On The Point

Words and images to capture the joy of vacation, the value of family, the chaos of kids, and the beauty of The Rock.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Monday, Sept. 25th - The last post and chorus

All good things must come to an end. Today we go back to Cape Breton, and although nobody likes the end of vacation, we are all excited to get home to Dad and our own beds. Everyone spent their fading hours differently. Maggie squeezed in some last minute TV...

The boys and Granda played with the Old MacDonald toy...

And Nan had her drop while lamenting our departure. "It's grand when ye're comin'..."

But we leave for home rested, relaxed, and having had a rollicking good time in Calvert. Thanks to Grandma, Granda, and Nan for their welcome, and we can't wait to come back. Till then, remember us this way:

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Sunday, Sept. 21st - The Peacemaker

Ahhh, Sunday. The usual highlights of the day (turkey, beef, gravy, blueberry duff, wings and chips) and my clothes are showing the effects. I am approaching the point where sitting down requires an unbuttoning of the jeans.

The kids were busy today. We all went to Mass, thanks to Natalie who came to help manage the boys. Of course, today would be the day where they bordered on unmanageable! Granda left church after communion - he couldn't handle the stress. Marjie and Doris joined us for dinner, and the boys put on a great show, singing song after song. They did the same at the end of the day for Jean, Katie, Natalie, Shelley, Pat, and Stephen. It's so sweet when they are happy!

Sometimes even when they are happy, others are not...today we were out in the kitchen and Grandma heard a suspicious noise coming from the living room (where the boys were - we thought - safely ensconced). She rushed to investigate and found Jacob standing up on the piano keys, having thrown a glass teapot and its contents (potting soil and a hardy Impatiens) to the floor, where it crashed into a jillion pieces. He was not upset - until time out!

Maggie was concerned with everyone else's happiness, in particlar Grandma and Granda's. Granda arrived in the kitchen at breakfast inquiring after his favourite weekly publication, The Independent. Dalton's was apparently all sold out, he lamented. "Too bad," agreed Grandma. "It was there last night when I was there!" Things unfolded in a predictable way, with the two of them affectionately and spiritedly discussing how they had ended up on Sunday morning without the beloved paper, and who might be responsible for said lack of quality reading material. The discussion was suddenly interupted by Maggie's firm command, "Stop arguing!" A good chuckle was had by all.

A few other cute moments from today...

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Saturday, Sept. 23rd - Just a little off the top

The day dawned sunny and cold, and we hit the ground crying! Maggie had a hard time this morning, always on the verge of tears. For the boys, as per usual, mealtimes were the rough spot. Sometimes, of course, they enjoy their meals...

...but usually, not so much.

Nan was reaching her limit, and informed them at lunchtime "now b'yes, ye're soon gonna have to learn to do what you're told!" Ah, Nan, we can only hope.

The boys and I visited Shelley and Stephen after breakfast (sans camera - D'oh!) and they all got along so well. Josh was fascinated by baby Stephen and hugged and kissed him quite gently. When we got home I took Maggie up The Hill to First Impressions to get a trim. She did very well, although she was disappointed that she couldn't get her hair coloured. ("But I really LOVE red hair, Mom!")

Over lunch we chatted about how people start off as babies, then big girls and boys, then teenagers, grown-ups and finally old men and women. Maggie readily named off plenty of old women. "Well, Nan, Turnbull, Mary Bomber, Janet..." "Do you know any old men?" I asked. "Of course - Grandpa!" Teehee!

At the end of the day we went to Baltimore to the playground and had a ball. The boys chased each other around the basketball court for ages, and roared laughing all the while. Then I put Jacob on the slide and he was just delighted. I wore out my arms lifting him to the top over and over and over...and over! Josh was terrified to go on the slide himself, as I expected, but loved to watch his brother come down. Maggie bravely climbed on the monkey bars, went down the slide, played with her brothers, and even peed in the woods (with coaxing). So everyone was happy. [Sigh]. Thank God.

Friday, Sept. 22nd - Aaarrrrgh me mateys!

Today was a sunny, gorgeous day and we started the day off with a walk over the beach to see Shelley and Stephen. Stephen was asleep so we walked up to the end of the lane to see the cows, and threw some sticks into the Gut Pond for Riley and his friend to fetch. Riley was a little too fond of his friend, leading to some expressions of physical affection that might have been better kept to the bedroom. Maggie found it all very sweet. "Look Mom, Riley is hugging him again. They must really love each other!"

In the afternoon while the boys were napping Maggie and I went back to the Lighthouse so Maggie and Cabhan (Sonya's little boy) could have a play date. It was princess meets pirate - talk about your clearly defined gender roles! Anyway, to my delight, pirate won out and Maggie had a whole afternoon of swordfights and bad guys and good rough play. Probably just as well - more socially acceptable for a girl to wear an eye patch than for a boy to don a frilly pink dress and a tiara (especially in Ferryland!).

Maggie has also been exploring her bug-loving side. From the ant farm at home to the snail she found on our walk over the bay ("Please, mom, can we keep it for a pet? Please?") to the slug she discovered on Grandma's step, I think in some cases, the apple does fall far from the tree.

