>> Monday, 21 July 2014
I still watch him sleep at night and whisper his baby names to him while he sleeps. I thank God for my baby.
Our calendar in the kitchen said "Mom's birthday - Surprise!" On July 18. For the next days, it said "Niagara" so it kinda gave them an idea where we are going over the weekend. Before the big day, I prepared our baon and Sharyn and I tried on making a sushi which turned out to be fine except for the rice being too soft and sticky and our roll looked like a bun, hahaha. On the actual day of my birthday, I cooked spaghettini and while preparing my youngest asked, "What's the surprise Mom? I replied, it will not be a surprise anymore if I told you. But he was persistent so I just told him we will eat the chocolate cake for dessert to make him stop inquiring. After lunch, I asked them to prepare to leave and my two younger boys didn't want to go. I blew the candles on my cake and my youngest son asked again, "mom is it true that we are going to Niagara? To the Waterpark?" and his dad said No. Lex was referring to the Fallsview Indoor Waterpark that we usually visit and I added that the waterpark is fully booked and we can't go there. Well, what I didn't tell is the part that there's another Waterpark - the Great Wolf where I have a reservation. Lex started to whine and said he didn't want to go because it was going to be boring just going to the falls without going to the Waterpark. Lito told them we will all go and he was assuring them that they are going to enjoy the celebration of mom's birthday.
On the road, Lex was cranky and he keep on saying this trip is going to be boring. I didn't say anything to keep them wondering where we are headed. You could just imagine how hard it was for the boys, hahaha. Lito and I kept the secret until they were slowly figuring out because we were following the signs to Great Wolf Lodge. The Older boys got it right away and got excited but Lex was clueless. His face was still in wonder and he said, I heard it from Lucas and he asked if it was a Waterpark, his face lit up after finding out but got worried again because he asked if he could do slides for the bigger kids, I said Yes. He then replied excitedly, "then I think this is not going to be boring!"
We were able to check in right away when we arrived at 1:35pm. We were supposed to get our room at 4:00pm but we were lucky to have it ready by the time we arrived. We were at the Waterpark by 2:00 pm and my boys were very happy especially the youngest because he was given a band that allowed him to ride all the slides except for 2 - Niagara Rapids run - a rollercoaster sort of ride and the Grizzly Bear slide - single long slide. When we tried the Wholly Mammoth, he was ecstatic! He was screaming but also was laughing. You could see it in the videos. They spent more time at the Rainbow lake - a wave pool where they practiced their swimming skills from their lessons this summer. From what we've seen, we can say, we got our ROI na, time to enroll them to the next level.
In between the slides from Beaver and Squirrel Falls (slides for kids 4 and up) the kids stayed at either of these places - Fort Mackenzie and Otter Pool. Fort Mackenzie tree house was where they enjoyed firing water to bystanders and people passing by under the tree. We always scream when the big bucket full of water - 1,000 gallons of it tip from the tree top because everyone does, makes us all drench and happy. Otter pool is where we played basketball while in the water.
There is an area for the babies and even the kiddie slides there were tested by my kids and later on commented as simple and boring. Their other favorite was the Crystal River - a lazy river because we just go on a clear tube and be carried by the waves. The kids later just swam thru the current and pass by the lazy people on the tubes. Meanwhile, the oldies found a good spot at the adult hot tub where Lito and I had quality time while enjoying the hot spa under the rain outside the park. A must-try for those who want to relax. Only 16 and above are allowed in this area.
The slides and rides are the highlights of this trip. There were the Eagle Falls and Bobcat Falls where kids like Lex can do with an adult in a double or 8 tube. In the same level is the Grizzly bear ride, a longer version of the Eagle and Bobcat falls but here you are on a single tube. Lex would have loved this ride but at his height and age, he was not allowed to go solo. The next exciting ride in this level was the Canada Vortex - a dark and steep tube that goes on a whirlpool before the final drop on a rushing water. When Sharyn and I tried this, we were screaming at the top of our lungs. But did you know that my 5-year old Lex took this ride 3 times and always said, that was fun or that was exciting! He said he will tell his grandma - Mama that he was not afraid and considered this as his favorite. By the way, Aloysius tried it only once with me and Kyle didn't, saying just by looking at it, I think it is scary.
The next 2 are the favorites among the park guests because the lines are always long and they were really more thrilling than the rest. Wholly Mammoth is the largest ride at the park where the whole family can go on a raft and scream all together while they go on a long and fast slide down. This is our family's favorite although we didn't go at the same time because the raft can only accommodate 4 people.
