with 14 out of the 16 the kids.  Only one cried... so... I consider that a win!
Of course there was much food, laughter, advice given and taken and lots of love in our house.  
I am so happy and thankful for these 8 women in my life!  

- Leanne Verkley

C4 Moms

I am very thankful for this group of women.  
This week was especially fun as we had a clothing swap.  I found a few things for me, as well as a few items for each kid.
There was good food, and great conversation.  
Good times!  

- Leanne Verkley

Costumes

On Tuesday, the kids were able to wear their costumes to skating.  They were quite excited to do this.  Hadley looked like she was having so much fun being the ice queen Elsa... on the ice.
Easton, Olaf the snowman... also on the ice.  He showed off how fast he could go.
So cute to watch all the little ones in their costumes.

Wednesday, yesterday, Hadley's class did a presentation on being courageous.
They wore masquerade masks, and Hadley loved that she was able to keep her red mask with the big flower on it.  They did a poem, a song, and each child said something about being courageous.  Hadley said she wanted to be courageous as she learned to be a great skater.  Both Brian and I were able to be there.  :)
.
Today, I kept the kids off school to take our annual trip to the zoo with their halloween costumes on.  It always makes for cute photos and good times.  :)

- Leanne Verkley

Aggie and Ellie

Babies.  
In the last month there have been two babies added to our friends families.  
Lindsay and Jamie welcomed baby Agnes May and our neighbours Chris and Sarah welcomed baby Ellie Jean.
Two beautiful little girls.
It was fun to hold both little girls.
Adorable.  

- Leanne Verkley

Kids Safety Village - Halloween

Yesterday after the mom 2 mom sale, we carved our pumpkins... Hadley's with triangles for they eyes, nose and mouth (kind of a zig zag really for the mouth but still with triangles), and Easton's with circles, aside from a few slits down from the mouth.
They drew their ideas on paper and after I took out the goo, Brian set to carving.
The kids painted smaller pumpkins and then wanted to try planting some of the goo outside.  
Anyway, this set off the day/evening as I later took them to the kids safety village.  I really like the concept.  A town that has stop lights, street signs, sidewalks and roads, but without the cars.  HOWEVER... with the weather so good...it was PACKED.  Not really all that fun this time.  We were there for almost two hours, and got to "trick or treat"  in two of the buildings resulting in one lollipop and one small package of twizzlers.  We did however get to go through the the graveyard and the haunted house.  Easton loved it... Hadley said there were a few things that made her nervous.  I didn't really like the open casket in the dark but the rest was okay.
Still, they loved dressing up, and we walked around with my friend Jessica and her family (I know them from C4 Moms).  Hadley loved that McKenzie and Morgan were Elsa and Anna, which matched her and Easton (Elsa and Olaf).  Their son Micah was Dusty from a plane cartoon currently on.  
It was nice to meet her husband Gary though as I see him at the church all the time but have never actually met him.  He is the congregational care pastor so he is often around.  
The night ended with some free hot chocolate.  Hadley enjoyed it but Easton opted out.




- Leanne Verkley

Markham Mom 2 Mom Sale

This is by far the best mom to mom sale in our area that I have come across!  The deals are amazing, the vendors are great, and it is just a lot of fun to go to.
This time my friend Christina picked me up, and we had a fantastic time.  
I am so glad she understands that shopping alone in this type of venue is almost necessary.  So, we broke off for an hour, hooked back up... put some things in her van... and then did the second building for another hour.
The last ten minutes I helped her find a few things that were on her list.  
We both felt accomplished in our shopping mission.  Second hand items with almost new quality.  Love this sale!  

- Leanne Verkley

Pingles

Today I was fortunate enough to be able to volunteer on Easton's first class trip to Pingles Farm.  The bus was packed with three kindergarten classes so the parents drove and met the kids there.  The day started out with an outdoor classroom setting where there were some questions about things that grow on farms, which led to how pumpkins grow, a song, and a book.  This was followed by a wagon ride to the pumpkin patch where every kid got to pick their own pumpkin.  The only catch was they had to pick one that they could carry.  
We explored the pumpkin leaves, pumpkin flowers, green pumpkins and anything else the kids found interesting... like ladybugs.  There were LOTS of ladybugs!
From here we went to the fun land.  There were mazes to explore, jumping castles, slides, animals to feed, water pumps to pump and pedal tractors to ride.  The kids had a lot of fun and a fair amount of freedom.  
Easton was glad I was there but really he was in his own element running around enjoying the fun things around him that seemed perfect for his age.
He introduced me to a few of his classmates which was so nice to finally meet some of them.  
It was a beautiful day for a fun farm class trip.  So thankful that I could be there.  

- Leanne Verkley

Internet

We have internet!  We ordered it back in June and after many months... we now have internet.  (October)  
I am excited to post on my blog again.  I had been writing just in a regular document and now can post and hopefully keep up to date again.  :)

- Leanne Verkley

Easton is 4

We celebrated in a grand style for Easton's fourth birthday!
On Saturday we had about 45 of our friends and their kids over.  This totally warmed our house and made Easton feel special.  There were people and food everywhere!
It was awesome!
Sunday was a little lower key.  We had our family over.  There were still people and food everywhere but a little less crazy!
It was a nice surprise to have my grandma come.  My dad picked her up on his way.  I think she thoroughly enjoyed being here and I was so glad to have her here.
We were also pleasantly surprised to have Brian's dad arrive as he had been in Nova Scotia visiting Brian's sister Lisa and he didn't think he would be back in time.
However, he brought the biggest surprise of all... Lisa!  
WOW!  Such fun to have her here!
My house is warmed.  
I feel loved.  
Easton is 4.  
Speaking of that... I took him for his annual physical.  He is now 39.4 pounds up from 35 pounds last year.  Only 0.6 pounds to go to be in the booster seat.
He is in the 80th percentile.  
He is 104 cm up from 96 cm.  In the 60th percentile.  All good.
Different to have a new doctor but the appointment went well.


- Leanne Verkley

Easton Can Read

September 24th.  Easton can read 16 words: we, me, be, he, white, red, blue, stop, go, I, a, A, Hadley, Easton, daddy, mommy.
He can read these in any order.  Three years old... and a reader.  Hooray for Easton!

- Leanne Verkley

Terry Fox

Today was the Terry Fox run at the kids school.  I was excited to volunteer and was amazed by how many people recognized me.  
Hadley did 11 laps, I did 5, and I think Easton did 6 or 7.  It was a beautiful day.  Couldn't have been better actually.  
I had freezies from June's fun day still in my freezer so I was able to bring those in to share with the school.  
Hadley loved being thanked for them but also said people kept stopping her to say thank you so she didn't get as many laps as she could have.  

- Leanne Verkley

Apple Juice

So a long while back I blogged that Easton tried apple juice.  Well... he hasn't had it since.  In-fact when asked what he likes to drink he would always say:  just milk and water.
However, during the summer he discovered a LOVE for freezies.  So, I made some home made popsicles with apple juice and he seemed to enjoy them enough.
Then one day last week I told him that the home made popsicles had apple juice in them and he should try apple juice.  Well, he drank a whole cup.
He hasn't asked for it since.

- Leanne Verkley

Spanish

So last week Hadley started Spanish lessons.  In our region they are offered free.  So... we will give it a try. It is held at a school and feels very much like school.  They take a back pack, snack, and a pencil case full of supplies.
At first she wanted me to stay just outside the door until she gave me the two thumbs up.  The class is 2.5 hours long.  So after half an hour with no thumbs up, the class lined up for some gym time.  So, when in the hall she said it was all good and she would stay for the rest.
After picking her up... ALL day she tried out new words.  She loved it!  She can't wait to go back to learn more.  
However, she did say that if we had plans on a specific weekend she would be okay to miss that particular class.  
What I did watch was a morning greeting with repetition of: How are you, I am good.  Rules of the room.  A run through of the alphabet, which included a few extra letters from our English alphabet, and some paperwork to draw the letters which are the same as our letters with the few extra ones.  It is a grade 2/3 class with approx. 15 kids.  
So far so good.  
She has only missed the weekend for Easton's birthday.  
Still loving it!  

- Leanne Verkley

September 9th / Jayden's birthday and Skating

Today is my nephew Jayden's birthday.  He turns six!  I was so glad to celebrate with him recently.  
Today after school the kids and I went to get their skates sharpened before their first lesson tonight.  Hadley did amazing.  She tried forward, backward and jumping, as well as touching her toes and the like with confidence.  Easton shows clear ability to do everything but falls more often than he would like.  He is registered in the Canskate program (5-8 year olds) instead of the Kindercan (3 and 4 year olds) which he should be in as Kindercan is during his school time.  At age three he falls into that funny gray area for extra curricular activities as some kids are in school and some are not.  I am grateful that they allowed him in the same time slot as Hadley (5 -8 year olds) and I think it will only take a few weeks for his confidence to build up.  
Both kids did fantastic!
There was a sale tonight on skating outfits and Hadley has been asking for an outfit for three years!  So, tonight we bought her her first outfit.  She was over the moon happy with it.  
A sensible black with long sleves and a purplish splash of colour around her stomach with a little skirt.  Super cute!

- Leanne Verkley

Summer

The summer had lots of science in the library programs, campfires, out door play, baseball for Hadley and an Ontario Early Years baseball/soccer program for Easton.  I did a lot of physio/massage to try to fix my hips.  They seem so much better.  In fact next week I go from once a week to every other week. :)
We went to the Ajax playground programs at Lakeside, got a new family doctor as ours moved, went to the kids CBC day, attended birthday parties, of course there was the back and forth to the old house to get it ready for renting.  (Hooray the renters seem great and moved in August 27th)!
We had a garage sale to clean out the stuff that had some value but we really didn't need.  Making approx.  $80.  
I attended weight watchers all summer but was only successful at maintaining really.  Up and down the same three pounds all summer.  Oh well.  Back at it.  
I met up with some college friends for dinner which I haven't seen in a very long time.  We went for Thai food and a dessert in the distillery district.  
Hadley and Brian made their first ever bicycle ride down to the stop sign at the end of our road.  They were both very excited to do this.  Easton while able to ride a bike for a long time now with training wheels is finding the gravel road less fun.  He rides half way to Matthew's and then would rather run.  
The kids had their first ever sleep over friend.  Cailum came and spend the night.  It really is amazing how well our kids play together.  So nice to get together more often with Melissa.  
We did a garden program and a ready for school program at the OEYC.  Both kids loved this.  The Pickering OEYC made an exception for Hadley to attend as she has been going to OEYC for 6 years prior.  It is supposed to be for 0-6 year olds but at 7 with a three year old brother they let her join in the fun anyway.  It helps that I knew all the staff.  
We did some electrical work on the house, Brian built a closet for himself as he needed somewhere to hang work shirts.  More closet building to come.
We went to Muskoka for a few days to visit Shaye while Brian was away on business.  Shaye and I took the kids to Santa's village.  It was the PERFECT year.  Their ages were perfect for the activities there.  So glad we went and with a buy one get one free coupon we saved $80!  We paid for two admissions and got two admissions free.  Over three years of age it is all the same price.  So at $40 per person this coupon was a huge saver!
The summer also had playdates and splash pads, and a road trip to see family.   The road trip included a visit to my dad and brother, Brian's mom and grandma, my mom and Pat, and then to my sisters.  Here we celebrated all of her kids birthday parties as they are all in September.  Brian was away on business again so this was a fun end of summer adventure.  I do wish I could see my niece and nephews more often.  This time was the first time I really felt like I connected with my niece.  It was awesome!
She really is a lot like my sister and I found her cute cuddly side this visit.  

This summer I finally found a moment to get over to ride Hannah.  The neighbours have beautiful Percheron horses and I love Hannah.  She is so kind and patient.  I have felt this from her from the moment I met her.  She is a large horse but amazing.  Synthia (a university student who helps out a lot) took me in the arena and found out how much of a beginner I was but was EXTRA patient with me as we found a rainy day to ride.  I couldn't believe she took me out in the rain but she said riders and horses don't mind the weather.  It is true.  I loved it!  I wasn't particularly good at it but I loved it.  

Over the summer I got my police check done so that I would be ready to volunteer at the school.  Both kids were excited for back to school shopping.  On the first day we drove them to school.  We found their teachers, they lined up, and were very excited about the day.  Easton only showed some nerves at the very last moments but handled it really well.  He got in line, and followed the teacher in.  And then... I had two school aged kids.  
No tears, and a long to do list kept me busy all day.  
Day two... we need to work on the routine as the bus comes SUPER early.  7:10 a.m.  Last year it was 7:35.
We were ready as I thought the bus was coming at 7:15 and I didn't want to be late but we were just heading out the door at 7:10 not down by the end of the lane.
So it was okay.
Easton said, mom I don't need a hug this morning I will just blow you a kiss from my bus seat.  I am excited to go.  :)  He seems so little at three years old but so ready for this adventure.  I remember him asking last year at 2 when he was allowed to ride the bus.  
Both kids seem talkative so far about school.  Hadley specifically noted that there are only three girls in her class so I hope that is a good thing.  They all sit together in a group.  Mahima from last year and a new girl that loves the movie Frozen.  So it sounds good.  
Easton talked of playdoh, and time on the rug, and playing outside.  He said he forgot to change into his indoor shoes.  His first book out of the library was a book that had 10 books in one.  A Dora book that weighed almost as much as him.  
While the kids didn't have homework last night, I had about an hour of reading to do.  
Hadley found going to bed early last night difficult while Easton fell asleep easily.  

Okay... onto the next chapter.  School aged kids and our life.  :)

- Leanne Verkley

Julie's - Hadley's first extended get away

Hadley had her first three day sleepover at her aunt Julie's.  She seemed to have a fabulous time.  Easton missed her but we did lots to keep busy.  She had stories of parks, and shopping and lots of other fun Julie and Hadley stuff.  We picked her up, enjoyed pizza in the park and then drove home.  
My feelings:  I was happy for her experience.  Julie came to pick her up and we were to bring her back.  I only felt anxious when she was on the 401 with someone else driving.  I was sure she was in great hands with Julie, it was just a bit weird seeing her drive away for a few days.  While she was gone, I felt she would have a fabulous time.  Of course I missed her but I knew she was happy.  

- Leanne Verkley

The move, July 5th

The move, was exhausting and exhilarating!  First it was a week of basically no sleep, and packing day and night.  There were boxes everywhere.  It started out with nice labeling, then by the end, it turned into proximity packing.  You are close to this at the old home, maybe you will end up close to each other at the new home.
The kids were not really interested in packing but we did manage to get them to pack a few things just to see what it was all about.
Moving day we had lots of help, but it still took three loads to move everything in a 26 foot Uhaul Van.  
For the next few days I went back and forth to do the laundry as our hook up to the propane for our dryer at the new house needed some special connections.  
However this helped me to get the old house cleaned, and move a few things that were left... like the food in the fridge.  
There are still a handful of things there but with no rush to get them out, we can move them when we need to with the van.  Probably on garbage day when I go back.  
The old house looks so clean.  It was gross after we moved out, but now it looks great!  We had cleaners in, then steam cleaners in, then air duct cleaners in.  The new house however still has boxes everywhere as I try to find homes for our things.  My friend Shaye came down and took the kids to the library and Build a Bear while I did some unpacking.  For a house warming gift she bought everything for the kids to have a new stuffed friend.  Hadley picked out a very colourful zebra with a tutu and wings, as well as matching sparkle shoes and the My Little Pony sound.  She played that a number of times at bed time.  :)  Easton picked a simple dog that looks like a golden retriever, no clothes, just skate boards for each set of two feet and a bone dog colar.  His sound... meow.  Which he says is MOW, MOW.  He thinks it is so funny, and of course we all laugh.  What a funny kid.  
It is a week later and Easton's bed is just a mattress on the floor, but I have found the iron for Brian to have clean pressed shirts for work.  It took me a few days to find the ironing board but when I did... the dryer with a fun new setting for refreshing shirts was set up.  So... all good.  
Because we are a bit crazy... we planned a weekend away in July.  I know... crazy.  However it was booked a while back and turned out to be the weekend after our move.  So, after being "in" only a few days, we packed a few things and headed for a get-away to Chicago.  We started the trip Friday night at Brian's uncle Tom's and and Cathy's.  The kids loved the golf cart rides and catching fireflies.  Hadley caught 3!  The next morning was early.  We got up and drove all day to get to Wrigley Field for the Cubs game against Atlanta.  Sadly they lost but the experience was awesome!  What a cool field.  That night we took the kids swimming in the hotel, and then the next day was a much needed kid day.  We took the kids to the Navy Pier Children's Museum.  They loved that!  Wish we could have stayed longer.  So much fun for them.  The drive home was LONG, we got home after 2am.  Nothing got unpacked... we just put our tired and sore bodies to bed.  
A great weekend.  Now... about those boxes...

- Leanne Verkley

Packing

This past week has been a week of packing.  Every day seems LONG, and productive.  Although I am not sure the kids feel super productive as I have tended to let them watch a lot of TV or have computer time as it limits the messes they make as I am trying to clean and fill boxes.  
I know it is summer and outside time is optimal, so hopefully after we move, the pace can slow down... a little and we can enjoy the great outdoors more.  :)
It is almost 11:30 pm and I needed a little break, the main floor has a few pots and pans to pack, all of our dishes that are still in use, food, and a few things I am just going to call, last box packed... main floor.  
I would say about  hours tomorrow should do it.  
As for the basement and upstairs... well, I better get up early tomorrow!  
Back at it...


- Leanne Verkley

Canada Day

Today was a packing day.  However, that being said, we took two breaks.
One for a few hours to go strawberry picking.  We were surprised by Brian's cousin Patrick with a visit so he joined in the fun.  It was his first time ever strawberry picking and the kids loved showing him how it was done.
Hadley and Easton had strawberry juice all over them but completely enjoyed the experience.  Plus the wagon ride at the end was also very fun for them.
Then more packing.
This was followed by an evening with Melissa, Ray and Cailum to enjoy some outdoor dancing, snacks and fireworks.  This time at a local church.  It was actually quite a large display put to music and quite well done.  (I think we were a little close though as some casings hit us and we had to back up).  Still, the show was quite good.
We sang O Canada at the end of the fireworks and Hadley proudly held her flag high while she sang.  
Happy 147 Canada!  

- Leanne Verkley

Grade 1... a year in review

What did you learn over the year?  Her answer: That I should always work hard.  
Question two:  what do you remember about every day at school?  I hang up my back pack.    
Who is her best friend: Amrita with other friends Isabella, Mahima, Sarah, and Taylor.
Her favorite book was Butterflies which was a book from her class room.  
When she grows up she wants to be a singer or artist.  
Her favorite snack to take to school is Jello.  
Her favorite game in gym was noodle tag.
I asked her about her favorite song to sing while at school and she said: We really only sing O Canada but I do some songs after gym.  My favorite one is called Purple Cow. "I've never seen a purple cow, I'd really like to see one, but I can tell you anyhow I'd rather see than be one. Let's make a silly zoo and mix up all the colours, with purple cows and pink baboons can you think of any others?"  I've never seen a green giraffe, I'd really like to see one, but I can tell you anyhow, I rather see than be one.  I've never seen a red elephant, I'd really like to see one, but I can tell you anyhow I'd rather see than be one.
I am so glad that she loves school.  Hadley especially loves to sing songs from the movie Frozen at recess.  
I am excited to spend time with her over the summer before her and Easton are both in school and I look forward to her grade 2 adventures.

- Leanne Verkley

Awards

This week Hadley was presented with two awards.  
The first one was player of the game where at baseball she hit the ball four times off the batting machine.  This is only her second game using it and she did amazing!  She was so proud!!! She ran her little self to first base and then around as you do.  You could see how happy she was!
She also learned about fouls in the game which was a bit confusing but still awesome to see her hit!
She received a certificate and a few coupons for various places in the area.  Plus she was treated to something in the snack bar.  She chose gummie worms.  
Then today at school she was presented with an academic achievement award for the month of June.  Her teacher specifically talked about how she had advanced through the year in her writing ability.  I was glad we were all able to be there to watch her get her award.
Way to go Hadley!

- Leanne Verkley

18 years

Yesterday Brian and I celebrated 18 years since out first date.  We were fortunate enough to have Brian's mom down to watch the kids so we could have a date night.  We went to Mongolian Grill for dinner then a movie, followed by hot donut dessert at shoeless joes.  
Good times!  
I can't believe it was 18 years ago that we went to prom.  Wow!

- Leanne Verkley

Occupancy

Hooray!  Today we were given the verbal occupancy.  Which means we can start to move things into the new house.  We are just waiting on the paperwork to finalize but having the verbal is great!
I have been so blessed this week with three of my girlfriends coming to help me take the construction dust off the main floor.  We have spent almost 10 hours so far... just on the main floor and it starting to look like somewhere you could actually live now.  I have no idea how I am going to clean the top portion of the great room.  Right now it is just DIRTY!  
I am going to do a little more tomorrow and Friday, to hopefully get the rest of the main floor and upstairs bedrooms and bathroom clean, then I think the weekend will be spent packing the old house.  (We shall see how far we get).  
We will set a moving date soon, but for now we clean, pack and wait for paperwork to be completed.  

- Leanne Verkley

10 years

The last ten years have been fantastic to include many trips, some job changes, children, a house build and many more things too numerous to mention.  
With sickness in our house this week, the celebration included some Dairy Queen. We were together and it felt good.
Here's to many more years together!

- Leanne Verkley

Brooklin Fair

This weekend after doing much work at the house we decided to surprise the kids by taking them to the Brooklin Fair.  
It was a bit expensive.  $25 for the family just to walk in.  Then we ate dinner in there which was another $25.  Following this was $20 for 16 ride tickets.
Most rides were 2 tickets each with only a few that were 3.
We started by watching the pig races, then feeding the farm animals which is always fun.   We had a deep fried onion (like a blooming onion) and shaved potato french fries with cheese and bacon.  (mmmmm healthy).  
I managed to still loose 0.6 pounds this week!
We tried to balance the rides with the fair stuff.  A few rides, then we checked out the tractors, the tents, and the demolition derby and then back to the rides.
Easton's favorite was the train, while Hadley's favorite ride was the swing ride.  
They both had such a good time!  
We decided to have a camping adventure in the great room at the new house after this.  So we spread out our sleeping bags, spent a little time on the new deck watching the fireflies which were out in abundance (which I loved!), and then went to bed with a beautiful view.  
A good weekend!

- Leanne Verkley

Ava's birthday

Today Easton was invited to a birthday party for a girl in his gymnastics class.  It was at superstore and while there Hadley was invited to join in the fun as two kids didn't show up.  So... Both kids enjoyed chopping toppings for their pizzas, they made fruit salad, and decorated an entire cake each.  
It was cool to find out that Ava's God Mother was friends with Brian's sister Lisa at university.  
Small world.
The not so cool part to the party was that the birthday girl got a fever of 103 during the party.
Hope she feels better soon.
Both kids had a great time!

- Leanne Verkley

Grade 4 reading

After some conversations with Hadley today I found out that she had been tested for reading at school.  She was proud to say that her teacher told her that she was reading at a grade 4 level.  Insert proud mommy.
The other day she read a chapter book (with six chapters, most pages half text half picture, but still a chapter book), in 30 minutes.  This is the first time I have seen her want to read SO much all at once.  She was so excited as she began each new chapter.  Mouthing the words as she went along... The next step... Reading completely in her head.  Which she can do for smaller books.  So cool!  I love that she loves to read.
Easton has his own set of words like cat, stop, on, Hadley, ect. That he loves to read... I think her love of reading is having an impact on him.  Also very cool!

- Leanne Verkley

2014-05-30 18:53:16

A grade 1 reading at a grade 4 level.  Wow!

- leanne

Lakeside funfair

Last week was the lakeside public school fun fair. This was good fun for a lot of reasons.  1.  Family BBQ outside.  2.  Games with prizes.  3.  Seeing old friends.
Hadley's kdg teacher came right over to us and of course there were hugs all around.  
Everyone had a great time and then we even had a few minutes at the park.  :)

- Leanne Verkley

The Top of the Rope

Tonight Hadley made it all the way to the top of the rope at gymnastics!  She has been more and more proud of her self every week as she pulls her entire body weight to the top, but today... during a test to see what level she should be at for next year, she did it!  
I will find out later what level she will be in, but it was such a proud moment and worthy of noting.  Great job Hadley!

- Leanne Verkley

May Long Weekend

This weekend was busy as always!  Friday I started physio for my hips.  This meant and still means that I am actually in quite a bit of pain.  However I continue to do the exercises in hopes that the pain will eventually go away.  

My friend Melissa dropped off two boxes of clothing for Easton on Friday which was awesome and I was able to give her a tour of the house.  It was her first time seeing it other than in photos.

While we wish we could have been in two places at once... 1.  To celebrate Lindsay's mom's 60th at the NEW cottage which I have yet to see...  I was still EXTREMELY happy that our good friends Ryan, Jenny (their kids), Shawn and Brian's dad all came to help put in the wide plank pine on the main floor of the new house.  The help was MUCH appreciated and it looks AWESOME!

While Jenny watched the kids, I got started on finishing the floors (but stopped after one room) only to find out that it was the wrong finish despite the test board.  
So, after renting a sanding machine, by the end of the weekend I was almost back to where I started with raw wood.  I just have to sand the edges and we should be back to square one.

Jenny and I managed to get the kids out to Whitby shores park and to the Glow In The Dark Mini Putt.  The kids loved this as well as the arcade fun.  

Sunday night I took the kids to the crescent near our current home where Hadley and Easton met up with Adam, James, and Alex from our street, (myself met up with Tara, Jill and Marc) for fireworks.  Brian was tired from all the flooring and opted to stay home.  
Alex lives just a few doors down and is seven also.  She and Hadley love playing together.  Hadley was also very happy to see Adam.  
Sunday night Easton was up from 2:30 am to 7:30 am straight.  UGH.  Leg pain.  
Monday we wished Jason (My sisters husband) birthday wishes from afar and had our neighbours over for some hotdogs and marshmallows.  
The kids played great with Matthew.  (Their little boy).  In October they are due to have another little baby.  So we are excited for them.  
It was great to have this bonding time and I think there will be many more get togethers in our future.  




- Leanne Verkley

Frozen

Hadley has been singing music from the movie Frozen and it just seems to put her in a happy mood.  She also has been loving to have her hair in two braids like the character Anna for days.  Up until now she has always just wanted her hair down.  
While she didn't actually love the movie (she really isn't a movie watching kid), it still has clearly had its impact on her.  I think her peers have a huge impact in relation to the movie.

- Leanne Verkley

Hadley's 7 year old Check up

Hadley's checkup is a little late this year.  The last month has been a bit crazy.  Brian actually comes home tonight after three weeks away from travel work.  (Aside from weekends).  House stuff has been crazy busy.  April 29th we actually marked the one year mark since we broke ground.  
http://ajax.verkley.com/blog/leanne/index.cgi?sid=1155&user=leanne

In any case the check up details are that she is 47.5 inches or 120 cm tall.
She is up from 111 cm from last year.  She is just under the 50th percentile for height.  Pretty average.  
However she is just over the 25th percentile for weight.  47 pounds.  Skinny compared to others her age but up from 42 pounds last year and around the same percentile for her.  
She is just starting to wear size 7 clothing which totally matches her life.  Her age is her size.  

Sadly we found out that our doctor (which I have been with for 10 years) is leaving to start her own practice.  Not in the area.  So... on the to do list is to find a new doctor.  (Before August when she leaves).  Sigh.  I quite liked her.  However I am hopeful to find another doctor closer to the new house.  




- Leanne Verkley

Papa Jack

This week my Papa Jack has been on my mind quite a bit.  At the age of 89 he made the decision to have surgery for his bowel cancer.  We were told they got it all.  He also had a colostomy.
He made it through the surgery well.  
However two days later he had heart issues.  Code Blue.  Not good.
Then yesterday the decision was made to take him off life support.  Hours later he passed away.
I have had moments of sadness but have kept it together fairly well actually.
The hard part for me is that his wishes were to be cremated with no funeral.  No real closure.
I talked with my grandma today and she seems to be okay for now.
I reflect and as a child I didn't really know him all that well.  The grandkids played in another room when we visited except at meal time.  
We went there for every major holiday plus a lot of other visits.
Then through my parents divorce there was a time where we didn't really talk at all.
However as an adult after moving out, I decided to make the leap on my own and call.  For years I have called approximately monthly.  
While the calls didn't really lead to much more than a little bit of "I was thinking of you", it was still good.  
I even added in a few visits which is hard to do after a lengthy time of not visiting but it was good.
I am happy that my adult travels have lead to war stories being shared to me, and experiences of the world.  
It was a bit of a crazy Easter weekend but good to be around family all weekend.
We managed to fit in all of our parents.  This is a big deal!  
We had Easter at our house on Good Friday with a bacon and egg breakfast and Easter Bunny goodies.
Saturday morning we did the Listowel Easter egg hunt which the kids LOVED, lunch with my mom and siblings and my niece and nephews.  
Dinner with Brian's mom, sister Julie and GG Stock.  
Sunday was with my dad.  Then late in the day we went to St. Jacobs to get floor grates for the great room.  We slept at Brian's sister's house.
Monday the kids died Easter eggs in the morning and then it was lunch with Brian's dad before taking Brian to the airport.  It was a packed weekend!

- Leanne Verkley

E A S T O N

This past week while Easton was doing his homework... as Hadley did hers, he wrote his entire name.
Up until now we had been working on E and A while Hadley did her homework.
Then this week after writing his entire name with his finger in the dust at the new house on the dryer, he was able to translate that into writing it with a marker.
I was so proud!
It looked more like Ep5tDh.  But it was still AWESOME!

- Leanne Verkley

Hooray for family!

This week has been crazy busy to say the least.  
On Sunday, Brian, Easton and I headed up to the house to do some work while Hadley attended a birthday party for her best friend Mahima.  She was so excited to go.  It was a Barbie theme and she had a great time!  
Sunday night both Hadley and Easton were up through the night.  Easton for a stuffy nose, and Hadley... well, I am not really sure.  In any case I kept her home from school on Monday because she was up ALL night.
Tuesday it was back to crazy.  I mean school.  Hadley had a field trip to see a musical, then the kids started swimming lessons, and that night Brian's mom came to babysit so Brian and I could have a date night at the Leafs game.  Which they won 3-2.  :)
Wednesday Brian's uncle Jeff, aunt Teresa and cousin Josh came to help with the electrical at the house.  Brian's mom watched Easton during the day while Hadley was at school and I ran around to 4 different Home Depot's to get a lot of the light fixtures we needed for the house.  Each home depot only had a few, none of them could order from one store to have it shipped to a local store, nor could they confirm they would re-order if the shelves were emptied, and the fixtures we picked were in store lights only... you couldn't buy online.  So... I did the run around.  Special shout out to my mother in law here for allowing me to do this without kids.  Thursday was more electrical work, staining and more trips to Home Depot.  Friday I had a counter top measuring for the kitchen in the morning, groceries in the afternoon (much needed), and then in the evening we took the kids to the Blue Jays home opener.  (Which they loved)!  The both looked awesome in their new Jays baseball hats.  Hadley got a pink one and Easton a blue one.  They needed summer sun hats so this was a great opportunity to get them.  There was popcorn, peanuts, and the like.  It was quite special for them.  Brian's aunt Cecilia and sister Julie also joined in the fun... as well as Julie's friend Catherine.  We also briefly bumped into Brian's aunt Nora and uncle Ed!
Saturday Brian's dad stayed over after being at the Jays game to help with house stuff.  He did some work on paint repairs and then he and I went to Lowes (mostly because I was tired of going to Home Depot) to get supplies to start work on the rock wall in the great room.  
We tried to rent a van to transport these things back however that didn't work out so we loaded it all into the van and made due.  
By end of day, the boards were up and ready for drywall.
I also got one more closet door frame stained.  
Two more frames to go and the upstairs will have all the door frames stained.  Hoping that is tomorrows success story.  :)
It is 12:37am, and I just did the banking.  Thank goodness for online banking.  
Time for bed.  Tomorrow is another busy day.  


- Leanne Verkley

2014-04-05 23:41:08

Special thanks to Brian's dad for all his help this weekend!  Couldn't have done it without him!

- leanne

2014-04-07 21:04:41

The time capsule is now in the wall.  Loved putting this together.  Blueprints, photos of our family doing the house build, a scrapbooked paper with our last name, a loonie and our names and signatures.  

- leanne

Hadley turned 7

I just realized that I didn't blog about Hadley's 7th birthday.  
Well it was an eventful week.  
On her birthday Brian was actually in Montreal.  
However we celebrated with my friend Shaye, Brian's dad, and our friends Ryan and Shawn the weekend before as we were putting flooring in at the new house in the upstairs.  So there was cake and people around.
Then on her actual birthday we ate more cake and used facetime to talk with Brian.
Then... on the weekend just after her birthday we had a family birthday party on Saturday, followed by a friends party on Sunday.
I was glad to see much of our family and especially glad to see my sister's kids play with Hadley and Easton.  
Sunday we celebrated at the Real Canadian Superstore.  Hadley had a friends cooking party.  They made pizza, fruit salad and cupcakes.
It was a lot of fun and I think Hadley felt super special.  
Much thanks to those who helped to celebrate on whichever day.  She was happy to see all and was quite thankful for all the presents.  :)

- Leanne Verkley

Teamwork

This morning Hadley's class did an assembly on teamwork.  Hadley was awarded a bracelet for her teamwork contribution.  Then she was in charge of handing out the other bracelets to those who earned it.  I think she liked this job.  
Hadley was happy to wave at us in the audience.  I love seeing her up there as well.  So cute.  
After the assembly I was happy about having a real conversation with Mahima's mom who seems really nice.  I find it hard to get to know the other mom's at the school and Mahima is one of Hadley's closest friends.  So I was glad to have this opportunity.  Her mom is off on maternity leave with Mahima's new baby brother.
I knew who she was because she dropped Mahima off at Hadley's birthday party last weekend.
Perhaps this will result in some play-dates.  :)


  

- Leanne Verkley

Sick Kiddos

So Easton has been vomiting sick now for 5 days.  However yesterday was only once.  So hopefully he is on the mend.  Hadley however went to bed last night with a fever and woke up with one.  (At least she slept all night).  
Still... she has been off school for a very long time now.  Well our month long vacation plus last week was March break.  (Of course she was healthy for the entire March break).
So... this morning... I am keeping her home.  Hoping not to spread whatever is in our household to her school.

Much thanks to the team of Brian, John (Brian's dad), Ryan, and Shawn for doing the wood flooring this weekend on the upstairs of the new house.  It looks GREAT!

- Leanne Verkley

Back home

Sunday we took the day just to be at home, and TRY to put a few things away.  The kids played with every toy they own so the house is turned upside down.
We also went to the new house just to check in on the changes from when we were away, and then we went to order a counter top.  (It should be ready sometime within the next three weeks).  
Monday the kids and I spent all day at the house.  I stained a lot of the baseboards.  I think I have another day of it to go.
8 hours of staining and I was ready to go home.  The kids were actually great all day and spent a lot of it playing in the snow just outside the window where I was doing my work.  The day was quite nice.
Tuesday and Wednesday.  Easton has been vomiting sick.  I think I got 3 hours sleep last night.  (Not in a row).  
The power went out.  Having a sick child without power in the night is not as much fun as it sounds.  It is a crazy snow storm outside today.
Hadley has loved being at home doing whatever she wants with her Barbies mostly.  She also made a birthday wish list, painted, played with her my little ponies and we played a game.  Plus Wii time.
After the power came back on, the washer and dryer have been going all day to try to catch up from a month of being away and then all the blankets from Easton's sickness.  UGH.
Welcome home Verkley family.  Welcome home.  

- Leanne Verkley

2014-03-12 15:30:09

Oh... Got my mail yesterday.  It may take me all week to go through.  

- leanne

2014-03-12 15:37:27

Oh.  Somehow I managed to loose 2.1 pounds while away.  Yay!  
Now to get back on weight watchers tracking.  (Down 18.8 pounds to date).  

- leanne

Olympics Trip - Part 3 - Turkey

Day 1 and 2
We arrived at the Sochi airport late (felt really late to the kids) but they managed okay.  Our flight was at 1:20 am and having them awake to walk was easier.
Easton fell asleep briefly but woke up as I had to take off his jacket to be checked.
Our wait for our flight included some cartoons on the playbook.  
They actually both stayed awake during the flight (less than an hour).
When we arrived in Trabzon, Turkey after walking off the plane outside, Hadley was quite surprised that this ever happened.  She has always walked right into the airport. Once inside we lined up for our Visa.  We had multiple currency's but apparently not enough of the currency they wanted.  So a nice chap from Liverpool paid for all four of us on the promise we would pay him back once we found a bank machine on the other side.  Plus the customs line let us in front because we had two kids.  Wow!  
By this time it felt like 4 am and the kids were DONE!  I sat on a bench while Brian found a bank machine.
The kids fell asleep instantly.
After paying back our debt we asked a cab driver to take us to a hotel we had previously looked up.  We could see it from the airport.
He made some calls to check availability (I think) and then took us to Uckale Otel.  It was only minutes from the airport.  The room was small but only about $60 cdn for the night and that included the best Turkish breakfast!  The kids especially loved the cucumbers.  But for me there was just a bit of everything brought out with a nice Turkish tea.
From here we actually walked to the airport to rent a car.  It was that close.  It felt far with luggage and two sleeping kids the night before.
We got a rental car and were on our way.
We headed from Trabzon to Giresun along the Black Sea.  Stopping for a park play for the kids.  (There were huge parks very often along this road).  The kids loved stopping for the park.
There were about 15 or so men digging and planting trees by hand and about 5 women hoeing the ground around the park.  There was a new section to the park being added.  I felt noticed without a head scarf.
Then we headed south through the mountains to Sivas.
This entire drive took about 10 hours.  The kids were mostly patient which was good.  The view was unbelievable.
The housing in the mountains were mostly concrete buildings with lots of apartment buildings and farmers huts.  I will describe them as WELL WORN.  Lots with just the concrete window no glass at all.  About 5 degrees Celsius in these parts.  The mountains were steep and there were rickety bridges with old grey wood and zip lines that I would never trust that came down from the houses.
Amazing to see these things off the beaten path.
At the top of the mountains there was snow.  Down at the bottom it got up to 12 Celsius but it was night time.
We stopped at a gas station for snacks and two gentleman got up from what seemed to be an accounting table with paperwork and slips every where.  They were very happy to shake our hands.  We were Canadian.
We got to Sivas and all of a sudden we were in the city.  We got a hotel,  the elevator was the size to fit four squished people and nothing else.  I bathed the kids while Brian went outside to find some fresh fruit (where he found being a Canadian in these parts is kind of like being a celebrity).  
In the morning the kids tried some Turkish pastries, cheeses and other fun things for breakfast.
Brian took us to the market to buy more fruit for our drive today and he was right, they were so helpful and nice.  The produce looked great!
While checking out of the hotel the person behind the counter made it very clear that she loved Hadley's blonde hair.  All of the maids wanted to kiss Easton.  He was happy to oblige.  
Now on our way again.
Public toilets on the road are quite a new experience.  A hole in the ground.  Hadley is getting the hang of it sort of.  Easton doesn't love them even though going outside standing up is perfectly fine for him.
It seems to be 50/50 if you get these toilets or western style toilets.
We arrived in Goreme just after 4 pm.  The buildings are carved out of the rock.  It looks like there are windows carved in the mountains.  We took some pretty steep crazy roads and one required a little engine revving.  Diesel smells bad!  
However the hotel is awesome!  
700 years old. There is so much history here.  The guy who rented us our room was born in this hotel.  They used to make wine here in our room. Right where the kids are sleeping.  Many years before, our bathroom was a stable.
It is so odd to have wifi in such an old space.
We went to town and we were able to try out pottery making.  It takes some serious skill.
We left our art pieces to be re-sculpted into other pieces and bought a cool dish for 15 Turkish lira.  About $7.
The kids were gifted a key chain and ring.  Both had price tags of 25 Turkish Lira but our kids were just handed them.  Wow what a cool experience.  They showed us all the steps to making the pottery even the painting room.  
Fun!

Day 3 February 26, 2014
This morning I woke up at 6am (just before sunrise) and headed up three flights of stairs to enjoy breakfast and wait for the hot air balloons to take off.  Apparently they have anywhere from 50 to 125 of them go every day even in winter.  
I waited with my Turkish tea for about an hour and then... I saw them.  The first one anyway... So I went and woke the rest of the family.  They joined me for breakfast in the sun room as we watched the balloons soar over the land.  It truly was a beautiful thing.
If the kids were older than age seven we may have tried riding in one.  (Another time).  Still a very cool experience to watch!
The rest of the day was spent exploring the caves.  Including Derinkuyu Underground City.  Before we went underground we went through town and found almost no life but then one restaurant had more than one person in it.  So we had chicken (made like gyros) with rice and bread.  Actually quite tastey.
There was no menu, no price but sure we will take it.  It turned out to be reasonably priced.  :)
After lunch we explored about 10% of an 85m deep underground city!  While we thought it was cool and historical the kids thought it was like a play place.  Brian was too tall for some of the stairways and was crawling. Hadley had to bend over once so that gives you an idea.
It was a labyrinth of carved out stables, bedrooms, storage rooms, churches, baptism spaces, confessionals, wineries, wells, and tunnels to the next towns.  Big enough to hold 10 000 people if an enemy attacked.
We paid an additional 40 Turkish Lira (about $20 CDN) to have a tour guide.  This was both interesting and helpful in the labyrinth.
There were some shops outside and Brian and I decided to buy a cool carved art piece of the caves that we stayed in.  We have no idea yet how we will get home.  But it was only 15 Turkish Lira ($7 CDN).  Maybe I will wear a few sweaters on the airplane.  :)  .
Now on to Konya.  
After arriving just after 8 pm to a city that was full of conferences in town, we didn't want to pay for it but we were faced with staying in a suite.  So we enjoyed a nice Turkish kebap dinner and then headed to the pool.  
Afterwards Brian and Hadley enjoyed the hot tub in our room.  Then I stayed with the kids to put them to bed as it was almost midnight while Brian went to check out the lounge.  Our room came with two free cocktails in the lounge so he enjoyed the live Turkish music and ambiance.

