Thursday, October 30, 2008

October 29th - A very special day!

I was originally trying to post this on Samuel's birthday, but it took soooo long to download the photographs, it didn't happen! I am going to pretend that it is still the 29th and carry on regardless!
My baby boy turned 3 today. Three years ago I held him in my arms with a great sense of relief and gratitude. When I walked through the front door of our home with him I started to cry and couldn't stop. I cried because this time I got to bring my little baby home. This time there wasn't a cradle by the bed that would stay empty. I only put Samuel down when I had to. I held him when he was awake, and I held him when he was asleep. My arms no longer ached.
You've had a birthday, shout hooray!
We want to sing to you today.
One year older and wiser too.
Happy birthday - to you!!

Today Sam turned 3. His full name is Samuel Wilton Purdy. I always thought there was a Samuel to come into our family. Wilton is the name of my Mother's older brother who was killed in the 2nd World War. Samuel is all boy - dirty face, chapped lips, unbrushed hair and stained shirt.

We tried for quite a while to get Samuel to open his presents, but the flashlight was much more interesting. Our power had gone off this morning.

Finally, the sound of Mum ripping paper perked his interest.

Not for very long however. Mum had to continue to unwrap the present.

Jessica had picked out the Magna Doodle for Sam and was very keen to demonstrate it for him.
Please note that there are 2 other presents sitting there, waiting..........and waiting.

Samuel stamping houses.

Jessica and Sam engrossed in their creations.

Yep, I guess the gift was a hit with all the kids.
Samuel never did open his other presents. We will do that tomorrow! On Saturday we going to Magic Kingdom at Disney World to celebrate Sam's birthday. He loves the rides there and running around Tom Sawyer's island.
Sam keeps us very tired, on our toes, perplexed at times and constantly moving. He smiles and we melt. He throws his arms around my neck, gives me a kiss followed quickly by a fuzzberry and all cares fade away.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Canada - Day 2

So begins day 2 in Nova Scotia, Canada. I told a tiny fib on my last post about the two pictures taken out of the hotel room window. We had been trying to get a picture of the Canadian flag flying outside our hotel window. It looked very pretty with the night sky in the background, but we were unable to get a good shot of it. So, instead, here it is flying in the morning light! Quite a pretty view from our room window.

We loaded up the van and started our 5 hour drive to North Sydney. But on our way out of Halifax we got side-tracked with a stop at the Citadel.

The British established Halifax along the eastern shore of Nova Scotia in 1749. Fortifications defended the naval base from its earliest days. The harbour defenses are known as the Halifax Defence Complex and consist of the Halifax Citadel, York Redoubt, Prince of Wales Tower, Georges Island and Fort McNab national historic sites of Canada.

The changing of the guard reenactment was quite impressive. Especially when they swished their kilts as they made sharp turns in their marching. I know there is a "proper" term for sharp marching turns - not kilt swishing - but, it is late at night as I type and the term escapes me!

I like bagpipe music.

Have you ever wondered what is worn under a kilt? I know this question is asked jokingly all the time, but inquiring minds do want to know these things.

Nope, still don't know!

Is there a Sam in there?? Samuel was so funny. It was quite cold when we first arrived, the wind was really blowing. Samuel didn't know how to express that he was cold, so he kept telling me, "Hot, hot!" He was very happy when we pulled up his hood and tucked his hands into his pockets.
"Have you every been a fishing on a bright and sunny day,
And seen the little fishies swimming in and out the bay.
With their hands in their pockets and their pockets in their pants.
Have you seen the little fishies do the fishy wishy dance?"
Not quite sure what bought that song on, but.......

The guy on the right in the white jacket was hilarious. They were trying to get people to come and watch a musket demonstration, and people wouldn't co-operate. We were standing obediently near by, but everyone else kept milling about aimlessly elsewhere!

Quote from the guy in the white jacket.
"I can assure everyone that the most interesting thing that is happening in the Citadel is happening right here in 5 minutes.
There is absolutely nothing happening where you are standing, it will be terribly exciting at this very spot in 2 minutes
Corporal Jones (can't remember real name) gives a very good tour, but not half as interesting as what will be happening right here in 1 minute. Leave the tour now."

Samuel found a way to warm-up. He ran up and down the embankments. We had to keep a close eye on him because he also wanted to climb down the other side, and it was a very, very steep drop!

Yep, up and down, up and down. This became a running theme through our trip!

Here comes Joshua hurrying up some stairs. What could he have been up to????

