Tag: birthday (page 1 of 4)

Behind the scenes Saturday

Dear Readers,

Well, it’s been quite the week behind the scenes here at After the Kids Leave. Just for fun, we thought we’d share a bit of what else we’ve been up to (besides travelling through Europe on the Orient Express, that is). Continue reading

Happy Birthday, Lars!

Dear Karen,

Today is Lars’ 60th birthday.  On 14 August, Lars Lykke was born, weighing in at 2.5kg and 45 cm long. Continue reading

alt="IMAGE-happy-birthday-America-after-the-kids-leave"Or “neighbors,” as the case may be.

In hono(u)r of your country’s birthday (what are you, 238 now? Gettin’ up there!), we thought we’d take the day off too. Because, you know, you just can’t have too many national holidays in one week.

So in lieu of our usual erudite and entertaining banter, here’s a little something from Robert Waite, via Huffington Post, on “What Canadians Just Don’t Get About Americans (and Vice Versa).”

Also, we made you a birthday card! Hope you like it.

Now, go party your brains out, you crazy kids! Happy birthday!


Karen and Wendy


Letters of congratulations to Nana

Dear Karen,

As you know, I’ve had babies on the brain lately.  Not just any baby, but Kirsten’s, due in March.   Thinking about that happy day reminds me that I’ve got a pile of letters congratulating Nana on the birth of Dad, in 1930.


Letters of congratulation on the birth of Nana’s son, our father.

I know, it’s perhaps not the most logical of leaps, but my brain went from one event to the other like a shot.

Reading her mother’s letters is fascinating.   There’s a lot of love between the two women, tons of newsy gossip, not to mention a great deal of talk about Victorians’ favourite subject, their flowerbeds.

Reading her mother-in-law’s?  Slightly icier and impersonal.  But still, rigorously polite.

Some background information,before we proceed:

Nana was married to Bruce.  She had two children, a daughter, Katherine Diana, born in 1928, dead from cot death (blame placed firmly on the mother) 4 months later; and now, a son, Gordon born on 13 October, 1930.


First Christmas at Chemainus – 1927. Pregnant with Katherine.

We begin the day after Dad was born:

Dearest K -
Just a line of cheerio to you and the young son.  I ‘phoned the hospital last pm and Miss Whitehead said you were resting quietly and the baby a fine boy.  She was to give you my love…Hope they look after you well at the hospital – Will try and see you in a few days.
Dearest love and a kiss for “Junior”,

[years later, Nana wrote on the back of the envelope:  My Mother and Father paid all expenses of your Birth, my son.  Such loving good people]

Dearest Kathleen -
I missed writing yesterday but phoned on Friday pm and as you look so well I am not worrying about you or baby, either…I do hope Shirley’s misplaced effort in flowers finally reach you and in halfway order – I leave it to you to scribble her a line whether the flowers were fit to be seen or not.  I am asking Mrs Irving for tea one day this week, probably Wednesday, if she can fit it in.  I am thankful you are so strong and look so well and will probably have a good jetting about.  A big boy will need a lot of food – will soon be on a substantial diet.  I liked to see him sleeping so well – as that is what his duty is, at present.  The love between you and him will be deep and lasting and I feel sure you will both have much happiness now he’s coming on.
Dearest love,

At last, a letter from her mother-in-law:

My dear Kathleen,
I am so glad to hear that you and the little boy are doing so well and that he is so big and good.  I suppose that in a few days you will be up for a little while- Thursday night was very hard on my dahlias, and I have not been out to look at them since.
On Wednesday and Thursday nights, the Russian Chorus were here and they were delightful.  Such gorgeous dresses, blue and red velvet heavily embroidered in silver and stones and such headdresses – and they sang in such perfect unison and with such verve.  The dancing was very good only there was not enough of it.  It was all over in less than two hours and everyone felt they would like it to begin all over again.
Putting is the very latest.  Lucy Angus and I putted for two hours on Saturday afternoon and I am going tonight at 7 and there is to be a tournament.  I don’t know if I shall be in time to join it.
Yesterday was perfectly lovely and I took Miss Green out to see Sarah’s Italian Terrace.
There hasn’t been anything new to read for a long time.  When I am in town this afternoon I will look around and if I see anything I will send it to you.  I suppose you saw the little man’s birth announced in the Colonist.  Bruce asked me to put it in.
Kiss the Baby for his Grannie.
Yours affectionately
Diana Irving


A tag accompanying a gift for Dad’s first Christmas.

Dearest Kathleen -
Your lovely long letter came this pm, just after I got back from town.  It is a great comfort to me that you are so strong and that the baby is well and thriving.  I don’t doubt but you will have to give him some bottles to fill him up, but nurse him as well.  All he has to do is eat, sleep and grow.
I just phoned Mrs Irving and asked her for tea for Thursday to celebrate the boy’s birthday – I’ll get an angel cake, not iced and serve it with whipped cream – in his honour – we doing the eating à la Mrs Macleod’s doggy birthday, ye gods…Mrs Irving was very gushing over a letter she had received from you, so I did not mention mine.  She is to bring it up for me to read on Thursday.  Anyway she sounded quite well pleased and liked the name Bruce Gordon very much…I enclose $30.  You can return this if convenient, if not – just keep it.  I wish I could do more but am close called at present.
With my love

Dearest Kathleen,
…Mrs Irving phoned this am and asked if she could come tomorrow instead of today.  All considered, it is as well.  She has a relaxed throat, and sounded very hoarse.  Lots of people have colds just now…Dad sends his love, seems quite interested, for him, in little Gordon…
Dearest love and good luck,

Dearest Kathleen,
Received your letter today and glad to hear all’s going well with you.  The exercises seem mad to me but I’m old fashioned on such modern ideas.  Dora said when she was last in England, they were turning mothers out of bed on the third day!
Mrs Irving could not come as she still has a relaxed throat and it is very showery and wet so she is better indoors.  Dad and I will eat the cake – a tiny one…
Dearest love, best of health,

Eating that cake alone!  It’s heartbreaking.

