October 2006

October 04

Road Trip Part 1

Ok guys, this will likely be in installments because it is difficult to actually get enough time in a row to write about our adventures.
Also, I will try my best to correlate the pictures with the stories. 
So, we left Newmarket late thursday night with all our luggage and Bronwyn strapped in the middle and not a lot of room for anything else in my parents’ poor little Civic.  We arrived in Buffalo with about 4 hours to sleep and congratulated each other on bringing along a GPS system kindly lent to us by my parents friends.  We instantly named the british “voice” on the navigational system Hettie, and would talk to her and make fun of her like she was a member of the family!  “Make a U-Turn” and “Recalculating” were thrown around the car in our best british imitation voices for hours.  We wondered how we ever would have found the Buffalo airport without her help.  It wasn’t actually until we arrived in Reno that we discovered that Hettie was programmed to avoid major highways!!  Oops.  Needless to say the drive back was a lot faster!!
We left the car in the hotel parking lot and departed for the plane at 5 am after a delicious breakfast.  The hour and a half trip was uneventful but we made it to the next gate only by virtue of the subway system in the Atlanta airport (apparently the busiest in the USA).  We immediately boarded and were pleasantly surprised to find 2 empty seats next to us, so Bronwyn was able to sleep in the middle seat for a few hours of the 5 hour leg.  If I were to do it again, I would have found out that the seats would be empty before boarding and brought her car seat on board- she would have been more comfortable.  Everyone on the plane around us thought she did well- but my usually perfect baby was pretty fussy.  When we arrived in Sacramento, we got our luggage without difficulty and Scott picked us up in front of the terminal minutes later.  Scott was the guy my parents bought the RV from off of Ebay.  We did have time to take pictures of the 2 pillars of luggage (see photos 16-18) though.  It was so hot out!  Scott said it was only 75 and we should have been there last week where it was 90 plus.  No thanks.  We arrived at his lot and found the RV.  She was stunning.  She was also like a furnace and we had to sit inside waiting for the paperwork to be completed (outside was even hotter). 
Well, after a quick trip to Walmart and the dollar store to pick up bedding/plates/pots and pans and cleaning supplies we were on our way.  Well not exactly, as we had to find Taco Bell first (for Stef).  We couldn’t find one so we ate at a little place that had the best ham sandwich- they put avocado on everything…my kind of place!  So, it is getting dark and Hettie instructs us to take I80.  We soon leave the major highway for small mountain roads and don’t know why.  It is beautiful though and we had programmed her to take us the fastest way so for now we were just going to trust her.  Soon, my dad pulls off the road at a rest stop and joins the rest of us who have long since thrown in the towel and are fast asleep in our respective beds.  The next morning we are up before dawn and eager to get going.  We stop at a Scenic View and take pics 28-32 (sorry they are blurry- new camera- I get the hang of it by the end of the trip though).  The scenery was breathtaking.  We continue on to Lake Tahoe where my mom insists we stop to buy a postcard for Elaine.  It is 7:30 am pacific time though and nothing is open except one little motel where we stock up on freebies. 
I am going to take this opportunity now though to rant a little about time zones.  Not that we went through them, but that no one seemed to know which one we were in.  We would ask people we saw what time zone we were in and we got some great answers.  From Reno “Standard I think” (I think she thought Standard was anywhere you were!).  We also got midwestern and pacific mountain (well which one is it?!).  Americans…
