Weeks 1-10

 * WEEK1    WEEK2     WEEK3     WEEK4     WEEK5     WEEK6     WEEK7     WEEK8     WEEK9    WEEK10 

WEEK 1: January 1, 2013 – January 7, 2013 – GO SWIMMING

This week was the first week of our “let’s do something different every week with our sweet little girl so that she can experience new and interesting things” plan. I have to admit, adding “swimming” to our list wasn’t spontaneous or random, I’ve been wanting to enrol her in a baby swim class for months. After missing out on a class in the fall (the city run swim classes in Toronto fill up FAST) and spending over an hour trying to get through on the phone on ‘registration day’ in the winter I finally got the little miss a coveted spot in a toddler swim class.

Our first class was this Saturday and I was a little worried the night before when we hit eight (yes, EIGHT) different stores and couldn’t find her a swimsuit- please don’t judge me on my being so unprepared, I was (and still am) recovering from the holidays! The yellow little number she’s wearing in the pics below was actually  purchased at the dollarstore if you can believe it (it was kinda cheap and flimsy, but it did the job!).

Anyway, we arrived at the pool early Saturday morning, yellow suit on and ready to be test driven. At first Alex was visibly nervous, clinging to her daddy’s neck as if her life depended on it (it also didn’t help that a kid twice her age was FREAKING OUT right next to her in the pool), but after a little warming up she did amazing (that’s my girl!) and took to it like (yes I’m going to say it) a fish to water.

Check out the photos below, the first is was taken during class, Alexandra is the adorable baby using the yellow noodle- the second photo is Alex with her dad triumphantly posing right after the end of the class. Our first swim class was a resounding success!

 

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WEEK 2: January 8, 2013 – January 14, 2013 – MAKE PANCAKES

This second week of 2013 ended with rain. After a busy week and even busier Saturday we decided that what we all needed on a rainy Sunday morning was a yummy pancake breakfast.  Alex has had pancakes before, but she’s never been involved in the making part of the process so today we thought we’d let her try it out. She helped crack the eggs (only one piece of shell fell in and that was daddy’s fault!), put in the tablespoons of sugar, shook cinnamon from the jar and eventually helped with the mixing.

The mixing especially was a big hit- so much so that we were lucky to get the whisk away from her!  After thirty minutes, a messy kitchen floor and a happy toddler wearing some mix, we had a pile of fluffly pancakes waiting to be devoured.

Not as exciting or action-packed as last week’s activity, but making pancakes put a smile on Alexandra’s face, so week #2 can definitely be classified as a success!

 

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WEEK 3: January 15, 2013 – January 21, 2013 – HOST A TEDDY BEAR TEA PARTY

The initial plan for this week’s activity was to execute Alex’s first science experiment. We had something pretty cool on tap and I have to admit I was more than just a little excited about the whole thing (I’m a big geek-we’re talking HUGE- and was really looking forward to this). Unfortunately we were thwarted by the gale-force winds that had moved into Toronto on Sunday morning and so our science experiment had to be put on hold until next week (insert toddler pouty face here- mine, not Alex’s). We elected instead to do something indoors and at home since Miss. Alex is STILL nursing her month-plus long cold (when she’s finally totally snot-free I think I’m going to organize a parade). We decided to host a teddy bear tea party instead- this put to use Alexandra’s new fancy-shmancy table and chair set from Ikea (yeah, that’s how we roll) and allowed her to use her favourite command of the moment: “SIT!” (note that with the help of the little space between her two front teeth this actually sounds a little more like “SH*T!”).  We baked some banana bread for the occasion (inspired by the delicious banana chocolate chip birthday cake served at Saturday’s birthday party- Happy Birthday Noemi!!), in order to have something other than plastic sandwiches and crackers to serve to her teddy bear guests.