Day 4
Today was a long day on the road.  We drove through the centre of Konya which was a bit crazy with a potential world heritage sight being considered in the centre of the round about.
So we left town to check out an actual world heritage sight.  We drove some crazy old country roads, got some strange looks from the locals when we took wrong turns, and were gifted apples from the gas station attendant.  
We arrived at Catalhoyuk.  Pronounced with a ch at the beginning.
Here we found an excavation sight that is one of the earliest cities ever dating back to 7500 BC.
It is a mound where they are excavating houses.  The small houses are all built side by side with no streets, doors or windows.  The people who lived here would climb across roof tops and down ladders into their homes.  
There were two active excavation sights covered in tents, nobody was working today.  With no other visitors we had the place to ourselves.  
After this we drove through some rural Turkey.
When we hit small towns we saw everything from dirt roads to brick layed roads.  We saw goats being herded, 4 cows just walking toward us on the road with no person with them.  However they did have tagged ears and it was clear one was very pregnant.  We saw chickens crossing the road.  One old man clapped for is as we went through town.
We drove through snow covered mountains and 16 degree Celsius weather.  
I find it so interesting to hear prayers through the Mineret speakers everywhere in Turkey.
Again we arrived in Antalya to our hotel after 8pm.  

Day 5
After checking into our hotel we found it to be more resort like than the others.  So instead of rushing along we decided to take the day and call it... Kid day.
We took the kids to the Anyalya aquarium where there were tunnels of fish swimming all around us.  A bit pricey but it was winter and there were only a few people there so that part was really nice.
Then the kids chose McDonalds for lunch.  (It was attached to the aquarium).  This was followed by Mediterranean beach time.  Hadley really wanted some shells so we made it our mission to find some. We found about ten or so and she was quite happy!  Brian was happy because he could finally where his shorts in February.  (February 28th but still).  It was plus 19 Celcius today.  Back home it was -24.
After our wonderful all inclusive dinner buffet we took the kids for a swim.  I think they loved their day.  As did we.

Day 6
Today we visited the hotsprings.
Pamukkale unesco world heritage site.  Meaning cotton castle.
The city contains hot springs and travertines, terraces of carbonate minerals left by the flowing water.
The town was built near the hot springs.  There were some ruins dating back all the way to 200 BC.
There were many burial sites and a theatre.  The best part though was putting our feet in the hot springs.  It was a nice walk.  The kids found it to be long so they were thankful that there was a bus to take back to the gate.  We later arrived in Kusadasi and I found the roads to be very stressful. I am not the best navigator at the best of times but these roads felt vertical.  We eventually parked and then walked a few blocks to our hostel. (Up hill).  A girl named Sandra gave us a room with one bed and breakfast for 75 Lira.  (About $40).  In the morning we also learned that most of the housing is vacant because if you wanted to renovate you would have to do it in the old style and this could be quite expensive.  (I don't know how any machines would navigate the roads).  Also the road up to our hostel used to be good but they dug up the concrete from ancient times to lay down brick which was washed by the rain and terrible almost immediately.  

Day 7 March 2
Today we went to Ephesus and walked around some pretty amazing ruins.  Including a really old library that is seen in many photos when you look it up on the internet.  (Celcus).  
The kids were happy with all the stray cats.  (All of them pretty calm).
It was rainy but after driving in a one way with no option but to pay to enter we went for the walk anyway.  Kids in snow pants to try to keep them dry. We also bought an umbrella.  
About halfway through our walk the sun came out and it was hot!  Easton was having a day where being carried was necessary.  Hadley was having a motivated day where listening perfectly has earned her ice cream later.  She is being generous and kind as well.
Next we stopped at the house of Mary.  It is said this is the place where Jesus' mother lived out her final days.
While it was a cool old building, I found it to be more of a shrine and money grab.  I was surprised that inside had no chimney so I don't know how she would have cooked.  (Different from other buildings that clearly show a hole in the roof).
The kids did great being quiet while we were in there though.  If it was her house it would have been quite a hike up hill from town as it took us 15 minutes to drive there.  
Maybe it was maybe not.  
Still it is clear that lots of people think so.
After this we went to the ferry to cross Izmar harbour.  The kids really like this and Hadley decided that she would use some if her Turkish Lira coins in the machine to buy a drinking box.  
We got to Ayvalik late and found a Dominoes Pizza.  We spent quite a bit of time in here actually since we met a travelling Brit (who we shared many stories with) heading to Australia by motorcycle. Plus the workers kept giving our kids balloons.  (The restaurant was empty for a lot of time here so we just them play).  Then we went to navigate the skinny (sometimes one way) roads and eventually found our hotel at around 11pm.

Day 8
Today was kind of a boring day.  It was basically all driving.  We took a little longer at meal times, we tried to take the kids to the beach along the drive but it rained most of the day.
We did find some more shells for Hadley though.  She was happy about that.  
We ended up in Canakkale.  We spent some time people watching after dinner.  
It has been days without internet so we took some time for that and then bed.

Day 9
This morning we walked by the water front and saw the Trojan horse that was used in the 2004 movie Troy.  (With Brad Pitt).  Kinda cool but rainy so we didn't stay out long.
Then we headed to Troia.  Here we spent a few hours walking and exploring the city.  The rain had stopped.  The ruins were cool to walk around as always.  The kids loved the cave at the end.  Brian and I loved the theatre.  The weather was perfect.  Not hot, not cold, clouds with a blue sky.
We all thought it was cool to climb up into a replica horse.
By 4:30 pm we were hungry and headed to town for lunch and then we got on the ferry at 5:15pm to Kilitbahir.
From here it was a long drive to Istanbul.  

Day 10
Today we took the rental car back to the airport and then taxi'd back to the hotel.  Our hotel is minutes away from the grand bazaar.  So we spent the afternoon exploring.  We took some time to let a rug sales man show us his entire store.  The kids loved asking for rugs to be brought out on the floor for display.  We saw all five floors and the kids enjoyed it very much.  There were some really expensive and beautiful rugs!!!
Afterwards the workers even navigated us to a great restaurant for lunch.  :)
While exploring, Hadley managed to get some free bracelets for her and Easton.  I got some Turkish delight and we also found a carrier for the iPod touch that fits Hadley to hang like a saddle bag.  8tl or about $4 CDN.
I eventually found a set of Turkish tea cups with saucers.  $20 US.  The building was huge, old and beautiful.
After this we had some pool time back at the hotel and then dinner.  It was raining so we ordered some fries in the hotel pub to go along with our curtesy drinks.  Then when the rain had slowed we headed around the corner to what looked like a locals only type place.  We had bbq'd lamb which wasn't all that tasty despite how good it looked.  But the grilled sea bass was enjoyed by all of us.  
On the way back to the hotel Easton said to me.. This is crazy good fun!

Day 11
Today we spent the day in and around Topkapi Museum.  
First we enjoyed some time walking around the Park.  We brought a ball and played catch for a while.  Then the kids were happy when we found a playground.  (We didn't think there would be one so it was a nice surprise). Brian and I got a little bench break when the kids convinced some local girls to push them on the swings.  Hadley was happy that they understood English.
Lunch was at an outdoor cafe looking over the water.  Brian had tea but today is the first day of lent and I chose tea this year.  Hard to give up, especially since I just bought some awesome new tea cups.  Still the view was nice.
After lunch we explored in the museum.  Rooms filled with jewels, clothing, rugs and other beautiful things.  We saw pools of water, maps, old written script, and swords.
The flowers made spring feel close.
It was a beautiful day to be outside.  
So nice that we took a ferry ride at sunset just to enjoy time on the water.  We got some nice photos.
We stepped off the boat to put our feet in Asia and then got back on and returned to Europe.
After dinner we had ice cream at a local shop and the kids some how managed to be offered a free refill.
How??? No idea.  The locals are so generous!  The kids cheeks must be sore from the pinches but they don't seem to mind as it is usually followed by free stuff.  

Day 12
Today was a busy one.  The weather was supposed to be the same as yesterday... But it wasn't.  More on how cold it actually was later.
The morning started with a nice walk though the street markets by the grand bazaar followed by the spice market.  Of course the kids were gifted sweet treats here.  Brian and I bought some tea and some treats for the airport. The colours and displays were fabulous!
From here we went outside to find someone selling food for the pigeons.  Well Easton didn't need food he just wanted to run through them.  Hadley soon joined in the fun.  
We then walked on to see a rug being made in a store on our way to lunch.  The time and effort put into them is amazing!  Lunch was in a windowed sunroom.  We ordered a large Turkish plate of meats and rice with fresh tortillas to share.  Hadley really wanted a hamburger and french fries but she was pleasantly surprised that this too could be enjoyable .  From here we went to Hagia Sophia.  This museum was built in 537.  It was the worlds largest cathedral for nearly 1000 years!  The mosaics inside show history of the Christian church but the painted ceilings show how it was decorated for a mosque.  The building is huge!
This was not the most favourite place for the kids but beautiful and maybe later they will appreciate the photos.
From here we headed to The Blue Mosque.  I was glad that they offered free head scarves as I did not have one nor did I know where to buy one.  The experience was cool.  We had to take our shoes off which somehow made the kids understand that there were rules to be followed.  They were pretty quiet and attentive as we took it all in.  It too was a magnificently beautiful building.  
After leaving, the kids were quite cold so we decided dinner was in order.  We found a heated rooftop patio with views of both buildings.  However Easton was literally shivering (Brian was hot with just a t - shirt).  The restaurant brought blankets for the kids and we gave them our coats but when a table inside opened up we moved into a space were I thought I might get sun burnt from the heat.  (Just kidding but it was warm and they were the heat from above type.  The type we know from hockey arenas).  
Brian ordered a fish meal which looked great.  The kids devoured spaghetti.  Easton had sauce all over him but he thoroughly enjoyed it.  I had a clay pot meal.  It was a stew cooked on hot coals in a clay pot.  The presentation to bring it to me was cool with flames and a sword to open the pot.  Plus it tasted great!
We had a banana split for dessert and then took a few night photos outside of the mosques before taking the tram back to our hotel.   Just outside the tram stop was a purse shop and I found one to replace my broken one that I now carried.  A Burberry knock off for 10 Lira plus 10 American.  About $15 CDN.  
Now it was time to collect our luggage from the hotel and move to the hotel near the airport.  
Once we got there my hips were incredibly sore.  (They have been very sore through out the trip but now so sore that laying down was necessary and yet painful).  
The troops are all asleep as I write this post.  2am.  Hoping to find a comfortable sleeping position soon.
Tomorrow we fly home.  

- Leanne Verkley

Olympics Trip - Part 2 - Russia

Moscow
After taking all day yesterday to travel.  Three trains a plane and a taxi, we arrived in Moscow, Russia.  The day was long and with a three hour time change we had time for McDonalds dinner (which we managed to overcome the language barrier and order two chicken nugget happy meals and two Big Mac meals)... And then bed.... At the Ritz Carlton... Upgraded to the suite.  
It was already free on Brian's points but this was just the icing on the cake.  
Today we walked around Red Square.  We saw the outside of the Kremlin, we toured St. Basil's Cathedral museum (Beautiful) and skated outside in the square.  It was awesome!  Both kids tried figure skating for the first time because they didn't have hockey skates in kids sizes.
Dinner was at a Russian restaurant in the hotel called Cafe Russe.  I had the beef and bacon cutlet with cranberry sauce.  Basically meatloaf wrapped in bacon.  Brian had the dumplings...Pelmeni.
Plus we splurged and got some caviar.  Brian is a fan.  The rest of us tasted it and that was enough.  
After dinner we took the kids swimming in a beautiful pool in the hotel.  It looked like stars above us with the lighting and the black bottom pool.  The hot tub was also quite nice.  
A nice relaxing way to end the day.

28 hours
The train was 28 hours long and the kids did amazing.  We only watched one movie and then our devices were unusable as we forgot our plug adapters at home.  With dominoes, puzzles and a few other games we made do. The kids loved playing on the top bunk.
The restaurant on board was expensive.  The food was ok.  
The train seemed old and language was a definite barrier.  Still our pod with four beds was good for us.  The ride didn't feel long.  The scenery was birch birch and more birch trees.  Mostly flat land like south western Ontario flat.  Snow until we went to sleep and then none.  When we got close to Sochi we saw hills and the mountains and the Black Sea.
We had Valentines day dinner at a pizzeria and then got the keys to our condo.  After taking our things to our place we went grocery shopping.  

Day 1 Olympics
We learned a lot today.  It takes about half an hour by train to get to Olympic Park.  The train is right outside our condo.  
Waiting in line for our spectator passes we learned that it is actually hot here.  T shirt hot.  Resort temperatures by day and later at night... Spring night weather.  There are palm trees here.
Russians love Canadians!  After the 2.5 hour wait we were only half way through the line and then the crowd ushered us to the front because we had small children.  It turned out we got to the front but we sure were not supposed to be there but... Of course the people in charge fixed it and we got our spectator passes.  I am sure this saved us an additional 2.5 hours.  Later another Russian came up to me and asked me to trade my Canada mittens for a Russian hat.  Sure.  I have another pair at home and it is warm here.  
We went to the USA vs Russia hockey game today.  The kids were quite into it.  It was tied at the end of the game, tied again at the end of over time and at the end of 8 shots in shoot outs USA won.  
After the game we were quite hungry. Brian was in line for hot dogs  conversing with three Russians via Google translate on a tablet.  Russians love Canadians!
Today was Brian's birthday.  I think we celebrated well.  Ending with a toast to celebrate with vodka and OJ.  

It's now 3am and I feel a little homesick.  Normally I don't feel this way on vacation.  I think the fact that we haven't had internet in days is getting to me.  I just want to let people back home know we are okay.  Plus there is so much house stuff in my head that I can't seem to shake.


Today we found a USB plug adapter so now we can charge most of our devices (just not my camera battery).  However, so far Brian's phone has been charging all night and is at 65%.
I still have 26% charge left. Hoping to wake in an hour or so to switch the cables.

Olympics Day 2
Always learning.  After giving away my mittens yesterday today is COLD!  I miss my mittens.  I wouldn't be so upset but I found out today that the hat she traded me was size 5-8 kids.  It looks great on Hadley!  
However, I am wearing a sweater with pockets and not a winter coat so all is still good.  
After leaving our condo this morning we bumped into about 15 Canadian media guys.  Awesome!
We went to the Canada house today but only family and friends of Olympians were invited in.  We were disappointed.  As were many others.
However, the Canadians outside were still really friendly.  
We also met a really nice couple from the Netherlands.  They gave the kids pins with Dutch wooden shoes on them and we gave them a Canada pin.  
At the Russia vs Slovakia mens hockey game Russia won in the best two of three shoot outs.  The kids both proudly chant RU SSI A.   Someone gave Easton a hockey pin and another person gave Hadley a coin with the Olympic characters on it.  
Later still at the Samsung building both kids were gifted pins (where it was actually noted that none were left).  Hadley remembered that we should gift back and gave a Canada pin.  All over people recognize our Canada gear and ask to take our photo.  Tonight we watched the end of the Canada Finland hockey game and Canada won in overtime!!!  
Oh...We got internet for our phones today.  Hooray!
I feel connected!  

On a side note, food consumption and weight watchers don't seem to be going well.  Some days I eat high points worth of food other days we miss meals and walk lots.

Day 3
Today we have no sporting events.  Time to try to figure out the Russian washing machine.  
The condo has "just enough" of everything.  One bowl, blankets that just cover us, walk space that allows us to shimmy (I may fold up my rock hard cot tonight and sleep on the pull out couch with the kids).  The kitchen table is big enough to charge our devices so they don't get stepped on.  The hot water is "just enough" to make you want a quick shower.  There are mugs and wine glasses.  There are two chairs but we are constantly moving coats from the chairs to the cot.  The stove will keep water boiling with a lid but not otherwise.
The food from the grocery store is backyard fresh.  The apples look like they were just picked off the tree not like we see at home with barely a blemish.  The bananas are yellow and ready to eat right away not green.  (Eat today or make banana bread tomorrow).  Eggs are farm fresh with feathers on the eggs.  Toilet paper doesn't come on rolls.  I mean it is rolled just no cardboard tube in the middle.
I figured out the washing machine!
The cot is folded up... The place feels so much bigger.
Later we ventured around Sochi finding flowers in bloom including tulips, and daffodils.  We found a Bosco store (the official  Sochi gear store) and got me (and Brian) some Olympic mittens.  :)
They were completely sold out of hats!  Now that I have new mitts I am happy for the trade I made especially  since Hadley loves the hat so much.
We had planned to take a boat from Sochi to Trabzon Turkey.  Thankfully we did not pre pay for this as the Port of Sochi has been closed by the Russian government to all ferry traffic.  So we will have to find another way.

Day 4
Today was another day off.  So we bundled up and ventured in the rain to the mountain cluster.  We thought we would see snow after travelling over an hour by train but instead it was lots of mud, grass and more rain.  If we had tickets we could have gone up the gondolas but no such luck.  
We did however find a kids play area where a little Russian girl quickly decided that her English was good enough to play with Hadley and Easton.  Afterwards we gave her a Canada pin and she was so excited.
After exploring all day and finding very little we went out for dinner, got a few more groceries and headed to the condo for some time just relaxing and travel research. (And moving laundry around to dry indoors as there is no dryer).

Day 5
Today after playing with the kids at the condo we went to the airport. It felt a little like we were on the TV show The Amazing Race.  We originally thought we would boat to Trabzon Turkey but with the ports closed we needed a plan B.  So after spending almost all afternoon in the airport we now have almost impossible tickets to get out of Russia on the last day of the Olympics.  (The day our Visa expires). Yes, there was a running through the airport part to acquiring the tickets.  
We went for an evening walk by our condo and managed to somehow get a Russian guard to open a locked gate to the Black Sea.  The kids threw rocks in the water for bit.  I put my fingers in the cold water, Brian took photos.
Tonight I made a chicken and rice dinner.  I miss fruit and vegetables.  I mean I have about one a day here but nothing like in Canada.  
We also found out the Russian men's hockey team will not be playing for Gold.

Day 6
We arrived at Olympic Park yesterday at 2pm and left at 2am.
It was a fun filled day wandering around the park.  The kids loved that we found a kids park inside.  The kids also got to hug the bear mascot.
The high light of course was going to the women's gold medal hockey game.  It was so cool to see so many Canadians.  
The CBC couldn't resist interviewing the kids once they heard Easton in line yelling go Canada go!  Hadley told them how we put a lucky loonie in the wishing well by the Olympic flame.  We sat with the CBC Team and one American.  
Hadley quickly made friends and received many pins.  She was very excited.  The American (who was dating a Canadian later converted to a Canadian fan).  Easton was awake until just a minute before the first period ended.  In his defence it was 9:41pm.
The first two periods were okay hockey but we were down by two.  Then the last three minutes we scored two and won in overtime!  It was awesome!  I hope Hadley holds this memory.  Based on the last Olympics Easton may be too little.  Still he will have photos.  
After singing we are the the national anthem and we are the champions we stayed until they ushered us out.
Just outside the door Hadley high five 'd a whole row of volunteers (twice). And both kids hugged some other volunteers who were holding a free hug sign.  Lots of people wanted to have a photo with us.  Brian exchanged his Canada hat with a volunteer.  The kids loved the attention.  I felt proud to be Canadian.  Apparently we were seen on TV back home.  
It was great to connect via Facebook on the train ride back to our condo.
The kids were very tired at 2am.

Day 7
Today we slept in a little.  Then the afternoon was spent in Olympic Park exploring the Russian exposition buildings.  The kids were showered with small gifts because of their Canadian gear which they loved!  They even dressed in traditional costumes.  Then we headed to our final ticketed event... Speed skating.  Canada lost two of the three races but still competes tomorrow for bronze. Easton slept through most of it.  
Afterwards we went to the House of Switzerland to have dinner and watch the Canadian men win the semi final hockey game.  The kids traded pins and we talked to many people.  Then after the win we walked through the bar area (at around midnight) and the kids were hugged and high five'd and shown how much Canada loves them!  (Since the Canada house is only open to the Olympians and their families, a lot of Canadians head to the Swiss house).  Good times!!!

Day 8
Today we had the day to explore the Dendrarium botanical gardens.  
In February things are green with some flowers.  
We spent four hours wandering the park.  I wasn't feeling so well (something stomach related... Not sure) but it went okay.  We took a gondola to the top of the hill which the kids loved and wandered down.
It was a cool day, like an early spring day.
I should mention that there are many strays here.  Both dogs and cats.  However all that we have come across have been tame and friendly.  The kids love them.

Day 9
Today we went for a walk around Khosta where our condo is.  We saw many shops, went to a local fair where the kids enjoyed some rides.  Including the merry go round, the air planes that they got to control themselves and cars that they were able to drive around.  
We also spent some time at the beach building castles and inukshuks.  
For dinner we went to the local Pizzeria to watch the Gold medal men's hockey game.  Canada wins!  
We were the only Canadians there so it wasn't quite the same experience as being at the women's gold medal game in person.
After the game we went to the beach to watch the sunset.  The Olympics close tonight.  Time to pack up and head to the airport.

- Leanne Verkley

Olympics Trip - Part 1 - Switzerland

Did I mention that Hadley's teacher is awesome!  Hadley expressed some concern that she would be missing valentines day and so on the Friday before we left Hadley was able to hand out her valentines and everyone in the class made one for her.  Awesome!

Day 1 and 2 of our trip.  Let's label these days travel.  In Toronto we experienced the Air Canada lounge as a family for the first time.  There was a kids area with a tv and space for them to be loud.  Plus free food.  All good. Nice to use some of Brian's travel perks.
Then it was off to Chicago where, due to a rain delay we only had an hour to run to the next plane.  We got on and settled in for the long haul.  Time became all mixed up.  Dinner was served at what felt like 10pm with breakfast at 5am... Then all I knew was that we got off the plane and it was mid morning local time... Ok... Just go with it.
The kids did amazingly well with the time change and stayed up until 8pm local.  Although we really had to work on keeping Easton awake during dinner.
Now it is 8:30pm... Everyone but me is out cold.  I suppose I should get some sleep too.

Ski day in the Alps
Hadley and Easton took to the slopes like naturals.  The carpet ride up worked awesome with the kids.  Basically like the walking sidewalks in the airport.  Hadley upgraded to the rope tow by the end of the day.  
Both kids said they couldn't wait to go skiing again when we had our fondue dinner.
So excited that we finally got the kids out skiing and so cool for them to say that their first time skiing was in the Swiss Alps.  

- Leanne Verkley

10 %

Since September I have been following the weight watchers plan and attending meetings.  
So this morning when I went to weigh in, I found I had lost another 1.6 pounds.  
My total is 16.7 pounds over 20 weeks.
I was 0.1 pounds away from loosing 10% but since we are going on a month vacation, they let me celebrate anyway.  :)  I got a key ring.  
This big thing for me is that I am mentally in a good place to hopefully tackle a month away in a foreign land.  (We will see as I wont be eating the same things).  
This measurement found most areas unchanged with one inch lost in my chest.
I can see spring around the corner.  I must stay focused.  

  

- Leanne Verkley

I am slowly going crazy 123456 switch, crazy going slowly am I 654321 switch

This past month has been crazy busy.  Brian travelled for work for two of the weeks, and worked like crazy in the evenings and weekends on the house.  
I too am exhausted.  The kitchen and laundry room floors had to be finished, which was hours of work.  The grouting was easier than expected but still took a lot of time.  There have been appliances delivered so that cabinetry could be placed properly.  (We are still waiting on the stove and fronts for the cabinets).  I stained and finished the front door.  2 coats of stain and 2 coats of finish.  
I finished the powder room brick wall.  That felt good.  
I placed orders for door handles and door stops.  
And in my free time, I visited the Russian Embassy in Toronto three times to get travel Visa's for our family.  
Of course this is the week that Hadley's skating helmet was out grown, it had been tight for a while but last week I could barely get it on her head so that was another to do.
I have been averaging 5 hours of sleep per night.  
I think vacation will be good.  
Tonight it was necessary to do some cleaning, pay some bills, and bath the kids.  
Brian left this afternoon for a few days after helping me start the flooring in the upstairs bathroom.  (It will be completed later but the area where the cabinetry will go needed to be done.  
Tomorrow I get to stain the trim for the entire house... we shall see how much I get done in a day.  (I have recruited help from my girlfriend Annie).  
I press on.  
I am not complaining, but rather feeling blessed by all that I have, all that I do, and all that will do and all that encourage me.  

- Leanne Verkley

Hadley's book

Hadley wrote a book at home: Barbie a tea party.
It was quite detailed and beautifully illustrated.  
She was so excited about it that she asked her school library to put it on display in hopes that someone might check it out to enjoy.
They did.  

- Leanne Verkley

The wizard of oz

Hadley's class went to a local high school to see the wizard of oz.  So naturally we though we should watch the movie as a family.
For the most part it was good but the witch scenes and the monkeys did not go over so well.  
However colour and a sparklely beautiful witch helped.
Perhaps it will be a while before viewing again though.

- Leanne Verkley

Ice cream and Apple juice

Up until this week, Easton's taste buds have been well picky.  They still are... but a few days ago be tried ice cream and said he liked it.  I was shocked!  Then tonight he tried apple juice and said yum.
Now anyone that is really close to Easton knows that he will clearly let you know that he likes milk and water and no juice or beer.
So now that juice is added in... Hmmmm... Let's hope he waits a while for the beer.

- Leanne Verkley

2014-01-25 08:23:03

Honey nut Cheerios are olso new this week.  Dry... No milk but something new.  :)

- leanne

Cute words

Nink this is Easton's word for think.  Shore is his word for sure.

- Leanne Verkley

A hard week

Last week Brian was in Vancouver, I had a cast on, I got sick and was vomiting, (insert gross clean up with one arm with two kids to take care of), and then when Brian did come home for the weekend, we did 15 hours of floor installation.  I got my cast off.  (I guess I will never really know if it was broken or not but I am glad the cast is off.  It is weak but with no time to not have a functioning hand... I press on).
This week Brian is in Calgary.
TIRED.
End rant.

Oh, and my Christmas cards that I ordered in December came in on January 8.
Normally I print them in a 24 hour service but this year I sent away and there were issues... I guess.  
Do I send them?

- Leanne Verkley

New Year

Well the holidays were busy to say the least.
We put the flooring in the laundry room , started the ditra(under layer of flooring in the kitchen, and Brian's dad painted the whole house!
New Years was fun as always with Shawn K, Shawn B and his kids and Shaye.  Lots of gaming and food!
Then two days ago while tobogganing with the kids I fell on some hidden ice on on my wrist while walking down the hill to help the kids up.
After two and a half hours in the ER, two ex-rays later, my right wrist (arm) was casted.  At this point only for protection as they couldn't find a break but guessed a possible scafoid fracture.  Which I guess doesn't always show up on ex-rays.  
I see a specialist on the 10th. Hoping for miraculous healing.  
Pain was manageable yesterday but this morning I still really feel it 2 hours after two Advil.
Small blessing:  Hadley's first bus cancellation was today.  :). Another day of rest.

- Leanne Verkley

New Year

Well the holidays were busy to say the least.
We put the flooring in the laundry room , started the ditra(under layer of flooring in the kitchen, and Brian's dad painted the whole house!
New Years was fun as always with Shawn K, Shawn B and his kids and Shaye.  Lots of gaming and food!
Then two days ago while tobogganing with the kids I fell on some hidden ice on on my wrist while walking down the hill to help the kids up.
After two and a half hours in the ER, two ex-rays later, my right wrist (arm) was casted.  At this point only for protection as they couldn't find a break but guessed a possible scafoid fracture.  Which I guess doesn't always show up on ex-rays.  
I see a specialist on the 10th. Hoping for miraculous healing.  
Pain was manageable yesterday but this morning I still really feel it 2 hours after two Advil.
Small blessing:  Hadley's first bus cancellation was today.  :). Another day of rest.

- Leanne Verkley

New Year

Well the holidays were busy to say the least.
We put the flooring in the laundry room , started the ditra(under layer of flooring in the kitchen, and Brian's dad painted the whole house!
New Years was fun as always with Shawn K, Shawn B and his kids and Shaye.  Lots of gaming and food!
Then two days ago while tobogganing with the kids I fell on some hidden ice on on my wrist while walking down the hill to help the kids up.
After two and a half hours in the ER, two ex-rays later, my right wrist (arm) was casted.  At this point only for protection as they couldn't find a break but guessed a possible scafoid fracture.  Which I guess doesn't always show up on ex-rays.  
I see a specialist on the 10th. Hoping for miraculous healing.  
Pain was manageable yesterday but this morning I still really feel it 2 hours after two Advil.
Small blessing:  Hadley's first bus cancellation was today.  :). Another day of rest.

- Leanne Verkley

Power restored

Six days after the ice storm and the power has finally been restored to the new house.  It was back down to 39 Celsius today but now we have power again.
Oh and  our neighbours are awesome!   They even cleaned out our lane today!
I got the kitchen and dining room cleaned today while Brian took the kids outside to toboggan.  They loved it and I got a lot done.
We even had a nice visit with Synthia as she rode up with Hannah (the horse).  We met Synthia in the summer when she was watching over the horses when Chris, Sarah and Mathew were away.  (Among many other times by the horses).  
I can't wait to actually live there!

- Leanne Verkley

Weight Watchers Update

Well, I am 14 weeks in.  I am down 15.6 pounds.  
There have been some hiccups but then some bigger losses to even it out.
Still, slow and steady.
I did my measurements at the beginning and the coolest thing to note is that my waist measurement has gone down 3.5 inches, my chest 1 inch, my hips 4 inches and my thighs 0.5 inches.  (Apparently I keep weight in my thighs).

- Leanne Verkley

Ice Storm 2013

This past Saturday (that's right, the Saturday before Christmas), there was an incredible ice storm.  It was so intense that everything had thick layers of crystal like water frozen to it.  While amazingly beautiful in the sunshine, it was very slippery and took out many trees and power.
So we went about our crazy Christmas hustle and bustle, a little slower due to ice, but still, business as usual.  
We added some decoration to our home-made stockings (the kids are getting into it this year), ate some of our ginger bread house, watched Christmas specials and listened to Christmas music.  Of course there was The Night Before Christmas, and the story of Jesus birth told.  
We were fortunate that our current home did not loose power like so many others, however the new house is still without power.  (It is Christmas day, now Wednesday).
So, with plumbing and drywall and other such things to worry about, we have monitored the temperature in the house.   Today it got to 36 Celsius.  
We were not really sure what our solution was to warm it up on Christmas day.
However, after a planned stop in at the neighbours to drop off gifts and have a Christmas drink, we soon found that they had a generator that they were willing to lend us for an hour or so to warm it up a few degrees.  
We managed to get it up to around 43 Celsius.  So it should be good over night.
We have such great neighbours!
Brian also got the van stuck in the process and they got him out with their tractor.  
Christmas dinner was amazing!  We got home to a perfectly cooked turkey and stuffing.  I made up some mashed potatoes and steamed green beans, and added some fresh bread!
Easton thought it was funny to pick up the remainder of the loaf and just bite into it.  Cute at 3 years old.  
Hadley got her Barbie Wii game, as well as the Mario and Sonic Sochi Winter games Wii game, and Easton a super hero cape with the letter E on it.  Amongst other fun toys like the plasma car, crokinole and much more.
Clean up may take a few days.
This is my favorite mess of the year!  



- Leanne Verkley

Implosion

So yesterday I ventured in weather that was less than desirable to Listowel to be able to celebrate my friend Lindsay's dad's 60th Birthday.  The roads were actually good... just lots of blowing snow.
Bruce was our MC at our wedding and I have known him 30 years.  So I was so happy to be able to have been there.
Brian's mom was so awesome to watch the kids and Brian was working with his uncle Jeff on the electrical at the house.
So... I had a night out and Lindsay and I caught up.  It was so nice!
Then today we had plans to have Christmas with Brian's dad.
So I drove as far as Picard Peanuts in St. Jacobs from Listowel where the kids and I went inside to get a tasty treat for the party and while inside someone came in and said...
"The license plate (insert mine here)... I just watched the back window implode.  
What?!
So we went outside and sure enough the window bits were inside the van.
NOW what?  Sunday... nothing open.  
So... Brian travelled a little farther to us instead of meeting directly at his dads and took the kids in his car while I drove the van.
I was thankful that Hadley was not in her seat at the back of the van when it happened.
After arriving at Brian's dad's house we put plastic on the van and went inside to enjoy turkey dinner with 15 of us.  We exchanged gifts and then before the storm came in full force we decided to go home.
Well... I got as far as the Ottawa exit.  Not far at all... and the plastic tore off.
So... I drove home with the heat blasted and an open back window.
It wasn't so bad.  Just a few times where I felt a gust of cold.  But for the most part I was plenty warm enough.
Brian and I arrived home at the exact same time.  We took the kids and things in the house and then went back out to sort of cover the window.  We put a garbage bag stretched out over the window.
I backed in the van so as to not overly attract attention to the broken part.
I guess I will deal with that tomorrow.
All in all, everyone is safe, which is most important and there were some fun parts to the weekend despite the not so fun window adventure.

- Leanne Verkley

2013-12-15 23:26:15

Oh ya... I forgot to mention that the party went until 3 am... with much karaoke.  
Good times!

- leanne

2013-12-15 23:28:14

Oh... when I got home I had to go to the washroom and to add to my fun day...
I dropped my phone in the toilet... so... it sits in rice.
Praying it will be fine tomorrow.

- leanne

Christmas is coming

While we still haven't had a chance to get our tree, tonight we took the kids to Ilona Park and Rigpy.
Both streets just off Liverpool in Pickering.
The first one is just plain Griswolds.  Lights, lights and more lights... EVERYWHERE!
The second one is a light/sound show.
I love Christmas lights and this was a nice way to get our family into the Christmas spirit.  

- Leanne Verkley

Sick

Well Hadley was out of school for a week and then  we finally sent her back to school with just a dry cough.  Brian and Easton also had the fever for a few days but not as bad as Hadley.  I have had the dry cough for way too long but that is all.  It has been annoying but otherwise just tiring.  
The house stuff presses on.  
It feels fast this week.  Tongue and groove ceilings are half in, more timbers are up, the framing for the stove went in and the framing for the pocket doors also went in.  
Aside from this we connected the septic to the house, got the propane tank on site and filled it, and got a metre for power to the house.  We can now plug things in.  No more generators!!!  This is huge!!!
The framing around the outside if the windows are now done.  The front porch and mud room timber roof went up and were sided.
The tub was put in and the dry wall has a started.
Now to do the weekend stuff.  But first frosty the snowman on TV with the kids.

- Leanne Verkley

Key

Today the locks were put on the house.  While the house it no where near moving in.  It was still kinda cool to get the keys.

- Leanne Verkley

2013-11-25 23:33:38

Oh and the tongue and groove ceilings started in the playroom today .

- leanne

Catching up

This past week Brian took off work to catch up on some things.  (Mostly for the new house).  On top of getting the electrical approved, we worked on the brick wall in the powderroom (still more to do), we ran speaker wire, we got our doors installed, (all but the front door which isn't ready yet).  We also made multiple trips to Lowes and Home Depot and other stores to decide on door handles, flooring and other things.  We purchased our washer and dryer (with a delivery date set for later), I managed to get to the dentist, Hadley had a school trip to see Fred Penner, Brian's mom came down and gave Brian and I the opportunity to go out on a date.  (We went for drinks, and saw Captain Phillips.  - Good movie).
I was even blessed with a sleep in which never happens but was much needed.
Then I was also fortunate to have a date with Hadley to have manicures and pedicures.  Such a treat!!!
After such a busy week both Brian and Hadley are now sick with Easton and I clearly fighting it off.  
Here's hoping we are all up to full speed tomorrow.

- Leanne Verkley

House stuff

This week we have been so busy doing little stuff.  However it all adds up.
We have started the brick work in the main floor washroom, which I am proud to say is mostly my project.  Framing in the basement and upstairs were worked on.  The electrical is mostly taken care of now with only one thing left to do... hopefully later this week... until we can call to get a hydro hook up.  Plumbing and heating work took place this week.  The front porch now has stone... so hopefully Thursday we will get the cement poured for that.  Insulation starts tomorrow.  YAY!  Doors should go in this week.
I think I spent a few days just going in and out of stores to get supplies.
More to arrange and work on tomorrow.
The weather is changing and getting cold.  My hands are cracking, more clothing is required, Easton learned to pee standing up.  

- Leanne Verkley

Weight Watchers

All summer I thought about how I felt in 2005 when I went to Africa and how I was in the best shape of my life and at a great weight.  
I had reached lifetime at Weight Watchers and felt amazing.  
Then life happened.  I had two children, and my body was just not the same.  I wasn't working out of the house anymore, time at the gym and sports went on the back burner.  Somehow I let taking care of myself go by the way side.  

Then, this summer... I felt my body and my mind were working out how to get connected enough for me to get back on the train to loose the weight again.
After Hadley started school, I carved out some me time.  Every week I have put an hour aside for me at a Weight Watchers meeting.
I drop Hadley off for the bus and Easton and I go to the parent and child meeting.
I am happy to announce that after 8 weeks, I have lost 9.6 pounds, and only one week did I gain weight (Thanksgiving 2.1 pounds).  
I have lost more than 5% of my original body weight and I am motivated to continue to work at it.  
I am writing this to hopefully inspire anyone that might be thinking... now is the time for me.
I have lost the most inches in my waist.  Down 3.5 inches.  With 2 inches off my hips. and 1 off my thigh.  My chest, remains the same.  
I have three pairs of pants that are too big on me now and just keep falling down.  This is a good feeling.  
It is slow but going in the right direction.  :)



- Leanne Verkley

Meet the Moms

Last night was meet the moms at Hadley's school.  For the first time, some of the teachers decided that it was important for the moms to be able to meet the teachers and moms of the kids in grades JK-3.  As a new parent to the school this is awesome.  There was food, mingling and get to know you games.  Plus babysitting in the gym for the kids.
I managed to meet three parents of kids in Hadley's class.  (She has 18 children in her class).  
Plus I got to talk with others and Hadley's teacher.  
Although the most surprising was meeting a teacher from the KW area.  After more conversation we realized that we went to the same high school and after further conversation we realized that she grew up on the 8th line in Atwood.  This is the road Brian grew up on.
Crazy small world some times.  :)  She is older than me so I never knew her but still really cool.
They hope to do another night like this in the middle of the winter some time.  

- Leanne Verkley

Easton

There are a few things that I keep thinking of that are noteworthy...
1... Easton is now working on writing the letter E.  He makes a line that goes down and then he says... out, out out.  And there you have his E.  
2... When you hear him say dead goat... he is really trying to say telescope.  He says this often so I think it is noteworthy as I didn't really notice until my friend asked me why he kept saying dead goat.  I smile every time now.  
3.  He loves to count for no reason.  He is really trying to get to 20.  He gets stuck on 15 but after some help up to 20, he wants to keep going.
4.  He now cheers Hadley on when she is playing the Wii, and acts out some of the characters.
5.  He is trying out what fake crying might get him.  
6.  He is quite interested in how words work.  He really wants to read.  

- Leanne Verkley

Missing Horses

Yesterday was a long day for our neighbours.
In the morning they found that five of the horses had broken through their fence through the night.  At 7:30 am two were on their front lawn snacking on grass but three were missing.
So all day they used their quad and rode around on horseback to look for the missing three horses.
I can't even imagine the emotion they experienced.   I was so sad for them.
After looking around our property and driving around the block... I prayed for them. I had a busy day ahead but wished I could have helped more.
Later in the day when I came back to pick up Hadley, the horses were back!  Hooray! (They found them only moments before.  2:30 pm... what a long day of looking for them.
It turned out that the neighbours brother found them around 4 am, put them in the barn, then the farm hand (who was new that day) didn't even think about it because he didn't know any of the horses.  So when the search party finally got around to asking neighbours the neighbour went out to their barn and found them there.  A long day but I am so happy they are all safe.
Our day was a busy one outside of this.  Easton had his costume/Halloween skating day, my friend Shaye was here for a visit, and the HVAC was being worked on at the house.

- Leanne Verkley

Church, Playdoh - My Little Pony, Blue Jays Tickets, Appliances

In the last week we have been so busy.  Starting last Sunday Hadley had been asking me to take her to Church since she had been missing the C4 Moms group.  So, because we actually had a Sunday morning that wasn't booked...we went.  It was good.  :)  She quite enjoyed the gym time before and after Sunday School.  The cool part for me was actually after the service where I bumped into Hadley's kindergarten teacher.  She found me and she also knew Mary, one of her current kindergarten moms (who I was sitting with, a friend from C4 Moms).  
Then in the afternoon our family headed to the Pickering Town Centre to look for a few things and to surprise the kids with a Playdoh My Little Pony Show.  They really enjoyed it and it was free.  The best kind of entertainment.  :)
They got Playdoh samples and watched a live show.
Throughout the week the kids had their regular skating and gymnastics however Hadley's skating had her wear her costume.  Easton's will be on Tuesday of this week.  
The HVAC (Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning) company did some work and we got some clear stone delivered for the front porch.  (We just have to move it from the driveway to the porch now).  
On Friday I managed to purchase Blue Jays Home Opener tickets which was no small feat.  Then Brian's uncle Jeff and family came to do some more electrical work on the house.  So I cleaned the house (it really needed it) and I made Shepards Pie.  It was so good.  :)
They were here all weekend and got a lot done.  
During the weekend I also managed to squeeze in a trip to the Markham Mom to Mom sale where I got a few good deals, get Hadley to a birthday party for a classmate, and take the kids to the Safety Village in Whitby while also meeting up with the Mommy group to get our annual Halloween photo.  
Then today we went and picked out our Fridge, Stove, Dishwasher and Microwave for the new house.  
Okay... now to reset and get ready for another week.  (Perhaps I will go throw in some laundry).  :)

- Leanne Verkley

2013-10-27 21:20:03

I must mention that the kids did the Haunted House and weren't really scared by it.  So... win!  
Also, Teresa and I managed to get about 10 garbage bags full of STUFF cleaned up from the contractors at the new house.  Much thanks to her for the help!

- leanne

2013-10-27 21:21:39

Oh and I placed an order for the stone that will be in the bathroom on the mainfloor.  It will arrived in the next three weeks some time.  
The appliances will arrive in December.  

- leanne

Elevator

Today before skating, Easton asked me if he could ride the elevator by himself.  He is very familiar with the arena as we go there twice a week so he knew where he would end up and that he could seems from the second floor ballcany once he got off the elevator so... Because we arrived early and it was just us there... I let him... And he LOVED it!

- Leanne Verkley

The heat is on

This morning both kids woke up and said they were cold even with their blankets on.  So after checking the thermostat at 17.5 Celsius, it was time to Change the furnace filter and turn on the heat.  The rest of the day was spent at the mall looking for a few thing and then letting the kids enjoy Playdoh presents My Little Pony.  Hadley seemed to quite enjoy it and Easton thought it was okay.  The ponies danced away on stage giving a message that sometimes you can't do it all by yourself.
We also now have the mushroom doors purchased.  That decision took far too long but it is now done.  We just have to get them installed.  :)

- Leanne Verkley

2013-10-20 22:38:04

Mushroom is supposed to say mud room.

