Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Dancing, reading and playing chess

Victoria is going on a mission trip with her aunt this summer, so we are trying to make the most of every moment we have with her, like right before bed dance lessons!
Ivan has been fascinated by chess for so long and always begs for me to teach it to him. I can't stand chess and don't know it well at all, so I'm glad we are in a house full of gamers who are eager to teach him this my not so favorite game.

Books are great wherever we are of course! I always grab a few as easy entertainment for wherever we are. Saskatchewan has a new province wide library system I am totally pumped about. I can get and return books anywhere in the province and get them shipped to where I am. Plus they have good sized French kid's books sections to supplement and expand our own collection.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Beach in town






Fort Qu'Appelle is located in a valley that has 4 lakes in a row, so there are several beaches. This beach has part of the trans Canada trail that borders it. I so loved walking along the path and breathing in the beauty. There is a small children's park here and beach volleyball, bathrooms, a boat dock, soft grass and beach area. Apparently this is not the popular beach because it is very rocky, so it does hurt our feet to walk on and not many people swim here, although I always see a few brave souls and kids playing in the water and for sure on the dock. I like it because we can walk to it from in town. I love to walk to where I need to go and if/when we find a house in town, we can really walk everywhere we need to be including here. How awesome to come here and get refreshed!

We do need to go to the other beaches too and see what all the hubbub with them is about. We saw one last year and it was nice, and I remember visiting another in 2004 when we first came to this area to visit my cousins on our way back to Abilene.

(I experimented with the photos here and think I was able to resize them on my mac, so that they could upload, thanks to your persistent requests for the bigger sized pictures. Hope this works!)

Monday, June 28, 2010

Front row seats


In Saskatoon at my parent's house.





My brother succumbed to the constant barrage of "read to me, read to me". It's nice to have so many other readers readily available!



The kids and their cousin Kellen set up their chairs so that they could watch the baby robin take his first flight. While Brian ran to get the camera, it did just that. It was fun for the kids to see first the bright teal blue eggs, then the hatchlings and momma feeding them and now independence. Definitely one of my favorite things of being here is the nearness to nature.

Today we made a yellow brick road. We really did. Michael (my cousin's husband) had a pile of bricks beside his dog kennel. The path gets very muddy and he had boards on it to walk on. His eventual plan was to use the bricks for a path way or cover, so today we did it and it looks great. I'll need to take a picture of it I guess ;)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Wanuskewin pics.




We walked along such a beautiful cascading stream, ate smoked bison and slogged through wet bogged down trail, flooded with rain. It is still raining a lot here, making everything green and the mosquitoes unbearable.

Friday, June 25, 2010

heading out again

We are heading out to Fort Qu'Appelle again. It seems like we go back and forth about once a week. We are going for a couple of reasons. One is that a super awesome friend is visiting her mom in Regina and we are going to get to see each other. I haven't seen her in about 7 years. She and her husband live up north and they now have 3 children I have not met, nor has she met ours. I am so looking forward to our reunion. And we need to check our mail. We have been waiting on so many important things to come in like our bank cards and Brian's permanent status card. Until we have those, we can't get our ID changed to SK or our plates changed on the vehicles and we only have 90 days to do that in. That seems like a long time unless you consider that nearly a month has already gone by.


video

Thursday, June 24, 2010

I am the director!




Ivan loves to work and help with anyone doing anything. Dominique does not. She would much rather enter her imaginary world full of play. But I try to get Dominique to do age appropriate tasks from time to time.

Today Ivan was delighted to help me hang laundry on the line, but he wanted Dominique to help too. I figured it was time she did do a little. Here's how it sounded:

Ivan- "Mom, Dominique is not helping!"
Angela- "Dominique, go help Ivan hang the clothes."
Dominique- "Well...ummm.... I'm the director."
(I snicker and let her play some more, who can resist her with that kind of imagination?"

Ivan- "Mom, Dominique is still not working!"
Angela- "Dominique, go help." (She doesn't budge, so I start to count "1"
Dominique- under her breath- "I don't LIKE to work!"

She hangs about 2 socks and goes back to playing.




