The Life of K

Friday, July 15, 2016

June Reads

Happy Friday! June was busy. The end of the month was especially crazy and it's only now that I feel a bit like life is back to normal. It was a slow month for reading



23. Adultery by Paulo Coelho


Summary


I want to change. I need to change. I'm gradually losing touch with myself.

Adultery, the provocative new novel by Paulo Coelho, best-selling author of The Alchemist and Eleven Minutes, explores the question of what it means to live life fully and happily, finding the balance between life's routine and the desire for something new.

What I thought 


I liked the first half of this book but then got bored. I did read a lot of Coelho's books in a row so that may have contributed. A fair assessment? Probably not.




24. The Nest by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney


Summary


A warm, funny and acutely perceptive debut novel about four adult siblings and the fate of the shared inheritance that has shaped their choices and their lives.

Every family has its problems. But even among the most troubled, the Plumb family stands out as spectacularly dysfunctional. Years of simmering tensions finally reach a breaking point on an unseasonably cold afternoon in New York City as Melody, Beatrice, and Jack Plumb gather to confront their charismatic and reckless older brother, Leo, freshly released from rehab. Months earlier, an inebriated Leo got behind the wheel of a car with a nineteen-year-old waitress as his passenger. The ensuing accident has endangered the Plumbs joint trust fund, “The Nest,” which they are months away from finally receiving. Meant by their deceased father to be a modest mid-life supplement, the Plumb siblings have watched The Nest’s value soar along with the stock market and have been counting on the money to solve a number of self-inflicted problems.

This is a story about the power of family, the possibilities of friendship, the ways we depend upon one another and the ways we let one another down. In this tender, entertaining, and deftly written debut, Sweeney brings a remarkable cast of characters to life to illuminate what money does to relationships, what happens to our ambitions over the course of time, and the fraught yet unbreakable ties we share with those we love.


What I thought


We gifted this book to my mother in law for her help looking after the kids then I got to borrow it! Like her, I didn't really like any of the characters and I think that was intentional. The characters were all flawed and did horrible things. And even though I didn't like them, I wanted to read about them. I wanted to find out what was going to happen to their money - the nest - in a train wreck kind of way. For that reason, I would recommend this book.  




What are you reading?

 

Do you stick with an author or genre or do you jump around?

 

Favourite book ever?


 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Summer Bucket List


SummerBucketList



Summer! It's well over 30 degrees outside so it's fair to say that summer is here. It's also fair to say that I'm playing catch up. I've been go-go-go for the last 3 weeks and cannot wait to go off call soon.

With summer camp, our new pool, and the kids' new rollerblades, this summer has already been pretty great. But that didn't stop me from putting together a little bucket list.

Unfortunately for us, I'm on call much of the summer and working when I'm not. Last year the kids I were able to do so many fun things with our days, but this year they'll be spending days at summer camp and at Camp Mimi (with J's parents), and time at the cottage will be limited. It's okay though, we will still have fun!

On days when we can get out and do fun things, I have this bucket list ready with ideas.

Last year was the Summer of Awesome. This year, the Summer of 2016... will it be bigger and better??

Need ideas for getting out with kids? Kids in the Capital put together this list of 50 things to do with kids in Ottawa! Do you have a list of must-dos for the summer? Please share!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Last day of school!

Win: I remembered to take pictures on the last day of school.

Fail: My phone died and I only have a couple I snapped with the big camera. Sniff.

Redemption: J was able to get the pictures off my phone! (And got me a working and reliable phone.. he's my hero!)

Fail: The picture I took of Little K in front of the car is horrible.

We're well into summer now and I'm going to have to settle with the pictures I do have if this post is ever going to get published. Onwards!

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My little man, happy to be done school.


Little J is all done Grade 1. He had a good year with a few bumps along the way. He struggled to find his place in a Grade 1/2 split, but managed to do really well, learn a lot, and make some good friends. His report card was very positive and he improved in almost every subject. I'm curious to see what it's like for him next year in a regular Grade 2 class. Only time will tell.

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Little K is done Junior Kindergarten and she excelled there. She had the same teacher Little J had and some really great ECEs too. She still had mornings that she didn't want to go to school but came home each day with fun stories to tell. As for next year, all kindergarten classes will be split between Junior and Senior Kindergarten, so there's a chance she'll have some of the same classmates, teacher, and ECEs for at least part of the day. That would be amazing!

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Biking to school for the last time this year.


The last week of school was crazy busy but the kids and I managed to put together some cute gifts for their teachers. I made necklaces and the kids helped with some fun sparkle magnets. Everything went into a little bag attached to a card. Easy and cute!

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The kids were fighting before we left the school yard so it might be a long summer.


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Siblings.

Even with the fighting I took them to Mac's and got them Frosters to celebrate.

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Yum!

We still have to go through all the papers that came home - I have a box for each kid and will keep only the best. I'll sneak everything else into the recycling if I have to! Whoo summer!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

The beginning of summer

Summer has begun and it's been a crazy whirlwind! The last day of school was June 30th and then we were into Canada Day and a busy weekend before the first week of summer. I haven't had a chance to catch my breath until now. Seriously.

The last week of June/school was super busy. I had appointments every evening and the kids were struggling with the lack of structure at school so it was tough. I managed to get them to school on time every day and do all the work things I had to do, but nothing extra. I remembered to take the last day of school pictures which I will put together in a post at some point. It's amazing to see how much the kids have grown!

On the last day of school I had a baseball game so J brought the kids. It was really nice to have them there even if my team didn't play so well.

The next day was Canada Day but I had to miss the community festivities because I got called to a birth. My second Canada Day baby in a row! After catching up on sleep I was able to do some celebrating.

