Wednesday, 17 May 2017

March, April, May

Three months, that's how long it's taken me to get back on here.  Oh my!  I just read through our vacation post and I miss being there so much.  I love vacations with you monkeys, it's just too much fun!  I have to go to work shortly, but I thought I would try to squeeze in a quick update.  I work at the Collingwood Circus Club as a coach which is a really great job, so I can't complain!

We are already halfway through spring!  The end of winter and first have of spring seemed to drag on forever.  Even though winter was quite mild, it took forever to warm up and it felt like most of the spring so far has been cold, wet, and dreary.  A few weeks ago it rained for a week straight which did not help my mood.  Finally this week it has been nice, today even feels like summer which is just lovely.

We have been up to the usual - school, home, activities, the odd adventure.  In the beginning of March we went on Grandpa's Tremblant trip and had a blast.  Daddy didn't come, but Mommy's cousin Mary Rose came with her boys Xavier and Ethan, and you kids loved spending time together.  They're just a little older than Tristan and Finn, but it was fun hanging out with them, and another little boy on the trip named Aiden who was I think 5 or 6.  It was only a few days long, and it was so very cold when we were there, but it was a nice adventure.

The activities you guys have been up to include karate, crossfit, circus, gymnastics, dance, and some swimming.  We are actually done swimming lessons for now as we cancelled our Y membership, but we'll start lessons back up in September at a different pool.  All of you are doing well in the water, Tristan you swim like a fish, Finn you are pretty much swimming on your own, and Lily every day you get a little more comfortable in the water.  Crossfit is fun as always, and you boys love it.  I really hope you continue it for years to come because it is so good for you.  I see such improvements in your strength and coordination.  None of you are especially strong or coordinated, so that is why I love seeing you participate in all kinds of different sports!  Finn, you are doing circus once a week.  You really wanted to do it!  I love that you enjoy it!  Lily you do gymnastics and dance, and you love both.  You have a recital coming up and you seem really excited about it.  I hope you don't get too nervous!  I have already signed you up next year for tap and jazz, and you are so excited to get your own tap shoes!  Karate has been fun, though we haven't been going as much as we should for you boys to progress.  In February Tristan you did your yellow belt ranking, and got it!  We were so proud of you!  There is another ranking coming up and you really want to try for your orange belt, I am not sure if you are ready since we miss so many classes.  Last weekend you did your third karate tournament and you get a little more confident each time.  There were only three kids in your sparring division, and even though you lost in the first round you sparred really well.  You only lost by one point, and the other kid was so much bigger than you which didn't seem fair!  You ended up with a bronze medal, and boy were you proud of yourself!  And you should be!  I feel like you have a lot of potential to be great at karate, and when you do tournaments or in class you are motivated to get better, but other times you are lazy and complain about having to go.  I think if you are going to advance you will have to go twice a week next fall.  Finn, karate is hit or miss with you.  You are definitely not as focussed.  But I do think it is good for you, so maybe we'll continue with you next fall.

Tristan you've already started baseball training this year.  You've moved up to the Mites team, and you love it.  You are doing really well.  Since not the most coordinated, but you're hitting and running well, and you always try really hard which makes me happy.  Finn you are going to be on the Tykes team, but they haven't started yet.  I imagine it will be starting in the next few weeks.  We love baseball nights, it's such a great time to spend at the field!

Those are all the fun sports and activities you guys have been up to.  We've also gone on some fun adventures lately.  Last weekend since we were downtown for the karate tournament, Grandpa and I took you kids to the ROM to see the dinosaur bones.  Boy were all three of you excited!  It was actually so cool.  You were all engaged and loved seeing the dinosaurs, but Finn you especially were so happy.  You had me take your picture with most of them, and you knew most of their names!  You are my little dino expert!  We checked out some other areas of the ROM too.  It was a great day.

And guess who turned 7 a few weeks ago!  Finn, I can't believe you are 7!  Instead of a birthday party I convinced you that we should go to LEGOLAND instead, and you weren't disappointed!  Rachael, Scott and Bea joined us, and even our friend Kristin, James, Xavier, and Zach came too.  You had a fantastic birthday and bought a ton of lego with your birthday money!

I want to continue but have to run to work, so I'm going to try to pick this up again later.  I know I always say that and the months go by, but I still have to update the pictures on the computer so when I do that I'll try to write more!

Love,
Mommy

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Florida and Bahamas Cruise 2017

Waaaahhhh!!!!  It's so hard being home from a great vacation!  The first little while after coming home is the hardest.  All I can think about is planning another beach vacation.  We've already been home for a few weeks, and I miss the sunshine already!

We left on January 16th and stayed over night in Toronto because our flight was super early in the morning.  Like at 6:25am, which meant we had to get up at like 3:30am to get to the airport for 4:30.  That part sucked!  For the most part getting on the flight was ok.  There was a little mixup and we waited forever in the wrong line, which meant we were tight for time getting to our gate, but we made it as they were calling final boarding so that was ok.  The flight down was uneventful, and the best part about a super early flight is that we landed in Orlando by 9:30am.  Getting a rental car took some time, but we were at our hotel a little after lunch which was great because then we still had the rest of the day to explore and relax.

We had a lovely villa at the Marriott Royal Palms Resort.  It was amazing.  The villa was big with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a full kitchen, laundry, and a view of the golf course.  The weather was amazing.  We hit the pool right away and had a relaxing evening while we settled in.

That was Tuesday, and we didn't waste any time!  On Wednesday we hit up Disney World.  At least this time we knew what to expect.  We got there nice and early, around 9:30, just ahead of the crowds.  We already knew our way around from two years ago, so we headed straight to Adventureland and walked right on The Pirates of the Caribbean without having to wait in line.  Lily you were a bit scared, but we all had fun.  It's one of my favourite rides!  We did some other rides like the Jungle Cruise and Aladdin's carpets, and had fun seeing all the singing birds in the Enchanted Tiki Room.  I swear it was like we never left!  We explored and did lots more rides.  We managed to get all the good rides in.  Peter Pan's adventure, the Dumbo ride, the Little Mermaid (which was new, and it was awesome!), the carousel, Buzz Lightyears Space Rangers, and many more!  We caught the parade which was great, just like last time, and had lunch at the Crystal Buffet, just like last time.  We had kind of hoped to make a reservation at one of the fancy restaurants, like Cinderella's or Belle's castles, but we left it too late and couldn't get in.  That's ok though, because we knew the buffet was good and you guys got your pictures taken with Winnie the Pooh and his friends.  Lily you were so thrilled to see and hug them, the expression on your face in all the pics is priceless!  Finn, I managed to convince you to go on Space Mountain with me!  You were scared, but very brave and ended up liking it!  We finished the evening with a ride on the Seven Dwarf's Mining Coaster, one of our favourite rides from last time.  Tristan you wouldn't go on Space Mountain, but at least both of your went on the mining coaster.  Disney was a success!  I always love going there and look forward to going again!

We didn't plan anything crazy on Thursday because we wanted a rest day between parks.  Mommy checked out the Orlando Crossfit gym in the morning which was called Mousetrap, and that was lots of fun.  We spent the whole afternoon at the pool again, which was awesome.  The pool at the hotel near our villa was much larger than the one by us, and had a splash pad and waterslides.  It was so nice swimming in the water and sitting poolside.  We lucked out and had amazing weather.  It was hot!

Friday was another action packed day.  This time we went to Universal Studios, which Mommy and Daddy loved!  It was so fun, but I think it was more fun for older kids and adults, as there weren't as many rides for you kids to go on.  Mostly you stood in line with us while we went on big kid/adult rides.  But you were all good sports, and there was some stuff for you to do.  The first ride we went on was King Kong's Skull Island, and actually waiting in line it seemed a little scary.  Lily you didn't go on it, but they had a child swap feature where one parent waits with the kid(s), and then takes turns riding with the other parent.  The boys went on the Skull Island one.  I didn't know what to expect, but it was AMAZING!  It was a 3-D simulation ride, and we were in a like a safari car, but it really looked and felt like we were in the action, with Kong, dinosaurs, and all kinds of monsters all around us.  It was wild! 

