Canoeing on the French River (video)

We acquired a second-hand Go-Pro camera from my brother this year, and the kids have been having a lot of fun with it. When we went camping in Tatamagouche last week, we mounted it on the front of our canoe as we explored the tidal French River in Tatamagouche. At around 2:20, you will see footage of our bald eagle, “Joe”. Thank you to our son, Alex, for editing all the footage to make this five minute clip. Swansburgs, this one is for you!

A night away

Historically, bookings during the first week of July have always been slow. Earlier this week, we had a night without any reservations, so we closed out our online booking calendar, and packed up the van to spend the night at our property in Tatamagouche, on the Northumberland Strait.

What a wonderful getaway we had, spending time together as a family without distractions. Our property has a bunkhouse and an outhouse, with no power nor running water – unless you count the river! We chatted, played cards, went exploring the riverbed while the tide was out, had a bonfire, made s’mores, stargazed, canoed, swam, set off bottle-rockets, had a washer toss tournament, drove the van up & down the lane (a 14 year-old-boy’s rite-of-passage), skipped rocks, and laughed. We ate well – everything tastes better outside! We had risotto with asparagus, sausage, and cheese cooked on the campstove for supper. (Along with some local wine & beer for the parents.) Breakfast was bacon, fruit, yogurt, and homemade brown-bread toast made over the campfire with homemade jelly.

We have eagles – now named Joe & Josie – who were quite interested in what we were doing and circled around often. When we were canoeing, “Joe” was swooping down close to us and then perched on the treetops, watching the kids swim. I was hoping that he didn’t think Olivia was a fish!

We don’t have any more nights without bookings in the coming weeks, so we won’t get another overnight for awhile. However, we’ll try to get back for a few hours during the day again soon.

Summer fun, hanging out together

Summer fun, hanging out together

Playing cards and laughing together while catching some shade in the tent

Playing cards and laughing together while catching some shade in the tent

Exploring the river while the tide was out.

Exploring the river while the tide was out.

Relaxed

Relaxed

Sibling fun around the campfire at dusk

Sibling fun around the campfire at dusk

Alex's charred marshmallow

Alex’s charred marshmallow

Early morning washer toss tournament

Early morning washer toss tournament

Making toast on the fire

Making toast on the fire

All food tastes better outside!

All food tastes better outside!

Canoeing on the French River

Canoeing the French River

The 2015 McDonah Family canoe photo

The 2015 McDonah Family canoe photo – we’ll soon all be too big to travel together

A happy & relaxed dad, paddling in his handmade canoe

A happy & relaxed dad, paddling in his handmade cedar-strip canoe

Family Literacy Day 2015

Although Family Literacy Day is on Tuesday, January the 27th each year, we celebrated early. D’Arcy is scheduled to have surgery this year on the 27th and when Sarah heard, her first comment was, “Oh NO! He’ll miss Family Literacy Day!” We have been celebrating annually since 2007, the year Olivia was a baby. Each year we have a slightly different format, depending on what is going on at the time. We’ve celebrated at lunch, at dinner, on the weekend, on a week-night, at our house, or at my parents’ house. The constants are that we all attend along with my parents, share books/magazines/newspapers, stories, and food. Sometimes the books we receive are new, sometimes, they are new-to-us, and there have even been years when books were borrowed from the library.

Family Literacy Day has become an event as special and highly-anticipated as Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter at our house!

This year, we combined our Family Literacy Day celebration with a celebration of Auntie Ruth’s 86th birthday, and included Mirelle, our guest from Brazil. As the children have gotten older, the day has evolved to include questions that you must answer before receiving your book. “What are your earliest memories of visiting the library?” (My first visit was to story-time at six days old, but I don’t have a memory of that! 😉 ) “Where is your favourite place to read?” “What was your favourite book as a child?”

We had many laughs as we ate munchies, then assembled sandwiches from a recipe. We celebrated Auntie Ruth’s birthday with “Mud Pie” and discussions about technology.

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Mirelle’s new book about Nova Scotia. She can take it back to Brazil to show her friends and family.

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Auntie Ruth answers her question before opening her book.

