Wednesday, June 30, 2021

What's Up Wednesday


What we're eating this week...
Sunday - Steak
Monday - Pasta
Tuesday - Out
Wednesday (camping trip begins) - Sausages and salad
Thursday - Tacos
Friday - Burgers
Saturday - Macaroni and Cheese

What I'm reminiscing about...
With E going to camp next week I have been thinking back to the summers I went to camp.  I broke my arm the first time I went to camp so that will always be a memory.  Then I went to church camp and one French camp.  The activities and accommodations were pretty simple but we did have so much fun.   The camp that E is going to is pretty fancy in comparison, he will have fun and he is not nervous at all. We are so lucky to have an easy going kid.

What I'm loving...
For the most part I was fine with staying home (school excepted) but now that things are opening up in Ontario I am happy to have destinations now - restaurant patios, stores, the office, and soon hair and nail appointments.  We still don't do too much but glad there are options now. 

What we've been up to...
Finishing up the school year.  I posted about E's year in Grade 4 here and Q's Junior Kindergarten year here.  The last day of school was yesterday, we made it!  It was a long haul but we did appreciate some of the little things of online learning.

What I'm dreading...
Nothing at the moment. 

What I'm working on...
There are a lot of different things happening with work and July should be a busy month.  Fortunately with the kids being in camp, I can go into the office a few days a week and can feel more focused without being called away to help with online school.

What I'm excited about...
I'm excited to leave the city this weekend.  Besides a few hikes outside of city limits we have been at home for a long time.  Even though it will be an air mattress, looking forward to sleeping somewhere else for a few nights. 

What I'm wearing...
Still wearing my masks.  I received my second vaccine on June 18th so I will be considered fully vaccinated on Friday but I will continue to wear my mask when I'm out and about for now.  

What I'm watching/reading...
We are watching Trying and For All Mankind on Apple TV.  Also watching all of the sports - Blue Jays baseball, Euro Soccer, golf, Wimbledon, hockey and basketball playoffs, and Tour de France.

I posted about my June books on Monday.  Now I'm reading Maid.

What I'm listening to...
Will have The Tragically Hip on loop this week.  It is a staple of our Canada Day celebrations and this year since we are taking some time to reflect rather than celebrate (in light of the discovery of the recent residential school mass graves) but Gord Downie was a a thoughtful supporter of Indigenous rights in Canada so his music feels appropriate.  We are also making a donation to the Downie Wenjack Fund in honour of those little souls that rest now at the residential school sites. 

What I'm doing this weekend...
We are camping at Algonquin until Sunday, and then dropping E off for his first sleep away camp on the way home. 

What I'm looking forward to next month...
My mom is coming to visit!! We haven't seen her since December 2019.  So grateful that we have all been double-vaccinated and that travel is opening up again.  Also excited about summer camps for the kids, getting back to the office, and another camping trip with several families at Arrowhead. 

What else is new...
Q is playing soccer again.  He got to play for two Sunday sessions and then the regular weekly sessions will happen during the week for July and August.  Parents can't go onto the field but I could see from afar that he was having fun.  It was a sweaty one on Sunday.  E gets to play baseball this summer and that starts up again soon. 

I'll be back on Monday with a new post.

Linking up with Shay .

Monday, June 28, 2021

June Books

 Just two books to write about this time:

The first one I read was When the Moon is Low by Nadia Hashimi.

This was a book a friend had given to me last year and it sat on my shelf until now.  This book is about an Afghan woman who decides to flee Afghanistan with her three children.  It starts when she is a young girl before the Taliban came, and then takes us through to her marriage when things get very oppressive.  That is when she decides they need to leave.  The book is from her point of view and then later her son's point of view as they try to make it England where other family lives. 

There are several passages that are just beautiful.  I read The Kite Runner years ago and I loved reading about the landscape and beauty of Afghanistan when all I knew of it was post-9/11 when Canadian troops (among others) were sent to fight there.  My only images of Afghanistan had been as a war zone, dry, dusty, and primitive. By reading that book I learned a bit of history, and rather than seeing Afghans as strangers, I understood they were just like me in many ways.  I haven't read many Afghan books since then so I was happy to pick up this one. 

