Monday, December 31, 2007

Cottage Life






Because we get two weeks at Christmas—yes, I can hear it now: teachers have it so good...and you're right...we wouldn't change it for all the money in the world...p.s. Jason brought about 500 pages worth of marking...lucky for the family, he decided not to do any of it until after holidays—we decided to go up to the family cottage for a few days. It is a fantastic place to relax because there is nothing to do accept...well...do nothing. Perfect. The kids had fun playing in the snow, baking cookies with GG, sledding with cousin Sara and her husband Brian, building snow forts, eating icicles, and walking on the lake. The trip was also a learning experience: Riley learned not to play with, or eat, yellow snow...thankfully before she tried it. Jason had “fun” too, shoveling the snow off of the roof for about four hours one of the days...who knew you could drink beer and shovel at the same time?

A few days left of vacation to go home and get things sorted out before the new year. Here's to a happy, healthy, and prosperous new year to everyone...and those of you who can, have a drink for those of us who will probably fall asleep on the attempting to stay up “late” to see Dick Clark's Rockin' New Year's Eve Party. Party like it's 1999.

Friday, December 28, 2007

More Christmas Photos




Here are a couple more Christmas photos. Including Jason and Riley blowing out the candles on Baby Jesus' birthday cake.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas Day(s)






Christmas Day(s) was a blast at the Hubbard household. We celebrated Christmas Day at our house with Amanda's family. Santa came in the middle of the night and answered the kids' letters/prayers. Simon got a train set, and Riley got a doll house complete with furniture and dollies. The two spent hours playing with them, and the many other gifts they received. The rest of the day was spent in our pyjamas (family matching ones I might add...nerdy I know, but a real kick for the kids), drinking and being merry. Had a huge dinner spread that night: turkey and all the fixin's, cabbage rolls, tourtierre, turnip, pie—you name it, we had it. Nothing like just relaxing with family.

The next day we celebrated Christmas Day again; this time it was at Jason's parent's house. It was jam-packed with my extended family...there were a total of thirteen of us—Jason's mom had to bring home extra tables and chairs to seat everyone for breakfast. The kids were spoiled, just like the day before. It is so much fun to watch them go...the awe of innocence is simply amazing.

After a fun day, it was back to work on the mountain of leftovers...not so good for my waist-line, but a nice way to spend the holidays. YUM.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Visit with Cousin Ainsley


During the Christmas Holidays, Jason's sister, Jocelyn, her husband, Corbett, and her daughter, Ainsley, came by for a visit. It was great to see them all since they live in Montreal, and their work does not afford them many holidays. It was a great time visiting and watching the kids playing. They played really well together. Simon taught Ainsley the Wo-Wo dance—essentially spinning in circles until you are to dizzy to stand up, yelling, “Wo-Wo,” the entire time, and then falling down and laughing yourself silly. It was quite the spectacle. They also had crash-up derbies with the strollers and dollies—felt kind of like being at the speedway...just needed an needed an RV, a case of Old Milwaukee and about a thousand of my closest carheads....yeeeeehahhhhh! A fun time was had by all.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Making Christmas Presents



Riley and Simon, due to obvious financial constraints—they are only two and a half and one and a half—decided to make some of their Christmas presents this year. Amanda found a really great craft for the kids to do. Using finger paint and their hand prints (and a little motherly intervention), the kids were able to create angels for their grandparents and great grandparents. They looked great. After the official craft was complete, Simon decided to try his hand at a postmodernist approach to Christmas: The twelve days of Christmas as body art in finger paint? Eat your heart out Jackson Pollard.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Bear Creek Christmas

Jason's high school, Bear Creek, holds a Christmas party every year for the staff's children. It is always a great night. The kids play in the gym for an hour or so (with all of the phys. ed. stuff), and then we eat pizza in the cafeteria. After dinner and ice-cream sandwich dessert, Santa makes a very special stop to see all of the girls and boys. By a strange coincidence, all the children got books...boy Santa is smart. Books were also donated by each family to the local Women's shelter. Check out the pics...Santa seems to have been visiting Weight Watchers.


