Friday, July 31, 2009

Back in Ontario

I'm not going to post much tonight, because I'm determined to (at least one night on this trip), get to bed before 11! These last few days, staying up until 11:30, getting up three times in the night with Moriah, then waking up at 6:30 with the kids, and not getting any naps during the day.... have left me pretty sleep deprived.

We had a wonderful day today, visiting, eating, and having fun with a bunch of family (15) in Port Huron, and just got back to my parent's house several hours ago. Tomorrow will be another busy day, but I'm hoping to find some time to put up some pictures.

I'm out.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Taking it's toll...

The travel that is, the bopping from here to there, packing up, driving, driving, driving, unpacking, moving in, sleeping in different beds (since leaving home, we've slept in four different places, tonight will be our fifth), packing up again and going somewhere else. The kids have been fantastic, but I think it's starting to take it's toll on them. In the past four days, we've spent about 15 hours in the car. I'm really looking forward to being back in Canada for a solid five nights, four days in the same place.

All that being said - we have had some Great visits with wonderful people that we wouldn't have got to see or spend time with without all the driving and moving, so it Has been worth it!

This morning Aunt Mary watched the kids (which was a Huge help) while I took our van to an autoglass shop to have a chip in the windshield (aquired on this trip) fixed before it cracked and spread. Thankfully it was totally covered by our insurance. (Is it bad that I really enjoyed sitting there in the boring, brown, waiting area at the shop, reading a magazine, just because it was the first time I'd been all by myself in over a month?)

Next, I packed up the van and we hit the road to see my close friend, Melissa. Keeenan took a two and a half hour nap at her house, which was awesome for him, and worked out great for me, since I was actually able to visit with Melissa without constantly watching him. It was fun to get to see Moriah and baby Maddy interact and check each other out. Melissa's mom, Elizabeth, who is also a wonderful friend stopped by, since we hadn't seen each other since December of 2007!

Next, we came to Troy to Uncle Ty and Aunt Mary's house. Dan is also staying here, so Keenan was delighted to get to spend some more time with Grandpa. He played cars with Keenan and Moriah while I unpacked the van and got all our stuff moved in and organized - what a blessing!

This evening we met up with a bunch more family at a birthday party for Philip's cousin, Bridget. Keenan had a great time, playing with more cars, eating pizza, cake and ice cream (which Uncle Ty convinced him to smear all over his Michigan shirt), and playing football with Davis!

We left the party earlier than most, so I could get the kids home, in the bath and off to bed. It is already later than I should be up, so I'm going to cut this short and head to bed, since we have another very busy day tomorrow and the drive back to Ontario.

I will post a picture update hopefully on Sunday, when I'm back to a familiar computer. =)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

It Wouldn't be Michigan Without Construction...

We are stateside once again, for a two day visit with family and friends.

Yesterday was a fun, busy day. My mom and I and the kids ran some errands in town, which was fun, seeing my hometown again and all the new changes it has undergone since my last visit. Then the kids took naps while I caught up on the blog, email and made some chocolate bark. After that, an old friend, Jolinda, (who I had seen only once in the past three years) came over with her new baby girl. We had a great "catch up" visit before my brothers, Mark and Rob arrived with their wives, Rebekah and Ada, and we had a birthday celebration for Rebekah.

One of the funniest parts of the evening was when Andrew set his camera up to do time lapse photography during dinner. It ran for about 45 minutes, and was Hilarious to watch later! LOL!

Today day didn't start off on a super great note. Keenan woke up before I was ready to get up, so I had him come in bed with me for a bit. He lay beside me for a while, then sat up and was fooling around and climbed in and out of the bed a few times. Then I felt a little hand on my arm and he said, "I'm poopy!"
"Okay", I said, "I'll get up and change you. I didn't get moving fast enough for him because he said again. "I'm poopy!" I sort of rolled over and said "Yup, I'm getting up.." with my eyes still closed.
At that point, he said (in a very matter of fact voice) "There's poop on your arm."
"WHAT!?!" I said and jumped up (now very Wide awake!) and seeing that yes, there was indeed fecal matter on my arm. "GROSS! How did that Happen??"
"Off my hand" he said, (like that was the dumbest question ever). I dove into the box of wipes and practically scrubbed the skin off my forearm, in an attempt to feel clean again. Well, no more details, there really aren't that many... there (thankfully) was not poop everywhere, and it was a pretty straight forward diaper change. Effective, but definitely not on my top ten list of ways to be woken up.

