Sunday, June 30, 2013

KOA Camping

settinguptentourcampsetup

Last weekend we decided to take the kids camping. We were originally planning to stay close to home (not too far from Montreal) but it was pouring rain in Quebec, so we decided to drive away from the rain, and ended up at the KOA in Mallorytown, Ontario. Above left, Sean worked hard to help us set up the tents, and above right, is our camp site with our 2 tents.

bonfireroastingmarsh

The kids had a blast roasting marshmallows over the campfire.

mytentmate

Quentin was my tent-mate. Everyone else slept in the other tent.

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The kids spent one full day by the pool. They loved it.

MSJumpseanpooljump

They had fun jumping in the water, and making new friends. (Sean is Mr. Popular!)

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The new friends they made got them to help search for frogs at the pond in the campground. With my help (they needed long arms) they caught a frog. We put him gently back in the pond after, don’t worry! I think I might need to get my boys some fishing nets!

fountain

The property at the Mallorytown KOA is really nice. The staff is extremely helpful and friendly. I definitely recommend this campground and we hope to make it back there sometime maybe this summer, we’ll see how the summer goes, and how the weather holds up. Mallorytown is about 15 minutes past Brockville, Ontario, which is about 2 hours from the west island of Montreal.

QiPodQCadchair

Quentin my cutie, relaxing in a camping chair surfing the apps on his iPod. He’s too funny. KOA’s offer free wifi service and this allowed him to have endless hours of Caillou (ick!) and Elmo videos on Youtube during relax time.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Ear Bud Cozy Proto Type 2

pinkcozy

I made a 2nd ear bud cozy to test out the pattern I wrote out. I think it’s good to go now and I’ll be making a PDF to post on Ravelry very shortly. I’m aiming for it to be done the beginning of July.

pinkcozyside

This is a great little cozy to use up leftover worsted weight yarn and keep your ear buds for your MP3 player or iPod/iPhone safe in your purse/bag so that they don’t get tangled.

pinkcozybottom

Is this something you think you’d make? I think they make cute little stocking stuffers… (Is it sad I’m already thinking about Xmas in June?)

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Ear Bud Cozy

photo 1

Last night while out with my stitch group (that I founded about 2 years ago), I came up with an earbud cozy. I wanted something to keep my iPhone ear buds together and not tangled in my purse. I saw something online but no pattern was available, so I got back started with crochet (it has been a while since I last crochet) and I whipped up this cute little cozy.

photo 2

I wrote down exactly what I did, and I will type up the pattern later & post it on Ravelry as a PDF. It took a little bit of worsted leftover, and it was done in a flash. Makes a cute gift too!

photo 3

Isn’t it cute?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Hidden

I have been a fan of Catherine McKenzie’s work since her first novel came out, which I read in the spring of 2010, about 4 months after it was released. I've read all her work, and thoroughly enjoyed every single novel that Catherine has written. I had the pleasure of getting an advance reader’s copy of Catherine McKenzie's new novel, Hidden, which was released yesterday. I also have the pleasure to participate in the Hidden blog tour. (You can buy Hidden as a book here or an ebook here).

Hidden is completely different than the style of Catherine's first 3 novels, which was a nice change. This novel introduces 3 narrators (Jeff, Tish & Claire), instead of one/two narrators. Each chapter moves through the story in chronological order through each of their own stories and leaves you not wanting to put the novel down until the very last page. The story is completely realistic and that's what I like in a novel. I also liked the suspense of wondering throughout the entire novel, if Jeff and Tish were actually lovers or not.

Jeff, while walking home from work one day, is hit by a car and dies. Hidden is the story of his wife, Claire (and their son Seth) and another woman, Tish a co-worker from the same company at another branch in another city (as well as her family, husband Brian and daughter Zoey), who both are heart broken at the death of Jeff.

I recommend this book to anyone who has or has not read any of Catherine's earlier work. If you haven't read any of her earlier work, you should, Catherine's novels are fantastic. They're light, fun reads and this one is being released just in time for summer, perfect to read by the pool/beach.

I look forward to seeing where Catherine goes with her next novel, because she certainly outdid herself with Hidden.

Hidden_Badge

I had the pleasure of asking Catherine a few questions to share with my readers:

1. What inspired you to write Hidden?

Like all of my books it was a conjunction of things, but the biggest catalyst was probably that mine disaster where one of the guys in the mine had a wife and a girlfriend. I kept thinking about how that might never have come out if he'd died, and what that would be like for the girlfriend.

2. What kind of research did you do for this book?

None.

