Thursday, July 26, 2012


 Mak and I had a date this afternoon -- saskatoon picking!  We went to our local U-pick Happy Acres.

The intention was to get saskatoons.  And we did ... but I had to scramble and pick as many as I could in between playground visits, petting zoo visits, and thorough inspections of the machinery:

Thanks to Maklin leading the way in exploring the place from corner to corner, we happened upon a patch of plump ripe raspberries.  YUM.  I picked berries ... Mak played with the inch-worm he found.

It was a hot, muggy, buggy sort of day.  But it was a blast!!  Good thing I wasn't dependent on Maklin's berry picking skills though!!!

Monday, July 23, 2012


Maisy has now been out in the world just as long (give or take a few days) as she was inside me.

And boy is she on the go!!! Crawling vertically happens as frequently and efficiently as crawling horizontally.
   * stairs
   * the deck
   * the bench seat in the trailer
   * into/onto low chairs
   * the table if she can reach it (once on one of the above surfaces)
   * up and over boxes
   * over the shelf under the coffee table
   * ...

Basically -- if she decides she's going somewhere, she goes.  Forward, backward, over, under .... whatever it takes!   oiyy...

Sunday, July 22, 2012

where adventures begin

Our annual camping trip with the Hermansons = FUN.

This year we went to Crimson Lake; this is a campsite we will absolutely be revisiting.  It might just be the best campground we've stayed at!  Beautiful private campsites; we were just off well-kept walking trails loaded with berries (apparently the land of this campground was at one time a berry farm), an awesome beach for the kids to wade and play; and clean well-kept facilities.  

Unfortunately we had one rainy day (thank goodness for the swimming pool in Rocky!)  But the kids did fine.  Play-dough, reading, swimming ... everyone was still in good spirits when the sun came out.  Sunday was hot and sunny - Beach Day!!!!

The kids rode their bikes quite a bit - Atli and Maklin cruising around on their run bikes.  Atli's almost a year younger than Mak, but the same size and comparable gross motor skills.  They could ride together, but at least at this age, their personalities clash a little.  Mak seems to have a bit more in common with Seth (he's a few years older than Mak).

Will be cool to watch these kids interact over the years ... we'll have to keep up these camping trips!!

View clockwise from top left - and repeat.
There.  Now it's like you were there watching with me!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

bike trials

Mak is generally a fairly conservative little man.  When he first started riding his bike, J set up a ramp to open his eyes to the endless possibilities ... this was daunting.  Mak walked it holding hands with Dada a number of times before he was comfortable with it.

Didn't take him long though!  Now he wants to try anything Dada will do on his bike.  He rides up and down ramps, does wheelies ...

stairs ...

And balance has been achieved; he's a gliding machine!!

There are moments ...

But lately he's been riding circles around us! (literally ...)  These snippets don't even really do it justice - but you get the idea!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Finally.  Mae is legitimately interested in food.  At least most of the time.  She's been eating some for a bit, but at just under 9 months ... she is now opening her mouth willingly, puts food in her own mouth, and asks for more.

Especially yogurt.  Girl loves her yo'.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

cabooga 13

On the way home from Saskatchewan, we camped the night at Aspen Crossing.   It's not exactly a small family oriented campground, but the whole place is about trains - so we thought Mak would still enjoy it.  Yup!

Mak loved looking at all the old farm equipment they had around, plus all the trains and train paraphernalia.  He even picked out a blue & silver crushed velour train Christmas ornament as a keepsake.  There are a few old cabooses done up as guest suites where you can stay (cool idea - they do this at Footloose Caboose near Tofield as well).  Anyway, Mak insists that it's not 'caboose'; it's 'cabooga.'  uh-huh.

The best part about the stay?  Mak got to ride his bike all over the place, and Mae loved riding in the backpack.

The worst part about the stay?  For some strange reason, bedtime took several hours and was all-consuming.  So much for having tea & dessert, watching the sunset, playing a game, and/or talking after the kids were in bed.  It was past our bedtime by the time they were asleep.  I'm not exactly superstitious; but we were at campsite #13 ... on Friday the 13th.  Just sayin' ...

We stopped at the visitor information centre in Red Deer for lunch (a great advantage of pulling your own kitchen with you!) and blew off some stink at the playground.  Justin and Mak saw a swarm of literally thousands of dragonflies.  When I got to the playground ... there were only a handful.

I snapped a lot of pictures trying to get a good dragonfly shot.  This was the best I did.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


When you make an 8+hr drive (which takes considerably longer with little kids) you have to cram in as much visiting as possible while you're home.

Despite being home for a reunion on the other side of the family, we managed to fit in two visits with Great-Grandma and Great-Grandpa Simmons, and Auntie Gail (she's 'great' too!).

Mak remembers visiting them and for the first time on our trip seemed his old self.  Welcome back Mak - we missed you!!