After that, the morning was a blur of activity as I packed up again (taking only part of our stuff this time, but still a Ton) for another trip. Boy, do I miss Philip. For some reason I (stupidly) thought that I could just sort of "throw together the stuff we needed for two days, and we'd be out the door". DUH!! It didn't go anything like that (ask my mom!) I was a crazy woman, spinning around the house, collecting stuff, tripping over Keenan's newly made messes, getting stuff in the laundry (which my mom totally took over and finished for me), packing up the clothes I thought we'd need for two days, trying to remember all of the important things (that were by now scattered to every corner of my parent's house), getting Moriah down for a nap, getting showered, getting Moriah Back down for her nap after Keenan woke her up, getting the kids dressed, re-dressing Moriah after she spilled a vase full of flowers on herself right before we headed out the door... Fun times.

Once we were on the road, Moriah fell asleep and Keenan was contentedly watching "Jonah" with headphones on, and for the first time, I had some peace and quiet. Aaahh... The GPS did a great job of navigating us to the Chapters bookstore in London, where we were meeting up with my great friend, Laura for a visit before hooking up with Rebekah for lunch. Both kids were asleep by the time I got there, so Laura and I visited in the van for half an hour or so until they woke up. Then we checked out the kids area in the bookstore (which happened to have a Fantastic Thomas the Train table) that Keenan Loved! Great, that meant Laura and I were able to carry on a mostly uninterrupted conversation for a while... Until it was time to Leave the fantastic train table... not a pretty sight.

When Rebekah got there, we walked to Eastside Mario's for a delicious lunch (which she insisted on buying, even though it was her birthday!) After parting ways with Rebekah and Laura, we hit the road for our second border crossing in two days.

Both kids were soon asleep, which was awesome, but the combination of sleeping kids, the Bible songs CD softly playing, and the warm sun soon made for a very sleepy Me too... Not good.

I was so tired, I pulled off at an exit to sleep for a bit before carrying on. That didn't go so well. My seat could hardly recline at all, since Moriah's carseat is right behind it. Also, the music (which was keeping the kids lulled to sleep) was Not "lulling" me at all. "Ho, ho, ho, hosa-anna, Ha, ha, hale-lluiah..." just wasn't doing it for me. Sleep was not happening.

At this point I remembered that I had some caramel/chocolate hard candies in the pocket of the diaper bag. Right on! That should help to give me some (at least short term) energy. I got those out and started driving again. They seemed to work quite well, especially since they were Very hard, and super sticky and when I tried to bite them (because I'm not good at sucking candies at all), they got really stuck to my teeth, thus taking quite a bit of effort to get off.

I ran out of those fairly quickly though and was back to being drowsy. Okay, time to pull out the big guns. Time for Tims. The GPS helped me take a detour to an "off the highway" Tim Hortons for some caffeine, and back on track without doing any backtracking. Now I was good to go!

The border was fairly backed up, since they appeared to be searching at least every other car. Thankfully our stop at the booth was pretty quick and they did no search (even though I'm a Candian from Florida, with two American kids, no second parent, had just made a 45 hour visit to Canada, was staying in Mi for only two days, before Returning to Ontario, and was then going back to DC!) Thank you Lord! =)

I called Aunt Mary (where we are spending the night) and told her that I expected to see her in about 35 minutes (according to the GPS), and she said, "Well, maybe, it'll depend on traffic and whether or not there's any construction going on". We were doing great for a while, and then... sure enough, there was construction.. down to one lane, then c-r-a-w-l-i-n-g along for several miles doing somewhere between 5 and 15 miles an hour. Welcome to Michigan. =)

We arrived here at Aunt Mary and Uncle Dennis' shortly after 5:00. When we came in, a great surprise was awaiting us! Philip's dad, Dan was here! We knew he was going to be in town, and expected to see him at the Dooley gathering tomorrow, but he surprised us and came by for dinner with us! Keenan had an Awesome time, playing with Grandpa, wrestling, tickling, giggling, chasing, etc... =)

After a Fabulous dinner cooked by Aunt Mary, she and I and the kids walked to a nearby Tim Hortons for some liquid refreshment before I gave Keenan a bath and put the kids to bed. Then we had some delicious apple pie (made by Uncle Dennis) with ice cream before Dan left.

