Monday, 31 July 2006

Last Weekend in July - Already?

Boy, did July ever fly by. It was a busy month between Corbin going to camp, Jeremy to Adam's mother, a mini-vacation, some time off work, visitors from Goderich and just doing stuff around the house and Windsor.

This past weekend, Jeremy spent Saturday and Sunday at Lorelei's (co-worker of Tina's) house. This gave Tina and Adam the opportunity to spend some time with Corbin. We rented the first two movies from the Indiana Jones Trilogy and watched the first one Saturday night. Tina and Adam feel asleep while Corbin watched the movie.

On Sunday, the three of us headed out to see Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. It was the first showing of the day - 12 Noon - so the theatre was not busy. Fortunately, the movie was still being shown in the biggest theatre with the widest screen. It was an enjoyable two and a half hours of entertainment. We all look forward to seeing the final installment in 2007.

Monday, 24 July 2006

Jeremy's Gotcha Day

Today was Jeremy's 'Gotcha Day'. It's the day we - Tina, Adam and Corbin - first met Jeremy. We took the boys out to Chuck E. Cheese's. Corbin asked his 'babysitter', Sarah, if she would like to come along. Much to our surprise, she said yes. By the way, Sarah is not really Corbin's babysitter, she is Corbin's respite worker, but hey, if she's okay with it, then we are okay with it. So we headed out to Chuck E. Cheese's - Jeremy was quite excited.

We got there just before 6:00 pm and the place was not busy at all. Had to wait a few minutes at the front counter to buy our pizza, pop and tokens. We found a clean table and the kids went off to play, Adam with Jeremy and Sarah with Corbin. Tina and Jeremy played some Skee-ball, which was an interesting experience for both of them. Jeremy like to throw the balls. Oh well. Our food eventually was served.

Now, Chuck E. Cheese pizza is not the best pizza in the world, but the previous times we have been here, it appeared to be fresh and hot. It was clear that the pizza we received was reheated. Oh well, the kids like the pizza. We played some more games before giving Jeremy a present - a Backyardigans DVD. He was very excited and wanted to open the DVD case right away. Adam and Jeremy played a game of air hockey. With Jeremy crying, we all got in the van and headed home. Happy Gotcha Day Jeremy.

Sunday, 23 July 2006

Visitors From Goderich

Chris, Lisa, Teegan and Madigan (and Teegan's friend, Madison) came down to Windsor to hang out with us this weekend. The weather was hospitable. The kids all played well together, which was remarkable considering the age differences. On Saturday the kids went to Water World with Tina and Lisa. After the swim session, Tina and Lisa went out shopping. Adam and Corbin played Star Wars Battlefront II, while Chris cruised the net. Later in the afternoon the kids went swimming in our pool. Talk about the smell of pool everywhere. Tina cooked up an awesome meal. All in all, a very relaxing weekend.

Tuesday, 11 July 2006

Golden Horseshoe Vacation - Day 4

No rain forecast today, the last day of our vacation, so we decided to head to Marineland. Yup, that meant a long trip back to Windsor, but we figured we could visit African Lion Safari later in the summer when we make a trip to Brantford. We packed up, checked out, had a quick breakfast and headed down to Niagara Falls. It was sunny and warm, a good day to spend outdoors.

We arrived to a very busy Marineland. We did not have to wait to exchange our Air Miles certificates for tickets. Instead we were directed to go directly to the entrance - that was a nice bonus. People were lining up for the main show, so we decided to head to the opposite end of the park and go on some of the rides and see some of the animals. Corbin went solo on the Sky Screamer, the ride that shoots you 450 feet straight up in the air. He seemed to have enjoyed it. Adam took Corbin on his first 'real' roller coaster ride on the Dragon Mountain Roller Coaster. This is the world's longest steel roller coaster. The neat thing about the ride is that you go inside a 'mountain' to board the coaster. Adam loves the coaster. Corbin said it was very bumpy. Tina and Jeremy spent some time viewing the black bears.

A few more rides and a visit to the deer pen, it was time to check out the beluga and killer whales. Jeremy was quite excited by the beluga whales. In one tank, there were three baby belugas swimming with their mothers. The killer whale exhibit was disappointing. Two killer whales were swimming around but it was difficult to view them.

Eventually, we made our way back to the stadium to watch the main show. The show was considerably changed when the star of the show, a killer whale, died due to pneumonia. It is more on the light side now. There is little to no splashing in the show, so it is safe to sit closer to the tank. The boys enjoyed the show, though, Jeremy started to fade through the last half of the show.

We made our way back to the van, replenished our fluids and headed back on the long trip to Windsor. Jeremy eventually fell asleep and Corbin played with his GameBoy and CD Player. A good way to kick off the summer.

