29 Jul 2014

Is July almost gone already?

It has been quite a while since I posted to the blog - ever since we dropped off Adam at camp, July has seemed to float by with seemingly not much to do... or to write about. Our days consist of getting up, heading to work (with less trouble finding parking), then coming home to an excited "hoo-hooing" Maddy and a dazed-looking Parker. A few errands or chores in the evening and off to bed. Parker is having a decidedly relaxed summer, as he usually gets up around lunch time (his lunch time, not ours) and stares at his computer screen for the rest of the day with his headphones on. It is definitely going to be a big shock in a few weeks when he goes to his 2 week school program (a head start on grade 9).

Wendy returned to work in the first week of July and was 'sort of not really excited' about going back after 6 weeks off. She thought she would be bored, but found that she had lots to keep her occupied. Oddly, she is also 'sort of glad' to be back at work (more people to talk to perhaps?), although her office moved to the cold dungeon of the hospital while she was off. Send warm thoughts.

The weather this month has been nothing to write a blog post about, so I won't.

Our garden has been growing quite well and our tomatoes are finally showing that they can make fruit. Will be a long while before they start ripening since we have had little sun and heat to help them along. The raspberries were more or less OK (not as bountiful as previous years so far), but Wendy has picked quite a few. Maddy, however, has shown that she is a complete freak for raspberries! She loves them and will wait (not so quietly) on the grass while Wendy picks. Her periodic yips and whines remind everyone that she really, really wants a berry.

Maddy waiting for raspberries
Last weekend Wendy, her father, and I took a trip up to visit Adam. He got a day pass to leave the base (the week earlier it was denied since he was assigned to run the intake of new cadets, so could not take the day off). Adam took us on a tour of the base - his grandfather had not been there since about 1959 or so, and things were not even recognizable. We did the full walking tour and somehow randomly met 2 of the other cadets that we knew from Dundas.

Adam with his grandfather and his pacing stick
Adam carried his pacing stick with him as a privilege of his rank - he is a CSM (Company Sergeant Major) in command of the 18 staff in Service and Technical Support at the camp. He got assigned a rank based on the job, although he is actually a Warrant Officer Second Class at his home squadron. This year we weren't introduced to any of the female staff cadets Adam has mentioned in his frequent phone calls, as most were busy working... Wendy's opinion =  :-(

Inside Adam's tent

Adam's tent and bicycle (left) on Delta Line at Blackdown Cadet Training Centre
After the tour we took Adam to lunch in Borden, then dropped him back at the camp. The quick stop at Dairy Queen on the drive home to Dundas was the remaining anticipated event of the day.

Wendy has been practicing piano much more than Parker has, and it seems that she is excelling at playing.

She and Parker are going to Disney in September (with Mel and Murray), so she has a book of Disney music to learn. Getting into the Disney spirit early...  Mel and Murray are taking Adam to go scuba diving in Roatán (north of Honduras) when he is off for his spring break.

Maddy and Wendy took a walk while I was with Parker at his umpiring job tonight. She texted me to say that Maddy was covered in little green burrs, and that she took pictures. The picture below is what she looked like when she arrived home. Not sure what plant they were from, but they sure stuck to her face!

Maddy with green burrs
Till next time!

6 Jul 2014

Just a typical weekend

Last weekend we dropped Adam off at cadet camp to begin his week of training and evaluation. All the staff enter at the arbitrary rank of Sgt. until decisions are made as to where these staff cadets will perform their duties for the summer. We received a text from Adam yesterday that indicated that he had been promoted to the rank of Flt. Sgt. (at the camp only - his rank is normally Warrant Officer Second Class). He is now in command of Training and Service Support for the summer. He will also be running the zipline for the thousands of cadets that come through the camp over the whole summer. Below is the last we saw of Adam as he headed away from the car to walk over to the intake area at CSTC Blackdown (Borden).

Adam leaving for camp
Wendy and I did a few hikes this weekend in the heat. We tried a few new locations and took some photos. The waterfall below was one we had visited previously, although we did find a nice side trail that took us a different direction and connected us to the Heritage trail (not far from the main loop where we usually hike).

Sherman Falls
An interesting pile of tree trunks on the Heritage trail
Although the trails were not great, today's hike seemed to be filled with wildlife.We came across a family of 4 deer on the Princess Point trail (near Cootes Paradise). The deer let us get reasonably close to them - they seemed very curious about us and not at all afraid. Maddy didn't notice them for several minutes - well, at least until one of them crossed the path right in front of her.
Curious deer
Not two minutes after the deer encounter, the trail we were following took us across the middle of an expansive and rather empty soccer field. The only sign of life was this medium-sized turtle. Seemed that it was heading for a very tiny depression in the field (it had a purposeful walk) where it could settle down and start digging in the dirt. Pretty unconcerned about us even with me taking photos. Wendy thinks it was preparing to lay eggs. Maddy wasn't sure what to think.
Soccer turtle
We did see a number of different wildflowers on our hike, but I will only bore you with this photo of a green teasel plant (Dipsacus fullonum).
Young Teasel plant

We've been trying to keep Parker busy to reduce the chance he will miss his favourite brother Adam over the summer (yeah, right!). Yesterday, he had a friend stay over to play video games and eat junk food - a typical teenager thing to do in July. We convinced them to go out and do something, then drove them up to the mountain in Hamilton to get some fresh air and to race go-karts for a while.

Parker taking the corner

They did 10 laps each in the very strong sun and brisk wind. Wendy and I were able to sit in the shade and watch their race.
Parker with the "Yeah, I'm cool" look.
Not so cool once the helmet comes off...