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Some sister-love for Evan. “What’s the most awesome thing to ever happen to you?” “My siblings.” ❤

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Olivia and Beanah

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D’Arcy reads his book while Alex answers his question, “Is there a book that you’d like to, or feel you should read?”

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Sarah answers her question, “What was the best thing to ever happen to you?”

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Sarah took forever to open her book of trivia.

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Auntie Ruth chose the book for Ginna

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Some time to enjoy our books between courses.

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Family Literacy Day 2015

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Happy 86th birthday, Auntie Ruth!

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Fun together

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Happy Birthday!

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The perfect gift!

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The whole family 2015

Evan drove us home, much later than we had intended, and way past bedtime. However, nobody wanted the evening to end.

For me, I’ll be reading my book, “The Blue Tattoo” by Steven Laffoley, a novel about the Halifax Explosion, on the actual date of Family Literacy Day while D’Arcy is in surgery. I’ll be happy to have a story to occupy my thoughts and help me pass the time. He’ll be happy, I’m sure, to have some new books to read during his recovery.

We’d love to know about other people’s Family Literacy Day traditions. Please tell us in the comments!

Summertime in Nova Scotia

We had a bit of a whirlwind start to our summer vacation here at the Belgravia. The last day of school occurred on June 28, while I was still at Cornell. I arrived home late (2 am) on the night of June 30 and my cousins arrived from Portland, Oregon, a few hours later. Phil & Susan are the same cousins whom we spent this past Christmas with. His younger brother, Richard, arrived with his wife, Aletha, from Mobile, Alabama, the following day. They stayed with my parents, and on July 5, Phil’s daughter Lori, her husband Adam, and their four children arrived from Florida for a week. The next few blog posts I make will attempt to chronicle our travels around the province while they were here. Because we are usually working full-out at the B&B, we don’t often get the chance to explore our backyard at this time of year.

We started off on Canada Day with a trip to Pugwash, to the Festival of the Gathering of the Clans where our daughter, Sarah was competing in the highland dance competition. This is an interesting competition which takes place in a beautiful setting, on a wooden stage with the water in the background. There are street vendors, a midway, and a parade throughout the day. It was fun for me to run into a number of my childhood friends who were also visiting. Sarah danced well, winning a 1st place ribbon for her Highland Fling, and 2nd place for her sword dance.  Afterwards, they rode two rides on the midway and got some cotton candy before we left to drive along the Sunrise Trail to Tatamagouche.

The dancers line up, waiting for their turn on stage.

The dancers line up, waiting for their turn on stage.

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Sarah, #201, awaits the music for the Sword Dance

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Proud of her two medals and second stamp

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Scrambler!

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Scrambler!

My maiden name is Clark and the Clark family homestead is located in Tatamagouche, which is a beautiful little town on the Northumberland Strait, along the North Shore of Nova Scotia. Between the cousins, we still have somewhere close to 100 acres of farm and wooded property along the French River, which is the perfect place to picnic. One thing you should know while traveling in Nova Scotia is that certain parts can be buggy on certain days. If the wind is breezy, they usually aren’t too bad. On Canada Day, however, there was little breeze and we all had to use bug spray and put up a mosquito tent to avoid being bitten while we picnicked.

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Playing in the French River

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How many people does it take to set up a mosquito tent?

 

After we had a late lunch, we stopped in at the newly opened Tatamagouche Brewing Company and picked up a couple of growlers of their Hippy Dippy Pale Ale and Butcher Block Red to take back home. Phil and Susan had to be at the airport to pick up Richard & Aletha at suppertime, so we drove straight home.

We ordered pizzas for dinner, I got in the pool for the first time this year and everyone came back to join us around the fire for the evening. We climbed out onto the roof to watch the Canada Day fireworks – even my mom!

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The Canadian “wannabe” from Oregon. 😉

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Happy Canada Day!!

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Roasting marshmallows while waiting for the fireworks

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My parents, Dave & Deanna, enjoy their family

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Our American cousins – Phil & Susan from Oregon and Richard & Aletha from Alabama

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We were lucky to have our family in town for almost two weeks, and took the opportunity to travel around the province a bit with them while they were here. I will chronicle these travels in my next few posts.