Niagara Rapids Run is the most exciting ride of all with all the ups and downs. This is the rollercoaster ride at the park and sends you screaming on a 52 feet drop with long and fast turns and loops. Lito and I tried it twice one after the other and he said on the second time, mimicking Lex - this is boring! Hahaha.
Aside from the slides, we also enjoyed the Frog Pond (where Lito and Aloysius leaped from one leaf to the other) and the Loon lagoon - a pool outside. When we went there on our second day, it was raining so there were only 2 families on the pool. We almost have the pool to ourselves. The kids had the chance to show off their swimming skills again and we were able to capture underwater shots.
The resort's amenities and the room lived up to my expectations - clean, nice cabin designs and big enough for my 3 kids. The bunk bed was designed with wild animal paintings and they have their own TV. We spent some time on the balcony where we fed the birds. The room had a ref, coffee maker and microwave so it was easy to heat food and I was able to cook eggs using my eggie.
If it was not for my birthday, we could have stayed again in the other Waterpark but I thought its time to try something else, something special for my kids to remember my birthday so even if the trip cost a little more, we chose Great Wolf Lodge Niagara. Seeing my kids faces and listening to their endless after-the -trip stories, it was worth it. Borrowing MasterCard's motto, Priceless!
Dollar Power: I got a good deal from this trip because I availed the Summer fun promo - 30% OFF the regular package and I also received a FREE Photobook coupon. Below is the link to the 8x8 hard cover 20-page photobook I ordered from Shutterfly. Enjoy watching!
E is for Ethics by Ian James Corlett
I have read and shared a list of things that Money can't buy on Facebook. I got it from somebody else's wall and I was thankful because it reminded me that these are really important and they can't be bought by any amount of money.
Last Week, Kyle and I returned some books to the library and he asked if we could borrow again, I said yes, provided that he will also choose a book for his brothers. I ended up getting one myself because I was attracted by the word "Ethics". The title of the book was covered by the library's sticker that's why it was not clear if you have not looked closely. I was happy to have found this book. It is very timely because of the fast times and rapid change in technology, People just want to go with the flow, no one wants to touch the subject of right and wrong anymore. Parents being the first teacher of a child should and must fill this gap.
The complete title of the book is E is for Ethics: How to talk to kids about morals, values and what matters most. The book contains twenty-six simple, clear, original, and entertaining stories for you to read aloud with your child. Our family has a routine before going to bed and this is reading a book, it could be from an actual book or something online like Bookboard. We read this book every night before my sons sleep. They look forward to a new story because even if the characters are the same, the situations are different. I think they can relate to some of it because the situations are familiar. We have more stories to read, not even halfway through but we enjoyed the lighter and fun side of the ethics in every story. Even if we finish, I think I will need to buy our own copy so that we will continue to read this once a week to be reminded of all the ethics and values we've learned.
We already read stories about Honesty, Understanding, Forgiveness, Courage, Tact, Perseverance, Politeness, Loyalty, Gratitude. Big words, right? Well, the book described situations where the characters (young children like mine) faced and how they dealt with it or how it should have been handled. While I was reading, the back of my mind is telling me that some of the people in my workplace need to read this book too. I for one learned a lot from reading the stories. Applicable to young and old alike.
After each story, there is an opportunity for a discussion on the subject. Questions and what-if -you-are-in-same situations added were designed to give a chance for the kids to apply what they have learned. There is a short commentary and quotes from famous individuals.
The author believes that children need training, reinforcement and respect for ethics. He thinks that this book is a baby step in the right direction. I strongly agree. I hope you can grab a copy soon. Your kids deserve to be read with valuable books like this.
I have many plans for our garden. I inherited some perennials from the previous owner of the house and I liked the flowers but some of it have taken over the flower beds. I needed to remove them. Now that all the day lilies are gone, I need to replace them with other flowering plants. I am torn between choosing a perennial or annual plant but considering the cost, I opted for the previous. I thought that I will not have a hard time choosing because there are more annual flowers to choose from. I was wrong. I also needed to plan for where to put them and what should be planted beside another because the bloom times vary too. Kinakareer pala Ito! I hope I'm doing the right thing. I started with sowing Gallardia seeds and until now, I have not put everything on the beds because those I did were either dug by squirrels or didn't survive. I have purple thumb talaga. I still have some seedlings waiting to become a little stronger before I transfer them. I am so excited to see the red and yellow daisy-like flowers.
