What the?! (No Comments)

So just when I thought I had experienced all the gross, freaky and nasty things I could possibly experience as a mother, this happened…

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We spent the weekend in northern Ontario at our lake house.  We swam, boated, kayaked.  We had so much fun.

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I got the kids out of the lake around 3pm yesterday afternoon and we dressed and packed the van.  By 5pm we were on the road, heading home.

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Half an hour into the drive, 12 year old Sabrina shrieked,”Mom, I have a leech between my toes!  STOP THE CAR!”

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I replied calmly, “Honey, I’m sure it isn’t a leech.  We never have leeches in our water.”

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Sabrina went into full fledged panic attack, complete with the sweats, tears and heavy breathing. Her friend, Emma, who was sitting next to her, math book in her lap, was frozen in her place.

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I nudged my sleeping 22 year old cousin, Emily, who had joined us at the cottage for the weekend.  “Deal with this please!” I said.

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Emily twisted in her seat and said ” It’s not a leech, Sabrina.”  But then she turned and I saw that her face said otherwise.

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I continued driving for another 10 minutes because I didn’t want to stop on a busy two lane highway and risk our safety for a ‘maybe’ leech.

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Finally I saw a parking lot and pulled over, jumped out.

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Sabrina opened her door and stuck her foot out at me.  And there.  Poking up between her two middle toes.  There it was.

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So. A leech.  Out of water for over 2 hours.  In the middle of no where.  Forest everywhere.  And absolutely no salt in the car.

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I asked Emily to Google ‘how to remove a leech without salt’.

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And then I tried to put pressure where it was attached to force it off.

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But it was just as determined as I was.  And it wouldn’t let go.

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Until I pressed my jagged nail into it as hard as I could…this caused Sabrina to cry even more.  But it also caused the leech to pop off.

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I flung it away from us.

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She wasn’t bleeding.  But her tears were plentiful. I grabbed her face and kissed her wet, salty cheeks.

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As I got back into the car, no one spoke.  We drove in silence and all I could think about was, why didn’t I take a picture of that? Or get Em to video?  But I knew that if I had taken time to get my phone out, I would have been labelled the ‘worst mother ever’.  So I didn’t and now we don’t have proof of the grossness that we experienced.

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After about 20 minutes, when Sabrina had begun to recover and could speak again, she said “I wish you had taken a picture of it!”

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Me too.

 

Cottaging in the north! (No Comments)

We have just returned from a few days in Northern Ontario where my parents own a cottage on a lake.
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It is lovely there in the woods, with the mosquitos and black flies and massive horse flies constantly circling in a never ending attempt to suck our blood.
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To protect themselves, my children returned to their pyromaniac selves, sitting around a fire, holding big sticks with burning embers that created even more smoke…I couldn’t stay close because my asthma flairs around smoke and then I can’t breathe. And breathing is a little important.
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When they weren’t sitting around the fire pit in a cloud of smoke reminiscent of Cheech and Chong movies, my children were running and screaming while swatting at the air like lunatics to keep the bugs off. Lucky for me, the bugs don’t find me delicious since I had children. It looks like all my sweetness went to my peeps.
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One night the kids did manage to squeeze in some fishing time. Off the dock, and with their Dora and Diego fishing rods. We are serious about fishing! I gave them corn, marshmallows and hotdogs for bait.
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Everything was going well until little Gregory caught a fish and the hook went through its mouth and out its eye socket. It wasn’t pretty, nor was his panicked screaming for me to come and “help, quick!” Normally I squeeze the barbs off the hooks with my father’s pliers but somehow I had missed the barb on this particular hook. I had to push the hook all the way out the eye socket and cut the tip off to get it out. It was not pleasant.
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I said ” Oh, there he goes! See! He’s fine!” as our fishie swam away…but the water is shallow at the dock and the kids watched as our friend swam to the bottom of the lake and rested on his side, unmoving. Sabrina and Gregory were tearing up.
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With the ease of a seasoned magician, I distracted everyone with “hot dogs! Oh boy, hot dogs!! Yummmmmy!” We cut those babies up and cooked them as spider dogs over the fire… It’s really a good thing that my kids are so easily distracted by food.