Belgravia Bed & Breakfast website

Easter 2014

It’s been a wonderful mix of work and family this weekend.

This time of year is busy around this house, to say the least! It’s end-of-semester for me at school, and Music Festival for the kids. Throw in a couple of courses I’m taking, spring yard work, and the return of “guest season” and there’s never a quiet moment – we were happy for the forced slow-down that comes with the Easter holiday!

We’re lucky to have D’Arcy’s brother and his family live on our street; the cousins got together on Good Friday and spent some quality time playing outside in the Spring sunshine before we took dinner to D’Arcy’s parents in Halifax. Because all of our days seem to be scheduled with one activity or another, we don’t get there to visit as often as we’d like, so it was nice to be able to take our time and relax with them, having a really great visit. We took lasagna, salad, homemade brown bread and blueberry cobbler. Everything was a hit and we were even able to pack some leftovers in containers and store them in the freezer so that they can have a meal again another time.

The Truro McDonah cousins

The seven Truro McDonah cousins enjoy the Spring sunshine and greening grass

Saturday was a work day. Olivia had been invited to a birthday party at the movie theatre. We have to take some extra precautions at the movies because of her allergies, so we had prearranged with the birthday girl’s parents that one of us would go with her. Because I had a mountain of marking to do, D’Arcy took her and the two of them enjoyed Rio 2. (At least D’Arcy enjoyed the parts he stayed awake for!)

On Easter Sunday, the kids have to wait until all four are up and awake before they’re allowed to go hunt for eggs and that was close to 8:30 this year! Back when Olivia’s food allergy list was extensive (peanuts, treenuts, eggs, soy, dairy, and many fruits as a toddler) there wasn’t any safe candy for her, so the Easter Bunny started to hide loose change in plastic eggs; a tradition which continues. It always amazes me how close their totals end up being – this year the range was only $6.50 between the most and the least. Because we didn’t have any guests, the bunny also set the table in the dining room for brunch and left treats on each plate, as well as nine new fish in the fish tank. Unfortunately, four of them didn’t survive their journey…

About to unlock the door and begin the egg hunt!

About to unlock the door and begin the egg hunt!

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Some eggs are easier to find than others

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Reading the Easter Bunny’s note and learning about “new friends”

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Sarah got a lucky egg – not too many have toonies!

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The Easter Bunny set the table!

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Some treats at each place – the first time Olivia has ever had a chocolate bunny!

After the hunt was over we had brunch of cinnamon rolls, yogurt, and casserole made from sausage, red pepper, onion, potato, cheese and egg (no egg for Olivia, of course!) before going to Easter Mass. At the church, the kids used some of their Easter money and lit candles for Uncle Dick and Mr. Mailloux, whom they are missing this year!

We spent the afternoon watching curling, playing outside, marking, etc. before going to my parents’ house for dinner. (I may have even had a short nap in a spring sunbeam…)

We had a yummy dinner of roast lamb with a mint/gin gravy (yum!), vegetable casserole, and a stewed tomato dish with lemon dessert.  My mother creates a scavenger hunt for the kids each year, and it was fun now that they can all read and are a little older that the hunt could be more involved. First they had to run all over the house and find magnets that spelled out “Happy Easter”, then they had to each complete a crossword puzzle. Next, they had to pair up into teams with an adult and we competed in a tossing game. That produced lots of laughs as we made up team handshakes. Eventually they each got a gift which they were able to trade with one another. They had little dollar store games in them and were a hit!

The boys share some laughs before dinner

The boys share some laughs before dinner

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Ginna tries a new recipe for mint/gin gravy – it’s a keeper!

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A beautiful table setting in the Spring sunshine

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Easter 2014

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Laughs before dinner with a Who Am I? game

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A little massage out of the blue!

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First task complete!

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Reading the next clue

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Concentration

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Alex is hard at work, completing his crossword puzzle

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Finally they get to their gifts!

It was a wonderful evening and we feel fortunate that we were able to spend quality time with both sets of parents this weekend.

Happy Spring!