And as always -- out came the rocking horse.

Monday, July 9, 2012

family reunion

This past weekend my Mom's family all got together.  A full reunion.  All 6 siblings and most of their families ... some travelling from as far away as Australia.  I think everyone had a good time.  Mixed feelings I'm sure as the majority of the family would claim to not like a fuss .... or get togethers ... or, well, people in general.  Even though there are a fair number of us, the weekend was pretty casual, so I think for the most part we caught up without getting into each other's hair too much.

We camped out at Kim & Jeree's for the weekend with Vince & Carrie (Jacob, Thomas, and MJ) and Mark & Heidi (Samantha & Luke).  There was always enough going on that we didn't get a lot of one-on-one visiting ... but we still had some quality catching up.

Weekend itinerary:
- Friday night pizza at the 'blue park'
- Saturday afternoon / evening we had the club room at the Elk's Hall.  Beef on a bun was brought in for supper.  There were games, drinks, a slideshow of all of us growing up, and of course a large table of standard Horne Family gathering desserts (including, of course, Angel Food cake with raspberries and/or strawberries and ice cream).
- Sunday was a day at the farm:  horseback riding; wading in the 'dam'; eating; visiting; water fights; marshmallow fights; campfire ...
- Sunday night, socializing became a bit more social.  There were many bevvies consumed (none by me), leading to a late night / early morning of campfire sing-a-long.  There are some great singers in the family; and ... some non-singers (y'all know who you are!!)  Words cannot describe.  Still ... I haven't had an evening that entertaining in quite some time!

The kids did OK.  Poor Maklin was saying, "I wanna go home now" about 3 hours into our drive TO Saskatchewan.  He was pretty overwhelmed and stressed most of the trip; just not quite himself, but he warmed up by the last few days (and thankfully is still excited about more camping!)

Mae travelled like a champ ... although with a bit of a penchant for early mornings.  This didn't always mix well with my late nights, but we managed.

Land of the living skies ...

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

tarred and feathered

[Disclaimer:  the pictures shown in this post may be disturbing to some viewers.  Viewer discretion is advised.]

The crows around our house have been ridiculous this year.  You hear them bouncing around on the roof.  They fight on our front lawn; steal food from our BBQ; sit on our fence and scream.  I did a little exploring; the town said they couldn’t do anything about them.  On the record, they didn’t have any recommendations for what we could do.  Off the record, I was ‘advised’ that a well-aimed slingshot couldn’t hurt.  We also heard that hanging a dead crow in your yard will keep the others away (at least for a time).  This, we had a good laugh over: “where are we gonna get a dead crow?? ”

Yesterday, when Justin is leaving for work, there are a bunch of crows hanging out on the fence.  As he does on occasion, he aimed at them with his bee-bee gun.  Yes – you’re not supposed to do this in town, but Justin’s bee-bee gun, even when pumped up to the max, is … tired.  You can watch the bee-bee come out of the gun, arc up, and s-l-o-w-l-y f-a-l-l.  You can imagine then how shocked Justin was when he nailed a crow and it dropped dead from the fence!

So ... what the heck??  We strung him up for a few days ...

post-note:  What do you know ... we haven't had any crows in our yard since!!  (although we almost scared off the neighbours with our voodoo magic too ...)

Monday, July 2, 2012

Duncan Ranch

We camped this past weekend with the Ewashkiws and Schmidts at the Duncan Ranch (where Cindy grew up).

What a great weekend!  For starters ... parenting is so much more relaxing when there are a bunch of amazing teenage girls around who (at least appear to) actually enjoy hanging out with your kids!!  Plus, these are card playing families!  :)

   * a leisurely horseback ride
   * playing cards out on the lawn
   * a fire (with other friends coming out for a visit)
   * great food
   * lots of laughs
   * Canada day hats, fireworks, and sparklers
   * an adorable puppy
   *ball toss (Justin at one point was labelled "world champion ball tosser" - but then lost the next game to Cindy.  He should have quit while he was ahead!)

While there aren't any good pictures depicting this ... Maklin spent the vast majority of the weekend playing in the crab shaped sandbox.  He has a sandbox at home (and does love it) but he was absolutely obsessed with playing in this sandbox.  He did come out occasionally for a few other adventures, but they were few and far between.

Miss Maisy decided to wake up at 4am one morning.  She was pretty loud and we didn't want Mak getting up, so Justin threw her in the chariot and headed out for a brisk early morning walk.  She conked out pretty quickly all bundled up and strolling in the fresh air.  When they got back to the trailer - Justin parked her, then, like a good papa bear, laid down on the ground under the awning so he could keep on eye on his baby girl.  Then it started to rain.  After a while he came back into the trailer to grab a few more layers and head back out; I tucked an extra blanket around him at one point - I was feeling so sorry for him out there!!  Such a dedicated Dad!!!  (I'm pretty sure I would have parked her and then crawled back into bed!)