Joshua wouldn't have locked his sister in the stockade would he? No, not Joshua!
Here comes Jessica hurrying up the stairs after her release.

Up and down. Up and down. Up and ...........

View from a lookout point

Trying to get a family picture. Samuel not co-operating.

I wonder what they are plotting, discussing or possibly discussing a plot??

Strolling the walls.

Looking out over Halifax

Jessica giving me her Mona Lisa smile

Demonstrating how not to fall down the side of the Citadel.

After leaving the Citadel, we made our way out of Halifax and started the long ride to North Sydney. We all kept commenting on the beautiful leaves and their colours. It has been a long time since we had seen Autumn leaves. The leaves in Florida tend to stay the same!! It was a beautiful drive. We stopped for lunch, stretched our legs and then headed off again.

After driving for quite a while, we stopped off at a place called Auld's Cove to visit a gentleman that Joshua had gotten to know there by the name of John Pettipas. John owns a place called Pettipas Market. They also serve traditional style Acadian lobster suppers. Now, Joshua did not tell us that John also had a restaurant, or we would have had our lunch there. Let's see, lobster or hamburger? Lobster or hamburger? Hmmmmmmh.

Here we are in the kitchen. John is on the far right.

John is very good to the missionaries and Joshua always enjoyed visiting him. Although, they did get off to a rocky start! Apparently, when John found out that Jim is a lawyer, he called him a "money grubbing, ambulance chasing lawyer." He later apologized and now that he has met Jim, well, now he knows that Jim has never chased a ambulance in his life, they go much to fast.

John Pettipas sure can talk.......and talk and talk. But, what a wonderful guy. Whenever the missionaries would leave, John would shoot off some fireworks. He did the same for us, much to Sam's delight! We were also given some delicious apples, postcards, a flag and ice-cream! The back of a brochure telling about John's market says,

"A friendly hello to a stranger
A warm wave goodbye to a friend"
This statement is very true. In fact, not just of John Pettipas, but everyone that we met on our trip.
We continued our drive to North Sydney. We arrived at the Demyere's home later than we had planned, but they were waiting for us and welcomed us with a delicious hot meal, friendship and comfortable beds for our tired bodies!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

So good So good

Last night my husband and I had a date night planned. We had this night planned months ago and Jim even came home early from a work seminar in Indianapolis so we could still go.
Joshua and Jessica were drilled on how to babysit their little brother. Great care was taken all week so we would not have a repeat of the Bob Seger incident. Jim is a HUGE Bob Seger fan. Bob rarely tours anymore, so when Jim heard that Bob was coming to town he had to go and see him. It just so happens that the concert date fell on my birthday. Unfortunately, Samuel was injured the day of my birthday, so a parent needed to stay home with him. Guess who??? That's right, me, me, me!!! So, who went with her Dad to see Bob Seger - someone she had never even heard of! That's right, Jessica. Jim had a great time. Jessica had a deer in the headlights look when she walked through the door. To many old people rocking out in skin tight clothing, was a shock to a teenagers psyche. It has been over a year and she still shudders when you say "Bob Seger Concert". Jessica did enjoy the music, just not the sights around her! This was the great Bob Seger Incident of 2007.
So, that being said, nothing, I repeat, nothing was going to spoil this date night.
What concert did we spend outrageous amounts of money on. Who was it that was worth every penny at the end of the night? Who caused my husband to bust some white boy moves in front of 14,000 people? Who performed their first professional gig 42 years ago in Tampa, Florida?
Neil Diamond

Now, Jim and I aren't huge Neil Diamond fans, but we do enjoy listening to him now and then. We just thought that he would put on a good show and that we would enjoy it. He put on a excellent show!! We really had a fun night. People watching was a hoot and we loved singing along with everyone else.

It can all be summed up with a quote from a Neil Diamond song, "Sweet Caroline". SO GOOD, SO GOOD, SO GOOD. It was so good that Neil sang that song twice!


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Journey Begins....Canada Day 1

This was the day that we had waited for. Sometimes it seemed that this day would never come! We were finally going to get Joshua and bring him home from serving a 2 year mission for our church. For 2 years we got to speak to Joshua on Mother's Day and Christmas Day. We could e-mail every week and of course packages and letters went back and forth. Even though I am very happy and proud that Joshua served a mission, it was never-the-less difficult at times for this over-protective Mum!
We were scheduled to fly out of Tampa, Florida on October 10th at 6am. This would mean we had to leave our house at 4am. The night before, Jim set the alarm, we had everything packed, all we had to do was get up, get dressed, load the van and head off down the road. What is that saying about the best laid plans?? The alarm didn't go off. We woke up at 4am, that was the time we were meant to be leaving! We discovered that a family of 4 can get out the door in 15 minutes when the motivation is strong enough even with sloth children in tow! We made it to the airport, settled down to wait for our flight and eventually we taxied down the runway heading towards Halifax, Canada.