Dominique to Emora- "Emora, I am the director, you are the worker. I sit here and watch you work. Go get the socks and hang them"
Emora goes to the hanging apparatus and pulls several pieces of clothing that Ivan has carefully hung, off and puts them in the hamper.
Dominique- "Good girl Emora!"
Angela- "She's supposed to take them from the hamper and hang them up"
Dominique- "OK, Emora, take the sock from the hamper and hang it up"
Angela- "Dominique, directors DO work, they actually have lots of work to do"
Ivan- "yeah, if you don't want to work Dominique, you have to be the queen"

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

teeth problem over!!!




Today is a happy, happy day. The day before we left, Ivan and Dominique went to the dentist. They said Ivan needed 2 crowns and 2 fillings over a 2 day procedure and that Dominique needed 2 small fillings. They wedged Dominique into their day, but didn't have time to do Ivan's. I've been quite stressed over his teeth since dental is not covered here, but chatted with a long time friend of our family who is also a dentist and she said she'd do the work for free. Today she had a cancellation and we were able to get in. It was a beautiful facility with no wait, she was so nice and then the miracle- his teeth were perfect! She said "honestly, there is no work for me to do here" and kept saying how nice his teeth were, that there is lots of space between them and that they are in great condition. She also asked if the other dentist was young. When I said that it was always someone different because it was a big corporate type kids dentistry place, she recommended getting just one dentist so that we could trust that person.

No kidding! The first time they said Ivan had 7 cavities and filled them. Now I wonder if they were even there. When Dominique had hers done, as they were working on them, they kept saying how small they were and even took one of them off her work order. It makes you wonder if they were just cashing in on medicaid's pay all policy. Or maybe they really did get WAY better? or something in between? Who knows, who cares, I'm just glad to have someone for once tell me that his teeth are great and not to worry.

Dad thinks my pictures will upload without prob. on his computer, so we are testing it out. If so, you should be able to see the big picture by clicking on the ones posted.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Some nice, some not so nice

Ivan- " I like it that my water in the van is still cold when I come back to it"

Dominique- "I like grass with no stickers"

Angela- "I like laying in the sun and not sweating"

things we don't like- the huge ferocious mosquitoes!! They are so mean, and hurt and love me non stop. The kids aren't bit near as much as me. I think these mosquitoes are descendents of the ones from when I lived here. They were told that there is one with sweet blood to drink and now that I have returned they have reunited to take a taste!

We went to Wanuskewin with mom on Aboriginal day. It was free and they gave us hot dogs, juice and cake! We got to see a demonstration of a teepee being put up with explanations as to the symbolism of each post. It was amazing how everything they do is in worship. Then we went on a walk and met a woman who showed us several herbs and plants and told us what they help with and another lady from the reserve dad taught at ages ago who was smoking bison meet, that she shared with us. They were so super nice and it was great to hear their wisdom and bent on things. Then we walked a trail part of the way. It was so beautiful, and we all wanted to walk all day, but wisdom told mom and I that the trail had a return path and we couldn't do it carrying them all back due to their exhaustion, so we cut it short.

Tomorrow Ivan has got an appointment with the dentist who is going to do his treatment for free!! (or discounted). She's going to assess what their plan of action will be.

Tonight the kids are giddy over their first sleep over with cousin Imogen. Good times.

I know the pictures are small. Dad thinks they may upload better on his computer. I'll check it out, otherwise, I may have to wait until our computer is set up and I can figure out a way to shrink down my huge pics without having to take them through facebook. OR maybe the connection will be better in Fort Qu'Appelle than what we had in Abilene.

