Wednesday, June 27, 2012

SK Update

I'm doing terribly with getting pics on here, WHILE I'm still here. It's harder than you might imagine to find a moments peace and an available laptop when surrounded by what sounds like 1000 warriors. It's really 26 people, talking, laughing, playing and enjoying each other company. But it's loud:-) And about to get louder as more out of town friends arrive for the wedding later this week.

I've got some great pics to share of some touristy stuff we've done. I hope to get to it soon, today after we visit another site (combo post). Still collecting video footage of music playing, singing, etc...Then I need to watch it all and condense it into watchable portions of 20 seconds or so. Nobody wants to watch 3 hours solid, I'm sure. I'll try to keep you on the edge of your seats with the highlights. But there is, by the way, some awesome music going on around here:-)

Grey has still not quite adjusted to the time change, waking up each day at 5am. It doesn't help that the sun is high in the sky by 5am! Although we're not nearly as northern as the old house was in Alberta, (almost 24 summer days!) - we are still north, and it still is pretty sunny around here!! Bright skies are harder to ignore when you're little I guess.

Overall moods and behaviour has been great from all the kids (and adults)! All the little cousins are having fun together, and are carefully watched over by Uncle Lehman and Auntie Maryn. Yesterday, Kenna and Brooks were fighting (boxing)...60 seconds rounds, with 30 second breaks for coaching, says Lehman. Uhhhhhh. Ooook. LOL! Of course I can't say a word - we used to do the same thing to the "little boys" (Davis, Logan & Kaden). So a "just be careful" is about all I'm permitted to say:-) I really hope to go through pics this afternoon and post some. If I don't, I will eventually:-)

Friday, June 22, 2012

Family Theme

I've mentioned before our family theme...sons have a 2nd middle honour of a family member.

Baby Names - I am actually continuing on a tradition that my parents started, when baby #2, a boy, was born. Of many many grandchildren (10 at the time), he was the first grandson to bear the Kennedy name. This made my Grandpa, who was diagnosed with cancer, very happy. But his name was Harold Leslie. So naming someone after him was not really going to happen. So my parents came up with the 2nd middle name idea (which could be not mentioned, if it happened to cause embarrassment to child later on in life). I really liked the idea and continued it on with my own kids! Eventually, there would be 7 boys to carry on the Kennedy name, and of those 7, so far Brent now also has 2 sons, so Papie's fears about carrying on the family name were unnecessary:-)

Our Names:

Darla Janette
Brent Michael Harold (grandfather)
Jared Andrew David (father)
Lauryn Amanda
Davis Matthew Allan (grandfather)
Logan Braden Trevor (uncle)
Kaden Steven Gregory (uncle)
Janessa Marianne
Rebecca Jillaine
Lehman Jonathan Douglas (good family friend who passed away)
Maryn Elyse

I think this idea is very workable if you want to attach sentimental value to a childs name, without going all out and naming them something you dislike, just to be an honour to so-and-so. This way you get to choose your favourite names, and great-grandma still gets a namesake:-)

*Brent, Michael, Davis, Marianne, Rebecca and Lehman are also namesakes - named after family, or family surnames.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Well, the last time I traveled was last June, with Grey. And he was very nearly murdered under the justification that I could make another one just like him:-) Arriving was a hellacious 16 hr ordeal that I should hope will never be repeated in my lifetime (trip home was a bit better). And I'm going to try it again. Because I have that much faith in the evolution of his character:-)This time I will be traveling with all 3 kids, and one husband one way, and all three kids alone on the return trip.

Where are we headed? Saskatchewan. I've never been there, but have heard it's the flattest of all the Provinces of Canada. True prairie lands. As good news goes, it is considerably closer to our starting location, than Grande Prairie is, so we should only have 2 flights and 1 layover. This SOUNDS LIKE HEAVEN to me! My dad retired last year, and they moved the family to SK. Leaving behind 2 siblings and their wives and children in Alberta. Now, as large families can do...they've taken over! Between my parents and siblings, they now own 4 homes within the city limits of Regina.

