Monday, February 27, 2012

BBH Weekend

It was a BBH (Brothers By Heart) weekend at our house. Steve picked up Jonas after school on Friday, while I picked up Gavin. We all met at home and it was non-stop action from then on. They a had a blast together. In fact, they had so much fun that we completely missed seeing Star Wars in 3D at the theater - twice - and neither of them cared a bit. (Me either, frankly. I'd rather them play in the real world then sit staring at the screen.)

The crown jewel of the weekend was going to the ski hill on Saturday morning, for their first ever snowboarding lesson. They both did really well and, boy, were they ever pooped. After 3 hours on the hill, they both fell asleep on the way home.
The best part for me was just watching them together.  They've been friends since before they were born and it seems like just yesterday that they were getting ready to start JK. They spent the better part of four years together and think of each other as brothers more than friends. I think it's good for both of them. Gavin's got some heavy stuff going in his life, and Jonas has had a tough time make friends at his new school. It does their self-esteem good when they're with each other. They simply accept each other. They both understand and make allowances for each other and I think that's really cool. Gavin understands, for instance, that Jonas likes to have his idea tried first, and Jonas understands that Gavin doesn't like losing. (It's also interesting that Gavin is the only one who can interrupt him and Jonas not have a melt-down about it.)  They were making adjustments for each other all over the place and there was never any real conflict except for the last minute at MacDonalds yesterday when there were was no more time for compromising.
The hurt feelings from the MacDonalds incident were shorter lived than the hug they gave each other when Jonas and I dropped Gavin off at home. A sign of a great weekend and an awesome friendship, me thinks!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: A Good Night

I was supposed to go to a meeting of our Scout group leadership team last night, but the cosmos conspired to keep me home. It turned out to be a to be a good one. 

Homework time was absolutely painless last night. I didn't even have to ask him to start.

Pancake Tuesday is a yummy favorite. We had blueberries and chocolate chips with ours.

I could live without the fart and booger jokes but Jonas is reading and that's what counts.

Meet my new Jeep. It doesn't have a name yet.
It gets it's safety tomorrow and I should be driving it by Friday.


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Observations of Mom the Scout Leader

Jonas and I had a wonderful time at Winter Camp this weekend. We went sledding and hiking. We did some camp cooking and some crafts. He even learned encription, poker and blackjack. In the midst of all the fun, I had two important moments of realization. 

The first was on Friday night, laying on a cot in the basement of the cabin listening to the boys try to settle down upstairs. Knowing that Jonas wanted to snuggle, I was overcome with emotion. He's gotten used to sharing me with the other kids but there's something about bedtime that's different. It's a special time of day for us. It's the one part of camp that he hasn't gotten used to yet.  I realized that even though Scouting is something that we share, it's important that Jonas's mom and his Cub Scout Leader stay separate. He needs to do some of these things independent of his mom. Sleepover camp is one of those things. It's a measured dose of independence and it's good for both of us.

The second epiphany happened on Saturday morning on the toboggan hill. As I started down the hill on a GT Snowracer, I realized that I am 41 years old. My body is creaky and doesn't bend or bounce any more. I thought about my broken shoulder and my sore knee. I hit the brakes and then jumped off. I just couldn't bring myself to white knuckle it until the sled got the bottom of the hill. Several times I tried and several times I bailed. Even the shame that comes with chickening out in front of my eight year son wasn't powerful enough to overcome the fear. In short, I am a great big chicken.

They say that Scouting is "an hour a week" but it's SO much more than that. One of the magical side effects of Scout camp, is that Jonas and I both get a little bit older each time. He gets a little more independent and responsible and I let go of my little boy a wee bit. Scouts continues to be an amazing experience for us. Our relationship grows and gets a little stronger every week. If you haven't tried it, I highly recommend it!


Monday, February 20, 2012

Another Great Scouting Winter Camp

What a great Family Day weekend!

We took our Scout group (Troop, Pack and Colony) to the Cobourg Scout Reserve for our annual Winter Camp this past weekend. We had 23 youth and about 10 Scouters and parents, 1 furnace heated cabin for Colony (5-7 year olds) and Pack (8-10 year olds) and 1 woodstove heated cabin for Troop (11-13 year olds). We didn't have enough snow for quinzees but did set up a tent and a tarp shelter for 2 of our leaders to show the youth how real wintering camping can be done. (And to reassure the inexperienced adults.)

Except for the occassional blowing of snow and a cold nose,
Scouter Darren reported that he was very warm sleeping in this shelter.
Jonas is chomping at the bit to give it a try!
Troop was challenged with a campfire contest. They had to find dry tinder and kindling, get their fires lit and build a good bed of coals for cooking by noonish. While the Scouts were fire building, Pack and Colony got a hands-on lesson in campfire cooking using tin foil and coals. They made their own foil meal packs and then used the Scout's coals to cook them for lunch. After that, the Scouts had a lesson in dutch oven cooking and made a really yummy venison stew with bannock for their dnner.

On Saturday afternoon we took everyone on a huge hike to the top of an old ski hill. Some of those little legs weren't sure they were going to make it to the top but everyone did. The best part, according to the kids, was the hot chocolate we were rewarded with when we got there. (Special thanks to the Scouts who hiked it up there for us.)  Of course, the GT Snowracers were wating for us at the bottom of the hill so the trip back down was much easier.