We also went to the Jurassic Park area which was fun for everyone.  There was a Jurassic Camp area where you guys could run and play, and even spray each other and have a water fight!  There was a Pterodon Flyers ride which was good for all of us to go on, it was like a gentle swing ride way up high.  I have to admit it made me a little nervous because it was so high!  But we all went on it, even Lily, and it was great!  The Jurassic Park water ride was so exciting, it was a tour through all these dinosaurs and then into a lab area where it took you up high before falling down a steep hill.  It was quite thrilling!  Well Tristan you chickened out and wouldn't go on, but Finn was brave and went on with me, and then even went on again with Daddy!  Our little thrill seeker! 

After checking out the dinosaur area we headed to Harry Potter World, which was the part I was most excited about.  It was so wonderful and looked just like in the movie!  It was magical!  Daddy and I took turns going on a thrilling dragon roller coaster which was so fun, and then we waited for another simulation ride.  The lineup took us through Hogwart's castle which was so exciting!  It was my favourite ride, so wild and thrilling, I wish I could do it again!  We walked around Hogsmede, and then took the Hogwart's Express to Diagon Alley which was just as fun.  Again, it looked just like in the movie!  We saw people with wands everywhere making magical things happen in all the shop windows.  Daddy and I went on another simulation ride called Escape from Gringott's, which was also so much fun.  I can't wait until you kids are old enough to go on all these rides!

We spent the rest of our time at Universal exploring other areas.  We didn't do the Transformers ride because the lineup was quite long, however we did get to see and get our picture taken with Bumblebee!  Then we checked out this Shrek 'ride'.  It wasn't so much a ride, more like a 3-D adventure in a theatre with seats that moved a little bit.  It was great for you kids.  Lily really enjoyed it!  Before ending our evening there, we went to the Simpson's land and did one more fun ride before the park closed.  Then we ate dinner at Margaritaville in the Universal City Walk which was exciting.  Universal Studios was such a cool place, though it was super expensive.  I don't think we'll do it again any time soon, though I do think it will be so much fun to do when you guys are teenagers!

For Saturday we decided to hit the beach.  I did some research and read that Cocoa Beach Pier was a good place to check out, so we drove about an hour to spend the day there.  It was well worth the drive!  We had am amazing day at the beach.  We played in the sand and swam in the ocean, the water was so warm!  We had lunch at the pier restaurant, and even saw some dolphins playing in the surf!  There were so many seashells to collect and we brought tons home with us.  I love collecting seashells!  It was a fantastic day, and I'm so glad we made the trek out there to spend time in the sunshine.

Sunday we packed up and headed back to the airport where we dropped off our rental car and took the shuttle to the pier to board the cruise ship.  Getting on the ship took longer than I thought, I hadn't realized how much waiting in line was invoved.  It's pretty much the same as waiting to get board a plane.  We finally got on the boat, which was the Carnival Liberty, and go to exploring.  It was pretty cool!  It had lots of pools and hot tubs, a water slide, restaurants, an arcade, a kids camp, and more.  We set sail around 4pm and it was so exciting to be sailing on the ocean!

Well, the thing I was most worried about was seasickness.  I figured that if we had calm seas, we'd be fun.  Just our luck, the seas were anything but calm for the first day and a half.  They were calling for such high winds, like abnormally high winds.  Our first day was supposed to be at sea, and it was so rocky.  Wouldn't you know it, first thing that morning Tristan you started getting sick.  By the time you started throwing up it was too late to give you anything like Gravol.  You had sea bands on your wrists, but they didn't help.  You pretty much threw up all day and even a bit throughout that night.  The times you did feel ok we would walk around the boat while you carried a paper bag with you.  You couldn't eat a thing that whole time because it made it worse.  At some points you felt ok and went in the pool and hot tub, which helped a little since you didn't feel the rocking as much.  The seas were SO rough.

Lily, you didn't feel great that first day either, though I think you had come down with a bit of a cold.  You had a bit of a fever, and you slept for half the day.  Daddy felt nauseous too, so he slept with you.  Finn, you and I were the only ones unaffected by the rough waters.  I think if it were just the two of us, we would have had the best time ever!  So really, the first day was a bit of a write off.  We didn't get to enjoy much of the cruise or the activities while at sea.

We landed in Nassau on Tuesday morning, and Tristan you immediately felt better.  It was still kind of windy, but it settled a bit as the day went on and it was nice and warm.  We didn't book any excursions for that day, we decided to just wander around Nassau on our own.  We found our way to a public beach and hung out there for a bit.  It was a bit too windy for mine and Lily's liking, so we hung out on the chairs, but all three of you boys went swimming and played in the sand.  Then we took a cab to the Poop Deck which was a restuarant that we tried last year when we were there and really liked.  We had a nice meal before heading back to the boat.  It was a lovely day in Nassau.

Luckily by the time the boat left port again the seas had completely calmed down, and we enjoyed smooth sailing the rest of the trip.  Tristan, I made sure to keep Gravol in you at all times, and thankfully we didn't have any more sickness from that point.  That night you kids were able to go to Camp Ocean which was the kids area, and all three of you loved it.  It gave Daddy and I some quiet time to enjoy the boat and have a nice dinner.

The next day we landed in Freeport, Bahamas.  This time we had booked a beach excursion which I was really looking forward to.  It was nice, but very poorly organized.  It took forever to get on the busses that took us to the beach, which didn't leave us a lot of time to enjoy ourselves.  We only had maybe 2.5-3hrs there which wasn't enough.  We had booked some kids activities for you guys though, and all three of you loved spending the day in the kids area while Daddy and I enjoyed the beach and the buffet lunch.  It was a lovely day, I just wish we had more time there, so I was a litte disappointed.

That was Wednesday, which was our last night on the boat.  We enjoyed the Dive-In movie that night, which was trolls.  They played the movie on a big screen on the deck which was so awesome.  Then all three of you wanted to go back to Camp Ocean, so Daddy and I had a great dinner alone again.

We disembarked the boat on Thursday which was a bit of a mess.  I felt like sheep being herded around, and of course Daddy slipped and fell down some stairs, spraining not one but both of his ankles.  That really sucked, but he managed to walk it off and we got off the boat then took the shuttle back to the airport, and then another shuttle to a nearby inn where we were spending the night before flying out.  Actually it was a nice little place, very clean and convenient.  We went to the Florida Mall and hung out there for the afternoon and for dinner, which surprisingly was a nice way to end our vacation.

We flew home on Friday the 27th, and the trip home was smooth and uneventful.  Since then we've been getting back into routine.  Like I said it's so hard to be back, I keep dreaming of the beach. 

The trip was fantastic.  Not as relaxing as Atlantis, and a bit more of an adventure, but so much fun.  I feel like that no matter what we do, we always have fun because we are together.  I love travelling with you kids now that you're getting older and can enjoy all the fun activities.  You are all excellent little travellers and I was so proud of you.  It is so amazing to get away as a family.  We limited our technology and really enjoyed each other.  There was less bickering, less fighting, and more fun.  Its so nice to get away from routine.  I can't wait to plan so many more trips like that.

I have so much more to add but this has taken so long, and we have to get Tristan from karate class!  So I will have to continue later.

Love,
Mommy

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Christmas and New Years

And just like that, the holidays are over.  What a whirlwind the month of December was!  All the usual holiday events were in order:  decorating gingerbread houses and cookies, tobogganing in the snow, decorating the tree, Christmas concerts, shopping and wrapping.  This year was more exhausting than ever, and it really hit me how hard I have to work to make Christmas magical for you all.  I just want everyone to have an amazing Christmas, but I'm the only one who does the work.  It really wore me out.

That doesn't mean it wasn't a great Christmas.  All three of you were into it this year.  Tristan, you only really asked for two things this year:  a laptop, and a Star Wars Lego set.  Finn, your list included Star Wars and Batman Lego, something called a Power Rangers Dino Charger, Pok√©mon cards, and a Skylanders video game.  Lily, the only things you wanted were painting supplies and a magic ink colouring book.  So easy!

I had my shopping down relatively early which was great.  Tristan, this was the big year that you learned the truth about Santa.  You had been asking about the truth for quite sometime, so we talked about it and you learned that Santa isn't necessarily one guy, rather we are all Santa to each other.  To help you realize this I took you shopping with me and you got to be 'Santa'.  You were great helping me pick out Lily and Finn's gifts from Santa, and you helped me figure out what that Dino Charger thing was that Finn wanted.  You also helped me wrap their gifts.  I think you felt very grown up!

