When he was small, my youngest son had a habit of filling his pockets with treasures he encountered in his daily adventures. I didn't always understand the value he saw in his chosen objects -- really, how many rocks and sticks could one boy keep? In his eyes, though, each one was beautiful and important. Life is just like that on a larger scale, isn't it? We gather up the precious bits of our experiences and save them all to learn from and enjoy later. Perhaps you'll find a little something here that you'd like to keep in your own pockets. Thanks for visiting.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

A sign of a good time

We did not have many plans for the March Break this year.  Matt was busy with work and wasn't able to take time off, so the boys and I decided we would just enjoy some days spent relaxing at home, doing whatever we felt like doing, with a birthday party for Will and one overnight trip to St. Catharines to visit my aunt Christina and her family thrown in for a little excitement.

Mother Nature, in her never-ending foul mood this winter, tried her darndest to foil our one attempt at March Break travel.  We were supposed to head to St. Catharines this past Wednesday, but that morning brought a huge winter storm with snow and gusting winds, and so we were forced to come up with a "Plan B". Thursday morning, Noah and Will and I hit the highway bright and early, deceived by the sunshine that was smiling down from the sky, but we quickly learned that the roads were an absolute disaster.  What is usually a one and a half hour drive took us three and a half hours to complete, with my hands tightly gripping the steering wheel the whole time and my eyes staring intently ahead while we inched along precariously on an ice rink of a highway in bumper to bumper traffic.  It was an immense relief to finally make it safely to our destination.  (And if you ask the boys about how calm I was{n't} during that time on the road, they will gleefully tell you about how I screeched and hollered like a maniac any time someone else's reckless driving in those conditions made my heart jump into my throat.  I'll admit those were not some of my proudest hours.)

We had so much fun visiting with family that it was well worth the stressful drive, though.  Christina, Madeleine, Noah, Will and I went to a giant box sale at the Book Outlet in St. Catharines.  We walked into the warehouse at the back of the store (which was lined with tables and tables and tables full of books of all kinds), picked up one of the large boxes provided, and filled it up with books of our choice to take home for a flat fee of only $30.  It was like hitting a book jackpot! While we were in town, we also had a little visit with my Grandma, and Will and Madeleine went to a Rainbow Loom workshop at Mastermind Toys, where Will was thrilled to learn how to make a turtle charm.  I really enjoyed catching up with Christina and James, while the kids all had a great time playing together out in the snow.  It always makes Christina and I happy to see how these four, of all different ages and mixed genders, get along so well and laugh so much when they're in each other's company.  It reminds us of our own fun-filled childhoods together.

Christina and James and I were getting dinner ready when the kids came in from playing outside, and when the boys said their socks were wet, we adults told them to just put them downstairs on the gas fireplace to dry out while we ate.  (Aside:  I am going to partially blame myself for what happened next, since it is obvious now I have not provided my boys with enough of the outdoorsy-type lessons we learned about fire and socks as children growing up in Northern Ontario.)

As we were clearing dishes and putting away leftovers, Christina and James and I all kind of sniffed the air and looked at each other with the same curious expression, and finally someone asked, "Do you smell something like burning rubber?" We all agreed that we did, indeed, smell something like burning rubber, but at first we couldn't imagine where such a smell would be coming from.  We each wondered silently whether something odd had been left in the oven accidentally.  And then we all suddenly looked at each other with horror and dashed downstairs towards the fireplace.  Sure enough, the boys socks sat scorched and smoldering on top of the little black stove, which Noah had turned on in an attempt to dry the socks out faster. (He hadn't realized we had meant for them to dry the socks out only with the gentle warmth of the pilot light.)  Thankfully we caught the burning socks before they completely combusted.

Noah felt pretty badly about what he had done, and Will kept yelling, "I TOOOLD you not to put the socks on the fire, Noah!", to make sure that no one would blame him for what had happened.  I am now quite certain that despite their lack of training in outdoorsy-type scenarios, both boys now have a very clear understanding of the concept that socks and fire do not go well together.

When we were getting ready to come home on Friday, I was packing up all of the boys' winter gear, still damp from the previous evening's snow play, and Christina and I couldn't help but joke about the fireplace incident. The boys and I were heading out the door with a random assortment of books stuffed into a giant box, soggy gloves, and burnt socks.  Now there was a sign of a good time!   Take that, Mother Nature.

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