Yes, I said it. Regina. {coughcough}. I am now aware of *whatitrhymeswith*. I never thought about it in my life, as apparently no one in Canada has a dirty mind...but then you come here and say the name in a crowd of people. Who all literally stop, and stare aghast because you’ve just said that word in public, loudly and unashamedly. They say Ruh-gee-na in the US. But I don't. Mostly for shock value. HOMO MILK baby!! Vive la Canada!

So with family in our original homeland of Ontario, and now Alberta, Saskatchewan and Virginia...aren't we just all over the map?

Saskatchewan is in the middle of Canada - sandwiched between Manitoba to the east and Alberta to the west. It is famous for being the easiest Province for a kindergartener to draw. Regina is the Capitol of the Province, and is fairly south as you can see. It is 2116 miles away from Norfolk, and would take us 36+ hours of non-stop driving, one way. Which is why we're flying.

Consider this your Canadian geography lesson for the day, Americans. Because heaven knows you've never studied it in school. A Province is the same as a State, by the by. It's not a Providence. That is something else. And no, we are not bringing snow jackets:-)

Now that my folks are in a big city...they have internet that is not dial up! That is good news for you folks, I will be able to post from there instead of waiting until I get home. If I steal time away from the all the fun that is! But I can at least get wedding details posted for all the family that was not able to make it.

Stay tuned. Fun, family and love ahead! If you (family unable to make it) want to see or hear something specific - let me know! I will do my best to coerce the unruly relatives and get the pic or video. I am personally still waiting for the underwear, socks and bagpipe pic of Logan. lol. - but I promise lots of everything eventually. PROMISE! - unless I die on the airplane - then I unpromise. :-D Ever tell you how I'm not a huge fan of flying?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Handprint Art

I made a hand print card for Brian for Fathers Day. I made it so that the front panel (Happy Fathers Day) can be removed, and we just have their hands left for displaying, year round. I love how it turned out!
I used SU's Basic Black and Crumb Cake, and then stamped their names on there. Easy, simple, and a perfect little keepsake:-)
We had a great and relaxing day, complete with a campfire...and I was somehow "accidentally" shot in the back with an air soft gun, by Brian. I say accidental, because he was aiming for my butt, and missed. Lol. It HURTS. Fun times with great friends! There were so many picture perfect moments...but I not only didn't bring my camera...both Brian and I forgot our phones. Boo.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Bridal Shower #1

Kenna attended her first bridal shower today. Slightly more boring than she'd anticipated, I think:-) Adult parties just tend to have so much less "fun" than kids parties I'm afraid! This shower was organized by Dale's mom/the ladies at their church, and was very fun and special.
The pretty cake!

Writing advice or encouragement for the Bride

The pretty flowergirl

Noni & Kenna

Kitty (Dale's mom), Tiffany (a bridesmaid), Lauren, Me, and Mom Bolger

Opening presents...there were quite a few!

Tiffany, Lauren and Kenna, with the bouquet made of all the ribbons...ready for the wedding rehearsal

Cute kitchen clock! Kenna showed off all the gifts:-)

On Break

We are on Summer Break from our extra kids! Since Sonny & May's mom, and Ardyn's dad are school teachers, we get a little (much needed) time alone as a family. We will welcome them back in late August...until then...FREEDOM:-) I'm loving it! Just think, I only have one bum to change, instead of FOUR! Heavenly

Kmin to you

My kids go through paper like they care nothing for trees...a note I found yesterday:


Kmin to you in 5 das


Coming to you in 5 days. of the family? Apparently she is less excited to see the rest of you? lol. I asked her about it, and she said that she only listed the people whos birthdays she's missed (so far this year) actually...she's right on the money!

One to Nine

 Anniversary time! Next year is ten years...we can't believe it!
Flowers to "my bride" :-) With a sweet card

We made reservations at HK (Hell's Kitchen) on the Bay, in Chick's Beach. Great place and yummy food. We've been there before, but it was years ago!

Best crab dip you've ever had!

Tequila Lime Chicken Fajitas for me!