Monday, June 21, 2010

My winning prize and prayers for open doors

Right before we left Abilene, my friend Olivia gave us a challenge to make a picture of us in purple as a way to raise awareness for Lupus. The winning entry won a prize of a pick of Olivia's pictures. Tighe and I won, and this is the picture I chose. It reminded me of Saskatchewan and I thought was very telling of our move up here. Saskatchewan is called the land of the living skies and is a mass producer of wheat and other crops. We have felt that the door was open for us to move up. Olivia posted her thoughts inspired from the picture and I thought they were also very telling as to our state in life right now. We bid on a house but didn't get it. I am having a hard time leaving it alone at that, but I also remembered that the first time we tried to go see it, the realtor was able to get the key from the keypad lock, but the tenant had accidentally locked an extra deadbolt and the door was closed to us that first day. Then it was closed again to our offer. Now we need an open door. I'd love to get to settle in. So here's my challenge to those of you who pray up storms, we need a breeze of gigantic force to open this door for us with regards to a home. As for work, Brian has some right now, so that is good, but he will be needing something in Fort Qu'Appelle, so you can pray that up too. We have had one door swing open for us. There is an amazing dentist at my parent's church who volunteered to work on Ivan's teeth probono. I don't know if it will be completely free, or if we'll have to pay for the materials, but anything will help. I've made some rough estimates and it would be overshooting it widely to guess that what he needs would cost about $1000. Thank you, thank you Lover of our souls for providing this amazing gift to us!!

We had such an untraditional life in Abilene and it's easy to fear that the amazing things in our lives had something to do with our location, or our friends, but our trust lies elsewhere and we know that our maker resides in all the universe, so I try to focus on that rather than numbers. Then a dear friend here stated so plainly that I have always had favor here in Saskatchewan and that I would continue to have favor. So now we need some housing favor and work favor ;)

Or in the words of Olivia


Gateway to Dreams

Inspired by Grace Photography "Gateway to Dreams"


I've been walking, but mostly searching

Aren't we all?

No one ever told me you spend your whole life "journeying"

I thought when you are an adult you actually "know" something

How funny,

How funny,

we don't

but would I want to anyway?

What is the secret to those who live well?

If they would just whisper to me their jewel, I'd treasure it within gilded delight

How they fade like morning fog

there, and then not

Is it even possible to become this?

Oh God, let me live not as though a door is closed in front of me,

but that there is one You've placed in my reach requiring faith...

...to open.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Better upgrade to steaks!

mom in the back ground behind Brian at left.







Andrew- my brother and the girls made a team.
I was trying to make a post for Father's day. I had just taken the most awesome pictures of dad reading to the girls, but I took them on his camera. So, once we had figured out uploading my pictures, I went to upload his, only it started to upload 1600+ pictures. So I told it to cancel and then, unknown to me it deleted the pictures I had taken, pictures and video of the hot air balloon dad filmed getting set up at the park tonight where we were for a picnic a class mom had coordinated, plus pictures from a graduation they had been to this week! So I tried to do something nice and did something really, really bad.

Us kids were going to pick up something to grill tomorrow and I thought burgers would be fast and easy, but I better upgrade to steaks! This so totally sucks!

SORRY DAD!!! It's not the first time I screwed up in our long career as father and daughter and won't be the last, so I'm glad we will rise above this, we will right? A way to a man's heart is through his stomach perhaps... ;)

And to Brian, super dad, who has so much on his plate right now and still gives the kids baths! You are awesome and since I'm not in the dog house with you, you get a burger, just kidding! You deserve a huge steak and your favorite beer, which is found only in the US, I think. OK, we'll see what we can find ;)

Happy Father's day!!!

Introductions

Everyone heard that we are moving here where my cousins live, but you may not know them. Just like we were unknown to Fort Qu'Appelle, but fairly widely known as "the cousins". We were visiting the community outreach and an excited voice exclaimed "so YOU'RE the cousins!". Sheena is seen here with the head honchilla of the Outreach, Keitha, who according to one relative is estimated to be related to about %50 percent of the town. Sheena wrote an article about Fort Qu'Appelle and ended it by mentioning the fact that it is such a wonderful town that a Texan family of 5 has been in the works for a year to move there. That's small town, right there, when 5 people moving to town makes headlines. All of that to say, they really had heard we were coming!

Mike, her husband, is apparently missing from my photos, thus far. Probably in part due to the fact that he was often running off to soccer games or practices. He coaches his daughter Moira's team. Here she is with her garden plot. She has an older sister Victoria and younger sister Arwen. Arwen has been the youngest for a long time and was absolutely thrilled to have 2 tag alongs for the week we were there. She kept asking us not to leave and apparently is in mourning that we are not still there. (We are currently in Stoon where Brian is working at Jenn and John's). We are getting time with mom, dad and even got to see Andrew the other night (my brother).