I tried very hard to involve you guys in picking and wrapping gifts.  It's easy enough for me to just buy and wrap everything, but I want all of you to enjoy the spirit of giving, and not just receiving gifts.  I took you boys shopping one weekend and you picked out a bunch of little gifts for Lily from an accessory store, and you guys picked out all sorts of things she loved like jewellery, makeup, little figurines, and a notebook to write in. 

The Christmas concert was cute as usual, though Lily you decided you didn't want to participate in your evening one.  For some reason you didn't have fun during the morning rehearsal and cried through the whole thing, and then refused to do the evening on.  I think you get really upset being put on the spot.  I was disappointed as I would have loved to see you up there dancing and singing with the other kids, but I wouldn't make you do something you didn't like.  I think you get a bit of stage fright which I hope you grow out of.  I remember being so shy and scared to do things as a kid, and now as an adult I wish I hadn't been.  You are so cute, and funny, and you love to dance and sing when the pressure is not on you.  I hope you learn to enjoy performing because it really is worth it.

Tristan and Finn, you both did great at the concert, no stage fright for you guys!  Finn, you are a natural.  You look so relaxed up and there and had no problem remembering your line and dancing around.  Tristan, you remembered all your parts too, though you tend to look a little more uptight and nervous.  It was a great performance from both of you.

We had lots of fun festivities throughout the month of December.  On one weekend, we had Mommy's work friends and their families over for a potluck on the Friday, then the boys and I went down to the Raptor's game in Toronto with Grandpa on Saturday, and drove back Sunday and straight to another friend's house for a holiday get together.  The Raptor's game was so much fun!! 

On another weekend we drove down and stayed at Auntie Rachael's house on the Friday night.  Auntie Rachael took Tristan to see the Nutcracker, and I was so excited because Tristan I thought you would love it.  Well turns out you thought it was boring and didn't even make it through the whole thing.  Oh well!  Maybe in a few years Lily and Bea can go see it!  We had a fun sleepover, and Bea loved having her cousin's over!  The next day was Grandpa's company party, and we went to an indoor amusement park that was in a mall.  It was super fun.  There were games and rides, and face painting.  Rachael, Scott, and Bea joined us for that as well.  After we had enough time playing we went to Woodbine Racetrack for dinner.  We enjoyed eating dinner and watching the horse races before driving back home that evening.

Christmas Eve we had our big family dinner, and we had a good turn out this year.  Grandma L and Papa John had everyone over to their new house to celebrate, and we had a great evening full of family and food.  The food was amazing, Daddy cooked a turkey and a ham, and every one pitched in so we had amazing sides and desserts.  It was a lovely evening. 

On Christmas morning we opened our presents, and then after lunch headed down to Grandpa's for the Masongsong Christmas party.  That is always fun as well, I love hanging out with the Masongsong's.  We stayed over night and headed back boxing day.

I would say everyone got what they wanted for Christmas.  Finn, I think you got everything on your list.  Tristan, you got your Lego and Grammy was awesome and got you a laptop which you are thrilled about.  We just need to get it set up properly with some antivirus software so you can use it more.  Lily, you were happy to get so much painting stuff, it will last you the whole year!  But Mommy and Daddy got you the best present of all, we took you to pick out a fish tank!  We decided to get a salt water tank because it's something Daddy has always wanted, so we got the whole setup and it's ready to go.  There are no fish yet because the water needs time to prepare, but in a few weeks time we are going to get anemone, coral, crabs, shrimp, and fish.  It's so exciting!

Like I said, Christmas took a lot out of me.  I really felt this year like you guys didn't appreciate me or anything I did.  None of you got me anything (or mentioned to Daddy that you'd like to get me something), and I kind of felt like it was a lot of complaining and grumbling on all your parts.  Like when I'd go to take you to the activities that we pay lots of money for, and you complain that you don't want to go cause all you want to do is stay home and watch tv or play video games.  Always complaining, never saying thank you.  I am hoping these are things we can work on in the new year.

But, at the end of the day, it's all worth it when you're all happy!

The last two weeks while you've all been out of school have been tough, you're always fighting or making a mess.  But only a few days and you'll all be back in school!

Last week we went to the movies, Daddy took the boys to see the new Star Wars movie, and Lily and I went to see Disney's Moana.  Well Moana was pretty much the best movie ever!  We both loved it, and we loved the music so much that I downloaded the soundtrack, and we all want to listen to it all the time!  So now you boys love the music so much that you want to see the movie, so we're going to go see it again today!  We're also excited to see Moana when we go to Disney in a few weeks.

Our big trip is only 10 days away!  First we're flying to Orlando and we're going to spend 5 days there.  We're going to go to Disney Magic Kingdom for one day, and Universal Studios on another day.  I wish we could do another day of parks while we're there, but it's so expensive!  After Orlando we're going to go on a 4 day Bahama Cruise, which I am so excited about.  We're going to go to the beach while we're there, and the boat is going to be awesome too.  I can't wait!

I guess I will report back after our trip!

Love,
Mommy

Friday, 25 November 2016

Holy Crap, it's November!!

Not only is it November, but it's almost December which means Christmas season is upon us.  In my last post I was talking about fun in the sun, and summer things.  Now we are talking about the holidays.  Where does the time go!!

Where did we leave off?  It was August, which means summer was just about over and Tristan turned 8!  As usual we went on a little adventure for your birthday Tristan.  On the Friday we took a trip to Canada's Wonderland.  It was so fun to take you kids there.  Mommy spent a lot of time there when I was a kid and teenager and it was neat to go back.  We went on lots of rides, ate yummy food, went to the splash pad, and saw a cool acrobat show.  There was this really awesome dinosaur area where they had animatronic dinosaurs that moved and made sounds.  They looked so real!  You guys really liked that part.  Tristan, you worked up the nerve to go on the Ghoster Coaster with me.  I could tell you were psyching yourself up for it all day, and finally decided you wanted to go.  You hung on to me the whole time, and then when it was done you looked at me with a big smile and said "Why was I hanging on so tight?!"

That same weekend we had a little birthday party for you at Grandpa's house, and lots of our family and family friends came out to celebrate.  Your actual birthday was on the Monday, so we took you out for dinner and let you decide where you wanted to go.  You chose Crystal Buffet, of course!

The summer blew by in a whirl and soon enough it was time for you all to go back to school.  This year all three of you were going to go to Nottawa, Tristan in grade 3, Finn in grade 1, and Lily in JK.  You were all super excited to go back, especially you Lily!  We found out who all your teachers were and I was very pleased to hear you all had teachers that we had had before.  Tristan, you were initially in Mrs O's class (Finn had her in JK), and all your friends were in your class.  Finn, you have Mrs Kutcy (Tristan's grade 1 teacher), and I was thrilled about that because I knew she would help you a lot with your reading.  Lily, you are in Mrs McIntyre and Mrs Eichenberger's class.  Mrs Mc was Tristan's teacher last year.  About three weeks into the school year they announced that they would be adding another 3/4 split class because there were some last minute enrolments.  As soon as I heard that I knew Tristan that they would move you over because you are so mature for your age, and you do well with older kids.  Sure enough they moved you into the class with a new teacher, Miss Gill.  At first I was disappointed.  Most of your friends stayed behind in Mrs O's class, but luckily one of your good friends, Jacob, went with you.  Then I met Miss Gill and realized that I already knew her from the Crossfit gym, so that made me feel better.  She seemed great!  You best buddy Sam is still in the other class, but you're not upset about it and you see him all the time anyway.

The school year has been fantastic so far.  I will start with Tristan.  I have to admit, I am thrilled with Miss Gill.  She is very sweet, kind, and disciplined.  She genuinely cares for the students and I would say takes extra steps to enrich your education.  Tristan you are always talking about how calm she is, and I think she pays special attention to creating a very calm environment that is conducive to learning.  I have no reservations whatsoever about you having been moved to her class.  You continue to get high marks in your progress reports, being right where you should be for most things and above average in language and math.  I think your reading is as good as ever, though I do think you could do a bit more reading on your own.  Miss Gill sends weekly word study and extra math homework, and at first I was a little put off by homework but actually it's been great.  It's only a tiny bit every day, and we've gotten into a great routine where you do your homework right away after school before getting any ipad time.  You are very good about getting it done promptly and it only takes you 5-10 minutes.  You have been an excellent student so far. 

