When Ellie returned home from school on Thursday we had a few minutes to talk quietly.  I enjoy doing the motherly thing which is to inquire about her morning to show her I am interested and care about what she does outside of the house and when I am not around such as; how was your morning?  Did you sit with anyone on the bus?  Who was the child of the day?  What did you learn today? etc.

She sat and listened before responding with a smile, “Ya know Christine?  You sure do ask a lot of questions.”

Power Milk!

James in a basket 3 weeks old

Sweet James already weighs over 11lbs and he only turns 1 month on Jan 5th.  That means he’s put on more than a pound a week!  Recently, I noticed his back and tummy expanding and he is now an armful to hold.  James is already so far from the newborn stretchy skin and tiny face.  He has a wider face and a double chin along with a roll at the back of his neck.  He looks so cosy here and I want to say, “thank you very much!” to Pat Kavanagh, James’ aunt, who has made a beautiful quilt for each of my newborn babies.  His blanket arrived shortly after he was born so he uses it daily for swaddling in this very cold winter.  The hoddie is from our dear friends, Disa and Hugh, who always find very hip clothes for kids.  He is already so blessed and showered with love and gifts.  We are so grateful for such wonderful people in our lives who are already influencing our little guy in such a positive way.  It truly takes a village to raise a child and we are relieved to have such a stable and strong village!

Happy New Year, 2014!

Christmas tree 2013

Christmas was truly magical this year.  Elizabeth performed a song with her Kindergarten class while dressed as an angel for the school Christmas concert.  She was an angel a second time for the Nativity Play at Grandma and Grandpa’s church.  James quietly nabbed the coveted role as Baby Jesus for the Nativity Play rounding off the tradition for all three Kavanagh kids.  On Christmas morning, Ellie explained to a confused Emma that all the toys came from Santa Claus.  Emma seemed content with this story despite being terrified of him when she met him at the Balmy Beach Club.  I loved the sheer excitement for everything they opened; Ellie made a comment that “the elves sure make it hard for kids to open their toys.”  She was right.  Most of the gifts needed scissors to cut off locks, clips or tags.

Emma is getting better at expressing her awe and wonder of life.  She is such a happy little girl.  We all enjoy listening to her communicate words mixed with precious baby garble especially when she sings her current favourite songs: Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and Baa Baa Black Sheep.  Meanwhile, James slept through his first Christmas as he continues to sleep most of the time.  Such a luxury with two busy and vocal little girls.  We are excited for 2014 and all the new activities with which it will bring along with visiting family and friends.

Words around a pregnant house


Well, Elizabeth is about to turn 4 on Saturday and the baby is ready to come any day now too.  I had truly hoped that he would arrive on November 30th to share his birthday with my Uncle Bob, Winston Churchill and Mark Twain, but mostly with Uncle Bob who turned a remarkable – he is still truly remarkable at 87 – on the 30th.  However, this wish did not come true.  So will he arrive on my brother’s birthday?  Dec 4th?  Or Ellie’s birthday?  Dec 7th?  When I suggested that the other day, that he might share her birthday and wouldn’t that be a wonderful birthday present?  She had a speedy response: “No, because I want a present that comes out of a box and babies don’t come out of boxes they come out of bellies and that’s not a present.”  Certainly, December will be a very busy month for us for the rest of our lives as if life is not already busy enough.  Not only will they need to share their birthday with the overwhelming Christmas season they will now need to share it with each other.  We’ll see what unfolds over the next week.

Further things on Ellie’s mind:

After driving around looking at the various Christmas lights in our neighbourhood we get home to our dark house – the front porch lightbulb had gone out that evening and I had not had a chance to replace it – suddenly, I hear from the backseat, “I guess Daddy doesn’t like Christmas lights the way other parents do.”

Ellie was in Emma’s room sitting with her in her crib and Emma gave Ellie a book to read to her.  I heard Ellie say, “This is a big book Emma.  I’m not sure I can handle this one.”

Let’s not forget Emma:

Emma is currently taken with hockey.  In the past few months she would run straight to the ice rink in the same complex that Ellie had Dance Class on Saturday mornings.  There was a girl’s team practicing and Emma was taken with the whole spectacle: the sticks, the puck, the Goalie, and the skates.  Now, she will often put her boots on the wrong feet and drag her coat to the door repeating in her baby babble, “Hockey?  Hockey Mommy?  Hockey Daddy?  Hockey now?”  I guess it is true that kids in Canada can be born for hockey because she sure did not inherit the love from her family.

No Shrinking Violet


This past summer we had a sweet reunion with the Ursuline Sisters in Chatham who graciously and warmly welcomed us for an afternoon into their beautiful home.  I was very excited to see them again as was Elizabeth who remembers them fondly.  I took time to dress her in an adorable floral summer dress and she asked for her hair in two pigtails which hung on each side of her head.  She was very happy to open the gifts they gave her.  She pulled out tissue paper and dug through deep bags finding lots of goodies: books, water toys, balls and cars.  She thanked them with hugs, kisses and big smiles.  In my pride as her mother, I thought that a little song would be nice as a gift back to them.  Elizabeth has a lovely voice and knows many songs.  We sing all the time together or listen to music.  So I suggested,

“Ellie, why don’t you sing a song?”

“I don’t know any songs.”  She responded with a sly smile.

“Yes, you do!  You know lots of songs.  Why don’t you sing All Through the Night?”  It is a Welsh lullaby that we sing every night before she goes to sleep and she knows it by heart.

“Mmmm.”  She steps over the tissue paper and stands in the middle of us all: Mom, Dad, Emma, Sister Florence, Sister Loretta and Sister Mary Ellen who is also the Mother Superior.

She puts her fist up to her mouth and makes a point of clearing her throat.  This gets a laugh so she does it again.  And again.

Finally, we believe she is about to sing All Through the Night and take her moment in the spotlight very seriously, but I should have known better – the mother of a 3 and 1/2 year old.

Instead, Elizabeth breaks into a song which nobody has ever heard of nor do we understand how to follow it as it jumps around with the imagination of her young mind.  At this point, she turns her back to us and puts her hands on her hips, shaking back and forth, laughing and smiling at us over her shoulder.  She says, “Shake your bum!  Shake your bum!”  And before we know it she spins around to face us with her arms in the air shaking more excitedly while singing, “And don’t forget to shake your vagina!  Shake your vagina!”

Matt and I could not stop her fast enough.  How this came to be we still do not know.  It is part of the mystery of children.  An awkward performance for the ages.