To make things more confusing, Sheena has a brother (my other cousin) who also lives in town. Ian and his wife Janet have 2 kids, Kellen and Lannelle ages 3 and 2. Janet is the super fit athlete who is going to help whip me into shape by inspiring me to drag my kids all over town on foot. Sheena also has a sister (my other, other cousin), who often comes from Regina to join us for a family get together and her parents aren't that far either, so sometimes Uncle Bill and Aunt Mary get into the mix.

Here's Brian at his first gig in Fort Qu'Appelle. He has 1 or 2 more scheduled this summer.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Go for a walk

Janet showed me where the Trans Canada trail is in Fort Qu'appelle. It is a gorgeous path through nature preserved areas. I loved it! Also, there is a bridge from town that goes over a dam and along a path to a nearby beach, where the kids played while I went to see a house again.
The funny part is that after a long walk, over this unpaved terrain, pulling my three kids in a wagon, I now had to get myself to the house viewing in 10 min. Janet (my cousin's very athletic wife), lent me her super nice jogging stroller and offered to keep the older kids while I took Emora. Since it was a ways out of the park, I was pretty sure I would be cutting the time way too close, so I tried to jog as much as I could.
I am not a jogger. Not by any stretch of the imagination, but the stoller did inspire one to jog and I was getting later by the minute, so I was jogging, all untrained, unexercised and already somewhat spent from our morning jaunt.
We thought the house was only a block or two from the bridge. It wasn't. It was more like 10 blocks away, thus more frantic jogging. I finally spotted the street and still had a block to go down to the house. I saw our realtor and my husband standing by their vehicles talking. The realtor had spotted me too and asked Brian if his wife jogged. "Oh no!" he exclaimed, "she swims". Then up I jog, with the fancy pro jogging stroller, swimming in my sweat, all out of breath and apologetic.
This is a comedic tragedy, because even after my outrageous efforts, we made an offer, the seller countered, and then we made another offer, but he did not accept. So while my body still screams at me for pushing it so hard that day, we left Fort Qu'Appelle, with no house promise in sight.

Brian's going to work on Jenn's house, so we came back so that he can at least do that while we figure out another plan, or the seller changes his mind, or another house comes up for sale, or we hear an audible voice tell us to go x,y and z and offer a,b,c for a place of our own.

Meanwhile, the kids are champs, loving time with grandpa and grandma again. We will see Imogen tomorrow and Saba is back to being a carefree acreage dog, where she can barely terrorize anyone!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Loving nature

It has been so cool to be closer to nature here. The other day I took the kids for a walk along a road that overlooks one of the lakes and a fox ran out in front of us into the bushes. Tonight while we ate supper, we saw a big bunny through the window, hoping up the lane. We've seen pelicans and today the kids found a nest that had fallen from the tree. There is a robin nest easily viewed at the back of the house with four of the brightest blue eggs a person has ever seen. Saba was delighted to discover there are squirrels here for her to chase and bark at. The kids also saw a mouse today. They tried to trap it by drawing a picture of cheese in the dirt. Apparently auntie Sheena had declined their request for real cheese with which to draw out the critter.

Today was our first day that the rain let up. It is very unusual for it to rain this much, but I believe it's rained some everyday we've been here. It held off nearly all day today though, so Brian, the kids and I did some yard work at the Koops. It felt so great to get out in the absolutely gorgeous yard and get some exercise too, as well as get everything beautiful again. We mostly cleaned up wet leaves from the property.

We are looking at one or two more houses Sunday, but unless they are amazing, we think we know the house we will put an offer on. It needs some work, but looks like it could be a good fit for us in the long run and a neighbor told us they are asking way too much and that we could get it for a much better price, so we are hoping that is the case.

We have all been dealing with a cold and the girls with eye infection stuff, so that has not been ideal and I still haven't gotten anything resolved with Ivan's teeth, so there is still a lot to do, but things are moving along. I realized that I need to take pictures of what it looks like here!