The party started out well, Alex dutifully poured tea from her talking tea kettle (“mmm, mmm, more please!”) and served her bear friends the banana cake and plastic “coo-coo” (cookies), but the festive mood didn’t last as long as I’d hoped. After a few minutes Alex decided that her “baby” (the doll that she will not go anywhere without) should “sh*t” instead of the bears and off went the teddies, launched away from the table.  Luckily this was after I got some really cute photos of her entertaining her stuffed buddies. AND as an added bonus I managed to get her to leave her hair band on (we dressed up for the occasion of course) for a total of about 2 minutes-a huge feat since Alex will rarely tolerate anything in her hair for more than a second or two (looks like she’s her mother’s daughter) and so I have some cute shots of her in that too. I’m still a little disappointed that we didn’t get to have some cool scientific fun, but there’s something to be said for sharing fake tea on a cold winter’s afternoon with your favourite little girl.

 

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WEEK 4: January 22, 2013 – January 28, 2013 – GO ON A SLEIGH RIDE

This week we had planned to do our big science experiment (put on hold from last week), but again our plans changed due to the weather- only this time it was in a good way! We got a nice dusting of snow in the city on Friday night, and the temperature thankfully went up after a freezing cold week, so on Saturday we decided that it’d be fun to try out Alex’s new sleigh. We bought the sleigh last weekend on a whim while shopping for toilet paper and laundry detergent (we’re both suckers for a sale!).

We had hoped to go out in the afternoon while there was still a lot of sun, but a really late nap (for all three of us) meant an evening sleigh ride instead. This week we had the added pleasure of having Alexandra’s sweet first cousin Peyton (a.k.a. “P” as Alex likes to call him) join us for our outing. Peyton is just six months younger than the little miss so they’re a joy to watch together- two toddler brains working together can be pretty entertaining and will make a mess of your place faster than you can get through a single glass of wine- we have witnessed this on numerous occasions!

So we got to the Beach, our intended sleigh ride site, at about 5:00pm and met up with Peyton and his fantastic parents Ken and Karen. We put the kids on the little wooden sleigh, ready to cart them around for a bit and discovered pretty quickly that they didn’t both fit comfortabley on it at the same time (despite this, we made them both sit on it for awhile for the photo op!).  And I’m not 100% sure they loved the experience because looking at the photos afterwards neither of them is actually smiling! They DID both enjoy being outside in the snow though and running around together, so for that alone it was worth the outing. And I myself loved watching Brad running at semi-full speed pulling the sleigh along- I think he might of had more fun than the kids!  Check out the cuties in the photographs below – my favourite pic is the one where “P” has is legs crossed, I can just picutre this scene in a year or so when they’re both talking: “faster Uncle Brad, FASTER!”.

 

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 WEEK 5: January 29, 2013 – February 4, 2013 – GO TO A SUPER BOWL PARTY

This week’s activity wasn’t on our original list, but after Alexandra was invited to no less than three Super Bowl parties (she’s lucky enough to have some fantastic aunts and uncles) we decided it should be included.

Our initial plan had been to stay home with a bucket of KFC and some bags of doritoes (for us, not the baby!), but after getting so many sweet invitations we decided it’d be more fun for us and for Alex to hang out with friends.

We started the night at young Peyton’s place (you remember the cutie from the sleigh ride last week?) where we got some fun shots of the kids in their Bills/Colts gear (both daddies are Buffalo Bills fans and P’s mom used to love the Colts) and stuffed our faces with all kinds of yummy junk food. Alex ended up passing out at halftime and so we never made it to party #2, but I have to admit, I didn’t mind her falling asleep because it was easier to actually enjoy the game after she was in bed! It’s always fun to do things with the kiddies, but a little adult time never hurt anyone ;) 

  

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 WEEK 6: February 5, 2013 – February 11, 2013 – VISIT GREAT WOLF LODGE

This week Alexandra experienced somewhat of a rite of passage for young kids in Ontario, she had her first overnight stay at Great Wolf Lodge (hereafter known as ‘GWL’). For those of you haven’t been before, GWL is an indoor waterpark in Niagara Falls- a.k.a. kiddie heaven! Brad and I had never been either so this was a new experience for all of us, and since Brad is basically a kid in a grown man’s body this was Bradley heavean as well.