And a heart attack for dessert! This is FOUR deep fried brownies, with ice cream. We saved 2 for the kids!
 We had a fun night, talking about investment properties, mortgages (we're insane, I know), and then we were trying to remember what we've done on each of our anniversaries. It was actually pretty hard, but we remember 7 out of 9...not bad, I think?! Since we aren't ones to make a big deal about celebrations - we mostly just go out to eat:-) We're low key like that. And poor like that. haha. It was fun reminiscing!

#1 - We had just moved to Virginia Beach about 10 days before our anniversary, and were living on a friends' futon until our apartment was available. So we got a hotel room on the ocean front for the night and had dinner on the patio of a restaurant on the water too. Apparently the cook cut his finger BADLY while making our food, causing a significant delay in our service, we waited over an hour for our food.

#2 - The Freemason Abbey for dinner. Brian ate ostrich, and the caesar salad was "real" with anchovies in it. THAT was a shocker, for sure. We are definitely not accustomed to fine dining, lol!

#3 - Kenna was just born...must've just gone out to eat with her, but don't remember...Brian thought maybe we got Thai food, but this is a big maybe. ?

#4 - Brooks was not quite 6 weeks old, and Brian was working in Lynchburg, I drove the kids up there and we stayed a bed & breakfast that was built by Thomas Jefferson's nephew. We stayed in a separate cottage/house/slave quarters...very cool! and we ate at local (yummy) pizza place for dinner - it was kinda the only thing nearby, but we love pizza, so we were thrilled.

#5 - We were at a Tides baseball game on the 14th, with the youth group! We stole away for a little bit (leaving teens with other chaperones), and ate dinner in the restaurant there that overlooks the game.

#6 - We went to Catch 31, which was significantly more expensive than we'd remembered, having gone there years before hand. The portion sizes were also SO small, we left, literally starving and having to eat more food. I got a teeny piece of fish, and 3 baby carrots (no other sides!). For about $30. It was crazy! Not going back there.

#7 -My family was in town for vacation - so maybe we didn't go out? Can't remember. ?

#8 - Keagan's Irish Pub for dinner, Cold Stone for dessert, shopping for the bathroom remodel (towel racks etc)

#9 - HK on the Bay for dinner

Friday, June 15, 2012

Blast from the Past

May 2003: Surprise wedding shower. My "in town" bridesmaids, Elizabeth, Lisa, {Me}, Caralyn, Lauryn & Liana. (Out of town bridesmaids not pictured were Audra, Lauren & Ann). Uh yes...I am really short!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Countdown is on

We are less than 1 week away from our vacation! The last time we visited my parents as a family was Christmas 2009. Kenna was 3, and Brooks was 2. Wow. Can you say overdue for a visit??! That was 3 years ago! Check out these pics to see them on that Christmas. They were just little babies!! That was the trip were Brooks smashed his chin open on Boxing Day. It has been an unbelievably long time, and we're so excited to spend time with everyone again!

Wedding Music - Video

It's our anniversary again. Time to share more wedding wonderfulness:-) Our wedding reception was  full of love. And a few musical numbers as well, in true Kennedy fashion. I'll share a few...

First up, one of my all time favourites. My Dad is not kidding about me crying. I would BAWL (and I wasn't even 3 years old yet). He had to stop singing it (literally for years), because it would upset me so much. To A Sleeping Beauty. If you have a daughter...grab a tissue.

*lyrics in { } are a slight change by my Dad from the original lyric

After my sister Lauryn's speech (my maid of honour), she invited me up so we could sing together one last time before I moved away. Lauryn & Darla - Doxology

Lastly, here is the "funny song". My Dad started a tradition of sorts with other people, (some cousins etc), of writing a song about them for the reception. So he did one for us. This song is full of all true things, by the way! Yes, I did bite my tongue (almost completely off) 2 times, actually. And Brian has a thing for the KJV, and has wrecked more than his share of cars:-) Fun memories of a great day!

