Time Marching On

Time is moving so quickly right now that I’m referencing spans of time by hair appointments, as in “I feel like I just got my hair cut last week!” But, you know, it’s been a month.

It seems like yesterday that Second Born Son got his driver’s license, but it has been four months. But maybe I’m not a good gauge of time since I think this was last year….

Cutie Patootie!

…when this was last year….

You don’t want to know what went into this document….

 

So you will understand why I’m a little twisted around about the idea of this infant going to ANOTHER COUNTY on ANOTHER CONTINENT for TEN DAYS!!!

Seems like only yesterday that he told us about the planned Vimy Ridge trip, waaaaaay off in the Spring of 2017. The trip sounded amazing and included a couple of days in England, followed by 8 days in France. Several students from his school are going and they get to be part of the the 100th Vimy Ridge Celebration on April 9th.

I am proud and jealous at the same time, but mostly excited for him and the experiences he will enjoy. This is a wonderful age to travel and observe such an important tribute to Canadians and their contributions and sacrifices in World War I.

So, the bag is packed, the documents are in place and the momma isn’t going to get weepy when it’s time to say goodbye.

‘Cuz we got him a great cell package and I’m sure we’ll hear from him daily…..

 

 

 

 

Vacation. Holidays. Days off. Rehab…

We spend all year looking forward to a handful of days where we can get away from the routine of early mornings, commutes and emails – or whatever your equivalent is. The past few years, we’ve been purposefully NOT making plans for our holidays. We’ve ask the boys what they want to do on our days together, and it’s usually been a great experience. This year was no exception. However, I did get my request in first – to the Scenic Caves in Collingwood. While we’re there, we should do the zipline and the suspension bridge!

Great view - foreground and background!

Great view – foreground and background!

Unfortunately, First Born Son was unable to join us, working 18 hour days six days out of seven. So we took lots of pictures to make him jealous…he still had more fun at work, he said!

One of the many amazing caverns.

One of the many amazing caverns.

Second Born Son didn’t know what to expect, but ended up loving the gorgeous, natural wonder.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

SBS tried out the highlight of the trail – Fat Man’s Misery.

Here at the start, but he made it through!

Here at the start, but he made it through!

Finally, it was time to move on to the zipline. This was my idea. I thought it would be cool. And, admittedly, that feeling cooled tremendously at the top of the launch tower, looking at half a kilometre of cable. That one glorified rope was all that held me from a a forest of treetops. And my son was about to launch beside me. WHAT KIND OF MOTHER AM I?!?!?

Looking all brave right before the tower ascent!

Looking all brave right before the tower ascent!

Seriously weighing my options at this point.

Seriously weighing my options at this point.

As I’m getting the last minute instructions from the staff (which, btw, I’m clearly incapable of absorbing) the only thing I see is the cable that disappears into the canopy of trees below me. I hear SBS enthusiastically repeating the instructions being fed to him only 10 feet away. He’s not afraid. He’s excited. I’m questioning his intellect and his ability to see. As soon as the gate releases, the two of us head out of the launch platform and I vaguely hear him saying to me something about being “gone”.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Half way through the way down, SBS is gone and I can focus on the view, the controls and the fact that I can actually relax and ENJOY the experience. However, it not until I’m at the bottom platform that I realize that not only did I LIVE, but I LOVED it! I’d freakin’ do it again!!!!

Entering suspension bridge.

Entering suspension bridge.

The suspension bridge was no biggie after the zipline. Sadly, some ass felt it was necessary to grab the hand cable and get some sway going. Wanted to impress his daughters. Managed to traumatize more than one youth participating in a day tour.

Breathtaking!

Breathtaking!

The Three Amigos (but missing the Fourth!)

The Three Amigos (but missing the Fourth!)

We then followed up with a great day at the market AND two days at the beach.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

It’s a jam-packed week – without a minute of it planned in advance. Can’t wait for the next week! Only four weeks away. Not that I’m counting! 🙂

Full Circle Moment

Once upon a time, a little boy invited all his friends in his neighbourhood to come to his house on his birthday. The date was set and his friends promised to come.

The day of the event rolled around. All of the children from the neighbourhood arrived at the allotted time, dressed for a party with gifts in hand.