Upon arrival at the lodge we immediately unpacked our swim gear and made a beeline for the waterpark-seriously, when I say immediately I mean right away since, as Brad pointed out, with only 2 nights booked for our stay there wasn’t a moment to lose! We stuck mainly to the wave pool our first time out and also tried out their ‘wooly mammoth’ waterslide which was the only slide that Alex was tall enough to go on. It seemed tame enough from the outside but was actually pretty fast for a toddler I thought (and sort of fast for a grown-up too); I may not be the best judge though since I haven’t been to an amusement park in a really, really long time and I probably need some re-training (maybe Canada’s Wonderland should be added to our list for the summer?).

It was during the second day that we discovered the lodge’s splash park area; this was much more suited for kids Alex’s age and she was free to run around a little more on her own vs. having her parents on top of her all the time like in the pool. She fell in love with this place the second she stepped on her first mini fountain. Brad and I took turns chasing her around the park as she ran from spout to spout. She repeatedly went back to one particular area where water was pouring from up above; she seemed to love putting her little back and bum into the line of the water- I guess this might have felt sort of like a baby version of a jacuzzi jet? Very entertaining to watch :)

Overall the three of us had a fantastic first time out at GWL and I definitely think we’ll be back- it’s a great mini get away in the winter when you otherwise wouldn’t have an excuse to put on your bathing suit.

Check out the pics below, the first is Alex in her wolf ears (kindly provided by the resort), the second is her in her robe/smoking jacket (haha!) and the rest are from inside the waterpark itself. Please make note of the last photo where the little miss is enjoying the ‘baby jacuzzi’!

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  WEEK 7: February 12, 2013 – February 18, 2013 – FAMILY DAY AT DOWNSVIEW PARK

 This past weekend was family day long weekend in Ontario and so presented the perfect opportunity to spend some quality time together, just the three of us. We had a close family baptism on Sunday so decided that we would plan something fun to do for our Monday off.

While looking for an Alex-friendly activity for our day we found that there was an impressive list of family-centric events going on around the city. From the ROM to the Hockey Hall of Fame, it seemed like most places had kid-inspired activites planned for Monday. After scouring the list we decided that the ‘Kid Fest’ at Downsview Park sounded the most promising for Alex’s age- an open space with bouncy castles where she could run around for an hour or two sounded perfect.

We dressed the little miss in her current favourite tracksuit (I think we’re inadvertedly making Alex into a tomboy!) and headed toward the park after lunch. There were lots of cars parked at the complex so from the outside it looked really promising…unfortunately, that’s where the potential ended.

What was billed as a sort of carnival full of different rides and games for the kids was actually just a big room of different sized/shaped bouncy castles. Sure, some had slides and others had platforms to climb, but still, just bouncy castles. They also charged a steep fee of $25 per child to get into the place (adults were a much more reasonable $8 a piece). For the little ones like Alex, who could go on maybe 2 out of the 10-15 castles in the room this seemed like a lot to pay. Still, our $40 entrance price felt like a bargain compared to the $80 “family rate” the folks in front of us paid for themselves and their three kids. 

While the event itself was somewhat disappointing and had us wishing we had opted for the Hockey Hall of Fame instead (make that hockey-playing tomboy!) Alex still had the chance to bounce around for awhile in two of their castles. I have to admit, it was sort of tough for the two of us, seeing her in there with the older kids and being helpless to do anything as she got pushed and jostled around- which you’ll know if you’ve ever seen kids in the blown up castles happens a lot- and sometimes on purpose!