Philip seems to be doing well without us and is getting lots of exercise Walking to and from the base, without us there to drive him. He did realize that without three other people and the accompanying white noise makers the kids use, that the apartment was quite a bit louder at night than he realized, so he had to find some white noise (I think it was actually called pink noise on his laptop to help him get to sleep!

That about sums up the day. Once again, it is after 11, and this chick needs her sleep!!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Travels without Philip

Our day of travel went pretty well yesterday. I was soooo glad Andrew was with us, or we might not be here Yet! He did most of the driving while I entertained the kids. We had a fun lunch stop at a beautiful park with a playground, a dam, a bridge, and really clean bathrooms! What a find! Other than a couple little traffic jams, one missed turn, and a detour due to a closed highway, things went pretty smoothly. We arrived here at my parent's house at about 6:30, just in time for some of my mom's great home cooking! =) (Amazingly, I took no pictures on the trip).

After dinner, my dad went to do chores for some friends who are away on vacation and asked Keenan if he'd like to come see the cows and chickens and pigs. I knew he would Love it, so I left Moriah with my mom, and the three of us set off for the farm.

My camera batteries were dead and hadn't yet unpacked new ones, so I borrowed Andrew's camera. The following pictures aren't great because I had problems with the focus or something, but they do a good enough job of showing what we did and how much fun Keenan had being a "farm boy!"

Keenan and the dog became immediate friends!

"Hey cow!"

"Hey nodder cow!"

Helping Grandpa gather the eggs
(He Loved this!)

Finding some more

A few of the laying Ladies

Keenan with the eggs they gathered


The bull looking in the door at us =)

Grandpa lifting Keenan up into the haymow to feed the cats

Pretending to drive the tractor

Walking back to see the pond

Still, not super clear, I just really like this picture of my dad =)

Fuzzy but cute
Beside the pretty pond

Keenan and I on the old railway line
(Like my boots?)

Keenan's expression is a little freaky, but this was to show his dirty legs!

He got tired, so Grandpa carried him back the rest of the way
(I think this one is really sweet)

"Helping" Grandpa take the bucket of eggs in to Grandma when we got home

Moriah was quite entertaining while we were gone and then fell asleep on Grandma

Yum! Ice cream!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Oh Canada!

Philip here. The travelers have arrived in Canada safely. Joia has been back to Tim Horton's already and the kids are down for the night. The computers at her parents house are both in use so she is, wisely, going to go to bed and post sometime tomorrow. No problems at the border and only a few places where they ran into traffic along the way. Goodnight!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Some Final Fun Before Pack Up...

We needed a little lower key day after yesterday and before Andrew and I hit the road tomorrow, so we headed out late morning to go disc golfing. It was a beautiful, hilly, shady, grassy course. It wasn't stroller compatible, so I wore Moriah in the front pack. That didn't prove to improve my throw at all, so I only played a few holes, before deciding to just enjoy the walk and take pictures. =)

Three handsome men!

A new little disc golf lover!

Keenan needed three discs of his own =)

Philip just threw (his white disc is in the air to the left of Andrew, and Andrew is getting ready to throw)

Down one of the many steep grades

Philip's "teeing off face"

...and Andrew's =)

"Anybody home?"

Look at the cute

This was just begging to be photographed

Us girls

On a tiny little bridge

Tarzan-drew swinging on a big vine


Andrew's orange disc (to the right) zinging through the air

Helping Keenan balance on a log

... the big jump finale

Moriah holding onto Keenan's big leaf

Keenan "helping" Uncle Andrew

...and Daddy =)

I love this one

After disc golf we went home for lunch, the kids took some awesome naps, and I started packing. When the kids got up, we all headed down to the pool for a while before dinner.

Moriah watching us in the pool

Is Andrew sleeping?

Self shot of Daddy and Moriah

Uncle Andrew coming to "get" Keenan

I love Moriah's expression here!

Sweet girl with her Daddy
(These two have really got to be great buds on this trip.. it's so precious)

Her first taste of a freezie

Sucking on the wrong end!

