Lucas and the dandelion bouquet

by DaniGirl on May 28, 2016 · 0 comments

in Lucas

Lucas and I are walking home from school on a brilliant, warm late spring afternoon that feels more like mid-summer. As we come up the hill to our house, I notice the elderly lady from down the street and think that in the nearly six years we’ve lived on the street, this is the first time I’ve ever seen her by herself.

She’s quite elderly, probably over eighty. I often see her walking carefully on her husband’s arm as they make their way patiently to the stop sign at the end of the street and back again. I watch her as we approach from behind, and she is slowly walking the length of our lawn, picking yellow dandelions. I feel a mild tremor of concern, seeing her by herself. I know she is frail, and I wonder where her husband is.

I don’t want to startle her as we come up behind her, so I speak softly as we approach. “Did you find any good ones?” I ask with a smile, nodding toward the straggly handful of dandelions she is holding.

“Oh, you probably think I’m crazy,” she replies with a sheepish shrug, and I can see that she’s older even than I expected, her blue eyes slightly red and rheumy.

“Of course not!” I assure her with a smile. “We pick dandelions all the time, right Luke?”

I cast a quick glance up the street, hoping to see her husband standing at the end of their driveway, but I don’t see him. She seems to be okay, though, and after a moment of pleasant small talk I’d just decided to turn up our driveway and leave her to make her way home when Lucas pipes up.

“Here you go!” he says with a smile, and my heart sings with pride. He’s handing her a big bouquet of quickly-picked dandelions from our yard. Tears come immediately to my eyes. My sweet, sweet baby boy. He holds the dandelions out unselfconsciously, and she takes them carefully, like the treasure they are.

dandelion seed head


Nothing says summer like road trip, family, nine hour car ride, and then watching the sun set into the Great Lakes on a warm evening.

Barefoot on the beach

Hello, summer, how I have missed you!

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We have driven past this monument in the Half Moon Bay section of Barrhaven many times, and I’ve always been curious about it. Last night after swimming lessons, Lucas and I decided to head over to check it out up close.

There’s a placard that explains that what I thought might have been a starfish is actually a falling star, and the monument is one to whimsey and astronomy – two of my favourite things! So I told Lucas: “Go catch that falling star!”

Catch a falling star

Today’s lesson is that if you have the chance to chase a falling star with a lively eight-year-old at sunset on a pretty late spring evening, you should absolutely do it!

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Photo of the day: Sunshine smile

by DaniGirl on March 19, 2016 · 0 comments

in Lucas, Photo of the Day

I wanted to capture that delightful gap-toothed smile before it was gone.

Lucas smiling

I hope the sparkle in his smile is always there.


We’ve had a LOT of birthday party experience over the years, from bowling to trampolines to movies to art to Lego. Our new favourite party by far, though, is one hosted at the Ottawa Humane Society.

We all love animals, but Lucas has shown a real affinity for them. When he did a school project last year on “People In Your Neighbourhood” he chose our vet Heather Ann to profile, and every time I see a cute kitty video on Facebook, I make a note to save it and show it to him. We support the Ottawa Humane Society already as one of our preferred charities, and so hosting a birthday party there was an easy choice – all profits beyond the direct costs of the party are invested back into the OHS.

They did an amazing job with the party. All we had to do was show up! They provided decorations, cups and plates, napkins and cutlery, and even candles. Our party leader Stephanie was patient and knowledgeable, good with kids, and just the right personality to wrangle a few boys who might have been a wee bit overexcited. She introduced us to her friendly pet rat Phoebe, who was a definite hit with party-goers big and small.

A birthday party at the Ottawa Humane Society

A birthday party at the Ottawa Humane Society

A birthday party at the Ottawa Humane Society

First, we decorated our treat bags (Lucas looked up at me and said blissfully, “I didn’t know there would be art at my animal party!” as his worlds of happiness collided) and then the kids made doggie treats out of oats, flour and peanut-free nut butter. We chose the dog treat activity, but could have also made cat toys or hide-and-perch boxes for the shelter cats.

A birthday party at the Ottawa Humane Society

Then we went on a tour of the shelter, where we saw the animals waiting for adoption. There was a beautiful malamute that very nearly went home with Granny and Papa Lou, had his papers not said he would prefer a home without other dogs. I was really pleased that the kids got to go “behind the scenes” to learn about what the OHS does, and how they take care of the animals that come to the shelter. The highlight of the tour, though, was being allowed to pet the cats waiting for adoption.

A birthday party at the Ottawa Humane Society

A birthday party at the Ottawa Humane Society

A birthday party at the Ottawa Humane Society

I have to tell you, I was secretly pleased at how few animals we saw at the shelter. We’ve visited a few times before to pet the kitties, and always found dozens of cats waiting for homes, but there were just a few this weekend. In fact, while we were there two kittens and one dog were adopted. What a great lesson for the kids! What I didn’t point out to the kids was the family who were obviously surrendering their pet, as they brought in armloads of pet gear and left empty-handed and in tears. It must be heart-wrenching to work with the shelter, and I have so much admiration for the staff and volunteers.