Samuel has a fascination with airplanes, buses and trucks. Whenever he hears or sees one he repeats their name, gradually getting louder and more frantic until you finally say, "Yes, it is a airplane!" He doesn't give it up! So, now we are flying from airport to airport and there are airplanes, buses and trucks everywhere! While sitting at the Boston airport waiting to taxi out to the runway, Sam had the window seat. "It's an airplane, it's an airplane, airplane, airplane, amazing, airplane, truck, airplane, it's an airplane!" I had to say airplane along with each of his airplanes. Also had to say, "Yes, it's amazing." Great relief when we were actually in the air!!! All that said, Samuel was very well behaved while flying. Only one melt down at the airport and quite frankly, I was ready to fling myself down next to him! More about that at the very end of our journey however!!
We flew from Tampa to Atlanta, then to Boston and finally to Halifax. The airport is undergoing construction, so we had to walk and walk and walk and walk to get our rental car. We don't have huge amounts of luggage when we travel, but we have enough to make it a major deal to get it from one place to another. The first thing we noticed was the wind and that it was quite "brisk".

We had bought our GPS with us, but for some reason it would not work for the city of Dartmouth. That meant that we didn't know how to get to the mission office to pick-up Joshua. We called the office and got the directions that we needed - so we thought! With a traffic accident backing the highway up and directions that sent us the wrong way, we didn't get to the mission office until about 4:30pm.

Joshua came out to greet us. If I had been more on top of things, I would have a photo of that moment to add here, but I don't, so this picture will have to do. Words can not describe how good it was to hug him and to see him. He looked good to my tired eyes! There was one thing that I wasn't expecting however! Joshua had an accent. I guess I have never spoken to anyone for Nova Scotia before and I didn't realize that they had such a strong accent. All the Canadians I had spoken to before all sounded very American (my apologies if that is upsetting to any Canadians reading!).

We drove to the Mission President's home and retrieved Joshua's luggage. We met President and Sister Jacobsen and visited with them briefly. Then, after a few loops around the neighbourhood courtesy of our out of wack GPS, we headed off to the hotel.

We stayed at the Westin Nova Scotian. It has just been remodelled and apparently, it is supposed to have a view of the water. Maybe if we had headed to the roof......Anyway, we settled in and relaxed for a little while. We had Italian for supper (In Nova Scotia, it is breakfast, dinner, supper). There was a statue of a half naked woman in the corner of the restaurant. Samuel, we don't know why, insisted on calling it Jesus. Joshua introduced us to "Wunderbars" - "Nectar from the Gods and worth its weight in gold". To quote Joshua.

You shall now be awed and amazed with the very first photo we took in Canada. Are you ready for this? You may ask yourself, "Why?" I know I do! Brace yourself. It is a doozy.

And, just in case that wasn't earth shattering enough for you! So ends our first day in Nova Scotia, Canada. A wonderful feeling to look at all the sleeping figures squished into the hotel room and know that our family is together again.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Is That Shrimp In Your Pants????

We arrived home from Canada very late Saturday night. I will blog about our trip throughout the week. Actually, as soon as I figure out how to download the photos from my husbands camera! It was a wonderful trip and it is good to have Joshua home with us again.

In the meantime! I was sitting in the car, reading the newspaper, waiting for Jessica to finish early morning seminary class this morning so I could take her to school, when.......Have you ever had a heading in the newspaper make you do a bit of a double take?? This morning I did. I was just glancing over a section of the newspaper when, "Man Caught With Shrimp In Pants", caught my attention and raised my eyebrows a tad.

Apparently, a gentleman aroused suspicion at a local supermarket, and when confronted, pulled two bags of frozen shrimp from his pants. He tried to run away, but was tackled and held until the authorities arrived.

Sometimes I just have to wonder why people do the things they do. Maybe he had a craving for shrimp. I wonder if he had an unknown accomplice that made their escape with cocktail sauce for dipping the shrimp hidden in their clothing. We will never know. Was the shrimp returned to the frozen food section? Or was bagged for evidence? The wombats are stomping around my belfry a bit today! I tried to find a picture that would go along with this blog, but alas, none was found.