But then the rain does not inspire one to take pictures. We have been creative with taking the kids to the school gym to play (my cousin teaches there so she got us in) and the kids did their first home skit for us today, with the help of Arwen. They were super cute!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Ivan's 1st day of kindergarten

Giddy mom after Ivan gets home from his first day of kindergarten: So how was school?
Fine.
What did you do?
I don't remember.
Did you do math, or reading, writing?
I don't remember.
Did you make friends?
Yes.
What are their names?
I don't know.
What was your favorite part?
Everything.

My spy (Arwen's mom, Sheena, also doubles as a school teacher) provided some more details. According to her, the teacher and principal said he did very good and that he was super smart. He did an activity about the day and month we are today. She also said that a kid wanted to sit with him on the way home on the bus, but that Ivan was getting on with Arwen and that several of the kids all started calling his name for him to sit with them.

With a ton more prodding, I was able to determine many details from his gym class time. He went on and on about the scooters they got to play on, but still had selective dimentia regarding the classroom activities, unless it involved food. He told me precisely what food he did or didn't eat and that he forgot to give them his loonie for milk.

Later that evening, after we watch Moira play soccer, Victoria (beautiful, red headed, dancer, grade 9 cousin to Ivan- who we hadn't seen all day) sits next to Ivan in the van on the way home and says: How was school Ivan? He says: Great! We did the day and month with these cards.
Did you make any friends?
Sort of.
What do you mean?
Some of them said mean things.
Well I bet tomorrow they will be your friends.

I did manage to finagle earlier in the day about Ivan thinking kids had said mean things, but I'm not overly concerned about it since I've learned from experience that he has a very wide conception of what mean things said to him entails and he was neither distraught by it nor could he remember what they had actually said.

I did find it immensely fascinating to note however that it took me hours to get only the vaguest of details and nothing academic, whereas the tall, young cousin gets heartfelt confession, open conversation in a nanosecond. What is it that makes moms the automatic non-confidant?

So I figure to save some effort and simply have Victoria ask him each day how his day was while I hang out eavesdropping!

Ivan's only complaint is that he only has one more day to go to school since I had only asked for him to go a couple of days. Tomorrow we are going to look at houses, and if we get much accomplished, we will probably head back to Stoon Sunday evening.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Kindergarten!!!

So much of my worries with this move has been on how Ivan will do with all the transitions. He doesn't typically do well with change and likes routines. Or course right now our life is the absence of routine. They never know where we will be sleeping, our stuff is in boxes and bags all over the place and everything is new. So I built up a little army of friends to pray that everything goes smoothly and for Ivan especially to transition well.
One of my cousins had the idea that Ivan could visit the kindergarten class here a couple of days while we were here. So today he and I went to the school to meet the vice principal and kindergarten teacher and discuss his attending this week. Ivan's only complaint was that I didn't leave him there!

Now we are finding that Brian and I are the nervous ones. I mean he isn't just going to school. It's all day, instead of a half day like in other cities here. He is going to take the bus, because he insisted that he wants to go on the bus in the morning with his cousins. We had to get him a second pair of running shoes today because they have inside and outside shoes, it is so wet outside, he can't wear sandals and they are having gym tomorrow. They are also going to a nursing home to play bingo with residents. He is so pumped. I made his lunch and two snacks today for him all the while wondering "how did this suddenly happen??" We are so amazed that he is loving it so far. Thanks for the prayers and keep them coming that he will have a great first and last day of kindergarten (Thurs). Maybe after his day Thurs. I can get him to tell you all about his adventures at school.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Back in the Fort

I realized the other day that I hadn't taken any pictures with my family in it. I was trying so much to get pictures with Joey and Angie before they left because I knew it was our last chance with them. Everyone asks me what it's like to move back, but it still feels to us like we are just visiting and moving around a lot. Which we are. We just got our health cards applied for and they will arrive shortly, so we only have about 3 things left to do business wise apart from getting a house. We are actually going to try to look at places this week.




Emora and mom cooking.

Walking along the river bank of the Saskatchewan river.