By the time we were nearing Reno, we had travelled through some amazing mountain passes, but my dad was getting increasingly worried.  The RV just isn’t meant for that kind of driving.  Our ears were popping, Bronwyn was miserable, and we couldn’t make it up the hills without our hazard lights flashing.  We pulled into another scenic view spot and my dad noticed the tire was smoking.  This of course prompted an immediate change of plans and we headed into Reno to find a mechanic.  See pics 45-48 for the scenic view where we discovered the tire.
Well we found a mechanic who could fix the brakes that day but we learned from the last time and decided to to go grocery shopping while we waited so we could get back on the road asap.  So, we bundled B into the carrier and covered her from head to toe in clothing so she wouldn’t burn.  The sun was so intense though that a few minutes into our walk, my mom generously donated her sun hat to Bronwyn and the brim covered her head, shoulders, arms and legs.  After stopping at Wendys for a drink to share (I am still regretting not trying the new vanilla frosty- ah well it will be here soon enough I guess) we started on the mile hike to the nearest grocery store.  By the time we got there we were tired, hungry and ready to shop in air-conditioned comfort.  However, the only store we could find was an organic food store- read no sugar, starch or processed food.  This was not so bad though and we picked up enough for sandwiches, spagetti, caesar salad and garlic bread.  My mom also found a 4 variety hummus pack which lasted us for days!  We then stopped in at the drug store near by to buy stamps and other things and I decided I would watch the groceries by the door while Stef and my mom shopped.  I went to sit in one of the scrumptiously inviting plush chairs not even realizing what it was in front of until a tiny lady with a bossy voice told me that I couldn’t sit at the gaming tables with a baby.  I just looked at her and said but she is only 2 months old and I am not planning on gambling.  But apparently there are rules, and she made me sit on a hard wooden bench approximately 1 foot from the nearest soft, comfy chair.  I did manage to chuckle though as I looked around the store.  The 4 walls read (in 3 foot type) LIQUOR, PRESCRIPTIONS, COSMETICS and GAMES, respectively.  We were in a house of sin!!
By the time we almost reached the RV place, we were even more tired and hot and so I proposed a shortcut!  Everyone agreed and we started across an open field (and no I didn’t think of scorpions until later).  Well, it was a shortcut alright.  We made it to the back of the mechanic’s in no time, only to find a rather large river blocking the way.  After much arguing and compromise I decided that they could walk back if they wanted, I was crossing the river (pic #56 and #59).  Well, they soon followed with the groceries and we had a nice picnic with Dad under a shady tree while we waited for them to finish.  I don’t know why he acted so surprised though- you can’t expect us to go on an adventure and come back with our shoes on.  Regardless, he says, you still have to shower before stepping one foot into Old Unreliable (she made her name known quite early I’d say).  Luckily there is an outdoor shower in the RV and Stef washed all our feet and then we gave each other foot rubs.  One final note, this is where we changed Hettie’s settings and so from now on the pictures are not nearly as breathtaking, but we made it through the rest of the mountains unscathed.
I am going to bed now, I will continue the story later…
October 10