Road trip to Prince Edward Island!! (No Comments)

 

 

 

 

 

 

We packed up our van and loaded in the kids, added a Tim Horton’s coffee for hubby and off we went at 4am!  We drove for 12 hours and arrived in New Brunswick where we had two rooms at a very lovely Best Western hotel in Edmunston.  The next day we drove over the famous Confederation Bridge, which took about ten minutes.  The entire way, hubby gestured with his hands and marvelled at the view…and yes, he was driving!  I’ve never been a fan of bridges and his high comfort level made my comfort level even less.

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We arrived at Parkview Farms in Cavendish, PEI, by early afternoon.  We were greeted by Benjii the old farm dog and the lovely Eleanor.  Our three bedroom cottage was perfect, spotlessly clean and surprisingly spacious.  It is set on a grassy area not far from the main house and barn.  From the deck we had a view of the ocean.  Swing sets, and volleyball and basketball nets meant that my athletic children did not lack for anything to do.  We didn’t hear that they were bored once. Not ONCE!

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The barn was full of cats and kittens, and cows, of course.  We watched the cows being milked more than once and the kids even fed a calf a bottle of milk!  Each time we would arrive back at the cottage after hitting the beach, the kids immediately raced off to ‘kittenland’, aka the barn.  It didn’t take long for the kittens to begin following them back to our cottage.  I refused to allow them into the cottage, even though they stared at me and pleaded with their big round eyes…  The kittens stared at me too.  But I was tough.

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It turns out that the family who owns and runs this farm are fourth cousins to Lucy Maud Montgomery, the famous author of Anne of Green Gables!!!  Their family were one of three families from Scotland who founded Cavendish many moons ago.  We all found that VERY cool…or at least I did.  And you won’t find that tidbit on their website  either, that’s secret insider information.

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This family was so great that they didn’t mind the kids being constantly underfoot in the barn and they even took us out on the ‘combine’ for a ride to collect the last of the oats and barley!  It was a true farm experience and more than once as I sat on the deck sipping a glass of wine, the word ‘idyllic’ came to mind.  I’m pretty sure that I have never used that word before.  And I’m positive that I haven’t used it since I’ve had children.

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Although I had hoped to see a calf being born, the farmer’s couldn’t make that a reality.  Darn cows gave birth at night.  Very inconsiderate, if you ask me.  One night while getting ready for bed, we heard some very loud cow noises coming from the barn.   Not your regular ‘moo’ sounds either.  Since we hadn’t thought to pack flashlights, I turned on my Ipad and lit up the flashlight app and off we ran into the darkness in our jammies to witness the miracle of birth… We were disappointed.  The cows looked at us as if they had never seen an Ipad flashlight before, and not one of them was being a good service provider and fulfilling my request to give birth in front of an audience…  Oh yes, that means one less star on Tripadvisor.com, Bessie!

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The vegetarian in me did rear her ugly head  for a moment while barbequing hamburgers.  The cows were moo-ing in the distance and the direct view over the top of the open bbq was the barn…. and the area where the pregnant cows give birth.  I momentarily seized up while flipping those delicious smelling burgers but continued on when the kids began whining about how hungry they were.  After all, it is instinct to provide food for your kids, right?  And whining can be REALLY annoying

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Especially thrilling was the fact that Paulina (almost 14) was so taken by the kittens that she didn’t even seem to notice the handsome teenage grandsons who were often working hard around the farm.  Next year, that might not be the case…  She didn’t even seem to care when the kitties sneezed on her or when she got something that looked suspiciously like poop on her pants, from sitting on the floor of the barn while nuzzling kitties. 

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The hard working farmers must have gotten sick of my hubby and I casually hanging out, hubby always with his Tim Horton’s coffee in hand.  They didn’t seem to mind our constant questions of ‘how does that work?’ and ‘what do this do?’   Although I’m sure it can be annoying having an audience while trying to get your work done..especially an audience of people on vacation who slept at least four hours later than they did each morning, and who have nothing else to do but stand in their way and make idle chit chat while they try to get their work done…Wow, I’m getting irritated thinking about it myself.