Before buying seeds or plants, I started looking for plants from the neighbours to be able to know what thrives in our area. I got interested with bulbs especially tulips but I learned from my officemates that if I won't be careful, I will lose the bulbs to squirrels too. It was hard to plant because you need to put chicken wire, dig a certain level and you also have to do it weeks before the frost starts because they need the cold temperature. I told myself, I will skip tulips but I will try Hyacinths, our neighbours got the pink ones and they're gorgeous. I also like the grape hyancinths, I took a picture from our neighbours and show it to the garden centre because I could not figure out if it's a bulb or not, the lady at the garden centre told me that it's grape hyacinth but they are not selling that at this time because it needs to be planted in the fall. Well for spring flowers, I transplanted the Mini Daffodils I got for Mother's Day in the flower bed and I discovered that the previous owner had 1 daffodil planted too. Next on my lists are delphiniums, crocuses but it is still a long wait before I could plant them so I will just focus on plant that will bloom in summer.
Summer blooms and produce
In the front flower beds, I have roses, peonies and lily of the valley. I added creeping phlox, the Stella de oro day lilies to where I removed the big day lilies. I also reserved a spot for the Gallardia and I also put some ground cover plants. In the backyard, I transferred some lily of the valley and I also placed the Cherry 100 tomatoes and pepper to where the sun shines most. I found out that to help the tomatoes especially this variety that I bought produce more, I need to put a tomato cage to support the branches. I also found out that it should be done with my peonies too in front. I can't wait to take pictures with the peonies supported by a cage instead of lying down on the ground because the plant couldn't support it with the big flowers it bears. When I removed the hosta in the backyard and transferred them to the other side of the house, I discovered that the Black-eyed Susan grew where the hosta used to be. I couldn't wait for the flowers to bloom because there are lots of buds coming out. I hope to be able to take a picture.
I learned that just like people, plants need tender loving care, give them the things they need in order to grow, water, soil and sunlight. Prune them or deadhead (removing the foliage) when they die to give more room for growth the next time they come out. Take out the weeds and plan where to put them so they can give the best blooms in the right time and place. That will give the utmost satisfaction to its owner. I am looking forward to that but I also was trying to compare or apply this to our own life as parents. I realized that we need to give our children the basic needs - food, water, shelter, clothing. Discipline like pruning to be able to grow up in the right way and protecting them from weeds (bad company) to be able plan /work for their bright future so that parents who gave all these things will be satisfied.
When we were at the library, I heard one of the moms who were there was talking to the librarian and was telling about her daughter a 16-yr old read a book to the kids at the community center. So it's confirmed I was eavesdropping but I learned that they were talking about this book called, "No Dragons for Tea (fire safety for kids)". I heard the librarian said "Oh I need to borrow the book and read to it my niece then." After that, I went to the other side of the library and checked the gardening books. When I returned to the librarian's desk to check out the books, I saw that the Dragon book was still there and asked her if I could add it to the books I'm checking out, she said "Of course" and I felt like I won a prize or something. Haha.
So when we arrived home, Aloysius read the book at once and while I was preparing the snacks, I heard him retelling the story to Kyle. I was intrigued and when it was storytelling time for Lex that night, I chose to read the book. The book is entitled, "No Dragons for Tea (Fire Safety for Kids)" written by Jean E. Pendziwol and illustrated by Martinez Gourbault. The story is about a little girl meeting and playing with a dragon. Later on, she invited the dragon to her house for tea. But then, when the pepper was sprinkled, the dragon sneezed and fire got out of his mouth and nostrils, setting fire on the table cloth, curtains and then spread to the house. The book described how the little girl responded to the emergency and showed the dragon the right things to do. Does your child know what to do in case of fire? Fire Safety does not need to be a frightening topic. No Dragons for Tea provides an ideal opportunity to teach children about fire safety in a non- threatening way. Children will pick up lots of safety tips as they follow the dragon and the little girl through the story. But it is also important for children to know what to do in their own home, school, or other places.
Here's the Dragon's Fire-Safety Rhyme that was part of the book:
When the smoke alarm sounds, here's what you should do;
Leave your toys all behind, cause there's only one you.
Get down and stay Low, crawling under the smoke,
Because breathing those fumes in might make you choke.
If your clothes catch on fire, don't run about,
"Stop, drop and roll" till the flames are all out.
Don't open a door if the handle feels hot.
Find another way out to your planned meeting spot.
Even when scared, you must never hide,
And once your outside, don't go back inside.
Go and find this book, children and adults alike will definitely like it.