Finn, I have always been worried about you having to follow in Tristan's footsteps, but you have proven that you don't live in his shadow.  Though you are different and your strengths are different, you are thriving with Mrs Kutcy.  I even think you might be one of her favourite students.  She has adored you right from the beginning because you are so caring and kind to your friends.  Right from the first week she told me how you were so nice to your friend Jackson, who started school a little later than everyone else.  You got the October award for cooperation and I came to the assembly to see it presented to you.  Mrs Kutcy says you are always kind to everyone, and you help out without even being asked.  As far as school goes, you are doing fantastic.  I was so worried about your reading and addressed it with Mrs Kutcy, and she said you are right where you are supposed to be.  Tristan was twice as far ahead as any other student at his age in grade 1, and though you are on par with everyone else, you are getting better at reading every day.  We do your daily reading books, and now you are starting to read quite well on your own.  It makes me wonder why I was every worried about your reading in the first place!  You also got above average marks for math on your progress report, and Mrs Kutcy has said to me that you seem to be very ahead in your math skills.  I think math is your strongest subject!  I am so over the moon happy with how well you are doing in grade 1 so far.

Lily, you have had no problems adjusting to JK.  You've been happy to go most days, and are always happy when I pick you up.  I know the days have been long for you, and quite often you are tired and cranky in the afternoons.  Occasionally in the mornings you will say you don't want to go to school, but once you get there you are happy to go in with your friends.  You're making lots of new little friends and enjoying your time there.  You're doing quite well with your letters and numbers.  Your teachers have no concerns about you whatsoever and they love having you in their class.

All in all I am just so happy with how school is going for all of you.  We love Nottawa school, and it's so nice to know you're all thriving there.  I remember a few weeks ago when we had parent teacher conferences, I left that day feeling so amazing that all of your teachers had such wonderful things to say about all of you.  Makes me feel like I'm doing something right with you guys!

As far as extracurricular goes, we have been busy as usual.  We stopped doing music towards the end of the summer and never ended up going back.  You guys liked it, but you didn't seem to care about stopping either.  We still keep our instruments handy and sometimes you'll play them.  You also all do a little music in school.  I am hoping that you've got a good foundation for music, and when the time comes that any of you take an interest in learning an instrument again, you'll be ready to jump back in.

We've started karate again one night a week, and that is going well for the most part.  Tristan, you graduated to the big class and I can really see your skills developing.  Sensei Norm is working with you to get you reading for your yellow belt grading which will happen in January.  Finn, you are doing really well too.  Sometimes you get a little goofy, but for the most part you stay really focused.  Lily, you have started karate and it is hit or miss.  Some days you participate for a little bit before losing interest, and other days you're just a tired mess by then and don't participate at all.  But I think it's a good thing for you to learn, so we will keep going and hopefully over time you will join in more and more.  I think self defense is a necessity for everyone to learn, but especially females, and so we will keep up with the karate for awhile.  We are not going to tournament this fall although Tristan you did want to.  I think you could use a bit more time to get better before doing another one, so we'll do the one in the spring.

Thursdays have been our circus nights.  I signed all three of you up for circus classes at the Circus Club where I work, and it's been ok.  You all participate and do alright, but I wouldn't say any of you love it.  I don't think we'll do circus classes again, since we have a silk at home anyway.  Instead, Lily I put you back into gymnastics for January because I think it's better for you.  You like circus, gymnastics etc, but you are still very cautious and I'd like to see you have more body awareness and hopefully get a little braver with being upside down and things like that.

Crossfit has continued for you boys as well and that is fun as always.  Often you guys will say you don't want to go, mostly because you just want to be lazy and goof off.  But you always have the best time while you're there, and it is so important to me that you kids learn what it means to be active and physically fit.  Fitness has become such a bit part of Mommy and even Daddy's life too, and we want you guys to learn to love fitness at a much younger age than we did.  Let me tell you, it's much harder to become fit the older you get, so better start now!

Lastly we have done swimming on Sundays, and that is going well too.  We are still going to the Y, but since Mommy and Daddy have joined other gyms now, I think come the new year we are going to switch your swimming over to Centennial Pool.  I have heard excellent things about it, and apparently it's a much warmer pool.  Tristan and Finn, you guys are doing great with swimming.  Lily, you like your lessons and are happy to go, but it's taking you a really long time to feel comfortable in the water.  You still don't like to get your head wet, and you'll be swimming with floaties forever at this rate, but that's ok.  I'm sure you'll get there in the end.

I'm trying to think of some other fun things we've been up to.  Towards the end of September for Mommy's birthday we went to a Jay's game, which was ok.  It actually wasn't a great game cause it was late and you were all tired, and the Jay's lost big time, but it's always fun to get out to see them.  The Jay's had another great year and won the ALDS for the second year in a row.  It was sad to see them lose in the next series after that but they did great and we can't wait for them to come back next year.

We also took a trip to the Toronto Zoo late in September which was fun.  We went when it wasn't too busy so we had a nice time strolling around and seeing all the animals.  I think the pandas were the coolest thing!

Fall this year was just beautiful, it stayed really warm and the leaves were brilliant and took a long time to fall.  As usual we went to Rounds Ranch, on Thanksgiving weekend.  It was fun as always.  We had a great Thanksgiving Dinner here with family too.

Halloween was a lot of fun.  This year Tristan you decided to be the Grim Reaper.  You had a cloak and scary mask, and carried a scythe.  Finn, you were Optimus Prime.  Lily, you initially wanted to be Wonderwoman but then changed your mind to Elsa, and then you decided you didn't even want to go trick or treating this year.  After dinner and said you wanted to stay home, but you put on your costume anyway so I could take a few pictures.  Tristan and Finn, this year you really wanted to go trick or treating with your friends, so instead of going in our neighbourhood we drove to Nottawa so you could go with Sam, Jacob, Mason, and Shepard.  Luckily it was a really nice night and not too cold.  The neighbourhood was awesome for trick or treating, and you guys had so much fun running door to door with your buddies.  I have a feeling we'll be going to Nottawa every year from now on!

What else to say about your guys?  You're all awesome most of the time.  We have our bad days but they always fade from memory quickly and the good ones stand out.  Tristan, you are growing up so fast and are looking so mature these days.  You're so smart and are always thinking.  You ask a lot of mature questions about life, politics, religion, the world in general.  You are always asking questions and learning.  You can be a pain sometimes, you don't like to listen when it's time to stop doing something and move on to something else, and I have to ask you a million times to do things.  You don't take a lot of initiative to do things on your own, but for the most part with listen when I ask (even if I ask over and over again, and you end up grumbling while you're doing it).  You're really into things that require building or thinking.  If I take you to pick out a new toy, you will often pick something to build, or a science kit.  You love things like digging for rocks, or making slime, etc.

Finn, you are surprising us every day with how sweet and sensitive you are becoming.  We thought you would be a mischievous trouble maker in school but like I said you are the complete opposite.  I think out of the three of you, you are the one who thinks of others the most.  You will help out without being asked, and I think you genuinely like helping others and doing good.  You are the least selfish in the family by far.  So this week it was announced that your principal, Mr Comish, would be going to another school next week.  The whole school is devastated as he has been the most amazing principal ever.  Mrs Kutcy said that when Mr Comish came in to tell your class the news, she was holding it together until she looked at you.  You were so sad and teary that it made her fall apart a bit.  Today is Mr Comish's last day and they are having an assembly and send off for him.  Initially this morning you started saying you felt sick, but you were acting fine.  I brought you back home, and it turns out you didn't want to go because every time they talk about Mr Comish leaving you get too upset.  My poor sensitive guy!!

Finn, I suspect you will be the most popular kid in school.  I think even now all the little girls love you.  I am always having teachers and parents tell me that one little girl or other has mentioned how much they like you.  I think your personality draws people to you. 

