Summer time

Summer is flying by. Nick and Ray spent the first week of the holidays camping in Killarney National Park and visiting Ray’s sister in Sudbury. This was followed by an unscheduled week, during which we barely saw Nick as he hopped from pool party to tennis match to movie night to Jiu-Jitsu class and so on.  After that, we dropped him off at a new camp where he didn’t know anyone and didn’t hear from him for the next two weeks.  Not that we spent too much time worrying about him. We joined Rob & Sue and Heather & Murray (who had also dropped their kids at camp) for our annual Mont Tremblant Bluesfest get-together. Great music, great company, good fun.

When we picked Nick up at camp, the first words out of his mouth were: “It was great! Next year I want to stay for a month!”  We missed you too sweetie. Highlights included wind surfing, sailing and just hanging out with his cabin-mates doing boy stuff.  His two weeks at sleep-away camp was followed by two weeks of canoe/kayak day camp.  It’s a VERY active camp with 90 minutes canoeing, 90 minutes kayaking, 90 minutes dry-land training and 90 minutes of war canoe. One day he headed straight to his room when he got home and Ray walked by a few minutes later to find him fast asleep. Most days, though, he takes off soon after he gets home for more swim parties, tennis matches and movie nights.  Just what summer should be.

This past weekend we headed up to Rob and Sue’s cottage for a couple of days and then left him behind.  The four boys were going non-stop the whole time we were there – swimming, water skiing, tubing, hiking, basketball, badminton and then a bit of relaxing on the beach with their books and building sand castles (for the sake of destroying them in some kind of war battle, of course).  The adults also had a busy time with margaritas on the boat and…beer on the deck and…um….wine on the beach….it was hectic.  That was me, though, not Ray of course. He was up bright and early kayaking and hiking and then spent much of the day lumberjacking with his chainsaw.

cottage & stuff 015

After our climb to the top of Tremblant

kayak night shot

Ray on an evening kayak along the canal

cottage & stuff 025

The boys having fun at the cottage

cottage & stuff 023

The girls having fun at the cottage

cottage & stuff 022

Ray on an early morning kayak

regatta 112

Nick’s regatta – War Canoe

regatta 091

regatta 088

regatta 080

regatta 073

regatta 067

Camping trip 2013 072

June camping trip

Camping trip 2013 066

Camping trip 2013 064

Camping trip 2013 062

Camping trip 2013 059 Camping trip 2013 055

Camping trip 2013 037

Camping trip 2013 028

Camping trip 2013 024

Camping trip 2013 023

Camping trip 2013 010

Camping trip 2013 002

Monthly photo update

Time for another update on what we’ve been up to lately,
which is strangely similar to the last update.

ImageNick’s Grade 8 graduation ceremony – Top 5 scholars award

ImageScience Excellence award – presented by his English teacher (his fave teacher)

ImageTurnbull School Letter for Teamwork, Leadership and Character – presented by Mr. A (another of his faves)


ImageOur now traditional end-of-year celebratory meal

ImageNick playing with the neighbourhood band at the Community Fun Day

ImageHamming it up at the graduation party

100_2452Ray and I at the 8K Kilt Run
Free Scotch samples before the race, free beer and home-made shortbread when you cross the finish line.
Now that’s my kind of race!

ray & warrior kidWarrior Boy overtakes Ray near the finish line.
Ray finished an impressive 147th out of over 1700 runners.
My performance was less noteworthy.

Nick jiu jitsu blue beltNick grappling with his friend Kai as they both test for their blue belts (they passed).

ImageThe boys (and girl) in the band

Canada-Wide Science Fair

I guess it’s time to bring things up to date.  I should maybe caution you that this post contains an over-abundance of parental pride, so if you’re a non-relative you may want to skip this one.

In May Nick missed two straight weeks of school. The first week he attended an enrichment course on Industrial Design at Carleton University.  He really enjoyed the freedom and independence that went along with taking a course at the university and particularly enjoyed hanging out at Starbucks drinking $5 frappuccinos (a good lesson in the cost of becoming a Starbucks junkie).

Then it was off to Lethbridge Alberta for the Canada-Wide Science Fair.  He pleaded with us to just drop him off at the airport rather than come in the airport with him (he’s reached that age), but we’d already arranged to meet up with the other parents so we went in with him anyway.  Ironically, he’s more comfortable catching a plane on his own than he is taking a bus around town as he’s done plenty of the former and little of the latter.

He had a fantastic week out west, staying in the residence rooms on the Lethbridge University campus (rooms that he claimed were a bit ‘sketchy’).  He met a ton of new and interesting people and spent a day touring southern Alberta. Such a wonderful opportunity.  My dad booked his trip out west to coincide with the Fair so he stopped in for a day to see the displays and watch the award ceremony.

cwsf1Nick’s booth at the CWSF

cwsf3Birds of Prey on tour of Alberta

cwsf4Team Ottawa (chaperones back left and front right)

cwsf6Nick and his schoolmate Tahir at awards ceremony

cwsf7Impressive showing from Team Ottawa with 6/10 winning awards

cwsf8The classic shake the coke bottle science experiment

cwsf9with predictable results

cwsf11Dance following the awards ceremony

cwsf12Team Ottawa

Regionals1No medal for Nick at Nationals, but here’s a look back at Regionals. Award #1