- leanne

No excuse words... aMinal.

Hadley received some homework this week.  She has some no excuse words to work on.  These are words that she should know how to spell.
So to start... her A words are:

About
After
All
Am
An
And
Animal
Are
As
Asked
At
Away

So... first of all, I suppose it is now time to teach her how to say animal and not aMinal.  

- Leanne Verkley

Thanksgiving

Last weekend we saw a lot of our family for Easton's birthday so for Thanksgiving we decided that we would take advantage of the time and head to Huntsville to Brian's uncle Jeff's house to help him with his house build.  He and his family have been so good about helping us with our electrical work on our house.  :)
I feel blessed that I was able to cook a turkey and dressing and take it to share with so many who were up there.
Brian's mom and sister, his uncle Paul, his aunt Teresa, cousin Josh, his uncle Jeff and of course our family of four.   It truly felt like Thanksgiving as we shared a meal in the beautiful Muskoka outdoors.
We had one beautiful day and one rainy day but everyone made the best of both days.  The night held a fun campfire and we were thankful to be able to sleep in their trailers rather than our tent.  
A good time had by all.

- Leanne Verkley

2013-10-15 21:08:13

Basement pour... On the Friday we had a team of seven guys come to pour our basement floor.  They were awesome.  They were all family and worked amazingly together.  The floor looks so great!  They stayed late to make sure everything was the way it should be.  Our four handprints are in the electrical room.  :)

- leanne

2013-10-16 21:55:45

I suppose I should say how long the day was but how awesome it was that we could be there to watch the entire process.  Feeling Blessed.  

- leanne

Skating

Tonight after dinner, Brian and I decided to take the kids skating at the public skate in Pickering.  This morning at Easton's skating lesson he was still using his pylon for more than half of the lesson.  While tonight he had nothing for an hour with us.  The difference from this morning to this evening was AMAZING!  his little shuffles were so strong.  He was so happy.
Hadley was showing off her stuff too!  She was skating quite quickly and even doing some backwards skating.  It was clear that she was having a good time!  
It was a happy family evening.  

- Leanne Verkley

Birthday Weekend

This weekend was crazy but good.
On Friday Easton had his three year old doctors check up which was very basic; including a height measurement of 196 cm, and a weight measurement of 35 pounds.  These are up from his two year old check up.  At two he was 88 cm... so his growth to 196 cm was amazing to me, however he is still in the 50th percentile.  While his weight was 28 pounds and now is 35 pounds.   He is now in the 75th percentile.  
Average and heavy.  Although he does not appear average height to me, or heavy to me when I compare him to peers.
Easton is in great health, so there is not much to note.
  
Later that day we had Brian's uncle Jeff come to work on electrical for the weekend at the new house.  This was unexpected but since he had some stuff on hold with his own house build, the timing made sense.  So... the more the merrier for Easton's birthday party on Saturday.
Friday it rained and then it was a cool weekend but most people still wanted to see the new house.  So we spent a few hours out there anyway.
The kids were also fortunate enough to have their first pony ride on Fiona.  The pony next door.  They LOVED it!  
For dinner we came back to the house to enjoy some pizza, cake and open presents.  
Brian and I actually got Easton a drum set.  Which he LOVES.  Easton could drum on almost anything, he loves it that much.  
His cake this year was a tractor which took me a good amount of time to make but I was pleased with it in the end.  
I will say that the weekend felt a little CRAZY but I think everyone had a good time anyway.  :)

- Leanne Verkley

Easton is 3

Today our little boy turned three.  He was very excited to have it be his birthday.
It is the middle of the week, so his family party will be on the weekend but still we wanted him to feel special.
There was a lot of stuff to do at the property but we managed to carve out some time to sing, eat cupcakes, share presents and celebrate him.  
This was followed by a dinner out at McDonalds and gymnastics.
I am tired and there is still so much to do this week.
We have a little three year old now.  So much fun!

- Leanne Verkley

Warriors for Lisa

Today I proudly put on my Warriors for Lisa shirt, applied my SPF 70 and prepared myself to walk for my friend who fought the battle of her life last year and sadly was defeated. Together I stood amongst friends and her family and proudly remembered her as we walked in the Strides for Melanoma walk. http://melanomanetwork.akaraisin.com/mississauga/LeanneVerkley
As of this evening our team has raised $7500.
It was a beautiful day for a walk in the park to reminisce.  I was fortunate enough to have some great conversation with Lisa's best friend as well as her husband and daughter and many others.
Still the day wasn't without tears.  
While it was a busy day with gymnastics pictures, a trip to home depot for some supplies that were needed for Monday, the walk and a birthday party for Hadley to attend... it was was nice to stop for a few hours and just reflect.

(Side note, Hadley loved the birthday party at Superstore, making fruit salad, pizza, and cupcakes.  But the best part for her was seeing the birthday girl (Hannah) and a few other friends she has been missing from her old school).  

- Leanne Verkley

Meetings

Yesterday I met with Mike from Pineridge who came to install temporary stairs because apparently the electrical inspector will not climb a ladder.  All other inspections were fine with the ladder.  However... not the electrical inspector.
Then I had a meeting to quote the work on the outside of the house, then a meeting with the dirt guys, a meeting with the financial guys, and tonight the SCC meeting at Hadley's new school.  (Where I somehow became the treasurer).  
The SCC is so different at her new school.  Mostly in the fundraising area. The funds we raised at her school last year were more than 20 times the amount her new school earned last year.  I guess I have some work to do this year.
In any case, I am glad tomorrow is Friday.  It has been a VERY busy week.

- Leanne Verkley

Neighbours

We have been blessed with good neighbours.
Today while up at the property watching our main floor windows go in, the well digger cleaning up, the HVAC guy checking the pipes in the in-floor heating, and the dirt guy working away outside, our neighbour came by to talk about some changes he was considering... adding trees.  
The boys played while we talked.  Love it!
Then after picking up Hadley from school we came home only to have our neighbour Ron greet Hadley at the van.  He said he saw the van and just had to come out.  He missed her.  He wanted to know all about her new school.
After chatting for a few minutes Hadley thought she needed to make a present to take to his wife Rosalyn.  A beautiful drawing.  She took it over, as well as her Terry Fox sponsor sheet which of course they sponsored her for.
She was in their house for a little while while I stood in our driveway listening for Easton as he slept inside.  She came home without shoes but said she was going right back.  After being inside for a few minutes I reminded her that she came home with no shoes, only to hear the door bell ring a few seconds later.  
Our neighbours will truly miss our kids once we move.
Hadley also made a present for Debbie, the neighbour on the other side but she wasn't home, so she left it with her kids.  
I know they will also miss us.
As we will miss them.
It is good to have such great neighbours!

- Leanne Verkley

House stuff

This week the well digging has started, and Earl the well digger has been great to deal with thus far.  He got to 37 feet and said there was enough water keep up with two seasons.  Then he got to 60 feet yesterday and said the flow wasn't that strong, so today he digs deeper.  
The dirt has started to be delivered this week.  John the 20 year old with three years experience has been awesome.  He seems to be able to apply his entire life of being on these sites to making our place look great.
By end of day yesterday we were at about 140 truck loads of dirt.  More to come today and in the coming days.
We can now walk in the mud-room door of the house though so that is cool.
Brian and I are just about finished tying down the in-floor heating tubes.  They are going to be tested for holes on Friday.
The house looks so different now that you can't see most of the basement on the west side.

- Leanne Verkley

Easton's Bedtime Stall

I need to tell you nothin'.  
I only correct him sometimes because it helps me to see the humour in the kids stalling at bedtime.  

- Leanne Verkley

Easton starts skating lessons at 2

Now that school has started, Easton has started some new learning as well.  We have confirmed that he can read 6 words:  Easton, Hadley, Brian, Leanne, Stop and On.  He can confidently count to 13 but can get all the way to 20 with some assistance and the alphabet is no big deal.  He also knows the sounds to most of the letters.  (Insert proud mamma here).  
Also, today he started his first skating lesson.
The youngest group is 3-5 year olds but because he will be 3 during the session they allowed him in.
While he used the pylon for most of the class, the rest of the class was teaching the kids how to stand up from the ice.  
Before going on he was walking around the rubber floor with his skates on like he owned the place.  He wasn't too keen on what he thought was a tight helmet but as soon as he got on the ice he was great.
He is excited to go back next week.  We are happy that he likes it.  
His lessons are during the day while Hadley is at school.  Speaking of school.  Hadley had her presentation today and she got three check marks stating that she understood the project and on the side of the paper it had an A in a circle.  She was quite proud once I explained what the A meant.  
(Insert proud mamma again).  
One more new thing... Easton has started napping again.  The kids are up 2 and a half hours earlier than before so now on the drive to pick up Hadley, Easton usually falls asleep.   I now need to figure out how long to allow that nap so that he can still go to bed at the same time as Hadley.  

- Leanne Verkley

The first week... TIRED!

TIRED. That is the only word to describe it.  
Up until now our kids and I have enjoyed sleeping in until 8:30am, and they were going to bed around 8:30 or 9 pm.  Me, 1 am or whenever.  
NOT NOW.  This week things changed.
The first and second day Hadley was driven to school.  The second day she rode to the property on the bus and by the third day she was riding to and from school on the bus to the property.  I think we finally have everything set up.
The morning pick up for the bus is at 7:35am, 25 minutes before school starts.  Which means I had to get the kids up that much earlier than the first two days.
It will be much nicer when we move so I wont have to account for the 20 minute drive to and 20 minute drive from school twice a day and possible traffic.  
So... for now my alarm goes off at 6 am and there is a definite procedure to the morning.  
First ten minutes (my shower/dressing or one snooze on the alarm), the next 20 minutes wake and dress kids (no easy task).  The next 15 minutes eat breakfast.  The next 15 minutes washroom, brush teeth and hair, put lunch in backpack (which was packed the night before).  Then 5 minutes for shoes, and coats.  This brings us to 7:05 am.  
I have 10 minutes left over to allow for traffic or anything that comes up.  I will have to account for snowsuit time later.  
Hadley's bus driver Lisa arrives with a bright smile everyday, and she gave me her cell number to call her directly if we don't need a pick up or drop off.
I haven't woken up to an alarm for about six and a half years.  Waking to kids sure... at all hours... sure, but every day at that early hour is taking some getting used to.  
I have to re-train myself to go to bed earlier too.  We are all very tired.
Brian was home for the first day but then in Boston all week after that.  So he had some busy days also.  He came home from the airport last night and we decided to just go to bed and talk about our week after a good night's sleep.
Hadley asked all week when Saturday was so she could sleep in.  (I will admit, I was thinking about sleeping in too).  
However since I was up, Easton and I took advantage of our days... the zoo, and two friend visits, the early years centre, plus groceries.  We also had the foundation inspection, and the basement floor leveled and insulated and ready for the pex piping which Brian and I started laying today.
So Friday night came... and it would have been so easy to let the kids stay up a little later, however I tried to put them to bed at the same time.  7:30 pm.
They both SLEPT in.  Easton got up at 7 am and Hadley at 7:30 am.  (I guess that is sleeping in now).  
If Hadley had gotten up first perhaps I could have slept in a little too as the last two weeks before school started she was starting to get them both breakfast (an apple, banana, yogurt, or lunch meat as she doesn't trust herself with the milk for cereal and Easton doesn't like cereal anyway) and letting me sleep for about half an hour.  Oh well.  All is good.
Last night after the kids went to bed, I spent about an hour reading the paperwork that was sent home from the school.  I also enjoyed looking at Hadley's work from the week.
I found her homework that is due Monday.  (She has to finish a gum ball machine worksheet where she has to write all the numbers to 100.  She got to 48 during school hours. She also has to do a join the dot picture to 100.   Then she has to put a bag together with three things in it that tell about her personality.  On Monday she has to say who, what, why, how or when these things relate to her in an oral presentation.  
This week we also added in gymnastics for both kids.  Easton wishes his class was longer like Hadley's.  
It has been a busy week!  

- Leanne Verkley

Grade 1

Today was the first day of grade one for Hadley.  
We were supposed to receive a phone call from the bus company on Friday or Saturday with a pick up and drop off time but that didn't happen.  So, this morning after a few photos, we dropped her off... along with 25 or so other parents.  It was nice to drop her off on the first day.  To be there to explain and show how the bus drop off and morning routine works.  Plus the hugs.  
After meeting the teacher, Hadley stood in line, confident, but it was clear she wondered what was ahead of her.  She was ready to see what the day offered.
At the end of the day we picked her up and she seemed happy.  She said she had a best friend named Mahima.  From what I can tell, this is the girl that she sits beside.  She has a desk and she likes that.  She was excited to share with us that the blocks in her room were the same as the ones from kindergarten.  She also told us about how she sang O-Canada, took her snack with her outside for recess, and played ABC bingo.  She ate lunch in her desk, she liked that.
She mentioned that she thought about and missed Easton through out the day.  He missed her as well.  
By end of day, she is now scheduled on a bus for the ride home.  Tomorrow I hope to figure out how to get her on a morning pick up schedule too.  
Today school ended an hour early.  Because of our early wake up time, it seemed like everyone was hungry an hour earlier than normal for all meals.  This made starting bedtime earlier a little easier.  
All in all, I think it was a successful first day.  (This is the first major transition to living at the new house, it is big).  

- Leanne Verkley

Bon Echo

At the last minute our weekend plans changed.  However, we were ready for an adventure anyway... so, we looked up to see if there was space and we were lucky because there was... so we headed to Bon Echo for some camping fun.  One of our favorite campgrounds.
Friday night when we arrived it was starting to rain but we were determined not to let this affect our weekend.  So we set up our tent at 10 p.m. and went to bed hoping for the best.  Saturday was grey but we still managed to enjoy some hiking and beach time, the kids program, and the visitors centre.
This was followed by a beautiful Sunday where every canoe was rented and everyone was on the lake... as were we!  It was awesome!
We spent 7 hours on the lake with the kids.  Up to and around the rock wall where Hadley and Easton loved to check out how their echo's worked, around the beaches and down the river by the beaver dam.  At one point both kids found it so relaxing that they fell asleep in the boat.  (For about an hour).  The waters were so calm on the river and seemingly unexplored by others.
We did get them up at 6 a.m.  which was TOTALLY worth it to see the mist on the lake, and to enjoy some time without the masses on the water.  
The kids loved having their own paddles that were their size.  
We also enjoyed a few hours at the beach which the kids loved.
Monday's weather changed back to the rainy weather from Friday night.  So we packed up our tent, and went for a small hike to JoePerry Lake.  We were able to watch some people fish for a few minutes before the rain had us turn back.  Still the kids REALLY wanted one last time at the beach even if it meant in the rain... so we took them and they happily played for about an hour in the light rain/mist conditions.  Then after everyone was in dry clothing, we all got into the van and headed home.  The weekend was full, fun and an awesome way to end the summer.

- Leanne Verkley

A rare day and perfect summer day

It is a rare day where I really have nothing planned.
So today, I decided I was just going to go with whatever came up.  So, I started with a walk in the woods at Lynde Shores with the kids.  They LOVE this place.  The chipmunks and birds ate right out of their hands and there were PLENTY of them around.  I almost stepped on a chipmunk once.  That is how many there were.  My favorite though was watching the birds land on Hadley's hand.  I think she had three birds at one point.  
After this, the kids and I decided to head to Whitby Shores to cool down at the splash pad.  Today was a dream summer day at the splash pad.  It was hot and my kids were the only ones there.  This never happens.  It is usually very difficult to watch over two kids running around with water spraying everywhere amongst the many children but today it was awesome!  Plus my kids didn't have to wait to use the sprayer.  :)
We followed this up with lunch on the beach.  I packed a lunch as I didn't really know where the day would take us.  
Both kids were on their best behavior so when the request to go to the ice cream truck came up, how could I say no.  (They have been asking all summer as they heard the bells through out the neighbourhood but we never actually saw the truck).
After this, we tried out the circuit training equipment on the beach, played in the sand and made a castle that had sticks and feathers in it, we played in the water and then flew a kite in the perfect wind conditions on the beach.
It was an awesome day!  Full of happiness!  
I felt so connected with my kids all day.
A perfect summer day.  

- Leanne Verkley

2013-08-29 09:25:44

Only one thing missing (cause he had to work)... Brian.

- leanne

A wedding, a birthday, family, friends, and good times

On Saturday we enjoyed another fun summer wedding for Brian's cousin Paul and his new wife Lisa.  It was a beautiful day and we were even able to spend some quality time with Brian's sister Lisa and her husband Jeff as they were in town for the wedding.  
We spent the night in the hotel and then enjoyed brunch with many who also stayed in the hotel including the bride and groom.
Then, for my birthday we enjoyed some gaming fun with our friends Jenny and Ryan and their kids, as well as some DQ cake before taking Brian to the airport.
The next day, the kids and I travelled to African Lion Safari to spend the day with my brother.  It was a great day!  Beautiful weather, and everyone had a great time.  
Tuesday my friend Christine from College came for a visit.  I haven't seen her since last summer.  I was able to show her the house, and catch up, as well as enjoy a nice dinner out.  
That day we also had the preliminary plumbing inspection done witch passed. The septic started (which should complete tomorrow), and I met with the soil for the backfill.
Today I had a play-date with my friend Ana and her two children.  The kids had a great time.  We enjoyed a chai latte, good conversation and even heated up rocks in a frying pan and then drew on them with crayons.  Good times!  
Tonight I took the kids to the library and found out that their was a juggler going to be performing just outside.  So we stayed for that.  The kids really enjoyed it as it was aimed at their level.
Always busy but good!

- Leanne Verkley

2013-08-21 23:06:07

I must note that for my birthday Hadley had been drawing in a book for months.  Every day she would add a new drawing.  It was awesome!  I definitely cherish it!  
She also convinced her dad that she needed to buy ME a video game.  :)

- leanne

Moving bed/wake time

This week Hadley is attending music camp from 9 a.m to 4 p.m.  She seems to quite enjoy it so far.  
There are a lot of advantages to the timing of this camp.  One, I think she was tired of being up at the property pretty much every day and needed a little change.  Two, I have had the opportunity to go to about 8 different stores with just Easton to look for backpacks.  (I was looking for something with some quality and as per Hadley's request... a picture.  The two DON'T go together).  After an exhausting two days, I settled on a bag I thought she would like.  I took her to the store and thankfully the Barbie bag with a puppy and kitten on it was to her liking.  It was only $10 so I don't expect a lot out of it.  However, it doesn't have the plastic on the front that all of my friends who have previously had their kids in all day school say to avoid if I don't want to duct tape it half way through the year.  
While we were out I also managed to get her some new indoor shoes and pencil crayons.
While Easton and I did do a lot of running around we also managed to have some quality puzzle, paint, reading and other play time.  
I must say that it is a little odd not having Hadley around all the time but mostly odd not to have lunch with her.  For the most of her life, even the last two years while she was at school... we still had lunch together.
Speaking of lunch, so far her packed lunch has been the perfect amount of food, however, after only day two she has requested that I send something other than a sandwich.  Uh oh.  
Last night was Hadley's baseball fun night.  It was a good time and after a full day it helped to make bedtime a little easier.  
Tonight at 8:45pm both kids were asleep. (This is about an hour early for my kids).
By September 3rd I have to keep moving bedtime and wake up time earlier and earlier.  Wish me luck!

- Leanne Verkley

The crib

For a few days while in Easton's room I have found that while the cube baby toy is near his crib, he is able to stand on it and get in his crib all by himself.  Then last night while putting the kids to bed, I was in Hadley's room and up walks Easton (after I had already put him in his crib).  Hmmmm....
Bedtime actually went okay and he stayed in there all night.
However, this morning, I heard Hadley walk into his room and encourage Easton by words and actions on how to get out of the crib.
So, a few minutes later they were both walking down the stairs.  I overheard Hadley say:  you really need a bed.  
After that I went downstairs to see that Hadley had gotten them both "breakfast".  (Cheese and lunch meat).  
They keep growing up!

- Leanne Verkley

Friends, House stuff, Zoo, and Baseball

This year we have been home for every long weekend... which is odd, however; with all the house stuff going on it is just what needs to happen.  
The weekend included a visit with my girlfriends Patti and Shaye at the new house.  It was nice to show both girls where things are at.  
Shaye was in town for a wedding so it was great to see her again.  I think this is a record year for seeing each other!
We also met up with our septic company, plumbing company and HVAC company.  (Apparently they didn't have long weekend plans as it was their suggestion to meet on the weekend so they could do their work this week).  The septic company won't actually be this week but they are getting back to me with a date.  
Monday we took some time to do family stuff.  
The panda's have been at the zoo for a few months now and I haven't been since before they arrived.  So... it was time.
I am not sure what all the pandaemonium was all about.  The exhibit was okay in opinion but not fantastic.  
Tonight (Tuesday) was Hadley's last baseball game for the season.  It was also her night to bring drinks and snacks.  She has been waiting all season for her turn.  :)
After the game she received a coupon from her team sponsor (Dairy Queen), so of course we went for a Blizzard treat.  It was nice to meet up with my friend Christine (from my mommy group) and Hannah and her family.  Also nice that the last game of the season was against their team.  :)
Never a dull moment.


- Leanne Verkley

2013-08-14 00:08:54

Wednesday through Friday we got shingles on the house!

- leanne

Baby Margaret and lemonade stand

Yesterday my friend Michelle came to visit.  Eight weeks ago she had a beautiful baby girl and yesterday I finally got to meet her.  Michelle decided to come here instead of me going there so that she could see the house progress.  
We had lunch at McDonald's so the kids could play and we could chat.  It was nice.
Later in the day the kids gave all their hot wheels a car wash outside. Sometimes it is just fun to watch them be kids.  
Today that kid fun continued.  After the lemonade stand sign was made, we got glasses and two pitchers of lemonade made.  Hadley served her first glass to her dad.  :). The second customer was a drive by who actually U turned ( we did t know him) and he gave Hadley $2 for a glass!
15 customers and an hour and a half later she earned $14.25 and she was happy.  Easton too.  They both gleefully talked to all neighbours passing by.  It was good summer fun.

- Leanne Verkley

A busy week

Last weekend Brian was away at his annual boys LAN party weekend.  So I planned a get away with the kids to Port Elgin to see my sister and her family.  The kids LOVED it!  It was a long drive and Easton slept through most of it so that made Friday night bedtime rough.
However the kids played very well together and my kids especially loved her our door riding toy, trampoline and swing/slide set.
We also spent a day at the beach which was great but I welcomed the ice cream / train ride break from watching two kids near and in the water.  
It was so nice to see my niece and nephews.  (And sister and he husband).
Then this whole week staring Monday morning, we hosted Brian's aunt and uncle and two cousins as hey helped us put the majority of our electrical in at the new house.  It was a lot of work and Brian was able to take three of the days off work which was great!  I am tired but I know a lot got done this week.

- Leanne Verkley

Easton

Some cool things about Easton right now:
Easton says this knock knock joke right now that is the same every time.  
Knock, Knock.  Whose there?  EEEka.  Eeeka who?  Easton from the clock and the map.  He says this over... and over.  The same EVERY time.  The first few times I wasn't sure it was funny, however now... I find it hilarious!  

Easton can now count to 13 fairly easily and to 20 with help.
His favorite animal is an elephant.  
His favorite number is still 8, with 18 a close second.  
His favorite colour is blue.
He also says... you know... whaaaaat?  When he has something to tell us.  
Today he was pretty excited that we bought him his own baseball glove.  Just like Hadley.  :)
He is a morning kid.  Which is so refreshing!  He just wakes up happy.  
That's it for now I guess.  Just a few things I wanted to note.  

- Leanne Verkley

2013-07-22 23:00:38

Other Easton isms.  Please mom please, please please.  very hard to say no to this.  
he also says: I don't like that to a lot of things but mostly when we tell him where we are going.   Abcs, Easton randomly started singing the alphabet this week.  he sings it ALL the time but especially at bed time.  It is mostly correct with T O V W X the main section we are working on.  Easton says lets who out the candles when he wants someone to blow out the candles.  That's not nice.  Is what he says when he feels like things ahould have gone a different way.  Oh I didn't know. Is what he says after you remind him how things should go.

- leanne

Pedicure, Strawberries and Groceries

This morning Hadley and I went to get a pedicure.  Our usual place was closed (we just do walk in), so we checked out a new place close by and they were great.  This place just opened two months ago and they gave me a summer discount and only charged me $5 for Hadley.  It was nice to have some time with just Hadley and I.  
Later the family went to the Organics farm that we have been going to for a few years.  It was a gray day but we really wanted to go strawberry picking.
The kids were excited and loved finding the juicy red berries.  Easton could not hide the fact that he was snacking.  :)
After our basket was full, the rain came down and it was actually refreshing and kinda fun to be outside enjoying a summer day with the rain pouring on us.
After dinner it was necessary to get groceries.  Hadley and Brian wanted to just hang out at home so Easton and I had some time together.  He was excited to have mommy time and I loved it as well.
Just a nice Sunday.  

- Leanne Verkley

First week of summer

This week has been a busy one.  On Monday we came home from camping up at Brian's uncle Jeff's land in Huntsville.  The kids enjoyed swimming, sand play, and s'mores.  We were even able to stop in for a short visit with Shaye which was awesome as always.
(More on this below).
We were also fortunate enough to get together with some of the mommy group at a play place this week.  It has been a rainy couple of days so it was nice to get out of the house as my indoor activity ideas were diminishing.
Then on Friday... I went back to visit Shaye (I KNOW... TWICE IN ONE WEEK!!!) to see the Wallflowers live at Casino Rama.  She won tickets and had an extra one.  Hooray!  
Jakob Dylan, the lead singer (Bob Dylan's son) was awesome.  As was the entire band.  
I stayed up entirely too late but loved every minute!

- Leanne Verkley

Sr. Kindergarten a year in review

What did you learn over the year?  Her answer: That SK is really fun!
Question two:  what do you remember about every day at school.  Normally blocks.  
Who is her best friend: Lauren (from JK, who now goes to another school).  From her school her best friend is Adam.    
Her favorite book was Down By the Bay.  
When she grows up she wants to be a mommy.  
Her favorite snack to take to school were pretzel goldfish crackers.  
Her favorite game in gym was duck duck goose.
I asked her about her favorite song to sing while at school and she said: I love the springtime, I love the chirping birds, I love the buzzing bees, I love the springtime when the sun is warm and bright, boom diada boom diada, boom diada boom.  boom.  
I am so glad that she loves school.  Hadley especially loves playing with ponies at school.  
I am excited to spend time with her over the summer and I look forward to her grade 1 adventures.

- Leanne Verkley

2013-07-06 19:08:57

She also wants to be a doctor.  

- leanne

As Alice Cooper would say...

Schools out for summer!
Yesterday was a bit emotional for me as I walked Hadley to school.  Next year, she will take a bus.  Life will be different.  
I took in each moment.
After school I thought I would be fine but my sincere thanks to Hadley's teachers left me with damp eyes.  
I will definitely miss this school.  I know I didn't actually attend but the parents, the teachers and the kids were great!
After school Hadley ran around hugging everyone.  She was happy.  
Hadley's classmate Evan had an end of school party.  Both my kids were invited and they had a great time!  
Cake, trampoline, slides and toys.  
Today was the first day of summer vacation and what did we do?  We went to Hadley's new school to get a tour so that she would know where to go next year.  The rooms were empty and we were free to walk around without disrupting anyone.  (We just had to skip the library as the teachers were having a meeting in there).  A lot of our questions were answered.  
Tonight at bedtime it was clear that Hadley had been thinking about the move and all that it included and we had a lengthy conversation about the changes.    
Now... let the summer vacation begin!  

- Leanne Verkley

Timber Raising, Gymnastics, Showers, Birthdays, Farm

This has been a busy week.  
Friday we had our timber raising at the house.  I couldn't be more excited to live there now.  We spent the entire day at the property watching the workers raise the timbers.  AWESOME!
We were joined by some family (Phil, Doreen, Kiana, Aidan, Kennedy, Cecilia, John, and Anne Marie).  The day was beautiful and fun!
It was really nice to share this with family!
Saturday morning we got up for 7:30am for Hadley's first ever gymnastics competition.  This was EARLY for everyone!  Hadley did very well.  She got a silver in vault, and bronze in beam, bars and mat.  With an over all bronze.  She loved getting the ribbons and going up on the podium with her name being announced.  :)
Saturday afternoon Hadley and I attended a shower for my cousin Dustin and his wife Rachel.  They have a baby due in August.
Then Sunday our entire family went to Brian's aunt Nora's house to shower Brian's cousin Tina (and Jesse and baby Parker).  
Sunday evening we celebrated Brian's uncle as he turned 50!  I am not sure the local restaurant (Vecky's) knew what they were in for with so many of us!
Yesterday I spent the day cleaning the house.  This was much needed and I felt good about all that I got done.  It was necessary.
Then today I was fortunate enough to have Brian work from home so that he could watch Easton while I went on Hadley's class trip to the farm.
I loved how excited she was for me to join her.  I also loved watching her as she was obviously confident in her surroundings and with her peers.  :)
The trip included a barn tour where each child could pet a piglet, a hen, a rabbit, a turkey, and hold a baby chick.  (This was Hadley's favorite part).
We also had a wagon ride to learn about machinery and crops.  Plus a small classroom session where they used a pretend cow to try out milking, a sandbox made with corn kernels, and a grinder where they could make flour.
We got on the bus seconds before it started to down pour.  Perfect timing!
Hadley also got her report card today.  She is headed for grade 1 with a report card to be proud of!  
I feel like summer can now begin!


- Leanne Verkley

2013-06-25 23:36:02

Saturday I also managed to get a visit in with my dad.  :)

- leanne

2013-06-25 23:36:19

oops, I mean Sunday.  

- leanne

Rec 1 Level Red Complete

Tonight Hadley had her last gymnastics class.  In March she turned six which meant she moved up from the Junior Levels to the Rec levels.
So in just a few months she has passed the first level.  I was so proud of her tonight.  
In 3 days she will have her finale in the gym to show the parents.  I am looking forward to it.  
After gymnastics tonight we drove up to the property just to see the progress.  
We now have some interior walls for the mudroom, the powder room, the laundry room, the two hall closets, and the pantry.  This is what I am guessing (from the ground) as I didn't take the two kids up on the main floor by myself because some exterior walls are still missing and Brian was home sick.
In the basement they put in some more timbers which look awesome.
I REALLY can't wait to live there!

- Leanne Verkley

A puzzling Ice Cream Kind of Day

Today Hadley did a 48 piece puzzle ALL by herself.  I was so proud.  It was the map of Canada and it was awesome to watch her do it.
She later joined me in a 63 piece puzzle, and then easily did 2 other 24 piece puzzles by herself.

After dinner we added milk, sugar, and vanilla together in a small ziplock and closed it up.  We put this inside a larger ziplok that had ice and salt in it.  Then I put mittens on Hadley and had her shake it all the way to the property in the van.
When we got there... we had ice cream.  The bonus... it tasted good!
There was talk of condensation and melting along the way.  :)

- Leanne Verkley

9 Years Married

This week at the property we had a porta-potty arrive, a trailer for the main construction crew (that holds their tools), as well as some lumber, and insulation were delivered.  When we were up there today we were able to see them building the wall for the walk out area.  This included a wall for the office in the basement, and the spare bedroom and the wall to hold the two walkout doors.

Today was the last day for our C4 Mom's group at Church for the summer.  We were invited to go to our friend Christina's house for lunch as a thank you for driving her and her two little girls for the last few months.  Both Hadley and Easton love the babies that sit beside them on the drive.  :)
Hadley was over joyed to be invited and even more over joyed to hold the little four month old by herself.  
Today we had treats (I made cookies), and a clothing exchange.  It was good fun!

After Brian was done work we all went out to the Mandarin for a fabulous dinner to celebrate our 9th year being married.
Both kids tried some cool foods.  Easton surprised me and ate ice cream for the first time! In truth it was cookies and cream ice cream with cookie topping so really... how could you go wrong.  :)
However, he normally doesn't like ice-cream, yogurt, pudding or anything like that.  

Hadley lost another tooth.  It was hanging by a thread and she pulled it out just before bed.  A bottom tooth.
She now has trouble with apples.

WOW... life is good.  

- Leanne Verkley

Swimming lessons

Today was the last day of Hadley and Easton's swimming lessons.  
Since I was with Easton in each of his classes, I know that he has to work on blowing bubbles in the water.  He can do it, but he doesn't like to.
However that being said, the teacher did witness his ability to do so and he passed the class.  The only stipulation in registering him for the next level up would be that he needs to be three years old.
Hadley did great, however, she still needs to work on being able to put her head in and out of the water in repetition to swim short distances.  
Both kids love the water for which I am ever so grateful.  

In other news the porta-potty and the work trailer for the main construction crew arrived at the property today.  :)

- Leanne Verkley

First Tractor Oil Change

Today Brian woke up early and went to get filters and oil for the lawn tractor while I stayed home with the kids.
Easton was up with growing pains for three hours last night so we let him sleep.  I think I got 5 hours sleep in total.  UGH.
When we were finally all awake and ready for the day we headed to Home Depot for the kids program where Hadley was happy to receive her 10 workshops completed pin.
This time they made a pencil holder in the shape of a lawn mower.
Later in the day we went out to the property to attempt to do an oil change on the lawn tractor but found we were missing a tool.  So after a little while, we took a break and went to the Audley Rec Centre opening and enjoyed some family swim time.  Then to Rona to get what we needed before heading back to the property.
We had an unexpected visit from Brian's aunt Cecilia and her friend who were in the area.  Such a nice surprise!
By about 8 p.m. the oil change was complete and the tractor tested to make sure it worked like it should.
On the way home Easton fell asleep so Brian, Hadley and I were able to enjoy some good competition on the Wii gaming console.  In the end Brian won but it was close!
Never a dull day around here.  

- Leanne Verkley

House stuff, Gymnastics trial, birthday party etc.

Yesterday I went up to the property to meet with a possible plumber, I saw the foundation guys taking the boards off the basement just before the rain came.  Then while Hadley was at school, Easton and I went to music and movement.  It has been a while since we have been to that program.  Easton enjoyed it and it was nice to spend quality time with just him.
After school Hadley had a make up gymnastics class and Easton did a free trial class.  (He loved it!  He had so much energy and was happy to use it in the gym.  He went with the teacher easily).  Now both Hadley and Easton are now registered for the fall.
It was a busy day.  Easton fell asleep at 6:15 p.m.  Then he was up at 10 p.m. until 12 a.m.  UGH.
Today was a P.A. day so we had a play date at Annie's and then while Hadley was at a birthday party for her friend Paige, Easton and I met Brian at the property to see the tar and plastic membrane on the basement which was done during the day.  
They also put the weeping tile around the house.
Now... it is Friday night... relax a little before the weekend agenda.  :)  

- Leanne Verkley

A basement, school enrollment and a lost tooth

Today was a noteworthy day...
First of all our basement was started to be poured.  (All but the doors and windows section in the walk out area).  This is a huge leap for our house build. I am looking forward to tomorrow when I can see just the concrete and the forms are off.    
Hadley had her bike up at the property tonight and Easton had his scooter.  I can very easily envision us living there.
Second, I enrolled Hadley in her new school for September.  All the paperwork is now done at both schools.  The only thing we are waiting for is to get a bus schedule but that won't happen until late August.  Still I feel good that it is taken care of.  
Thirdly, Hadley lost another tooth.  Yesterday it was a bottom tooth.  (One beside the two bottom adult teeth already there).
Today it was a top middle tooth.  She looks so different.  She looks six!
Definitely a noteworthy day.

- Leanne Verkley

2013-06-06 07:54:36

I think I need to see Hadley's new smile!  I'll have to Facetime again soon!

- Lisa Schuyler

Hadley lost a tooth at baseball

For the past few days Hadley has been wiggling her bottom tooth, then last night before bed I told her that she had one more day and if it was still in by bedtime tonight we would have to wiggle it enough to take it out because I didn't want her to accidentally eat it.
She seemed okay with this as it truly was ready.
This morning I checked it again and it seemed okay to leave while she was at school.  Then tonight while at her first baseball game she came over to me to ask which tooth was her wiggly one because she wanted to show someone on the bench... and... well... it wasn't there.
She was a little sad that she wouldn't have it for the Tooth Fairy but understood that a note with directions to where the tooth was would suffice.  
Hadley played very well, she got two hits and played the pitcher (with T-ball, this is the player that wears the helmet in the middle of the in field to show all the kids where they have to stand behind before the kid at bat hits the ball).
It was clear that Hadley tried her best while in the field and at bat.  She won the new player who tried her best award where she got a free freezie from the tuck shop.
She was so proud and happy!  She left the game with a huge smile (less one tooth)!
During the game we tried our best to watch Hadley as it was an important first game that she was so excited for.  However we did spend a little time playing catch with Easton.  Easton so badly wanted to play along side his sister on the team.
Hadley loved that the bat she used had her Brothers name on it!  She was proud to tell her team mates about it too!
At the end of the game one player brought drinking boxes and granola bars (this will rotate throughout the summer and each player will have their turn).
All in all, I think she had a great time!





- Leanne Verkley

A day

Today was a day without a million things on the agenda.
That being said, the morning involved some play and cleaning around the house, then Hadley rode her bike to school while Easton and I walked with Freezies.  Hadley stopped every once in a while to eat some of hers too.
In the afternoon, Easton and I went to the park, played in the sandbox, and enjoyed the outdoors.
We came home and cleaned the two bathrooms and then it was time to go get Hadley.
I BBQ'd burgers for dinner, Brian came home late (7pm), but I really had some things I wanted to get at Walmart that were on sale, so we went out.   We also stopped to get Brian and Easton's haircut too.  This was Easton's first haircut not at Melonheads (AKA expensive kids haircutting place).  $11 at Great Clips instead of $25.
Then I had three coupons for free DQ blizzards, so we cashed them in, and enjoyed!


- Leanne Verkley

Kart wheels

After almost a year of gymnastics, the othe day Hadley did a perfect kart wheel on the way home from school in the field.  I feel so blessed that I was there to see it.  I was so proud of her and it was awesome to see how proud she was of herself.

- Leanne Verkley

Hadley Rides a Bike!

Last week Hadley and I were working on trying to get her to try to ride a bike which resulted in a stomach scratch/bruise.  So we took a break for a few days and then tonight after dinner the whole family went out for a walk to the park while Hadley did some more practice on the way.
We found a perfect little hill on the path where she practiced her balance and then... she was off!
It's official, we have a two wheeled bike rider!
She LOVES the freedom!  
Easton and Brian played Tag Your It while Hadley and I were working on her bike skills!  He loves this game!
A beautiful night out!  We are so proud of Hadley!  

- Leanne Verkley

The Driving Range with the kids

Last night around 11 p.m. Brian came home from being away for three weeks of work (except for three days over the long weekend where he was home).  So, today we went up to the property to show Brian the frost wall, and talk with London Excavators as we were having 20 loads of clean fill delivered.  
Being out there lead to a nice hike to see some pretty flowers and then the idea to take the kids to the driving range.
Sure why not.
They had a great time!  Hadley increasingly got better as she practiced.  Easton kept trying but it was all about the same.  He is only two.  :)
Brian and I managed to hit a few as well.
A good family day enjoying the outdoors!

- Leanne Verkley

First Piano Lesson

Tonight Hadley went for a free piano lesson at Creative Math and Music.  They have a summer camp that we were thinking of registering her for and thought their free lesson would let us know of her interest.
After this first lesson, about 20 minutes of lesson and 5 minutes to show me what she did.  She played Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, a few chords, and some individual notes (with the keys labeled, and some assistance).  
The last 5 minutes was for paperwork to sign her up for the summer camp.
She quite enjoyed herself.  :)  Kevin the teacher (manager) was great!
Easton really wanted to do it too but the youngest they take is 4 years old.  

- Leanne Verkley

Footings and Frost Wall, and Fill

Yesterday at the property the wood was taken off of the footings, and the chalk lines were drawn on them to show where the walls would lay.
Today the foundation crew was back and they put up more wood to pour the walls to bring the frost wall around the walk out up to ground level.
The engineers came and gave their approval, so that was good.  Meaning that the wall actually got poured this afternoon.  Tomorrow the frost wall will be stripped of the wood that went up today.  Also, 15-20 loads of clean fill will be coming in and stored for when we need it.



- Leanne Verkley

2013-05-23 23:04:16

The day was a bit crazy as I had to be at the property for 12:30, so Hadley had lunch at our neighbour Christine's house and walked to school with her as well.  She LOVED this!

- leanne

The May Long Weekend

The plans for the weekend were up in the air as we just got back from Florida the Thursday before.  We had an idea of what we might do... but that changed...  Still, we had a good time as a family together.
Brian came home on Friday from his two weeks away for work.  So, with a little girl time required, Hadley and I went and got pedicures on Saturday morning.  Then in the afternoon we were able to enjoy watching Brian's cousin Ben play baseball in Ajax and show both Ben and Brian's uncle Ed the footings at the property.  
The evening had Hockey Night in Canada playoffs.
Sunday we spent the day shopping.  I was in need of some new capris.  (I found three pairs which was awesome)!  That night we enjoyed fireworks in our neighborhood.  Hadley loved hanging out with Adam (from her class) and his family and Easton was also very comfortable with their family.  :)
Today after looking at some of our photos from our Florida trip, we went for a hike at Greenwood Conservation Area as a family, we found some water to wade around in, then we enjoyed some park time.
Good times.  

- Leanne Verkley

Florida and Footings

Brian is on week two of being away for work, so last Friday we decided to join him in Orlando.  The house building was on hold waiting on a building inspection so the timing worked out.  
We were able to enjoy Saturday at Magic Kindom, and Sunday at Hollywood Studios with Brian which was so nice.  The highlight of which was lunch with Handy Manny, Agent Oso, June from Little Einsteins, and Jake from the Neverland Pirates.  
The kids loved it!  They got up close with each of them right at the table and even danced around the restaurant with them.  
Of course they got many other signatures in their autograph books and loved the rides too.
Monday we spent the day at the hotel in the lazy river (both kids are like fish - they love swimmimg), then that night we enjoyed s'mores at the beach campfire.  Tuesday while Brian was at work I attempted to go to Animal Kingdom.  We got to see Mickey, Minnie, Chip and Dale, Donald Duck, Pocahontas, Winnie the Pooh and Tigger.  Then mid day we attempted to watch the Finding Nemo show but it was clear that somewhere in there that Hadley was starting to not feel well.  Halfway through the show we left and went straight to the first aid office to see if they had children's medicine for fevers.  They did which was a relief as her fever was actually 103.9F.  HOT!
We sat there for half an hour and her temperature went down a degree, which I felt was enough to transfer her back to the hotel.  
I took the hospital information just in case though.  
8 hours later she was warm again (not as hot but still warm) so I went out and got her more medication from the CVS Pharmacy.  Then like magic she was perfectly fine in the morning.  Few!  
Wednesday we spent the day at the hotel.  The hotel had a treat shop, an arcade, a play-place, a beach area, and of course swimming pools.  The kids loved all of it!
We flew to Buffalo and arrived after 11 pm and Brian flew to Montreal.  
So we stayed overnight in a hotel.  
Today we slept in a little and while I thought about making a day of it at Niagara Falls, Easton was asleep so I kept going straight to the property to check in on the footings which I found out were being poured at some point today.  
We got there and the cement was already hardening.  
The footings are in!

