Friday, July 31, 2009

skin tone

Here is my new desktop pic. I love having 3 kids and seeing all their uniqueness. They are all so very different, with their own challenges and talents. Click on it for the bigger pic if you want to really check out their expressions.

I gave the girls a bubble bath the other night (bad idea by the way). Dominique is just way too energetic. At one point, she slid her body along the bottom, making a big tital wave (in the 9 inches of water) which crashed over Emora's face. Emora is such a trooper though. She squealed for a while, then wanted back in. I noticed during the splash session, how dark Emora has gotten and she hasn't even been in the sun much during her 6 month journey through life thus far. She has already eclipsed Dominique with her tan. This is a pic. of me holding Emora and Dominique's upper legs beside each other. Amazing huh? She may end up looking some like me if she keeps darkening with the sun's effects. I am really very pale in my baby pictures compared to now. People think I am fairly dark, but never believe me when I say it is just residual tan. I just tan really easy and it doesn't fade much through the winter or from year to year. Time will tell. Ivan was quite upset to not be in the bath with them, but I knew that would be way too crazy! Then he was even more upset that I was taking their pictures without him, so he added his foot to the shot before I shooed him out of the bathroom.

The kids often "help" me with the laundry. Their help consists of jumping on the clothes, trying on daddy's socks and throwing underwear around the room. Sometimes they do find me sock matches or attempt to fold a handtowel, which reminds me, I have three loads ready to fold right now. Better go commence the clothes fight.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Swim class

Monday, the swim class teacher asked the preschoolers what they had learned last week in class, which actually ended on Thurs. That is like asking the kids to name all the states and their capitals. Dominique is the youngest at age 3, but all the others are about 5 or so and 5 days ago is like an eternity for them. One kid, did manage to remember one game they had played called "peanut butter sandwich" where they had swished water onto their bellies (that was the peanut butter) and sandwhiched onto a float board then kicked with it. There are 6 kids in the class, so she goes down the line.

"ok, so you liked the peanut butter sandwich game, what did you like Joey?"
"peanut butter sandwhich"
"how about you, Jay?"
"peanut butter"
The next one says peanut butter too.
"ok, did you like anything else Ivan?"
"peanut butter sandwhich" he replies meekly.
Dominique, my brave one branches out with something else "I like crackers!" she exclaims happily.

the teacher chuckles and says, "yes, I like crackers too", now fully understanding that her audience has the attention span of about 10 seconds, not half a week!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

birthday- part3

Here's Dominique and her loot, headed back home after celebrating her 3 years of life thus far. It wasn't long before the effects of the morning were hitting home. This was the scene in the living room. Others were asleep on beds. Dominique got up after a good doze, wandered over to another spot and look what happened again! The kids were all glad to have a little time with the grands.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

birthday- part2

Dominique has enjoyed riding her "princess" bike and likes to tell everyone that it is indeed a "princess" bike.

Dominique with her Dora cake.

First we swam in the pool with our friends.

Then we had cake and punch, sang and opened presents.

It was all a bit much for Emora, who fell asleep like this in her father's arms about the time we were about to sing "happy birthday".

Monday, July 27, 2009

Her birthday- part 1

Once we arrived back from Canada, Nana and Papa came from Houston to celebrate Dominique's 3rd birthday with us. She made her own cakes (ok, she stirred the batter and licked the bowl). She had her nails done and started the day with opening cards and trying out her new bike.

Currently, we are keeping cool with swim lessons. The kids are loving it and doing really well. We are also signing Ivan up for soccer and we got Dominique some pompoms to cheer with. She wanted to do soccer too, but the pompoms made everything better. She has been practicing her cheering.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

the last of Canada

Parting is such sweet sorrow and in this case a long drive too! Ivan was eating breakfast in the van the morning of our departure, with obvious bed- ummmm- I should say "carseat head".

Aunt Mary came the last day we were in Canada. This is my dad's 1st cousin and she loves to share life's stories. I would have recorded her all night if my memory stick hadn't run out of space! My grandmother- who she talks about in some of these videos, passed away when dad was in high school, so I obviously never met her, but would love to know about her more. I knew grandpa Hector (dad's dad), who even lived with us, but then again, I feel like I never really knew him. He got Alzheimer's pretty early on and wasn't himself, nor could he share his history with us. He did tell lots of stories, but we weren't ever sure if they were really from his past or from his imagination. It was so wonderful to hear about some of my history and to have a sense of what it was like during their lives. Dad- be warned- these will bring tears!!

She gave the translation of the first song after this: there was a dear old lady, who didn't have any children, so she wrapped up the little goat and sang to it "oh, sulalula long legged, long eared somebody/something". She then caught herself as she started to say that she'd have to get her dad to write down the words for her. Uncle Cecil (her dad) passed away not so long ago which made it all the more poignant to hear these words and stories that can fade away into oblivion so easily if not shared, treasured and passed on to the next generation. We told her to check the internet, but she explained that even the language and words may be different from region or hill in Norway, that since people could not visit and communicated like now, that each area had their own particular speech and renditions to songs.