 

Christmas Adventure 2013

Driving from Truro, Nova Scotia, to Nashua, New Hampshire, in messy weather made the shortest day of the year feel like the longest day of the year.

This Christmas, rather than gathering more stuff, our family will be having adventures and creating lasting memories. We  are going on a trip that has been in the planning for six years. When our boys were seven and nine years old, we took them to Disney World in Florida during March Break, leaving their (then one and three year old) sisters at home with their grandparents. It was a magical trip; the boys were big enough that they had the stamina to explore the parks from open to close and master all the roller coasters, yet small enough to believe in all the magic. We promised the girls that we would take them to Disney when they were the same age.

Our family loves to travel and explore new places, so the decision was made that we would go to Disneyland this time, in California. Knowing we would need more than a week to go that far, and because we both teach and run a B&B in the summer, we realized Christmas gave us the most vacation time. My cousin Phil, and his wife Susan live in Portland, Oregon, so it was a no-brainer that while we are on the West Coast we have a visit with them as well!

Because Canada has some of the highest airport fees in the world, it saves us $3,500 to fly from the United States instead of Halifax. Being in tourism, I know we should be traveling from our own Country (for the good of our own economy), however,  we can do a lot of things while on vacation with that money!!  Our flights are booked out of Boston and we get the added bonus of visiting friends and family along the way.

We celebrated Christmas with my parents, brother Jon, and Auntie Ruth after school on the 20th, all the while wondering about the weather. We got up early in the morning on Saturday and got ourselves packed up and left the house at around 9:30, just slightly behind schedule. We had a couple of errands we had to do in town, and two trips back to the house for things we’d forgotten and hit the highway at ten.

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Heading out in the fog, excited to be making new Christmas memories!

All was smooth sailing through New Brunswick with lots of fog, but little precipitation. Alex’s godmother Theresa texted us along the way and insisted we stop for a quick lunch at their house in Moncton. When we arrived, she had sandwiches, veggies, fruit, cheese, and juices all ready for us. We ate, had a bathroom break, quick hugs, and got back on the road.

We encountered some rain and texted with home to ask where the freezing rain and snow was. We made the decision to drive through Saint John to Saint Stephen. We got through the border with no issues and traded drivers. As soon as we started down Route 9, the freezing rain started. For those of you not familiar with Route 9, or “The Airline Route” it is a slower drive at the best of times: a secondary road with many hills, twists, and turns. About 20 minutes into our drive, we noticed that the trees were covered with ice. By this time, it was getting dark as well. Luckily, the kids were still excited about the start of vacation so the bickering was minimal, and we just kept driving. We eventually drove out of the freezing rain, and by the time we got to our destination in Nashua, NH, the sky was clear and the temperature was up to 11*C. What we thought was a nine hour drive took us eleven, with only the quick stop for lunch and a gas stop at the border.

We stayed overnight with D’Arcy’s cousin and his family and had a wonderful evening. We had a yummy meal of Chicken Picatta, rice, and green beans. And wine. We sat at the table and talked and laughed until far too late while the girls played with their cousins;  the drive was soon forgotten. What a delightful way to begin our holiday!

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Cousins! Sarah, Caitlin & Olivia

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A perfect Christmas setting – playing cards by the fire with Cathy.

A Special Celebration

Inviting strangers into our home each day, we have to be aware to remain neutral on some topics. Have you ever heard the adage, “don’t discuss politics, religion, or sex” with strangers? We try to live by that. We’re usually pretty good at avoiding these topics, although honestly? One of the most interesting breakfast conversations that’s ever taken place in our ten years of business was at breakfast in the summer of 2008 during the US election before Barak Obama was first elected. We had three couples staying with us and they all had breakfast at the same time. One couple were democrats from the East Coast of the US, one couple were republicans from the Southern US, and the third couple included a  Canadian doctor who had worked in both Canada and the US. Luckily, they were all very respectful of one another, and had some rich discussion.