Lily, like I said you are doing well in JK.  Your teachers said they ask you questions just to hear your little voice.  You are a chatterbox and are always talking.  You have an amazing imagination and can play for ages by yourself.  As always you love art, especially painting.  You like to paint your toys and give them makeovers, and I let you because they are just toys and I like that you are being creative.  I forgot to mention that you are taking dance class and you absolutely love it.  You love to dance and sing, and actually you sing really well.  You can still be Miss Attitude quite a bit.  Meltdowns over petty things are not uncommon in this house.  Your attitude is ridiculous sometimes.  Often though, you are the most cooperative when it comes to things like getting ready for school and brushing your teeth.  I love that you are equal parts princess and tom boy.  Some days you insist on wearing a tiara while you play with your dinosaurs and dragons.  Some of your favourite shows include Transformers and Skylanders.

It has just started to feel like winter just this past week, and we even got a little bit of snow which has made all of your very happy.  Christmas season is here so we better start planning soon. 

I had hoped to update this blog and then do pictures afterwards, but this has just taken me so long and now I have to go do other things so the pictures will have to wait.  Hopefully it won't be another 3 1/2 months until I write again!

Love, Mommy

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Camping and Cottaging

I have taken this opportunity to upload our pics from the last few months and write a little post here.  I always put off doing it because it is such a task, but I don't like to get behind on the pictures too much.  If I do, it takes so long to upload them all!  Even now I haven't done it for two months, and it's taken me about an hour or more.  I have to upload them all from my phone and camera, then organize them into the proper folders, and I also go through them and get rid of duplicates and blurry pictures.  After all that I upload them from the computer onto Shutterfly.  I do this to try to keep track of everything.  We take a lot of pictures, and I want to be able to go back and look at them all!  I am almost done putting them to Shutterfly.

Summer fun continues and we continue to have fun adventures.  One weekend we went to Auntie Rachael's new house and swam in her pool.  That was a lot of fun!  I realized Tristan that you are a much stronger swimmer than I had thought.  The swimming lessons have paid off!  You can swim quite well on your own in the deep end without any help, and you can dive down, and jump off the edge.  I was actually pleasantly surprised at what a strong swimmer you've become!  Finn, more recently you have started swimming well on your own too which is great.  I feel better with you in a life jacket when we're in a pool together so I don't have to stress as much, but just last week at the cottage you started asking to take the jacket off and started swimming on your own which is awesome.

After Auntie Rachael's house we had a fun visit with some of Mommy's cousins and their families.  We met them at Grandpa's house for lunch and then went to the park and splash pad.  All the kids had a great time playing together, and it makes me so happy to have family with other small kids that we can spend time with.

You boys have now down two weeks of Crossfit camp which has been a huge hit.  Finn you have become so much more active and stronger since starting Crossfit which is fantastic.  You've gained some confidence in your strength and are now able to climb all sorts of things.  It's been really great for your body and your self-esteem.  Both of you are getting so strong and it makes me so happy to see you enjoying exercise!

All three of you love my silks as well and use them a lot at home.  I'm quite impressed with the skills you've all picked up from me.  All of you can stand on the eggknot and do a box stand.  Tristan and Finn, you can both straddle back quite easily now.  Finn, you even came up with your own move called the "Sleeping Bat", which is so cute!  I am contemplating putting you in circus kids classes at the gym where I work. 

Actually Finn, you've surprised me a lot lately with your growth and development.  Not only are you doing great at Crossfit, silks, and swimming, but you've also started playing with my hoops more too.  Also, your reading is slowly improving, even though I don't read with you as much as I should, I can tell you are recognizing more words.  Even more exciting is you are really into math right now, especially addition.  You will walk around reciting simple equations, or like to ask what, for example, 8+8 is, and then when I ask what you think it is, you give me the right answer.  You can add small numbers but you also fully understand the concept of 10's, so you are adding numbers in the 10's and even 100's.  You can count by 10 and by 100 which is great.  The best part is you've taken interest in it all on your own.  I think you are ready for grade 1!

Speaking of reading, Tristan you are my little reading buddy.  I like to read novels to you before bed when I can, because I know you like the same kind of fantasy and sci-fi stuff that I like.  So far we have read the first two Harry Potter books, one called Gregor the Overlander, and the first Percy Jackson book.  We are currently reading Sea of Monsters which is the second Percy Jackson book.  You really like the Harry Potter and Percy Jackson movies too.  You are definitely my kid, because that is the kind of stuff I love!  There are 7 Harry Potter Books, 5 Percy Jackson books, and 5 Heroes of Olympus books, so we have lots to read together!

Our big adventures this summer have been camping and the cottage.  A few weeks ago we went camping at Awenda Provincial Park with Grandpa.  Daddy stayed at home to get some work done.  We left on Thursday night and camp home on Sunday.  We haven't really done much camping in the past, just a night a few years ago at a nearby campsite for Tristan's birthday.  I've always wanted to do more camping but when you guys were little it was tricky.  Now that you are older, it's something I want to do more often.  We had an amazing time!  Yes, it was a lot of work to get packed up and get the campsite set up, especially since Daddy wasn't there to help.  But it was totally worth it.  We had an amazing site right near the park and the bathroom, and you kids had a blast.  We had campfires and did all the usual camping things, and because we were by the park you kids spent a lot of time playing there and made all sorts of friends.  We went to the beach and hung out at the campsite.  We had a tent and Grandpa brought his camper van.  It was so much fun and I can't wait to go camping again next year, hopefully we will be able to go a few times and Daddy will be able to come too.

While we were at the campsite Tristan you wanted to practice your batting, and you ended up smashing your thumb between the ball and the bat.  Your thumb nail bruised right away and after that it got worse.  One night during your regular baseball game it got stepped on and banged up all over again.  Now, a few weeks later, your nail is just barely hanging on.  It's so gross!  You need to pull it off already but you just leave it there hanging off.  A new nail is already growing in, but it will be pretty ugly for a little while!

The week after camping we started getting ready for our cottage week.  We left on the Monday of the August long weekend and drove to Bobcaygeon.  We first drove into town to have lunch before heading to the cottage resort.  We had lunch and ice cream, then headed over.  The place was called Blue Pigeon Resort on Pigeon Lake.  It was a place is a series of cottages and a cottage complex unit, and by the looks of it they are hoping to expand it to add more cottages and a little motel.  They had nice waterfront with large docks and a sandy beach area, and a shallow swimming area with a water trampoline.  There was also a playground and trampoline, and a pool which was awesome.  We had the biggest cabin, the Blue Jay cottage.  It was huge with 5 bedrooms but we had friends come up to join us for a few nights.

We had an awesome week!  The weather was HOT!  Thank goodness for the lake and the pool.  There was no need to leave the resort, there was so much to do while we were there.  Our friends James, Kristin, and their boys Xavier and Zach joined us for two nights, and all you kids got along great.  We had campfires and smores, and hung out by the pool a lot. 

Tristan you loved going fishing with Daddy.  You two went out quite a bit and you even caught a large pickerel on your own!  You are going to be a fishing fanatic like Daddy I think.  Finn and Lily, you two didn't want to go on the boat, but you did a little dock fishing.  Lily and Tristan both caught some small rock bass off the dock which you were both proud of. 

The resort was lovely and there were lots of other families there.  You kids made friends which everyone, and it had a lovely atmosphere with all the friendly people mingling.  The cabin next to us was a family of 5 as well, but their kids were all teenagers.  You guys took a liking to them and they were really sweet teens, letting you hang out and tag along with them.  It was great, they would take you guys to the park, or swimming which was awesome!

I really love these trips where we can get away from it all.  At home sometimes you guys drive me nuts, especially in the summer with no school, when you're constantly asking to play video games or watch on the ipad.  I don't mind you kids having some screen time, but every day is a constant battle to keep all three of you from spending hours looking at screens.  You'd all play/watch on them all day long if I didn't intervene.  I love vacations because it forces you away from all that.  We leave the ipad at home, and aside from a bit of movies on the portable dvd player, you guys don't get much screen time at all.  Instead you run around outside and play with friends, the way childhood is supposed to be!