Road Trip Part 2

Well, I apologize about the distance between these posts.  It has been crazy in the Howarth Household (i will blog separately about Thanksgiving).  So, I think we left off after Reno.  Not much happened in between there and Kansas.  The scenery changed from mountainous (breathtaking) to flat and dry (beautiful) to lush and green (thought we were home).  We completely missed Colorado because my dad drove through the night, and when we all woke up we were just leaving.  In fact, we had stopped at a toll booth and since it was extremely early and no one was around, my parents were chatting with the attendant.  He asked them where they were headed and they said “Kansas”, to which he replied, “on purpose?”!  I guess he didn’t think too highly of that state!  I am pretty indifferent but we made the large detour for the sole purpose of visiting an old friend.  Sarah is a nurse and a few years older than myself.  She keeps in contact with my mom so we felt we should really visit.  She moved to Kansas, married a farmer and had Abram.  Abram is a year old and has some pretty sever cleft palate issues (pics #113, 117 and 119 ).  He was scheduled for surgery 2 weeks after we visited.  Anyway, because of the cleft palate, Abram doesn’t have his top front teeth, just the top side ones (like fangs) and he liked to use them!!  Oblivious to this though, we thought it would make a good picture if we put the two of them together in his stroller.  Well, it was all going great until Abram wrapped his arm around Bronwyn, grabbed her chubby cheek with his right hand and BIT HER on her right cheek!  Bronwyn, of course, cried which made Abram cry and we are all standing around the driveway comforting our respective children and trying not to laugh (well me anyway, I think Sarah felt badly!)
From Kansas we made our way home past Chicago and through Buffalo (we had to pick up the car after all).  Oh I should mention that I actually drove Old Unreliable.  For 2 miles.  Very Cool.  So my dad was concerned because he didn’t know if he would be able to get the RV across the border so late at night.  They require 72 business hours to process the request and Scott couldn’t be sure that they received his faxes telling them we were coming.  So, I agreed to stay with him if we were detained.  Happily, we crossed the border without a hitch (in fact they didn’t even ask for my mom and Stef’s passports- they were in the car- they just said they were with us up ahead in the RV and the guy just waved them through!!).  We stopped at the customs office and one guy boarded the RV and took a quick look around and they looked underneath in the storage compartments while my dad filled out the necessary papers.  My parents, of course, were joking around with all the border cops and they had to tell them the whole story of how we got the RV in the first place (needless to say, it was a while before we got out of there!!). 
So, on our way to Newmarket to pick up my car there was a huge accident on the 404 and we were rerouted through Markham (fun in a large vehicle- luckily it was about 11pm).  I left for Bowmanville and made it home in 50 min (a record I am sure) where Bruce had eyes only for Bronwyn (I think he missed her).  She definitely recognized him and that is the end of my story.  My dad and mom and Stef all made it home ok; and I now have tonnes of new clothes for Bronwyn that we bought at Walmart for under $5 each!!  What a bargain! 
Well that is our trip in a nutshell- we had a great time and I am glad I was given the opportunity to see so much of this great continent.
October 13

Thanksgiving Weekend

Well this past weekend was thanksgiving.  And it was GREAT!  We did all my favourite Thanksgiving things including a hike filled with pretty leaves and football in the street.  We had dinner with our neighbours sunday complete with deep fried wild turkey and duck…mmmmm!  About 4 or 5 families congregated at one of the houses and we set up a tv in the garage for football watching while the women went inside to watch the kids and gossip.  If I am thankful for anything this year it is a growing support system.  My neighbours are friendly and hospitable.  We are getting to know Joan and Derek better (I probably spend more time with Joan somedays than I do with Bruce!!), and I have recently started attending a regular bible study tuesday mornings (ok ok I went once- but I intend to make this a weekly thing!).  It is also nice to attend regular excercise classes at the YMCA where the same people show up week after week.  I am not the kind of person who ever had a routine, but I am beginning to enjoy my days more when they are filled with things to do and people to see. 
Monday we went to the Ghent Family Thanksgiving.  It is capitalized because it is a big deal.  All of the siblings and their kids (and now THEIR kids) meet at someone’s house for dinner and games.  I cannot emphasize how much food there was.  It was incredible.  And the pies!  They must have had 6 or 7 varieties including a very tasty pumpkin/raspberry.  Although we are not officially Ghents, in fact we are in no way related to these kind folks (think the Behnkes), they invite us every year to their major functions.  I didn’t even get to hold Bronwyn because she kept getting passed from one person to the next.  This was all a bit too exciting for her and she woudn’t go down to sleep in a strange place, so when we left at 10 pm she was exhausted.  She must have really needed the sleep though because she slept in her car carrier all night.  In fac, I woke up at 6:30 and when I realized what time it was and that she had slept there all night, I almost woke her up (don’t worry I didn’t).  Instead I lay awake in bed waiting for the first small sound that would indicate that I could pick her up.  She slept for 9 hours that night.  Then last night she slept for another record-breaking 8 hours!  I am a well-rested mama! 
Well I apologize for the disjointedness of this blog, but these are the things that happened this week (there’s so much more though- my first Beth Moore Bible Study, babysitting Anne and Elliot, and ELAINE- the boxfit instructor from HELL).  Note you can read about all these things on Joan’s site too (www.bononers.tk).
October 17