Friday, December 14, 2007

Gingerbread House

Continuing to get into the Christmas Spirit, we all decorated a gingerbread house together. As you can see by the condition of the kids faces, more candy was consumed than put on the house. The result was two crazy, hyper kids running through the house a half an hour before bedtime. Mental note: next year, decorate the Gingerbread house hours before you expect the kids to sleep.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Mental Insanity

We are sure if you looked in the dictionary under insanity, you would find a picture of Amanda and Jason trying to decorate the Christmas tree with Riley and Simon. We aren't sure what was funnier: Simon running around the house with 20 feet of beads in tow, Riley attempting to cut the tree down with her toy jigsaw, Simon eating the beads, or Riley attempting to play dress-up with the ornaments. After untangling all the beads and a lot of laughter--because what else can you do--we decided that we would finish the job once the kids went to sleep. That was the best decision we made all night.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

The Adventures of a Christmas Tree

We all bundled up and headed out to a local tree farm called Drysdale's to get a Christmas tree. It is a beautiful place to go, it is actually where they filmed part of the movie A Christmas Story. While we were there, we traveled on a train, were pulled by a horse-drawn wagon, and even visited with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Simon is in the stage of life when one nap isn't enough but two is too much; with all the outdoor fun and excitement he was sound asleep in Amanda's arms for almost an hour. After all the activities, it was time to get a tree. We aren't fools; we quickly decided to get a pre-cut tree instead of attempting to drag two toddlers out into a field to cut one down. What a great decision that was. It was another fun day at Drysdale's, and once again we had a perfectly shaped tree to decorate. Decorating a tree with two toddlers...now that is another adventure.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Made a Memory




This post is totally unrelated to the kids, but cetainly one worth posting about. Thanks to Amanda's good friend Kara, she had another opportunity to go and see Bon Jovi in concert at the A.C.C. As they pulled into their parking spot down in Toronto, Kara told the girls that her husband, Paul, had upgraded the seats for them. An already excited car of girls became much more excited. The seats were two sections over, and two rows up from the floor, great seats. One row in front of them was a smaller stage. A security guard came over to them and told them that Bon Jovi would be performing from that stage as well. They couldn't believe it--BON JOVI FIVE FEET AWAY!!!!!!!!! He performed five songs from that stage, including Make a Memory and Bed of Roses. It was unbelievable. Amanda somehow managed to take 40 pictures of him on her camera phone while her friend, Erin, videotaped with her phone and her friend Colleen snapped away on her camera. It was amazing! Here is some eye-candy for you all.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Hitting the Hay—something's different with this bed


Simon reached a new level of sleep. No, not a new level of R.E.M.—the kind that helps you sleep past 5:10am—a new bed!!! Simon has graduated to a toddler bed...for better or for worse. With a little encouragement from Daddy, and a little apprehension from Mommy, he is in. For those that have never had the pleasure/pain of transforming a crib into a toddler bed, this means that one of the sides (a length) of the crib is removed and the outside world becomes temptingly close. Now, Riley never tried to escape—she doesn't even get out of bed on her own to this day—but Simon is definitely his own man. We are early in this process, but we have our fingers crossed that Simon is more interested in sleeping than he is in exploring his room and the rest of the house in the night/morning.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Santa Came to Town

Santa came to Barrie a little early this year...and he had a parade. This year we braved the crowds, and the elements, to get a glimpse of jolly old Saint Nick. Rather than the usual roadside seat, this year we decided to watch the parade from a streetside tavern patio. A tavern, you say....with kids? Yes, a tavern. It was the perfect spot. Elevated above the crowd, we had an unobstructed view. They served hot chocolate for the kids and hot totties for adults—a fantastic combination. It was a great way to usher in the festive season: family, friends, Santa...and Shriners.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Night at the Americana in Niagara Falls





Riley, Simon and Amanda headed down to Niagara Falls to a hotel called the Americana to meet Nee Nee and Papa for a night away. Jason couldn't go with them because they went during the week....another perk of Amanda working half time. The Americana has an indoor waterpark which is similar to the Great Wolf Lodge but on a smaller scale. They spent the night in the wave pool, going down water slides, playing in the water swing, watching the giant bucket dump water on people and eatting $35.00 hotdogs. The food there was very expensive!!!!!! Amanda and the kids had a joining hotel room with Nee Nee Nee and Papa, it made life much easier with naps and bedtime. We had a blast there together and hope that we can return sooner than later as a family of four.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Snow Fort


Riley and Jason took advantage of the major snowfall, and built a snow fort. Tons of fun, but it's right in front of the house and is often a detour when kids are supposed to be going to the car. Oh well..."let it snow, let it snow, let it snow."