For reference- Uncle Hector was my grandpa, Signe, my grandmother, and Mary (the storyteller)'s dad was Cecil (my jokester uncle).

At the beginning, aunt Mary was saying how uncle Hector- my grandpa seemed so stern- but this story showed how he enjoyed humor.

Right before I started recording this one, aunt Mary explained that she had asked my grandpa Hector to do the toast at her wedding, the she had had a special connection with him and that it was so soon after that that my grandma Signe (her aunt) became very sick and was dying.

Who is in your past that you wish you had been able to meet?

Friday, July 24, 2009

Queen whatzername

Victoria was not actually with us much of the time we were in Ft. Qu'appelle as she was visiting her grandma, but she arrived before we left. Dominique was VERY MUCH taken with this older, flame red haired beauty of a cousin. Still, all these weeks later, she will tell me that "that girl is my friend". But the funny thing is that she can't remember her name. Dominique calls her "that girl in the pink shirt and jeans- my friend" or "the queen". It was understandable that Dominique became so enthralled with Victoria... She is fascinating, as tall as I am, young enough to identify with them, plays with them and makes them feel special and is also old enough to hold that air of mystery and captivating interest that children have for teenagers.

Here is my cousin Sheena (in glasses) with her three daughters, a friend (the one with the darker complexion) and nephew.


berry picking

knighting by the queen



Thursday, July 23, 2009

Ft. Qu'appelle, Saskatchewan, Canada

Here are some of the videos from our time in Fort Qu'appelle. I'm liking our new camera, but these take forever to upload! I have bunches and bunches that I'm putting up for you to watch. Of course, I could be a bit more discriminating by not putting up so many- but how can I chose? They are all so cute to me. Can you tell that I enjoy seeing my kids all day? Hopefully not always through a lens. That would get annoying, but they are used to it too.

Of course, there are moments when I am not so excited to see the kids- like when they are fighting or like right now, when the girls are asleep and I really needed a nap, but Ivan refuses to leave me alone. Even in this, I try to appreciate him (and teach him to chill out on his own!!!), because I know that some day he will be doing his own thing and I will miss the days when he ALWAYS wanted to be with his momma.

on beach

Emora on beach


Emora in water

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

the snapping game

Emora is so well taken care of by her older siblings. She gets scared by the sound of the vacuum, so Ivan covered her ears while I ran it today. Both he and Dominique were fighting over who could feed Emora at lunch. So many mommas.

Seems like I have another hacker in the family. I can barely type this with Emora trying to get to the keyboard. Fortunately my arms are longer. OK, she just grabbed the mouse! Did you know that infants have super power strength when they have something they don't want to let go of?

I can remember dad playing this game with me as a kid. Apparently it never grows old. Once he did this to me out of the blue when I was an adult. It was so strange, because immediately I felt as though I was about 5 years old again and squealed just like my kids do now. That is the closest I have ever come to time travel. It was very strange.

dad's snapping game

the VonMacLeod/Baggett family players

What thing can take you back to your childhood memories?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


We are enjoying summer here. We have been going to the pool, visiting friends, going on bike rides and going to special library programs. At the last minute, I decided to sign the kids up for swim lessons. I am subbing this week, so I'm up at the YMCA anyways and I get a huge discount being on staff. I've been trying to teach the kids on my own, but kids don't always listen as good to mom as they do to other teachers. We had to totally bribe Ivan who had decided he didn't want to go, he was too shy and would not do anything. I tried everything I could think of to help him change his attitude. I think all our other tactics helped, but the one that drove it home was the promise of a donut if he was good. I am delighted to say that they love it and are doing great- learning lots I haven't showed them and reinforcing what I had.

We had wonderful experiences in Saskatoon too. Here are videos from our time at the Kinsmen park. I remember being on these rides as a kid!


dad's interview

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sakatoon Jazz festival

auntie and nephew dance
There were hundreds of people at the Jazz festival in Saskatoon the day we went. Some brave, carefree souls were dancing in front of the bandstand and on lookers. It was such a joyful atmosphere. About 20 seconds after we had found a spot and Ivan figured out that it was a sit down and listen affair, he pipes in with "when is it our turn to dance". His obliging, wonderful, loving aunt immediately scooped him up and twirled him off his feet (literally). Have I mentioned that I have an awesome sister? Ivan just soaked up all the fun and love. Before long, it became a cousins dance and sibling dance. I just love how kids respond so enthusiastically to music. One of our routine activities is listening to CDs or the radio.

we dance with Emora

cousins and auntie dance

What is your favorite kind of music?