My other kids

This blog is all about my other kids: Nevis and Dude.  Nevis is a 90 lb black lab who will be 3 in december, and Dude is a 50 lb border collie crossed with a hound of some sort.  He is 2 months younger than Nevis.  Now Dude is a great dog.  He is well trained, comes when you call, catches a frisbee like a pro and can entertain himself on occasion.  Nevis is good-looking.  That’s about it.  Today I found a redeeming quality in Nevis that Dude most definitely does not have.  We went to the groomers today to get the dogs’ nails clipped.  She charges $5 per dog and since neither Bruce nor myself are able to clip their nails at home (think big dogs, and tough, large, black nails), I thought it would be a good idea.  I thought, this woman is a professional- she will have no problem.  Where Bruce and I have failed, dog grooming lady will succeed.  Well, it didn’t quite go that way.  Nevis was first.  She brought out her assistant who held Nevis’ head while she neatly and efficiently trimmed every nail.  I praised him while she took Dude.  As soon as Dude saw the clippers in her hand he started howling, wailing, growling, snarling.  I heard noises I have NEVER heard before coming out of his throat.  At one point, I heard her tell her assistant that a bite was not worth $5.  I tried to interject that he likely wouldn’t bite, but I don’t think I was very convincing because at that point, I truly thought he MIGHT bite her.  I asked for a time-out because I was close to tears (see Immunizations for proof that I just can’t handle this sort of thing).  She informed me I was only rewarding bad behaviour (which is true) and we kept going.  This is when she all of a sudden yelled, and ran out of the room.  I thought for sure Dude had got her.  But she was pulling off her shoe.  It turns out Dude had pooped all over the floor…so now I feel awful for putting my baby through this (as he obviously is not just angry but scared as well), but embarrassed that he would do that.  So, I opted to take a hard line, after all he knows better than to poop inside.  I lowered my voice to my growly “you are in trouble if you don’t listen right now” voice.  Dude was so startled that I was angry that he sat.  And although keeping up his incessent wailing, laid still enough for the girl to finish.  Please note, Dude couldn’t have got away at any point during the proceedings because the assistant was sitting on his head!
When it was all over, I handed the girl an extra $5 for her trouble and knew I would never, ever be able to go back.
October 19


For anyone who does not immediately understand the heading, please please download some Brian Reagan…disclaimer- do not, I repeat DO NOT listen to Brian Reagan for the first time while you are driving a car- you may get into an accident (this has *never* happened to me).
So Bruce and I went to Sudbury for 5 days so my dad could teach him the fine art of hunting (not catching, Joan) moose.  The guys shot and killed a calf and cow within an hour and a half and took the next 2 days to drag all the meat out of the woods.  Luckily, this coincided with Bruce having to get back to work, so he was fortunate to get a ride back to town in time to hear some very exciting news (and not from me!!).  Our good friends Ben and Sarah are engaged to be married on New Years of this year.  I am extremely excited for them obviously but this means that there will be no visit to Chicago over the Christmas holidays… maybe next year?!
Bronwyn and I had a great long weekend, visiting friends and family, buying too many clothes and drinking Starbucks (THANKS Steffers).  Also, I would like to announce the betrothal of Bronwyn Howarth to Nathanial Jakola.  He is a few years older than my daughter, but he kissed her on sunday (and didn’t stop) so he has to take her now!  Seriously though, he is TOO cute (he also peed in the potty while we were over so HOORAY).  He is such a little helper and Bronwyn was entranced.  He kept pulling out her soother and she would just grin at him.  Then he would lean over and kiss her and pat her head.  A match made in Heaven!!  Plus, Bronwyn would have such great in-laws!!! 
While I am boasting about my friends’ kids’ accomplishemnts, Anne crawled this weekend.  I was privileged to see her in action today too, and I must say she is quite determined! 
The last thing of mention this weekend would have to be the Annual Bowmanville Model Train Show that we went to on saturday before heading to Suds.  It is held every year in one of the high schools, and since we missed it last year we were determined to check it out this year.  We packed up our stuff and plopped Bronwyn in the car and made it to the show by 10:10, only 10 minutes after it opened.  I was impressed, we are usually so late for everything, I hoped the place would even have everything set up for us to see.  Boy was I surprised to see over 100 people already packed into the crowded gym.  There was barely room to manoever our rather bulky stroller.  It was fun though, they had sets set up in the middle and clubs from Peterborough to Orangeville were there running their booths.  Next year Bronwyn can wear her conductor hat!!
October 24