- Leanne Verkley

2013-05-16 23:11:40

Mother's Day at Disney!  Awesome!  Flowers at the front gate!  

- leanne

House Layout and Frost Wall

After dropping Hadley off at school, I am glad that my friend Shaye and I made the decision to take Easton to the park for about an hour before heading out to the property.
Yesterday was a long day that I wasn't expecting.
I am VERY fortunate that Shaye came for a visit because what was supposed to take 2 hours actually took 5 and a half.
She was able to pick up Hadley from school and play with the kids while I did on site house stuff.  We were also able to catch up a little too.  :)
I felt quite a bit of pressure trying to confirm exactly where the house would sit on the property and at which angle.  However after quite a few measurements the house is now laying parallel to the fence row.  
We also got the frost wall dug for the basement walkout area.  This took an hour and a half of the time.
Today there was nothing happening at the house and it was actually refreshing to take a day off.  Back at it tomorrow!  

- Leanne Verkley

Kids Stuff

Some cute tidbits about the kids.
Easton is now able to use the big swing at the park.  No more baby swings for him.  Although both Hadley and Easton can still fit in them.
Hadley is now able to use the firemans pole all by herself!  Hadley and Easton both love park time!
Hadley says AMinal for animal and pasketti for spaghetti and maymay for mayonnaise.  I only sometimes correct her because somehow this lets me appreciate that she is still little.  
Hadley fits Easton's clothing in the waist but she is still taller than him.  (For now).
This made it so that Hadley could wear one of Easton's Maple Leafs Jersey's for the game tonight.  (The second game of the playoffs against Boston).  CUTE!
Easton loves to play Tag... you're it!  And hide and go seek.  He says "you can't find me....now!"
He also says "nice" when things are good, and "that is not nice" when it is not so good.
Easton often asks if he can go to school with Hadley.  
Both kids love playing in the sand and building castles right now.  Easton especially loves to stomp them down.  
Hadley is loving her Wooly Bear Caterpillar that she found at the property.  She has made a pretty amazing home for it in an old Pampers Wipes container.  She is looking forward to when it turns into an Isabella Tiger Moth but for now there is a good stick in there and she gives it new grass every day, with a little water, and opens the lid outside to give it some sun.  Most of the day we keep it in the shade though.  
Easton is getting better at letting people clip his toe nails.  He is VERY specific about clean toes, but really doesn't like the clipping part.  
Bath time is getting a little easier but bathing them separately is a lot more work and takes a lot longer!
We got Hadley a new bike this week with princesses on it.  She loves it!  Now to work on biking with no training wheels.  

I am sure there is more to document but for now... this is what I can think of.



- Leanne Verkley

Checkout 51

I got my first cheque for $22.
I have been using the checkout 51 app for just a short time now and today I cashed my first cheque from them.
The idea...
They email out about 8 or so grocery items each week that have a coupon value associated with them.  Then, once you buy the items (from anywhere), you upload your receipt and they credit your account.  With a bonus $1 if you spend more than $60 on a receipt.
Most coupon values are $1 or $2.  
The only thing is... is that you can only use the coupon once for each item.  Still... if you are going to buy it anyway, it is a fantastic thing!
I have been very happy with it.  
Plus I don't really mind if they know what I buy in order to provide better coupons!  

- Leanne Verkley

Granular B and Clear Stone

Tuesday the granular B (sand) was taken from it's pile and put into the hole from the day before filling in about two feet.  The bulldozer followed the excavator as it pulled out the wet ground and then it filled it in as it went along.  Then it was compounded with a roller.  This created our solid ground to start from.
We had Geologic come to test it to make sure it measured properly at 100%, and we found out it had 5% moisture.  
All good.  Easton still remembers that they had built sand castles on top of the granular B pile and that they were bulldozed down.  

Wednesday the 11 loads of clear stone arrived (small rocks with no sand), and were loaded onto the granular B .  This brought everything up by about a foot.  
Today the day was a little slower.  I had about 4 errands to run, some time at the Park with Easton while Hadley was in school, and then this evening we went and set up chairs in our future dining room area to enjoy some pizza!  
Followed by throwing a ball around, slide rides, sand play and just good family time.
Now we wait to start the foundation.  Hopefully next week.  

- Leanne Verkley

Breaking Ground

We broke ground at the property today.  
This morning I got up at 6:45 am, packed breakfast and lunch, Hadley's school bag and two sets of spare clothing for the kids (as I knew they would want to play in the huge sand pile).  
Then I made a tea, and loaded up two sleepy children in their PJ's to head to the property.  
When we got there we met up with Victor the chief bulldozer operator from London Excavators and Mike from Pine Ridge Timber-frame (our main contractor).  
For hours the kids played in the sand while the dozer cleared the area for the house.  Mike and both kids made many sand castles at the top of the sand pile.
At noon, I took Hadley to school and came back with Easton to meet up with Janoah from Geo-Logic to figure out exactly how to lay the Granular B (sand).  
The day was stopped when we found out the excavator that was due to arrive from another site wouldn't start.  So, London Excavators brought in another one from another site but it didn't arrive until 4 pm.
After swimming lessons tonight we went back and showed Brian all the progress from the day.  Brian and I each held a shovel in the ground and took photos.  
And so it begins...

- Leanne Verkley

iPhone 5 & Napoleon Legend RB Propane BBQ

In the last week, Brian and I have made two important purchases.
The first one was for an iPhone 5.  This purchase brought me up to date in the cellular world.  My pay-as-you-go phone was great to just make a phone call, but awful to text.  Which was it's only other real feature...with pushing the button three or four times just for one character.
With Brian traveling, and the house build on the go, this will be great to share photos, videos, and communicate with contractors.
While I don't love the monthly bill (versus pay-as-you-go), I am very happy with the phone and after only a few days I wonder how I ever went with my old phone.

The next purchase.  Well, here is the history behind it... When we moved into our current house in 2002 we were gifted a BBQ from Brian's aunt Cecilia.  She had had it for about 10 years prior to gifting it to us but it worked perfectly.  We were SO grateful for it.  However last year (10 years later) at the beginning of the summer it died.  It owed us nothing at 20 years old.  
We decided that we would wait until we moved and then buy another one.  However the whole summer went by, and now after a crazy winter of paperwork to do the build... which is due to begin Monday, it is likely we will be at our current home for another summer.  (I really missed BBQing last summer).  So, after some research and watching the flyers, we went out and made the big purchase.  
Tonight we enjoyed a nice steak dinner and it was AWESOME!


- Leanne Verkley

Hadwee and other fun words

Easton is talking a lot now.  We understand much of what he says and so do other people.
However, there are some words that just make us smile when he uses them:
Hern:  He uses this word for either her or here.
Dewitches: this is his word for delicious
Me mow: meow
Downdairs: downstairs
Hirehyde:  This word is used almost daily as we use it for walking landmarks to the school.  It is his word for fire hydrant.
Hadwee/Haga: Easton is now using Hadwee about 80 percent of the time and Haga only a little now.  

I am sure there are more but this is what I can think of right now.


- Leanne Verkley

Dates

This weekend I was able to enjoy a movie out with my friend Jenny as Brian watched all four kids (while they slept).  :)  We saw 42.  The movie was about the first African-American to play in American Major League Baseball, focusing on the two years of his life after he entered the game.  Jenny and I were able to go out, and get pop and popcorn all free on coupons!  It was great!  We both felt like we were cheating the system somehow.  A night out together without kids.  

It has been a crazy couple of weeks with Brian's schedule and trying to get new drawings that are engineered to keep water out of our future basement.  However, yesterday we got our permit to move forward.  
So now we are onto try to schedule the next steps.
So how did we celebrate... well it just worked out that we had a baby sitter, and Leafs tickets.  So, Brian and I enjoyed a nice 3 course dinner at Earls in Toronto.  Spinach, artichoke dip with crusty bread, then steak, potatoes, and vegetables.  Then strawberry rhubarb crumble pie with ice cream.  

The Leafs game was good with James Reimer (the goalie) saving 32 shots.
The score was 2-0 for the leafs.  (The Leafs only at 13 shots on Brodeur the goalie from the New Jersey Devils).
It was a fun game to watch and a great rare night out with just Brian and I.
  



- Leanne Verkley

NKOTB

Today was a busy day.  It started with taking the kids to Home Depot so they could do the bird feeder craft.  They loved it!  
Then we headed to get some groceries.
The afternoon was spent making some home made play-doh in both red and blue, and then we headed to the mall.  The kids enjoyed a little play time at Mastermind playing with the trains, and Hadley loved our stop in at the Bulk Barn.  
Then, where the Santa Claus can normally be found in December, we found hundreds of people waiting for Rick (the temp) Campanelli to interview the New Kids On The Block.   They sang their new hit single and then did a very short interview.
Hadley loved being on my shoulders to see what was going on while Easton sat in the stroller eating popcorn.
It was a day where I had nothing planned and the day just filled itself up.
Now for some time on the couch with (SNL) Saturday Night Live.  

- Leanne Verkley

2013-04-13 22:35:57

Interesting to see them now... New Kids On The Block was the first band I went to see live when I was 13.  

- leanne

6 year old check up

Today was Hadley's six year old check up.
Last year I thought she had her final immunization, however it has been found that a chicken pox booster is required; so she got that today.  
She didn't love the idea and said that it hurt but she did great!  Just a few tears.  

She also got weighed while she was there.  She is now 111 cm up from 105 cm  last year.  Also she is 42 pounds up from 37 pounds last year.  Both of these are in the 25th percentile.  

She is just starting to wear size 6 clothes which seems to match up with her entire life.  Her age is her size.  I love this so it makes it easy to buy clothes in advance.  :)

The doctor checked her ears, eyes and mouth and stomach.  All fine... even though she has been sick for the past week.  

Just for interest sake, while we were there I also weighed Easton... 32 pounds up from 28 pounds in October, and got him measured and he is 93 cm up from 88 cm in October.  

- Leanne Verkley

Target

Yesterday I finally took the time to check out the new Target store.  I only found one really good deal and that was on toilet paper.  I don't think this will be a regular stop but it was a fun shop.  I found it was kind of like Zellers meets Walmart meet Giant Tiger.  All of these stores I also enjoy.  Only Target has a cleaner airy-er feel.  I did quite enjoy how big the aisles were and the lighting was good.
I bumped into a friend there too.
I can see how you could get cozy with your starbucks purchase right at the front door and then stay a while.  (I skipped the hot drink but I was there for about an hour).  
But just like the other stores I mentioned... you go in intending to spend $20 and leave $67 later.  
All in all... enjoyable.

- Leanne Verkley

Dance-a-thon and a Postal Code

The day started off with nothing much planned.
So in the morning we made muffins. Played, and did ordinary stuff around the house.  Then we walked to the school to drop Hadley off.  I knew it was Dance-a-thon day and Hadley remembered it from last year and was looking forward to it.
Each grade would spend an hour dancing to a DJ in the gym with each child receiving a glow bracelet.  
For donations you get ballots for prizes with the money going to the school.  
What I didn't expect was to take Easton in, help with ballots, and dance for an hour.  SO FUN!  Hadley loved it and was dancing all over the gym, and even in front of the school video camera.  Easton showed off his dance moves as well!
Good fun!
Then later in the afternoon I received a phone call back from the Pickering Postal Office.  We finally have a postal code!  A full mailing address!  Yay!

- Leanne Verkley

Swimming Lessons

Tonight we started swimming lessons.  Hadley in swim 1.  Easton and I in parented duck.  We decided to do parented duck with Easton because swimming lessons are necessary and we felt Easton was growing tired of just watching Hadley do things.  
Easton was very comfortable in the water.  He easily floated on his back with his head on my shoulder, blew bubbles, and attempted to "swim" on his front with my hands holding him up.  I got him to do these things by asking him to find things on the ceiling and bribing him with jumps from the side of the pool.  He loves to jump in without holding your hand and dunking under the water.  (I just have to reach in right away to bring him up).  The whole class was without life jackets.  We also sang two songs (wheels on the bus and alice the camel).  The end of the class was 5 minutes of free time where they turned on the mushroom, and sprinklers.  It was nice to have some one on one time with Easton where I could really focus on him.  
Hadley expressed after her class that she wished she could have been with us and the sprinklers.  However she did say she had fun anyway in her class.  Easton just kept saying not done yet.  Not done yet.  
I love that my kids are so comfortable in the water.

- Leanne Verkley

Hadley's gymnastics party

Today Hadley had her birthday party.  There was an hour spent in the gym at Pickering Athletic Centre (PAC - her gymnastics place) with 16 of her closest friends.
At the end of the gym part she was presented with a gymnastics medal, which she LOVED!  She has been waiting for this medal for at least 6 months.  She really wanted it!  She had attended other birthday parties at PAC and couldn't wait until they presented her with the birthday medal.  
We got a group photo and then it was time to go to the party room to enjoy munchies, and cake.  There wasn't enough time or room to open presents there so we did that at home with the out of town guests before enjoying some pizza dinner and good visiting.  
It was fun to see how excited Easton was for Hadley and her presents.  He understood it was her birthday and he was happy for her.
The day went very well in my opinion.  :)
Thank you to all who presented her with such lovely gifts!

- Leanne Verkley

Purple Woods

A great day at Purple Woods Conservation Area with the family. We saw sap coming out of the trees, went on a horse drawn wagon ride, made some crafts, went on a hike, and enjoyed some sugar maple candy.  It was such a nice outdoor day.  Muddy, but still just plain good family fun.
Then tonight was Earth Hour.  Hadley had been talking about it and was excited for it.  We turned out the lights, brushed teeth by flashlight, read a book by flash light, made shadow puppets (laughed like crazy especially when Brian said " make... a rhinoceros"), then we grabbed a blanket and tuned into the Leafs game on the battery operated radio.

- Leanne Verkley

2013-03-24 00:03:22

OH... we also stopped in at WhiteFeather in the town of Raglan.  It is like a small St. Jacobs Market.  We were lured in by the free "hold a spring chicken".  The kids got to hold baby chicks that were two days old.  
$30 later we left with our goods.  (Pork chops, butter tarts, fudge, and soup mix pre-cut vegetables).  I could have spent a lot longer in here and I will definitely go back!  

- leanne

Hadley is 6

Yesterday our little girl turned 6.  She has been counting the days until her birthday for weeks.  She couldn't have been more exited about it!
We started the day by going to the C4 MOM's group at our church.  She loved sharing with everyone that it was her birthday!  Both kids made a craft (both hands cut out on stick.  (Palms for Easter).  Hadley decorated hers with many 6's.  
Then after that we went to Dairy Queen to pick up her requested ice cream cake which we later ate after school.  We quickly ate lunch and then it was time to take Hadley to school.  She was very exited because she asked a few days before to bring in cupcakes for the class and today was the day she could share them.  
She said they sang to her and she quite enjoyed her day.  
After school we ate the rainbow ice cream cake with a #6 candle and watched her excitement as she opened our gifts.  
Easton got her a bag of peanuts from her favorite store (Bulk Barn).  She had circled them in the flyer the week before asking to have them to feed the squirrels at Lynde Shores.  She hugged them and thanked him with great sincerity!  Easton was so happy to hand her the spiderman gift bag.  
While she was happy with our clothes and joke book gift, she was OVER THE MOON with the "New Super Mario Bros. U" game for the Wii.  
The evening was spent at gymnastics and then because Easton fell asleep on the way home there was time for her to take a few birthday phone calls and play some of her Wii game.  
A special request to sleep in our bed with me was also granted as Brian flew out a few out tonight to Boston.  
I think she had a great day!

For me, I obviously reviewed the past 6 years and was thankful for each moment!  I also realized that I have been a stay at home mom as long as I was at BMO.  

- Leanne Verkley

March Break Day 10

Today was the last day of the March break.  Of course we utilized our day to the fullest.  We had a play-date at our house with Tara and her two kids Adam (from Hadley's class) and James.  
We had a lovely 3 hour visit catching up.  I miss walking to school with her since she went back to work.

The day ended with Brian and I watching the movie together.

I am happy with our March break activities.  

- Leanne Verkley

March Break Day 9

A stay at home, eat eggs and bacon for dinner kind of day.
I was up most of the night with Easton... I think he is growing.  So... today was an at home easy day.
I did some cleaning, had a nice LONG, HOT shower because it is Saturday and Brian is home.  
I spent some time on the computer... pinterest and facebook sure can take up your day if you let them.  :)
Today I took the break from March Break.  
It was a good change in pace.  :)

- Leanne Verkley

March Break Day 8

Today I ventured into Toronto with the kids to meet up with an old friend from Georgian College.  16 years ago I met Michelle.  Hard to believe!  
She is now expecting her first baby due at the end of May and even though we haven't seen each other in almost 3 years, we picked up conversation as if we saw each other yesterday.
We met at Jack Astors so that the kids could draw while we waited for food plus the menu was great for the kids.  It worked out for the most part.  
We brought her flowers as it was her 35th birthday.  Hadley also made Michelle a kite out of construction paper and pipe cleaners and Easton made her a card.  
We enjoyed a fudge brownie with a sparkler on top because Hadley let the waiter know about the special day.  The kids loved this!
It was so nice to see her.  I am excited that I know it won't be three years before I see her again.  Next month a baby shower and then I plan to visit her when she is ready, after the baby comes!

Such a beautiful day!   When we got home we played outside for a while, and even planted a few vegetables to let grow indoors.  :)
Another good day.

- Leanne Verkley

March Break Day 7

Today the kids and I spent a few hours at Tumbles and Toys play place.  They had a great time and used up some energy.
This was followed by some shopping for Easter stuff, and then Hadley had her last skating class tonight.
She got a ribbon for balance.  A nice green ribbon that she was so proud of, and we were so proud of her.
Brian drove separately and came directly from work in Toronto to watch her last class.  A nice surprise!

- Leanne Verkley

2013-03-14 23:58:18

Oh, I caught Easton singing to a song on the radio today.  
The song I knew you were trouble by Taylor Swift was on, and he sang: trouble, trouble.  
It was so cute.  

- leanne

March Break Day 6

This morning the kids got up at their usual time.  8:30am.  So, we had an easy morning of some TV, (Disney Junior is free this month and Hadley LOVES it, especially Doc McStuffins), and crafting, as well as a little cleaning. Then for two and a half hours this afternoon, I took both kids swimming.
It was so much fun.  
The kids had a lot of fun, and I managed both of them on my own.  
(Thank you life jackets).
Hadley wore her life jacket for the most part but really wanted to swim under water, so for short periods of time I let her play hide and seek with me, and swim under the water to the wall.  She didn't move far under water but loved that she was doing it on her own.  
Easton loved jumping in the water from the side, and about half way through he started to ask me to not catch him.  (This meant let him jump in, go under the water, and then save him so he could get the water off his face).  He LOVED it!
There was also water basketball and the kids both loved spraying people with the water sprayer.  
Easton was so tired he fell asleep at 6pm.  
It was a great way to spend the day with the kids. Plus it gives me practice for a few weeks from now when they both start swimming lessons.  Hadley in Swim 1, and Easton and I in parented Duck.  

- Leanne Verkley

2013-03-14 01:28:48

Hadley also enjoyed gymnastics tonight. :)

- leanne

March Break Day 5

The kids are staying up late, and sleeping in late.  Normally not a bad thing for March break, however it makes it hard to get going in the morning when they sleep in.
Still... we made it to the zoo today and enjoyed time with some friends.  It was especially cool to watch how interested Easton was this time in the animals.  He didn't just want to walk by but really wanted to look at the animals and their surroundings.  
The crowds were a bit crazy, but I kind of expected that.
The kids loved the carousel ride at the end.  Today they had it for only $2, so I thought it would be nice to treat them.  Hadley choose a parrot, and Easton choose a cheetah.  
When we got home we played strawberry shortcake and then thomas the train.
Then I tried a new Kraft Dinner / taco bake recipe.  It was okay.  Glad I tried it but I don't know if I will make it again.  

- Leanne Verkley

March Break Day 4

A little sleep in due to day light savings time, then a playdate all morning with the mommy group.
My friend Krista had fabulous crafts for the kids, and I now have decorated easter egg paintings, and cupcake wrapper flowers on popsicle sticks to make my house festive.
It is so nice to just hang out with my friends.
This afternoon... cleaning the house.  

- Leanne Verkley

March break day 3

Today was pretty low key.  For the most part we just spent the day at home.  However Hadley and I did get out and do some shopping, and a spa experience.  I got a full pedicure and some waxing done while she got her finger and toe nails painted.  Se loved that she did a pattern and not just one colour.  
She did stars and a sparkle polish on every other toe, then a red  sparkle and the same sparkle from her toes on every other finger.
I have the red sparkle on my toes.
I love having dates with just her.  So special!  Thanks to Brian for watching over Easton.  

- Leanne Verkley

March Break Day 1 & 2 and a whistle!

Yesterday was day one of the March Break.  What did we do?  We went to Airzone in Whitby with the mommy group.  Hadley and Clara played very well together.  They especially loved to jump down the bouncy slide and collect tickets from the gaming machines.
After this, I took the kids to get their hair cuts at Melonheads.  While the kids love it there because they get to choose the fun chairs to sit in and the TV screens have kids programs on them, I think this may be the last visit here.  It is quite expensive and kinda far to drive to.  
We shall see how it goes when haircuts are due again.
Anyway, I also was able to get the loot for Hadley's birthday party coming up.
It was a good day.

March Break Day 2.  
This morning as a family we all went to Home Depot.  The kids enjoyed making things.  Hadley a bird feeder and Easton a car.  Then we looked at doors, knobs and handles.  
I think we decided on cupboard door handles.  :)
While there we picked up some bird feed and then headed to Lynde Shores where we walked around on this beautiful day and fed the birds.  Hadley and Brian almost had chickadee's land on them but Hadley was sad that it didn't actually happen.  Easton enjoyed the walk and loved putting bird seed everywhere but he was a bit loud to have any birds come near him.  There were some bold ducks, three wild turkeys and a squirrel that didn't seem to mind Easton's energetic spirit.
No chipmunks out yet... hopefully in a few weeks we will see them.  
The ground was snow and ice covered with some pockets of water that were sometimes difficult to walk around.
The kids loved to fill the bird feeders, and leave seed on any tree stumps they found.

Noteworthy today:  After MUCH practice over the last few weeks, today... Hadley can now whistle!

- Leanne Verkley

Can Skate

Last night Hadley received her report card from skating.  While there were a few things to work on, the main thing is gliding rather than walking on the ice.  
She glides from time to time but there is still work to do.  I am VERY impressed with the progress from September to now.  
Plus she loves skating!
One fun week left next week.  

- Leanne Verkley

Gymnastics Rec 1

Tonight Hadley started a new level at her gymnastics.  This was due to us needing to change her day from Tuesday to another day to accommodate baseball in the spring.
So after talking with the Pickering Athletic Centre where she takes gymnastics they suggested she move into the Recreation 1 program up from junior gym.
Once you turn 6, you can move up, so with this being her birthday month, they said she could change.
The first major change is that it is now an hour and a half up from an hour.
She loved this, Easton was a bit restless just watching.
It did appear that the class was a bit more serious than that of the junior gym class.  The teacher seemed great.  She loved Colin her old teacher but seems to like Kayla too.  :)  I think this will be a good change.  
I will have to put a bag of fun together for Easton in the waiting room to help us make it through while we watch her through.  :)
The change was also made now instead of later to allow for a good amount of time to assess her before the year end reports in June.

- Leanne Verkley

Haga

Easton has called Hadley AGA for as long as he has had a name for her.  
Recently it has changed to Haga.  
His language is fantastic and most of the time others outside of our family can understand him.  There are still the occasional words that we don't understand but we can usually guess and if we are right it is followed with him saying, that is what I said.  :)


- Leanne Verkley

Old friend, Strawberry Shortcake, and Pancakes

This weekend was a good one.  Saturday I met up with an old friend from high school.  We haven't seen each other in about 5 years.  Her son was just born.
He is now 5!  Thanks for the visit Stacey!
Then Sunday, while Brian was away visiting his old public school friends, I took the kids to see Strawberry Shortcake, follow your berry own beat!
The show started off with the Doodlebops which we have seen twice before at the Kids CBC days.  However I was disappointed in this show.  It just didn't seem that great.
The Strawberry Shortcake show was fantastic though.  Hadley loved it from start to finish.  Easton... not so much.  
Hadley has been playing with Strawberry Shortcake figurines since she got them at Christmas and I think she loved to see them on stage.  
It was cool for me to see three other moms from my mommy group with their kids there.
That night I came home and made almost 80 pancakes for Hadley's school.
Today was PJ, pancake day.  The SCC (which I am part of), paid for all the supplies to feed every kid in school free pancakes today.  Just a fun day!
So after I made the pancakes, I froze them.  Then this morning I put them in the oven on low heat before taking them to the school to be served out.
Brian was heading to the airport so it worked out that he took them to the school for me.  :)

- Leanne Verkley

2013-03-05 17:41:49

That is crazy that Strawberry Shortcake is still popular. I think I still have my Strawberry Shortcake somewhere. I wonder if her hair still smells good.

- Lisa Schuyler

A big sandbox (without the box)

I have been feeling sick this week. Tired, and a sore throat.  Much better today but yesterday was rough.
However only a few days ago we were made aware that our road had a half load limit for trucking things in that starts on March first and goes to April 30th.   I had to carry on yesterday.
So, we had 25 truck loads of granular B brought in. It is a mixture of sand and round stones. Particle sizes up to 1 inch. Granular B is a sub-base material, primarily used as a foundation for roads, parking lots and driveways.  Basically... Sand.
We will be putting 18 inches instead of 12 inches of this under the house to keep water out of our basement.
After we got the test holes done, we had Jenoah and Bruno test the granular B to confirm this is what we would need.
Now we are kind of doing things backwards by having it shipped in prior to the town approving the extra 6 inches, however the cost savings of using full trucks to half trucks makes it worth while.  Now... some time today... I hope to get the report from Jenoah and Bruno to take to the town for their 10 day review / approval.
Once that is back... we can build.

- Leanne Verkley

Test Holes for House

Today we had Mike from Pineridge come to stake out where the house is going to be.  Then we had Jenoah and Bruno from a company called Geo Logic come to do some test holes for the soil.  The reason for the test holes were to log soil conditions, check moisture content, check gradation and hydrometer, then hopefully within a week we will get an engineering analysis.  
All this so that we can add 18 inches of engineered fill under the house to prevent water in our basement.
Easton thought the excavator was interesting and loved every minute of it.  Hadley got cold quickly in the rain and enjoyed it for a little while but 2 hours was a bit long for her to watch people dig test holes.  
Once we get the feedback we can send the information to the town for review and they will get back to us in 10 days letting us know if they think the engineered fill plan is acceptable.  Then... we move forward.  

- Leanne Verkley

Brian's Birthday and Family Day Weekend

This weekend was well, like all of our weekends.  Busy.
Friday was Brian's birthday and a PA day for Hadley.  So I spent just over an hour Friday morning trying for Blue Jays home opener tickets but it just didn't work out.  Sigh.  Oh well.
Then it was on to cake baking and decorating.  Brian was sick so we didn't go out but that was okay since his birthday gift was the new gaming system, the Wii U.  We played lots!
Saturday was a day at home but it was a research day.  We made some decisions about the house.  Trim style and size, we decided on the wood floor widths, we got the locate information together for the grading, and looked into a few other things but no final decisions on those yet.  
Sunday we had visitors.  Brian's dad and sister Julie came to visit.  We enjoyed a roast dinner with cake.  Hadley was very happy to show them how the new Wii U worked!
Then today, actual family day, we took the kids to see Bobs and Lolo.  This is a musical duo on treehouse TV.  http://www.bobsandlolo.com/
If you are trying to imagine what they are like perhaps you could compare them to Sharon, Lois and Bram.  
Decent show for a decent price.  Hadley and Easton were right up front dancing and singing.  We even got to talk with Bobs after the show.
Lots of photos too!
Afterwards when we got home Easton really didn't want to go inside; so... we didn't.  He and I spent about an hour in the snow.  We did our best to make a snowman out of snow that didn't really stick together.  (It worked just well enough).  
Hadley and Brian had some more fun Wii time inside.  (Brian is still sick and Hadley loves gaming).  
Tonight we are expecting Brian's cousin Patrick to come for a sleepover (in about an hour or so he should arrive).  He is going on a dairy barn tour through eastern Ontario and Quebec during his winter break from school and thought staying here would be a good first stop over.  
Absolutely.
Included in this weekend was an entire house clean (minus our bedroom and the kitchen floors).  
I think I did 10 or more loads of laundry!
I feel like I did a lot this weekend!

- Leanne Verkley

Scientist in the School

Today I was fortunate enough to be able to volunteer again at Hadley's school for scientist in the school.  I feel so lucky.  Brian watched Easton while he worked from home.
This year was all about the senses.  There were a number of parent volunteers and my centre was the sight centre.  I was the teacher for this centre after a 3 minute info session.  I was handed a write up to reference and a box of things to explore.  
The first thing we did was to put on black out glasses, then take them off, look in a mirror and watch our pupils get smaller.  There was a small explanation that I was supposed to read to the kids about our eyes being like cameras taking many photos and the size of their pupils change with the amount of light.  
The next activity was to have each kid close their eyes while I handed them an item to guess.  Some guessed right.  The next part of this was to do it again with a second item and ask them to guess the colour.  Without eyes, they couldn't do this.
There were a few optical illusions that we discussed.  A black circle with large White circles around it, and a black circle with small black circles around it.  We proved that the centre circle in black for both was the same size even though it appeared to be different.  There was a reflective pig that when you stand close vs far, it would appear in different spaces.  
We spent some time making 3D glasses and looking at 3D images in a book.  Then we explored binoculars, large and small glasses, kaleidoscopes, etc.
Each centre had a 20 minute time slot with 4 kids in each group.  So I taught my section 4 times.  
The day went by quickly, it was fun, and I know Hadley had a great time.
What a privilege to have this program at her school.  The SCC (School Community Council) funded this and I think it was well worth the funds.

- Leanne Verkley

The Canadian Penny

This week it was confirmed that the Canadian penny will no longer be produced.
There will be no more take a penny, leave a penny.  There will me math involved in all transactions to round up or round down if you pay with cash.
I was kinda fond of the penny.  I remember counting many of them in my Unicef box when I was a kid.  I use them often to let my kids donate to the zoo as they have the spinning race your money donation bins every where.  
I think I will miss having pennies around.
That's my 2 cents.  Only possible due to the penny.  (Thanks Cobert Report).

- Leanne Verkley

Sid the Science Kid

Yesterday I decided it was going to be an outdoor kind of day.  We spent most of the morning outside at the park etc.  We even had a picnic, all while meatball size snowflakes were falling on us.  
When we finally arrived at Hadley's school to drop her off Hadley's hands were quite cold.  So I tried to warm them with my hands, and then after a small conversation with her teacher she was allowed to wait just inside the doors until the bell rang.
After school I was so impressed with her teacher who took Hadley's experience and turned it into a lesson about warm parts of your body and how to warm up when you are cold.  
I always said it would be awesome if you could have a question from home or another experience, take it to school and actually explore it.  (The TV show Sid the Science Kid does this).  
Today a smile was on my face as this actually happened for Hadley!
I am sure it happens other days too.
Did I mention that I love her teacher!

- Leanne Verkley

2013-02-06 10:51:16

Easton seemed to be plenty warm and actually wanted to stay outside when we got home to clean off the van and shovel the driveway. What a kid!

- leanne

Volunteering in Hadley's SK Class

Today was such a blessing to me.  I was able to volunteer in Hadley's class.  
It made me happy to be able to be there.  
It was especially great for Hadley as it was her special helper day.  I couldn't believe her excitement to have me there.
I can't even remember all the things they did in the three hours we were there but I will try to list it:
Arrive, get off outdoor clothing, write your name with a Capital in front, lower case for the rest.
I was in charge of date stamping all the completed names.
Then the SK's wrote the 2, 3 and then 4 on their calendars.  (The weekend dates and the current date number).  
This was followed by some singing and then Hadley did the weather, date, counting of the boys and girls in attendance and showing her guessing bag.
She brought in a small LEGO puppy which she described as white, starts with P, and has a pink bow on top.  It was not guessed and this made her happy.
I was impressed with the line lesson by her teacher.  Hadley's teacher did a line drawing of a castle and then I sat with four kids at a time and each kid did their own drawing with castle lines, zig zags, swirls, clouds, dashes, vertical and horizontal lines as well as a few other types of lines.  
After they sat with me they went and painted their castles.  
I was told that this type of exercise would normally take them all week to complete in order to spend enough time with each kid to get all the lines on each picture and each picture painted.  (I think it took an hour).  
Still I truly understand why it would normally take all week for 16 kids without a dedicated helper.  
There was a new song put up on a screen about groundhogs day.  The kids kind of sang to it but they were really into the later song time that included actions for Macarena and YMCA.  The Macarena had a pattern to it, AA, BB, CC, DD etc.  The YMCA had marching and the letters and lots of energy being expressed.  
Their was a math lesson that had the kids in groups of two or three.  They had to draw 4 things that represented boys and 4 things that represented girls.  Write the numbers 1,2, 3,4 and then 1,2,3 and then show that adding these equalled 7.  While some had circles for their drawings, others had circles with hair and face, others had stick people and I was impressed when I later saw Hadley's. Hers had full thick people with the numbers written clearly.  She forgot to write 7 as the total so her teacher asked her to go and write it.  Instead of just writing 7.  She wrote "We have 7".  Proud mommy moment.
There was a sentence written on a large paper and each child had their chance to circle a word they knew and read it to the class.
For most of the day she worked with Adam as her partner.  
I was asked to put up some artwork on the wall while there was a story-time.
Then they had an art lesson after their AT rhyming session.  They drew a rat, and wrote a sentence about seeing a rat.  
The afternoon went by quickly.  
I asked Hadley what her favorite part of the day was and she said that she didn't have to tell me about the day because I already knew about it.  :)

- Leanne Verkley

2013-02-05 01:29:37

They also had free play which Hadley played with the My Little Ponies and free reading time where each kid had their own bag  with their names on it with reading appropriate to their level.
I was very impressed with the day!

- leanne

Birthday, Winterfest, and Superbowl weekend

On Saturday Hadley was invited to a spa birthday party for a girl (Alyssa) from her school.  The party was at her house and their were stations for hair, make up, manicures, pedicures, massage and more.  She had a fabulous time!  

Then today we headed out as a family to Ajax's Winterfest.  While it was minus 4 Celsius it appeared to be like spring outside.  No snow anywhere except where it was brought in.  
The kids did have fun on the pile of snow in snowshoes despite the warm weather.  They also quite enjoyed the bouncy castles, the horse drawn wagon ride, the ice sculptures, and crafts.  All while dancing to the music in the background as the lumberjacks hacked away at some wood in the background.  

Then it was home to enjoy crazy Superbowl food.  We watched as the Baltimore Ravens beat the San Francisco 49ers.  Hadley was right.  The rest of us chose the 49ers.  
There was a blackout (after the halftime show by Beyonce) that seemed to flip the switch for the 49ers but it just wasn't enough.  A final score of 34 to 31.  
The sibling rivalry between the coaching Harbaughs went to John who after the game told his brother that he loved them.  And what could Jim say to his brother, just a simple congratulations.  

It was a full weekend but a good weekend.

- Leanne Verkley

Grandview

Today was Easton's last day at Grandview.  With a full hour of testing games we came to realize that Easton was at or above where kids his age should be for speech.  Easton was asked to label pictures he saw, play puzzle games, and ask for things.  Julia his worker was extremely happy with the progress from his last visit.
So, today we started the discharge process from the program.   I am allowed to bring him back into the program without a wait period for up to a year if I have any concerns.  
The sounds that he doesn't have at this point are not due to be monitored for some time.  So for now we just keep working on all words as they come up.  Making sure we give him good examples to copy.  

- Leanne Verkley

Easton figuring out some words

Easton now says me, and mine.  He still often says Easton do it or things like that where he uses his name instead of me, or mine but he is starting to use these other words and it is cool to watch.  

Now that Easton has started using the question why, he is now trying out, why not?  It is really quite funny as he uses why not more often then why.
Imagine this:  
Easton points at some food he likes and wonders if he can eat it, I say yes, he says why not?  
I know he really means why so often I answer why to his questioning.  However sometimes why not would make sense.  

- Leanne Verkley

Building Permit Approved!

The Building Permit is approved!!!
11 years ago today we moved into our current house and today we received news that our building permit for the new house is approved! Hooray!
It was a crazy snowy day but I felt it was important to get to the permit office today due to the significance of the day.  The process has been long and now I am not even sure it feels real.  
The weather outside is minus 12 so now we wait for it to warm up before we can start.  
But now we CAN start!

- Leanne Verkley

Personification

Easton has taken to personifying things.
For example:  The cat in the hat tv show, he says Brian is the cat, I am the fish, Hadley is Sally and he is Nick.
In the book Ten Drowsy Dinosaurs, Hadley is the yellow dinosaur, I am the pink one, Brian is the black one and Easton is the white one with the red boots.
In Bubble Guppies the tv show, I am Gil, Easton is Nonny,  Hadley is Oona, Brian is Mr. Grouper.  In Super Mario Party 9 for the Wii, Hadley is Daisy, and Easton is Luigi.  Easton even closes his eyes and claps like Luigi.  He calls himself Wee Gee.
I am sure there is more personification but those are the ones that stand out.

- Leanne Verkley

LB - Lisa Schmidt (nee Black)

It is with sadness that I write this post.  Tears in my eyes and in my heart.  
Today I celebrated my dear friend Lisa's life who passed away on January 13th.  All too soon.
http://mountpleasantgroup.permavita.com/siteContent/memorial.html?personId=232094&source=redirect
It was my pleasure to work with her for almost 6 years and then continue our friendship for 6 more years.  
In those 12 years there were many stories shared (and in proper Lisa style, no descriptive detail left out).  
I was honored to be introduced by her to her loving husband Richard.  His strength through all of this is noteworthy.  I can't imagine the bravery it took from both Lisa and Richard to get through her fight against Melanoma.  
Four years ago at their wedding I saw true love.  It never faded even in the difficult times.  
In that time they had a beautiful little girl who has just turned three.  In their daughter I see Lisa.  I look forward to seeing her grow over the years to come.
While it is difficult to face the reality, there is also peace.  
Today was hard.  However I am blessed to come home and hug my family a little tighter tonight.
My thoughts and prayers go out to Richard and Isabella as they face what is next.
May they hold tight to the good memories.





- Leanne Verkley

Multiplication

Tonight I was in Easton's room with the family and out of the blue, Hadley, while sitting on her dad's lap looking up at the ceiling fan says: "three four's are twelve."  
She is 5 years old.  How does she know this?
Did she count the blades of the fan three times?  Even if she did... how does she know to say three fours are twelve?
Sometimes it is just awesome to sit back and watch what our kids are capable of all on their own.  

- Leanne Verkley

Saturday... it actually felt like Saturday. Why?

I am not really sure how today changed so much from my plan in my head... However today felt like a weekend day.  I haven't felt the difference from weekday to weekend in a very long time.  
It started with a sleep in.  Thank you Brian.  This was totally awesome!  Then Hadley had the idea to bring me breakfast in bed.  My fruit loops was shared by the family and my orange was peeled entirely by Easton and then shared with the family.  Then later in the day Brian and Easton had a football date on the couch while Hadley and I had a pedicure date.  I picked a nice purple.  Hadley did a pattern of every other toe with disco ball silver and strobe light gold.   This was followed by pizza dinner while watching the rest of the football game.  Then the most noteworthy thing of the day perhaps: Easton starting to ask why (all day).  He didn't say it a single time yesterday or any day before that I can remember but today it seemed like he was asking it all day.  With the last one being him pulling out another book at bedtime and me saying no more today.  Him:  why?  Me:  Its late and time for bed.  
What a great Saturday.

- Leanne Verkley

Christmas - Done

This past weekend we had Christmas with my mom.  It was the last of the Christmas gatherings.  Everyone made their food contributions, we exchanged gifts, and the older kids (Hadley and Jayden) decorated a cake for my mom's birthday.  I am not sure there was a free space from all the candy decorations.  Hadley even sang a special song for my mom.  Then yesterday we took down the tree.  I guess it is on to the new year.  

- Leanne Verkley

Just stuff

Yesterday we spent the day at the zoo.  Did I mention that I love going to the zoo in the winter.  The are no crowds and the paths are so clean.  Plus walking around with the kids allows me to totally appreciate them.   Like for instance.  Hadley used to name everything Lauren after her best friend from junior kindergarten and now she is onto Valerie.  This is from the new Cat in the Hat Space book.  One of the rhymes is:  Malory, Valerie, Emily Mickels, Just Saved Up Nine Hundred and Ninety Nine Nickles.  
Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.  
Both kids received two Littlest Petshop toys from the zoo for free.  One elephant and the other a jaguar.  Hadley's jaguar was named Valerie and the elephant was just her elephant.  Easton took to the elephant more but no names.
Easton however loves to count everything right now.  1 to 10.  Although his one, four and seven all sound very similar with seven being more like one-ah.
He can start at any number between 1 and 10 and go right up to ten.  He also recognizes them when written.  Much thanks to the book 10 Drowsy Dinosaurs.  He loves this book!
Both kids LOVE the Wii from playing to just watching.  Pretty much anything Super Mario wins!  Currently Super Mario Galaxy 1 and 2.  However Hadley has her eye on Super Mario Party 9.  (She is saving for it).
Hadley has taken to wearing sunglasses on her head lately.  It is really the prettiest, cutest thing.  
Easton is onto apple eating.  It seems he can't get enough of them.  Red in particular.  (I usually buy Gala and he loves them).
Well, there are the bits and pieces that were in my head.  

- Leanne Verkley

2013-01-08 23:49:07

Hadley had some duplicate gifts from Christmas and after some returns she couldn't be happier with her Super Mario Party 9 purchase.  