She seemed to enjoy herself though, which is all we need to feel good about any outing, so our family day event can be classified as a success. Next year though, I think we’ll go downtown and take some photos with the Stanley Cup instead.

 Check out the photos from our day…the first is of Alex in her suit and the others were taken at the park.

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   WEEK 8: February 19, 2013 – February 25, 2013 – CREATE A TIME CAPSULE

Our activity this week was to create a time capsule for Alexandra. I’ve always loved this idea and since I was a kid have wanted to make one, but over the years I never seemed to get around to it. This week was my chance to finally make this fun project happen.

Before we embarked on filling our own time capsule with items that we hope will make us smile 10 years from now (our chosen time for keeping the capsule shut), I did a little research online to see what kinds of things other folks were putting in their memory boxes. The trend seemed to be items that fall into 2 categories: momentos from recent personal occasions along with a few items that would remind you what was going on in the world at the present time.

So based on those two criteria we decided on the following list of items:

  • a penny- since these won’t be around any more in 10 years!
  • some photos from recent occasions - everyone loves looking back at old photos
  • a piece of Alex’s recent artwork, dated – a record of one of her first masterpieces
  • an outline of Alex’s hand - so we can see how much she’s grown
  • the map insert from her first birthday party - just to make us smile
  • the favours from her baptism – to remember that special day
  • 1 red megablock – so she can see what she was playing with at this age
  • 1 hair clip – because she currently has somewhat unruly hair, but refuses to have it clipped back!
  • a pair of socks – to show how little those adorable feet once were
  • a newspaper clipping from today’s paper – for some ‘world context’

And finally, a letter from Brad and I to Alex telling her all about what she’s doing and learning right now, listing her favourite words and her favourite toys and telling her how happy we are to have her in our lives. I have to admit, I teared up on  more than one occasion as we drafted this note- and I can’t imagine what it’ll be like reading it one day. I suspect we’ll be nostalgic for these times when she’s so little and brings us so much joy by just saying a new word or learning how to do something new.

All of the items are currently on our dining room table. Tonight we’ll decorate a little Tim Horton’s coffee tin with stickers and we’ll seal it tight with duct tape, putting on it today’s date as well as the date we plan to re-open it: March 1st, 2023 (sounds like a million years away doesn’t it?!). The only question that remains is whether we should bury it (in a few weeks when the ground thaws) or if we should just store it in the basement. I’m not sure we’ll be in our current home for the next 10 years and in the chaos of a move a few years from now I fear we’d forget our little time capsule in the backyard, so I’m leaning toward storing it in a corner of the basement- we’ll decide for sure when the snow melts.

This week really made me think about how special this time in Alex’s life is and, as hard as it is some days, how much I’m going to miss her being so little.<insert nostalgic mommy sigh here> Time really does go so fast! Until next week…

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WEEK 9: February 26, 2013 – March 4, 2013 - MAKE A PAPER CRANE/AIRPLANE

 This weekend was especially busy- full of fun stuff like birthday parties and lunch with friends, but still, exhausting- so when it came time to hang out, just the three of us, we thought we’d do something relaxing like the ‘make a paper crane’ item on our list.  As it turns out, making a paper crane isn’t as relaxing as we’d thought (especially when you’re somewhat of a perfectionist and really, REALLY want it to look good when you’re done), so we decided to add making a paper airplane to our activity as well so that we could feel some level of easy success; this also had the added bonus that Alex would have something that she could toss around at the end- something that wouldn’t make a mess (score!).

I had bought some construction paper so that we could make different coloured cranes and would have a nice bright variety when we were done. I had also thought that we’d make cranes of different sizes (i.e.- “mommy”, “daddy” and “baby” cranes- note that the daddy crane would be MUCH larger than the mommy crane, since the mommy crane had been going to the gym), so we could have crane families at the end. You can see how the initial activity got a tiny bit more complicated.