We stayed at the cottage from Monday to Friday, and then after checking out we did lunch in Bobcaygeon again.  Then we headed over to a little farm to see Mommy's old horse, Maverick.  He is retired out that way, and I've wanted to visit him for awhile but it's just too far to drive for a day.  This year I had specifically asked Daddy if we could rent a cottage out that way so I could go visit him.  He lives on a lovely little farm called Tranquility Acres, where there are lots of other horses, plus cats, dogs, chickens, and cows.  Tristan and Lily, you loved being at the farm!  I think you would have spent all day there if you could have, chasing the barn cat named Tuxedo, and petting all the horses.  You two are my animal lovers for sure.  Finn, I think you would like animals more if it weren't for your allergies.  We knew you reacted to cats, but within 5 minutes of being around the horses your eyes had swelled up and you got hives on your face and neck.  So now we know you are allergic to horses too, and you didn't really enjoy our visit to the farm.  Most of the time you sat in the truck with Daddy.  That was a bit of a bummer.  I felt really bad for you.  I'm hoping that you outgrow your allergies a bit as you get older.

We've been home for a week and continue to enjoy our summer.  I'm trying to keep August pretty quiet, although there are still fun things I'd like to do.  I would like to take you guys to Blue Mountain Village at some point because we haven't been in ages, and maybe to Plunge too.  Tristan, you want to go to the Ex again for your birthday, but I think we should do Wonderland instead.  I had thought about doing the Toronto Zoo, but Daddy suggested African Lion Safari.  None

Well this has taken me forever, and I still have more pictures to upload!  Plus it's almost dinnertime and I'm starving, so I'll leave it here for now.

Love,
Mommy

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

It's Summer!

The months have flown by and I've been trying to get on here for ages to post an update, but it's just been so busy and I'm hardly ever at the computer in the office.  We are well into summer and keeping very very busy.  It's nice now that you are all older, I am loving planning all sorts of fun adventures for us.

First off, we've had a couple of birthdays since I last posted.  Finn, you are 6 now!!  Your birthday seems so long ago already.  You had lots of different ideas for what you wanted to do for your party, but in the end you decided on the trampoline place even though we've done that before.  You had a great party with lots of school friends, but Daddy didn't have such a great time.  While jumping off one of the trampolines he sprained his ankle and had to go to the emergency room.  We were happy it wasn't broken, but he still needed crutches for a week, and even months later it is still giving him problems which really sucks.  At least you had a good time!  And you got lots of Lego for your birthday which is pretty much all you wanted.  You love Lego, and are getting really great at building the sets yourself!

Lily, you turned 4 in June!  You had a great birthday as well.  Your birthday was on a Wednesday, and I took you to the toy store to pick out a toy, and you had lunch with just me and Daddy.  On the Saturday after we had your party.  We had it at the Paint Bar in Collingwood.  All your best school friends came, plus your friend Jayden.  You all had a great time painting little figures to take home!

You're all growing up so fast.  Finn, you 'graduated' from kindergarten, and some nice moms from your school organized a little ceremony and party for all the graduates.  You had a great time celebrating with your little friends.  We are so proud of you!

Finn, you also recently lost your first tooth, finally!  It came out just last week.  And speaking of teeth, you had to have your major dental work done at the hospital at the end of May.  You were such a trooper throughout it all.  Leading up to it you weren't nervous, and kept asking how many days until your teeth got done.  Daddy and I both went with you to the hospital in Barrie, and you were in a great mood the whole time.  We waited with you, and you only got a little nervous right as they were taking you in.  You got a bit teary, but were so brave and went right into the room with the nurses without any problems.  When you woke up from anesthesia you were groggy and a bit teary again, but you came around really quickly.  I can't believe how well you did!  I know it would have been much more of an ordeal if it had been either of the other two kids getting work done.  After we got back to Collingwood we took you to get some new Lego for being such a star.  You've very proud of your metal tooth!  Hopefully you won't have any other tooth issues.

School is out for the summer, and you all had successful school years.  Lily, you finished your time at Montessori which was a little sad for me since we've been going there for so many years, but you are so excited to go to Nottawa next year with the boys.  When you had your kindergarten orientation, you loved everything!  You loved the gym and the classroom, but I think the library was your favourite.  You always ask to go in the school when we would pick up the boys.  We will miss Montessori and I'll always be sad that you kids didn't get to spend more time there, especially Finn and Lily, because I know it's such a great method of learning.  But I know you'll all do great in public school too.

Tristan, you finished grade 2 with a great report.  Your grades are all A's and B's, and you are such a great student.  You have lots of great friends at school and I know you will be happy to go back in September. 

Finn, you had a great report too, and are ready for grade 1.  I worry a little bit about your reading because it's not quite as strong as Tristan's at the same age, but you have been making a lot of progress lately.  You've been interested in doing the Raz Kids program online, and your reading is improving, even though you have a bit more work to do. 

We went to check out a local forest school that I was interested in for you guys.  It is a fun concept where you would spent a couple day a week learning lessons outside and in a non-traditional classroom, and I love the concept.  I think if money weren't an issue I would consider it, but after some thought I don't think we will do it.  I can see how it is a great tool for children who maybe don't thrive in a normal classroom setting and need to move around more, but all of you really love school and seem to do well, and I think being in different places would get confusing.  I do think school would be much more fun outside though!  We will just stick to doing lots of extracurricular activities.

We are all done karate for the summer, and you boys did really well.  Tristan you had your second tournament in May, and even though you didn't make it past the first round, I'm always proud of you for giving it a shot.  I know you are really good at karate, but I think you freeze up a little bit when your nervous and forget things.  That's ok though, it's still a good experience.  They finished the year with a fun presentation where you all did some katas together, and then all the students chopped wood with your hands.  It was super fun!  Lily, even you did it with some help from Sensei Norm.  Karate has been a really positive experience for all of you, and you'll do it again in the fall.  Even Lily might give it a try.  It's really good for your patience and coordination, especially you Finn.  Sometimes I struggle to keep you active since you can get a bit lazy, but karate is something you all enjoy!

Tristan you did crossfit all spring and enjoyed it.  The kids classes are over for the summer, but this week both you and Finn are in the camp.  Finn, I wasn't sure you would want to do it since you said you didn't want to try the classes, but you surprised me when you said you wanted to try the camp.  You are both loving it!  I am taking crossfit too, and it is amazing exercise.  I hope it encourages you kids to love being active!

Lily, last week you had princess dance camp which was a huge hit.  Pretty much all your school friends were in it too, and you loved it.  Every day you went in and learned your dance choreography, plus did fun crafts.  On the last day you had a little performance which was adorable.  You said you wanted to go back so I've gone ahead and signed you up for dance classes in the fall.  I know you will want to do gymnastics too, but we'll have to see.  I want you guys to all be able to do all your favourite activities, but they are so expensive. 

This is the first summer where I've really tried to do a lot of fun things to keep you busy.  You all go a little crazy if we are home too much!  Plus we've been doing lots of fun things as a family over the weekends too.  So much stuff, that I can't remember it all!  We've gone on day trips and adventures.  We went to the archery range on Father's Day.  They had little bass ponds so we did some fishing, and you boys practiced archery.  On the long weekends we've check out fireworks which is always fun.  Last weekend we drove to Owen Sound to check out Story Book Park which I've heard great things about.  It's a small amusement part with kids rides, a petting zoo, a water park, mini golf, and lots of playgrounds.  On the way home we stopped in Meaford and took a dip in the water, then went out for a nice dinner.

One thing we've been doing lots of this summer is hitting the beach or swimming in the bay, even just at Sunset Point.  In the past I haven't felt comfortable taking all three of you in the water on my own, but now that you're all getting bigger, it's getting easier to do.  Tristan, you can swim fairly well now.  Finn, you are getting there and are just about swimming on your own.  Lily, you are still a bit weary of the water but are warming up to it.  I can let the three of you play in the shallow areas and not worry that I need to be right beside you all the time.  Sometimes it's just fun to dig in the sand or throw rocks.  Yesterday we went to Wasaga Beach 1 which is the big touristy one.  I took the three of you and met some friends there.  It is much busier than the smaller beaches here, but it was so beautiful.  The sand was so clean and it was so nice and shallow.  I'd love to go back there with Daddy, but not on the weekends because it gets crazy busy.