- leanne

Tobogganing

Today I decided that I would take the kids out to the small hill near our house.  It was a perfect day to go tobogganing.  The kids rode in the wagon there (about a 10 minute walk) and didn't mind carrying the blow up toboggan.  We spent about 2 hours going up and down the hill and everyone had smiles the whole time.  Easton even felt comfortable one time to go down by himself.  
There were only 3 other kids on the hill and Hadley loved that they let us try their wooden toboggan.  
This is one of the reasons Canadian winters are awesome.  
A great day!

- Leanne Verkley

2 more Christmas parties and New Years

This weekend we had two more Christmas parties.  One was with the extended Verkley's in Monkton.  As always a good time, with good conversation and good food.  Also celebrating Brian's cousin Wes's 30th birthday.  
Then Sunday was Christmas at my dad's.  We came after the Verkley party and spent the night, then we were able to enjoy the entire day there.  I had some pretty cool conversations with my Pappa Jack about the war and travel, dances from the past and some other things.   It was so nice to see my sister's family and her kids.  My brother is so good to my kids.  Brenda's kids Amanda and Missy were there as well as Missy's two youngest.
Dad and Brenda totally spoiled us with gifts.   We had Chinese food.
It was a nice celebration.
Then last night we had our friends over (Ryan, Jenny, Owen and Spencer, as well as Shaye, and Shawn K).  We had A LOT of food, drinks, and games!  Hadley and Owen stayed up for the first time until midnight.  They celebrated with us with clappers, dancing, and watching the ball drop.  They LOVED it!  Then it was bed time.
Easton gave it everything he had but fell asleep at 11pm.  Spencer, much earlier but I didn't note the time.  
The night continued on for a little while but then we all decided that our beds were calling us.
It was again a wonderful new years!

- Leanne Verkley

3 Christmas gatherings done, 3 to go.

In the last week we have had 3 Christmas gatherings.  The first with Brian's mom and sister Julie at Julie's house.  Everyone had a great time with good food.  The kids really enjoyed decorating a gingerbread house and sharing gifts.  We also facetime'd with Brian's sister Lisa and her husband Jeff.  It was nice to have them be part of the day.  
Both Brian's mom and sister were headed to Nova Scotia the next day so we stayed until bedtime and then headed to Brian's dad's house to spend the night.  This was followed by a nice day celebrating with him and many others.  Here we had more good conversation and food, as well as a gift exchange.  

Then we had an amazing Christmas Eve where we worked on decorating our stockings, and the Portable North Pole online provided a personalized conversation from Santa to our kids.  Hadley was so excited!
The kids were up until about 9:30pm and then... slept in until 9:30am.  AWESOME!
We woke to the excitement of the morning.  Enjoyed opening our stockings and then had a beautiful Christmas morning breakfast of bacon and eggs with Christmas music in the background.  
This was followed by our gift exchange, much mess, clean up, and play time.
We also phoned and facetime'd family.  
I loved every minute of it.  My big gifts this year: a steamer trunk which I hope to put in the great room at the new house to hold a nice blanket perhaps?  I love it.  As well,  some decorative sticks.  Hadley remembered me noting this from a while back and reminded Brian.  :)  
Hadley asked for a bike for her barbies to ride which Santa brought for her, and she wanted us to get her a sleeping beauty costume.  She was delighted when she saw both that morning.  Easton's wish list was small since he didn't really understand that he could ask for anything so Hadley asked for some train stuff for him.  Santa brought him a shiny Thomas train, and we got him some tunnels, and other things to add to his wooden track set.  
Of course there were a lot of other things but those are the things that stand out for me.
The major gift I got Brian was a plaque mounted artistic rendition of what the new house will look like. He seemed pleased.
The day was so relaxed.  It was so nice.  We were able to just totally enjoy every moment.  
Since then we had a major snow fall which has lead to two beautiful days of playing in the snow with the kids.  It wasn't packing snow but we used the snow ball maker, the bolder block maker, we made snow angels and the used the colour bubbles.   All of witch lead to hours of fun.  Unfortunately Brian has been sick for those two days so he was inside.  However we were still able to enjoy hot chocolate and good conversation afterwards.  
The kids and I tried out a new recipe Mars Bar Squares.  YUMMY.  
So far Christmas vacation = success.  

- Leanne Verkley

Feeling Christmas

Today was a pretty special day.  Brian flew home from Boston on an early morning flight (which we were not sure he would be able to) and was home in time to see Hadley's school concert.  Pretty special to have him there.  I think he got 4 hours sleep last night in order to make this happen.  
The concert was during the day this year because of bill 115 which has made it so that teachers are not able to do any extra curricular activities outside of school hours at the moment.  Still her school made a great effort to still have the concert.
It was so cute to see her up there with her class in her little Santa hat doing actions to the two songs they had prepared.
Afterwards the kindergarten children had the option to go home for the day or stay.  Hadley wanted to stay for the extra hour.  So, we went home and then an hour later went to pick her up.  She loves school.
After school Easton had a hair appointment and then we went out for dinner prior to Hadley's skating lessons.  
Tonight at skating they had a special guest show up.  Santa spent the last 25 minutes on the ice with the kids and they all got the chance to talk with him and receive a special gift.  Easton even got a few minutes of his time.  
What a magical day of happiness.

- Leanne Verkley

Easton loves the bike a da (as he calls it)

For a couple of months now I have been letting Hadley ride her bike to school and I would pull Easton home on it from the basket at the front.  The training wheels give him the balance that he needs and he loves it.
This was an okay option until he learned how to use the brakes.  Then I missed the stroller.  
However... I decided that since he loves it so much I would try to be patient and teach him to pedal instead.  
For a long time he was resistant and wanted to do things in his timing and the brakes were used often.
However with practice he can now ride on his own for short periods of time.  He gets tired quite a bit and so I pull him for part of the ride and he rides for some of it but I think it is noteworthy that he can do small bits on his own now.  I think we will need to get him his own bike and helmet in the spring.
Hadley uses her scooter and I now cart this back and forth for her.
With temperatures at 5 degrees Celsius in December... I don't really mind.  
Good outdoor exercise.

- Leanne Verkley

Gymnastics Junior Gym 1 & 2

Last night at gymnastics Hadley achieved Junior Gym Levels 1 & 2.  After her class she got to stand on a podium as she received her report cards and ribbons.  I was able to go in and take pictures with the other parents and Easton sat with all the kids on the floor but really wanted to explore all that the gym had to offer.  :)
Hadley was so proud, as was I.  Two levels!  WOW!
I didn't know it was going to happen but now I know that there are two reporting sessions per year.  (I still don't know when the next one is, but I am assuming June as there is a summer program that is different than the school year).  
Hadley got home and wanted to tell her dad all about it.
We are on a short break now until the new year.
Congratulations Hadley!  Well done!  

- Leanne Verkley

LB Christmas Party

Every year since I began working at BMO in 2001 there has been a Christmas party at Lisa's house.  It is always a good time and this year was no exception.  
I love that our group is able to get together year after year.  I am grateful.  
This year was a little different though.  Aside from some of Lisa's amazing food that was not prepared tonight, the candles not lit that would usually set the ambiance and the two hour window for the party that would normally go through all hours of the night.  It was different.  
I was emotional tonight as I drove to her house.  With her stage 4 melanoma diagnosis every visit could be the last.  
Tonight I had some important conversations and I feel blessed that I could be there.  
There are no words to describe how this really feels.  
In all honesty... it sucks.  
However, it is Christmas and we were together and I was glad to be there.

- Leanne Verkley

Easton's First Dentist Appointment

On Friday Easton had his first dentist appointment.  He did awesome.  He went in and asked right away about the money.  (He remembered that they gave out coins for the machine to get a toy after your visit from when Hadley had her visit).  I was impressed at his memory.
When it was his turn he got into the chair, opened his mouth, let the hygienist count all 20 of his teeth.  (All his baby teeth are in).  Then she tickled his finger with the cleaning brush, and was able to do a full cleaning.  All while Easton watched Harry and his bucket full of dinosaurs on the TV on the ceiling.
It couldn't have been smoother.  No cavities!  

- Leanne Verkley

Skate Canada Pre-Can Skate Ribbon #1

Two weeks ago Hadley was told that she had worked hard enough at her skating lessons to achieve her first ribbon.  We were so excited for her that we had a chip party afterwards.  She was so proud and we were so proud of her.
Hadley was supposed to receive the ribbon last week but she had a big decision to make.  A friends (Nayleah's) birthday party was on the same night.  
To go to the party or to the class and receive her ribbon.  She decided that the birthday party was too important to miss and she was okay receiving the ribbon tonight instead.  So tonight when we went to skating she did not forget about the prize.  She went directly to her name tag where there was a ribbon attached to it.  
She held up the beautiful yellow ribbon with such pride and a BIG smile!  
There was a dance in her step.  :)
Congratulations Hadley!

- Leanne Verkley

E ston

Today while reading a book with Easton I was asking him what his favorite thing on each page was and I would get him to say E and I would say ston likes... whatever it was.  
Later I would get him to do the ston part too.
I would tap his shoulder twice one for E, the other for ston.  Then later this was not necessary.  
Now he can say his name.  We just need to get him out of the habit of saying Dee Dee when he refers to himself.  
He, Hadley, Brian and I were VERY excited for this break through.  
In all honesty though I will miss it when he doesn't call himself Dee Dee anymore.  

- Leanne Verkley

I had a dream

Often I have said to Hadley, sweet dreams and I really was not sure she knew what I meant by a dream.  However this morning she woke up and said: Mommy, I dreamed I had a TV in my room.
Huh.
Her first shared dream with me.  :)

- Leanne Verkley

No un NA NA

Easton finds it easiest to go to the potty with his pants and underwear off.  Fine.  Cleaner floor for me.  HOWEVER, he does not like to put his clothes back on afterwards.  He cries and says No un NA NA over and over.
And I continue with, yes underwear.  
The only way to get him to easily get dressed is if he wants to do something and I say that he needs underwear to do it.  
If he is not interested in my fun thing do do... well... it is no fun for anyone.
I still count my blessings that potty training was so easy and that makes it easier to take this in stride.  For now.  

- Leanne Verkley

Bikada (This is how Easton says bicycle)

For about a month now I have been letting Easton ride Hadley's bike to school while I pull him from the front.  At the beginning he just sat there and smiled.  Then last week he went through an "I know where the brakes are phase".  This was almost annoying enough for me to put the bike away until spring.  However he asks for it every day so I decided to press on and teach him to pedal.  So now he pedals for about 50% of the ride.  He still uses the brakes and thinks it is funny.  As he brakes he looks at me, grins, and says no brake.
Mostly this makes me smile as I know he understands what he is doing.  (The days that I am running late... another story).  
At every road crossing he gets off his bike and we each old a side of the bike and walk it across.  
He is pretty good at understanding that he gets to ride the bike to school and Hadley gets her turn to ride home.  It helps if Hadley stops every once in a while and lets him push her.  He likes to feel helpful.
Hadley likes that the bike is brought to her daily.  :)

- Leanne Verkley

Easton is FULLY potty trained!

No more diapers for Easton.  For some reason I am emotional about this.  My baby is not a baby any more.  Easton is fully potty trained.  Day and night.  
There are only rare accidents.  He can wait for the washroom while we are out and can easily go before we leave the house and when we arrive somewhere.
He trained himself.  It didn't feel like work at all.
I can hardly believe how easy it was.
He didn't even wear a pull-up once.  
Tomorrow will be two months after he turned two.  :)  Just to note his age.  :)

- Leanne Verkley

2012-12-03 23:03:08

I guess I was a little early on noting his age.

- leanne

Code

Tonight I heard something on the monitor but I wasn't sure what it was.  I went upstairs to check on the kids and Hadley had turned on her light.  So I asked her what she was doing and she said that she just needed to finish the code.  She was working on deciphering a code where the numbers equal letters and there is a message at the end.
I was happy that she wanted to do this but not at bed time.

- Leanne Verkley

Building permit... this, and that.

On Thursday November 22nd we actually FINALLY applied for our building permit.  We should get our permit in 10 days.  Our house was assigned a street address and I actually had a tear in my eye.  It has been such a long process to get to this point that getting an address actually made it feel like putting a house on the property would be possible.  

Last night Friday November 23rd was a girls night out.
I didn't realize how much I needed that.  The mommy group went to Kelsey's and enjoyed appetizers and drinks and good conversation.  Brian was so nice this morning.   I slept in until 11am.  It was marvelous!  Thanks Brian!  Then in the afternoon we decided we would take the kids skating.  Hadley has been taking lessons since September and we see progress each week but today we allowed her to use the metal skate assist (that we brought for Easton) and you should have seen her confidence to try things out.  It was amazing.  She was gliding and attempting to skate on one foot.  She made up a game to skate with the assister and then glide it over a tipped pylon and then try to skate after it.  There were races and lots of fun.  Plus by the end she was SO much faster without it.  Easton also loved being on the ice.  We worked on just getting him to stand on his own.  We have more work to do.  :)    He loved skating around with us holding him and he was very stable just walking around the dressing room in his skates.  It was nice to spend the day together as a family.  

Easton says the word WATCH so clearly now and he really means that he wants to you to watch him do something.  Lately it is watching him jump with two feet.  He gets lots of air.  He is quite a good jumper.  He also likes us to watch him do cart wheels.  (He puts one foot in the air).  

This week Hadley almost made it half way up the rope at gymnastics.  

Hadley has a new assignment for home reading from school.  We tried it out tonight for the first time.  Instead of reading 5 books a night she is to read 1 book, write her name, write the name of the book down, then write one thing about the book she liked and draw a picture.  Seemed to go well tonight!

The house is a mess but life is happening.  

- Leanne Verkley

2012-11-25 18:29:42

Can't wait until we can send the first pieces of mail to the new address!

- Lisa Schuyler

WarHorse

This weekend we were fortunate enough to have Brian's sister Julie come to our house and watch over the kids.  Brian and I were able to go out on a date!  
We travelled to Toronto Saturday morning to see WarHorse (http://www.mirvish.com/shows/warhorse) and got front row tickets for $29 each.   Then we were able to enjoy a lunch together before watching the matinee...  WHICH WAS AWESOME!
I can't speak highly enough about the show and the fact that our friend Jamie was one of the leads just made it that much better.
He played Topthorn and the Goose in this particular show but sometimes he also plays Joey as well as some of the chorus.  
After the show their was a school there doing a Q&A with the cast and we were able to join in on that.  Jamie was great in this.
However, the real amazing part was that Jamie took us up on the stage to see the puppets and we got to touch the horses and see how they worked.  
Then we were able to go under the stage and see the dressing rooms.
What a great surprise.  
Following this we stopped in to see Lindsay before heading home that night.
Thanks Julie for watching the kids and making this day possible.

- Leanne Verkley

Hadley's progress report SK

While there were no progress reports this year, Hadley's teacher made her own two page report anyway... Because she is that awesome!
After talking with her teacher I was impressed that she was willing to make a personalized program for her since she is so far ahead in her reading.  Hadley is at a level 10... Which to me meant nothing until after the interview which I found out that level 6 is where they are expected to be at the end of grade one.  So we are going to change up her home reading activities to add in a writing element.  Her teacher is going to prepare something and talk to me about it in a few days.  We need to work on cutting slower to add accuracy, and waiting to be heard even if she says excuse me.  I am very proud of Hadley.

- Leanne Verkley

At home potty trained.

Exactly one week from the first time he tried and Easton is potty trained at home.  If he is naked.  Next steps... Add underwear.  Hopefully I will get to the store tomorrow to buy some.
I didn't believe it was possible to happen so quickly but he is comfortable with everything.  

- Leanne Verkley

Peanut Party

Today we took the family on a peanut picnic.  We headed over the hospital and the whole family enjoyed peanuts and chip nuts.  Easton had no reaction what so ever.  (We know we will have to give him peanuts for a few days to be sure that there is no allergy but nothing right away).  
We are so excited!  This will make life so much easier to not have to look at every label.  :)
Both kids really enjoyed the peanut party!

- Leanne Verkley

Easton used the potty today for the first time!

While I have introduced Easton to the potty... there has been no real effort to train him. Yet today when I took off his diaper he said he had to go to the potty. So I let him... and he peed on it. HOORAY!  He was very happy with himself.  About half was on the floor but still a success so we both cheered!  
I think I am going to continue on the casual (there is the potty if you want it) training.  
I was really hoping to wait until the spring.  No real reason other than less clothing to contend with and warmer weather to strut around in his underwear.  So we shall see.  No pressure at this point.  Still noteworthy though.

- Leanne Verkley

Halloween Week

This week was full of house stuff.  Getting quotes and make decisions.  (Not very Halloween inspired but it happened this week none the less.
On Saturday Hadley had a birthday party to go to on Saturday for Adam (from SK).  It was at the local bowling alley and all her peers as well as her, were dressed up in their halloween costumes for added fun!  She loved it.  
I was so proud to watch how polite she was.  
Sunday we had our annual mommy group Halloween party.  
Patti did most of the organizing on this one.  She booked the room and got a few crafts prepared for the kids while the rest of us added to the snacks for all to enjoy.  It was great to see everyone and I can't believe we have been doing this for 6 years now.  SO FUN!
A few new families have joined the core group and it just makes for good times!  That morning we also had gymnastics photos and Brian's mom and his Grandma Stock also dropped in after a wedding they were attending.  So it was a VERY busy day!
Hadley and I also had dentist appointments this week because we needed to add in something extra.  :)  
Today I decided to continue my Halloween tradition and take the kids to the zoo.  Although it was a bit of a rush as I had to do it before Hadley was to be at school for the afternoon.  However the kids loved showing the animals their costumes.  (Even though it was drizzling rain).  They didn't seem to mind at all.  We were fortunate enough to get to the education centre which was FULL of Halloween fun.  Hadley touched a snake skin, and other fun things.  There were tarantulas and other fun Halloween animals through out the room which was decorated well.  Good times.
Then at school she was delighted to go in her costume and bring her orange treat for everyone.  She was in charge of carrots.    
We went out for dinner and then took our excited kids out trick or treating.  
No stroller.  This made it so easy!
Both kids loved it.  Both kids were cute.  Both kids were polite.  
Even in the rain it was GOOD times!
Happy Halloween!  

- Leanne Verkley

A birthday party, pumpkinville and strides for melanoma walk

It was a busy weekend.
On Saturday Hadley had a birthday party for a girl (Emma) from her class from last year who is now in grade one.  There were a few girls there that she knew and it was at Pickering Athletic Centre where she is familiar as it is where she takes gymnastics.  She seemed to have a good time.
After the party I took the kids to Pumpkinville.  We were only there for an hour and a half because it started to rain.  However we were able to get in some jumpy castles, the petting zoo, a bat craft, and some play time in the hay.
We also got a few pictures with the pumpkins.
Today was another busy day.  I took the kids with me on the first annual strides for melanoma walk.  It was a walk to honour my friend Lisa (who I worked with at BMO/GGOF).  She has stage 4 melanoma which has taken over her body.  Cancer SUCKS!
The support was amazing though!  It was great to see everyone there for her.  
We were the top fundraising team with $11,575.  Each member of the team was given a ticket to Cineplex compliments of Burger King.  (Unexpected but nice).  
Across the country $95 000 was raised!
We had team shirts made which Hadley really loved!  
Up until a few days prior we weren't sure if Lisa would be there but we were all so happy that she was able to make it.  She did all 5K in her wheel chair with us walking together as a team!
Hadley and her daughter Isabella played wonderfully together.  They danced, stretched and played together at the park.
Richard her husband is also very strong.  I was humbled when he said this to me:  I am blessed.  My wife was not hit by a car, I found out two years ago that she had this disease and I was blessed with time even though the doctors thought six months ago would be the end... she is still here.  WOW ~ Perspective.  
Next week Isabella will celebrate her third birthday.  
(Insert sigh and deep thought).
I am thankful.  For all that I have and all those that love me and all those I love.  

- Leanne Verkley

House decisions

Brian and I made some headway in the last day or so.  
We have made some plans to get a test hole, soil analysis, and design done for our septic system.  We also made decisions on the whole house of where the wood floors would be, the tile, wainscoting, drywall, and stone and what all the ceilings would look like.  
(We will pick out exact colours of these later but still a task done).  

- Leanne Verkley

Scott and Katrina's Wedding

After Brian being gone all last week in British Columbia, he got home on the red eye Saturday morning.  He slept for a few hours and then we were off to St. Thomas for Scott and Katrina's wedding.
My brother met us at the Best Western hotel and bravely stayed with both kids for the night.  I heard there were adventures of: find the ice machine and let's go get a pop from the pop machine, and let's go get candy from the candy machine.  There were also two weddings apparently at the hotel which Hadley would have loved.  They ordered in pizza and I hear there were no kid friendly tv programs so that made the adventure all the more FUN.  There was only a minor finger pinch so it was all good.
It was my first time leaving both kids without someone other than Brian.  I had no worries.  They were in capable hands.  
It was nice to go out for dinner before hand as it was a 6:30 wedding.  So that kind of felt like a date. (With 15 or so other Verkley's).  Then off to the wedding where there was dancing, conversing and a light lunch.
We stayed to the end and helped clean up.  Doreen and I even got belly dancing lessons from Katrina.  :)  The hall was BEAUTIFULLY decorated.
All in all a success!

- Leanne Verkley

Hadley's First Sleepover

This weekend was full of the the regular Thanksgiving craziness.  It started with us having lunch with my mom on Saturday, dinner with my dad on Saturday night, and then dinner with Brian's mom on Sunday.  This is where Hadley decided that she wanted to have her first sleep over ever - at Brian's mom's house.  Julie was also staying the night and so we decided that it was a good opportunity since we could pick her up the next day.  Hadley appeared confident in her decision and we knew she was in good hands.  Brian, Easton and I headed to Strathroy that night to stay over at Brian's uncle Jeff's house as we wanted to talk with him about electrical stuff for the new house and then there was a gathering at Tom and Cathy's house for a relative from Holland that was there celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary.  This is also where we spent time with Brian's dad for Thanksgiving.  After the party we would pick Hadley up at Julie's house in Kitchener on our way back to Ajax.  Hadley had a great time.  With stories of the park, watching Mary Poppins, video games, reading and McDonalds dinner.  
The day before Brian taught checkers to Hadley and apparently while she was there she beat Julie at a game.  Cool!  
I am proud of her.  
I truly know what it is like to have your heart out of your body walking around.  You want to protect it but you also want it to have experiences.  When we were leaving she went to put on her shoes and then I asked her if she still wanted to sleep over?  If so, you don't need shoes.  Then she said oh ya, I forgot.  
I think we were both ready for her first sleepover.  However, I missed her like crazy but I miss her when she is at school too.
Easton missed Hadley a lot too.  When we were saying goodbye he gave her a hug, and then when we were in the van he asked where she was.  Then often he would ask for her.  When we finally said we going to pick her up he was quite excited.  However he fell asleep on the way there.  
I was glad to hug and kiss my little girl!

- Leanne Verkley

Government Testing for Schools

After we move, Valleyview is the school our kids will go to.  Here are the EQAO Results for reading, writing and math.  Grade 3: 94% 100% 100% Then grade 6: 100% 100% 87%  

http://ddsb.durham.edu.on.ca/DDSB_EQAO_WEB/EQA0_MAIN.htm

- Leanne Verkley

Easton is 2

This past weekend we celebrated Easton turning two.  There was a Thomas train made by myself and Hadley there was good food and company!  Easton loved the singing and at the end of the birthday song he knew he was supposed to blow.  Too cute.
Then yesterday on his actual birthday we had tea with Patti and Chelsea (and we exchanged gifts).  Then after Hadley's school we headed down to meet up with Brian in Toronto.  He was staying at the Renaissance Hotel (in the Rogers Centre) for work.  So we decided to join him.
We upgraded our room so that we could see the game going on that night.  It was so awesome to have the players right there.  The kids loved it.  We had hotdogs and chips in the room.
Easton had his Blue Jays clothing on and said Blue Jay while pointing at his shirt.  So cute.  After the game he kept saying bay-ball all done.  
I don't think I was prepared for the 8 plus hours of leaf blowing clean up afterwards.  Hadley thought it was too loud for sleeping.
Still cool to know what happens after a game.  There were even large hoses to spray the entire dome down.

Being downtown also gave me opportunity to sneak out for just a little bit to see my friends from BMO / GGOF.  My old place of employment was having a reunion on the same night.
It was great to see everyone.  
Today I headed back to Ajax early to get to Easton's 2 year old doctors appointment.
He is now 28 pounds up from 25 pounds 7 ounces at 18 months.  This puts him in the 50th percentile.  
He is now 88 cm tall up from 84 cm at 18 months.  Again this puts him at the 50th percentile.
We looked up Hadley's height at the same time and she was exactly 88cm.  Odd.  But even more odd...
It seems there is a 2 year old multiplier that will tell you your adult height.  Approximately.
So accordingly to this multiplier both my kids will be somewhere between 5 foot 10 and 5 foot 11 inches tall as adults.  I guess in this Hadley got the Verkley gene an and Easton got my side.  We shall see though.
I can't believe my little boy is two.
Easton is now linking two or three words together and he seems so big now.  He loves trains, tractors, planes, cars, animals, tools, construction, and the TV show Bubble Guppies is his favorite.  He is in size 2 clothing as would seem fitting since he is completely average in height and weight.  :)
We love everything this little boy adds to our life!

- Leanne Verkley

2012-10-03 16:36:12

My favorite words that he says right now are gopinanana which means chocolate chip and popcorn.

- leanne

2012-10-03 16:37:49

Ummy means hungry and food or a meal.

- leanne

2012-10-03 16:45:58

Oh and... I dee dee ka ka.  I Easton cracker.  He asks for crackers a lot!

- leanne

Algonquin

This past weekend we went to Algonquin for a camping weekend with Brian's aunt and uncle and their three kids.
Going to Algonquin in the fall has been on my list to do for a few years now and it finally happened.  SOOOO... I wasn't going to let the rainy, cold weather with a vomiting one year old let me down.
During the day Easton seemed perfectly healthy; in the night... different story.
So, we made the best of our days.  We enjoyed many hikes, the museums and the beautiful colours!
We were fortunate to enjoy meals inside Phil and Doreen's camper to keep us warm and we put the kids in two sleeping bags each while we were in our minus 20 bags in the tent for the nights.  It was cold and wet but somehow I had an amazing time.

- Leanne Verkley

Skating

Last week was the first week for Hadley's skating lessons but she was sick so today marked her first class.  Brian and I were so impressed with the McKinney arena.  It is an open rink with no walls.  We felt like we were sitting so close.  The entire long end was open right to the benches with no wall blocking our view.  The other long wall was entirely covered with mirrors.  It was definitely a teaching rink.
The first ten minutes seemed a bit of a scramble.  It was clear that pretty much everyone else on the ice had had some previous skating lessons.  The teachers were great though.  The many teachers helped Hadley at each of the different areas.  
She worked so hard and came off the ice so proud of herself.  She loved jumping, dancing, playing basket ball and the other things they did.  
It was fun to watch.
I was so proud of her too.
Easton sat calmly but would have loved to have had some skates on the join her.  

- Leanne Verkley

OEYC

Yesterday I took Easton to the OEYC Make and Take program.  He loved doing the crafts (with the best one being painted foot prints turned into butterfly wings).
The day finished off with him playing with the trucks and other toys as well as some reading, singing and other fun.
It is nice to have this time with him while Hadley is at school.

- Leanne Verkley

MOPS

Yesterday was the first day of C4 MOMS.  This is the new name for the MOPS group I have been going to for years.  
C4 is the shortform name for Carruthers Creak Community Chuch and changing the name was for a number of reasons with the main one being not being tied to MOPS rules and regulations.  
It was a day of crafting, snacks and good conversation.
Hadley and Easton were in the same group and so Easton went in easily to their room down the hall from our group.  Hadley later said:  mom, don't worry, I can watch over Easton every time.  It is hard work but I can do it.  
So cute.
I was told by the leader that Easton cried for a few minutes for me but it wasn't long enough for her to come get me.  She said Hadley calmed him down quite quickly.  
It was a bit odd to have an hour and a half without the kids during the day.  However they both came out smiling and I felt refreshed.  So all in all... a good day!

- Leanne Verkley

A busy week in September

This week has been so busy.  
Let's start with last weekend...
On the Saturday we had a meeting with our builder and then we headed to Port Elgin to celebrate all three of my sister's kids birthdays.  It was nice to catch up with my sister in person and watch our kids play together.  Which they did wonderfully.  My sister has a trampoline in her back yard and a kids jeep that runs with a "gas" pedal.  Hadley LOVED playing on both.  She also loved the water balloons and other fun too but I think the highlight of the back yard was the trampoline and the jeep.
Easton loved the bucket of balls and the baseball bat.

On Sunday, the day of the party (Jayden's actual birthday) we received some bad news that Jason's father had only a few hours left.  So Jason and his family went to be with him in the hospital before his passing that night.  It was hard news to take but the family seemed ready for what was happening.  It had been a long year.
I went home for two days where I took Hadley to school, had a surprise visit from Brian's mom, took Hadley to gymnastics, and then headed to Listowel on Wednesday for the visitation.  From here I took an unexpected turn and headed back to Port Elgin to spend the night with my sister.  
Hadley and Brian stayed in Ajax for work and school while Easton and I made the whirlwind trip.  (It turned out that Hadley didn't go to school as she was vomiting on Wednesday and into the night.  So Brian kept her home on Thursday also.  However school was the plan).
Thursday, Easton and I went to the funeral where Jason talked beautifully about his dad.
At the gravesite there were balloons set off by the grand kids and I was honored to see the flowers I sent be set at the base of his grave.  A simple bouquet of white roses.  
There were treats and beverages afterwards back at the church and then I had dinner with my dad and Brother before it was back to Ajax.  
Friday I had some running around to do in Ajax and then Saturday it was back at the builders where we finalized a few things and gave the go ahead for construction drawings to be prepared.
Then today was teacher day at the zoo.  So, Brian's mom and sister (and Julie's friend Sue and her nephew) came down and we enjoyed a full day exploring the animals together.  Finishing off with a carousel ride.  Which both kids enjoyed but Easton LOVED.
The kids went to bed fairly well and Brian and I enjoyed some TV time together.  (It was a nice way to end such a long week).

- Leanne Verkley

Golfing

This was on my to do list for the summer and while we didn't actually get out for a game, my friend Patti and I got together for a one hour session at the driving range.  (I'll take it).  Afterwards we managed to get together with Krista and Annie for a little wine and appetizers.  A good girls night out.  :)

- Leanne Verkley

Zoning Changed

It is official.  Or at least it will be on September 10th.
We received word today that the zoning is changed and we can build a house on our land.  While we are good to go, we just have to wait for it to be posted on e-posts on Monday (3 days).  We are meeting with our builder tomorrow to talk about a few changes and to start construction drawings.  Yay!  Finally a next step.  

- Leanne Verkley

School starts - SK for Hadley

They day before school started our family decided to venture out to Coburg Beach.  
It was an absolutely beautiful day.  The kids enjoyed much sand digging, and time in the water as well as some time in the park.
We dug a huge hole that was filled with water that eventually felt warm compared to the lake.  It is amazing how clean Lake Ontario seems at the beach compared to outside our house.  We dug tunnels through the sand also.
It was probably the largest waves that Hadley has ever been in.
Easton was unfortunately stung by a bee.  However he handled it well.  He cried for a short time because it obviously hurt but later he seemed un-affected.
Aside from the bee sting; It was the perfect way to end the summer.
Today the weather was RAINY.  However Hadley looked so cute in her "Future Rockstar" skirt outfit.
We did photos in front of the house and then at the school.  She seemed so confident and was very happy to see Mrs. Kennedy.
Easton loved playing in the rain and the muddy puddles.  So cute.
After school she told us that she set up her cubby, wrote her name on in her name book, made a decorated box with paper on the outside that needed to stay at school because it needed some more drawings.  She also said that she was read a book.  It was a shortened first day with her only there for 2 hours.
Easton definitely missed her and asked a number of times where she was when she was gone.
Then on the way to pick her up Brian asked him where Hadley was and he said Aga a Kool.  Aga is his word for Hadley and has been consistently for a while now.  A = at.  And Kool we assume is school because he can't yet start a word with the letter S.
His first three word sentence.
Yay for learning.

- Leanne Verkley

23 Months

Easton is 23 months old.  Only one month left until he is two.
I can't believe it.
Over the last week his vocabulary has grown tremendously!  It really was crazy to watch.  He went from a few single words - to what seems like him trying to talk all the time.
He now tries to repeat almost every single word and his two word sentences are coming fast and furious.  
He wants to do most things that Hadley does even if it is playing Barbies.  He loves wearing a hat.  He loves to jump especially with Hadley on the bed.
He listens relatively well.  He knows to stand by the door while I lock it before leaving the house which is awesome!
He is practicing soccer all the time.  He throws big and small balls in the air and tries to kick them.  We discovered that he is a left footed kicker.
He mostly understands that basketball involves bouncing but occasionally tries to kick the ball just for fun.
He loves to throw overhand to us with great accuracy.
He can read most of the alphabet.  With his favorite letters B, W and Q.  He tried K for the first time the other day.  
He loves to play starfall.com and gravitates to the math programs.  Sorting shapes both 2D and 3D.  What other one year old do you know that can identify a cone shape?
Easton loves babies.
He still does not eat anything like yogurt, apple sauce, pudding or anything with a similar texture.
I have been blessed with so much second hand clothing for him.  It is awesome!  
He is so much fun to have around and his laughter is infectious.  

- Leanne Verkley

2012-09-02 23:29:57

Oh ya and he LOVES freezies!  

- leanne

Summer Reflection

I was talking with Hadley tonight about tomorrow being the last day summer vacation and then back to school.  I asked her what was her favorite part of the summer. She asked me what we did over the summer.
I listed a few things and of those things she said Centreville was her favorite.
However, after this I decided to reflect over my summer holidays and really think about what we did.
I came up with this:
Strawberry picking and jamming with the new to me fall strawberries.  Peach jarring which I found easy enough but the yield seemed small for the amount of work put in.  Visits to the library, the park, splash pad, the lake, OEYC programs (Sunshine and Streamers, CATCH, Sticks and Stones, Fire Department visit, Best foot forward soccer, Alphabet fun, Getting ready for KDG), playground at Lakeside program,  Camping.  Wedding showers, and weddings.  Bowling.  Kids Haircuts.  Gymnastics for Hadley.  Grandview for Easton.  Swimming.  Lunches with friends.  Muskoka.  Girls night outs and scrapbooking dates.  Home Depot Kids days.  Lakeside friends playdates.  Mommy Group play-dates.  My birthday and a few other peoples birthdays.  Ice-cream.
Drive in theaters, Ajax waterfront festival, and fireworks.
Registration for skating and gymnastics for the fall and prep for these.
As well as still working on zoning for the property and getting blueprints worked on for the house.
I have two things left that I was really hoping to do.  Golf and try Geo-catching.  I still have a little time to get these in... Maybe.
This summer will be known as the summer of no BBQ.  Ours died and we decided not to replace it until we move.  So the food was a little different this summer.  I miss having a BBQ!
Aside from no BBQ, I am happy with my summer.  

- Leanne Verkley

A lot accomplished

This week I had my girlfriend Jenny over with her two kids from Monday to Wednesday.  We had a list of things to accomplish and I am happy to say that we got every one of them done!  Including jarring some peaches and going to the drive in, getting to Reitmans, Eddie Bauer, and the Childrens Place Outlet.  There was DQ ( we had a coupon), gaming, and we even celebrated both our birthdays with a cake that Hadley made before they arrived.  It was chocolate with Nibs and sprinkles to the max!
Today after a visit plan changed and I had no plans... I actually got a lot done.  
We went to see Hadley's class list at Lakeside.  She will have the same teacher in afternoons and I am happy for her.
I got Hadley registered for gymnastics and picked up her dance pictures from the last season.
I also scored on a freecycle by getting some puppets for the kids.  They are currently in the dryer.  They survived the washing machine and now the dryer.  YAY!



- Leanne Verkley

Birthday Weekend / Adam and Krista's wedding

This weekend was a busy one.  
Brian arrived in Toronto on Friday after being in Chicago for a week at the same time as his sister Lisa and brother in law Jeff came in from Nova Scotia.
So they drove Brian to our house where we spent the morning with them and then we enjoyed lunch together and some time at the property.
Then it was off to Atwood where we would practice with Hadley her duties of being a flower girl for Adam and Krista's wedding which would take place the next day at Ed and Nora's Farm.  As always when we go out there it is cool to watch Brian show the kids things from when he was growing up there.
This time it was cool to watch Lisa, Brian and Julie swing on the swing-set that got new seats that very morning.  Then our kids also spent time on the swing-set version 2.0.  I heard that Brian's cousin Steven was not ready to let go of the seats because they were the originals from when they were all kids on the farm so they are in the shed at least for now.  
Saturday (my birthday), we woke up and Brian took Easton for the day while I took Hadley.
We had hair, make up, and photos all before the wedding.  Hadley received a gorgeous necklace and tiara from Krista.  
Hadley showed off her cuteness as she pulled Krista's nephew Connor down the aisle in a wagon.
She was beautiful in her white dress with blue sash, necklace and tiara.  What a princess!
Easton also looked quite handsome in his pinstripes, suspenders, vest and shinny shoes.  
She was also a trooper through all the photos.
The kids were glad when dinner and speeches were through as they were ready to party!
They stayed up dancing the night away.  Easton tried to hold on until the end but only managed to make it until 11:30pm.  Hadley however made it right until 1am.
Everyone loved watching both kids dance!
I was surprised when the DJ played Happy Birthday for me and everyone on the dancefloor sang to me.
If you count wedding cake, I even had cake on my birthday.
Adam and Krista sure know how to throw a 34th birthday party!
It was a fantastic day and I couldn't be happier for them.  What a beautiful couple.  
We were honoured to be part of their day.
Special best wishes go out to my cousin Dustin and his new bride Rachel who got married the same day.  It was unfortunate that we couldn't make it to both weddings but I am quite happy for them also and am very glad for facebook to see the photos and videos from their day.  

- Leanne Verkley

A busy two days

The last two days have been quite busy considering I originally thought I was going to be away this week.  I have managed to get a lot done.
Yesterday morning I took the kids to NEBS bowling alley.  One game would have been plenty with both kids by myself but it was two free games with my coupon.  So we did one and a half.  I just had to pay $5 (total) for our shoe rental.  Good times.
Then I took Hadley to get her hair cut.  Timing for this was perfect.  She would have a new cut for for Adam and Krista's wedding this weekend and then for school in a few weeks.  :)
Following this I managed to get my liscence and health card renewed.
Today I took the kids to the park program at Lakeside.  They were having a bake sale which Hadley loved.
Then we spent some time in the park.  We played soccer for quite a while.  Hadley loved playing goalie and Easton loved kicking it.  This was a lot of fun.
The kids and I played hot wheels and barbies and I managed to get two loads of laundry, two floors vacuumed, the kitchen swept and mopped and now at almost midnight... Some time online to myself.


- Leanne Verkley

A change of weekend plans

This weekend I was originally supposed to go camping with my friend Jenny and her kids but that changed a while back to go visit my sister before she went back from maternity leave.  Then... her kids got the chicken pox.
At a week away from Hadley being the flower girl in Adam and Krista's wedding, I decided not to chance it since Hadley hasn't had the booster for the chicken pox yet.
So... with Brian away I decided to fill my day to the max.
I did a mild clean out of the van to start the day.  Then I took the kids to a garage sale down the street.  (Found an interesting chest but it was a little broken so decided against it).  
This was followed by the Home Depot craft day (which is monthly but we haven't been in a while).  Normally it is for kids aged 3 and up but they decided with the low numbers that Easton could do the craft and get his own apron.  He loved it!  He loved holding the hammer and glue.  Hadley too!  They made a cork board with frame.
They each got a pin to put on their aprons after completion.  As well, they each got some candy from the bin.
Then, even though it was a rainy day I decided we would check out the Ajax waterfront festival.  We went to Paradise Park, Carruther's Marsh and Rotary Park.  There was painting, balloon animals, noodle necklaces, face painting, food and deflated wet jumping castles.
With the low numbers Hadley and Easton both went home with sand pail prizes that were supposed to be in a draw but they were each just handed them.  
From here we went to my friend Dora's house.  Her sons are approximately the same age as Hadley and Easton with her oldest Nicolas being in Hadley's class this past year and her youngest Anthony just a few days older than Easton.  She is an esthetician by trade.  So while the kids played, with Dora's mom watching over the kids... I got my waxing done.
Then Hadley and I both got a pedicure for the upcoming wedding fun.
From here I remembered that our local Once Upon a Child store (used kids clothes) was fully stocked with fall/winter clothes.  So we went to check it out.
However there is so much stuff that I will have to go back.  I did find a few good things though.
We came home for pasta dinner, baths, wii game time, books and then bed.
It was a busy day but I feel like everyone had a great day!

- Leanne Verkley

Strawberries and Blueberries

While Brian thought this year was going to be the year of no strawberries for him I was shown this whole new world called fall strawberries.
Brian was home when I bought my two flats in June but left for work before he could eat enough of Ontario's bounty.  
What myself and the kids couldn't eat, I jammed.  
Later in July I was told about fall strawberries.  I had never heard of fall strawberries.  
However, I was game if they were Ontario strawberries.
So like we were told, we took a trip to Whittamore's farm on the August long weekend and got two more flats.  This allowed us to enjoy more berries and freeze some for later!  Okay so it isn't exactly fall... we still got the FALL strawberries.
I also miraculously found some time to freeze Ontario and BC strawberries.  (At least they are Canadian).  Easton also loves to eat frozen blueberries.  :)  This is good news since thawed blueberries are a big stain-y mess.  :)  

- Leanne Verkley

2012-08-12 00:13:01

I meant to write Ontario and BC blueberries.  Not strawberries.  

- leanne

Peaches

For about two years now I have wanted to try jarring peaches.  So this year I decided I would try a small trial run.  I bought 6 litres of peaches and it yielded 3 small jars.  I was a little disappointed with all the peeling I did for such a small amount of finalized jarred peaches.  I think I had really small peaches so I will look for larger ones next time.  However, the jars all sealed properly so we shall see how they taste when they cool.
I got the recipe from our friend Shawn (THANKS!) and it was super easy.  It said to use 2 cups of sugar, 4-6 cups of water of which I split the difference and used 5 cups and then add 2 pounds of fruit or about 6 peaches.
I put the extra juice in two jars and they sealed also.  (Does anyone know what I could do with this)?