Well, I should finish up my packing, and head to bed. Please pray that Andrew and I would have safe and happy travels with the kids tomorrow. Not sure if I'll be blogging tomorrow night or not, that will depend on our time of arrival at my parent's house.

Belated Second Birthday!

The blog's second birthday got past me somehow, on July 12th! I can't believe I've been doing this for two years! Today is also the day that we got our 60,000th hit (since starting the count in October of 2007). Thanks to all of you along for the ride! =)

The ABC's of Our Day Yesterday

Andrew got here!
Bd's Mongolian BBQ for dinner - yum!
Capitol Tour - very interesting and educational
Dinner with John and Becky - it was so awesome to get to see them once more on this trip!
Embassy - We stopped by the Canadian Embassy for some pictures
Found Cheerios under at three pieces of furniture when cleaning the apartment this morning
Go, go, go... what we needed to do to get to our Capitol Tour in time.
Hot day! The hottest one so far I think, and the one where we spent the most time walking outside!
Interesting fact. I painted my toenails and Moriah's tiny ones got a splash of pink too!
Joyful- How Keenan was to finally see Uncle Andrew!
Keenan and Philip spent about an hour and a half at the park in the morning, which allowed me time to shower, get the apartment cleaned up, and relax. It also got Keenan adequately tired out to take a good nap before we headed out for a busy afternoon!
Loving having Andrew here. It's like having a Nanny along! He is Such a help with the kids!
Metro - We rode it several times yesterday and I think I've had my fill. I'm not a germaphobic, but it really grosses me out to think about all the surfaces we have to touch that are sooo germy!
Nap interrupted. I woke up and started thinking about this list, so I got up to work on it.
Out of Many, One. E plurbius unum. The national motto.
Pictures, of course. Lots of them!
Quiet. Keenan is not good at this. =)
Rotunda. This experience (for me) was right up there, tied with standing next to Abraham Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial. Unreal.
Statues. There were a ton of these in the capitol building, most of them given from the 50 States.
Totally unsurprised by any sort of crazy driving anymore, I've seen it all in the last two weeks.
Umbrella. We had to borrow one from John and Becky after dinner, so we could at least keep Moriah dry, while the five of us dashed the four blocks home in the rain!
Visitor's Center. We got to see the brand new, recently opened one at the Capitol. Very cool.
White House. First time up close (as close as you can get) and personal with the President's crib.
Xray machine. All our stuff had to go through this and we had to go through a metal detector to get into the Capitol.
Y
Zzzz... So sleepy after our long (but fun!) day.

On our way to the metro station

Family picture while waiting for our train

The (huge) Canadian Embassy

Keenan wasn't interested in being in our Canadian picture

... or in being part of our family, apparently!

This one came out a bit hazy because there was something on the lens, but I like how it looks anyway

The whole thing
Yet another view of the Washington Monument

Another angle

The back side

I don't know if you can tell here, but we are Very hot after hustling around the entire Capitol building, in order to get to the right spot at the back to start our tour!

Waiting in line to check in for our tour - A/C has never felt so good!

She was soo exhausted!

She hardly Ever falls alseep in here!

Cool astronaut statue from Colorado

We each had to wear stickers that said that we'd registered for the tour - Moriah wore hers on her butt!

Me in the Rotunda
(The cast iron dome weighs 9.5 million pounds!)

The gorgeous painting on the ceiling, called The Apotheosis of Washington
(it took 11 months to complete)

One of the statues from Michigan

The Library of Congress

Close up showing the torch on top

Philip and the kids with the Capitol


Keenan and I

Supreme Court

Pretty flag

Daddy and his girl

Keenan and Uncle Andrew

Union Station

Back down to the subway

Cutie pie

Peekaboo!

The White House

A little closer

Keenan and Andrew

Three of us

Outside the main gate

Philip and Moriah

I loved the flags with this building next to the White House

Uncle Andrew getting Keenan across the street safely =)

Our reflections

Nap number two in the front pack

Sweet girl

We took her out to let her sleep more comfortably

The dudes across the aisle

Not sure

Dinner!

Keenan using chop sticks!

With rice, even!

John and Becky

All of us

Uncle Andrew keeping Moriah happy

Sweet smile

John with his dessert
(I think this was a small!)

I don't remember what it was called, but isn't it beautiful?

Becky and Me

Little Brother and Me =)

Phew! I think that's it!