By the time our campfire rolled around on Saturday night, we had some pretty sleepy kiddos on our hands. It wasn't long before everyone was ready for bed and it seemed like only the blink of eye before the snoring started.

It's been a very mild winter here so this was the first chance we've had for sledding all year. We did A LOT. We had a bunch of activities planned in case Mother Nature didn't cooperate with us but we didn't need them. We probably spent a good 8 or 9 hours on the hill on Saturday and Sunday. We practically had to drag the kids inside to warm up. There are some really good toboggan runs at this camp and we gave them a really good workout. In fact, by Sunday afternoon, the grass was poking through the snow again on a couple of them because we'd used them so much.

When Sunday afternoon rolled around, and it was time to head home, we had a few tears. Everyone had a great time. Pack and Troop got some important badgework done and everyone got their fill of snow sliding. Jonas says he can't decide what his favourite part of the weekend was. He loved it all. That's success in my books!


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Visual To Do List

Other than my real job, here's today's To Do List in picture form:

Changing tonight's plan for GT snowracing into a hike for our Beaver Scouts

Bracing myself for math homework

Prepping for Winter Camp with our Beavers, Cubs and Scouts this weekend

Packing for Winter Camp

Daydreaming about and organizing a safety and paperwork for my new Jeep

Monday, February 13, 2012

Come out, come out, wherever you are!

The weekend ended with a bit of a thud for us. Jonas came out of school on Thursday and excitedly announced to Steve that his friend Michael was going to come to our house on the weekend. Thinking that was very cool, but remembering how this scenario has gone down before, we sent Jonas to school with his address and phone number so that Michael could give to his parents. Jonas got all his favourite toys ready and kept a close eye on the front door all weekend. Long story short, they didn't call, he didn't come over and Jonas was heartbroken last night.

"I asked so and so to come over" is a weekly occurance in our house, as is the disappointment that comes when that visit doesn't materialize. Kind of like when we sent Christmas vacation playdate invitations to his classmates in December and didn't get any responses. No matter how we explain and rationalize it, it's a huge letdown for him.

It breaks my heart to see him have such difficulty making friends at school this year. He has some friendships from his previous school and also in Scouts but the kids in this school just don't seem to want to get to know him. Life at school seems lonely for him.

We hoped that by being proactive and giving his contact info to his classmates and expressly inviting them to come over and play, we could bridge the gap between us and the other parents. It hasn't worked yet but we're going to try again with his Valentines and then again before March Break. I don't want to get his hopes up or set him up for failure so we're going to have to strategize a bit more to figure a way to tackle this.


Friday, February 10, 2012

Cinderella! Cinderella! All I hear is Cinderella!

Once a month, my inner martyr shows up and starts whining, complaining and feeling sorry for herself. This month she has a lingering cold which making her feel extra pre-Charming Cinderella-y. Without fail, she shows up while I'm doing some little household chore that I do every day without even noticing, and she usually announces her arrival with a loud, rhetorical "Why does it always have to be such a disaster zone in here!?" immediately followed with "Why do I always have to do everything around here?!"

When I get bitchy about housework, we all know it's PMS time in the Blanchard household. I'm not one of those women who deny it. Thank goodness the weekend is almost here. Of course, Steve and Jonas might have a different opinion about that. ;)


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Magical Multiplication Chart

We had another horrible homework session last night.
Jonas is working on his multiplication tables and although he's excited about it, he's struggling.
Last night we introduced the Magical Multiplication Chart.
Both Steve and I can vividly remember learning the chart.
It was a turning point for both of us. (Moreso for him than me.)
We're hoping that it has the same good impact on Jonas.
Cross your fingers!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Thankful Tuesday: Three Things

Three of the many things I am grateful for include:
  • Having a network of trails at my feet. Whether I'm at home or at work, I'm right smack on the Waterfront Trail. The full trail is about 900 kms long, and 110 kms of that system runs through this neck of the woods, just waiting for my feet to hit it. 

  • Having local farmers to fill our pantry. We are blessed with a number of local farmers and farmers markets. Buying local builds a stronger connection between our family and the food we eat and helps us to be more considerate about our food. Knowing where it comes from and how it got on our plate makes me feel much better about our family's food choices.

  • Living and working in the same region. The less I commute into the big city, the less I want to.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Bucket List

I love the idea of the Bucket List. I've kept one since I was in elementary school. It's evolved considerably over the years. It's almost embarassing to read some of the things I imagined my life would be like once upon a time, but a few of those dreams persist. (I'm not interested in marrying Scott Baio anymore, but I still want my very own Jeep.) I haven't written the list down for a while, but I got a new journal for my birthday so I've spent a few minutes daydreaming this week.

  • Take Jonas portaging in Algonquin Park
  • Sleep in a quinzee
  • Learn fly fishing
  • Spend a week at a fly-in fishing camp
  • Take a Wilderness First Aid course
  • Learn to drive a motor cycle
  • Take Jonas to BC
  • Go salmon fishing in Alaska
  • Watch the Northern Lights beside a campfire in the Yukon
  • See Yellowstone by backpack and/or horseback
  • Go on an African Safari
  • Feed an elephant
  • Take a race driving course
  • Shoot a gun
  • Build homestead with a log cabin and subsistance garden
  • Own a Jeep
  • Own a canoe
  • Buy the Lillie Pad
  • Road trip across Canada

What's on your list?