Although this post’s reason for being has to do with religion, it is really about celebrating family, life, and traditions. I was at a teaching conference last week and the theme was “unity”.  In two days, the line  which resonated with me the most came from keynote speaker, Barry Lewis Greene. “To find unity, we need to celebrate our diversity.” (Paraphrased)

We are bringing our children up in two different churches with very different beliefs. Catholic vs. United Church of Canada. Confusing? Maybe. The “rules” of the two can’t get much further apart. However, we believe the church is the community we build around us; not a particular building, and not the particular “rules” which come from belonging to a certain faith. Both churches teach people to be kind to one another, and do what you can for others. That is how we try to live our lives everyday.

We celebrate diversity – even within our own family.

Yesterday, our daughter Sarah and her cousin Neil celebrated their First Communion at the Catholic Church. It was a special day for them – especially because they got to participate in the process together – and we were pleased to host all three sets of grandparents and both sets of godparents here for lunch afterward. When our boys had their first communion, it took place on a Saturday night and they were able to choose what they wanted us to serve for dinner. Alex chose ribs for his, and Evan (at the age of eight) chose bacon-wrapped beef tenderloin stuffed with scallops! 🙂

Sarah chose make-your-own sandwiches with salads for lunch, so we had ham and chicken, rolls and D’Arcy’s brown bread, and all the fixings: lettuce, cucumber, sweet bell peppers, tomato, black olives, banana peppers, dill pickles, cheese, etc. D’Arcy’s sister Erin brought grilled veggies, and we had a Greek couscous salad, Caprese salad, four bean salad, mango salad with shrimp & chicken (brought by Auntie K & Uncle Hug) and my mother’s famous orange jello salad which the kids request for every family meal! It was a feast!

It was a perfect afternoon. You’d never have known there were eleven kids in the house and outside, they all played nicely together with hardly a peep. The weather cooperated and temperature was just perfect. We had guests drop-in before we had finished the clean-up, but they didn’t seem to mind. After everyone left, we took advantage of the summery weather to run through the sprinkler, and enjoy the boys’ year-end band concert.

It’s all about diversity.

Some photos from our special family day:

Homemade egg, soy, and peanut/nut free cake.

Homemade egg, soy, and peanut/nut free cake.

Our beautiful Sarah, wearing a dress handed down from her cousin Erin, and the headpiece I wore at our wedding dance.

Our beautiful Sarah, wearing a dress handed down from her cousin Erin, and the headpiece I wore at our wedding dance.

Sarah with her godparents, Martha & Stephane. Trivia - Martha grew up in this home. We bought the house from her mother in 2002 and created our B&B.

Sarah with her godparents, Martha & Stephane. Trivia – Martha grew up in this home. We bought the house from her mother in 2002 and created our B&B.

Sarah & Neil, cousins and best friends.

Sarah & Neil, cousins and best friends.

Sarah with her proud parents.

Sarah with her proud parents.

Evan, Alex and Aunt Erin

Evan, Alex and Aunt Erin

The McDonahs

The McDonahs

Sarah and her godmother, Martha. (A much better photo of Martha!)

Sarah and her godmother, Martha. (A much better photo of Martha!)

Sarah and Neil with Grandma and Grandpa McDonah

Sarah and Neil with Grandma and Grandpa McDonah

Sarah with both sets of her grandparents.

Sarah with both sets of her grandparents – how lucky is she?!

We Gave’r at the 2013 Bluenose Marathon!

Let me begin by making it clear that I (Anne) am a fair-weather runner in every sense of the word! However, one of our favourite family traditions takes place on the long weekend in May each year- The Bluenose Marathon in Halifax. This year was our sixth year attending, and fifth participating as a family.

Six years ago, when he was eight, Evan joined the running club at his school and got to go on a bus from Truro to Halifax to participate in the Youth Run portion of the marathon. He was hooked and so were we. D’Arcy had been a runner when we were first married and the boys were babies, but like many of us do with exercise, put it to the side when life got busy with other commitments. So when Evan announced he wanted to start running, and then Alex wanted to join him, we did what crazy parents do and joined them. Once I got started, I realized it wasn’t so bad and once you get through the first kilometre or two, it actually starts to feel good. (As long as where you’re running is flat.) I still will make any excuse not to go, but it’s a healthy, free activity that we can do together as a family.