The End of Alone - Video

Thanks to improved technology, I was able to record this again, much improved from the 2008 version I posted on here...this one I just video taped my tv - so it makes everything a little shorter and wider than in real tv's have changed drastically over the past 9 years. oh well! Anyway, this is a song that our friend Josh Dufek wrote for us and preformed at our wedding for the first and only time. One of my absolute favourite parts of our wedding. I won't count it as my wedding anniversary post, since it's a repeat...more wedding fun to come in a bit!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Lady A

Thanks to StubHub (where people can re-sell their tix), we had tickets in the 7th row (WOW) for the same cost as sitting on the lawn! Going to a concert is an interesting study in human behaviour, for sure. Some how, people that can apparently not afford to dress appropriately in public, can not only afford a ticket to the show, but multiple beers at $12 a pop (not kidding. That was the actual price on the menu board! - water for 4.50 per dasani bottle. WHAT?!). And who doesn't like to be surrounded by cigarette smoke and beer, scream-singing out lyrics to their favourite songs, en masse? It's a thing of beauty, I tell you :-) It was a really fun time, a long show (worth the money), and all 3 groups are amazing live (sounding just like the radio). We were up it was LOUD.

Phone pic! Lady A & their band

Thompson Square. They are a new group to the radio...but a good one! "You got me and Baby I got you!"

Darius Rucker was great. He did all of his new country stuff, like this one, and all his old Hootie and the Blowfish stuff too...with a little Hank Jr, Purple Rain (Prince), and Tom Petty thrown in there too. Great vocalist. Space Cowboy was one of my faves of the night. (although this video is from our area, it was not from last night...last night he had a green eggs and ham tee shirt on!)
And then...Lady A. Years ago, I kept hearing a song on the radio, and loved it...but kept missing who it was. Lady Antebellum? What's an Antebellum? Weird name, great sound. I loved them from that moment on. It's a catchy little tune, totally my style... and I can see my brother Jared rolling his eyes at me:-) Here's the song that started it all for me...Good Time

And a current fave, maybe the highlight of the night for me, was this song. Although the acoustic version of American Honey was pretty great too.
"To me you'll always be 18, and beautiful, and dancing away with my heart"
Thank you to my awesome hubby! He bought me a Lady A CD for my birthday in '11, and now surprised me with the show. He knows I love 'em! (perhaps because I insist on listening to the CD in the van all the time?:-)

Sunday, June 10, 2012

"Diet" Update

Well, since I started this "diet" (really a lifestyle shift) on April 29th...I've lost 15 lbs for good, and then I bounce back and forth daily (as you fluctuate during the day) sometimes, (early in the morning) I've lost 18 lbs, and then by bed time I've lost 15lbs. So definitely 15...can't wait until that is definitely 18 and bouncing around to 20! That would mean only 10 more to go! Anyway, I basically eat lean meat and veggies with very little change up...but I am oddly ok with this and not bored yet. My daily "goal" for sugars is only 24g...which I go over pretty much everyday, as a grapefruit, carrots and an apple put my over for sure. If I happen to make a smoothie - forget it! But at least they are natural sugars and not sugar. I feel like I've definitely broken my addiction to sugars and carbs. Good thing.

I also started doing the Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred this week. I am very sore. And very tired. But I'm doing it, and am interested to see what kind of results I experience. Trying to be disciplined, so that even eating "normal food" (smaaaaaaall portion size), I will at least maintain, and not gain...true test will be our vacation later this month!

All in all - I've experienced a pretty quick and encouraging weight loss for my effort, which I appreciate:-) I'm eating 1200 cals a day now, give or take. And Brian's lost 10 lbs and is running now, so positive changes all around!

We haven't had our weekly family pizza night in AGES, and I miss it. But I don't trust myself yet, not to indulge in the whole thing. Yum:-)

Weekend Update

Well, we had a plan for our weekend...and it *mostly* went that way:-) Tonight Dale (almost brother in law) is getting baptized, so of course we are planning to go to church...only I didn't know (until NOW) that Brian had already got tickets for my friend Chae and I to go to a Lady Antebellum Concert (with Darius Rucker and Thompson Square) YAY. I asked him whats gotten into him...with going to see the Zac Brown band last year, and then the play Wicked, I've been to more "special events" in the past year than I have in the past 10 years, lol! Oh well...I'm definitely not going to complain about that;-)

So Harborfest and OP Sail celebrations are going on downtown this weekend...but we skipped out on the festivities so we could organize the garage, and do a little work (Brian) and a little haircut (me). Bummed to miss it...but we only have 10 days until we leave for we're starting to get ready to go. Excitement is definitely mounting!
Watching the Yankees play the Mets. Daddy likes the Mets, Kids like the Yankees, since that was "their" tee ball team this year.

