Sunday, 17 February 2013

The Tea Party

I'm not sure if it's the same in all houses that have small children.  I have a large amount of pretty dishes.  They fill the small china cabinet, the cupboard above my fridge, there are a few more stashed up above the stove, and I'm pretty sure that I have a bin or two in the basement, still packed away from the last few times we've moved.

These dishes stay in their cosy little cupboards.  The only time that they come out is if we are expecting some really special company.  To be honest, we don't have company often.  Not because we wouldn't welcome it- more because we have a bit of a crazy life, and many of our friends haven't had children (yet), and of course, there is the whole special needs parenting that seems to frighten people away.

About a year ago, I found a tiny china tea set at Value Village.  I snatched it up, thinking I would put it away for Daisy.  I spent a whole five dollars, and as it turns out, it was probably the best five dollars I have spent in a very long time.  She uses it daily, spilling water all over the floor, and frequently forcing her brothers to have tea parties. They are usually good sports about it, which makes me very happy.

I did not teach her the pinky thing!
The other day, while Jon and Owen were on the way to Sick Kids for a dental check up, Daisy was a little bit under the weather.  She was also a little bit grumpy, because usually, we all go up for the appointments together.  But since we just had a stomach bug go through the house I decided that it would be better to keep her home.

In an attempt to lift her spirits, I suggested that we have a tea party.  And I am so glad that I did!  I went to get the little tea set and it suddenly dawned on me- why play pretend when we can have an actual tea party? You see, my china set was given to me by my Grandmother, who received it as a wedding gift.  My Grandmother gave it to me when I was married.  She passed away a few years ago, and while the china was always very special to me, it means even more now.  I keep it tucked away in the cupboard because I am afraid that it will get broken.  But when I think about my Grandmother, and just how much she LOVED my kids (and me) that little voice in my head that says "Be careful with this!" is suddenly quiet, and replaced with the sound of my Grandmother laughing as she watched my kids toddle around the backyard.  She would have never suggested that I keep things like that up in the cupboard.

Getting bigger every day
So I made a big decision that day, as I sat down with Daisy, adorned in her fanciest dress.  I told her the story of Great Grandma, and how the china came to be mine.  I told her about who she was, how much she loved us all, and how much we loved her back.  I told her about her red hair, and how Great Grandma Lily was a living, breathing example of red haired fire power.  I may have also mentioned that Daisy herself is very much like Great Grandma, minus the colouring. And I am proud of that.

We sat at the dining room table for well over an hour, sipping tea and nibbling on some fancy party leftovers.  We told each other stories, and laughed at silly jokes.  It was, in short, one of the best mornings ever.

So now, on Sunday mornings, I will not hesitate.  We will dress in our best.  And we will come to the table for tea- served with Great Grandma Lily's china.  We will tell stories. We will learn about each other- and about those who came before us.

Why?  Because Nana would be pleased to see her china put to such a good use.

Thanks for stopping by!  Do you have china packed away in your cupboard?  I can't be the only one, can I? What do you like to use it for?  Don't be afraid to leave me a note down below in the comments section!

Monday, 11 February 2013

Winter Vacation 2013

This Ride Requires Tylenol and a Sense of Humour

We have had a busy week!  Last year, we had sun, sand, and ocean surf- but this year we took a different approach to our semi-annual get away adventure.  So we made our arrangements, packed up the kids, and headed East (and slightly North!) into the strikingly beautiful and rugged Laurentides region of la belle province!  This location was perfect for a number of reasons-

  • It is approximately 5 hours away from home, which means that we can drive it in less than a day, and not have to add the cost of hotels to our vacation bill.  That means I can shop more.  
  • Since the kids end up missing a week of school, I want the vacation to serve as a learning experience.  I mean, technically they can learn something anywhere they go, but this was a lesson in cultural diversity and language, not to mention geography, science and physics (more on this later!)
  • We were almost completely "unplugged" from technology and tuned into each other.  Though it pains me to say it, we (including myself) rely way too much on TV, the Internet, DVD players, computers, gaming consoles and tablets.  While the cabin had enough cell service to connect our tablets (one at a time!) to check email and send an occasional Tweet, we spent the entire week with only a radio for DJ O-man's dance music.
We spent the most wonderful week near St Adolphe d'Howard, Quebec, in a beautiful 1940's log cabin.  It turned out even better than I had hoped!  Imagine waking up to this every morning-

Sunshine and Happiness
Spending your day time hours watching three active kiddos skating (first time ever for the littles!) on the gorgeous lake in the back yard, toboganning down the slopes beside the cabin, and discovering the joy of tunnelling in the snow!

And then, finishing off the day cuddled up with the ones we love, warming feet at the fieldstone fireplace.

I miss it already!
Of course there were a few side trips, like the trek to Montreal during a snowstorm in search of the best latte in the world.  So I'm told anyway, its hard to know if it is the best when you don't drink coffee.  Daisy accompanied Daddy on this visit to the big city, because Daddy-Daughter time is incredibly important.

There was food- lots of it!  And all really yummy!  What would a fire (or my day) be without s'mores?  Not very exciting!  As an extra special treat I added some peanut butter- and as an extra EXTRA special treat Jon and I snuck downstairs after the kids were asleep and ate them all ourselves.  I know.  Life with kids really changes your perspective on what constitutes special!

Epic Peanut Butter S'mores

There was time spent on homework, and time spent playing games.  We watched our children's imaginations bloom.  We read from "big books" to all three for the first time ever.  Amazing!

I ended up with a little bit of time to snap some photo's of things around the cabin.  I will be the first to admit that I take odd pictures- I like snapshots that show colour and texture, and I love pictures that capture the detail of the things I will remember forever.  So often the shots end up looking at a smaller part of a larger item.  I don't often take pictures of an entire room.  It's odd, but so am I! :)  Check out the video below, and if you have taken the time to drop by, please don't be afraid to say hi!  I look forward to seeing your comments!