Brian likes classic rock and Jazz, I like the rock I grew up with (80s and 90s). The kids like everything! They think Bach, Beethoven, Vivaldi... are all called Little Einstein.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Growing up

It's always funny to see how toddlers and even babies see themselves as so grown up. I guess this never changes through teenagehood either. The kids think they are so big and a walking baby will call a non-walking baby "a baby". Do I have everyone confused yet? Here is a case in point:

At the same time, these children really are advanced beyond what we imagine most of the time. They are learning to talk and understand long before they have words to communicate. It's so fun to interact with Emora. She will make a noise and I'll make it back to her, then she will laugh and laugh and do it again. You can just tell that she understands that we are playing a game. Ivan and Dominique amaze me constantly with things they have learned without us making an effort to teach it to them. They just pick up things naturally through observation. It's hilarious to me what exactly they pick up and to what extent. In this video the kids are telling each other how to take a picture and while their camera no longer works, they even finish off the photo session by "looking" at the picture and commenting "awww, how cute!" I guess we say that a lot!

Friday, July 17, 2009

video archives from our trip

I started working on uploading videos from the trip... so prepare to be inundated. Ivan and Dominique saw a snippet of the movie Anne of Green Gables while in Canada, which of course is a huge Canadian icon. I had never shown it to them since I thought it wouldn't keep their interest, but I guess I was wrong. Ivan is interested for sure and calls it "Green Anne of Gables". You have to admit that the title is a little daunting. Of course the kids like all the slapstick- when she died her hair green, when she fell in the well and when she sinks a boat. They like to retell these scenes over and over.

on the sky train in Dallas. We were also on many airplanes, an underground train, escalators and moving sidewalks... all of which were entertaining and exciting especially compared to the 28 hour drive back home!

running wild

Ivan ran this loop over and over until his sister and little cousin decided to give it a whirl as well.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Ivan has been battling a stomach bug since we got back. He missed out on swimming at Dominique's party- which was a HUGE disappointment for him. But I promised him we'd swim this week as soon as he was feeling better. Yesterday was the first day he seemed to be eating a bit more like normal, so I asked him "do you have your appetite back?" Without missing a beat, he countered with "only my sausage biscuit appetite". Later in the day, he informed me the he didn't have his supper appetite back. Nice try Ivan! You WILL eat supper foods (some day).

The other day, Dominique let out a big sigh and glumly said "I want my birthday back".

We went to the library Tues. and the librarian counted 40 dots with them in a book at which point Dominique stated: "that was TOO much" and Ivan countered "yeah, my mouth is all tired".

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

on our walk

Some sweet moments from our walk in Ft. Qu'appelle.

I caught these girls holding hands- everyone one together now- AAWWW! Just goes to show that sisterly love can transcend teenagehood. It may have helped that they hadn't seen each other in many days and that it was Moira's birthday.

Saskatoon berry picking- or should I say eating!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Floral bounty

I don't usually post scenery pictures, but with all the gorgeous flowers and the powers of our new camera, I couldn't resist. These were taken in my cousin's yard! The Tiger lily is Saskatchewan's provincial flower. Then we went for a walk in the hills overlooking the valley and Victoria made herself a wreath of wild prairie flowers. She did not include the wild prairie lilies that we spotted. We had to make ourselves down a bit of an incline to get a picture of ourselves with these.

What is your favorite flower? What is blooming where you live right now?

Monday, July 13, 2009


We got to visit with my cousins in Ft.Qu'appelle Saskatchewan where beauty abounds unbeknownst to many a Saskatchewanian. I grew up in the province of vast prairie and endless sky, never guessing that a few hours from my childhood home was nestled away this little area of hills, lakes, and trees so unlike the rest of Southern Saskatchewan.

I made other surprising discoveries. I think it was always common knowledge that Ian was my craziest cousin. But here he is photographed with his wife Janet and family- so serene and normal looking. Very nice. I noticed with this picture that none of the Koops (his sister's family) were featured here. As I looked back over our computer's library overstuffed with picture's I found these gems. There are more, but I could only post so many: the parents,

the older girls and the youngest daughter taking a pause to "smile" while roughhousing her uncle, the former crazy one. Do tell, who appear to be the wild ones now? Admitedly however, pictures can betray one's true character. I think Ivan was actually trying to tease Arwen here, but doesn't it look like he is trying to steal a kiss?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Canoeing, fishing and beach time!

I am writing this on Dominique's birthday. We enjoyed her pool party at the YMCA. I loved not having to clean up and of coming back to a peaceful home. Once back, we got the birthday girl all dressed up in her princess outfit- (one of her gifts) and she, Ivan and Nana played Perfection- a timed puzzle game she also got. After a bit, it got all quiet. Everyone had fallen asleep. Brian got up and told me to come see the living room. There, in all sorts of interesting configurations were Emora, Dominique (in princess attire), Ivan and Nana passed out on the floor. I think Papa had found a bed. Ah, this is what Saturdays are made for.

So, back to our tales of Saskatchewan. Ivan and Dominique did get their long awaited wish of going canoeing and fishing. They were out for about an hour with Uncle Mike and Brian. I stayed on the beach with Emora, my cousin Ian and his son Kellen. The kids were so excited and enjoyed every minute out on the lake. They have deemed this their ultimate favorite part of being in Canada.
Funny story from our beach time. Ivan and Dominique wanted to find sea shells. They came running to me to show me their discoveries. Can you tell what they are? They were sunflower seed shells! I snapped the picture and told them to drop them and quick go wash their hands! Yuck.