Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Summer ended with our annual trek back to Manitoba.  We were flying on points and I'd booked late so we ended up on an overnight flight, which had no redeeming qualities other than we got to see a tornado shelter at 4 am in the Saskatoon airport (I've never seen one of those in an airport before - it was just an enclosed area next to the bathrooms).  As usual, we had a great visit with everyone.  Grace and Christopher came out to Grandma and Grandpa's with us, and the boys went fishing (they had an introductory lesson in how to clean the day's catch).  Grandpa took them out driving the quad on the back roads near his old farm, exploring abandoned homesteads. The girls hung out in their bedroom giggling much of the time, emerging to do chores for cash to pay for Animal Jam video game dollars. We visited with Grandma Alice, and Uncle Lee came for a few days from Denver.  We drove up to Blue Lake one day and even though the temperatures were only about 14 degrees, the kids still spent 2 hours tubing behind the boat.  Eventually we made our way back into Winnipeg.  Sadly (not!), the outdoor ropes course that terrified me last year has closed down, so the kids took in the Winnipeg waterslides instead. There was also a trip to a laser tag and arcade palace, which makes the one in Victoria look tiny.  We made it home in time to hang out with Daniel for the long weekend before summer officially came to an end and school started up again. 

Friday, August 17, 2018

I took Danika for her annual check up to the allergist.  Her issues with dairy are under control, as long as she stays away from all milk products.  And we are going to reduce the dose in her asthma inhaler by half, which is great - perhaps that's something she eventually won't need.  It wasn't all good news though - a scratch test revealed she's allergic to cashew and pistachio nuts, which are related.  We weren't shocked by this, since she developed a hive on her lip after licking a cashew ice cream bar earlier this summer.  Cashew milk is gaining popularity amongst the dairy alternatives at the grocery store, but it's not an alternative for Danika.  We were caught off guard by the prescription for the epi-pen and the lesson in how to use it ("blue to the sky, orange to the thigh, count to 5 to stay alive").  That was a little overwhelming and although the doctor and the nurse were really good, Danika doesn't like the idea of having a "serious allergy" - when we talked about her dairy allergy, we were always able to say that having milk products would give her a tummy ache and there may be long term cumulative effects, but she wouldn't have a dangerous immediate reaction.  Now she feels she has to be "really careful" about what she eats.  She's already very good about reading labels - it's just too bad the list of things she's watching for has grown.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Logan flying with Stewart on the Buddy box
I picked up Logan and Everest from Scout camp on Saturday, hot and dusty and tired and ready for bagels and Iced Caps from Tim Hortons.  They had an awesome time, recounting their tales of epic tubing adventures (6 feet of air, apparently) and a canoeing overnight trip.  The very next day, they spent the entire day at their RC flying club's annual "Largest Little Airshow", helping out with the flying simulator booth and clean-up.  Logan caught a ride home, grinning ear to ear because he'd won a portable air conditioner in a raffle.  He posted it on UsedVictoria last night, and sold it this afternoon for $180, cash that's probably already burning a hole in his pocket.  This week he's at a half-day paddling camp, learning how to maneuver outrigger canoes and whitewater kayaks in the harbour downtown.  He wasn't feeling very keen on camp on Monday morning, but it turns out one of his junior scout leaders is the paddling instructor, and now he's talking about joining the paddling club.  Danika had a great week at Camp Thunderbird last week, although the days are very long.  This week she's at a half day painting camp at the Cedar Hill Rec art studio - we'd planned for her to walk home on her own, but rec centre policy requires kids to be past their 10th birthday to do that, so we've been juggling pick-ups a bit. Last week of camps for the summer, and then we are off to Manitoba. 