- Leanne Verkley

22 months

Easton is now 22 months.  Soon this will read he is two.  However for now he is my baby and I write in months.  Or I say, he is only one.
That being said... He is growing in so many ways.  He can say and recognize most of the alphabet.  I can't seem to test him on all the letters to be sure but I think there are only about 5 that he has trouble with.
While I do read to him, and so does Brian and Hadley, I am sure this has a lot to do with starfall.com.
He definitely recognizes the  colour red as Hadley is going through a red cup phase and he knows that it is for her.
Easton loves to sing itsy bitsy spider and asks for you to sing along by putting his little fingers together.  He also loves rollie pollie and sticky sticky bubble gum.
He is not loving blueberries like he did before.  He still likes them but not as much as before.  This is funny since they are actually in season right now.
Hadley and Easton play together quite a bit now which is awesome.
Easton is now approximately as tall as Hadley's shoulders.
He loves baby Emily as much as Hadley does.  This is a doll that Hadley s gifted when she was one... I think.
He is a comedian.  He LOVES to make people laugh.  Yesterday he waddled around like a duck just because he found out that it made us laugh so much.  
He loves to shout our names.  Mommy, daddy, aga, and dee dee.
We celebrated him turning 22 months kind of by accident (because it was the long weekend), by going to center island in Toronto.  Both kids loved it.  Centreville is designed almost perfectly for kids 1-6 years old.  We enjoyed the rides, candy, park and beach time.  

- Leanne Verkley

2012-08-08 22:14:14

Easton loves to give zerbers (raspberries), whatever you call them.  If he is tired he looks for skin and attacks.  He laughs, we laugh.  He puts his little lips down and blows letting saliva go all over making loud funny sounds.
Also, Easton is now in size 6 diapers.  
Just two notes I forgot about.  

- leanne

2012-08-09 09:11:56

Square, triangle, rhombus (diamond), cone, cylinder and circle are easy for him to match up with similar shapes.

- leanne

Muskoka

The last few days have been spent at my dear friend Shaye's house.  We see each other about three times a year and the summer visit is usually at her house with the other two visits around both of my kids birthdays.  
This visit was wonderful as always.  We reminisced about how long we have known each other.  We met on my 13th birthday in line at camp.  That means 21 years of friendship.  Or approximately two thirds of my life.  
We have always been long distance friends and it works amazingly for us.  We know that we can call at 2 am or whenever.  
This visit had us swimming at her beach, enjoying ice-cream and of course playitime for the kids.  Due to rain we decided a McDonald's play place would work.  
We stayed up way too late, and just enjoyed our time together.
It was a lovely visit.  

- Leanne Verkley

2 weeks

The last two weeks Brian has been away for work (aside from being home for the weekend where he was at home doing a full list of things while I was getting a dress fitting for Hadley for Adam and Krista's upcoming wedding and meeting with a friend that I have been trying to see for months), so it has been busy.
There has been a trip to the fire department with the kids, alphabet fun at the OEYC, crafts and games in the park, a swim playdate at Joanne's (Brian works with Andy), Soccer for both kids with OEYC, Gymnastics for Hadley, Kids CBC, an appointment at Grandview with Easton and all the other stuff that is in between.  From laundry to grocery shopping.  As well as more zoning change stuff for the house.  (Hopefully tying up loose ends to finalize things).  
I am not complaining.  I love having a busy schedule.  
I am however thankful that our grass is dry and doesn't need mowing.
Tomorrow we have a playdate in the morning and a birthday party in the afternoon.
Now to fit in jar-ing some peaches - hopefully Saturday???  (A side note: ever since someone pointed out that canned peaches are actually in jars I find it more fitting to say jar-ing).  In any case... who wants to help with that?
Just a ramble of stuff. Thanks for listening.  :)

- Leanne Verkley

Sunshine and Streamers

Today I took the kids to the sunshine and streamers program put on by the OEYC.  (Ontario Early Years Centre).  We have been going weekly for the month of July and it is a great program.  
They set out 5 or so different crafts and then a few games each week.
Some of the crafts include: sock kites, ziplok fish, chalk on the boardwalk, etc.
The games have been things like parachutes, twister, etc.
I am quite enjoying this program as it is all the things we try to do indoors in the winter except now it is outdoors on blankets in the park.
Today Patti, Alicia and Chelsea joined us.  Then we went back to their house for a longer play / tea.
Yay for summer!

- Leanne Verkley

Kids CBC Day

Today I took the kids down to the CBC building in Toronto for the kids CBC day.  It featured live appearances and performances by the stars of Kids' CBC.  It was lots of fun, and all the activities were free!
Hadley and Easton met some of their favourite characters from Kids' Canada hosts Patty, Sid and Captain Claw, Artzooka! host Jeremie, Dr. Seuss's Cat in the Hat, Huckle from Busytown Mysteries, Super WHY! Mamma Yamma and Bo from Bo on the Go!

Activities included the Monster Math Squad where Hadley had to put the numbers from 1-10 on a board.  We did the ParentsCanada magazine photo activity where the kids tried on dress up clothes.  We made some art with a variety of supplies from Artzooka! What's Your News? Had a spot to pretend to tell your news on microphones and meet Gi-ant.  There was the Turbo Dogs inflatable obstacle course.  Easton loved going in the Bo zone where he had to dance, crawl, walk, and jump with Bo on the Go.  They both liked the Animal Mechanical Puzzles.  Hadley did the Painting and planting as Easton fell asleep, Are We There Yet?  Had horses of the world including a pony and zebra.  There was a lot of colouring stations near line ups which helped a lot.  Easton loved playing with the ball area.  We even did face painting where Hadley got her face painted like Rex from Animal Mechanicals.  She looked awesome!  Easton got the CBC logo.  
We stood by to be part of a Kids' CBC Music Video taping that will be broadcasted on TV.
There were so many things and all of it was free.  We all had a great day!

- Leanne Verkley

Camping weekend

This past weekend we joined our friends Jenny, Ryan, Owen and Spencer and Shawn at Port Burwell.  It is on Lake Erie nearish London.
The kids played wonderfully together.  The beach was amazing!  S'mores and pie irons were great!  And conversation was fun!  
Jenny and I were able to enjoy a few drinks and laughter while the guys took responsibility of the kids.
The weekend went really well.
The only thing was that it rained while we were taking down the tents.
It worked out that we were able to go to Brian's cousin Scott and Katrina's wedding shower at Brian's uncle Toms house right from camping.
I finally was able to try out their zipline three times!  It is so AWESOME!
They have it set up to go right off their deck!  So much fun!
It was so good to catch up with Brian's mom here too as she just got back from a trip to Europe the day before.  She looked so happy!
Monday I took the kids to the AJax Fire Department and they LOVED it!  It was a program put on by the OEYC.  I did this with Hadley when she was young.  Hadley enjoyed the experience again but it was clear that Easton absolutely loved being in the fire trucks.  They each got a hat to take home too.
Then we spent the day at the park.
After these three days, today was the day to just spend time at home.  Good timing on such a super hot day.  I turned on the AC, and tried to clean up from camping.  :)
(I finally set up the tent today ~ two days later, on what I think is the hottest day of the summer.  36 Celsius with a humid-ex of 45 or so ~ to let it out dry out.)
Then after getting the kids to bed I learned that it was suppose to rain tonight so I went out and took the tent down in the dark.
Sometime soon I hope to catch up on my sleep.  :)

- Leanne Verkley

Easton understanding

Nobeebye, yabeebye.  These are very affirmative for no and yes.
He attempted the word denied tonight as we played a game.  Although I forget how he said it now.
He now understands that Hadley is his sister and if you say soccer it is definitely associated with a ball.
It is so cool to watch him grasp the English language.

- Leanne Verkley

2012-07-26 23:32:26

Denied = bee bye.

- leanne

A busy summer day

This morning I decided that we were going to try out the playground days at Lakeside Park.  This is a free program put on by the town.  It is one hour long for 3-5 year olds and begins with a craft, then continues with outdoor games.
Hadley made a tree with tissue paper.  It was a little windy so the tissue was flying around a bit but the kids had fun anyway.
She was also happy that a girl from her class was there.
I watched her as Easton and I enjoyed playtime in the park together nearby.
We came home for lunch and then got ready to head to the new splashpad at Rotary Park.  We met up with our Friends Annie, Norah, and Connor.  
The new splashpad is a little more spread out than the last one but not a huge upgrade in my opinion.  However the kids loved the time there and the girls even ran under a water spray thing that dumped upon their heads.
Easton much prefers the small sprayers, or just wet floor, or just chasing the seagulls.  
After such a busy day, I really wasn't in the mood to cook dinner, so we had McDonald's before heading to a trial class at the Pickering Athletic Centre.  
Hadley went to a few birthday parties here for gymnastics and they gave her a free class.  So we tried it out and ended up signing her up for summer classes.
While we were out we decided why not go shopping.  Brian needed some new shirts and I wanted to look around for a dress for upcoming weddings.
Brian was successful in his shirt buying... me not so much.
In any case I would say this busy summer day was a success.

- Leanne Verkley

2012-07-11 22:38:44

I want to note that the playground days were exactly as I remembered them as a kid.  Only mine was in Listowel with a big open field and a pavilion to do crafts in and hers was a big open field with a few picnic tables.  Still quite nostalgic!  

- leanne

getting older

Yesterday we celebrated my girlfriend Patti's birthday.  I am so blessed to have her in my life and I was extremely happy to celebrate with her.  It was a BBQ party with the kids and husbands and the laughter went well into the night after the dads took the kids home.
On this getting older note, both Brian and I have noticed recently that our kids are maturing.
Today Easton said two new words.  
He used them multiple times and in the right context.
The first one: Idohno.  For I don't know.
The second one: a turtle.  While reading a book that showed a picture of a turtle.
Hadley is reading and writing and aware of so many things and just somehow seems and looks older as of late.
It is so cool to witness.

- Leanne Verkley

Pretend

Today Easton got the concept of pretend.  We were playing restaurant and I asked I'm to get me different foods from the kitchen and he went and grabbed each food and handed me the pretend object.  
It was so cute to have him hand me nothing and believe that he was really handing me the thing I requested.
I love that he understands this concept now.  Cool!

- Leanne Verkley

Another tooth

Tonight Hadley pulled out her bottom middle tooth.  It has been wiggly for a while now but tonight it was so loose that we advised her that sleeping like that might actually result in her swallowing it.  So to be safe, she wiggled, twisted, pushed and pulled until it finally came out.  She did this all on her own.
Her adult tooth is already broken through right behind it so it wont be long with a space in the front middle.
I am excited for her to go through milestones that declare that she is growing up and yet both her and I are okay not to rush anything.  (Only when her safety becomes an issue... like swallowing the tooth).
We took pictures and placed the tooth nicely under her pillow in her tooth holder for the tooth fairy.

- Leanne Verkley

21 Months

Easton is now 21 months old.  Only three months until he is two.  Hard to believe.  
It is so much fun to watch Easton grow.  He is totally a comedian. He loves to make people laugh.  He squints his eyes at just the right time to cause a reaction.  He understands what we are telling him most of the time and it is fun to watch him try to communicate back without the words.  Somehow we all have an understanding of each other.  Words are coming though.  Tonight he attempted the word stop when I took the plug out of the bath tub.
He is still very picky in his eating.
He loves playing with all kinds of balls.  However he calls them all ba bi balls.
He loves basketball.
On a side note to this... Hadley has recently taken an interest in baseball, soccer and football.  This is so cool as they begin to play together.
Easton loves to "hide".  If we say... are you hiding?  He goes down on his stomach and covers his eyes.  He is definitely a stomach sleeper.
He loves to lay on both Brian and I at night with a full body hug.  Legs and arms wrapped around us.
He has molars coming in right now with pain specifically on his left side.
His favorite song right now is sticky bubble gum.  He taps his little knees and we sing:
sticky, sticky, sticky bubble gum
bubble gum, bubble gum.
sticky, sticky, sticky, bubble gum
sticking to my... knee (or wherever).
He says ocupa now for any closed door.
I am sure there is more but that is what I can think of for now.


- Leanne Verkley

July long weekend

This weekend was a busy one.  Friday night we headed out to the property and camped.  It was so much fun, so peaceful and beautiful and the s'mores and campfire just added to the experience.  It was lovely to wake up to the sun.  We love it there.
Saturday we met up with our friends Ryan, Jenny, Owen, and Spencer to go to the Jays game.  It was junior jays Saturday so Owen and Hadley were able to run the bases.  That was cool!  I am not sure they know how lucky they are but they really enjoyed it!
That night our friends came back to our house and stayed over.  We met up with Brian's sister Julie, Shawn, Delena and their son Todd on Sunday to go to the zoo.  Delena was awesome at 35 weeks pregnant.  
It was a beautiful day.  We enjoyed the Africa section, the splashpad, the kids zoo and Hadley, Owen and Todd even had a pony ride which they all loved!
At night Julie, Ryan, Jenny, Owen, and Spencer came with us out to the property for another campfire, a hike, and more s'mores.  We were even able to see fireworks right from our property.  That was cool.  
Then back to our house for games!
Today was low key as Easton had a fever all night and most of the day.  
A great long weekend aside from the fever.  

- Leanne Verkley

Hadley's Junior Kindergarten - Year In Review

Today was the last day of junior kindergarten for Hadley so we took her out to Swiss chalet and then to toys r us.  For a special that she was looking for an ice cream set but toys r us didn't have it... So we will continue to look for it to celebrate her accomplishments over the year.
I think I know another store that might have it. :)  
Anyway, tonight I asked her a few questions about herself and her year.  The first question was what did you learn over the year.  Her answer: to be good.
Question two:  what do you remember about every day at school.  Her answer was the clean up song and playing little pet shop.  
Who is her best friend:  she says Lauren, however, I noticed that she would often talk about Naylaya on a regular basis.  In all fairness though she did try to play with everyone on different occassions.  
Her favorite books was Pete the Cat and Chester the Cat.
When she grows up she wants to be a vet and a mommy.
Her favorite snack to take to school are fruit snacks and her favorite game in gym is noodle tag.
I asked her about her favorite song to sing while at school and she said: Oh Canada.  How patriotic!
I am so glad that she loves school.  Hadley especially loves reading and math.
I am excited to spend time with her over the summer and I look forward to her Senior Kindergarten adventures.

- Leanne Verkley

Schools out for summer...

Yesterday was my sisters birthday and the day that Hadley received her first report card.  We couldn't be more proud of her efforts over the year and the growth we have seen.
It is unusual for me that she received her report card two days before the end of school but whatever.
Today I was so blessed to be able to attend Hadley's school trip to the Found Famiy Farm in Coutice.
http://www.foundfamilyfarm.ca/tours.php
It was so exciting to me.  Brian was able to watch Easton and Hadley and I had a girls day!
There were 5 moms that went in a car on the way there and on the way back I was able to switch with another mom and ride in the bus with Hadley.  I felt so glad to be able to join her on a school trip.
We arrived at the farm and the afternoon started with an information session that was perfectly suited to kindergarten kids.  Basically telling them that everything they eat, starts on a farm.
We then broke up into morning and afternoon classes.  Our class went on the hay ride first.  This was an informative ride about tractors, grain, corn, hay, and soil.  Hadley loved sitting on the bails.
Then we went to the learning barn.  Here we saw 5 day old piglets, fuzzy yellow chicks, a cow, chickens, goats, and sheep.
Hadley was able to pet the piglet, goat, sheep, chicken and hold a baby chick.  So cute.
I was so proud of her.  She was confident, sharing, and nice to her peers.  It was lovely to watch.
The farm was a very natural setting for her which I love and I would definitely recommend this farm for other schools.
One more day and then Hadley will be on summer holidays for the first time!

- Leanne Verkley

2012-06-27 23:38:13

Oh ya... We also got to watch a sheep being sheared!  

- Leanne

Quality time with my kids

Today was one of those days where I felt like I had real quality time with my kids.  It started with a hike at Greenwood conservation area.  Then Hadley had school.  The day was a hot one so we went to McLeans Community Centre Splash Pad after school for almost two hours.  Then there was painting and crafts, bath, books and great snuggles.  I love days like this.

- Leanne Verkley

Fathers Day Weekend

Brian was away last week working in Halifax and visiting his sister and mom.  So the weekend was a bit crazy with plans to go visit Cort and Sherri-lyns new baby Avery on Saturday.  However the visit was so nice and I am so happy for them.  Logan their older son and Hadley played so well together.  The weather was awesome.
We got home and saw Brian briefly that night and then enjoyed a pancake breakfast in the park Sunday morning follow by strawberry picking and McDonalds lunch just before he headed out again to Vancouver that afternoon.  
It is all about quality time.  Good times.

- Leanne Verkley

100 day, anniversary and booster seat

June 12.  Today was the 100th day of school at Hadley's school.  They began counting when she came back from Christmas break in January.  She had to bring in a collection of 100 things.  She chose 100 Jube Jubes.  We counted groups of ten and when we got to 100 we put them in a bag and we were ready for her day.  Hadley asked to take extra for anyone that might forget their 100 things.  So sweet.
After school she was quite happy and showed me her 100 day hat that she made.
Today was also Brian and my 8th year anniversary.  Hooray!  We celebrated with a Chinese dinner.
It also comes on my good friend patti's daughters birthday.  Happy birthday to Alicia!  
Last night we changed Hadley's 5 point harness to a booster seat.  She is now 40 pounds.  
Lots going on here as always.

- Leanne Verkley

Easton is 20 months old

There a quite a few things to note now that Easton is 20 months old.  
First of all it seems he is down to one nap a week.  I just have to watch for the day where he seems like he really needs it.  
Secondly he is starting to talk more.  He says H for ouch and the letter H.  
He says DEE DEE for Easton.  He points to himself when he says this.  A B  for airplane.  He also looks for the airplane in the sky when he says this.  Bah for ball.  Baby.  He loves Hadley's baby Emily but baby Owen (the baby Hadley got from my mom when Easton was born) is a close second.
Stairs are not an issue for him anymore.  We only have the gate up now to keep him contained on the main floor.  
Hadley plays a game with him when she is in the washroom.  Easton will knock on the door and Hadley will say:  occupied.  Easton then runs around the house saying occupa, occupa.  
They love the chase each other around the house.
Easton is now really strong at using the mouse on the MacBook laptop.  He loves starfall.com and can recognize quite a few letters and even say them as he navigates through the games associated with the letters.  Specifically b, e, f, g, h, i, and o.  
He still loves blueberries and bologna.  
He recognizes McDonalds and lets us know when he sees one.  He loves the fries and chicken nuggets.  
His smile is amazing And makes everyone around him smile.

- Leanne Verkley

Hadley's dance recital weekend

Fridays night started with a lovely girls night out with my mommy group to cath up and have some time to ourselves.  Then Saturday and Sunday was a good time watching Hadley's dance recital.  It was two fun days of watching her twinkle toes class dance to Mickey Mouse in her lime green and white costumes.
When she was on stage she was concentrating so hard to do what the teachers were showing her.  At intermission she was happy to put on a show of her own for us to watch.  It was very cute.
Hadley was happy to receive a rainbow colored bouquet from Brian, Easton and I.  As well as a beautiful rainbow coloured rose from her grandma Verkley.  Julie also joined us this weekend which Hadley was extremely glad about.  
Not to mention she was very happy about picking her favorite restaurant (McDonalds) afterwards.
Now I have to decide which class(es) to enrol her in for September.

- Leanne Verkley

2012-06-03 21:37:35

Easton cognizant Hadley on stage and said AGA, AGA!!!  

- leanne

Hadley's dance recital weekend

- Leanne Verkley

Busy week, busy month and the fun fair

This week was a packed week.  Brian was away for the long weekend so I was happy to have Jenny, Owen and Spencer join us.  We enjoyed much time outdoors with the kids including fireworks!
Brian was in Vegas this week for work so Wednesday night Hadley had her last dance class.  Tomorrow we have dress rehearsal and next week is the recital.  Thursday she had swimming lessons where I am excited to say that she actually swam a little on her own.  She has done this before but she always looked like she was drowning now she actually looked like she was swimming for about a meter.  
Then Thursday night we went to check out Valley View PS.  This is the school the kids will go to when we move.  They were having an open house for future kindergarten kids so we asked if we could join in.
Then tonight after school we played at the park until the fun fair began at Lakeside PS.  
We went with Dora, Nicolas, and Anthony.  Nicolas is in Hadley's class and they get along very well.  
After park time we enjoyed a BBQ at the school, and ate with Owen and his family ( another kid from her class), Hadley made her first real purchase with money from her piggy bank.  She took $5 and bought tickets to play games.  I was so proud of her.  The fun fair was awesome!  There was a book sale, face painting, plinko, jars-jars-jars,  mini put, fishing, hockey, animal adoption, and many other games.  As well as a silent auction.  I was VERY impressed.
Everyone won a prize at every game.
I loved watching how happy the day was for Hadley.  She loved seeing all the kids in her class at night time as well.
We arrived home from the fun fair to see Brian home from the airport in the driveway.  We were excited to see him as he has only been home 6 days this month to date.
The kids enjoyed a snack, and we watched some okey before the kids went to bed.

- Leanne Verkley

2012-05-28 00:59:29

I apologize.  I think Hadley's first purchase was a while back at the zoo for a camel ride.  Still... I was proud of her.

- Leanne

Mothers Day

My weekend was a full one.  Friday night Brian watched both kids overnight for the first time while I went to Listowel to my cousin Dustin's buck and doe.  
Reportedly Brian and the kids did well.
Saturday I had brunch with my mom and brother followed by an afternoon visit with my dad, grandma and papa.  
That night the kids were SO HAPPY to see me.
Sunday morning I woke up to breakfast in bed with my plate decorated with forget-me-nots.  I was also gifted a card that had a decorated envelope with sparkled "mom" and heart stamps on it with a card that read " I love you to pieces".  Inside there were little pieces of paper glued inside a heart.  It also had the words: Love Hadley.   I love receiving her hand-made gifts.
This was followed by us purchasing a new pocket camera.  We had been saving for it and thought it was a great day to go get it.  It is the new Nikon Coolpix S9200. I am hopeful the quicker picture taking will be able to capture pictures of the kids that were seemingly difficult with my Nikon Coolpix p500.
it is quite sleek so it will take some getting used to.
The afternoon was spent up at the property planting some raspberry bushes and then dinner at Swiss Chalet and a DQ Dessert.
It was a beautiful day.  I love spending time with my family.

- Leanne Verkley

2012-05-28 00:58:17

After finding lots of things not working properly on the camera I returned it and got the Sony hx10.   The Nikon wouldn't stop video once I pushed it, then I couldn't select different scene options.  
Te Sony hx10 is more similar to my old camera with a few upgrades including faster picture taking.  (All the buttons and options seem to work as they should).  

- Leanne

Easton is 19 months

Just a few things:
1. He now says baby.  Just started that today.  He picks up dolls around the house and says baby.  Tonight he also pointed to a baby while Hadley was at swimming lessons and tried the new word out.
2.  AGA is his word for Hadley.  If I am calling her he will sometimes chime in AGA, AGA.  So cute.
3.  He now says shhh and puts his finger up to his mouth.  Again... so cute.

I am pretty sure he needs a nap every other day but if he is in a car anywhere near 1pm... it is lights out and that will mean for a late night if it is on the day he wasn't supposed to have a nap.

There are tiny holes in the back top of his mouth where the two year old molors will be... so he is indeed working on them... now if they would only break through.

Easton loves to dig in the dirt, sand, rocks whatever.

He is getting better at waiting outside on the porch for me while I lock the door.  Hadley is a great help with this.

His favorite foods are still blueberries and balogna.

I am sure there is more but it is 12:30am and I just remembered these few things and thought I would jot them down.

- Leanne Verkley

Florida

It was a surprise kind of vacation.  Brian confirmed that he needed to be in Orlando for work about a week before we left and with so much of the trip covered... Hotel, his flight, and car rental, we decided that since Easton was free for flight and park entrances that now would be a good time to take a trip.
We spent six days in Orlando.
We arrived Friday and by Saturday morning we were already at Magic Kingdom.  The kids were great as was the weather at 25 to 30 Celsius all week.
We were surprised that the princesses were so difficult to find but after a full day in the park, the parade and fireworks we managed to see Cinderella and Belle at the theatre by the entrance.  Hadley was awe struck as she spoke to the princesses.  She was rejuvenated with new found energy that 11pm and five year olds seldom have.  Only to find out that there was just enough time to also meet Mickey and Minnie!  What a great way to finish the night.
Next time I hope to plan the meal with the princesses.  I didn't know about it this time and there is much advance planning required for it.  Also there are little Mickey fingers on the map to show character meet up locations which we found out about really late in the day.

Sunday the kids were actually quite tired and we decided to stay at the hotel and enjoy the pool, kids maze area (which Easton found difficult at first but was soon enough navigating it just as well as his big sister), then that night we enjoyed a campfire on the beach.  

Monday through Wednesday Brian was working so we were on our own for the most part.  We decided to take Monday and walk around the hotel grounds, go to the kids areas again where Hadley easily made friends, make tie dye shirts in the activity centre and purchase and enjoy the s'mores by the campfire at night.  

Tuesday we were suppose to meet up with a friend who was also there with her husband but with my cell not working in the states this match up didn't happen despite my three hours of trying.  However, we enjoyed our day anyway.  We went to Sea World and it was lovely.  The kids walked a little then enjoyed a show, walked a little and enjoyed another show.  Add a little dippin dots ice cream into the mix, meals in whale trays, a kids play area and the day with the dolphins, and whales was a complete success.  Hadley and I even fed the dolphins which was REALLY cool!  She wanted me to pick up the sardines first but after I picked up the first one and fed the dolphin, she wanted to do the rest.  It really was cool.

Wednesday we headed to Animal Kingdom.  Here we saw many characters.  Chip, Donald, Goofy, Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Winnie the Pooh, Eeyore, and many more.  
Hadley loved the triceratops tops ride, and both kids enjoyed the dinosaur boneyard.  
They did a really good job with the Kilimanjaro Safari ride and we saw many animals.  It was like our safari in Africa only in about 20 minutes instead of days.
This park was one of the parks that closed early (7pm), so we decided that this day would be a good day for a park hopper pass.  As previously discussed with Brian in the morning.  So with that we were able to head back to Magic Kingdom to hopefully see the parade with a closer view (which we did), the fireworks again, and then head to see more princesses.  The good news is that we were surpised by Brian at the gate (with no cell phone this is no small feat), the bad news is that after he paid to go in at 8 pm, then watching the parade and fireworks the park closed.  (This was different from Saturday hours).  So, with no princess sitings this night I decided it would be worth asking if there was anything guest services could do to let us in on Thursday morning before we left just to see a princess or two.  And they were wonderful.  They gave us a full day pass!  (We could only use it until noon because of our flight but it was still awesome of them.  They even gave Hadley a Cinderella wand)!  We were able to see Princess Aurora (sleeping beauty),  Cinderella, and Belle, as well as Areil from The Little Mermaid.  
Plus we had enough time to ride the Winnie the Pooh ride for a second time which was a family favorite.  What a great end!
We flew in and out of Buffalo as there was considerable savings to flying out of toronto.  The flights were great, the kids were awesome and I am ever thankful for surprise vacations!  

- Leanne Verkley

2012-05-07 05:58:42

Awesome! I hope you got some photos.

- Lisa Schuyler

The kids in the last two weeks - nursing done

Hadley has learned about spheres, rectangular prisms, cylinders and other such shapes.  She even now calls rocks by such names depending on how they look.  
Accidentally I found out that she is learning about vowels.  We randomly talked about it on the way home from school one day.  If you say the vowels she can tell you they are vowels and she can almost list them on her own.  Still... I think it is cool as she is only in junior kindergarten.  
We have been working really hard to get her to draw her capital R's properly.  Up until recently she drew a circle and then put two sticks coming out the bottom.  However, now she loves to draw the R's properly.  We will worry about making the R in Verkley a lower case r later.

Easton is making great use of his sign language.  He says please, thank you, more, and he does his own really cute gentle rub on your face (if he can) to say sorry.
He loves to blink as it makes everyone around him smile.  If you show him a blink and then ask him to blink it is a fun game that makes everyone happy.
He has more independence as of late and sometimes shows his will to want to do things other than what we would like him to do.  
(tantrums at a year and a half, nothing too crazy bust still noticable)?
He has begun to sleep through the night for the most part which is awesome!  I still have to figure out how many naps he needs.  It seems he needs a nap every other day to every third day.  I am still experimenting with it.
Nursing is pretty much done now.  This is a welcomed freedom and a sad - my baby is growing up - moment.  

Cute moment of the day: we were at a clothing store and there was music playing and both kids broke out into dance.  Hadley asked the sales lady why she wasn't dancing.  Then everyone was dancing.  

I love having my kids in my life.  :)

- Leanne Verkley

Gh ph and f

Hadley asked me how go, ph and f can all make the same sound.
Examples:
Tough, phone and fish.
Ahhh... English.

- Leanne Verkley

2012-04-21 23:13:52

Go=do

- leanne

Lawn tractor

Today was a busy day.  We have been looking around for a while for a lawn tractor that could double as a snow blower (eventually) as well as something to help out with work around the property.  So, after finding a used x700 John Deere lawn tractor in Lisotwel with only 90 hours on it, we made arrangements for Brian's uncle Paul to deliver it and the wagon that we purchased.
The only issue was that Brian was called to be in New Brunswick today for work.  So the kids and I met up with Paul at the property and after some work it was unloaded, tarped and secured.  
HUGE THANKS to Paul!

Oh, and happy birthday mention to Julie!  

- Leanne Verkley

2012-04-19 22:12:05

We tried out the tractor tonight.  It was awesome.  The power steering rocks.  We cut only a small section but found a lot of grass under the weeds.  I can't wait to get it all cut.  It is actually fun to cult the lawn.  :)
It has so much power and easily goes through the ruffage that is there.
Hooray!

- leanne

Grown in one place, used in another

Hadley has become very interested in where things come from.  
We drove by an orchard the other day and we had a lengthy conversation about where apples come from and how they get to the grocery stores and finally to our kitchens.
She enjoyed the conversation so much that she asked to hear a lot of the story again.
She was quite interested in how oranges are not grown anywhere near here.
Later she saw a truck pulling some lumber on the 401 and connected what was happening to our conversation about things starting in one place, then being moved to another place for use by others.
It it so cool to watch her learn.

- Leanne Verkley

The gym

When I was pregnant with Hadley I went to th gym five days a week on my lunch hour mostly but the occasional evening too.
However that last month was hard and it declined and eventually stopped.
Two kids later, five years later and now I find myself yearning for he exercise.  So yesterday I rejoined the gym.  I talked with the owner and I have signed up on a month to month basis.  My file is open.  I pay for a month, stop whenever, start for a month etc.  This works for our family.  :)
So I am excited to have this outlet available to me.  
I worked out last night and it felt AWESOME!  

- Leanne Verkley

Easter

This past weekend was a busy one.  Brian got home from a week away of work on Thursday so we spent the day at home on Good Friday.  However Friday night we headed to Brian's moms house to celebrate with her and Brian's grandma.  Then Saturday morning we went to the Listowel park to the Easter Egg Hunt.  We saw my cousin Natasha and her kids and also met up with my sister.  Then it was off to McDonald's to enjoy lunch with my brother and mom.  
After all this egg-citement we headed to Kitchener to have Easter with Brian's dad and family.  A lovely ham dinner and good conversation.  We spent the night at Brian's sister Julie's house and had a good outing at her park before heading back to Listowel to have an Easter / birthday party for my dad.  Here there was cupcake decorating, another Easter egg hunt and a turkey dinner.  
Monday the kids enjoyed waking up to Easter goodies at home, followed by another Easter egg hunt at the property, with kite flying attempts and some mini helicopter flying attempts.  
A full weekend but a good weekend.  

- Leanne Verkley

GO read

A few weeks back we started saying: ready, set, and then Easton says GO!
Now on starfall.com he reads when the word GO come on the screen under the G SECTION.  
Go Easton go!

- Leanne Verkley

He slept through the night

Wow!  Easton didnt nap yesterday and went to bed at 7:30pm and now at 8:10am... I went in to make sure he was still breathing.  Indeed he he but wow!  He slept through the night!  I can hardly contain my excitement.  At a year and a half he FINALLY SLEPT THROUGH THE NIGHT without waking once.  I hope it continues.  Up until now there was usually one wake up unless his teeth were bothering him.  Which the molars have been for the last two weeks... And then it was a couple of wake ups.  So you can see how amazing this is!  HOORAY!

- Leanne Verkley

18 months

Easton is now a year and a half.  
Today he had his 18 month needles.  This was for Diptheria, Tetanus, Pertusis, Polio, Hib. Measles, Mumps, and Rubella.
We have to watch in approx. 10 days he may break out in a small patch of spots around where the needles went and he may have a small fever but otherwise he should be fine.  
Easton was not happy about actually getting the needles but afterwards he was fine and acted normal all day.
He weighed in at 25 pounds 7 ounces up from 23 pounds 15 ounces at 15 months.  He is in the 50th percentile.  
Easton is 84 and a half cm tall in the 75th percentile.  He grew half a centimeter from his 15 month appointment.  
His head was measured but I forgot to write it down.
Some of Easton's favorite things to do right now are to play with the computer, iPad, iPod Touch and anything electronic.  
He can navigate them really well.  He especially loves youtube and watching music videos.  So we have a favorites section set up for him with: Will I Am, Madeline Kahn, Bobby McFerrin, and a few others.  Most of which are sesame street based.   Easton is definitely connected to music like no other kid I know.  He gravitates to it.  He loves to listen to it, he loves to play on our keyboard, or strum on the guitar, he stops to wiggle when he hears a beat even if he is half a sleep.
He also loves to be outside at the park or in the backyard.  He can throw a ball really well and enjoys all kinds of sport related activities.  
Blueberries are still his favorite food.
He is much better with the TV, the dishwasher and the toilet.  There is only a rare occasion now where he feels the need to turn these on, and off or flush them.  
He still loves to take things to the garbage.  
He is really fun to have around and has a smile that just makes you want to smile also.
His words include: ya, no, mom (only sometimes), dad, up.  
He doesn't use his word for open, or iPad much anymore.  He prefers to have us guess and just say ya or no to most things.  (I think there are more words but I can't think of them right now).
We try to get him to say more words but don't force it after a few times of trying.
His naps are changing... I think.  It seems if he naps he is up LATE.  11pm or so.  With no nap he goes to bed between 7:30 and 9:30pm.  At least for the most part.  However, I am reluctant to give up his 1-3pm nap as it gives me two hours in the day with no kids to do the housework, shower, and sometimes have some computer time for myself.  I don't feel like doing housework at 9:30pm.  So... we shall see..
I am sure there is more but this is what I can think of at the moment.


- Leanne Verkley

2012-04-04 09:06:09

Another word:  dat.  Meaning:  what is that?

- leanne

2012-04-04 16:13:17

Go.  Another word.

- leanne

Date Night

This week my friend Jenny came to stay for a few days.  It was lovely to have her.  
Her two boys played with our two kids.  We got out to see the vow at the movie theatre while Brian watched all four kids.  We left with just Easton still awake so it went pretty smoothly for him.  Then last night Jenny watched all four kids while Brian and I had a date night.  
It wasn't as easy on her.  All four were awake.  However she said with the help of the Wii, and the iPod, the kids kept occupied.  
Our night was long overdue and we were SO thankful for such a night out together.
Brian and his friend Shawn go out almost every Monday night to see a movie and have drinks so I felt a little bad that my movie watcher card (that he uses) came up with a free pop.  However I am told he doesn't use the freebies anyway.  We saw Decendents.  Kind of a a depressing movie about a dieing, cheating wife... With a nice story about Hawiian Decendents.  That part was cool because that is where we honeymooned.  
We ended the night out at the property star gazing.  
It was a great night.  Thanks again Jenny!

- Leanne Verkley

Hadley lost her first tooth on her 5th birthday!

Today my little girl turned five.  I feel so blessed.
The day started with us meeting up with her friend Nayleah at McDonalds for a play day and lunch before school.  She had a fabulous time!  She was all smiles.  Nayleah paid for Hadley's lunch all by herself.  Hadley was so excited to get her toy and share lunch with her friend.  
Easton and Nayleah's sister Alana also had fun.
After this she went to school and she was so excited that everyone was going to sing happy birthday to her.  She wore her new Barbie outfit and was excited that she got to share her day with Lauren who was the special helper of the day.
After school we talked with her about her very loose tooth.  She understood what was happening a little better after a conversation and illustration by Brian with some LEGO onsie pieces.  Then she pulled it out.  There was a little blood and and even after it stopped bleeding she still thought there was blood and felt the need to spit but eventually the saliva got a little more under control.  She put her tooth under her pillow in a special tooth pillow for the tooth fairy and was very excited about it.  The adult tooth is already visible.
After this we played Wii - the new super mario bros. - which she loves and and we are just trying to beat level eight and we are almost at the end.  So it is quite exciting.  
Then her grandpa Verkley came for a visit.
She was presented with a beautiful dress and then we talked, had a roast dinner, and then went out to the property where we fed the horses, played with her new bubble maker that she got from her friend Emmerson, and walked around the property.  
After a great evening we had cake and then it was bed time.
I think she felt special all day!
I love that kid!
Happy 5th Birthday Hadley!

- Leanne Verkley

Hadley lost her first tooth on her fifth birthday!


Today my little girl turned five.

- Leanne Verkley

4 to 6 immunization for Hadley

With Hadley just about 5, we thought the March break would be a good time to get her immunization taken care of.  This one is scheduled for some time between the ages of 4 and 6.  So now is as good of time as any.
We explained to her that the appointment would involve measuring her height, and weight, checking her eyes,  and teeth. The doctor also checked to see if her spine was straight but we didn't know she was going to do that.  However she was very happy with her spine so all was good.
We also explained to her that there would be a needle that would feel like a pinch and that this immunization would protect her from future possible sickness.  She took the needle like a super champ!  No crying at all.  She was so strong!
Now one day later she asked me why her arm hurt. after explaining it, she said she didn't mind the pain because she knew it was her body fighting off the sickness to keep her healthy in the future.  Wow, what a great kid.  I remember my 5 year old booster and it hurt.  I can still picture myself on the couch with a sore arm.  So seriously she is like a super champ!
So, she now has her final immunization for diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, and polio.

She is 41 and 1/4 inches.
In the 25th percentile this means that 75 percent of the kids her age are taller than she is.  
She is 37 pounds at the 50th percentile.  
This surprised me as she seems tall and skinny compared to kids in her class but it seems she is short and average.  
Whatever the case she is in size 5 clothes.  Which goes with every other phase of her life so far.  Her age has always matched her clothes size.  This definitely makes buying clothes in advance easy to do.
She is happy, she is healthy and in just a few days she will be five.
Happy St. Patricks Day!

- Leanne Verkley

Tumbles and toys party

On March 13th we decided to celebrate Hadley's 5th birthday at tumbles and toys.  We did this for many reasons.  1.  Brian has been away from home for work for 17 out of the last 40 days.  So one party with family and friends made it easier on me.  2.  A number of people could attend for various reasons due to it being on the March break.  3.  Having it out of the house was so easy.
Hadley had a great time and with her face painted, I think she truly felt like a princess.  There were princesses, little butterflies painted on faces, hearts, spiderman, and more.  
We had snacks and cake and lots of good onversation.  It went very smoothly and a few people even joined us for dinner at Pizza Hut after the party.  
We decided not to open presents at the party so the kids could use the majority of the time for play.  It was a good decision as the next day it took a few hours to open all of her gifts.  She is so blessed with loving family and friends.  She did say a number of times:  "that is exactly what I wanted"!
Now I have just a few more days before I see my little girl turn 5!  
I am excited to mark this day as I have so many fantastic memories to reflect upon from the last 5 years and I can't wait to see what the years ahead hold.  I am so glad she is in our lives.

- Leanne Verkley

Easton is 17 months old

We have made a break through. Up until now Easton had thought that every animal made the moo sound.  However, he now knows that a sheep says baa.  
I was so excited when he tried this new sound out.  At first he would repeat if I said:  Easton, does a sheep say baa?  Then he would say baa.  Now I can say, what does a seep say and he answer correctly.  All of this happened in the last few days.
He still uses the sign language sign for more and please.
He has many words now but his most commonly used words are: opa (open), upa (up), ya, no, mom,dad, and iPa (iPod).
He even really knows how to use the iPad and iPod touch.  Plus he currently loves YouTube for the Will I am Song Sesame Street version of what I am, and the Bobby Mcferin Sesame Street abc song.
Easton is seriously funny.  Her wakes up happy, and his smile is contageous.  I now find snippets of time where he and Hadley actually play together.  He loves to run after her.
Hadley loves playing with Easton too and she loves to teach him things.  She does love it when Easton is sleeping too though because she can play the Wii.
Easton is a great afternoon napper so I think Hadley is going to love March break.
However in the sleep department I find that Easton will stay up until at least 10pm every night.  So I wonder about giving up the afternoon nap to exchange it for a an earlier bed time.  Will that work?  
Easton is in 18 to 24 month clothes.  
He is finally trying more food but still doesn't like applesauce, yogurt, or anything with that kind of consistency.  
He loves blueberries, bologna, and chips.
I just tried the new Huggies diapers snug and dry.  They seem comparable to the Pampers baby dry.  However the Huggies were on sale for $7 off this week and with my $3 coupon, I thought it was worth the try.
Easton loves the book Good Night Moon.  He loves other books too but that seems to be a favorite as he loves to find the red balloon.  I am sure I am missing some things but it is 1am so if I think of anything I will have to note it later.  Good night.

- Leanne Verkley

2012-03-10 19:11:50

More words: apa (apple), adol (a dog), abal (a ball).

- Leanne

2012-03-10 22:47:32

Halo (hello).  Almost exclusively used with a phone or something like a phone in his hand that is held up to his ear.  

- Leanne

Spirit week

This week has been a busy week.  Brian was in Georgia for work and we had spirit week at Hadley's school.  
Monday was retro day.  Hadley wore leg warmer's and her hair in a side ponytail with a scrunchie.  Tuesday was pancake day (I made 1.8 kg of pancakes to be served at the school that day.  (about 55 pan pancakes).  It was also wear your pajamas to school day and Hadley's special helper day.  It was a truly awesome day for Hadley.  
Wednesday was wacky day and dance-a-thon.  Hadley wore a different pair of leg warmer's with her dance skirt and her hair in 5 different pony tails.  Then her class danced in the gym with the whole school.  Her class had been working on The Chicken Dance and the Macarena.  I heard from another mom that Hadley danced her little heart out.  She was very excited to talk about it after school too.  The dance-a-thon was to raise money for the school .  Hadley got a loot bag for the money she raised. She slept with the glow bracelet that night.  
Thursday was super hero or celebrity day.  Hadley dressed up like snow white.
Today was a P.A. Day and the first day of the March break.  So I took the kids to Airzone in Oshawa.  They loved it and Easton slept for almost 3 hours this afternoon.  
This will be my first March break as a mom.  (thanks Julie for having me think about that).  The week holds many more adventures to come.  Starting with a girls night out tonight at Montana's restaurant.  We talked about so many topics.  It was a much needed night out.  Brian came home at 8:30pm, I went out at 8:35pm.  We plan to catch up tomorrow.
However it is to be noted that I really appreciate him finding out how to move his flight up on a standby so that I could go out tonight.  
Thanks also to Lori, Beth, Annie, Krista, Chaylee, Patti, and  Christine.    Good times.