This year, as I was registering us in February to take advantage of the early-bird registration rate (makes a BIG difference for a family of six) I registered D’Arcy first, and in doing so didn’t realize until after-the-fact that it automatically defaulted to the full marathon registration rather than the 10km race I was supposed to sign him up for! After I assured him that I had not recently taken out a new life insurance policy on him, he decided that he might as well train for the half-marathon. It’s been on his bucket list for awhile, and since he’s going to have a milestone birthday this year (ahem) he took it very seriously.

We left for Halifax directly after school on Friday. D’Arcy’s brother & his wife were away biking in Cape Breton this weekend so had offered us their house for the weekend. We can’t thank them enough! It was wonderful that we had comfortable sleeping arrangements and a full kitchen to use for meals, which are always tricky when traveling with food allergies. We picked up our race-kits at the Expo, got some groceries, then got settled in, making our plans and arrangements for the weekend.

Saturday morning dawned bright and sunny, but cold. We entered into the mass of people at the Halifax Metro Centre to make sure the kids knew where to meet if they got separated. (We learned that lesson the hard way a few years ago!) We left the boys in charge of the girls at the start line, and D’Arcy & I went up the course to find a spot to cheer them on.

The Bluenose Youth Run is the largest youth run in Canada. This year there were over 4,000 participants! It was extra special for the girls to run the race for the first time with their brothers – holding hands throughout the entire 4.2km course! 🙂 The energy and excitement is hard to imagine if you haven’t experienced it! I had worried that Sarah especially wouldn’t have a good time (did I mention it was bitterly cold?) and wouldn’t want to participate again, but even she had a huge smile each time we saw her!

The McRunners speed through the city

The McRunners speed through the city

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I think Alex was the motivator for the group!

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Nearing the finish – love that Sarah’s sweater is now open to show her bib and Evan is wearing Olivia’s sweater around his waist!

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The McRunners, together to the finish!

After the race, we got ourselves together, packed up some food and went out to Mike & Emily’s to help with their boys and make them some supper. (For those who are new here, our niece Emily just had major surgery to remove  tumors from her spine and neck.) It turned out that Emily wasn’t having a very good day, and was in the city having a procedure, so it turned out to be good timing that we were able to be there that particular day. We spent the afternoon with Mike and the boys: playing racing games, walking in the woods, and getting some laundry caught up.

Uncle Darce and Seamus were a team!

Uncle Darce and Seamus were a team!

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Phinn gets ready to take us to “The Pit”.

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A fun way to spend the afternoon.

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Mike & D’Arcy discuss marathons, boats, and renewable energy.

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Fun for the cousins!

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Olivia gets a lift from cousin Mike.

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A springtime walk, home through the woods. We only lost three of the city-kids for a short period of time…

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Warming up together by the fire when we got back to the house.

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Sarah makes a new friend.

For supper we had veggie pasta, Caesar salad, and a lemon pie so D’Arcy could “carb up”. Emily and her grandfather arrived home just in time to join us, but she was in a lot of pain. After supper, we quickly got some food into the freezer, did the dishes, and left them so they could all get to bed. (And so could we!)

We were up bright & early on Sunday morning to get ready for our big day! I don’t think D’Arcy or I slept particularly well, but as my running partner, Kim, told me – “as long as you rested your legs, you’ll be fine”!  Evan & Alex were running the 5k which left right after the marathon runners, so we went up to the start line to watch. We met up with D’Arcy’s sister Erin, and nephew Ryan, who were also both running the half-marathon.  We watched the boys start, then said good-bye to the half-marathon runners and went to the Metro Centre where the girls were going to wait to meet the boys. Because it was so cold, the girls were happy to watch the finish on the big screen inside.

Evan & Alex ran a good race, although Evan’s shoelace came untied and he ran the rest of the race with it like that rather than stopping to tie it. They had mixed reviews on their times. They both wanted to come in under 25 minutes, but Evan’s chip time was 0:25:29.5 and Alex’s was 0:26:33.1. Personally, I’d be happy to be able to run 5km at a 5 minute pace… When they finished, they came in to the Metro Centre to look after the girls while D’Arcy & I ran. Their race had started at 8:10, D’Arcy’s at 8:45, and mine at 9:00. It gave us lots of time to switch off.