This kid is seriously one of the best looking kids I have ever seen. And I'd say that even if I weren't his adoring Mom:-)

Wonder why we took the shirt off for this meal? :-)

Who's taller? Measure us! (They are dead even right now, even though Brooks is looking taller these days) And their hair is about the same too. TWINS:-)
Haircut! Terrible pic, but whatever. Considering it was way past my shoulders and all one length...this was a huge cut!

Friday, June 8, 2012

A funny

This just completely made me laugh out loud:-)
Source: via Darla on Pinterest

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Top Ten - Trader Joe's

If you've never heard of Trader Joe' must live in Canada, haha. Trader Joe's is a grocery store...a grocery store that has committed to all natural & certified organic food products (no dyes, no preservatives, no hormones, no GMO's, grass fed, free range, etc). So you know that EVERYTHING you buy there is a quality product, BUT, it provides these things at a spectacular cost! (compared to a health food store or the organic section of a regular store).

Here are my Top Ten favourite things to buy at Trader Joe's. They have a lot of phenomenal deals, but these ones are the ones I consider the best value, and the things I buy on a consistent basis. If you are able to shop at one, do it. And let me know what YOUR fave things are! Their commitment to quality and whole foods at affordable prices is almost unheard of elsewhere!

As I have been losing weight and looking for quality foods, this store has become even more important to me, helping me to eliminate fats and sugars from my diet, while still give me OPTIONS! I've been shopping there ever since they came into our area about 4/5 years ago. These are not in any particular order.

Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 16.9oz for 5.99!! And in a sweet glass bottle. I have never seen a price this good (Costco, Walmart etc) and the flavour is exquisite
Coming from a girl who hates "fake" Mac n cheese...this stuff is great! The cheese flavour actually tastes like sharp cheddar. It is .99 per box, and has no preservatives or dyes. The colour orange is from annatto and beta carotene. It requires no butter to make it, only 2 T of lowfat milk. Only 270 cals for 2/3C prepared, compared to 400 cals for 1/3C prepared Kraft Mac n cheese. Sold!
hormone and additive free eggs, 1.49 per dozen (brown eggs are 1.99p/dz). Compared to over $3 at walmart for their organic eggs. TJ's also sells a more expensive free range egg (I believe it's 3.29 p/dz)
Sauces in a bottle. These are around 2.79 per bottle (a few of them are more or less expensive). Add some chicken, make some rice, steamed veggie on the side...a quick easy and very affordable meal. They taste amazing, and one bottle feeds all 5 of us for a meal, usually with a bit of leftover. The General Tso's tastes better than some (most) we've bought from chinese takeout!
Their juices. These will vary in price depending on what you choose. Most are in the 2.99-3.99 range, for various sizes. They have amazing juices, no sugar or high fructose corn syrup added. They are way cheaper than you will find at a health food store...and you can't really even find this type of thing at a regular store. Don't add too much of this particular one to your water...sour!!
Super healthy for your gut. It's a fermented milk drink (tastes like drinkable yogurt). So very good for you, and full of protein. I can't remember if this is 3.99 or 4.99 (four 8oz servings), but it's a pretty good price. You can always make it yourself too, but I have not tried that yet. (Similar to making your own yogurt). Pomegranate is my fave (over strawberry and blueberry) *EDIT - I checked my receipt. It's 2.99!!
Organic butter. Kerrygold is 2.99 and TJ brand is 3.99. This costs more than regular butter, however, not that much more! Read about the differences and health benefits of real butter (organic) on my friend Bronwyn's site, here and here.
They have a number of great cereals. Joe's O's and Frosted Flakes are 1.99 per box. We love them! O's compare very closely to Cheerios brand (plain ones) in every way (in ingredients and nutritional info), O's are 110cals for 1 cup, and Cheerios are 100cals for 3/4 cup. Frosted Flakes compare to the real thing calorie wise (110cals for 3/4 C), however, TJ's version has less sugar (9g compared to 11g) and less sodium (125mg compared to 140mg), and TJ's also lists 2g of protein, while Kelloggs lists none. And I love that I know the corn etc used is not GMO. They taste great and do not get gross and soggy in milk. The kids love them, and I do too:-)