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If you get a chance to visit PEI, GO!  It’s beautiful and the people there are lovely.  Especially at Parkview Farms.  Thanks to Kevin, Garth and Alvin for putting up with us and for giving us as  true a farm experience as we could ever get-without having to do any of the work.  And, as noted, I may not make a good farmer’s wife with my allergies and vegetarian tendencies, but I do love country life!

This is Sabrina’s bff ‘Squirt’ sitting on a cow at the top of the driveway at Parkview Farms. He just HAD to have a picture of himself on that cow for his facebook profile picture. He is such a diva, really. He will probably even photoshop it to make himself look fuller, more green and less worn out.

Parkview Farm Prince Edward Island (No Comments)

Our plans for our summer vacation were cancelled and we were looking for something fun to do last week.

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As luck would have it, while I was having my neck worked on, my chiropractor mentioned a place his sister and her family went to on PEI last summer.

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So.. We booked a trip to Prince Edward Island, on the east coast of Canada.  We rented a three bedroom cottage on a working dairy and cattle farm for five days!!  I read reviews on Tripadvisor.ca and it looked great! 

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Everyone on tripadvisor said that the owners were lovely people and we would feel like family before the trip is over.  Hey – I love family (well at least SOME of them anyway) ! We expected to see cows and kittens!  We (I) hoped we would watch a calf being born.  Yee haw! Now I do like to sleep in a little in the morning, so I didn’t delude myself that I might attend a 5am milking but I planned on being there for the evening milking with my boots on!

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I was so excited!!! I kept making motions in the air as if I was milking and I would say to the kids ‘What am I doing?’ My 12 and 13 year old scowled at me.  They thought I was weird, especially when I motioned that I was squirting milk in their faces.  Jeremy said ‘Great. We finally get to go on vacation and it’s to a farm.’  He said farm like it was a bad word.  Paulina was completely horrified.  She is already embarrassed by my potential to be a keener. But I was ready to be a cow midwife so I couldn’t worry about my 13 year old-she’s embarrassed by everything.  I excitedly packed my rubber boots (black with polka dots) and some old clothes so I could have a real farm experience.

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When I made the ‘milking the cow’ motion to hubby across the soccer field before we left, he simply responded with a bunch of sneezes…It’s true I am highly allergic to animals…for sure horses…Cows, well I wasn’t so sure…So, I packed lots of allergy meds and inhalers along with my hand sanitizer and my rubber boots.

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I wasn’t really sure how a former vegetarian was going to manage at a dairy and cattle farm, but I couldn’t wait to get there!  If nothing else, I hoped I could embarrass my daughter at least a few times and since she couldn’t  even bear to listen to me talking about  my pumpkin plant hand fertilization process  last week I figured that would be easy! 

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More on Parkview Farm tomorrow!

Unwelcome bed companions (No Comments)

When I go to the cottage without my hubby I get excited to have a bed to myself.

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My last trip up I was awakened by something crawling on my arm.  With lightning fast reflexes I slapped my arm and flung whatever it was, OFF!

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When I turned on the light, I was disgusted to find a very large black ant crumbled on the floor.

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I ripped off the sheets and checked out the bed, expecting to find a small ant farm at my feet, but I didn’t.  I went around the cottage putting drops of ant killer in every corner.  I got back into bed…again I was awakened by something crawling on me.  Another ant!!  GROSS!  Why didn’t it keep itself busy carrying poison back to its nest and leave me alone?

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During the day we didn’t see any insects inside the cottage, but at night they seemed to come out and visit.  I didn’t appreciate it.

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The next night while I lay in bed, reading, I could feel bugs landing on me.  Teeny, tiny, little creatures that were so small they fit through the holes in the window screens.  I spent so much time slapping at myself that I couldn’t concentrate on my book.  Danielle Steele isn’t really that enthralling anyway but that’s all I was able to find on the cottage shelves that I hadn’t already read.  I finally gave up trying to read and went to bed, but first I turned on a light across the hall to attract the small swarm of creatures flying busily around my head.

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In the morning, Paulina announced that an ant had awoken her in the night.  She was REALLY disgusted! EWWW, GROSS!

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So, so much for nice uninterrupted sleeps without my hubby snoring beside me.  Next time I’m going to bring him instead.  He might not be able to keep his hands off me, but at least he’s only got two and after a slap or an elbow, he gets the message and leaves me alone.