Saturday, August 29, 2009

fantastic fifty

One of the highlights of our recent trip to PEI was celebrating Mom and Dad's fiftieth wedding anniversary. The actual date isn't until October, but since all of us five kids were home in August we held a party for them last Sunday afternoon, with about 60 family members and friends present.

Above are Mom and Dad with their four grandchildren: Meredith (16), Allison (11), Jonathan (6), and Sadie (4).

... and with the five of us, Lincoln, Errol, Scott, Jeannie, and Alan.

Besides all the above-named, this photo includes daughters-in-law Alycia (back row, 2nd from left), Genny (middle row, left), and Genevieve (middle row, centre); and son-in-law Richard (far right).

Congratulations Mom and Dad!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

summer friends

Today was Jonathan's last day at Extend-a-Family day camp. He attended for 22 days this summer and loved it. Here he is with counsellors Emily and Dana ...

... with leader Matt ...

... and with one of his favourite counsellors, Sam. Sam was quite taken with Jonathan and loved playing basketball with him. Today when I came to pick Jonathan up, Sam said to me, "Don't take this the wrong way, but I wish you weren't here right now!" Jonathan also got along great with another counsellor, Eric, who is away this week so couldn't be photographed. However, one of the leaders told me that Eric had texted her this week to ask how Jonathan was doing, and to say that if we ever need him for child care over the next year he would love to look after Jonathan.
Jonathan truly has a special gift. As his parents we see all sides of him and sometimes his behaviour can be very challenging -- but when he is at a program like this he is always a source of joy for everyone there. Not everyone can say that they have the gift of making people happy, but Jonathan does.

party time!

Last night Allison had a birthday party with six of her friends. They enjoyed 2-and-a-half hours of giggling, squealing, trampoline bouncing, scavenger hunting, mad-libbing, and of course eating! Here they are enjoying some pizza. From left to right are Allison, Anneli, Monica, Hannah, Madison, Maia, and Athena.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

excellent, elegant eleven

Yesterday, August 4, Allison celebrated her eleventh birthday. She is getting to be so grown-up! Happy Birthday to a beautiful, sweet girl.

wonderful weekend

On Aug. 1-2 Rich and I had a wonderful whirlwind weekend away. This is the first time we were ever away overnight from Jonathan (and he's almost 7), so it was very special. Doug and Caroline offered to take the kids overnight, and we went to Toronto with our friends Lori and Ray to enjoy a dinner/theatre/hotel package.

On Saturday afternoon before going to our hotel, we went to the Royal Ontario Museum to see an exhibition of the Dead Sea Scrolls. It was a very interesting display. Besides presenting an overwhelming amount of information about the discovery of the scrolls, the historical context, and the religious significance, there were also many very interesting artifacts such as coins, jars, ossuaries, jewelry, shoe fragments, etc. The exhibit wound around through several rooms, coming closer and closer to the dark, cool, cavelike room where the scroll fragments themselves were displayed. It was quite amazing to look at these little scraps of parchment and realize how earth-shattering and, well, flukey their discovery was. It was really a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see them so I'm very glad we went.

After viewing that exhibit we drove down to Harbourfront to our hotel, the Westin Harbour Castle. We were booked on floor 17 of a 33-floor hotel tower, and it was definitely the biggest, busiest, and fanciest hotel I've ever been in. We had dinner reservations in the hotel restaurant for 5:30; there was a pre-theatre bill of fare menu to choose from, and the food was delicious. Then at 7:00 we went outside and climbed on a shuttle to take us to the Princess of Wales Theatre to see The Sound of Music. This was the show for which the main role of Maria was selected on that TV reality show How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? It was a wonderful performance: the music was fantastic, and the set design had some amazing elements (if you're planning to see this show and want to be surprised don't read this next bit). After the opening songs by the nuns, the curtains opened and there was a grassy hill with Maria lying on it in the distance, singing The Sound of Music. It almost looked like her image was being projected onto a screen. But as you watched, the background started to move, and what looked like a hill began to flatten and rest on the stage until it was like the top of a mountain, with other peaks in the background, and Maria jumped up and started running over the rocks. I realize I haven't done it justice in my description, but it was fascinating. Then, at the end, when the family decides to head over the mountains, this flat piece of ground rises from the stage at an angle so that as they climb they appear to actually be walking up hills -- and at the very end they appear at the top as if looking over a cliff. It was spectacular!

After the show we walked back to our hotel and enjoyed the sights and sounds of late-night downtown Toronto. The next morning we had a delicious breakfast buffet in the hotel, then went out for a walk down by the water, and then headed back home, arriving in Napanee around 1:30. The kids had had a great time with their aunt and uncle and cousins, and we had had a great, unforgettable getaway!