3. In one sentence, how would you describe Hidden?

Hidden is about one man's relationship with two women - his wife and his co-worker - and how they cope with life after he dies unexpectedly.

4. You talk about places in the USA that Jeff & Tish visit on their retreat that they went on through work. Have you actually visited those places? Your description of the places seems real or was it based on research? (Example: Your description of Indio on p. 290).

I have been to Indio. My grandparents winter there. And the places I describe there - The Shield's Date farm and the Joshua Tree National Park - are a must see.

5. You also mention that Jeff and Tish each live in a different Springfield. In the USA there is a Springfield in about 35 states with over 50 cities/towns/called Springfield. In your past novels you haven’t straight out said where your characters live, only mentions of where they have traveled to (example: Africa in Forgotten). Did you use Springfield on purpose because it still leaves the reader open to their interpretation of where they actually are?

Yup :). Honestly, I wanted to have the novel a bit more grounded in place than my previous novels, and I love that there are so many Springfields that it could be any one of them or none.

6. Do you have any other novels in progress?

Early, early stages.

7. I know you’re a litigation lawyer and you also teach law at McGill University so I need to ask – when do find time to write 4 novels?

I no longer teach law. I write when I can and it's been a long time too. I wrote Arranged in 2006-2007. Spin in 2007-2008. Forgotten in 2008-2010. And Hidden in 2011-2012.

8. How long does it take you to write your novels?

Each one has varied. I think the first draft of Arranged and Spin were fastest - about six months, but they took a lot more revision.

9. What’s your last favourite book you’ve read?

The Banks of Certain Rivers by Jon Harrison. It's awesome (as you know!).

10. What are you currently reading?

As I write this I'm about to start reading Khalid Hosseini's new book. But I read a book a week for this reading project I'm doing on Goodreads so I'll be reading something else next week!

Thanks for the questions!

Thank you Catherine for taking the time to answer my questions!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Best of Us

bestofus

The Best of Us was my first Sarah Pekkanen novel and I thought it was fun & enjoyable. This is the story of four friends who met in college, Dwight, Tina, Savannah and Allie as well as their spouses who go off to Jamaica on vacation to celebrate Dwight's 35th birthday. During their vacation they get threatened by Hurricane Betty and the storm heads their way. We learn about infidelities and secrets kept from husbands, and the characters have to decide what truths to share and what not to. The writing what fluid and I wanted to see how the story played out/came all together. Having just been to Negril, Jamaica in January I felt that connection to the story as well, being able to actually picture it in my mind. I felt that each of the characters had a unique voice. I thought that with all these main characters it would be hard to follow them without being confused but Sarah does a great job of writing so that you don't get lost and are able to follow each character's story. The main characters are stressed-out stay-at-home mother of four Tina who is married to Gio, to seemingly put-together mother of two Allie who is married to Ryan, insecure Pauline who is married to the birthday boy Dwight and flirty Savannah whose separated husband Gary appears in Jamaica at one point in the novel. We learn of Pauline's sister Therese and that Allie might have ALS which runs in her family as well as cheating that goes on between a few of the characters in the story. I won’t give away too much – or it will ruin the story for you. I recommend that if you are looking for a good read this summer, check out this novel.

I can't wait to check out what else Sarah has written.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Scary ER Visit

seanmch

Last night I experienced one of the scariest things ever as a mother. I had to rush Sean (again) to the Children’s Hospital, for an allergic reaction. Unlike his hives from head to toe when he ate 3 peaches and we discovered he was allergic (to 4 fruits: peaches, nectarines, cherries & apricots), Sean had an anaphylactic reaction after eating a handful of almonds. His entire body turned red in a rash, different from the hives from his previous reaction, (and different from his reaction when we visited MD Now in the USA). He started to cough, and he tried to hoark (is that even a word?) into the sink saying he had something stuck in his throat and it was tickling his throat. He then started to wheeze. That’s when I panicked. I didn’t think it was bad enough yet to administer him epipen, but what did I know. I learned a lot last night. I left the kids home with Jamie and I grabbed my mom and we ran to the Montreal Children’s Hospital (and got stuck in traffic). It freaked all the way to the hospital, but in a calm way, not to freak Sean out, who wanted to rip the skin off his body and my mom had to hold his hands so that he wouldn’t keep scratching. When we got to the ER he was admitted immediately and they had me administer the epipen. I was scared. I had never done it before, and I had to jab my son in the leg with this needle that I hear hurts. Me? Inflict pain on my son? I didn’t want to – but it was to save his life. So I grabbed his leg while a nurse held down his arms, and held the leg in a position to grab the muscle, and I jammed the epipen into my son’s thigh. SCARY! Frightening. He SCREAMED BLOODY MURDER. I counted to 10, as per epipen instructions, and I stopped shaking. I calmed down, they gave him antihistamines and steroids and an oxygen mask. When there was a bed free in observation we got moved, and we sat and watched movies for about 4 hours. They monitor him, checked his saturation levels, his blood pressure, and temperature. We discovered his elbow on one arm was extremely swollen (you can see the red elbow in the photo above). We ruled out infection (there were 2 mosquito or some other bug bites that were by his elbow that we thought might have gotten infected when he was trying to scratch his entire body from the reaction. I was given a script for antibiotics just in case and was told that if it’s still inflamed or gets worse by today, to fill the script. The did give him 1 dose of antibiotic in the ER last night, just in case. But he woke up and the swelling was gone and his arm was back to normal (besides the bug bites) this morning. I kept him home from school today because his leg by the epipen injection area was stiff from the actual injection, and we also got home close to midnight last night, so I gave him a pass to stay home today. When he woke up this morning, at his usual wake-up time for a weekend (when not in school) he looked like he had purple lines under his eyes, and he looked exhausted.