On the spur of the moment, at the end of the day I decided to head off to town with Jill for groceries, shopping, and movie. Yes, I do have friends!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Thursday, Sept. 21st - I smell poop!

A full day today - Mom, Grandma, and the kids went to town. Our first stop was Presentation Convent to see Sr. Patrice and the nuns. The kids were very happy, and I was so impressed. Sr. Patrice, on the other hand, was a little less so! The boys, even (or especially!) when they are happy are so LOUD and rowdy. And the long hallways and huge expansive rooms are the perfect place to bring out their extreme delight. They ran and yelled and laughed hysterically for the whole hour we were there. Mom and I were kept on our toes, and I dare say there were pacemakers doing double duty at the convent today.

Then we headed off for the Aquarena for our traditional swimming outing. The big story there was how brave Maggie has gotten in the water. She always says she loves to go swimming, but usually spends her time on the side of the pool. Today she walked and bounced in the water on her own, swam with Grandma...I thought she would go down the waterslide, but I think I was dreaming a little too big with that one.

While the boys napped at Waterford Bridge, Maggie and I went to get a bite to eat. "What do you want, Maggie? MacDonald's? Chicken? Burger?" "I think I would like fruit," she relied. Hmmm, so off we went to the grocery store where she picked out four big plums and ate them all. For dessert? A box of Rice Krispie Squares with multicoloured chocolate chips. Yummy. Then we stopped to buy local vegetables at Lesters and discovered that they have a petting farm. Maggie knew there were animals somewhere - she could tell by the smell! We saw a donkey, pigs, rabbits, turkeys, hens, roosters, sheep, and an emu, but the biggest thrill was the goats. They were in a pen with a very tall tower that they could climb. You could put food in a bucket, and send it via pulleys up to the top of the tower and the goats would climb to get it. Maggie generously shared her plum with the goats.

We rounded out the day with Chinese from the Magic Wok with Adam and Kristine, and a visit from cousin John. What a day!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Wednesday, Sept. 20th - Lighthouse Picnics

Today was a full day. It started off rainy and queer - we thought we'd be housebound, nothing but g*d d*mn Dora and Treehouse to keep us company. Grandma and Maggie spent the morning working on Maggie's new dress, a pink gimp (jumper). Maggie cut up the scraps of material into adornments for her cow.

Then by lunchtime it had cleared and was warm and sunny, so Maggie and I put the boys to bed and headed off to the Ferryland lighthouse for picnic. What a treat! It was a quite day there, almost no customers, so we had Sonya and Jill's undivided attention, and an extra large helping of delicious food (fresh pasta with shaved parmesan, pine nuts, and sugar snap peas, thick sliced oatmeal bread with butter, strong coffee, fresh lemonade, and cream cheese muffins with butter icing). Of course, they woudln't let us pay for our meal. It's a wonder how those two stay in business! Maggie and I took some pictures on the way out, but of course the camera went kaput when we arrived at the lighthouse!

After a supper of fried sculps and tongues, we horsed around the living room and had a ball. Maggie declared Granda "too scratchy to hug" but she had a blast jumping off the coffee table squarely onto his midsection. Then Grandma and the kids and I went to visit Uncle Tom (of the 17 children) who spent the weekend in hospital after a mild stroke. He looked great, although I wouldn't be surprised if the sheer noise and rambunctiousness of our boys during the visit brought on another cranial incident for the poor man!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Tuesday, Sept. 19th - The politics of childhood

A quiet day today, albeit with a few lapses for loud and vigourous crying. We had ribs for supper, and Maggie absolutely loved gnawing on the bones. No vegetarian tendencies there. After supper we went for a walk over the beach and visited the cows. Maggie stayed in Dora mode the entire time. I am sure everyone in the harbour heard "Swiper, no swiping!" And the boys were the happiest they were all day on that walk. In particular, they loved when I had to push them up Jimmy's Hill. They both bounced enthusiastically all the way up, making the trek that much more challenging for Mom. I am sure I earned a few extra Weight Watchers points on that hike!

Monday, Sept. 18th - Mom's Day Away

Well, no cute pics of the kids to post today. I ditched the brood at 9:00am for the big city, and didn't return until after 10:00pm. I am such a wild and crazy Mom! Nobody wants to read about my day, I'm sure. Shop till you drop - it's a wonder my Mastercard didn't catch fire from all the swiping!

Sunday, Sept. 17th - Can I go play with that guy?

Sunday is a much anticipted day when we are in Calvert on vacation. For Maggie it's Sunday dinner (red salty beef, blueberry duff) and for Mom it's the snack bar (wings and chips, gravy on the side). Today fulfilled all our hopes and dreams! Mass was in Ferryland at 9:30am, so of course Nan didn't go. ("Why do they have Mass down there, for the love and honour of God's sake?") Granda Tom came to worship with Mom and Maggie and Josh, although he refused to sit with us, as he didn't think he could handle the stress. Josh loved the echo in Ferryland church, which may not have been noticable on the Reserve, but around here we really stood out in the crowd!

