While not an intentional break, it seems I just couldn't get on the computer to blog this last month. My last post was about Peter's first day in Bogota (the day of the car bomb) and he's been here over four weeks! And although I know this post will have limited appeal, I did want to write down some of what we did (although I know that dozens of funny/touching/charming/memorable and blog-worthy moments have already been forgotten.
So to summarize:
I spent the first week in Regina babysitting my nephews to cut down on my sister's childcare costs. A week with five boys (ages 8, 7, 5, 3 1/2 and 1 1/2) was a little exhausting, but the boys (mostly) had a ton of fun. During the week, however, a new form of play emerged -at least new for my boys- in which life starts to mimic video games and it's all "this is my home base" and "you do this or this to get an extra two lives" and "if you do this you lose a half life" and "pause" and "game on" and "you're dead". Liam (7) and Xavier (8) seemed to change the rules to suit whatever their whim of the moment, Rowan (5) only wanted to play with the big boys and be on either of their team, and poor Simon (3 1/2) usually ended up confused, crying, or just completely left out. He was at a bit of a rough age this visit.
Thankfully, we also spent some time with my friend, Saffron, and her two sons who are four and two. Much better ages for Simon. He and Jake hit it off immediately -even though all the home bases and points and "lifes" and pauses and you're-deads had him turning to his mom and saying, "Mom, I don't know what he's talking about...". I had the chance to photograph Saffron and her family along with the family of some other friends, Geoff and Tree, as well as reconnecting with an old friend from high school (likely even before then) when I did a session with her family also.
Liam, Simon, Xavier and Rowan camped out in a tent in grandma's backyard. They played with glowsticks and sparklers and fought for elbow room in a 4-but-should-be-2-man tent.
We visited the Royal Saskatchewan Museum (Natural History), the Saskatchewan Science Centre, and listened to the Regina Symphony Orchestra perform at the park.
My sister, Heather, and I took the five boys swimming at a local rec centre, where all the boys had a blast and Andrew even swam on his own (with water wings) for the first time. Terrified and clinging to me at the beginning, once he learned to trust his floaties, HE LOVED IT. I didn't take my camera, but I hope I'll always remember his tiny self swimming around the pool.
That same trip to the pool, unfortunately, also lead to my getting a wicked bad ear/throat infection that, after three days of suffering through it and trying to give my body the chance to heal itself, turned out to be a pretty bad case of strep throat. It was full on ear ache, fever, chills, shakes, headache, swollen glands, inability to swallow or even talk (!). It was awful. And while I usually like to give my immune system the opportunity to take care of things on its own, it clearly needed back up. I was losing the war. Reinforcements were called, in the form of antibiotics. They worked like a charm. Normal activities were resumed.
We drove to Calgary for a family reunion of my mom's side of the family. It was very unpleasantly cold for most of the weekend (like, they were forecasting snow in the mountains!), but it was such a neat time with most of my aunts, uncles, cousins, and dozens of kids. I also had the chance to photograph the families of two of my cousins. SO. FUN.
After the reunion, we drove 45 mins to meet up with Peter's sister and her husband and their sweet little girl (who we'd never met before!), as well as Peter's dad who was in the country for a medical procedure. Since we usually only see Peter's family once a year if we're lucky, this was an amazing gift. We also saw two of his uncles and aunts and his grandparents -the boys' great-grandparents- who are two of the most special people I know. I'm so thankful for the time we got to spend together. Unfortunately my plans to get Matt and Sara and wee Bella in front of the camera were spoiled by all day, soaking rain. This was really disappointing since I have no idea when I'll see them next.
The whole weekend, we stayed with my good friend (and blogger drop-out), Heidi, and her four awesome kiddos. I've truly missed her the last two years we lived in Gatineau and loved the chance to visit, catch up, and spend time with her family. She's an amazing mom, a beautiful woman and a loving friend. And even though her hubby was off in Uganda (I know!), I had fun getting some shots of Heidi, Sadie, Telly, Mabel (I seriously love these names!) and man-of-the-house, Sloan, as well as Heidi's new nephew Bodhan.
To top it all off, Monday morning we had a play date with three friends who I was in a bible study group with when we lived in Calgary. They lived through Nathaniel's pregnancy with me, as well as his birth, and the questioning, anger, and grief I went through after his death. These gals loved me and blessed me more than I can say. I didn't get to see everyone who helped me through those years, but loved seeing the ones who were able to come... and taking their pictures of course.
The drive back to Regina was BRUTAL. A huge storm and awful driving conditions, heart-stopping hydroplaning, crying babies, and a trip that took almost two hours longer than it should have... but we made it home safely. No pictures of the drive or my white-knuckles gripping the steering wheel for the last three hours of the drive.
Back in Regina, we squeezed in as much bonus play time with Xavier and Rowan as possible... even though they'd already started school. We had a nice "last supper" with Adam, Karen, Jack and Julie after a quick and efficient photo shoot in Heather and Joel's backyard. After supper, I got in a big fight with H&J and finally succeeded in guilting them into letting me take some family pictures of them. It was quick and painless and the results are awesome... yet you'd think I was forcing some the most awful and disagreeable experience of all on them. But in the end I got my way. Yeah me.
Oh, and my sister found out that SHE'S PREGNANT. The very day after proclaiming that they were 100%, unequivocally DONE with babies! HAHAHAHA! Hopefully the shock is wearing off and they're beginning to be rightfully excited about this new little blessing. AND IT HAD BETTER BE A GIRL. My sister and I have had seven -SEVEN!- boys between the two of us... and my mom has a basement full of Barbies and My Little Pony and Strawberry Shortcake and Cabbage Patch dolls. It's a veritable time capsule to the 80's. However with her being in the process of selling her house and downsizing, I'm not sure we'll be able to convince her to hang on to it all if this is another boy.
If you made it to the end of this picture-less post, well done. You must really love me. I promise to upload some pictures now that our internet it hooked up (woohoo!)... as soon as I find my camera cord in whatever bag I stashed it in. Unfortunately, the majority of the pictures will have to wait until our shipment arrives and clears customs, which we were informed this morning will likely not be for more than two weeks. Ugh.
Thanks for sticking around, everyone!