Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Meet Foxy!

He may be known to the professional football world and especially fans of the Leicester City Foxes as "Filbert Fox" - but in our home he's quite simply "Foxy."

Foxy joined our family last summer after Bridger and Barton spent 10 days in Leicester City, England training with local football teams and watching championship league games. They brought this souvenir home for Mattea who turned 5 the day they left.

I'm not sure what it is, but sometimes a child forms a strong bond with something that surprises you. That cheap summer fair toy, a ratty old blanket or in this case, a simple stuffed fox in a King Power jersey. Mattea's pretty girly, it's not a good day if she's not wearing pink and she just can't understand why everyone doesn't want to wear dresses and tights every... single... day... She has barbies, dolls with beautiful dresses and others with lovely hair I have to help her style. But none of these can compare to Foxy. He is soft, so cuddly and I'm thinking in her heart she's knows how special he is because her big brother brought him back for her after a very special trip.

Foxy has his own crib beside her bed, has been swaddled, cuddled and carried in a front carrying baby sling fashioned out of blankets. And in true British fashion - has been to a tea party.

One of Mattea's friends had a birthday party tea party and they were all to bring a stuffy. Foxy went along... but Foxy didn't come home. Foxy enjoyed a few sleep overs there as we tried to coordinate a pick up time. I kid you not, when Foxy was back in her arms she had that "tears of joy" voice and wouldn't let him go. Or is it a 'her'?

Foxy has some gender issues. He is commonly referred to as a he, but when asked Mattea will say he's a girl. Yesterday she asked "Could you please make Foxy a skirt and tights, so his bum doesn't show?" Other than Foxy, Mattea has no issues with gender, there's definitely no confusion there, but clearly we haven't been able to decide if he's a boy or a girl. I'm thinking that once he has a skirt on, he'll most definitely be a her. Like I'm every going to get around to that!!! Maybe I'll just pick up a preemie sized onesie... (I'd like to personally apologize to the real Filbert Fox for this gender confusion. I'm sure he wouldn't be caught dead in a skirt...)

Foxy accompanies Mattea almost everywhere - most recently yesterday, when he tagged along to our second immunization prepping for our overseas travel. He was very good at helping her stay strong through her shot (which most definitely hurt more than the first!). That was when Mattea started to discuss Foxy's overseas travels with us...

If you're not caught up, this summer we leave for Iceland, Dubai, Kenya and finally England - the birthplace of Foxy himself! Mattea has every intention of Foxy taking these travels with us and wants to document it all.

So, stay turned for photos of Foxy from all corners of the earth!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Road Trip!

Well, it may only be 2 hours away - not exactly an epic journey - but we took off yesterday to hit the hills of Clarenville, the White Hills... The big kids had a pro-D day and the others, well... *ahem*... came along :) We added three friends to the mix and hit the highway at 7:30am. Last year Mattea had mastered the bunny hill but she wasn't in a great mood this morning. She cried and we bickered for about an hour before calling it quits. We went in for some food and then went for a snowshoe. I'm thinking she was pretty darn hungry having not finished her breakfast in the car. She was in a really good mood as we snowshoed so I suggested we give the bunny hill another shot. This time with me on skis. This was MUCH more successful and she had a blast (though pretty tough for me!!) We stopped while she was still happy exclaiming "this is so much fun!" and doing the chicken dance on the magic carpet. She should be good and ready for Whistler next week!!!

Riley's BFF is coming along to BC and she had a great day skiing as well. Can't wait until she sees the BC mountains and discovers hooooowww loooooong it takes to get down in comparison!

Time to pack for BC.

The Fashion of Packing for Six - Fourth Stop: Nairobi, Kenya

And yet another extremely unique stop on our Quadra Continental Epic Adventure. One last consult to The Weather Network tells me that late June and early July in Nairobi is an average of 22 degrees. The mornings and evenings cool off, so all of those combinations and layers of clothes will come in handy. Light sweaters to throw on, walking length shorts and skirts and sun hats. Mom says locals don't really wear shorts because it's 'too cold' but for us it'll be so lovely and warm I have no doubt we'll be living in them.

She also says her Kenyan students dress up quite professionally for university classes, dinners and church, so if we are to be involved with any of that we should come prepared.

We will be going on safari and they say beige-y type clothes are the best bet because they don't look so dirty. It won't be scorching but we'll keep hats on hand and again, the same type of long sleeved shirts to detract bugs.

Many areas of Kenya are Muslim, especially along the coast where we hope to visit Mombassa. Here we'll practise some of the habits we learned in the UAE.