The only problem was, it wasn’t the little boy’s birthday at all. And he hadn’t told his parents about his guests. His mother, mortified, sent the children home. With their presents.

This took place approximately 70 years ago.

******

Last week, First Born Son came home told and told me about a conversation he had with the young son of a family friend. His birthday was coming up and he wanted to invite FBS to his party.

“You can bring your Mom too!” he stated, and FBS recounted with a laugh.

Touched by the young man’s thoughtfulness, and chuckling over his precociousness, I headed out to find the perfect gift. Two John Deere T shirts for a “hard working” young man.

Although FBS couldn’t join me due to his work schedule, I took the gift to the wee lad’s house. There was no party. His parents weren’t even home from work. His grandmother, who is a caregiver for him and his older sister, was taken aback to when she came to the door. The boy and his sister were delighted to see me, and he gleefully took the gift and shredded the colourful paper. The grandmother sputtered appreciation for the gift, how kind the gesture was, how unexpected, how her daughter and son-in-law would be surprised to learn their son, the birthday boy, had made such a bold invitation.

This boy’s birthday was June 10.

The first story is about my father. His birthday was June 9.

The only thing more striking is the resemblance between this little boy and his grandson at the same age.

The only thing more striking is the resemblance between this little boy and his grandson at the same age.

Although it’s been two years since he passed, I found it somewhat comforting that this story, that he told us many times, came to me in the moment that I realized that I was invited to a party that wasn’t happening; for a young man who just wanted to have some people over to celebrate.

Happy Birthday Duddy!

2014-12-20 22.17.13

 

IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE

Yes, the summer flew by far too quickly, but that’s not the only thing that has happened in the blink of an eye.

Yup, I'm going to trot this picture out any time I have a chance!!!

Yup, I’m going to trot this picture out any time I have a chance!!!

This wee, innocent, fragile soul graduated from high school! I KNOW! Crazy right? He just learned how to walk last week, so the fact that he went to his Prom is incomprehensible!

A Boy and his Truck

A Boy and his Truck

Because no Prom is complete without photos, and because I’m not a fan of the traditional “stand beside your date” snaps, we did a full-fledged shoot with the one thing in the world that fills First Born Son’s heart, his truck.

DSC_8348

While other grads were cozying up to their significant others, this grad wanted to make sure he had all the shots he could possibly get with his truck.

This blows my mind. Every. Single. Time.

This blows my mind. Every. Single. Time.

Don’t misunderstand, he had a date. She looked lovely. She was thrilled that he had a cool ride. But he just wasn’t that hung up on pix with a chick when he could have pix with his pickup truck!

Sigh

Sigh

The afternoon was bittersweet, because, with the pride we had in how he has wrapped up this chapter of his life and standing on the edge of the next, I couldn’t help but think of how proud my Dad would be. Not only did FBS rock his suit, and look ever inch a young man, but he made sure his grandfather was represented on this special day. He wore Dad’s cufflinks.

2015-05-23 14.28.12

After what was, in his words, one of the best nights of his life, FBS said “Farewell” to his high school years. He was more than ready to drive off into the sunset, as long as the sun set over his college!

Aviators - the finishing touch!

Aviators – the finishing touch!

Minutes after this photo was taken, he started working for a landscaper and we didn’t see him again until the day before he moved into residence. (I’m only being mildly sarcastic, it was actually two days before.)

As “Move In/Move Out” day approached, advice started flooding in. I was going to cry. I was going to be emotional. I was going to miss him like CRAZY! Well as time progressed, I wasn’t getting emotional, I was nervous. Anxious that he wasn’t allowing enough time to get ready. Not making sure that he was prepared for the practical demands of being responsible for himself. (Grocery shopping wasn’t a priority until his Uncle mentioned he might was to look into it. We did it the next day, at FBS’s insistence!) I never developed the symptoms others warned me about and I was starting worry that I was a lousy mother for not dreading my child’s imminent departure.

I remember my parents’ reaction to my leaving for college. It was a difficult transition and I felt very scared. I didn’t want that for FBS. Both the Big Guy and I felt that doing our job as parents would be to prepare our son for the world, support him in his decisions and be happy for his successes. If I’m sad or upset, I take away from his excitement, and maybe even damage his chance of success. If I make my feelings more important that his, it diminishes what he accomplishes.