Monday, 10 July 2006

Golden Horseshoe Vacation - Day 3

The weather forecast for southern Ontario was not promising: period of rain or thunderstorms. Hmmm, guess we won't be going to Marineland today. What to do, what to do? Shopping, that's what. After grabbing a breakfast at Tim Hortons, we drove over to Square One Shopping Centre. Tina used to live blocks away from Square One. In those days, there were no tall buildings around Square One. In fact, there were hardly any buildings around Square One at that time. The area around Square One has become the Mississauga City Centre and includes the City Hall, Central Library, YMCA and Arts Centre - not bad for what once was a suburban shopping mall.

Adam managed to find a spot in the parking garage, keeping the family away from any downpour. We perused the various stores, looking for goodies for the boys and deals for us. We strolled through both floors of Wal-Mart, using the movator (think of a conveyor belt) which enables shoppers and shopping carts to go between the two floors. This Wal-Mart is one of the largest in the world.

It was time to eat, so we found a table in the food court and purchased food from A & W and Dairy Queen. Jeremy scarfed down his hot dog and Corbin ate most of his lunch (his appetite has been very good lately). Adam loved his Papa Burger and Tina enjoyed her onion rings. Some more browsing. The boys got some goodies and we worked our back to the parking garage and drove away to the hotel. It rained on and off all day, so it seems that shopping was a good choice in the end.

We changed into our bathing suits and spent family time in the hotel pool. Later, Adam went out to get some pop and chips from the Superstore and subs from Quizno's. The boys watched TV. Rain days can be wonderful breaks on vacations.

Sunday, 9 July 2006

Golden Horseshoe Vacation - Day 2

The weather was overcast but warm, so we stuck with our original plan to visit the CN Tower. We drove down to the Clarkson GO Station for a short trip on the GO Train to Union Station. As we pulled into the parking lot (which is free), Adam noticed that the lot was getting full. He then realized that the Molson Indy was being run today and that there were at least two other large cultural festivals taking place in Toronto. Oh well, it didn't look too busy. Adam got a group pass for $20.40 (for all four of us, round trip) while Tina took the boys to the platform.

We didn't have to wait too long for the train. Jeremy was excited. We found some seats and enjoyed the half-hour trip to downtown Toronto. Jeremy was excited about being on train and could hardly sit still in his seat. Corbin took everything in. Arriving at Union Station we took the exit through the Air Canada Centre (ACC) to Bremner Blvd - there is no climbing up or down stairs/escalators since everything is at ground level.

At the CN Tower, we learned that by getting our tickets via Air Miles we did not have to wait in the ticket line. You head inside, go to the guest services desk, give them the Air Miles certificates and tickets will be issued. We proceeded up the ramp to the security check-in - the part where you walk into a device and air blows out and is analyzed to ensure you are not going to destroy the CN Tower. Jeremy walked in but was too small to activate the unit, so the security guard waved her hand over the sensors. Jeremy did not seem to disturbed by the machine and looked cute when the air blasted over him. Afterwards, he proceeded to mimic the sounds made by the machine.

The wait for the elevator was not that long and in just over a minute were at the observation level. Adam brought binoculars for Corbin to use and see sights he could not see on our last trip to the CN Tower. Jeremy was excited by all the things he could see: boats, trains and planes. We could see the Molson Indy race, which was kind of neat. Eventually, we made it to glass floor and outdoor observation level. It was nice to get outside since it was stuffy inside. A quick tour around and it was time for the kids to enjoy the glass floor. Jeremy jumped and jumped but eventually realized that he could see the bottom and may fall so he walked on the beams back to the regular floor. Corbin was a little more 'cautious' this time.

We headed back down and checked out the gift shop, but bought nothing. Much to Corbin's approval, we played some video games in the arcade. Adam managed to find a racing game that was in free play mode - that's right no money necessary. Adam and Corbin went to experience the Lego Racers simulation ride. Adam found it cheesy, but Corbin enjoyed it. The four of us headed out to get some ice cream and head back to Union Station to catch a train back to the Clarkson GO Station. We just missed the train, so we had just under a hour to kill. Hunger was a common theme, so we got some food and beverages at McDonald's. We boarded our train and returned to the hotel after a pleasant day in downtown Toronto.

Saturday, 8 July 2006

Golden Horseshoe Vacation - Day 1

The trip down from Camp Winston was uneventful. No major traffic issues. Made a few stops for food and washroom breaks. We arrived at the Holiday Inn Toronto-Mississauga around 3 pm looking to unwind and relax. As Adam was waiting to check in, he noticed a sign stating that the pool was closed for emergency repairs. Oh oh. That's not good. Adam stated that he needed a hotel with a pool. The staff called around and found a room at the Holiday Inn Select Mississauga (about 10 minutes north of the Holiday Inn Toronto-Mississauga). Our existing reservation was cancelled and we headed north.