It reminded me a bit of American Dirt as the theme is the same - mother takes her children to seek refuge in a safe country.  Unlike the issues people had with American Dirt, written by a white woman rather than a Mexican woman, this is written by an Afghan woman, although she is American and I don't believe made this same journey, she would have a more appropriate perspective of those who have. 

I thought of the characters in this book this week when the police in Toronto were clearing out the encampment in Trinity Bellwoods.  I wondered how people had ended up in that situation and why they don't have any other options.  We have refugees here too and others who need to leave their Canadian homes for other reasons.  There are several times in the book when the family is living on the street or unsafe hotel. Their needs were so basic and they did what they could do to survive. 

The second book of this month was Cancel the Wedding by Carolyn T. Dingman.

This has been on list forever so I finally added it to my 2021 reading list to make sure I read it.  This was exactly the type of book I needed to read after the one above.  It was a simple read, but also engaging with a neat story.  The main character takes her mother's ashes to small town Georgia to fulfil her mother's last wishes for scattering them.  Her young niece accompanies her and they end up staying longer than planned.  They start learning about their family history which is more complicated than they thought.  There was a bit of a mystery and it was fun to unravel it all.  The main character, of course, meets an eligible bachelor who makes her question her impending wedding with her fiancĂ©.  The teenage niece also finds a job and friends quite easily. 

I've always been partial to books set in the Southern US so the idea of living the simple rural Georgia life seemed appealing.  They stay at an inn, they go to a cafe, visit the lake, etc. it all seems rather lovely.  This was a good summer read.

I'm a quarter way through Maid by Stephanie Land but will have to write about that next month.  Fortunately my reading time will increase as I will start heading back to the office and taking the subway. #doublevaccinated #wearamask

Friday, June 25, 2021

Friday Favourites


It was the last full week of school, just two more days next week and we are done!  I knew we could do it, because we had to, but it was a long haul!  Onto summer and camps, visitors, and holidays. 

E had one last school project this month.  He was to pick a new skill to learn, something he has never done before and it had to be totally on his own.  He chose growing tomatoes so this week I took him up to buy two plants and he planted them. 

I took my paddle board out on Tuesday night for a spin down the Humber River.  It was a beautiful night and not too windy.  It took me 41 minutes get to the mouth of the river by the white bridge, and just slightly longer to get back upstream.  Unfortunately my watch died on the way back so I didn't have the final time.
It takes about 8 minutes to pump up the board with our electric pump.

Dave was golfing on Wednesday night so I took the kids to get jerk chicken and Jamaican patties for supper and we ate it at the park. 

I went golfing with E on Thursday evening.  Usually Dave takes him along with another dad and son, but I crashed the party this time.  I don't get many chances to golf, whereas Dave does, so I took the opportunity to go this week.  We had a pretty decent round for my first time out this year. 

Happy Friday!

Linking up with Andrea and Erika.

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Monthly Musings


1) Any last day of school traditions?
We take a photo to compare to the first day of school.  We are also usually heading out on our Canada Day camping trip that day or the next day.

2) Do you make a summer list? What is everyone looking forward to most this summer?
No, we don't typically make a list, although I did this year for a Let's Look post.  Our requests are simple given that we are just starting to open up.  I want to sit on patios and watch the kids play organized sports.

3) Any summer vacation plans?
We have four camping trips booked, but we aren't leaving our province yet.

4) Favourite summer outfits? What do you live in in the summer?
Shorts and tank tops. And a hat, I need to have my head covered if I'm out in the sun.

5) Favourite summer meal?
Cheeseburger and fries.

6) Do you end school in May or June? How about when you were growing up?
School in Ontario ends at the very end of June, same as when I was growing up in Nova Scotia.

7) Bikini? Tankini? One piece?
One piece mostly but I have one tankini.