- Leanne Verkley

Dress fitting and a London visit

Friday night Brian came home from Georgia after being away on training for work for the week but with a LAN party previously planned, I had the house clean and the fridge stocked.  So after a two hour visit with him we headed to Listowel to stay over at my dads house so that we could head out early to Elmira for Hadley's dress fitting for Adam and Krista's wedding.  The drive there was okay.  One white out on 86 and some blowing snow but not too bad.  My dad had his driveway clean when I arrived at 10pm with both kids which was really nice!  
So in the morning I got up at 7:30 am and was ready to go by 8:30 am to be at the appointment for 9 am.  HOWEVER, overnight a foot of snow arrived.  So after my dad blew out the driveway and took a broom to my van, we were on our way.  We only arrived about half an hour late.  However the others were also a few minutes late so it was okay.
Hadley loved getting all dressed up and it looked like she truly felt like a princess.  Nora was a great help with Easton as I helped Hadley try on dresses.  I was privileged to see Krista's dress.  I love weddings.
After our busy morning of trying on dresses we got McDondalds for lunch and the headed to London so spend the weekend with Jenny, Owen and Spencer.  Ryan was at our house with Brian,
The kids played Wii for a few hours, and the babies played with toys,  Jenny and I got her coupons organized, fixed her heat settings and talked.  We tried to take the kids to a clothing sale that Jenny heard about but we had the hour wrong.  So we got Chinese food and took it back to the house.
At bedtime we tried putting Owen and Hadley together knowing full well that it would likely not work out and after 15 minutes or so Hadley was on a mattress on the floor and Owen was in his bed.  Easton magically fell asleep in this tiny window.  So Jenny and I played Dominion and Blokus while we waited for Owen to fall asleep.  We each won a game of Dominion and Jenny won Blokus.  Then we were tired so we moved Hadley and Easton into Jenny's room on the bed with me and closed the door while Owen and Jenny shared a bed with Spencer in his crib.
It didn't matter though, the kids woke up within a minute of each other anyway so it was full steam ahead in the morning.  Jenny hopefully enjoyed a shower while I watched the kids and then she made us a wonderful bacon and egg breakfast, again while I watched the kids.  
We decided to take the kids to the children's museum in the morning which I know my kids loved.  Then in the afternoon we were crazy enough to take all four kids to the movies to see the secret world of Arriety.  Easton fell asleep 5 minutes into the movie and woke up 15 minutes before it ended.  Jenny didn't have it so easy.  She had both kids awake during the entire movie.  
After the movie we went back to Jenny's for some homemade Mexican chicken.  SOOOO GOOD.
Then it was time for the trek home.
Good times!

- Leanne Verkley

Scientists in school

Founded in 1989 in Ajax by two moms who were also science professionals, Scientists in School has grown to become the largest youth science outreach charity in Canada as measured by student par-ticipation.   Today, more than 5,000 student scientists participated in Scientists in School workshops across Ontario, bringing the total number of student scientists inspired since 1989 to over 5 million.
Hadley dug for dinosaur bones, made her own fossil, discovered the North star in a flashlight / tent play area and did a few other experiments to participate in this event at her school.

- Leanne Verkley

Literacy Day

Today was literacy day.  This is how our day went...
Hadley and I woke up at 7:30 am and played Super Mario on the Wii for about a half an hour.  Then we woke up Easton and got ready to go to MOPS ( Mothers of Preschoolers) at my church. This morning at MOPS we had a day of exercise.  It was good fun but I am sore tonight in my shoulders.  
After lunch we walked Hadley to school and Easton napped all afternoon while I did a much needed clean up around the house.
After school we had an early dinner before dance class as there was a literacy event at Lakeside Public School at 6:30 pm.
The event was well executed.  Four 15 minute segments.  Hadley led us with her map around the school with her friend Lauren to the book mark station, the book buying station, the story telling station, and the draw/ reading/photo op station in the gym.  
It was a FULL day but good fun and I think it went well.

- Leanne Verkley

50 and 60 and a flower girl

This past weekend we celebrated at the Atwood Cafe for Brian's uncle Dave and uncle Paul.  It was their 50th and 60th birthday's respectively.  
The food was amazing.  It was a cook yourself option right at the table of all kinds of meat and vegetables with different sauces; apparently a Dutch meal; although this was the first time I had heard of it.  
SOOOOOOO yummy!
Afterwards we headed back to Paul's house for some more celebration time.  First with mostly Verkley's and then with Paul's friends.  (We stayed so late that we spent the night).  It is here that Hadley was asked to be the flower girl in Adam and Krista's wedding.  Hadley couldn't have been more excited to be asked.  She said yes, shook her head with happiness and hugged Krista tightly.  We were also very happy to hear that they wanted to include her in their special day.  Hooray!
I remember being a flower girl at my aunts wedding when I was a little girl so I know how special the day will be for her.
August 18th is going to be a very busy day.  
My cousin Dustin is also getting married that day to Rachel.  
Plus it is my birthday.  
So.... I can't wait to party!
Wish me luck in juggling it all.  :)
At least the weddings are close to each other.  One in Atwood and one in Listowel.

- Leanne Verkley

Easton's first skate

This morning Brian and I took the kids to Iroquois Park in Whitby to go skating.  It was Easton's first time skating and he loved it!  
He was happy from the time we put his skates on him (these were Hadley's first skates), to the time we took them off.
When he touched the ice for the first time he was so happy and when we skated around with him in front of us touching the ice he would ask for more when we were slowing down.
It was great fun to show him this new experience.

Hadley also had a great time.  She showed confidence with the pilon and even tried hops.  She seemed unbothered by falling and said she looks forward to the next time we go.
A great family day.

- Leanne Verkley

Hadley can swim

This weekend was a busy weekend with the celebration of three birthdays and at one of the birthdays Brian and I enjoyed some great swimming time with our kids.  
Hadley has always been comfortable in the water and when a slide presented itself she was so excited to slide down and splash into the water below where we caught her and brought her to the side of the pool.
At the other end of the pool we practiced her 2 meter swim that she has been working on at swimming lessons.
This practice payed off with a very excited teacher telling me that Hadley swam on her own for the first time with him and made the two meter mark.  HOORAY!  
With two swimming lessons left in salemander this is great news!
I was so proud!  

Easton also enjoyed his time in the water.  First by being carried around and later by sitting in the shallow end with toys.  By the end of the hour he was comfortable enough to lay on his tummy.

I love that our kids love the water!

- Leanne Verkley

MOPS Pampering Day

Today at MOPS we had a pampering day.  I had a full hand treatment including pretty pink nails.  I also enjoyed having my hair straightened and the rest of the day I felt like I could handle anything.  It is so nice to be pampered.  This was much needed.  
sending out much thanks!

- Leanne Verkley

Leafs game

Last night my brother was kind enough to come to Ajax to watch over Hadley while Brian, Easton and I went to the Toronto Leafs game.  (Tickets we bought from my friend Beth).  Joe and Hadley played the New Super Mario Bros. for the wii (which Hadley loved) while we headed to watch the Leafs take on the Oilers.  It was fun to watch Sam Gagner (from the Oilers) as he is on a crazy streak right now... But I was happy to see the Leafs win 6 to 3 in the end.
A good Night out!
Thanks again Joe!

- Leanne Verkley

2012-02-16 00:19:54

Easton learned how to use a straw today too!

- leanne

Winterfest

Today Brian had some work to get done so I took the kids out on this beautiful Sunday to Ajax Winterfest.  There were jumping castles (with mud ALL around), and ice sculptures (sitting on the grass), and food being sold.  There was the popular horse dawn wagon ride and there were crafts inside the McLean centre.
It was a beautiful day to be outdoors but muddy!  
we came home to enjoy Super Bowl Sunday as a family and ate junk food and cheered on the giants and patriots.  (It was mixed crowd).  Still good times!

- Leanne Verkley

2012-02-06 01:08:52

The giants won, 21 to 17.

- leanne

15/16 Months

Today was Easton's 15 month needles.  This was for Pneumo Conjugate and Varicella.  The first one he has had before, the second one is new.  It is for chicken pox.  We have to watch in approx. 10 days he may break out in a small patch of spots around where the needle went and he may have a small fever but otherwise he should be fine.  
Easton was not happy about actually getting the needles but afterwards he was fine and acted normal all day.
He weighed in at 23 pounds 15 ounces up for 22 pounds 5 ounces.  He is in the 50th percentile.  Hadley at the same age was 19 pounds 12 ounces.  Or the 7th percentile.
Easton is 84 cm tall in the 90th percentile.  He grew 6 cm from his 12 month appointment.  Hadley at 15 months old was 77.5 cm tall. Or the 50th percentile. (It is important to note that we are only days away from Easton being 16 months... It has been a busy month which is why this update is not exactly at 15 months).
His head circumference is 48.4 cm.  Hadley's was 46.5 cm.
The doctor has no concerns and said that he had already achieved all the 18 month milestones.  
Some of Easton's favorite things to do right now are read (or have read to him) Good Night Moon.  (And other books).
He loves blueberries, grapes and peas as well as CHIPS and bath time.  He now uses the word up and ya for their actual meanings and when he means no he waves his hand in front of his face.  He loves to give open mouth kisses (Hadley is going through a phase where she wants NO kisses right now from anyone, she actually wipes them off and hands them back).  He also loves to hug.  He understands a lot and this is very apparent when you give him full eye contact.
Some of his favorite things to do right now are to turn the TV on and off, and the dishwasher, and flush the toilet.
He also likes to run to the garbage to throw things in it.
All these things are funny the first few times.  
Its a good a thing he is so cute.


- Leanne Verkley

15 months



Today was Easton's 15 month needles.

- Leanne Verkley

15 months

Today was Easton's 15 month needles.

- Leanne Verkley

Teeth 13, 14, 15, and 16

After about a month of crazy nights sleep, today I went in for the count.  Easton has four new teeth.  
This is exciting and explains a lot!
I am relieved that there are only four teeth left after this.  (His two year old molars).  So hopefully I will get some rest soon.  
Hopefully in the coming days his drool will ease up, his sleep patterns will find more balance and his tongue will be more in control.  :)
Hooray for more teeth!

- Leanne Verkley

Easton's first haircut

It was time for Easton to get his first haircut.  The sides were getting long and the top around the crown was long too.  So a cut to get everything evened out was in order.  So with the great success we have had with Hadley at Melonheads, we decided to go there for Easton's first cut.  It is a bit pricy but for his first cut definitely worth it.  He smiled and played with the bubbles and sat in a cute car chair pretending to drive.  He did great!  Even when they buzzed around his ears.  
We got a certificate, a picture and a few locks of hair to save.

While there we also got Hadley's hair cut.  She had decided that she wanted a much shorter cut so it would be easier to wash, brush and take care of... Like Easton's.
So we talked about it and went with a cut of about 5 inches.  It is so cute but to me she looks so much older now.  
Again a great experience.  She read books, watched the TV, blew bubbles and sat on on a unicorn.

They both look great!

- Leanne Verkley

England

January 4
The flight was as good as can be expected.  I watched most of the movie foot loose and got about an hour of solid of sleep with two kids who tried their best to sleep.  When we arrived in London we easily found our bags but I would say the train and tube and walk to the Marriott took way too long with two tired kids.  However when we got to our hotel room we were very happy with it.  A king bed with cot, and a beautiful view of the London Eye. This room all free with points from Brian's work over the last year with EMC.
After some free lunch in the executive lounge again a perk from Brian's work over the last year, we all took a three hour nap before waking up to enjoy the rest of the day.  After this I felt like I had switched over to England time and everyone else did as well.  So we got ready and went for a walk around the river Thames walking over the Westminster bridge and the Hungerford bridge (the bridge were my friends Lindsay and Jamie got engaged).  We saw the clock tower that holds Big Ben, and old English phone booths, police on horses, and went for a ride on the eye.  It was approx. 50 pounds for our whole family to ride the eye but the night views were spectacular even in the rain.  It was Hadley's suggestion to do this at night and we were glad we did.  The eye was lit up all in blue and the clock tower in green with the city lights making the rest of the view amazing.  Following this we found a pub, ordered a Strongbow, an English Pale Ale and some fish and chips.  Hadley couldn't believe people would call french fries chips.  :)  The night finished by an evening swim with the kids, Hadley writing in her scrapbook, and both kids playing in the light up closet.  By 9 pm everyone was tired and went to bed.  However now at 3:30am I find myself awake and typing this note.  I tried to sleep more for about three hours  before getting up and doing something with my time.  Tomorrow might be hard.  So I guess I will go try again with that whole sleep thing.  Cheers.  

January 5
After a less than perfect sleep we got up and had another free breakfast in executive lounge.  The winds were high and some boats were not running but we decided to take the Thames Clipper express boat to Greenwich.  There was no commentary on this boat but we were glad to be able to continue with our day to the Prime Meridian anyway.  For 14 pounds we got the chance to jump the line.  We were on the west, then the east and then both sides of the world.  This place reminded me of my high school geography teacher.  So in his memory I took a photo of my lunch which I also remember a lot of from his slide shows.  :)
After this we went for a walk in the park and the kids enjoyed some fun play time at the playground.   The day was getting late so we took the boat back to the Marriott.  This time the boat with commentary was running.  We learned much about the warfs, tower bridge and other bridges, the tower of London, and the parliament buildings and Big Ben.

January 6
Today was a royal day.  We woke up and walked past Westminster Abbey to get to Buckingham Palace where we watched the changing of the guard.  I loved seeing the balcony where William and Kate had their kiss after their wedding.  The band played the song Sweet Caroline (neil diamond)? Sadly the crowd did not sing along.  However it made Brian and I smile.  Plus the song was in our head all day long.  We stood by the Canada gate.  A lot of times on the trip we have seen a strong Canadian component.    We felt so included.  
It was  a cool day but we enjoyed time walking through the park before heading back to Westminster Abbey to explore the inside.   We payed the extra three pounds on top of the fourteen pounds for our family to get in.  We got the last tour of the day and the three pounds was definitely worth it.  There were only two other people in our group.  We saw the coronation chair which is the same chair that the royal sits on since the 1500s.  COOL!  There was a spot where the scientists were buried, including Newton and Darwin.  We got to sit in choir chairs.  The chairs that are normally roped off to the public.    We went to the main area.  The area where there was the royal wedding and where the royals would be crowned or where the church services take place.  
We went up to the shrine.  This is where we were able to walk up to the door where the priest walks out, we saw the Canadian chairs that the current monarch sits in when attending a service.  This is also where the signing of the registry took  place at William and Kate's wedding.  There were some old kings also buried right there.  Next we went into the area with the knights.  This is where they honor knights with their own banners.   Every four years this is updated with new inductees.  It it also a lifetime post and only a select number of knights can be honored.  If someone dies within the four years then their post stays empty until the next induction ceremony.  We walked around the shared tomb of Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary.  
On the way out I saw the first tomb of the unknown soldier.  
Westminster Abbey was so beautiful but sadly we were unable to take photographs.  This is because they want people to remember that it is a place of worship and not just a tourist attraction.  So the pictures are captured in my memory.  
That night we took a double decker red bus to Leicester to have a pasta dinner and do some shopping.    Then we walked back over the Hungerford bridge to get warm sugar waffles and strawberries before retiring for the night.  

January 7
We got up at 4:45am to pack up and leave by 6am to head to the Westminster underground to Paddington station.  Here we switched to the Heathrow express train to pick up a rental car.  This was a lengthy process but by 8:45am we were on our way in a little Toyota with two car seats installed.  I thought of my mom all day today as it was her birthday.  The first stop was Stonehenge.  It was beautiful.  I loved viewing it from all angels as we walked around the entire monument.  It was a cool but lovely day.  It was great to see such a primitive calendar.  There were sheep in the meadow all around and it was just plain lovely.  The crowds were okay and we were able to see and take photographs when we wanted.  I am sure a solstice or summer trip would prove differently.   In the shop on the way out, Hadley picked a sheep which she named Poodle.  We tried to name it Solstice or Stoney but she had here own name for her new friend.  She picked the smallest sheep on the shelf and loved it from the moment she put her hands on it.  
From here we drove to West Kennet Long Barrow.  This is an ancient burial site from before Stonehenge time.  However, with Easton asleep and the kilometer hike to get to it in muddy terrain we decided to just view it from the road.  Silbury hill was just on the other side of the road and it seems to be a 4000 year old toboggan hill.  No real use, no burial site.  Just a hill with some sheep on it.  
From here we travelled to Avebury Circle.  We walked around more stones almost the  size of the ones at Stonehenge, but the circle itself was MUCH bigger and we were able to touch them.  We stopped for some much needed food inside the stone circle which took a LONG time and was only mildly enjoyable.
However we were glad to spend the rest of our daylight hours amongst the stones.  After this the kids slept in the car all the way to Coombe Abbey, the castle where we would spend the night.  
AWESOME, AWESOME, AWESOME!
It was like driving up a long lane to a movie set.  Like we were actually in a movie at a castle.  There were turrets, a moat with a portcullis, ivy all over the place, a fountain and creepy cool lighting.   This was an honest to goodness castle owned by a king in the 1500's (I think).  
After getting registered we headed up to room 228.  Our room with a four poster bed with tassels to pull on for lighting above the bed and cool fabric wallpaper that matched the curtains all around.  They had a pullout couch which Hadley slept on and we ordered room service as we were all too tired to get dressed up to have dinner.  We walked around the castle and it was awesome!

January 8
We woke up early and got ready to explore the castle grounds.  We were privileged to have a private tour of the castle with a host/porter.  With the highlight being the bridal suit.
We grabbed some continental breakfast and enjoyed it while we walked around  the park land.  There were swans and beautiful gardens.     Just outside of the grounds there was a city park where the kids played until our lunch reservation back at the castle.  
12:30pm we were dressed and ready to have lunch in the garden room.  The kids had sausage with peas and potatoes.  Brian had pork tenderloin and I had salmon.  Our meals came with shared vegetables.  Hadley had a berry sundae, Brian had a moose, and I had a cheese plate for dessert.
After our lunch we enjoyed afternoon tea.  It was lovely!
Then a little play time back at the playground followed by the drive back to London to return the car, dropp off my luggage in an over night holding space so as to have less things to carry with me to the airport the following day when it would be me and the two kids, then take a cab to the Marriott where Brian would be staying for the following week.

January 9
We got up and enjoyed our last breakfast together before Brian went to work. This is where we found the "Cadbury chocolate spread" to later be imported by Brian to Canada.
Then we grabbed our bags and headed for the airport.  I easily picked up my luggage from he holding location, and then pushed Easton in the stroller, pulled my luggage, carried my back pack and held Hadley's hand.  We grabbed a snack and headed for our flight where we were fortunate to get a window seat.  With almost a 2 hour delay (while in our seats on the plane) I braced myself for the additional 8 hours to come.  The kids were actually great!  The only thing that wasn't so much fun was when Easton was sleeping, there was food in front of us and Hadley had to go to the washroom.  However, it all worked out.
Somehow in this flight I even managed to watch a movie.  REALLY NOT SURE HOW.  In any case, the 10 hours went okay and the kids had no issues with their ears on the way down.  We found our luggage, headed to park n fly, got the van and headed home.  It was 6:30 pm but felt like 11:30pm.  The kids were hungry because they didn't love the airplane food but en route to find food they fell asleep.  

Turnaround though-out the week was okay and Hadley actually went to school the next day.  
I was really tired though by the time Brian got home a week later.  
All in all - A Great Britain adventure!

- Leanne Verkley

2012-01-26 07:45:00

Sounds like a good trip. I want to see pictures of the castle you stayed in!

- Lisa Schuyler

2012-01-26 10:28:15

Sounds like a great trip! I can picture some of the places you went to. Can't wait to see pictures and hear more stories from your trip.

- julie

New Years

Our New Years was celebrated at home again... which we love!  With our good friends Jenny, Ryan, and their kids Owen and Spencer, as well as Delena and Shawn (who opted to have a babysitter for Todd).  The kids played FANTASTICALLY together!  It was awesome.  The Wii and other toys as well as food kept them well occupied all night.  However they were tired before midnight so we put them to sleep and started our own gaming (board games) until it was so late that we thought we should also sleep before the kids got up.
Good fun was had by all.  
We continued our gaming and fun all the next day as well.  

- Leanne Verkley

Teeth 11 & 12 and Singing

Over the past few weeks there has been drool and long nights but teeth #11 and #12 have arrived.  A molar on the top left is very clear with a small white spot on the top right also making its presence.  Easton is sleeping much better again but I do look forward to when he sleeps through the night.

Easton loves to sing.  It is so awesome to watch and hear.
When we sing the ABC's or Twinkle Twinkle little star he will start singing if we stop somewhere in the middle.
It is gah gah, sounds but DEFINITELY in the right tune.  I managed to get a video of it this week too.  
I bet he could do bah bah black sheep!  :)

- Leanne Verkley

2012-01-02 10:54:50

I love Easton's singing as well, so cute!

- julie

Christmas Weekend

This weekend after Hadley finished school on friday the 23rd we had another full weekend of celebrating Christmas.
On Christmas morning we celebrated at home with a wonderful breakfast including apple turnovers.  Then snack-able food all day only to enjoy a full turkey dinner with all the fixings for dinner.  Brian's mom and sister joined us at our house and we loved having them.
There were many phone and facetime calls to those who were in other places and the day felt full.
There were MANY presents and it was so much fun to watch the kids with their stockings, and present opening, and playing.
I got the New Super Mario Bros. Wii game and we played until late in the night.  Good fun!  Similar to the old one I knew as a kid but all different. :)
I loved playing with Hadley.  (And everyone else).  
My favorite gift was one made by Hadley at school.  It was a calendar and each month had different things made by her hands dipped in paint.  (I had happy tears).  I LOVE THIS!

The next day was a celebration with the Verkley's at Brian's cousin Amy's in London.  Santa made his usual appearance and Hadley said something to the effect of " can you believe it, Santa came to visit two times"!

Then a final Christmas celebration was at Brian's dad's.  We again enjoyed some gift exchanges including a photo book of our Africa trip.  (What a big job to put that together)!
Then there was food and good conversation.  Hadley played a lot with the cat and Easton found the stairs.  
The night ended with a beautiful snowfall and a long drive home.  :)

- Leanne Verkley

2012-01-02 10:57:58

It was very nice spending Christmas with you and your family! Kids at Christmas is so wonderful!

- julie

Christmas Weekend - YA

This weekend was a Christmas filled weekend.  Saturday was a day with my mom's side of the family.  My cousin Natasha hosted and the pot luck went well.  There was good conversation, and present opening as well as kids running around everywhere.

Sunday was a Christmas with my dad's side.  We were joined by my uncle paul and his girlfriend as well as my grandma and papa.  We had chinese food and it was delicious!  
It is so nice to watch the kids run around and play together.   Our family was seriously spoiled with presents.

This week Easton also started saying Ya.  Hooray for new words!

- Leanne Verkley

Christmas has started...

Last night we enjoyed a wonderful first Christmas concert at Hadley's school.  She and her classmates did a great job singing to and acting out Pete the Cat and then they sang and did the sign language to the song "up on the rooftop".
Hadley's teacher did a fantastic job putting it all together and the students looked great up there.
I was so proud of Hadley.
She was so pretty up there in her black and red dress with her Santa hat on.

Then tonight one of my friends and old co-workers from BMO put on a Christmas party at her new house.  It was nice to see everyone and stay up way too late.  Good food, and conversation!

- Leanne Verkley

Easton is exciting to watch every day

He can now stand up on his own and today he said bye bye to Brian.  (Of course it was only the one time but still way too cute).  

- Leanne Verkley

A cow says MaOO

Today Hadley and I taught Easton that a cow says moo.
He can now say mommy, so I thought this would be an easy transition.
He starts off with the ma sound from mommy and adds an oo sound.
We say Easton, what does a cow say and after he says maoo, we clap and cheer and he is SO happy and proud of himself.  

- Leanne Verkley

Christmas lights and other fun stuff

This weekend we took Hadley to Home Depot to make the Christmas craft (a snowman serviette holder) and then in the afternoon our friends Jenny, Ryan, and their kids Owen and Spencer came for a visit.  We enjoyed good fun with the Wii, and other games as well as good food and a trip to see the Ilona Park Street Christmas lights.  We have done this in the past and loved it.  (http://ajax.verkley.com/blog/leanne/index.cgi?sid=488&user=leanne).
We stayed up WAY too late but it was good times!

Then on Sunday we had our mommy group Christmas party at Annie's house.  
There were crafts, fun and good food as well as good conversation.  
No major meltdowns.
Success!

- Leanne Verkley

2011-12-12 23:53:41

Oh... and tonight (Monday) we decorated our Christmas tree.  I love looking at Christmas lights and all the decorations.

- leanne

More update on Easton...

More updates for Easton as they come fast and furious!  
He now prefers to use utensils rather than his hands when eating.  He will still use his hand but really likes to use a fork specifically.  Spoons are harder but he still likes them.  
Waving can now be seen from either hand depending on what he is looking around.  
He is now steady enough to walk backwards when he feels he needs to.

- Leanne Verkley

Dancing - Mommy

Easton now dances.  He hears music and he starts to move.  It is just little wiggles and movement from side to side but SO cute and noteworthy.

Easton now uses MOMMY when he really wants my attention.  Again noteworthy and cute.  

- Leanne Verkley

Easton is 14 months today

I can hardly believe it.  He is communicating so well now.  
Uses the "more" sign language sign for anything he wants more of.  Food or otherwise.
He is definitely on the move now and walks all over.
He seems to be growing all the time and teething has been crazy this past week.
He still prefers nursing to food but does like some food.  Mostly meat and blueberries.  
He laughs a lot and it is contagious.  He is 23 pounds as we found out when we took him in to see the doctor last week when he was sick.  He wears size 18 month clothing for the most part but some size 24 month stuff is starting to fit.
His nap is at 1:05pm daily for two hours (unless he is sick, but otherwise very reliable).  
He waves all the time to say hi and bye.  He loves to give hugs.  

- Leanne Verkley

Cute Hadley Moments

This week we went to McDonald's and we used some of our coupons from Halloween.  We had four free ice-cream coupons.  So after our dinner I went up to the counter to get them for Hadley and Easton and to my surprise, they asked me if Hadley wanted to come behind the counter and make them herself.  OF COURSE!  
WOW!  What a treat!  She was SO excited when I went back to the table to tell her what she was about to get to do.  She did such a great job and had so much fun.
Brian and Easton could watch from their seats.  
Afterwards in the nearly empty McDonald's you could hear her joyful, proud excitement as she came out the door and called for her dad to tell him all about this awesome experience.  

We gave two of the coupons to two of the kids that we knew from the Ontario Early Years Centre who were also in the restaurant.  We weren't there long enough to find out if they also got to do this or not but it was cool to offer to share the ice-cream anyway.  

-

Then today Hadley was telling Tara (Adam's mom) who we walk with to and from school on most days about the advent calendar.  
She said: "and when we get to 24 we get to spend time with family and friends with good food".
What a proud mommy moment. :)

- Leanne Verkley

Laundry

After a week of doing a lot of laundry (ugh sickness), tonight Easton was up helping me with the laundry from the dryer to the basket.  I remember when Hadley did this.  So "helpful" the first time.  
He is also helpful with the dishwasher now.  
I love knowing that this is the start to more and more independence and after this crazy week it is also hopefully the sign of feeling better.  

- Leanne Verkley

Easton is growing

It is time to move the crib down to the final level.  While this is a hard level for me to put him into if he is already sleeping, it was necessary so he doesn't climb out/fall out.

This week has been a crazy week as Brian, Easton and I have all been quite sick.  Vomiting, and weakness.  But heres hoping tomorrow is better after 4 days of down time.  
Hadley has been awesome through it all.  :)

- Leanne Verkley

Brian and I bought some land...

It has been a long week so please see brian's blog entry:  http://ajax.verkley.com/blog/brian/index.cgi?sid=985

- Leanne Verkley

Parent Teacher Interview

Tonight I had my first parent teacher interview.  Hadley's teacher had wonderful things to say about our little girl.  These things include how well she plays with others, the fact that she loves the house centre and the cut & paste centre, and there was huge praise over her language and reading skills.  The major thing to work on at the moment is to wait her turn to talk.  She says excuse me but waiting is hard for 4 and 5 year olds.  She is exactly where her teacher would expect a 4 year old to be in this area but the teacher wanted to provide something to work on.  

I talk to her teacher daily so I pretty much know exactly where she is at and what needs to be worked on, but I was shown poems, stories with pictures and artwork that Hadley has worked on and I was able to take them home to ask Hadley to tell us about them and to show Brian as he was at home watching the kids and couldn't be at the interview.

All in all a good first interview.  

- Leanne Verkley

12 steps

Easton is now walking (running) 12 or so steps in a row.  He loves it.  He wants to practice all the time.  He still crawls a lot but you can see in his face that he is eager to practice and use this new skill.
Fun!

- Leanne Verkley

Market, Home Depot, Santa Parade, Strawberries

Yesterday I finally made it to the Pickering Market.  I had heard that there were some shops there that had reasonable pricing on expensive sweaters.  (Seconds).  
So I went and got two new sweaters.  It was buying not shopping.  That is so much easier with two kids in tow.  We did however make an impulse fresh donut purchase.  Mmmmm, hot donuts shaken in icing sugar.  

After much patients at the market, I took the kids to Home Depot where Hadley made a picture frame.  She loves doing the crafts there.  She got another pin for her apron.  Easton wished he could participate but sat FaIrLy patiently on the sidelines.  

In the afternoon we all went out for a hike as a family. It was a beautiful day and we were really glad to enjoy this time outdoors together.

Then we came home and got ready for the Santa Claus Parade.  Easton didn't nap well so he actually fell asleep on the way to the parade and slept through most of it.  He did wake up for Santa though!
Hadley enjoyed the outdoors with Norah, Connor, Hannah and Luke.  
Hadley counted the candy canes that she received.  Seven. :)
Annie brought hockey sticks with a glow ball and the kids quite enjoyed it as they waited for the parade to start.  A great idea!  
I love that the parade has real reindeer in it.  I think that is my favorite part!

Today we did stuff around the house and after the cleaning there was baking, and thawed Ontario strawberries from June.  Easton had his first strawberry and LOVED them!

Overall a decent weekend.

- Leanne Verkley

Hadley School Stuff

Right now some of the things that Hadley is working on at school include syllables, poems, songs, matching colours to their words, writing and reading (level one books), painting and crafts.  She loves Friday's as they are colour themed days where she gets to wear a specific colour and bring in something to show and tell related to the colour.  
She loves to know who is going to be next alphabetically for the special helper of the day.  She also predicts what that special helper will put on the calendar for the weather.
She enjoys the house centre, the listening centre, and is especially enjoying home reading.  (This is where she has to read the same 3 books for a week.  At the end of the week she tries to read the books as fast as she can).  
Raz-kids.com is also a fun thing for her to do on the computer that allows her teacher to hear the reading that she records herself doing at home.
From what I can tell Hadley's closest friends at the moment are Alyssa, Audrey, Lauren, and Nailaya.   As well as Amorelle and Adam who live VERY close to us and often walk with us to and from school.  
Every day she packs up her snack and water for the day and is excited to go to school.

- Leanne Verkley

2011-11-09 21:14:17

Hadley, Audrey, and Lauren often pretend that they are triplets and want to wear their hair the same.
Alyssa, Audrey and Lauren all go to the same dance studio as Hadley but are in different classes.  

- leanne

13 months

This is a few days late but this week has been a little crazy!
Some awesome things about Easton at 13 months mostly relate to communication.  It often feels like he is having conversations with us.  Pointing and sounds show us what he wants.  He is now finally getting to use the hand sign for "more" reliably.  
He also can now stomp his feet in a sitting position when we sing "if you're happy and you know it, stomp your feet."
Last night was a rough night and so I eventually brought Easton into bed and it could have been the sleep deprivation, but it was VERY clear that Easton was trying to sing twinkle twinkle little star.  Brian and I looked at each other and began to sing it for him at the same time.  So after this, it affirmed how clear it was that he was trying to sing this.
He is still nursing about three times a night and about three times a day.
He likes meat and grapes mostly but still doesn't prefer it to nursing.  Still isn't a big fan of milk but will drink it if he is thirsty.  
Walking is getting stronger but still only about 3 steps.  However, he is standing for longer periods of time.
He enjoys drawing on the chalkboard with Hadley.
He is in 18 month clothing and is happy most of the time.


- Leanne Verkley

Blowing Kisses, Where's your head?... and a sleep over.

This weekend two new tricks (if you can call them that) were developed by Easton.  He can now blow kisses when we ask him and he can put both hands on top of his head if we ask him where his head is.
So cute.  

This weekend was spent at a first birthday party for my cousin Brittany's baby Londyn, and an engagement party for Brian's cousin Scott and his fiance Katrina.
So there was a lot of opportunity to show off waving, high 5's, clapping, blowing kisses and the knowledge of where Easton's head was at.  :)
  
We also stayed over at Phil and Doreen's house.  Easton, Brian and I slept in the spare room while Hadley slept with Kiana and Aidan.  If we are at the house does it count as a sleep over?  Sure.  Why not.  :)  She slept there all night and the girls chatted until after midnight.  They played wonderfully for two days!  

- Leanne Verkley

Row Row Row Your Boat

This is Easton's favorite song.  This song relaxes him like no other song.  In fact Brian can often get him to sleep with this song as long as I am not in the room.  
Brian usually sings:
Row row row your boat, gently down the stream, merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily life is but a dream.
Or his second verse:
Row row row your boat, gently down the stream, throw your mother overboard and listen to her scream.
And then my version:
Row row row your boat, gently down the stream, if you see a crocodile, don't forget to scream.  
Or Hadley's version:
Row row row your boat, gently down the stream, Ha Ha fooled you, I'm a submarine.  

You sang all of those didn't you?

- Leanne Verkley

2011-11-04 15:58:00

I sure did.  Best blog post in months!

I think Easton might prefer abcdefg though, and I still can't figure out which two he is humming when he is tired.

And the first two words of twinkle twinkle little star can stop him from crying.  I love that.

- brian

2011-11-05 12:53:10

I sang.

- Lisa Schuyler

2011-11-06 20:11:59

Depends if you are the Mom or not going overboard!

- Mom

2011-11-07 21:21:39

True, the alphabet song is pretty much tied.  :)

- leanne

Halloween

This morning I was torn as to whether or not to take the kids to the zoo.  It meant that the day would be very busy but it also meant that the tradition of taking them every year since they were born would live on.  
So... I got everything ready, packed a sandwich for Hadley just in case she had to eat in the van on the way home before school (which happened) and we went and toured the Africa section.  It was a BEAUTIFUL DAY!  I am so glad we went.  I got some nice photos and spent some quality time with the kids.
Easton fell asleep on the way home from the zoo so I put him in his crib and Brian watched him while I took Hadley to school.  After Easton's nap I put his costume back on and we went to pick up Hadley from school.
Hadley had a great day at school with special snacks, and fun for Halloween in her costume.
Then after dinner we headed out around the neighbourhood to 32 houses.  Hadley counted.  :)
After that she handed out candy to 39 kids.  She LOVED this job!  She could hardly wait for the next set of kids to arrive.
We made our annual phone calls to our family and then the kids went to bed EASILY!  Awesome!
Facebook photos posted.  
Happy Halloween!

- Leanne Verkley

2011-11-04 08:24:21

Easton's favorite candy: Rockets
Hadley's favorite candy: Cheetos

- leanne

Walking update Tooth#9 and 10

Today Easton was more sturdy again.  A couple of times I caught him thinking about leaving things that he was holding onto and making a go for it but then it didn't happen.  Then tonight I had him standing up and he walked two and a half steeps to me.  Then later 2 steps to Brian.  
Tomorrow we will have to try to get this on video.
Two steps is pretty hard to get on video but we will try to capture something.  :)

This morning it is very clear that the two top eye teeth have popped through.  They are still small and just coming through but they have broken through!  Hooray!  Welcome tooth #9 and 10.

- Leanne Verkley

Halloweekend

This weekend was jam packed with Halloween fun.
It started I suppose with Hadley having Orange day at school on Friday.  Wearing clothes with orange on them and bringing in an orange toy for show and tell.  She also brought in an orange cookie snack to share with the class.
Then Saturday I spent most of my day just hanging out with my kids with a little afternoon kid free time (Brian watched them) to clean out the silicone from the tub which will get re-sealed in about an hour.  (10 pm... I know!).
In any case Saturday was a full day as the night was spent at at the kids safety village.  We dressed up the kids and met up with some of the mommy group kids to wander around the small buildings on pretend streets to go trick or treating.
Today we got up early to have our annual Halloween mommy group gathering.  Everyone was there.  We decided with our large numbers that $13 per family was a great price to rent out the rotary park pavilion.  This way we could talk, eat, get our picture and then have the kids play in the park.  Plus we had a rain plan.  The big perk though was that nobody had to prepare for such a big group in their house now that we all have two kids.  
I think it was successful and we plan to rent out a pavilion for Christmas if there is still one available.
Tomorrow is Halloween so more stories to come about that...

- Leanne Verkley

2011-10-30 21:14:44

Hadley made a pinnate and we filled it with Halloween Candy.  Each person got two swings and Ethan finally broke it open.  Hadley wished it was her that broke it but totally understood how it worked.  

- leanne

Almost walking

Tonight Easton was walking with Brian holding his hands and then let go and took one and a half steps on his own.  
There was nothing that we could video or take pictures of at this point but walking is just around the corner.
I saw this coming with his recent fast pace up the stairs.
Plus he has been holding the coffee table and letting go to the couch for about a week.  
Pretty exciting to watch!  

- Leanne Verkley

2011-10-28 09:25:41

Woo hoo! Go Easton Go!

- Lisa Schuyler

Belle for Halloween @ Dance Class

Tonight Hadley dressed up for dance class in her Belle costume.  She really wanted to be Belle from Beauty and the Beast.  She has never seen the movie but loves this princess.  (A side note: we have tried to show Hadley a number of Disney movies but they often have a very scary bad character and she wants the movie off so we are waiting a little longer to show her this movie).  
In any case, I found a yellow dress on kijiji.com and put a small Belle sticker on the heart pendant.  Then I found Belle shoes at Zellers and a crown at Dollarama.  Total costume cost $18. Instead of the $40 dress at the Disney Store for just the dress.
Most importantly, she LOVES it!  She uses royal words whenever she puts the costume on.  Words I didn't even know she knew.  Your majesty, etc.
She plays in the costume and I think she will get much use out of it even after Halloween.
She loves to dance while in her costume which worked out really well for dance class tonight.
Yay!


- Leanne Verkley

Stroller

Tonight I put my Eddie Bauer Stroller at the curb.  I got this as a gift before Hadley was born.  It just didn't open properly one day.  So thanks to freecycle.org I was able to get one free to use with Easton.  
That being said... I was still a little sentimental about just putting it on the curb.  I took a few minutes to just think about the past four and a half years.  And now with one year left until it expires in 2012, I have put the bucket seat and car adapter that goes with it on freecycle for someone else to get some use out of it.

- Leanne Verkley

2011-10-26 22:32:39

Bucket seat picked up today and will be used for a 7 week old baby.  :)  Success.  

- leanne

Hadley LOVES to read.

Today while we were out Hadley was reading all kinds of things.  In fact I think she just kept reading things to see our reaction.  We were more than impressed by the signs and stores etc. that she could recognize.
We played a game where I would say try to find the sign that says: XXX (and then I would name an exit off of the 401 that was coming up).
If she didn't see the sign she would say things like, Zellers isn't what you are looking for.  An there on the left I would see a Zellers. Then seconds later she would say: but there is the sign you asked for, and she would read it.
Smarty pants!
She was trying to race to see who could find the signs first and I think the competitiveness of it all just encouraged her all the more.  

Hadley's school purchased a membership to Raz-kids.com where each student at the school gets a login and they can read and record their readings from home.  
She just got the password this week to try it out and is 50% of the way through her first assignment.  (There is no deadline).  Once she achieves 100% she can move on to the next level.  I don't know yet if that happens automatically or if the teacher has to bump her to the next level.  I guess we will find out soon enough.  
The current AA level is pretty easy for her to read but practice is still good.  
There is an option for her to listen to stories or to read and record herself reading so her teacher can hear what she is doing at home.
All in all, it seems like a decent tool.  I just hope it keeps her interest.
Currently she seems mostly interested in impressing her teacher and not so interested in the stories.
Although, how interesting can a page with two words on it be?  There is no real depth to THE CAT.
Still, I am happy that her school is looking into options such as these to keep the learning going at home.  


- Leanne Verkley

Lego / Toopy and Binoo

This morning we got up early and headed out by 9 am to Fairview Mall in North York.  They had a new Lego store opening and the first 300 people to buy more than $35 would get three free little 'special edition store opening' men.  Plus if you spent more than $99, you would get a free Christmas box set.  Let's just say after three hours waiting in line we got both free sets.
Hadley played with the lego in the middle of the store while we took turns watching her, looking around and waiting in line to pay. It was set up very well.
She also enjoyed making three of her own people (girls) which we bought.  
After shopping around the mall and having lunch we headed to Oshawa where we had tickets to go see Toopy and Binoo.  This TV show is a bit crazy to say the least but it  shows them using their imagination.  The live show was about an hour long plus a 15 minute intermission.  Hadley loved it.
I came prepared with dollarstore glow sticks which saved me $10 from the ones they were selling.  AWESOME!  
We went with my friend Marsha who brought her two kids and her mom.
Easton wasn't a big fan of the show but we made the best of it.
A busy day but a good day with the family.  