In due time, we arrived at the Holiday Inn Select Mississauga (located at Argentia/Derry Road West, just southwest of the Mississauga Road/401 interchange). Adam checked us in and we headed up to the room on the 7th floor. The room turned out to be a suite with a separate bedroom, two TVs, fridge, microwave, coffer maker and wired internet access. We had a south and north view. The bedroom had two queen beds and the living room had a double pull-out couch. The two TVs came in handy when the boys wanted to watch something different. Having a bedroom with a door also came in handy when putting Jeremy to sleep.

The four of us headed down for a swim. Adam went to out to get some food and came back with chips and pop from the nearby Superstore and pizza from a nearby Pizza Hut. We ate the food and Adam checked the weather forecast. It looked good for Sunday, but Monday was a big question mark.

Totally Awesome

Camp Winston was "totally awesome" according to Corbin. Deciding to hug his 'baby brother' first, Corbin was excited to see is family after an amazing two weeks at Camp Winston. Tina and Adam also got big hugs and then also got a big surprise: Corbin learned how to tie his shoelaces. We spent the next 30 or so minutes speaking with Corbin's Camp counselors, playing with Corbin and Jeremy, getting Corbin's meds and phone card and packing his stuff into the van.

Then Corbin enjoyed one last meal in the dining hall, a special luncheon for campers, counselors and families. There was a lot of food including salads, deli meats and breads, cream pies and lots of other food. Corbin kept himself busy, filling up mugs with coffee and offering it to anyone who would take it. We learned that Corbin's cabin were early risers and began cooking in the kitchen. You heard that right. Corbin made pancakes. He earned a certificate in Culinary Arts. We did not know what to make of this 'new' Corbin. During the luncheon, Denise, the Camp Director, announced that all campers will be invited back for 2007.

After lunch, we took some pictures of Corbin with staff and rummaged through the lost and found area. Nothing looked like Corbin's, so it was time to head out. Corbin said his good byes and away we went, towards Mississauga on our vacation.

Friday, 7 July 2006

Time To Gather The Kids

Time does fly. It seemed just like yesterday that we dropped Corbin at camp and Jeremy at Babcia's. Later today, we'll be heading to Brantford to pick up Jeremy and tommorow it's off to Camp Winston to get Corbin. Lots of travelling in two days.

With no kids competing for our attention, we managed to get quite a bit of work done around the house. We already wrote about the carpet cleaning. Adam removed an IKEA shelf from the boys room, patched the holes, painted the patches and other problem areas, and installed two six-foot shelves to store some of the boys books, gear and toys (instead of being stored in other rooms). Tina moved the bookcase from the dining room to the boys room. Their room is starting to come together.

The entertainment storage unit is three-quarters assembled. It is huge. It will provide lots of storage space for Tina's scrapbooking stuff, a bunch of books we have on a bookcase we want to ditch and other items. The last unit will be built after we get back from vacation. Tina spent time going through the toys and throwing out a bunch of dollar store, fast-food restaurant and broken toys. All that is left is too organize the toys.

Monday, 3 July 2006

Carpet Cleaning

We began the day by sleeping in. No kids coming out of their room, saying they "want to eat". Tina went out to get some breakfast from Tim Hortons. After we continued our carpet cleaning.

We begun this much needed cleaning Sunday evening. With two kids spilling drinks and food whenever they could, the carpets were in bad shape. The area by the front and back doors and around the dining room table were awful. And the dark brown liquid that we dumped from the cleaner was disgusting. Who knew that carpets could get so dirty? Who knew that there was that much sand in the carpet? After it was all done, the carpet looked a thousand times better and the house smelled better. We should have done this a long time ago.

Mid-afternoon we took the cleaner back and did some errands. We moved back all the furniture. Adam sat in amazement at the clean carpet.

Sunday, 2 July 2006

And Then There Were None

We drove to Brantford yesterday to drop Jeremy off at Adam's mom's house. She offered to take Jeremy for the week to give us a break from the kids and to give her a chance to play with her youngest grandson. Jeremy was very excited about going to Babcia's - he told everyone and anyone.

Today, we said our goodbyes to Jeremy - who was a little sad but apparently okay with us leaving - and headed back to Windsor. The drive back was unusual. The back of the van was quiet. A very eerie silence. We stopped in at a pet store in London (most of the pet stores in Windsor suck) and eventually made it to Windsor. We stopped in at Home Depot to rent a carpet cleaner. With no kids, it was easy to move furniture and stuff around and we didn't have to worry about kids walking where they shouldn't.

Saturday, 1 July 2006

Will You Accept A Collect Call From Corbin

Guess who finally called? Yes, Corbin finally spoke with us. Though we are not sure why he called collect when he has a calling card in his file in the office. Oh well. Corbin confirmed that he has having an awesome time. He said that he has a new friend, Spencer. Tina told him that is great. He told us about some of the things he has done, that he misses us, even Jeremy and that the "day was just starting" - even though it was around 7:00 pm. You can tell that he is having the time of his life.