I’m not even halfway through the stack of letters and cards. I’ve still got to read letters from her friends, her husband’s nurse and neighbours.

The letters I’ve quoted from today are dated from 14 to 25 October.  I guess keeping up with correspondence kept Nana pretty busy and took her mind off the horrible worry that the same fate that took his sister would befall her son as well.

I’ve enjoyed reading Nana’s letters, they’ve opened up a different life, time and generation to us. I hope you’ve enjoyed them, too.



Awesome Advice Central: The tough love edition

Hell hath no fury


Dear Advise Ladies,


My Mommy reads your advices column all the time.  Sometimes she reads it like a million times a day.  When she’s supposed to be playing Barbie with me, she’s ackshully looking at her iPad and writing notes.  I saw your name on the site (I’m only 7 but I know how to use a tablet), and wanted to write to you to.



I’m young, I’m not computer illiterate.


Cos I’ve got a prollem. 


My best friend (can I write BFF?  Do you know what that means?) Becky invited me to her birthday party but then instead of playing with me all the time she played with Mansour all the time and I got mad and kind of stole her Barbie and cut all her hair off and now I’m in trouble cos Mommy found the Barbie head in the laundry basket and she’s all like, Krystal, why’d you do that, why’d you cut off all her hair and poke out her eyes and then cut her head off and I said ackshully I didn’t cut her head off cos if you look closely you can see you can just pull her head off with a twist, like this but Mommy didn’t think that was important, she was just angry with me and now I’m in trouble with Mommy, with Becky who said I destroyed the future by killing Barbie, that no other Barbie will be the same as the one I broke and that it was a special one cos it had homemade tattoos on it from the Barbie Tattoo Centre Becky’s Mommy bought her for her last birthday and so Becky hates me too and then there’s Mansour who still likes me but that might change when she sees I slashed the tires on her bicycle and poured jam into her best shoes when she wasn’t looking.


So everybody hates me now and it’s totally no fair, because they were mean first. Right?


Mommy sees me now on her iPad so I got to be quick. Here’s my question: how can I get them to give me my take-home goodie bag? When Becky’s Mommy kicked me out, I had to leave it behind but I want it back. It’s no fair that they gave it to me but now I can’t have it.


Answer quick, I’m worried they’ll give my party bag away if I don’t get it NOW.


Krystal N. Kleer


Dear Krystal,


Well, you are a busy little cup of tea, aren’t you? And creative, too. When we were your age, the old “jam in the shoe” trick wouldn’t have occurred to us. Full marks for that one.


As for turning your friend’s Barbie into Barbie of the Undead, we can see why your friend, her mother, and your own mother are none too thrilled with your proto-sociopathic behaviour.


Yes, it’s Undead Barbie. Be afraid. (trendhunter.com)


But you’ve asked for our assistance, so assistance we shall give.


First things first: have you ever heard of a “run-on sentence”?


That’s where you say a whole lot of things in one very long sentence without pausing, and you fail to break it up with proper punctuation, such as periods and commas. We really think that if you are to pursue a life of vengeance-fuelled crime, you should at least learn decent writing skills. You’ll need them to put together adequate defense statements in future. And we’re pretty certain that if you continue along your current path, you’ll be meeting a great many lawyers. alt="IMAGE-disaster-girl-meme-just-as-i-planned"


As for “your” goodie bag…we feel you’ll just have to write that off as a cost of doing business.


Tough tiddly-winks, princess.


Now that’s what we call a grudge


Dear Awesome Advice Central,


My problem is my little sister.


I got a Chatty Cathy doll for Christmas. I wanted one for the longest time, and I begged and begged and finally my Mum and Dad gave it to me and I was SO HAPPY!!



You pull the string and she says things like, “Will you be my friend?” and “Let’s go play now!” It’s the neatest thing ever. Even though her voice sounds like she’s talking through a sock, and sometimes she says the same thing 8 times in a row, it’s still neat-o.


Until I came home from playing with my friend up the street one day, and found MY Chatty Cathy stuffed into a corner of our garage. I didn’t remember leaving her there, so I picked her up to take her back to my room, but then! I noticed that her string—the one that you pull to get her to talk—was GONE! 


I knew right away what happened. It was that ratfink of a sister of mine! She’d played with my doll, even though I told her to NEVER TOUCH MY STUFF EVER. And she’d broken the string, and now Chatty Cathy doesn’t chat any more.


What I want to know is, how can I pay my sister back for breaking my doll?


Anon Y. Mouse


Dear Karen (and yes, we know who you are),


This happened in 1964. It is now 2013.


We feel you’ve had ample time to get over it. Also, don’t forget that time you stood on Wendy’s foot while wearing a Dr. Scholl’s wooden clog, and failed to hear her gasping and begging you to move.


Or the time you tucked your clock radio under her pillow, unplugged it, turned the volume up to 11, waited for her to fall asleep, and then plugged it in. She’s still unplastering herself from the ceiling after that one.


Our best advice: Move on, darling. Just move on.






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