Saturday, October 4, 2008

Chocolate Chip Cookie

I love to cook. My family has grown quite used to being experimented upon. Although there are quite a few recipes that will never be tried again, there are some that are family favourites. This is one of them!

1 cup shortening (I use a stick of butter flavoured Crisco)
2 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
2 1/4 cups flour
1 cup mini chocolate chips
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
Cream together shortening, sugars, eggs and vanilla until creamy
Add flour, salt and baking soda
Stir in chopped nuts and chocolate chips
Using a cookie scoop, drop on ungreased cookie sheet
Bake at 350deg. for approximately 10 minutes - remove from oven when they start to brown

Friday, October 3, 2008

You may live next door to a redneck if......

My husband was rather concerned when he saw the title of this post. He was worried that our neighbours may see it and recognize themselves. To this comment I laughed rather rudely and maybe a tad to long. It is a risk I am willing to take!

We have been extremely lucky with neighbours over the years. There have been a few odd ones here and there, but they have always been very friendly, considerate, law abiding folks. The neighbours on the right of us moved in a few months ago. It has been interesting to say the least.

In a previous post I mentioned a strange sound coming from their backyard that sounded like a bicycle pump on steroids. My daughter came into the house the other day after jumping on the trampoline. When she jumps, she can see right into our neighbours yard. We have a wooden fence that surrounds our backyard, the previous neighbours painted their side of it blue. Jessica observed that the fence now has bright neon green splats all over it. They paint balled the fence. Why, we know not. Why, in the middle of the night when people are trying to sleep, we know not. My husband was away when this first started to occur. One night we were sitting in the living room and the strange whoooommmpp, whoooommmpp noise started again. When my husband asked what the heck that noise was, my daughter and I calmly stated, "Paintball tournament."

I did try and get pictures for my blog, but couldn't get them without being to conspicuous. I think they would have wondered why I was hanging over the top of the fence, camera in hand, saying, "Why? Why? Why?"

So, you may live next door to a redneck if you have experienced any of the following.

  • Each morning as you make your way to the kitchen to make your children's breakfast, you are greeted by the neighbour's pit bulls as they sit at your dining room sliding glass doors.
  • Your fence has huge gaping holes that the above mentioned pit bulls have chewed so they could get to your glass doors.
  • You repeatedly tell your neighbours about the pit bulls and each time you do there is a different story - they belong to a friend who is in prison, we are looking after them for him, they belong to my mother and are going back to her tonight, we are sick of them as well and are taking them to the animal shelter.
  • The pit bulls make a break from the animal shelter (yeah right), chew another hole in our fence and slobber all over our glass door again.
  • There is at least 10 cars parked next door at all times. At least 2 of them have "For Sale" written on the back window. One must have the front window smashed in. They all need mufflers, this is even more obvious at 2am. They ALL have excellent stereo systems and speakers, also very obvious at 2am. They all also have car alarms (???????), the alarms go off at least twice a day or night.
  • There are at least 3 permanent residents. All others, and their cars, rotate through at an amazing speed.
  • Brawls break out occasionally in the front yard. It is strictly a hair pulling, face slapping affair with words that would make a sailor blush. I watched the whole thing peeking through my bedroom blinds.
  • One gentleman who lives there, I truly cannot understand a word he says. To be fair, he doesn't understand my Australian accent either. Though, he did move so fast he had to hold up his falling down his rear end shorts when I raised my voice at his blank stare and said, "Get your dogs out of my yard now or I am loading them into my car and I will take them to the animal shelter for real!"
  • They hang their clothes over our fence to dry. I really had to resist the urge to push their clothes of the fence.
  • The once very tidy, cute house is now overgrown. Screens off windows, trash piled up and strewn all over.

When we have spoken to our neighbours, they seem very nice. I think they want to be good neighbours. I think they just don't know any better. They are getting better. They aren't as loud for as long in the wee hours of the morning now. After seeing us out working in our yard yesterday, today they picked up some of the trash and mowed their grass.

Maybe we can paintball together? If we unpatch the huge holes in our fence, we could have quite a paintball range. Maybe not. When I read some of the other blogs out there and the wide open spaces where some of these ladies live, I think YES! that is for me. Then it will be just my laundry hanging on the fence!

Oh well. Appreciate good neighbours and good friends.