8) What are your 4th of July Canada Day plans?
We always go camping around the Canada Day weekend and that's what we are doing this year. I have been feeling less like celebrating Canada in the traditional sense.  I wrote a bit about it last year and this year I feel the same way particularly given the recent focus on treatment of Indigenous people in this country (both past and present). I'm happy grateful to live here and be a Canadian but am also conscious of our faults.  The most we will probably do is play some Tragically Hip to mark the day.

9) Do you dress in red, white and blue on July 4 July 1?
We usually do, but see above, not sure if I will make the same effort to dress in white and red this year.

10) Charcoal or gas grill?
Gas grill.  We have a propane BBQ but will make the switch to natural gas at some point as we have a hook up for it.  

Linking up with Holly and Patty.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

School Days - Junior Kindergarten

On Monday I wrote about E's year in Grade 4 and this year I am writing about Q's first year of school in Junior Kindergarten.  As I noted on Monday, we had 101 days in the classroom and 86 days online.  The experience for a JK student online is much different from a Grade 4 student.  These kids are 4 and 5 years old and they are not built for sitting still in front of a screen for the better part of their day.  They also don't have the skills to operate a computer/tablet in the same way as an older kid (although you'd be surprised at how proficient they have become).  For Q to have any chance of participating in his class, he needed a parent to sit with him, directing him to the task, helping to get on the Zoom calls, using the mute button, getting supplies for the activities, and walking him through the directions.  And even when we are sitting with him, it's not 100% successful.  

E had an interesting year in terms of teachers.  His classroom teacher was with him for the first part of the year, and did do the few weeks of online teaching in January, but when they went back to online learning after Easter she was unable to continue and the class was assigned a long term substitute who is finishing up the year with us.  The substitute was phenomenal and all parents commented on her amazing efforts and engagement with the children; to say the least, it was a change from the original teacher.

Q is one of the younger ones in his class and is still learning to hold his pencil, form his letters, and remember the order of all of the numbers, let alone starting to read words. However he has made leaps and bounds over the past few weeks, and we are grateful for the substitute that took over.  She is so engaging with the children and is teaching them even more than the JK curriculum requires.  If we can keep practicing over the summer, he will be well set up for Senior Kindergarten. 

Q's personality is quite different from E's and is definitely more feisty when it comes to being told what to do, he gets frustrated more easily when things are hard, and he likes to do his own thing.  Knowing this is helpful to understand how to help him with school but it has its own challenges.  For the most part though he was happy to see his friends and teacher online each day and got a lot out of the fun activities his teacher put together, even though he would of course much preferred to be in the classroom.  A few times his teacher has been at the park for the afternoon (coincidentally the students were also at the park at the same time, imagine that!) and I can see a difference in Q's mood and attitude even after playing with his friends for an hour. 

He will start French Immersion in the fall for Senior Kindergarten and as I said in Monday's post, I hope there will more opportunities for events and extra-curriculars when school starts, but again we'll just be happy to have them back in the building!

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Weekend Recap

 We enjoyed a gorgeous weekend with lots of outdoor time, my favourite!  On Friday night we made our homemade pizzas and had a glass of wine (or two!) with the neighbours.  

On Saturday morning we watched the F1 qualifying and then Dave left to play golf.  

I got the kids together and we went to High Park with some friends to have a pizza lunch and splash pad time.

Q was wiped out after we got back and had a quick nap.

We had an easy night and watched Luca on Disney Plus.  It's so cute!

The next day was Father's Day.  Dave had a nice sleep in and then went for a run. When he got back he enjoyed a cinnamon bun and smoothie bowl and we watched the F1 race. 

Then I took Q to his first session of soccer while Dave and E went to the driving range/practice area at the golf club.  Q was excited to be out running around with other kids.

For the afternoon we went on a bike ride to Henderson Brewery and got some drinks on their patio.

We wanted to grab an early supper on the way home and found a spot at Fox and John on Bloor.  The kids haven't eaten out at a restaurant since last September so this was a treat.

Once we got home, everyone got cleaned up, Dave and I watched the golf, and we had a few tarts that I had picked up for a Father's Day treat from Hot Oven Bakery.
Sun, sports, beer, and good food - best weekend for the best Dad!