Award #2

Regionals3Award #3

Regionals4Award #4

Regionals5Award #5

Regionals6Award #6

Regionals7Award #7

porscheNick’s last day of classes in Grade 8 Ray surprised him by showing up in this Porsche 911 GT3 racing car. Our neighbour lent it to Ray to thank Nick for looking after their guinea pigs when they’re away. Ray and Nick both quite enjoyed themselves.

race dayAll three of us ran the 10K in Ottawa Race weekend this year (along with 10,000 or so others).  Ray met his goal of finishing with a time under his age (he came in at 54 something), with Nick right behind him. I finished with a personal best – and if I can just keep running at the same pace for a dozen more years, I’ll be able to finish in my age too.

Science Fair and Maplefest

Despite the fact that I’ve lost the urge to blog lately, this weekend was too blogworthy not to record it for posterity.

All week Ray had been working hard at boiling off the sap, chopping wood, building a stage, and getting everything set up for Maplefest.  The forecast was for rain so he was also getting increasingly grumpy about the weather and spent much of Saturday converting our driveway and patio into a massive makeshift tent.

Nick spent Saturday presenting his Science Fair project 27 times at the Regional Science Fair. In the end he was well compensated for his efforts as he came home with $550 in prize money, trophies, certificates and an all-expense paid one-week trip to Lethbridge Alberta for the Canada-Wide Science Fair next month (this likely isn’t a surprise to many readers as we’ve been so proud and excited that we’ve been telling everyone we know, but bear with me). It was a bit overwhelming for all of us as he got called up for award after award and I was very pleased that my dad was able to be there for it (and very aware that my mom wasn’t there as she’d have been bursting with pride just like the rest of us). Okay, I think I’m done. 🙂

Also on Saturday, I brought the boy I tutor and his two young nieces to our house to see how syrup is made. They don’t get out of the apartment very often so they were very excited with the novelty of everything – especially Boo. The girls would shriek at nearly unbearable decibel levels every time she came near them then run giggling after her as she walked away.

Sunday was Maplefest and the day started out dry with a few sunny breaks. It didn’t take long before Ray was complaining that it had better rain after all the work that he (and Mich and my Dad) had put in getting the tarps set up.  It turned out to be a great fest  with at least a hundred people stopping by throughout the afternoon.  We had two different rock bands – one with Nick’s friends from the neighbourhood and the other with his friends from school – and a Blues band.

The prep for Maplefest is a lot of work and in the days leading up to it we sometimes talk about whether we should keep it up, but a  few things make Maplefest extra-special for us. One of those things is the way everyone pitches in to help out. Without Tim and Pamela and my Dad re-stocking the food and drink supplies and washing dishes…well, I’m not sure how we’d have managed (and special thanks to Tim for regularly replenishing my Baileys and hot chocolate). Heather is our official photographer so we get a chance to see people enjoying the party which we’re too busy to notice during the fest. Rob provided relief at the griddle and added his own brand of entertainment by making the pancakes into interesting shapes, like guitars.  Sue, Murray and friends provided musical entertainment, Loris baked enough beans to feed 100+ people…and the list goes on and on.  Also very special this year was the Maplefest Song (sung to the tune of The Hockey Song), written and performed especially for us. Classic.  We also love watching the average age of the younger crowd increase each year, from the one-year olds toddling around in diapers at the first Maplefest to this year’s 14-year olds rockin’ on stage to Ozzy Osborne.  And, finally, we get so much positive feedback about the event that by the end of the day, we always say, “Wasn’t that great? Of course we’re going to do it again next year!” And then we crash for the night.

science fair 002

Maplefest 2013 275

Maplefest 2013 272

Maplefest 2013 254

Maplefest 2013 223

Maplefest 2013 180

Maplefest 2013 205

Maplefest 2013 217

Maplefest 2013 214

Maplefest 2013 167

Maplefest 2013 156

Maplefest 2013 131

Maplefest 2013 248

Maplefest 2013 123

Maplefest 2013 102

Maplefest 2013 080

Maplefest 2013 045

Maplefest 2013 025

Maplefest 2013 022

Maplefest 2013 009

Maplefest 2013 003

Maplefest 2013 004

Maplefest 2013 005

Maplefest 2013 001

Maplefest 2013 002

Maplefest 2013 006

Catching up

I seem to have lost the blogging bug, but I’ll update with some photos.


Spring has arrived – technically – and the sugar shack has been fired up getting ready for Maplefest.

Nick trying out his new climbing wall.

Nick competing at a Martial Arts tournament – camera issues so no good photos.

Hanging out in the man-cave

Hanging out in the man-cave

Nick placed first in the ‘Green’ category and second overall in his school Science Fair. Next stop, Ottawa Regionals.

Nick picked up a few trophies for his man cave at the martial arts tournament.

Nick picked up a few trophies for his man cave at the martial arts tournament.

On the Skywheel at Niagara Falls.

On the Skywheel at Niagara Falls.

My Dad, Nick and I spent a couple of days in Niagara Falls over the March Break.

My Dad, Nick and I spent a couple of days in Niagara Falls over the March Break.