It's been nothing but adventures and the summer is not even half over!  We have so many more plans.  This weekend we are going to check out Auntie Rachael's new house, which has a pool!  We are hoping to meet up with some Masongsongs on Centre Island too.  We had a cottage week booked in August, and I have so many other tentative adventures planned like Wonderland and maybe the Zoo, and we'd love to do some camping too.  I think we are finally getting into some really fun ages with you guys!

Well I need to go make lunch before we get ready for crossfit camp, so that's all for now!

Love,
Mommy

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Adventure 2016 - The Bahamas!

There is so much to get caught up on from the last two months, but I want to start with the most exciting part before I forget it all.  We went on a vacation, to Atlantis Paradise Island in the Bahamas!  And we had the most amazing time ever.  It was definitely a memorable trip!

We had been planning for a long time to go away during the winter, but we didn't decide until pretty much the month or so before where we were going to go.  We thought about doing Disney in California, then we looked into a cruise but it was too late to book.  So then we started looking into Atlantis in the Bahamas.  I knew it was an amazing place, but I didn't think we'd ever get to go there because I knew it was so expensive.  Well our landscape business had a good year, so Daddy said we could afford to go.  It really seemed like a great option for the whole family because there was so much to do there.  So we went ahead and booked it for the first week of March!

Well the whole of February was awful.  After having such a good winter in terms of illnesses, it seemed our house got hit with just about everything in February.  Daddy had it the worst.  First he had the flu, which turned into a chest/sinus/ear infection, and then finally when he started feeling better after that he got a vomiting bug and was really sick again.  Overall he was sick for almost 3 weeks straight.  Finn, you caught this horrible chest cold and had such a bad cough that I had you off school for almost the whole week before our trip.  You were happy and in good spirits, but the cough was so bad and you'd have such coughing fits that I couldn't send you.  When I finally thought about taking you to the doctor, you started getting better.  Of course then I got the cough, and it really was terrible!  I caught it about 5 days before we were set to leave.  The days leading up to the trip we were all hoping everyone would get healthy.  Just when it seemed we would make it, the night before we were going to drive to Toronto Lily woke up puking in the middle of the night!  It was pure panic, as we didn't know how long you would be sick for, or if anyone else would get it.  But we were going no matter what, so we kept our fingers crossed.  Finally lucked shined on us, Lily recovered quickly and no one else got sick.  Thank goodness!

Our flight was on the Wednesday morning and a huge snowstorm was expected for Tuesday evening, so we made the decision to drive to Toronto Tuesday afternoon and stay at a hotel.  It was nerve wracking, because we couldn't get out of town any earlier than 4pm which was when the storm was supposed to hit, and I was nervous about driving in bad weather.  We hit the road just as it started, and were just ahead of the worst of it so we made it to Toronto without too much trouble, though it was a bit of a scary drive.  We had dinner and checked into our hotel, and went to bed excited for the adventure ahead.

Thankfully despite the storm (which was the biggest of the year!), our flight was not cancelled.  We got to the gate in time to board the plane, and it more or less left on time.  The flight down was an uneventful 3 hours.  The three of you were all good.  Finn and Lily both got upset during the landing because of the pressure changes, but it was short lived.  We touched down in the Bahamas and the weather was absolutely tropical.  Finally after a long, horrible February, sunshine!

Atlantis and the Bahamas was even more amazing than I could have ever hoped.  We knew it would be beautiful, but it was just so wonderful that there are no words.  Driving through the Bahamas is so fun, everything is so vibrant and colourful.  The resort was huge, and we stayed in the Coral Towers which was one of the less expensive ones (though still just as gorgeous as the most expensive ones!).  We splurged and got a room that had a living room with a pullout for you guys, and a separate bedroom for us, and it was well worth it.  Our room was huge and had a beautiful view of the whole resort and the ocean.

We had so much planned for our week and wanted to make the most of it, so right away we got to exploring.  It was nice because we arrived at our hotel by probably about 3pm, so still had lots of time in the day.  We got something to eat, and then went to check out the pool and beach.  The pool was closed by 5, so we went to the beach (which supposedly closed by 5 too but no one seemed to care!).  Ahhhh the sand and the water were so amazing!  We all loved the beach, absolutely loved it.  Right away we were splashing and chasing waves, and Lily we buried you in sand and made a mermaid tail on your legs.  It was absolute heaven!

We did so much, where to start!  Every morning we ate at the breakfast buffet called Poseidon's Table, and it was the most amazing buffet we had ever seen.  There was so much food, and something for everyone.  We checked out all the pools (there were so many, big ones, small ones, kids ones....), and went to check out the water park.  There was a great kids splash pool with fountains and slides, and a giant bucket that dumped water on everyone.  We tried the river rapids ride, which was an inner tube ride that had slow lazy river parts, and fast rapids parts.  It was a bit scary for kids, but Lily rode with me and Finn rode with Daddy, and Tristan we let you go alone though I'm pretty sure you technically weren't tall enough!  It was so much fun!  The weather, oh it was so beautiful and warm, with so much sunshine and a breeze from the ocean.  It was perfect not too hot and not cold at all. 

On the Thursday we had booked to do a dolphin swim at the Dolphin Cay area of the resort.  I thought it would be something you kids would really enjoy.  It was definitely a fun experience!  We were given wetsuits and were instructed on how to act with the dolphins, then we got to wade in the shallow water to swim with one.  Our dolphin was named Kelly.  We played with her and pet her, and got to give her kisses and feed her.  All of you seemed to enjoy it, but Lily I think you were the most taken with Kelly.  I knew my little animal lover would like it the most!  Finn you were a bit nervous, but you did touch her and seemed to have fun as well.  It was a once in a lifetime experience.  The resort is smart, and they have a photographer taking pics for you which is great, but then you have to pay for them!  Well we ended up just splurging to buy the USB package just so we could take them home to print them, because we would have been there all day going through the dozens of pics they took.  It cost a fortune!  But I figured we'd probably only do it once, so what the heck. 

The next day Tristan you got to go back for the Jr Ultimate Trainer for a day program.  We shelled out a lot of money for this one too but again, I thought it was an amazing experience.  Well that program was well worth the money!  You spent 4 hours there, and while there you got to go to the fish hospital and learn about marine life, and got to touch creatures like sea stars, horseshoe crabs, sea cucumbers, and baby sharks.  You fed the stingrays and the sea turtles.  And you got to interact with dolphins again, and a sea lion!  You learned about training dolphins, and your dolphin was named Echo.  The sea lion was named Sebastian.  On top of all this you got a swim shirt and a bag to keep, and they fed you lunch, AND this time the pictures they took were included so we didn't have to pay more money for them!  So yes, well worth the small fortune we paid!  You also met another boy there named Luke and became friends, and got to play with him throughout the trip.  I hope you have great memories of that day for years to come!

While Tristan was at his program, Finn and Lily we signed you up for the Sea Squirts one which was an hour long and Daddy and I got to go with you.  We went to the fish hospital and got to touch all the little sea creatures.  Lily you absolutely loved this of course, while Finn you were happy to just look at them.  We also go to hold and touch baby sea turtles!  That was a really cool experience, and they were so cute!  After that we went to go feed baby stingrays and baby sharks.  By then the two of you were really tired and a bit cranky and didn't want to feed them, but were happy to watch the other kids throw bits of chum and squid into the water.  It was still cool to watch!

While we were in the Bahamas, we took a couple of trips off the resort.  One day we went to have lunch at the famous "Fish Fry", a strip of restaurants specializing in local food.  It was super yummy!  A peddler there was selling cool coconut shells painted in vibrant colour and made to look like turtles.  They had little heads and tails, and a windup string kind of like a yo-yo that made the turtles 'walk'.  It was a neat little local souvenir (and much cheaper than souvenirs at the resort!).

Another day we went to a place called Ardstra Zoo and Gardens, which was a small garden park that had lots of colourful birds and some other animals.  Their main attraction was famous marching flamingos, which we got to see.  We saw parrots and peacocks, and lots of lizards and turtles.  We even got to feed rainbow lorikeets which are a small type of parrot.  Finn, again you didn't really want to go in and were happy to stay outside and watch, but Tristan and Lily loved going in and feeding the lorys!  We fed them apple slices and they would even sit on our arms while we fed them.  It was amazing!  After Ardstra we had lunch at a local restaurant near the marina called The Poop Deck, and it was another great meal!  The restaurant looked out onto all the boats in the marina, and we had a view of Atlantis from where we were sitting.