Babies are funny though and another one decided to make an appearance so I was called away again that weekend. I was so relieved to hand over the phone.

We hit the ground running on the first Monday of the summer with Summer Camp. I'll write more about it later, but the kids LOVE it so they'll be going 10 days throughout the summer. This week they did Summer Camp, spent a day with J's mom, and stayed home with me. There's no way I can compete with the excitement of real camp and spending time with grandparents, so I put the kids to work. I've decided to teach them how to do all sorts of things around the house.

J and I are also chatting about starting an allowance and I would love input on when you started with your kids.. how much, how often.. anything you can tell me.

It's the weekend again and I'm back on call. After spending the night at the hospital Thursday, I'm hoping for a bit of a break when it comes to doula work. Too bad I can't order that up.

While I catch my breath tell me what you're doing this summer! Any fun plans? Crazy adventures? Do you do a summer bucket list?

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Lego Tour

LegoTour

The very cool Lego Imagination Nation Tour had a stop in Ottawa and I was lucky and won tickets from Crystal Clear as Mud. We would not have gone otherwise because tickets were super expensive.

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We arrived at the EY Center and the kids were given their Cool Creator badges. We didn't know what to expect but what we found was a whole lot of Lego and some really fun and impressive things!

The whole EY Center (a huge building where trade shows are held) was being used. The place was divided into areas for each of the kinds of Lego. First up was Nexus Knights. We made our own shields, put them up on the wall, and then the kids played a game on tablets.

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Searching for the right colours.

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Our shields.

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Little J playing the Nexus Knights game.

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Little K playing.
After that it's kind of a blur, but we made our way around to all the different areas. In Lego City, the kids built cars that they then got to race in a game.

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Car creations.

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Saying hello to the officer.

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HEREIn Lego Friends, the kids built cafes.

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collage-creations

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Car made out of Lego.

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Prize from Lego Friends.

In the duplo section, there was an interactive show so the kids did that and got a prize.

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There was an area where you could test your strength by building a bridge out of Lego and having it tested with weights. We didn't do that but the kids did get up and personal with the Hulk, Spiderman and Batman.

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collage-spiderman


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One of the favourites was where they got to build a dojo and then defend it in the game.

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Dojos.
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Adding their dojos to all the others.

The Star Wars zone didn't have a game, but the kids still made their space vehicles and admired the characters.

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HUGE Yoda.

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R2D2.
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Little J's creation.

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Little K's creation is on the right.

We did the Minecraft zone near the end and the kids were getting tired.. we'd been there almost 4 hours.

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Picking out pieces.

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Little K's creation.
Then it was time for the massively huge Lego pile!

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To give you an idea of how big it was.
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That's a lot of Lego.
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Just me and my girl.
In the 4 hours we were there, we saw everything, built a lot of Lego, and played a lot of games. We were spent! It was pretty cool.

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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Ultimate Dinosaurs at The Museum of Nature

UltimateDinos

You do not want to miss the newest exhibit at the Museum of Nature. Running all summer, Ultimate Dinosaurs is a must-see!

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Paleontologist Dr. Jordan welcoming us to Ultimate Dinosaurs.
We were invited to check out Ultimate Dinosaurs and it just so happened to be a PD day so I brought the whole family with me. As paleontologist Dr. Jordan explained, unlike the permanent dinosaur exhibit, the dinosaurs in Ultimate Dinosaurs are different. They were found in the southern hemisphere and have some very unique characteristics. In the exhibit, you'll learn about the history of the world and about dinosaurs that you may not be familiar with.

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Watch the world change with this interactive display.

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Examples of the earliest dinosaurs.
The exhibit is home to 16 full skeletons from the huge Giganotosaurus to the very wee Simosuchus.

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Oooh!
It was great having the kids there so that I could see what appealed to them (think: technology) vs. what appealed to me (the information). This exhibit is the perfect combination of dinosaur skeletons (16 of them!), information and interactive elements.

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Playing with dinosaurs.
The kids were impressed with the big skeletons but had way more fun playing with the toy dinosaurs and using the technology. Screens are set up that, when you aim them at the skeletons, they bring the dinosaurs to life. This was a big hit!

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Dinosaurs come to life.

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The dinosaur skeletons are just amazing though. My favourites were a little cat-like Simosuchus and this little flying guy. I also really liked the dinosaur still in the egg.

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Flying guy.

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Simosuchus.

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With eggs the size of a football, dinosaurs were quick to pack on the pounds.
All summer long, students working at the museum will be on hand to show off some real specimens including the kid-favourite dinosaur poop! Also this summer there are activities taking place at the museum - the fossil lab, dino zone, and Walking With Dinosaurs, a 3D film.

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Teeth!
Pushing a button and hearing a recording of a child saying the name is the only way I could ever pronounce all the dinosaur names properly!
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Suchomimus.
Then there's the Dino Challenge where you can go around to different stations, learn about dinosaurs, while collecting stamps.

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We completed the dino challenge!
The stamps are embossed and the paper becomes a neat keepsake.

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Embossing.
And as always, when we're at the museum for a media preview, there are cameras. Little J was asked to hop up onto a display with a huge dinosaur skull and made it onto the Ottawa Citizen website. Pretty cool!

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Behind the scenes.
The Ultimate Dinosaurs exhibit runs intil the beginning of summer and has a cost in addition to regular museum admission. The extras (the fossil lab, dino zone, and live fossil preparation) are included.

Add a visit to Ultimate Dinosaurs to your summer bucket list!


Thank you to the museum for having me at the media preview!
Disclaimer: I was invited to the media preview. All opinions are my own.