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Swimming Lessons

The kids have been enjoying swimming lessons this fall. This is the first time that they have been able to be in the pool together. Both Amanda and Jason are in the pool with them--Nothing like wading in a shallow pool full of pee to create a family bonding experience. Riley and Simon are in different groups so they do their own thing for the most part, until they see each other and want to trade parents...keeps it interesting.

Riley is like a fish. She puts her whole head under, jumps in off the side of the pool, blows bubbles, and kicks and uses her arms. She is so good, that--unfortunately for mom and dad--her next session of lessons will be "sans parents." Swimming is one of her favourite activities.

Simon takes after his big sister. He is starting to blow bubbles, slide in from the side of the pool, and he is kicking his feet. His favourite part is chasing after the ducky.



We are taking a bit of a break from swimming lessons over the winter--cold and flu season. But we are going to family swim times and are practicing in the bath. Can't wait for the beach this summer.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Simon's First Haircut

Our little boy is growing up...sniff...sniff. Goodbye golden baby locks..hello Mr. man. Simon went for his first haircut. We took him to a place that specializes in children's hair. Simon was really good. He sat in a little airplane (a fun replacement for the traditional barber chair), and put on the tiny blue smock--so cute. He sat there and watched as they trimmed his hair. This place is great. They have a TV in front of the chair so that, if needed, a kid's dvd could go on as a distraction. They even give out a certificate and lock of hair from his first haircut. Turned out to be an enjoyable experience--minus the realization that our baby is growing up...even if it is only a year.

Well, a little time has passed, and Simon has adjusted to his new do. With a little help from his stylist, Mommy, he is a real lady-killer (not unlike his old man...haha). Attaboy!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Girls' Weekend...Hooray!!!

Girls' weekend!!! Amanda, Riley and Nee Nee got the chance to have a weekend getaway to the big city: T.O. The fun started Friday afternoon when Nee Nee checked into the room--quite a bit early. Later in the evening, when Amanda and Riley arrived, Nee Nee had started the party in the hotel lounge. The three took the party to their suite, where riley called her "peeps." The beds/trampolines got a good workout, and saw both Nee Nee and Riley jump the gap. What a fun night.

The torrent pace continued for the rest of the weekend. Everyone shopped. Everyone had nice meals. Everyone took a dip in the pool--Riley loves to swim. She also had a great time in the hotel playroom--lots of toys and dollies. A perfect weekend!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Gymnastics

Move over Nadia Com─âneci, a new face has hit the gymastics scene. Riley has begun a new and exciting activity. It involves wearing a pink body suit, and playing like a ninja. Oh, to be young again...well at least the ninja part for Jason. She is having a great time running on the mat, jumping on the trampoline, balancing on the beam, and hanging from the (monkey) bar. We have loved watching her do all of these "rad" moves...especially out of the house; off of the furniture. A photographer came in during one of her later sessions; here are a few snapshots.

She will begin a new session at a new club in January. We have changed clubs because Simon will be able to begin gymnastics (ninja training) along side of Riley. It will be quite an adventure for Amanda because the sessions are scheduled while Jason is working...should be a blast!!!!




Thursday, November 1, 2007

Finally!!!!!

We have been wanting to do a family blog for a long, long time. Have tried a few times before, but with dial-up service out in the country haven't had much success. Well, try, try again--or perhaps the definition of insanity...trying the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. With high-speed lines being laid a half mile down the concession, and the prospect of speeds in excess of 9.6 kilobytes per second--not even joking--we shall see.

We will use this blog to tell about our family adventures and give updates on Riley and Simon. Hope you all enjoy our little slice of heaven.