The food on the resort was good, and we enjoyed trying new places every day.  But it was SO expensive!  Like crazy expensive!  We enjoyed our meals off the resort just as much, and the local food was so good too.  Next time we will try to eat off the resort more often!  One night we had dinner at an off resort restaurant called Margaritaville.  It is a chain created by the singer Jimmy Buffett.  It was a cool place!  It had a pool and swim up bar, tire swings, an bean bag toss game, a live band, and of course yummy margaritas!

The resort had a kids club called Atlantis Kids Adventures where we were able to drop you guys off to have fun so Daddy and I could have some kid free time.  Of course you all loved it there!  There was lego and toy rooms, and video games which made the boys happy, and candy too.  It was worth it to get some adult time!  While you were there one morning, Daddy and I went to do all the big water slides that you couldn't go on.  There were some pretty awesome and scary slides!  Another evening we put you in kids adventures and had a nice dinner at a very fancy French restaurant.  It was nice that the resort had that place for you guys to have fun while we got some time to ourselves.

Of course Daddy had to try some fishing while we were there, and one time Tristan you went with him and you caught a few little fish.  You caught a cool looking striped grouper, and a funny looking parrot fish.  Fish sure do look different in the ocean!

Speaking of fish, the resort had a series of aquariums and lagoons built right into it!  You could see into them from the lobby of the biggest tower, and look at them while exploring the grounds of the resort.  One area was called "The Dig", and it was this cool underground area that was supposed to be like the lost ruins of Atlantis.  While we were exploring we'd walk though and check out all the sea creatures.  There were hundreds, maybe thousands of kinds of fish and other ocean animals in there!  Finn, you really liked the moray eels.  The first time we went through we got to see them being fed, and it was a very weird sight!  We saw crawfish, seahorses, crabs, anemones, corals, rays, and so many other animals.  While walking around the resort there were many lagoons with all sorts of other creatures in them.  We saw big rays, sea turtles, nurse sharks, sawfish, among other things.  Another area was called the predator lagoon, and had an underwater tunnel where you can see all the predatory fish like sharks, tarpin, and barracudas.  We loved checking out all these things while we were wandering around the resort.

The resort itself was stunning, with big elaborate towers and ornate details everywhere you looked.  Daddy and I were in awe of all the thought that must of went into it.  There were colourful sculptures and crazy fountains everywhere.  The landscaping was amazing.  So many plants and palm trees, and beautiful waterfalls.  The resort was so big it probably took half and hour to walk from one end to the other, and the paths were winding and went all over the place.  Stairs, bridges, walkways.  There were several beaches all around the resort, as well as some on a lagoon in the middle of the resort.  The ocean side beaches had big waves especially when it was windy.  Towards the end of the trip the wind was so crazy that no one was allowed in the water because of how big the waves were.  Luckily there was a cove beach that was more sheltered that we were able to go to.  We also checked out the lagoon beach one day which was very calm.  There were little fish in there that would swim all around us.  They didn't seem scared at all, and the more still I stood, the closer they would get to me.  Just as I was wondering why they hadn't touched me yet, one tried to bite me!  It was kind of funny, even though it hurt a little.

There was a cool strip on one side of the resort that was called Marina Village.  It had restaurants and shops and was quite a happening place.  It was were the Atlantis marina was located, and we couldn't believe the gigantic, elaborate boats that were docked there.  Daddy figured some of the bigger ones were probably over $15 million dollars!  We would stare at them and wonder what it was like to have one.  It would be amazing to be able to sail all over the Caribbean in our own private boat!  Keep dreaming, ha!  Marina Village was so cool to walk through.  It had a pizza place and a deli, an ice cream shop, a daiquiri hut, and so many shops.  The stuff was so expensive!  Daddy won a bit of money playing black jack at the casino, so before we left we did buy a few things.  I treated myself to a very nice but very expensive bathing suit, and a few beach cover ups.  You kids got some t shirts and small toys from one of the gift shops.  And of course we ended up with a few stuffed dolphins and a mermaid for Lily.  Overall though I think we did pretty good at not buying too much stuff!  It was hard though, there was so many cool trinkets and beautiful clothes for sale.

The people in the Bahamas were so lovely.  Everyone we came across was friendly and helpful.  The service was wonderful.  It was such a great place, so clean and so safe.  We couldn't believe how immaculate the resort was, you can tell they put a lot of money into maintaining it and keeping it tidy.

There was very little about our whole trip that was negative.  It sucked that the trip was so expensive, but it was so wonderful that we think it was worth every penny.  You kids did great most of the time, but it was hard because most the nights were later than usual, so you were tired.  Tristan, you don't get tired very often and handle the long days no problem, but it was harder for Finn and Lily.  Finn you did ok most of the time but we did have you rest and nap occasionally because you'd get grumpy.  Lily, you struggled a bit more and there were a lot of evenings where you were very cranky.  We tried to have you nap most days when we could.  You didn't eat very well while we were there, I think partly because of how tired you were, and partly because after being sick you just didn't feeling like eating.  But we managed, and even though some days you barely ate enough, we got by and we still had a great time.  The only other not nice thing was that on I think the second or third day, Lily you slipped out of Daddy's arms while he was holding you and smashed your face on the pavement and gravel.  Daddy freaked out and felt so horrible, and it looked like a terrible accident.  We even wondered if we should take you to a doctor.  But after assessing your face, it looked like you just had some bad scratches and a bloody nose.  I thought even you might get some bruising on your nose, but you never did.  You were obviously very upset, and we went straight to the hotel and you had a nap, and then you were happy again.  You have some cuts and scabs on your face for the rest of the trip, but you weren't too bothered by it.  Actually it healed up really quick, within a few days the scabs on your forehead were gone, and the ones on the top of your nose were gone I think around when we got home.  The big one under your nose took longer, but it's been almost two weeks now since the accident and it's almost healed.  So even though it looked like a horrible accident, it actually wasn't that bad.  And other than that minor stuff, there was nothing bad about the trip!

On our last few days we tried to squeeze in as much beach and water park time as we could, knowing it was coming to an end.  We were not ready to go home!  A week didn't seem like long enough in paradise, and we seriously thought about extending our stay, but that would have cost so much more money, and the trip was already so expensive.  A week after we arrived we said goodbye to the Bahamas.  The trip home was quick and easy.  The flight was 3 hours again, and Lily slept for most of it, and Finn slept a lot too.  Tristan was happy and quiet the whole time.  This time there was no complaining about the landing.  You were all awesome on the plane home. 

When we landed in Toronto we got through customs and got our bags, then grabbed some dinner before the drive home.  It was hard driving another two hours after a long day of travel, and we were all exhausted.  The three of you slept the whole way home and went straight to bed when we arrived.  We got in around 10pm, and Daddy and I went straight to bed too.  The next day I kept you home from school even though you'd missed so much already, and we got unpacked and used to being back at home.  Then you all went to school for one day on Friday to say hi to all your friends and teachers before being off again for March break.

What a wild adventure!  It was the best trip Mommy and Daddy have ever been on.  We had probably over 800 pictures that I went through and scaled down to almost 400 keepers.  Every day we look at them, and remember what an amazing time we had.  We all long to go back, and we hope that we will be able to in the not too distant future.  It was too quick and too good to be true.  So many happy memories made!

We didn't buy a resort souvenir like the bottles of shells they had in the all the stores that costed an arm and a leg.  In the end we ended up bringing back a small bag of coral and shells we collected ourselves, and Mommy put it in a jar with some Bahamian money and some little sea jewels Lily got from one of her kids club crafts.  To me that is the best souvenir from our trip!  I will also print and frame a bunch of the pictures so we can look at them every day.

Now, we are already planning our next adventure.  Disneyland California with Auntie Rachael, Uncle Scott, and Baby Bea!  We're hoping to make it happen in March 2017.  Until then we'll keep dreaming of the beach!

I will get caught up on all the other regular goings on another time, because sitting at the computer gives me a headache!

Love,
Mommy