Brilliant fireworks!

love at first sight

Molly is a new puppy at the Duncan Ranch.

Mae & Molly instantly fell madly in love with each other.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

the containment unit

Spending so much time in the trailer this summer, we decided we needed to figure out something for Maeyer so we could camp sans playpen. The first few trips, we folded the table down as if making up the table bed, but instead of putting the cushions on, we set up a playpen on top of the table bed.  It worked well – but several times a day we were setting up and taking down …

Thankfully - we have a handy Dada!!  Mak is sleeping on the top bunk (with a bedrail Justin built for him).  And, after much discussion, Justin devised a hinged baby gate system across half of the lower bunk to essentially create a crib for Mae.  A ... prison-like crib.

Note:  the dangerous string hanging from the blinds has since been removed!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

check mate

Mak can identify all the chess pieces, name them, and set up the board.  Get ready Sully: Mak’s getting ready to take you on.  :)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

baby 'courage'

Recently, Mae got a special gift from Great-Auntie Gail:  a baby cradle, a pram, and a little doll stroller that were hers when she was wee.  She’s been holding onto them all these years with the intention of passing them on to my girl. 

Mae’s not quite big enough for them yet … but Maklin LOVES the stroller (he calls it a baby ‘courage’).  

[said with scrunchy face] "Mae's gonna use this for dolls or something ...
but I'm gonna push around trucks."

And the pram?  A big hit with some of Maklin’s girlfriends at a recent baby shower we had.  And with the Moms.

Mak though riding in the buggy would be more fun than pushing it!
Thank-you for the sentimental gifts.  Maklin has a little barn that Baba made for Justin when he was little.  Sweet that Mae has some family pass-downs just for her too. 

And Mae – on behalf of Maklin – thank-you for sharing!!

Monday, June 25, 2012


Because we’re both off for the summer (teacher hubby + mat leave = summer fun) we’re trying extra hard to maximize family fun time. Yay for a summer of camping!!  Most of the time Mak is thrilled to be out exploring and checking out new stuff.  He loves outside, and he especially loves Dada time.  But during quiet times, driving times, or sleepy times, Mak often says, “I just wanna go home” or "can we go home now pyease?"  We’re working on getting him comfortable with out trailer being our 'home-on-wheels.'  We plan to have this trailer for 10yrs or so, so we’re working on personalizing it and really making it our other home.

 Anyone recognize the quotes???

Thanks to Becky Dupont for helping me get set up with Word to the Wall.

Sunday, June 24, 2012


We put Maklin in U4 TimBits Soccer this year.  2 1/2 is quite a bit Under-4.  He was one of, if not the, youngest player on the team.  He definitely doesn't 'get' soccer after this experience ... however he did learn quite a bit.   He even scored a goal one 'game' (and I use the word game loosely: mad pandemonium of little kids and parents, some focused on the ball - no regard to which net mind you - and others focused on escaping to the nearby playground.

What a cool experience to have with your friends though.  Learning new skills together.  Learning to help each other out and depend on each other.  Learning to be active.  Meeting new people.  Making new friends.  Learning to respond to a coach.

Plus - Maklin rode his bike to soccer twice a week, which really helped him figure out how to balance.

Double Plus - each night after soccer ... playground!!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

2/3rds to a birthday

Seriously ... HOW can some days go SO slow ... but the months go by so fast that all of a sudden my baby girl is 8 months old!!!

I'm so thankful to have such a happy little girl! She's adventurous (aka mischievous), strong, strong-willed (aka difficult to distract when she has her mind set on ... see above ... mischief), curious, and fun-loving.

Maisy is very physically strong.  She can sit straight up when lying on her back, easily pulls herself up on stuff (physical support unnecessary; psychologic support will do - like pulling herself up to a standing position by grabbing and holding onto the remote control).

She is starting to show some interest in food.  Some.  Sometimes.

She has 3 teeth -- two on the bottom on one on the top, and has proven to be a trooper when teething.  Yes, grumpier than usual.  But a slightly grumpy very happy baby is still not so bad!

We set up a modified and delayed vaccination schedule for Mae.  Instead of having 7-8 needles by now, she's had 2, combined with arnica and chiropractic care for maximum support of her immune system.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

sea turtle

Mak's first swimming lessons were unparented.  Kudos to the instructors who take on teaching swimming lessons to 2 year olds - without parents!!  It went surprisingly well.

assisted front float

wandering off from class to get the ball -- no fear!

He did awesome!  He learned a lot about swimming, gained confidence in the water, learned some new songs (a big plus for him!), and also had a positive experience of an activity facilitated without Mama or Dada.  There was one class where he didn't want to go in, and another where he tested the instructor a little, but overall he was very enthusiastic about attending and participating.  A great experience for him.  (and I loved that I could take him to swimming and not have to go in!  lol)