After our tour, we had the usual party fun: cake, presents and loot bags. A giant cookie cake, in fact, baked at Lucas’ request by Beloved.

A birthday party at the Ottawa Humane Society

A birthday party at the Ottawa Humane Society

I can’t say enough good things about the Ottawa Humane Society or the party they helped us host for Lucas. He loved every minute of it and has already said that he wants his ninth birthday party to be at the OHS, too. And did you know they have camps for PD Days and March Break, too?

A birthday party at the Ottawa Humane Society

Happy birthday, Lucas! Thanks for having a birthday so we could have fun visiting the OHS!


A love letter to Lucas, Age 8

by DaniGirl on February 7, 2016 · 0 comments

in Lucas

My sweet funny Lucas, you are eight years old today!

French River, PEI

Lucas, you are kind, thoughtful, clever and silly. You are warm and affectionate and love to laugh. And you are charmingly oblivious to the sort of social conventions that require you to actually say hello back when somebody speaks to you, although I’m no longer sure I’d call you shy. You are effusive with your affection, and your teacher has commented on your natural charm on more than one occasion.

Winter walk on the Jack Pine Trail

You love art and games of all kinds, from board games to video games. Since getting Charades for Christmas, you pester us endlessly to play it with you. You’re always up for a game of Mancala or Blokus or cards or Scrabble or Clue, and you’re now big enough to hold your own playing any of these games – although Charades is occasionally a little elusive for you.

Ottawa Family Fun: Artissimo at the National Gallery

You are a talented and prolific artist. You were delighted that we signed you up for a drawing class, though I’m sure your skill level was miles beyond what they’d usually see in a second grader. When you don’t know what else to do, you love to pull out your art supplies and start creating. Drawing, painting, sculpting with play dough, building Lego creations and papercrafts – if it’s a creative pursuit, you can’t wait to do it. “What should I draw?” is always the beginning of a creative adventure for you.

Lucas in the dandelions

Speaking of adventures, we had a great adventure this past summer when we signed you up for soccer. It didn’t take you long to catch up with the boys who had been playing in the house league for years, and every single week I was impressed by your energy and enthusiasm for the game. You also love swimming, and this summer you loved being able to (finally!) jump off the diving board into the deep end of the Manotick pool to your heart’s content. You’re still not very interested in biking on two wheels or skating, though.

Soccer star

You love animals of all kinds, but you especially love baby animals. You love to watch the funny animal videos we find on the Internet, and you know all the neighbourhood dogs by name because you love to stop and say hello to them. I’m not sure you’d recognize our neighbours’ faces, but you surely know each of their pets by name! You and Bella have become good friends, and she is as happy to cuddle with you as to have you play with her and her toys. Every dog deserves a boy!


School seems to come easily to you, while focusing on a task at hand does not. You’re a day dreamer, and sending you off to get dressed can be a multi-hour experience if you are left to your own devices. You brought home not one, not two, but THREE A+ on your final report card for Grade 1, making your dad and me very proud and pleasantly surprised.

Pumpkin picking 2015-2

Once again this year, you were separated from your close friends and I was heartbroken for you. You, of course, handled it better than I did, and it seems that recess has provided sufficient connection for you to maintain your friendships with David, Chris, Matthew, Cole and Owen, and this year you’ve also invited a few girls from your class to your birthday party. Because you so love animals, a party at the Ottawa Humane Society seemed like the perfect choice for you.

Last of the Parc Omega photos

Lucas, you truly are my sunshine. From morning “coffee and newspapers” to reading together at bedtime, and all the adventures in between, every day with you is a day full of joy. You are growing up so quickly, and I can’t believe how responsible you are, walking home by yourself some days and always taking care with your school assignments.

East Point and Basin Head-11

We love you endlessly, my sunny boy. Happy birthday!


Photo of the day: Contentment

4 February 2016 Lucas

It was early in the morning. I was reading my newspaper and drinking coffee, and I looked up and found them like this: She’s happy to cuddle, he’s happy to play, I’m happy to get an adorable photo. Everybody wins.

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Photo of the day: Lucas and the chickadee

25 January 2016 Lucas

Here’s the latest fad in winter fashion: chickadee seed hats. All the cool kids are wearing them! Feeding the chickadees in winter is always more fun. They’re hungry and more willing to come a little closer to even the twitchiest human to get some bird seed. (Don’t you love Lucas’ adorable red tuque? It’s cute […]

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Photo of the day: Walking

7 January 2016 Lucas

I‘ve got two big photographic learning projects this year: learning to make beautiful black and white photos, and conquering the use of flash. I didn’t need any flash with this one, what with that big flash bulb in the sky, but I am happy with the tones and shapes in this one. I sort of […]

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Photos of the day: Lucas’s baptism

15 November 2015 Lucas

You know how it is when you let something slide, and then you r-e-a-l-l-y let it slide, and then it’s too late and you’re embarrassed about how horribly you’ve let it slide and you’re past the point of redemption, so you lie awake agonizing about it but can’t bring yourself to do anything about it […]

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