Besides, we were both really excited for him. (The Big Guy was most excited about FBS’s Dorm Life – flashback anyone??) There is nothing more beautiful than seeing a young person on the edge of a wonderful opportunity. We could see how excited he was and how he was so ready to GO!  How could I, as a parent, be anything but thrilled for him? Parents are only successful if our children are happy and achieve the dreams the set for themselves. The whole “Bird flying from the nest” analogy is corny, but it’s perfect for this situation. We are excited that he’s ready to fly, and can’t wait to see how far he goes and where he lands!

So, three weeks in, I have yet to cry because I miss him. (Partly because he texts me more now than he did when we lived under the same roof!) I have already seen him grow and change in wonderful ways. He’s starting to learn the things we are unable to teach him; what he has to learn for himself. I’m not feeling emotional when I walk past his room (I know he’ll be back when the food and clean clothes run out!).  I don’t miss him in a negative way; I think about him just as much as I regularly do and I’m always thinking that I can’t wait to hear his stories!

And I don’t have nearly as much cooking or laundry to do!! 😉

Getting More Than You Bargained For!

There’s been a lot of changes around the house lately. I’m still having a hard time getting used to seeing this…

2013-09-16 16.40.00

not to mention this…

2014-06-25 07.37.02

It’s a rather unsettling feeling to have the person you gave birth to responsible for the safe delivery of you and your loved ones from Point A to Point B!

2013-12-19 13.33.58

It’s been just over a year and a half since First Born Son got his licence.

2013-09-13 16.54.07

From the time he was a wee lad, FBS has dreamt about the day he would have the freedom of the open road. It started with lawnmowers, then farm tractors, and finally…

2014-04-12 18.49.56

THE TRUCK!

He spent the summer understanding the joys of manual steering, manual transmission and manual brakes, along with the pain that comes with filling a 40 year old truck with Premium gasoline, since it cannot handle Regular. I’m fairly certain he didn’t fill up for less than $1.47/L. His “coming of age” with regards to transportation didn’t actually come until the fall, when he realized that he could A) drive the old truck, rack up repairs and spend a small fortune in gas; B) buy a new used truck, reduce some of the costs of repairs or C) get a car.

After countless hours pricing used trucks, FBS realized he would get more bang for his buck by looking for a used car to drive throughout his college years, then save up for his dream pickup truck once he was a working man. A mature decision to be sure!

Countless more hours are lost over the Christmas holidays looking at various cars. His father and I veto a number of models due to their poor crash ratings, which, coincidentally, he wouldn’t be able to fit his lanky frame into anyway!

Ironically, he fell into a terrific deal. A 2003 Ford Taurus with moderate mileage, a V6 engine, summer AND winter tires, and only one owner; a older couple who have since stopped driving and therefore have no need for a vehicle. Their trusted mechanic was selling it on their behalf.

CAR 1

While this wasn’t the “coolest” of vehicles for a teenaged male, it did have the key factors for the licensed teenaged male in our household: four tires, an engine, and pedals that adjusted for his long legs. Grannymobile or not, FBS was willing to take on this four-door family car! Now should any of his buddies give him grief, he could always ask how many of them had not ONE but TWO vehicles?!

CAR 2

Once the deal was finalized and the ownership was transferred, FBS took to making the car his own. With today being a snow day, he pulled it into the garage and gave it a thorough cleaning. Which is when he came across this…

LUBE

Funny, he didn’t pay for an Oil, Lube and Filter…

(The car has since been thoroughly disinfected!)

To Gramma’s House We Go – aka – Back to the Forest, aka – Yes, We Wanted a Real Tree, Again…

Much like gathering the family around the telly for the annual viewing of Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer, Miracle on 34th Street, or even National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,

ALL RIGHTS TO NATION LAMPOON'S CHRISTMAS VACATION - CHEVY CHASE

ALL RIGHTS TO NATION LAMPOON’S CHRISTMAS VACATION – CHEVY CHASE

…it isn’t really and truly Christmas until The Bowery Girl posts her now annual Christmas Tree post. Last year’s went over so well, we just had to give it another go.

Our search party was smaller this year, as First Born Son was scheduled to work, and I choose to believe that Dad was with us in spirit. With my Mother’s blessing (but not participation- she had heard about last year’s antics), Second Born Son, The Big Guy, and I headed out into the great green yonder.