What I love about what I'm seeing in Kenyan fashion is the colours. Man are we Canadians boring?! With a wide range of clothing from Western to highly traditional, Kenyans have a style all their own. Street style photos posted online show a lot of colour and patterns and many different head coverings; so much jewelry...

Passport Fiasco

I always get a bit panicky when it comes time to renew passports... between name changes and pictures without smiles and signing on the proper lines and not going into the blue border it's finicky stuff! I find it interesting that considering the chaos of crossing borders these days it's actually getting easier to get your Canadian passport. Gone are the days when only a doctor or lawyer who has known you for more than 3 years would have to sign your photos and papers, now it can be a family member or neighbour. Also available now is the 'simplified adult renewal' form. No guarantors, no signed photos, just a quick form. You can also fill it all in online and print it off.

Starting this July Canadian passports will have a chip in the cover containing your information, making them more tamper-proof, but adults will also have the option to take a 10 year renewal. It was hard enough knowing when I renew in 5 years I'll be 40! But 10 years ahead... yikes!!

Anyway, on with my story. So, I had all the forms filled out and pictures taken in January, ready to go any morning to head in and have them done. Our trip is not until June but Riley and I needed ours for the Orlando trip (the tour operator is pushing for them) so I figured one trip would do the trick. I made plans one day to go - then there was a storm, another day - oh what? A PD day? Needless to say weeks kept passing by. So I finally get the threat from the band committee to get those passports and I get all ready, guarantor signed and everything. I got down to the passport office (parking downtown is awful...) and the photos weren't signed... aaaaaaand the guarantor had left for Vancouver that morning. SO.... to start all over again. She kindly told me that parents can guarantor so I should be the applicant, Barton should guarantor. Back home, refilled everything out, sign it all again (including the pics!) and back downtown after lunch the next day (not nearly as good a time for parking OR for lines!). I tried to rush mine and Riley's but lo-and-behold, an adult (her first!) can't be rushed unless they ask for it in person. *sigh* Now the debate to go back downtown to rush the passport and pick up in office.

Hiccup #1800 - when the other 3 arrive in the mail we will be in BC so I have to arrange (sign a form at the post office) for someone else to pick them up or at least make darn sure they hold them until we get back!!!

BUT one more step is taken!!!! Passports... check...

Monday, February 11, 2013

Midnight Sun

In grade 6 I was in Ms Sasaki’s class and we worked on a project studying the Inuit and Northern Canada. I remember making a poster board project with all kinds of little pop-out community buildings. It was a fun project and obviously it really stuck. For some reason a photo in our text book has remained with me all of these years. It was a group of kids in a northern town skipping rope in the bright sunlight... at midnight. I thought this was so cool and so difficult to grasp. The vice versa as well - 24 hours of dark?! It’s so intriguing! 

This morning, as I started to research plans and ideas for the first stop on our trip, I discovered that in Iceland the sun doesn’t fully set in June when we’ll be there. That grade 6 text book photo immediately came to mind as Google images of people skiing, fishing and hiking in the Midnight Sun were popping up off the screen of numerous travel sites. When I told the kids their reactions were “that’s sick!” “so cool!” and Mattea says “So we never have to go to bed???” (ever the one to want more time!) Other comments were “is there school there?” and “do people LIVE there?” Love it - this is why we travel - to chip away at ignorance and assumptions. 

Aside from my excitement at this crazy learning experience, I can’t help but wonder what this will do to our jetlag? We’ll be arriving feeling 3.5 hours behind and coming off of a short night flight. 

Another interesting point on the topic of sunsets and sunrises is that our final destination could not be more different. In Nairboi, Kenya which is basically bang on the equator, the sun rise and sun set changes little more than a couple of minutes throughout the year. Like ‘clockwork’ 6:30pm the sun goes down and 6:30am the sun comes on up! Very dependable!! 

In June, Dubai will be just slightly different. Sunrise at 5:30, sun set at 7. Even that will feel short since we’ll be a leaving a 9pm sunset here at home. Unfortunately, we’ll be coming back home just in time for the days to shorten!!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

It's Officially Booked!!

Clicked DONE on the trip plans. Itinerary:

June 15th 2013: St John's to Halifax (9am)
Halifax to Reykjavik, Iceland 10pm

June 16: Arrive in Iceland 5am.

June 20th: Depart Iceland for London England, pass through to Dubai, UAE.
June 21st: Arrive Dubai 5am

June 23rd: Depart Dubai 3:00pm for Nairobi, Kenya AFRICA!!!

July 11th: Depart Kenya through Dubai to London, United Kingdom.
July 12th: Arrive London 12noon

July 14th: not booked yet but we'll need to get home! Waiting for that flight to come down in $$$

So excited - so scary pushing that last button!!!