Monday, August 06, 2018

The long weekend has arrived and Logan has departed.  He headed off to Scout camp on Saturday for a week.  Since this is his second year there and he went with a good friend this time, there was none of the nervousness of last year, just a whole lot of excitement (there's a photo of the group setting up tents for the week). The house already seems quiet and as Daniel commented yesterday when he'd been gone a whole 24 hours - "I miss him already!". Meanwhile, we kept Danika busy entertaining the little girl of friends we had over for dinner on Saturday, who was enthralled by the chickens and directing Danika to set up pretty much every board game that was stacked under the couch.  This afternoon I am taking her and a friend out to play minigolf, and tomorrow she starts Camp Thunderbird.  It's forecasted to be hot and sunny all week - a good week for canoeing and swimming in the lake.

And in case you are wondering about the garden this year, the garlic has been harvested and it was a decent crop, which is ironic considering it grew from Grandpa Pete's seed garlic and his own crop was apparently a bust this year.  The beans grew well, as did the snap peas.  Sadly though, the tomatoes, which are the biggest reason I plant a garden, are just not thriving this year for some inexplicable reason.  And, my front yard experiment with the deer seems to be a success. I planted prickly plants in pots - lemon cucumbers, watermelon, patty pan squash (actually thought those were pumpkins!), sunflowers and basil.  The deer did eat the sunflower leaves and sampled a couple of petals, but the rest survived and the harvest is beginning.  Last night, Danika and I were heading out for a bike ride and noticed an odd creature camoflauged on a sunflower - it turned out to be a yellow spider - weird!.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

With the hot, dry weather continuing we decided to make an impromptu camping trip this past weekend.  Used to be, all of our camping trips were impromptu. Now sites have to be reserved months in advance in the popular campgrounds.  Still, when I went looking on Tuesday there were several sites available in McDonald campground, a short drive away near the ferries.  It's a federal campground, and those are usually quite nice, so I booked site 35 (for future reference, site 7 looked better). It is a nice little (49 sites) place in the cedars, right on the Lochside bike trail.  The only drawback (and it was a big one) is that it's very close to the highway and the noise of the trucks coming and going from the ferry all day and night was distracting.  Perhaps the sites furthest from the road would be a bit better, but I suspect they are all a bit noisy.  Still, it was a good trip - we bungee corded the bikes to the back of the car, and on a bike ride into Sidney picked up backpack sized ping pong and bocce ball games at Capitol Iron, which was entertaining.  I think I wrote earlier that we were bike shopping for Danika - after checking out most of the bike stores in town we ended up buying a royal blue 24" Giant mountainbike off usedvictoria which should serve her well for another 2 or 3 years.  Sadly, no photos as I didn't manage to snap any while pedaling, which was probably best given my sometimes wobbly balance!

Sunday, July 22, 2018

A Danika story - we've had some fairly high temperatures (at least for Victoria) this month and last week the house was hot.  To cool down I drove Danika and a friend to the waterpark.  In the car they were discussing their beliefs about the afterlife, which apparently Danika is looking forward to - not the dying part but what comes after.  Here's a snippet of what I heard....Meira - what do you think happens when you die? Danika-there are different opinions about that you know.  Some people believe you go to heaven, some people believe in reincarnation, some people believe everything just stops. Meira-what do you think? Danika- I don't know. I don't want to think. I don't want to believe just one. I want to think big - think big or go home!  Then they went on to discuss what life would be like if they lived in a box. The existential conversations of 9 year olds.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Summer is well underway now.  While Logan was off hiking, Danika finished the school year with beach day and fun day, and then we picked up Grandma and Grace from the airport to spend Canada Day weekend with us.  Grace and Danika started off the visit attending a laser tag birthday party for one of Danika's friends.  There was also a trip to the Flying Squirrel trampoline gym, for the sake of comparing it to Winnipeg's Sky Zone, a trip to the movies with Granny, and they washed the car inside and out in order to earn money to spend at Mr. Tub's arcade. It was hard to say goodbye, even though we have a trip to Winnipeg planned in 6 weeks.  Both of the kids were home for the first week in July, which I had off work.  They each spent time with their friends, and just generally chilled out.  Now we are into the first week of summer camps - Danika is at a basketball camp with several of her friends and Logan is at a water adventure camp through Oak Bay Rec.  I'm in Vancouver for a conference most of the week, which means Daniel is on camp driving duty.