The Big Guy is making sure we have no issues with area hunters.

The Big Guy is making sure we have no issues with area hunters.

We passed the area where we found last year’s tree, certain that there were no suitable specimens from last year. We walked and walked. Eventually SBS was feeling the strain of the trek.

Piggy back ride anyone?

Piggy back ride anyone?

After all, it had been a solid 10 minute walk!

We cut across open spaces, since that is where the most evenly developed trees can be found,

2014-12-06 14.15.56

…and SBS thought he’d found the perfect tree, but we thought it was a little on the small side.

Not bad, not bad at all!

Not bad, not bad at all!

Then The Big Guy thought he’d found the perfect tree!

Um, little full, lots of sap!

Um, little full, lots of sap!

Then he suggested the one I was standing beside, but I quickly advised him I was not a “Scotch Pine” kinda gal.

Nooooooooooooo!

Nooooooooooooo!

Finally, there was a choir of angels singing, a beam of light shone down and THERE IT WAS!!!!!

HALELUJAH!

HALELUJAH!

Unfortunately, The Big Guy thought we were pointing at the tree BESIDE the one that SBS found!

Um, no.

Um, no.

Finally the confusion was clarified, and we decided we had our tree, thanks to SBS. Now, it was time to cut that bad boy down and haul it back. SBS was a little slow to volunteer, after what had happened to him last year, but his father convinced him that would never happen TWICE! SBS stood his ground, so it was The Big Guy who had to cut the tree.

Cutting,,,

Cutting,,,

We waited.

SBS taking the "supervisor" role.

SBS taking the “supervisor” role.

You don’t realize how big the trunk of these darn trees are until you start sawing them!

Losin' daylight here bud!

Losin’ daylight here bud!

And then it happened!!

And he tells me he's on the Health and Safety Committee at work!

And he tells me he’s on the Health and Safety Committee at work!

The tree jigged when it should have jagged and SBS misjudged how tall he was in relation to the tree and it GOT HIM!

He might just make it doctor!

He might just make it doctor!

Once we realized there was no long-term damage, we propped him up and told him to drag the tree out of the bush. We’re awesome parents like that.

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger!

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!

So like the trouper that he is, he agreed to pull the tree out of the bush. But he forgot how far we had walked to get into this little clearing.

No child labor laws were impacted by the removal of this tree!

No child labor laws were impacted by the removal of this tree!

The Big Guy is now supervising!

The Big Guy is now supervising!

We told him it would put hair on his chest!

We told him it would put hair on his chest!


And before you know it – it was all trimmed up and decorated! Made all the blood, sweat and tears worthwhile! (Almost – right SBS?)

The purdiest tree you ever dun seen!

The purdiest tree you ever dun seen!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

The Pie Man

Most people know how much I love to bake, but one dessert eluded me – PIE!

Now I have tried. Lord knows my mother tried! A dedicated pie maker herself, Mom tried on more than one occasion to teach me the art of the pie crust, to no avail. I continued to persevere on my own, with hope building up each time I saw a recipe entitled “No Fail Crust” or even better, “Really No Fail Crust”.

Guess what, they FAILED! Or, perhaps I failed, depending on your definition of womanhood and one’s ability to whip up a good ol’ fashioned apple pie!

So what I lacked in pastries, I made up for in cakes, cookies and muffins! So when First Born Son came to me and asked how to make pie, I hung my head in shame and told him I was not the woman for the job.

But his Gramma is!

So before you could say “Pumpkin Pie” we dragged her to my kitchen and armed her with pie plates and flour.

2014-10-18 10.40.17

With an interest reserved for only for antique trucks and farm equipment, FBS was riveted. He worked the dough just the way she asked. He rolled the pastry with the utmost care!

2014-10-18 11.02.33

She taught him the fine art of crimping the crust. And crimp he did!!

Gramma crimping on left, FBS crimping on the right! His fingers are considerably  larger!

Gramma crimping on left, FBS crimping on the right! His fingers are considerably larger!

It was heart warming to see them in action…

2014-10-18 12.14.55

2014-10-18 12.17.25

Delish!

Delish!

…because we finally get to eat pie again!