They have an extensive section of imported pop/soda, wine and beer. Whatever you're into. You can buy all the same, or mix and match your favourite varieties. Price will depend on what you're getting of course, but I've always found it to be a better value than at the grocery store, where specialty sodas in glass bottles would be very expensive! I can't drink Jamaican ginger beer, but Brian adores it. It feels like it will burn through my throat! 4 of them for 3.99.

I hate Nutella, because I don't like hazelnuts. Enter this yummy spread! Its quite the treat, and VERY delicious! No hydrogenated oils inside, of course. I think it was 2.99, and the kids think I am the nicest mom ever :-) And the peanut butter...ingredients, peanuts and salt. No hydrogenated oils or sugar and other additives, like my normal peanut butter has. It is 2.99 and comes in an unsalted version too. The peanut oil will separate a bit, so you have to give it a good shake before you use it...but wow. It tastes amazing.

**Something I have been excited to try, but haven't found at my local store yet (I know they sell it, just never in stock?), is "cream top" milk - this is milk that has not been homogenized (only pasteurized), so the fat will separate from the milk (you have to shake it!) - this is much healthier than a normal whole milk that has been homogenized (read up on it, it's complicated:-), so I can't wait to give it a go, since the kids and Brian drink whole milk (Brian will ONLY drink whole milk, so I'd like the fat to be as easily processed and used by the body as possible). Next best thing to getting it straight from the farm! I'm sure it'll make my list - if only I could try it!!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Hair Cuts

Well, if one thing would be true about us, it's that we all have extremely full heads of hair. All five of us. And it grows too fast. There are worse problems to have, but...seriously. It's kind of a pain to keep on top of:-) So...get ready for a summer shocker!!
Brooks - keeping it long, just thinning, and trim in the front

Only a small trim in the front and some layering. I was tempted to buzz it, as he is the only one with the ears for it...but I couldn't do it. I love long hair.
Speaking of LONG:



It's a cute and adorable little cut, and it looks sooooo good on her. She is quite pleased's easy to brush!!
After Brooks saw her cut, he said "Kenna, you look like Annie!" (Brian's sister). He is sooo right. She takes after Ann in many ways, and the short hair helps to bring that out!

Thank you Daddy for doing an awesome job once again! I'm getting mine done (not by Brian:-) next Saturday! Can't wait!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Note To Self...

STOP buying cupcake papers!! :-D

Farewell, Teeball - Video

The last game of the season was today. Sad! The kids had so much fun and learned so much...and did so well! Their coach was amazing and the last few practices has been Coach pitching, instead of using the tee. Today, they hit the ball from Coach's pitches in the game!! The beginning of the video clip is their hitting (Brooks #7, Kenna #4-leftie), the end is the award ceremony (part of it anyway:-) Thank you to an amazing Coach and assistant Coach for working with the kids. We are already looking forward to next season!

The awards ceremony part and the coach's little intro to each of them starts at 2:11
Last game for the only girl on the team

He's sad to see it end

He's just cute

Sitting on the bench, watching the big kids play "beethbaw"

"knucks" with Daddy

A picture with Coach Ron
Their trophies and personal pics (a magazine cover and a baseball card). CUTE.
* They sent out an email a few weeks ago, asking for correct spellings of names for the trophies. Both Kenna and Brooks decided to have their real first names put on the trophy.

Sparky Party

Kenna finished 2 books this year for the Awanas program, and any kids that did two books got invited to a super special secret party at Pastor Q's house. That is this afternoon. I volunteered to make a Sparky cake for the party. This is the face of the firefly "mascot" for those that might not be familiar. I didn't really do anything special on these, I just used a star tip and covered it in stars. Pretty simple. I drew his face on paper, freehand (copied it from the pin on Kenna's vest), and then used the paper as my guide on the cakes.
One is chocolate, and one is yellow cake


And the other.
Fun and cute! My hand only got a small cramp from all those stars:-)