Now, we avoid nuts all together until his appointment with his allergist in August (I couldn’t get an appointment any sooner). At least I’ll have some answers before he starts grade 1.

In the last week and a half I’ve been to the Children’s Hospital with all 3 kids. Mack for his lip, Quentin for the developmental clinic (more on that in another post sometime soon) and with Sean for his anaphylactic reaction to almonds. I had even been to the hospital twice yesterday, once at 1 pm for an hour long appointment with the developmental clinic to go over Quentin’s results with the physician in charge of his case, and then back again just after I picked up Sean from a playdate after school, just as we were getting in for dinner. I swear, when it rains, it pours.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Blocking

blockingsweater

My sweater is blocking! I just need to weave in ends, and sew on buttons once it’s done blocking. I am sooo excited to finally wear this sweater! Took me a year to finish it (but worked on a few other things in between). I’ll be back soon with a finished object post.

Friday, June 07, 2013

Mackenzie’s Graduation!

mackgrad

Mackenzie graduated daycare today. So proud of him! It was touch & go if he would actually do the show today, as he came down with an ear infection this morning, but after getting some medication in him, he was good to go (after a little bit of compromising too). This video is 7 minutes and 46 seconds long, but it’s worth watching every minute/second. From someone who didn’t do the show last year and was in hysterics, he’s made a full circle in the last year. He’s got the moves, let me tell you! Enjoy! The video is too freakin’ cute! I am glad they changed it up a little bit from the dance Sean did last year at his grad.

Monday, June 03, 2013

Mack’s First ER visit

MackER

Mack's first ever visit to the Montreal children's hospital was yesterday afternoon. He had a little hockey stick to the mouth action (a friend whacked him just as they were starting to play street hockey) and cut his lip badly. His teeth and jaw are ok and the lips are one of the fastest healing parts of the body so they don't stitch it up. Mack’s a tough guy! He’s feeling better and was okay to eat dinner a little bit later. This was probably one of the quickest ER visits ever. We were in & out in about an hour.

lipMack

Here’s his lip after it was all cleaned up. A nice deep cut & it’s swollen. Of course this had to happen just a few days before his daycare graduation. We’ll keep icing it and hope that it heals enough before graduation!

Ahhh… the life of a mom of 3 boys. Just your typical Sunday afternoon ER visit.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Base de Plein Air

On Friday, Sean’s class took a field trip to Base de Plein Air des C├Ędres. We weren’t sure what to expect, but we had a great time. We were 17 kids in Sean’s class, 3 parents and his teacher. The other 3 kindergarten classes came along as well.

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Sean had a great time learning how to use a bow & arrow.

seanarrow seanbowarrow

He’s my little natural athlete, if you ask me.

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He’s got great aim!

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He had a lot of fun on an obstacle course.

seanzip robynzip

And we all got a turn on a zip line. It was my first time and a ton of fun.

I took over 1250 pictures of Sean’s class on Friday. I just finished burning a DVD of pictures for each of the kids who were on the field trip. It’ll go to school with Sean tomorrow and sent home in each kids’ school bag. Every event I’ve photographed this year, I’ve sent home a DVD-R full of pictures for each parent. I really hope they appreciate the pictures, to see what their child was up to when they couldn’t be there. I hope I get the chance to go on this field trip again next year with Mackenzie’s kindergarten class, even if I get all bitten up again. (I sprayed myself with OFF! and still got eaten alive – by mosquitoes and I think black flies as well – I want to rip my legs off they are sooo itchy!)