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Twins Part 2

9 Jan

Remember last March when I posted this?  Time for a new Picture Quiz!  Leave your vote below!

What child is this?


New Year, but not much new…

2 Jan

It seems to me that whenever I physically cannot blog, I have inspiration coming out my ears.  However, on days like today, when I am home and alone and my house is tidy and no tv is worth watching and my husband is off cutting a cow into teeny tiny 1 lb pieces, I find myself bereft of creative thought.  Go figure.

I could regale you with tales of my holidays and new years resolutions and how great our new Zipfys are, but to paraphrase my friend Joan, “I just want to move on”.

But!  A slight recap:  we had a few friends over on Christmas Eve and spent the evening eating, drinking “Moose milk” and laughing hysterically over small children trying to play Pictionary.

Holly's wreath- pretty good eh?

That’s my king behind it which Bruce later used to draw “Good King Wenceslas”.  True story.

Next morning we woke up, opened gifts…

Giggly over stockings

… and drove 5 hours to visit Bruce’s mom.  We then left early in the morning to have Christmas morning with the extended family (as per usual).  We entertained the girls in the car on the way there with a lengthy and informative dissertation on the differences between towns, counties, cities and metropolises.  I am married to a Planner.  We also learned interesting words like “arch”.  As in, that bridge has a beautiful arch.  And where the Raptors and Leafs “live”.  And any viewing of the CN Tower must ALWAYS be accompanied by trivia pertaining to how many stairs it has (1776) and why there are no buildings between the Rogers Center and the Lake.  Ah… good times.

Christmas was wonderful with delicious food, good company, and well-behaved children.  It was hard even noticing them, since they spent the better part of 4 hours playing quietly with their new Playmobil sets!

We asked Holly to take a picture of us... sorry Uncle John!

Bruce with his Uncle and Bronwyn. One of my favourite pics.

Grandpa with Josselyn- an unlikely pair... but inseparable nonetheless!

Joss chillaxing with Uncle Eric... or is that Clark Kent?

Joss' other newest best buddy, Penny

They were curious about what was going on in the basement, but not quite brave enough to go down and find out...

Joss and Penny wouldn’t venture downstairs.  But there were others who seemed brave enough… to handle THIS:


I know.  Scary.  But it is a tradition as carved in stone as Butternut Squash soup for supper.  Taken seriously by all those whose last name is Howarth, or was Howarth at any time…

For the record, this is the first year that I haven’t been allowed to play HIPPOPOTAMUS.  Last year they shortened it to HIPPO.  And now I am considered (if not quite good enough, at least not bad enough) adequate to play without handicap.  Although Bruce is still considerate enough to allow me to follow him so at least I get a good paddle drop KAROLYN!

There is always a lot of laughter:

And a lot of blame…

PIG is important to Witherses too

But only one winner:

Eric! Get out of the picture!

Winner Christmas 2011: Karolyn Howarth-Withers!

This “recap” took more time and space than I expected.  Christmas Part 2 to follow…

I want to see how many times I can fit “4” into this post!

3 Dec

It is 8:04pm.  Four years ago I got my first drop of Pitocin and the contractions started in heavy.  We were already 40 minutes into the Raptors game, and I had to convince the nurse that I really DID want to watch it, and no, my husband didn’t have to turn it off…

I couldn’t have known that less than 4 hours later (in Room 404), my sweet Princess would make her grand entrance at the stroke of Midnight.  Maybe we should have named her Cindy?

Our sweet, nameless girl looked nothing like what we expected.  She was born within minutes of 2 other babies, and kept the poor OB hopping!  She arrived in the middle of the worst snowstorm of the season.  In fact, we got stuck in a ditch on the way to the hospital (right outside our house) and the snowplow driver had to hoist us out!

Who is this strange person? And why does she have more hair than me?!

Since that first snowy night when she entered the world, Holly Grace has been spreading life and love in our lives every day:

Announcing her new status as "Big Sister" just days before her 1st Birthday!

Can't get her thumb out of her mouth long enough to blow out 1 candle!

Year 2 was just as great.  Holly continues to charm and surprise us!

Terrific Twos!

And last year… this cool cake was inspired by Holly’s favourite book that year: Curious George’s Hot Air Balloon Ride.

Showing off Auntie Jenn's awesome Hot Air Balloon cake

Which brings us to FOUR!!!!  How on earth my baby is 4 years old is a mystery to me.  But I love her more every day and will spend the rest of my life trying to show her how much she means to me:

Happy Birthday, Holly!

Holls and Lamby... Best Friends Forever!

Father’s Day 2011

28 Jun

Last weekend-ish (I know I am behind on my blogging) we decided to take the older two girls whitewater canoeing.  We were going with a fairly large group (8 adults and 3 kids), so we had lots of help.  And we enlisted the Grandmothering services of my MIL to watch Josselyn while we were away.