We based our crane-making on these instructions (click on the image to get a closer view):

paper-crane

After some frustration (me more than Brad since I’m embarassed to admit he’s much better at reading instructions than I am) we did end up with a nice array of colourful crane families. Some truned out better than others (yeah, those were made by Brad), but all more or less resembled the picutre on the instructions (score again!).

After much less frustration we also ended up with some cool gliding airplanes. Since we couldn’t remember how to make the “good” kind of paper planes we downloaded the following instructions:

 paper airplane

 Alex had fun attempting to fold the paper (a.k.a. crumpling it up) and loved both the “birds” and the airplanes that we ended up with. She especially loved the cranes and decided that they’d live in her toy farm. I loved that we all had such a great time with only a few pieces of coloured paper and that Alex got so excited playing with simple, paper toys…oh and I have to admit, I also kinda liked that my airplane ended up flying farther than Brad’s ;) 

 

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WEEK 10: March 5, 2013 – March 11, 2013 - CONDUCT A SCIENCE EXPERIMENT

If you’ve read any of our previous posts you might remember that we’ve been meaning to do a science experiment with Alexandra, but each time have had to change our plans for one reason or another. Well, I am very happy to report that this weekend all the stars aligned and we finally conducted Alex’s first experiment! 

It’s no secret to anyone who knows Brad and I that we’re a little geeky at heart (we’re both in IT, this might explain a lot) so we were both really excited about this endeavour. I think Alex felt it too, because she willingly put on her coat (for the first time in weeks!) and stood by the door saying “dada, outside!”.

For our experiment we choose something really simple that we could do at home and that was, first and foremost, safe for Alex to witness. What we came up with was dropping mentos into 2L bottles of Diet Coke and watching the mini erruption that followed- AWESOME, right?! Ok, admittedly, it doesn’t sound like much, but that’s only because you haven’t tried it yet! The speed of the reaction and the height that the foam reaches are both pretty cool considering we’re talking about a can of coke and some breath mints.  Watching our homemade volcano made me instantly wonder what would happen if I drank a glass of diet coke and then downed a mentos or two right after- I didn’t try this, but the question remains.

So here’s how it all went down, my task was to drop the mentos into the bottle and bolt so that I wouldn’t get soaked while Brad held on to Alex so she wouldn’t get too close to the foamy mess. We had set up our camera and camcorder to take photos and record the whole thing automatically from a few metres away (I told you, geeky!).  Alex, for her part, was more excited to be outside in her purple boots than to be watching her parents run around with bottles of coke, but once the foam started she stood and watched the whole thing- all 20 seconds of it- an accomplishment when we’re talking about the attention span of a toddler! I’m hoping the whole experience had a lasting effect on the little miss, I’d love for her to eventually take an interest in science. “Dr. Alexandra K.”, has a nice ring to it, don’t you think? Just kidding…mostly ;)

By the way, if you’re interested in an explaination of the actual science involved you can read about it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diet_Coke_and_Mentos_eruption 

 

We’ll try to get the video up soon!

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4 Responses to Weeks 1-10

  1. Laura says:

    Hey Guys,

    We just found your blog! We’re so thrilled that you guys have taken on this 365 project. What a wonderful thing to do as a family. Best of luck. Looks like you guys are having a ton of fun!

    Best,
    Laura & John
    http://www.365thingsin365days.com

  2. franbrad_alex says:

    Thanks for stopping by guys! We’ve had a great time so far and we have you to thank for the idea. Can’t wait to see the book :)

    Fran.

  3. Laura says:

    Still working away on the book! Stay tuned :)

    I’ve passed your blog on to some of my friends w/ little ones. They love the 52 Things in 52 Weeks idea (perfect challenge for a family). We all look forward to following along your adventures! Best of luck you three.

    -Laura & John
    http://www.365thingsin365days.com

  4. franbrad_alex says:

    Thanks Laura! We’d love to see other families trying out the same thing. All the best to you guys too :)

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