Beyond Tired

Why won’t my precious, beautiful, 3-month old daughter sleep?  This is the $64,000 question.  Literally.  Tell me how to fix her and I will gladly give you $64,000.  I haven’t slept in 4 days.  This is what new parents go through.  I am a veteran!  Two measly weeks ago she slept through the night 3 times!!!  Now I am waking up every hour to replace her soother, or rub her tummy, or nurse her!!  I believe it is widely accepted that once a baby reaches 12 lbs or 3 months (both of which she definitely is), they are capable of sleeping through the night without a feeding.  She sleeps beautifully during the day.  Every 2 or 3 hours she starts to get that frantic “I am so tired” look so I lay her down in her crib, turn on her mobile and leave her there.  She usually returns an hour or 2 later with smiles and giggles.  Joan suggested a growth spurt but she is feeding LESS often not more.  My mom suggested teething (she’d better not be is all I can say!!).  My parenting books think the answer is that this is a learned behaviour and that I need to crack down on running to her every second (I threw that book out!).  So, any other suggestions would be appreciated.  I am officially soliciting advice here, and any and all advice will be taken under advisement.  But not right now.  Right now I think I am going to take a nap.  I realize that napping is a sure-fire way to wake up my currently sleeping infant, but what can I do?  I also realize that napping at 9 in the morning seems less like napping and more like just sleeping in.  But be reassured, I have actually been awake since saturday. 
October 25


Bruce and I had a date last night.  Yep, a real live just the two of us date.  Unfortunately, since Bronwyn isn’t quite old enough to stay home by herself we had to find a babysitter.  This was easily accomplished as we had already looked after Joan and Derek’s brood (can two be considered a brood?), so they were more than happy to accomodate and we have decided to make this a regular thing.  For our date, Bruce and I decided to go to a movie.  “BORING” I can hear you shout, but I can’t remember the last time I saw a movie all the way through without missing parts or having to pause (remember RV mom and Stef?!).  So this was nice.  We even had popcorn (sorry Joan, none for you).  So the movie we went to see was “Flags of our Fathers”.  I can’t decide what I thought of it.  It was a great story (true story about the propoganda surrounding a picture taken at a battle between the Japanese and Americans over a very important Island).  It was sadder than I expected and the theatre was filled with crying patrons (note there couldn’t have been more than 12 of us total!).  But it was difficult to follow at the beginning, and it was extremely americana.  It did have one cool feature though.  Bruce’s grandfather was a radio operator on the flagship (that is the ship that carries all the generals etc) during that battle, so just knowing that he was there was a neat feeling; but then they even showed “him” (for about a quarter of a second!) in the first 15 minutes of the film.  The film is gorier than “Saving Private Ryan” but the acting was superb and the casting bang-on (Ryan Phillipe plays one of the leads).  I would recmmend seeing the film if you are at all interested in WWII movies or true stories, and it is nice on the big screen because of the war scenes, but my final recommendation is that it is a renter. 
That said, back to the important part of the evening- having to leave my baby with someone other than my mother.  It was pretty hard.  Harder than I expected for sure.  I had pumped some milk so we could stay out later, and I really enjoyed the movie, but by the end, I was ready to race back to my offspring.  I never imagined I would be hit with such intense feelings as I have felt since giving birth to a baby.  I have always considered myself to be in the upper echelons of the pragmatic elite, but when it comes to Bronwyn, I transform into an unreasonable, over-protective martyr.  So thanks Joan and Derek for being my babysitting guinea pigs- can’t wait for next month!
October 30