Uncle John with the girls waiting at the put-in spot in Aumond Bay.

Bronwyn was feeling under the weather for most of the trip, unfortunately, so she didn’t have quite as good of a time as Holly.  But, looking back, I’m not sure anyone had as good of a time as Holly!

Bruce working on his solo skilz!

On our first rapid (the same rapid that Bruce took B down solo 2 years ago and she got splashed so badly that she screamed every time she went down fast water after that!) Bronwyn clung tightly to the yolk (Rule #3- don’t touch the gunnels) and held on for dear life, while Holly knelt in the bottom of the boat like a pro and yelled, “WHHHHHHHHHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE”.

On scouting breaks, Bronwyn slunk around my legs like a shadow, while Holly and Daddy checked out the rapids and whined, “when can I go swimming?”.


There were two rapids that Bruce and I portaged the gear and he paddled solo while I watched the girls at the bottom, and we didn’t dump once.  We did get pretty wet, and there was one rapid where the wave crashed over my head (in the bow) and soaked the girls kneeling behind me.  After that Holly declared that she loved the rapids, but only the little big ones.  And Bronwyn admitted that she loved the rapids too, but only if we didn’t get wet.  Well, I don’t much like getting soaked either, but at least the water was warm.

Watching the grown-ups navigate High Falls, only moments before discovering a huge turtle!

While waiting for the rest of the group (and the hundreds of other day paddlers on the river that weekend) navigate some of the tougher Class IV falls, I kept the girls occupied by showing them how we could jump into the moving water and get carried downstream by the current.  Then we slid off big rocks in the middle of swifts and I grabbed the girls as they went rushing by on the tops of waves, and we started all over again.  We drew our names in the sand with sticks, and roasted marshmallows on sticks, and ate meat off of sticks…

Enjoying our standard camping fare: Meat-on-a-stick

Holly spent all her free time jumping from rock to rock next to the river and giving all the adults mini heart attacks.

She learned how to wash dishes in the river, and the girls spent hours filling water bottles with purified water.

Gravity pump?! Whatever happened to the old-fashioned hand pump?!?

Feeling better, and eager to be useful

Holly stared at a tiny pool of water in a rock for nearly 20 minutes because, “I just know there are fairies in there”.

The girls slept great (although probably not as good as Uncle John in his new Monarch hammock tent- so-cool-I-WANT-one!!!), but Bronwyn woke me up at some point after dawn wanting to know if I could hear, “the most beautiful bird song I have ever heard in my life”.

I think the only thing that would have made this trip better, was if Josselyn could have been with us, and we could start making memories as a full family of five.  Next year, Joss.  Next year!

Pretending to be asleep!

Making faces!

Madawaska 2011

Sheep Farm 2011

27 Jun

Last year we didn’t make it to Bruce’s coworker’s sheep farm.  I don’t know why exactly since the kids had such a blast that year!

Cutest 17 month old ever!!

She's just a BABY!

I am weeks away from delivering

Anyway, we went again this year- and it was 3 times the fun!

Feeding the orphan

Holly, especially,  had a wonderful time asking insightful questions about the machinery, the way the farm was run, why some sheep were in different pens, how sheep got their medication, what all the sheep’s names were (over 100- sorry kid, they don’t all get names!)…

Note, too, her ensemble:  the rubber boots were because, “we are going to a FARM, mom, my Crocs might get dirty”.

Bronwyn and Josselyn enjoyed feeding the lambs.  No questions asked.

Two Cute

16 Jun

Josselyn celebrated her 2nd birthday last Sunday (May 29), and Monday, and Tuesday… and, you get the picture.  It was a week-long celebration, with a week of events leading up to the big event.  What did we do for her on her double fun day?  Weeelllll… we actually invited ourselves to a friend’s house, brought supper and made them join us while we took the kids mini-putting.  I don’t think they minded.  We were there again tonight…

The big girls studying a difficult shot

Bruce adjusting Holly's swing

Josh helping Maya with the rest of us looking on

Bored of golfing, Joss is checking out the wildlife

Hole in One! PS I also got a Hole in One but no one saw it since I was at the end, and they didn't believe me!!!

More animals

Mini Golf anyone? Come visit, and we'll go to a great place!

Now that Joss is 2, I am noticing a subtle, yet real change in her behaviour.  She is still a toddler, and has worse tantrums than the other girls at any age put together but she is so much better than she used to be.  She has smiles for strangers, and hugs for friends.  She spontaneously calls out the names of my friends who she likes.  She melts down and cries, but can be distracted with apple juice (just not right away- she needs time to feel she’s made her case).  She still loves Purple, but has rechristened it “Mimi”.  She is learning to share.  And she is showing a heart of sweetness.  If she receives a candy as a treat for peeing in the potty she holds out her other hand every single time and says, “Holl?”  I must give her one for Holly too, or she becomes indignant then inconsolable.