I was running 10km with my childhood friend, Kim. Let’s just say that our training has included one walk together, and three runs separately – all spring! There may or may not have been some wine involved in our training as well. (It’s a carb, right?!)  The most I’d run at once this year was 5k. I wasn’t quite sure how the run would go, and we hoped to finish in about an hour and ten minutes. We had a ball running together when I wasn’t panting for breath! We had already made a pact ahead of time to walk up the hills – there are some doozies on the course!  I loved all the signs, the cheers, the kids who lined the course high-fiving and blowing bubbles, and the bands – yes, live bands – who were playing on different parts of the course. As we headed over the bridge, runners from the marathon, and then the first 10k runners started coming in the opposite direction. We yelled and cheered for each of them as they passed us. It was a great way to take my mind off the burning in my legs and my lungs! In the end, we finished with a time of 1:09:05.5. Kim’s time was two seconds faster than mine because she started to sprint at the end. Not bad for a couple of 40 year olds… 😉 Our goal for next year is to train and come in around an hour. Totally doable…

We met up with the kids who had been great while we were gone and started watching for D’Arcy to cross the finish. He and Erin completed their race with a time of 2:02:55. D’Arcy had hoped to finish in two hours. Our nephew Ryan? His time was 1:40:42. Show-off.

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Waiting for the gun to start the Full Marathon

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D’Arcy & our nephew Ryan discuss who will be faster than whom. Maybe Ryan could have piggybacked D’Arcy for part of it…

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Kim & Anne, ready to run 10km together.

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D’Arcy and his sister Erin with their half-marathon finisher medals. Thank you Erin for all your support and for coaching D’Arcy through it!

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The McRunners, happy to be finished!

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Our yearly photo with Myles – another part of the tradition!

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We had to take one more to make sure Aunt Erin was in the photo too!

After the race, we took the girls to Woozles Bookstore – a favourite – which Sarah reported was the best part of the weekend. 🙂 We went back to Brian & Morag’s to do the laundry, change the beds, and pack up. A friend of ours had died, and the memorial service was being webcast, so we took the time to watch. Although we couldn’t get back to town in time to attend in person, it was wonderful to be able to be part of it from away. Olivia wasn’t feeling well and had developed a fever, so we stayed away from the new baby we wanted to go see and from any other people we wanted to visit. We got home in time to have some Chinese food for supper (since Olivia wasn’t eating anyway), then hung out quietly together until we all went to bed early.

Our tourist season starts in earnest today, and we have rooms booked every night this week. D’Arcy was up early to mow the lawn before the rain starts, and Alex has a full day of dress-rehearsal before his school’s production of “Annie” this coming weekend. Our lives tend to be busy, so I am happy that six years ago Evan suggested we start running and I reluctantly agreed to join him. Even though I can no longer keep up with my teenagers, it’s still an activity we can all do together as a family, and the short respite for us during the May long weekend keeps us refreshed for the season ahead!

Belgravia Bed & Breakfast Website

Curling fun

Our boys have been curling for a number of years now. They are on a team that are practicing with a goal to represent Nova Scotia in the 2015 Canada Games in Prince George, British Columbia. The girls have been dragged from club to club over the years, watching their brothers practice and compete while D’Arcy & I belong to a fun league on Mondays.

Last Monday, Evan joined our team to play as a “spare” for Jean-Claude – our normal team mate, who was away on business.

Our kids on the ice on the final day of curling last year. After the bonspeil was over, they were allowed to put on skates and have a different kind of fun!

This Friday, it was finally the girls’ turn to get on the ice and slide. I think we have some more curlers on our hands!!

Sarah & Olivia were so excited to get on to the ice!

Sarah stretches and Olivia slides…

82 Pounds of Food

Earlier this week, D’Arcy and Evan took the food we collected from the McDonah and Clark families during our Thanksgiving Dinner to the Colchester Food Bank, to help those who are not as fortunate as we are. When they had it all accounted for, the donations came in at 82lbs! Thank you again to our families for their generosity!

Evan delivers donations to the Colchester Food Bank.

Thankful to be able to help those in need.