We have just returned from our second trip to the Great White North where we travelled to Thessalon to see our good friend Erin get married.  The day started off ominously when we awoke to 5cm of snow blanketing the ground.  My dad and Bruce immediately went to rememdy the snow tire situation while the girls stayed in the cosy inside chatting with Elaine who had called from England (and then called again because she needed advice from Stef as to what to order from Starbucks!).  We left the house in good time but were thwarted when we suddenly slowed, then stopped right outside Whitefish.  Bruce and I were just wondering what was going on when my dad pulled a U-turn in front of us and motioned for us to follow.  We then sped along back the way we came looking for a way around the accident.  Luckily my dad knows his way around this area and after slipping and sliding through a maze of twisty, winding roads (no snow tires for the southerners!), imagine our surprise when we pulled back onto the highway at Nairn Centre.  Turns out a transport had slid off the road and we arrived just as the crane was lifting it back onto the road, effectively shutting down both lanes. 

After 3 hours and several car games later (BATH anyone?!), we arrived in Thessalon and checked into the hotel.  After frantically throwing on our good clothes (and stopping for a photo op!!) we were ready to witness Erin marry a man she has known less than 8 months.  The ceremony was beautiful and we saw many people we hadn’t seen in years.  Val was there with her baby Gracie (born the day after Bronwyn) and Uncle Bob Knight was there too!

After the ceremony we crashed at Vanessa’s boyfriend’s sister’s fiance’s place (got that?!) where we played a rousing if not racially discriminating game of chinese checkers.  I also had my first real scare as a mom.  We were playing happily while Kelly held B.  All of a sudden I heard a crash and a “MOM…the baby is hurt…hurry”.  I jumped up with visions of Bronwyn on the floor, dropped by a careless child.  Imagine my relief when I see Kelly and Bronwyn rush out of the other room, and my chagrin when I realize that it is HER baby, Rhuen, that is on the floor.  Everyone made fun of me for jumping up so quickly, but inside I felt only sadness that someone got hurt and overwhelming relief that it wasn’t my child. 

The reception was classic Erin: fun, entertaining, and laid-back.  The food was pizza, wings, and nachos, with Gatorade to wash it down with.  The cake was shaped like a baseball on top of a volleyball.  The tables had sports equipment and games set up to entertain us while we waited for our turn at the buffet.  The bridesmaids’ speech was incredibly funny (comparing Jason to Erin’s other love, Elvis Stojko, and Erin’s failed attempts at domesticity!), and there was lots of country music to line dance to.  By the time we left, my feet were killing me but my spirit was in good shape.  I don’t know too much about Jason, but Bruce told me that he likes him, and my experience is that Bruce is a good judge of character, so to Erin I say CONGRATS!.  Also, Erin, if you are reading this, I hope you like my wrapping job!!

We arrived home at about 1am (new time) after dropping Steve off at his house.  We were supposed to go to a Halloween Party at Ben’s but Bruce could barely keep his eyes open so we headed to bed.  In the morning we forewent church in favour of taking my brother out for breakfast as a thank you for watching Dude and Nevis.  When my family returned they gave us a hard time about skipping church until we found out they hadn’t gone either!!  I come from a family of heathens.  We then spent the afternoon helping Ben and Sarah assemble their wedding invitations. 

We arrived home at 12:30 and without actually saying anything, I think we decided to stick a little closer to home for a while. 


3 Responses to “October 2006”

  1. sassysezzy August 31, 2009 at 3:51 pm #

    Dont let Ben and Sarah read my blog:


  2. Sadye Ridder July 2, 2011 at 12:02 am #

    I don’t even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was great. I don’t know who you are but definitely you are going to a famous blogger if you are not already 😉 Cheers!


  1. USAway « 3 Under 3 - April 19, 2010

    […] read the following series of postings, you will understand why.  My parents recently purchased a second motor home.  They invited me, my sister Elaine, and our 5 collective children to join them for the […]

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