She is a pretty good eater, and is definitely willing to try new foods.  But beware if she decides she doesn’t like it, because she’ll spit it back out in your hand.  She also likes to feed you her food.  But again, BEWARE: one time it wasn’t food, it was a booger.

She always shouts “ong ong” before you lay her down in her crib.  That means “song”.  And you could find yourself starting half a dozen before she nods that it is the right one.  Lately the “right one” is “I want to Eat Apples and Bananas”.  Strange for a lullaby…

I can take her out for short errands with no Pull-Up on.  Except today when the wait in the line at Wal-Mart was so lengthy that she peed in the aisle.

She loves to swim, and wants to do it on her stomach with her face in the water, and a good strong kick.  Except, she also doesn’t want to be held onto, and I have let her sink a few times when she was too insistent.  She always came up sputtering and smiling.  I worry about her…  She has slid down the slide or jumped into the pool without waiting for anyone to catch her.  Several times.  Today, she was walking along the edge of the pool with her lifejacket on and fell in.  It wasn’t on purpose, she just leaned too far forward, and I watched as she wobbled and tried to regain her balance but eventually succumbed to gravity.  I was on her in a second and pulling her out.  She didn’t love it, but she didn’t cry.

She is in the 2s and 3s room at church now.  Which means I have no one in the nursery anymore.  That is bittersweet.

She loves Curious George just as much as Bronwyn did at that age.  I may have to buy second copies of those books they are so dog-eared.

She is fanatically, maniacally obsessed with Dora.  She screams in the car if we don’t listen to Dora (not that I give in all the time- the girls are sick of that CD as much as I am), and cries when we don’t watch Dora on tv (why would we bother watching anything else?!?!??) but she does eventually get over it, and quite enjoyed Barbie in the Princess and the Pauper the other night.  There will be a photoblog on that story coming up soon.

What else?  She is around 24lbs, 33 3/4 in, and cute as a picture.  FYI that puts her in the barely 3rd and almost 75th percentile respectively.  We are stopped daily by old ladies and store employees who gawk at her hair, her eyes, and her *ahem* sunny disposition.  My baby is growing up, and I am excited to see that her strong-will and wild (er) disposition have tempered with age, while still showing signs of being a valuable asset to her when she gets a little older.  I can’t wait to see how she’s grown in another year!

Happy Birthday Josselyn!

BFF… is it possible?

19 May

Bronwyn has a BFF.  Her name is Madison, and our story of how we met is a good one:

The first time I laid eyes on Erin (Mads’ mother) she was speeding past us in a passing lane and I glanced over and told Bruce, “look, there is another black Vibe with a guy that looks JUST like you… weird”.

Turns out, we were going to the same place.  This guy (and wife and daughter) were the other members of the wedding party that Bruce was in (for their mutual best friend).

“Is it strange that Ben has two best friends that look the same, drive the same car, have wives that practice in the same profession and specialty, and have all the same interests?”

A little.

When they moved to our area, I had to get to know them.  That first weekend together when Bronwyn was 5 months old and Madison was 8 months old, and Erin and I traded off shifts attending the reception and babysitting the kids set us up for an unexpected friendship.

Fast Forward Five Years.

Both girls assure us that they are best friends forever.  Why bother making other friends, they have each other.  They don’t go to the same school.  They see each other maybe twice a month.  And when they do get together?  They play in separate rooms.

Erin and I have shook our heads more than once and this incongruity.  I mean, what’s the point in having a best friend if you don’t do anything “best friend-y”?

I think us adults could take a page from their book though.  I am in a position where I have had to make new friends in my adult life.  My old friends are far away, and we moved to an area where we didn’t know anyone.  It amazes me that in a combined town of 30 ooo people, I have managed to meet so many quality friends.  They keep moving away, but I’m trying not to take it personally…

I still struggle how to manage friendships though.  How is it that a concept I find incomprehensible, my 5 year old handles with aplomb?  I constantly second guess myself.  I feel shy about introducing myself to new people.  I hesitate over the proper etiquette of who should invite who over and what should we do together etc.  I trip over my tongue in an effort to make my friends feel welcome in my home.

And I still don’t have that calm assurance that Bronwyn has when she declares that the only person she wants at her birthday is Madison… obviously…

Once when we were all at the park, the most popular girl in Mads’ class came running over:

“Madison, I am SO glad to see you here.  Let’s play, ok?”

“Can’t you see I am with my BEST friend, Bronwyn?”

Snooty?  A bit.  But that unwavering loyalty isn’t something you can teach.  And I wouldn’t take it away from them for anything in the world.

Hoping all your birthday wishes come true, Madison!