- Leanne Verkley

Fred Penner and First School Bus Ride

Today Hadley's class went on a school trip to Hebron Church in Whitby.  Fred Penner was performing there.  I remember Fred Penner from my childhood.
It was put on by the board and cost only $10 for the bus ride over.  Well worth it in my opinion.  
There were no parent volunteers allowed which I was disappointed with, however I do love that she had this great experience of her own.
For a few weeks their class has been practicing songs such as the cat came back, and I can sing a rainbow.  
So this morning we all got up early (as Hadley normally has afternoon school) and we walked over for 8:45am.  
Hadley was not ready for breakfast but I managed to get half of a granola bar into her on the way to school.
She was so excited to go on the bus this morning.  She got a window seat and I was able to wave to her from outside the bus as she had this first experience.
When I picked her up from school I was there early enough to watch her come off the bus.
Her teacher told me she was in row 3 at the concert.  She has been singing and teaching me songs all day.  
After a large lunch (she was HUNGRY), we met up with Patti, Alicia and Chelsea at the zoo.  (We don't normally have the afternoon off so this was such a treat).
The girls played very well together and shared stories and food.
After about 3 hours we decided it was time to head home.  At 4 p.m. on a Friday I decided to head north and take Steeles home instead of the 401.
Without even noticing, Steeles turned into Taunton.  This is important to note as Hadley said:  Mom, I was already on Taunton today.
I asked her if the teachers told her and she said no mom, I read the sign just like I did this time.
I have been explaining to her how roads signs work and we try to read road signs when out walking or driving and now she is noticing these things on her own.
She told me that she told one of the teachers (not her teacher but one other one).  I was very proud.
I knew that she could read a few of the road signs around our house but Taunton isn't around our house and it isn't exactly an easy word.
What a full day!

- Leanne Verkley

Pointing and drawing

Easton's is now pointing at things to let us know what he wants.  I have also started showing him starfall.com and he likes to point to the letters on the computer screen.  No specific letters just pointing to the screen.
Easton also loves to draw on the chalkboard or outside with Hadley and I on the driveway.  It is mostly him picking up the chalk, waiting for me to say: draw mommy a picture, and then he hits the chalkboard or driveway with the chalk but it is so cute.  

- Leanne Verkley

Pumpkinville

Today it was a coolish rainy kind of day but Ajax was celebrating Pumpkinville so we decided to venture out anyway.  We headed for Greenwood Conservation Area, parked relatively close and went out to enjoy the activities.  
There were jumping castles which Hadley loved!  She even said it was her favorite part!  There was a petting zoo where we could feed the animals for $2.  Again Hadley loved this.  
Easton even put his hand out to pet some of the goats and sheep.  
We paid $3 for our family to go on a covered horse drawn wagon ride around the park and we did it in perfect timing as the rain started when we got on and finished when we got off.  (Not all the wagons were covered but we were lucky)!
There was a pile of hay where much fun was had by Brian and Hadley.  Easton didn't love it but made the best of it.
Hadley milked a pretend cow and talked about it for much of the day.  
There were crafts by the Ontario Early Years Centre and we even bought our pumpkin from the "patch" (pile) they had there.  Hadley is excited to give it a face!
We were there for about 2 hours and left just as it began to really rain.
We enjoyed lunch out at McDonald's and then spent some more quality family time at home with a movie.  
"Horton Hears A Who".
Good times!

- Leanne Verkley

Milk and girls night out

Today we gave Easton milk for the first time.  His reaction was the same as it is with all new food.  He spit it out.  However he went back for more.  So we will continue with it and hope there is no allergic reaction.  

The last two nights have been great with Easton.  He slept 9 hours in a row the first night and 6 hours the second night.  So with a girls night out planned for tonight we decided to try having Brian watch him while he slept and I went out without any kids.  It worked well.
Easton went to sleep around 8:15pm, I met up with the girls at about 8:45pm.  We met at Kelsey's and had appetizers and drinks until about 10pm.  Then everyone was tired and wanted to go home.  
I however thought that since I had only been out for just over an hour that I would take advantage of this time and head to Walmart to look in the women's clothing section.   I went there because it was the only store I could think of that was still open and because it is nice to go there without kids.  
I tried on (WOW), 6 items, and bought one.
I did look for new black dress shoes for Hadley but didn't find any in her size.
It is 11:30pm, I am now home only to find out that Easton did wake up, but Brian was able to change his diaper, give him some water and put him back to sleep.
HOORAY!  The night was successful!
Of course I missed my kids when I was out but it was nice to have a little time for just me.  

- Leanne Verkley

2011-10-15 21:35:24

Easton was up every few hours all night long but Hadley made up for it when she woke up asked me to help get her dressed after I fed and changed Easton and then said: Go back to bed so I can make you breakfast in bed.  

- leanne

Hadley's first school play-date

Today after school Hadley had her first official invite for a play-date with someone that I didn't know the parent.  She has been unofficially invited to a few of the kids houses for some time but nothing so specific as: would you like to come right now?  So since the mother was there we agreed that I would come over for tea while the girls played for a little while.  I think Hadley really enjoyed the experience.  This is a whole new thing for me.  Eventually she will want to go to friends houses without me but for her first time with a new friend I think she was glad that I was there.  The girls enjoyed popcorn and played "kitchen" while I got to know Kayla's mom Melissa.  We stayed for just under an hour.  (What is the appropriate play-date time? I don't know)?
Again... I am new!

- Leanne Verkley

Clapping

This weekend Easton started to clap.  I guess he was just happy and he knew it.  :)  
He has been quick to learn high five and pats his one hand to his mouth to make a bah bah sound but clapping has been a work in progress.  However, this weekend he took both hands and put them together to make a sound and it was on purpose because he has done it most of the time since when we ask.  His wave is still mostly a whole arm movement so it is very exciting for us to watch his hands gain this new specific skill. To compare Hadley and Easton were within about a month of each other to learn this.
I can't wait to see what he learns next.  

- Leanne Verkley

Easton-isms (Cloth diapers, sounds, and some bravery)

At the moment there are a few things to note that I just don't want to forget about:
Easton has grown out of the cloth diapers which is kind of good news as it frees up some of my time.  However, it adds a new expense to go to disposable and adds more garbage.
He is making more sounds which include a solid mom sound, a na na na sound and a solid dad sound.  He has an ugh sound that he sometimes uses for up but not always.
He is getting brave and walking around coffee tables etc and letting go to move to couches but no walking yet.
That is all I can think of at 12:35am.

- Leanne Verkley

Thanksgiving weekend

This weekend was quite full.  We were invited to spend Saturday with Tom and Cathy (Brian's aunt and uncle) as they celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary!  The night was filled with good food, conversation and music.  Brian, Hadley, Easton and I all stayed up until about 3am.  Let's just say we were all in need of some sleep the next day.  However, we pressed on.  We had a small visit with my mom, and then drove to visit my sister so that Hadley and Easton could meet Jensyn and Beckett (their new cousins).
Brian stayed with his mom to help with some house stuff that she needed done before GG Stock moves in, in just a few weeks.
We had Thanksgiving dinner that night at Brian's mom's house and spent some time at the Listowel park.  (I think I got some good photos).  
However, there was just not enough time in the weekend to get to my dad's house.  (He was painting and renovating all weekend and we saw him last weekend at Easton's birthday so it was all good, but hopefully we will see him and my brother again soon).
It was such a busy weekend but I am thankful for all the things that keep us busy.  

- Leanne Verkley

Mommy Group Birthday Party

Tonight we had a birthday party to celebrate Easton and Chelsea's first birthdays as well as Connor's third birthday.  
I love that we were able to celebrate these three special people together.  
I was in charge of three cakes which I made yesterday durning Easton's nap.  I decorated them after the kids went to bed and then dropped them off at Annie's this afternoon while Hadley was at school just before Easton's nap.  I made a chocolate, a white and a marble cake.  I was organized and I was happy with how they turned out.  
After school we brought over presents, balloons, and got ready for the party.  We ordered pizza, the kids played and enjoyed the chaos until bedtime set in when we quickly cleaned up and everyone went home with loot-bags in hand.
It was a bit crazy to have the party on voting night and a week-night but everyone made a valiant effort for the kids sake and for the sake of saving weekends which seem to be very busy.
So a big thank you to all my friends for making this a special day of celebration.  

- Leanne Verkley

Special Helper

Yesterday Mrs. Kennedy told me after school that Hadley would be the special helper today.  Hadley was so excited last night that she found it hard to fall asleep.  (She slept okay through the night - it was just hard for her to fall asleep).  
Anyway, today I found that she was first in line, and did something with names (I couldn't figure it out), and that she was supposed to bring something to school for others to guess but didn't.  (I have no idea what that was about - I wasn't told to send her with anything).  
In any case, she came out of class at the end of the day so happy!
Plus she was so helpful with me all day.  


- Leanne Verkley

2011-10-06 00:35:55

Apparently the senior kindergarten kids do a guess what I brought based on three clues I give you.
(This is what I found out from Mrs. Kennedy today.  Apparently the junior kindergarten kids will do it eventually but she wanted the jr's to watch the sk's first).
Anyway, today Mrs. Kennedy told Hadley she could do it tomorrow if she wanted so at dinner Hadley was thinking of her clues to give to the class.
She wants to bring a strawberry shortcake figurine.  
The first clue she thought of was colours.
The second one was that it has three words.  (I thought this was an advanced clue for a 4 year old).
The third clue she is still thinking about.

- leanne

2011-10-06 00:38:00

We debated if it had two or three words.  I know the figurine characters have two words but she was sure that strawberry was one word, short was another and cake was the third.  :)

- leanne

Easton's One Year Appointment

Today Easton had his one year doctors appointment and he measured 78 cm up from 71 cm at 6 months.  He is in the 90th percentile for height.
He is now 22 pounds 5 ounces up from 18 pounds putting him at approximately the 40th percentile (40 percent of kids his age are lighter and 60 percent are heavier) and his head measurement is now 47 cm up from 44 cm.
He has grown quite a bit over the last 6 months!  7 cm in height, 4.5 pounds and 3 cm around his head.
The appointment ended with him being so brave taking two needles, one in each thigh.  These shots included Measles, Mumps and Rubella, as well as Meninggococcal Group Conjugate.
He was not happy about it but slept at his regular time for his nap however it was only for one hour instead of two.  
There seems to be nothing causing him pain and he went to bed tonight like normal.
The doctor told me to watch him for 10 days for a chest rash or a fever.

To compare Hadley at a year, she was 17 pounds 2 ounces, and she was 72.5cm tall with a head circumference of 45 cm.  


- Leanne Verkley

2011-10-14 23:35:53

Easton's reaction:  2 day fever, and a rash on his face and chest.  

- leanne

Easton's First Birthday

Today our little boy turned one.  
It was an eventful day filled with balloons, presents, and cake.
Family came to celebrate with us at our house and Easton was showered with presents with an emphasis on cars (police cars, fire trucks, dump trucks etc.)  which he loved!  
It was "fun" to put all the toys together.
It was actually fun to watch him try cake for the first time.  He was messier than Hadley was but still did not enjoy the messy fingers or the cake for that matter.  He preferred his apple and sippy cup of water.  
However, there were some good photos taken and he was happy all day!
New things that he is doing:
waving - mostly a fist with a lot of arm motion but still a wave.
kisses - open mouth cheek kisses to us.
high 5's - All you have to say is high 5 and hold out your hand and he knows what to do.
more - he is now making an effort to put his two little hands together to tell us that he wants more of something.  Although his arms fly all around it is still clear that he is trying to put his hands together to let us know what he is trying to convey.  
car seat - we switched his car seat to forward facing.  He is now out of the bucket seat that allows for easy transfer if he falls asleep in the car.  But now he is facing forward and we can see each other better which will make traveling long distances easier if he is awake.
standing - Easton now stands on his own without holding on to things.  No walking yet but it won't be long.
clothing - he is now in size 18 month clothing.  I suspect by Christmas he will be in size 24 months or size 2 clothing.  He grows so fast!  His socks are size 18-36 months or size 2-3 depending on the store.  
Easton is so happy almost all of time.  He is such a joy to have in our lives!  What a blessing!
Happy first birthday to my sweet little boy!

- Leanne Verkley

2011-10-03 08:57:28

oh... we introduced egg yesterday in his pancake breakfast and his cake.

- leanne

TWINS!

Congratulations to my sister Mandy, my brother-in-law Jason and my nephew Jayden. The babies have arrived!
The twins had their own agenda on September 25th and just couldn't wait until today when they were expected to arrive by scheduled C-section.
At 9:18 am in the morning a little girl was born - Jensyn Lynn, who weighed in at 7 lbs, 3 oz. Three minutes later a little boy - Beckett Myles was born, tipping the scales at 8 lbs, 1 oz.
Everyone is doing great up in Owen Sound. I couldn't be a happier aunt! I went to visit them yesterday and saw Mandy, Jason and Beckett.  Jensyn was in the ICU.
I stayed over night at my sisters house and went back today and met Jensyn.   (Brian took Hadley to and from school and worked from home).
Today both babies were in Mandy's room.  Sleeping together.  It was a beautiful site.  
Mandy has been discharged but is staying at the hospital to feed the babies and hopefully the babies will be discharged tomorrow.  
My sister sure will be busy!
Instantly we now have 5 kids who will be around at family events.  YAY!

- Leanne Verkley

2011-09-28 09:18:01

Oh... my favorite part was holding both babies at the same time.  :)

- leanne

Red Day and Hadley's First Best Friend

Today was red day at school.  Hadley has been talking about red day for weeks since she learned about it.  So yesterday when I had an alarming realization that she didn't own any red clothes... I went out shopping!
She went to school today in a red shirt, red pants, (pink socks) and her hair in two french braids with red elastics.  She was very red!
Hadley even took Sarah (her baby who has a red dress) to school.  She had to show something red to the class.  She was very excited to take her to school.

She came home from school today excited about the kite she made and said that she wanted to know if her best friend Alyssa could come over to play sometime.  I think she had a good day!
She loves school.

- Leanne Verkley

2011-09-24 00:39:05

I should point out that up until today she has wanted to follow Naleah in line to her room but she does always talk about Alyssa and we hung out with Alyssa at the BBQ the other night.  

- leanne

2011-09-24 12:28:27

doh!  I found her red and white socks today.  Oh well.

- leanne

Lakeside BBQ

Tonight at Hadley's school they had a BBQ.  It was sponsored by M&M Meats.  A bit expensive if you ask me but the money went back to the school.  ($3 hamburgers, $2 hotdogs and $1 pop).  
Anyway, we went to support her and her school and after a short play in the park by the school we headed in for a tour of her classroom.
It was nice to see all the centres, Hadley's cubby where she keeps her things, and some artwork and projects that she has been working on.
It was nice to see where she sits for snack and who are usually sits with.
It was awesome to watch her give us a tour of her classroom.  
She really seemed comfortable and knew quite a few of the kids names that were there.  



- Leanne Verkley

Long 24 hours

It has been a long 24 hours.
Yesterday started early.  I gave Hadley a bath around 8am after she had an hour or so to wake up and eat.  It was picture day at school and she didn't get a bath the night before.  Then I took both kids out to the first MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) at my church.  It was good to see everyone after the program being off for the summer.  The food and conversations were great.  I really connected with one girl that I didn't really get to know last year which was cool.  Hadley had a great time in the kids room with playdoh, green sand, snack time and open play time and she was signing when she got home.  
Speaking of when we got home.  It was 11:30 (time for lunch).  Then it was time to find clean clothes for Hadley for her pictures.  Then walk her to school.  In the afternoon I had a few things to do around the house and then I got ready to pick her up and take her to dance class.  
I was prepared though and put in a ham while we were at dance class.  So when I got home we just had to wait for the potatoes and veggies to cook.  
Hadley went to bed easily but Easton was up until after 10:30.  THEN... he was up all night.  This morning came early with Hadley.  Here we go again.

- Leanne Verkley

SCC at Lakeside P.S.

Tonight I joined the SCC at Hadley's school.  SCC stands for School Community Council.  
"Parents, staff, students and community members contribute to the life of the school for the benefit of the students.
Tonight the elections were held to fill chair, secretary positions etc.  I got a vote.  ODD... since I don't know anyone.
The S.C.C. holds votes on all issues affecting its finances, activities to raise money and/or promote the school community and any activity/item the S.C.C. feels requires money to benefit the school community. School community groups can make requests for S.C.C. financing.
The S.C.C. engages in a number of fundraising/school community promotion activities each year and these activities can change yearly.   However, the following have become staples at Lakeside: Sept. Open House/Meet the Teachers and BBQ night, QSP Magazine Sales, Monthly Pizza lunch, Spirit Week Pancake Breakfast, and the Fun Fair.
Tonight they were looking for volunteers to help out with the pizza lunch.  Someone else is heading it but I said I would help out.
The money raised by the S.C.C. will be allocated by the end of the calendar year for that school year, i.e. money raised for the 2010-2011 school year will be allocated by the end of 2011.
The monies may be allocated for goods or services the S.C.C. sees as being beneficial to the school community and are not items that the school boards budget is meant to cover, i.e. S.C.C. money can not be allocated for the purchase of text books. Some examples of what the S.C.C. funds have been used to cover all or a portion of the cost of: Scientist in the Classroom, Musical Instruments, Guest Assembly Speakers, Kindergarten Toys, To help new Clubs establish themselves i.e. Green Group, Books for Spruce/Birch/Maple/Elm Reading program, Sports Equipment and Student Agendas.
The S.C.C. participates in decisions that affect the daily functioning of the school. For example they initiated a new student Code of Behavior, a Curriculum support Committee and a Safe Playground Committee to name just a few.
The Lakeside S.C.C. meets every other month during the school year. Each meeting will last from 1 to 2 hours depending on the topics requiring attention. Fulfilling the role of one of the S.C.C. officers may require some additional time.
The Lakeside S.C.C. is committed to helping all parents/guardians participate in their childrens education to ensure students, parents, teachers, administrators and the school community as a whole enjoys the best possible experience."

I took Easton with me as it was at 7pm and the meeting would go into his bed time.  He was all over the library wanting to take books off the shelf and not wanting to be held so at 7:30pm I decided to try the babysitting they offered.  There were two teenage girls in the kindergarten room so I took him there and he seemed fine.  
However, I checked on him half an hour later and they said he had been crying for quite a while.  (I told them to come get me if he was crying for even a few minutes because he would just be ready to nurse and sleep but they didn't.  So I was glad that I checked on him.  He was happy to see me).  
He was still crazy in the library and not willing to settle with all the stuff going on but we pressed on until the end of the meeting.
After we got home he was awake until almost 10pm.
I am glad to be involved with things that are going on at Hadley's school.  I am just wondering how I might juggle it with Easton... but we will figure it out.  

- Leanne Verkley

2011-09-20 23:06:18

Just don't juggle Easton!  hehehe ;-)

- brian

Pingles Apple Picking and Gwen's First Birthday

Today we took the kids to Pingles Farm.  http://www.pinglesfarmmarket.com/
It was so much fun to take the kids apple picking.  Hadley loved taking the apples right off the tree.  It took some convincing to get her to taste an apple without washing it but she eventually gave in for a photo.  Brian had Hadley on his shoulders to pick high up apples, she also crawled under trees to get the lower apples.
Easton loved playing with the apples.
We also watched some pumpkins being fired out of a cannon.  THEY WENT FAR!  Not accurate at all but far and loud!  (200 yards plus).

After apple picking we headed to our friends Christine and Robs house to celebrate their daughter Gwen's first birthday.

It was a busy day but good fun.

Tonight Hadley and I made apple crisp.  MMMMmmmmmm!

- Leanne Verkley

5 days of school

We have officially done a whole week of school 5 days in a row.  
Today at the park I was pushing Easton in the swing and I could have sworn I heard him say: Hi Mom.  
Hadley said she learned how to play duck duck goose and picked some boy to be the goose.  
Again I will mention how tired I am.
We celebrated the week with a dinner out at Pizza Hut.

- Leanne Verkley

Week 1

We are one week into the school year and it seems to be going well.
Hadley is very comfortable going  to school and happily packs her bag each day with snacks and her water bottle (filling it herself).
We walk every day (so far) and I have learned that asking her what she did doesn't amount to much of an answer.  However if I ask:  what was the story about today or did you go to the gym or play outside today, or did you paint, play with playdoh or play in the house centre then I get more answers from her.  Sometimes I even get bits of a new song she learned if I ask the right questions.
Today I got her first artwork sent home.  An orange and red painting with her first name printed by her on the front.  I loved it.  What a gift!

Tonight we added in dance class for the first time.
Result = we are all tired.
Hadley used to have an 8:30pm bedtime.  Now we are starting at 7:30pm.
All week Easton has had his nap from 1pm - 3pm allowing me to get some things done in the afternoon while Hadley was at school.  However, this morning he was tired and had a half hour nap, resulting in no afternoon nap.  So we had a playdate with Patti, Alicia and Chelsea.  This was nice.  It has felt like forever since I saw Patti.  (Alicia is in mornings for school so we have planned an upcoming dinner playdate so the girls can see each other).  Hadley asked me today to plan a playdate with Alicia because she missed her.  It was very cute.  
All in all we are settling in to the new routine with the biggest change noted as lack of sleep and playdates that are less often then they once were but still great quality.  

- Leanne Verkley

Pickering Bicentennial and Ontario Place

This weekend was a busy one.  Saturday we spent the day in Pickering at the bicentennial celebration.  There was a release of 200 butterflies (Hadley opened up her butterfly container and then watched it and photographed it) and lots of booths, crafts, and face painting.  There was also a dog race going on which Hadley loved watching.

Later that day our friends Ryan, Jenny and their boys Owen and Spencer came to spend the night.  After the kids were in bed we enjoyed some board games and good conversation until way too late.  

Today (Sunday) we had a fun day at Ontario Place.
The story:  In the summer while visiting my sister in Port Elgin, Brian put his name in a draw while we were at the beach and he won 4 tickets to Ontario Place.
So we shared these tickets and spent a beautiful day outdoors together.
The kids had so much fun going on all the rides.
The water rides were closed but we had plenty to do with the other rides, a Barney show, a Hubble 3D Imax show and much more.
It was a good day.
Both kids fell asleep on the way home.  Both kids woke up just as we got them in the house.  
While I was upstairs with Hadley, Brian was downstairs singing to Easton who fell asleep in his arms.  
Beautiful.  

- Leanne Verkley

Hadley's First Day of School (Junior Kindergarten)

Hadley did awesome!  
After breakfast, and a bath, Hadley got dressed in her new clothes, we did her hair, we packed her bag with fresh water and a snack, we had lunch and then it was time to walk to school for the first time.
Brian was able to take the day off which was awesome!  
We took a few photos outside of our house.  Hadley wanted to make some crazy poses for these photos which was fun.  She also picked a flower for her teacher just because she thought it was a nice thing to do.
After the photo shoot we headed to Lakeside P.S. where we waited in the front yard with one other girl (Alyssa from her dance class).  They talked, and we talked with her parents.  Then we looked at The Kissing Hand book until the other kids showed up.  (This book is a book I have been reading to Hadley since she was born.  It is about going to school.  Hadley didn't want to read it but rather share with others about the book).  
Once the other kids showed up she was very excited to show off her bag, water bottle and snacks to anyone who was interested and Brian and I just stood back to watch her interact with the other kids.  
Mrs. Kennedy came out to greet the children and meet the parents.  Hadley was so excited to join the line and easily waved good-bye to us to venture off into her classroom of fun.  (I did get a kiss from her first though).  
For the most part my emotion was happiness for her to have fantastic new independent experiences.  I think I was glad to have put her in dance class because this made me feel like she would be fine going off with the teacher and figuring things out.  
The afternoon felt weird without Hadley by my side but the time went quickly as Brian and I looked at the photos we just took and then posted them on facebook.  
Before we knew it, it was time to wake up Easton and walk back to pick her up.  
She came out of the room a little concerned that her indoor shoes would be staying at the school.  So I went in the room and showed her that there were shoes for all the kids staying at the school and after a few minutes we agreed that she didn't have to like it but it would be okay and she would have them waiting there for her the next time she came.  So the shoes stayed in her cubby with her name on it.  (Hadley with an apple sticker by her name).  
Brian and I asked her what she did today and after some prompting we found out that she drew a face with arms and legs and purple sticky up hair.  The teacher put her name on the front and Hadley put her name on the back.  She has no idea where the picture went.  
We also found out that she played outside with hula hoops.  She told us that she wasn't allowed to play in the sand today.  She ate all of her snack and learned a new clean up your snack song.  
When we got home we quickly got ready and then went out for dinner in Toronto at Shoeless Joe's.  Hadley wanted pizza to celebrate her first day of school so that is what we had.  
Then, we headed to the Jays game.  We decided to splurge and get front row tickets on the first base side.  Hadley even got a ball!  (Sadly I was in the nursing room with Easton when this happened, however I couldn't be happier for her).  
After an 11-10 win against Boston we were ready to get the kids home to bed.  Easton would just not give in to sleep at the dome - I mean... Roger's Centre.
However, as we passed a hotdog cart Hadley convinced us that she was very hungry.  It turns out that the pizza, the popcorn and the gummy bears were not enough.  This girl WAS still hungry.  She ate almost a whole hotdog at 10:30 p.m.!  
Hadley and Easton both fell asleep QUICKLY in the van on the way home.  Hadley with her ball in hand.
What a great day!  

- Leanne Verkley

2011-09-08 05:47:16

So that is why no one picked up when I called. I figured everyone was tired out and in bed. haha
Sounds like a successful first day at school! I love all the pictures, thanks for sharing them!

- Lisa Schuyler

Labour Day

This day is like my extra day to celebrate that I have children.  
When I was a kid it was the last day of summer.  Now as I feel the weather changing, it is that, but also a day to look at my children and be happy that they are in my life.  

There are two days until my little girl starts school for the first time.  On Wednesday afternoon Hadley will go to junior kindergarten for the first time.  (Most kids start tomorrow but she goes Wednesday and Friday this week and then starts full time school the week after going every afternoon).
She is ready.  She is looking forward to it.  
We have had a busy August preparing.  Her hair has been cut, her hearing has been checked, she has had a pedicure, we bought her a new backpack, a new water bottle, a new lunch bag for snacks, a new pencil case filled with crayons, scissors, a pencil and glue.  She has a  spare set of clothes for just in case incidents.  New Indoor and outdoor shoes, a new dress for the first day and everything is labeled with her name on them.  

Hadley can read quite a few words and can write all the letters in the alphabet, she knows her numbers up to 30 and can add and subtract a little in her head if you are just adding or subtracting one from a number.  She knows her colours, has quite a few poems and songs memorized and today she was practicing her introduction " Hi my name is Hadley, what's your name?".  She even slowed down and actually said HaDley instead of "Hi my name is Hal-ley, (with the accompanied spelling of) H-A-D-L-E-Y".  
While there are more things to name that she already has under her belt, there is so much more for her to investigate and I can't wait for her to explore her world.

How do I feel?  I am happy for her to experience new things and meet new people and have a good time.  
I am reflecting upon how some days in the past 4 and a half years I wished I knew what weekends were like as they might feel like a break.  
Now, I have to plan to do things on weekends rather than any given random Tuesday.  Hmmmm.
(This thought makes me hope to visit my sister and her family very close to the birth of the twins when they come in three weeks or less).  

I know I will miss Hadley when she is gone during the day and I will wonder what she is learning and I hope that I will be given a good answer to my question of:  what did you do today?  As I will be genuinely interested in what she did.  
For the most part I feel like she is well prepared for this adventure.  I am thankful for feeling this.  
I know it will feel quiet around our home for the three hours a day that she is at school but I am looking forward to giving Easton some pure mommy time too.  

On Wednesday we will turn the page and start this new chapter.  Wish us luck!
Now for me to get my head wrapped around the new schedule...

- Leanne Verkley

Stairs and Tooth #8

Tonight while we were playing together as a family, Easton began to chase after Hadley who was going up the stairs.  Then, he became determined to follow her and we were all able to watch him climb after her.  One step at a time.  He got up only a few  steps and then fell backwards into my arms but he did it.  He climbed the stairs.
I looked back at Hadley's request and found out that she climbed the stairs one week shy of her first birthday.  http://ajax.verkley.com/blog/brian/index.cgi?sid=364&user=
So at 11 months and one day... Easton has tried this as well.

Tooth # 8 has been in the works for a while now.  Another bottom tooth.  Now four on the top and four on the bottom.  Hopefully with this break-through we will now have a few good night's sleep.  Until the next tooth of course.  :)

- Leanne Verkley

11 months Old

Easton is 11 months old.  AHHH, the time is flying by.   I suppose I should start to figure out some 1 year birthday plans soon.  Hmmmm...
Anyway, Easton is such a cool kid.  He wakes up laughing and that is how he spends his whole day.  Even when we are reprimanding him for putting his fingers in the VCR for the millionth time he giggles.  (Yes we still have a VCR but for the record we haven't used it in years).  But seriously, this kid loves to laugh.  
He is now very mobile and crawls everywhere.  He also easily pulls himself up on things and is starting to get brave enough to let go of one thing to hold onto another.  (Coffee table to couch etc.)
He is still up two or sometimes three times a night to nurse but goes back to sleep easily.  
Hadley loves to play with cars and so does Easton.  Even though we try to give Easton the big cars appropriate for kids under a year he really wants to play with the smaller cars that Hadley plays with with the small wheels that can come off.  Ugh.
He LOVES the phone.  Whenever we are on it Easton makes it clear that he would like it.  He also makes it clear when he is trying to converse with you.  He makes noises and eye contact to show exactly what he wants.  
He LOVES light switches.  Every time we leave a room he reaches for them.
He is eating more now which makes him happier.  So that is good.  Still not a lot but more.
His clothes are mostly size 18 months now.
He loves water in a pool, at the beach or just at bath-time.  
He loves being outside.  
He loves rolling and throwing a ball.  
Did I mention the kid loves to laugh.  It is so much fun for him to crawl and be chased.  It makes my heart smile just thinking of his happiness.
I am so glad he is in our lives.  

- Leanne Verkley

Crazy

This week has been absolutely crazy!  
It all started Friday night.  I headed to Listowel with both kids and stayed at my dads house while Brian stayed home to get ready to fly out on Sunday night for work to Detroit.  
Saturday Brian joined us for the day in and around the Listowel area but then drove back to Ajax to get ready for a week away for work.
Sunday we headed to Port Elgin for my nephew Jayden's 3rd birthday.  (His birthday is actually September 9th but with the twins due in September my sister wanted to make sure he had his birthday party in advance just in case).
I was really happy to be able to make it to his birthday this year as last year we made the decision not to go since we thought Easton was going to arrive.  
I was a little sad though that I missed Lindsay's little boy Henry's 1st birthday party.  However, we have made plans to celebrate at a later time.  
Jayden's party was good, and I was able to catch up with some family and I always enjoy watching Hadley and Jayden play together.  
On Monday we headed to Washago where we enjoyed some much needed Muskoka relaxation time with my friend Shaye.  We spent some time at the beach, at the park, and at her beautiful home.  
Wednesday we headed to my friend Chrisitne's house in Newmarket to see her gi-normous new home - with pool.  On a beautiful 2 acre lot.  WOW!  
They treated us to a swim, a BBQ dinner and good conversation.  
Thursday after getting home I had a playdate set up with my friends Joanne and Theresa and their 6 children (three each) in Ajax, and then today a playdate with my friend Lori and her 2 kids at Tumbles and Toys.  
My plate was full but it helped the days pass that Brian was away.
I am excited for him to come home.  Only a few hours to go.

- Leanne Verkley

2011-08-25 00:34:22

I forgot to say that while at Shaye's we went to the splashpad and spent some time watching boats on a dock.  Good times.  

- leanne

Hadley's hearing

When Hadley entered Grandview a long time ago they had her ears tested just to make sure there were no issues with her ears.  Since then she has been tested annually and this year after being tested again there was no follow up test scheduled.  She has had enough consecutive good tests for them to not have any worries with her hearing.  YAY!

- Leanne Verkley

Grandview for Easton

Today Hadley and I took Easton to Grandview for his first appointment.  After waiting so long for Hadley's first appointment I decided to put Easton on the waiting list early just in case he needed their services also for his speech.  However, the wait was just a few months and at 10 and a half months he had his first appointment.  
They watched him play seeing him make eye contact and making ehh noises to communicate.  
They had no major concerns but did advise that in the next two months he should start clapping, waving and adding beginning sounds to words.  For example for the word ball you should hear him say the B sound.  So I know what I should be working on with him and we will check back in with them in a few months.

- Leanne Verkley

Mike and Heidi's Wedding

This weekend we went to Mike and Heidi's wedding.  We started the day at Brian's uncle Paul's house where we had a BBQ dinner and we watched as the rain poured down outside.  Then at 7pm we headed over to the farm where the outdoor tent wedding would take place.  We parked in the mucky field and ran for the tent.  The rain adjusted their original plan of having the ceremony on the back deck to in the tent on the dance floor but it was still nice.  They are beautifully suited for each other and I couldn't be happier for them.
It was quite the high-school re-union really.  
Kinda fun to introduce our kids to old high-school friends and meet their kids.  
It was a really fun time and the kids stayed up late.  Easton stayed up until almost midnight and Hadley until after 1am.  Both in GREAT spirits.  
I truly love how our kids adapt and go with the flow.  
Shawn A. and Bubba showed up in their blue and orange suits (see the movie Dumb and Dumber) and somehow it didn't seem out of place.
The music was good and we stayed until the end.
It was also quite nice to stay the night at Brian's uncle Paul's house since it was so close to the wedding location.   There was a local farmer who brought his tractor to help get the stuck vehicles out of the mud.  
Good times.  
Congratulations to Mike and Heidi!

- Leanne Verkley

33

Today was my 33rd birthday.  It was a great day!
It started with Brian waking up with the kids and letting me sleep-in until a glorious 10:30am.  
Hadley and Easton were up late last night at Splash & Boots (a kids music show at the town hall) which was really good but this meant they were up late;  This late night meant that Easton slept-in and Brian could attend to some work as well as watch over the kids in the morning but WHATEVER... I will take it!  It was glorious!  (Is there a better word for glorious?  Because whatever it is... I LOVED MY SLEEP IN).  :)
(This sleep-in was especially great since Brian has been away for work for a week and a half except for a day and a half break in the middle).  
YAY SLEEP!  The ultimate gift!
Then came presents...
This was so funny.
Brian asked Hadley what does mommy love?  What should we get her for her birthday?  (Paraphrased...).  
Her answer:  Mommy loves laundry.  We should get her laundry baskets.
Brian:  What else does mommy love?
Hadley:  me.
So Hadley put herself in two new laundry baskets and Brian draped wrapping paper over the top so that when I opened my gift she would pop out.  It was way too cute.
I also received an eneloop charger and rechargeable batteries.  I am excited about this because I am always changing batteries around here with two kids.  :)
Hadley and Brian also had balloons for me that said Happy 8th birthday.  We laughed about this for a while.
Then there was pizza and a DQ treatza pizza!  Mmmmm...  Hadley picked out Happy Birthday Candles.  The kind that has one candle for each letter in HAPPY BIRTHDAY; only it actually said hBppy birthday.  We laughed about this for a while too.  :)
After dinner we had popcorn and watched Mary Poppins.
What a great day!

- Leanne Verkley

2011-08-10 02:52:26

I also got over 90 facebook birthday wishes and quite a few phone calls.

- leanne

Reminiscing

This week it has been my mission to go through Hadley's clothes from 0-12 months.  
Why?  
My sister is due to have the twins soon and if she has a girl or two... I am hoping to help her out with some of the clothing.  I was blessed with a lot and it is a huge cost savings if you don't have to buy all new clothes.
So, I took the time and went through the three bins and narrowed it down to one bin of clothes that I would like to keep.  The other two bins worth of clothing will be passed along to make their own new memories.
Why am I keeping a bin of clothing?  Perhaps to pass on to Hadley one day?  Perhaps to let her use for her dolls?  Perhaps I am just holding on to those memories with something tangible?  I don't really know.  
Whatever the reason... I have them packed away and the rest can go to Mandy in case there is one or two wee little girls born.
Maybe she will have twin boys and it won't matter but it was kinda fun reminiscing about each outfit and the experience that went along with it.
Hadley was so small.  
A quick story:  Hadley had some onsies in the bin that was labelled 7 pounds.  I remember specifically we had to go out and buy these because the 10 pound onsies were WAY too big after she lost a little of her birth weight of 8 pounds.
This is funny to me because Easton was 9 pounds 7 ounces at birth and the 10 pound onsies were just fine for him even with the weight loss just after birth.  

- Leanne Verkley

2011-08-08 14:27:24

Is this your way of telling me you will only give me one niece?  (speaking of my niece, she should keep a close eye on that mailbox this week)

- Lisa Schuyler

Price Matching

So today (Sunday) I decided to do all my grocery shopping at Walmart.  I have never done this before but I wanted to try the price matching that they offer.
So last night I collected all my flyers, circled all the items I wanted to buy, then made a list of other groceries and put aside my coupons that I had associated with my list.
All in all it was worth it.  I saved about $30 in price matching and an additional $13 in coupons.  
HOWEVER... things I learned:  1.  write on the top of flyers which things are in each flyer that you want to buy so it is easy to find at the checkout.  2.  Don't go on the weekend.  3.  Don't go when the baby needs a nap, OR DO go without kids.  
It took 2 hours to do my shopping mostly because it was Walmart on the weekend but also because I had two kid with me and after washroom breaks and lunch at McDonalds the time just got away from us.  
On the plus side I wasn't taking kids in and out of a car to get deals at multiple stores.
There are a few stores that I would still like to get to this week if I can.  Why?  A new Sobeys opened in North Ajax this week and there are some amazing deals there.  (I tried to price match them but Walmart didn't have black diamond cheese and a few other good deals that this new store was advertising).  Also, Giant Tiger has just re-opened after their fire and they have some amazing deals on too that I couldn't seem to find at Walmart.  

- Leanne Verkley

Ruby

In the paper I read that Ruby from Max and Ruby (the tv show) would be at the Pickering Loblaws.  So we went, waited in line got pictures with her and the kids and then did a little shopping.  Pretty uneventful really but I did get my name in a cool draw and got a coupon for some kids shampoo (which I needed anyway).  Plus the kids got stickers and colouring sheets.  So it was fun enough with the kids on a Sunday afternoon.  

- Leanne Verkley

Kite flying

This week we had a perfect kite flying day.  We went early to soccer (OEYC program) and utilized the time to fly our kite.  It was easy for Hadley and I to put together the barbie kite she received from her birthday and then it was up up up and away.  There was a big open field to use which was awesome!  The wind was warm and seemed to be the perfect breeze for just such fun.  
She loved it!

- Leanne Verkley

Tangled in the Park

Tonight at Willow Park in Whitby they were showing the Disney movie Tangled on a big screen for free.
They had a concession booth where you could buy snow cones, popcorn, pop and cotton candy.  This all surprised me as the show was sponsored by an orthodontist but whatever.  :)  
I don't know why but I was determined to go but I was.  So, I packed up sleeping bags, blankets, snacks, drinks, chairs and the two kids and away we went.
The movie was supposed to start at dusk but after two false starts with faulty DVD players it finally began around 9:30pm.  
For the record I really didn't like the movie but it was all worth while for two little sentences.
Hadley:  Mommy, I am so glad I have a baby brother.  (They played together until about 10:30pm when Easton fell asleep).  
Hadley fell asleep around 10:45pm.  
Then later after everything was packed up and the kids were in their car seats and I was on the 401 on the way home there was another special sentence:  Mommy, I had fun there.
So, even though the movie wasn't that great and both kids fell asleep before it ended.  It was all worth while to have this night out with the kids.

- Leanne Verkley

Leanne

Hadley calls me mommy for the most part but if I don't answer even just one calling she switches to Leanne.  It is funny and cute.  
I Mean, I like mommy better from her but it does make it clear that she is calling me in crowds with lots of mommies.  
She thinks it is pretty funny that I call her daughter when she calls me Leanne.  

- Leanne Verkley

Camel Ride at the Zoo and fun in the rain

Yesterday I took both kids to the zoo and I was finally able to let Hadley spend her $6 from the garage sale on a camel ride.  She has waited a long time for it and was VERY excited.  She counted her six loonies, paid the lady, got her ticket and went on easily.  She went around the track and had a smile the whole time.  She got off and said: Mommy, I went bumpy, bumpy, bumpy all the way around.
I loved seeing how happy that made her.
After this she wanted to do the carousel but I opted for the zoomobile instead and she was okay with that.  
While on the zoomobile she said:  Mommy, I have been on this before.  
This is cool because I think the last time I took her on it was last summer.  Yay for long term memory!
I learn something new every time I ride the zoomobile.  This time I learned that flamingos stand on one foot because they can put half of their body to sleep at one time.  Cool.
Hadley still wanted the carousel afterwards but we opted to go to the van as the sky looked GREY!  We made it to the front gate and stood under their umbrellas for a while until it let up "a little" and then Hadley and I made a run for it in our rubber boots (I thought it might rain) for the van.  We laughed and had a great time.  Easton was in decent spirits too while he was hidden away in the stroller from the rain but when I had to transfer him to the van he wasn't so happy.
After packing everything up I was soaked but the kids were smiling and playing with some toys in the van.  So it was all good.
As I drove to leave the rain stopped.  Oh well.  It is sometimes fun to play in the rain .

- Leanne Verkley

First Meat - chicken

Yesterday we gave Easton his first taste at eating meat.  He is now an omnivore.  He loved his little pieces of chicken.  Mmmmm.  I remember we gave Hadley turkey first.  
http://ajax.verkley.com/blog/leanne/index.cgi?sid=304&user=

Oh the possibilities now that we have introduced meat.  
So carbs and meat for now.  Although we will keep trying the fruit and vegetables.

- Leanne Verkley

First Pedicure for Hadley

Today Hadley and I had our first spa day together.  We went into PINK Nails Spa, and enjoyed some much needed pampering. She... and I loved it.  I was undecided with my colour but had it narrowed down to two colours so Hadley wanted two colours from the wall to choose between also.  Too cute.
I ended up with a bright fun pink for summer and Hadley picked a lovely girly pink sparkle.  
For $35 we both got our toes done.  It was a great girls day out!

- Leanne Verkley

August Long weekend

Brian was away in Boston all last week for work and then he had plans to be away all weekend at our friend Mike's cottage for his bachelor party weekend.  SO...  This is where my crazy self decides to do as much as I possibly can with two kids in a weekend.  (Long weekend but still).
So...
On Friday night we drove to Listowel to have dinner with my mom and brother.  Which was good.  Then we stopped in to surprise Brian's mom to see if she needed anything as I know it must be sometimes challenging with a broken arm.  But no, she was doing amazing and was just glad to see us.
Saturday was spent at the Cole cottage where we enjoyed good company and lots of beach time.
Sunday morning was spent with my sister's family.  (I feel blessed to see them when I do because we live so far from each other now).  It is always lovely to see our kids play together.  It makes my heart smile.  
Then it was off to Sauble to spend a night at my dad's cottage where there was more beach time, ice-cream and the like.
Friday to Monday.