Between the Sunday dinner (which was exceptional, even Grandma couldn't find much to criticize) and the snack bar, Kristine and Kate and Adam came to visit. After playing in the yard for a while, we all came inside to warm up. Maggie, however, asked if "me and that guy could stay outside and play". Of course!

The only downside of an otherwise perfect day was that Newfoundland's hopeful, Craig Sharpe, lost his Canadian Idol bid to Eva Avila of Quebec. Although none of us had followed the show this year, we still huddled around the TV like good and faithful Newfoundlanders. Although on the outside we were viciously mocking both the show and our Craig, insde I know we all wanted him to win. Oh well...

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Saturday, Sept. 16th - Fish heads, fish heads, roly-poly fish heads...

Today the weather was beautiful and we spent most of the day outside. The kids played with a little orange car that Emily gave to Maggie a couple of years ago. Maggie drove it, Jacob pushed it, Josh ran around next to them laughing hysterically. Jacob, of course, repeatedly attempted to run down the lane toward the potential of traffic and the cliff leading to the ocean, rather than up the lane, to the quiet of the grassy field and the safely enclosed space. Mom, as usual, had to provide the barrier between Jacob and what he really wanted. Didn't exactly make me Ms. Popularity.

Granda Tom spent the early part of the morning on the government wharf, waiting for Lloyd Sullivan to arrive with the catch of the day. Lloyd has a quota for cod, caught in trawls and gillnets, and Granda Tom has invested a fair amount of his fixed income in the tasty little creatures. Granda arrived on The Point with two fish boxes of fresh cod on ice in the back of the truck, and we all watched as he, Carlie Bill, and Chopper gutted and split them. The tongues were cut out for Jenn (when you visit from away you get special treatment), the heads (sculps) were saved for Nan to eat stewed, and the fillets were shared among many, Marjie, Pat and ourselves included. What a treat, for the eyes and for the taste buds.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Friday, Sept. 15th - That child is gonna kill himself bawlin'!

Busy day today - went to St. John's for kids' photos, a pricey hairdo for mom, and a trip to the park for the kids and Grandma. Theme for the day? Man, that Josh can really cry!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Thursday, Sept. 14th - Like a prayer

Our first full day in Calvert, and in general everyone made it through fine. Good sleep last night, Grandma's famous tomato soup, a visit from cousin Shelley and baby Stephen (who suffered mild abuse from Josh, but took it all in stride), and plenty of time outdoors. The boys sat under the Sally tree and laughed uncontrollably at the blowing branches, and Maggie had visits from Emily and Natalie, both of whom she ordered around and who followed her dictatorial directions without complaint.

Bedtime came and Maggie and Mom had a talk about the importance of being polite, and of letting others be the boss sometimes. Maggie agreed and promised she would never be bossy anymore. Gee, problem solved! I should write a parenting manual.

When she got tucked into her tent, Maggie prayed for...
  • Grandma
  • Granda Tom
  • Nan, cause she has a scratch on her arm, but soon it will get better and then it won't hurt anymore
  • Emily and Natalie, and thank you to God for the fun time outside with them
  • my brothers
  • my dad, we should pray for my dad because he misses us, but he'll be okay, because he has Oscar and Lily
  • Jeremy and Rufus, because they died, but that was a long time ago, but it was still sad
Yesterday the Evening Telegram had an article that quoted research saying that having kids was "a one-way ticket to depression". I don't think it's that bad after all.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Wednesday, Sept. 13th -- Even Flo' couldn't hold us back!

The alarm beeped at 2:50am, and a simple phone call to Air Canada confirmed the trip was on, hurricane or no! So we filled our insulated mugs with coffee, grabbed some yogurt for the airport, piled sleepy kids in the van, and off we went. Not much sleeping happened in the van - the excitement kept us all awake.

After a quick bagel and a diaper change in front of the fountain at the Halifax airport (hope nobody's sensibilities were offended by the briefly naked boys' bums!) we made our way through security. All went well, although Jacob did manage to escape back through security after we had already been cleared, necessitating a second trip through the scanner by himself and dad.

We boarded the plane with help from a couple of exceptional flight attendants, and were acutley aware of the other passengers' secret hopes that they wouldn't have to sit next to the lunatic mom who took three kids on a plane, all by herself. The boys had shown their talent for high pitched screaming at the airport, so I have to admit I was nervous.

But my anxiety was misplaced. All three were delightfully well behaved and charming throughout the trip. During the extremely turbulent landing, in the midst of Tropical Storm Florence, while the other passengers gripped their armwrests with white knuckles, the boys whooped and laughed at the thrill of the dipping and bumping plane.

Grandma and Granda fetched us at the airport and after a quick stop for groceries ("I would prefer to do my own shopping," said Maggie as she retrieved a tangerine and a tub of candied cherries) we saw Goose Island through the fog and coudl finally relax. We made it!
As for Hurricane Florence, well, she turned out to be a bit of a disappointment, really. Not altogether surprising - according to Cyril, in reference to another Florence in the harbour, "She was always a bit tangly."