Saturday, July 31, 2010

Ivan's secret spy walk

We went on a walk down our street to be - Craigleith. We were trying to check it out without drawing too much attention to ourselves. So Ivan made a special walk for the occasion. The house is not very visible in this shot. It's just beyond the fence where all the vehicles are parked. The current owner has been actively moving out. He had a garage sale recently and sold a bunch of cars as well as house contents, according to another spy in the network, Charlene, my cousin's best friend who will be our direct neighbor. She is an at home mom with 4 kids. Two older girls are in school, one will be starting kindergarten and her son is only a couple of months older than Emora. I think we'll be hanging out some too!!

Friday, July 30, 2010

cousins rock!

I grew up alongside my second cousins. Lin and I were always together once they had moved to Saskatoon. It was so fun and the tradition lives on! My trio is having such a blast being with their cousins (1 st cousin Imogen and baby to come in Saskatoon) and in Fort Qu'Appelle, they are actually 3rd cousins. No matter, the fun level is the same- off the charts!

Arwen is my new favorite live entertainer. She and the kids are constantly together laughing and entertaining themselves. They spend the day riding bikes, jumping on the trampoline, doing crafts and eating of course. I have been their #1 source of entertainment for so many years that it is quite strange for them to just go off totally happy without needing my constant help. Such a nice break.

These pictures are from our time last week in Saskatoon. The orange lilies are tiger lilies, the Saskatchewan flower. Mom's flower garden is amazing!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Our plans for tomorrow

This is our plan for tomorrow. We are going to go to the beach we tried last year. I'm hoping it is not too crowded as it is a bit smaller and while public, more private than the others, but we haven't gone there yet this year and it's not quite as far as Katepwa beach. We are going with Janet and her two kids who love the water, so I'm hoping my trio will overcome their aversion to the frigid water temperatures and actually swim in the water some. If not, I know they will enjoy playing in the sand and on the playground.

We are emotionally overdue to move into our house. Emora is clingier than ever, to the point that she no longer wants to eat in her high chair, but on my lap and wakes up every night, usually ending up in our bed on my head. Dominique is also having some probs. talking like a baby and having some potty accidents, neither of which she has done in such a long time. Surprisingly, Ivan is doing the best at adjusting and he's the one I thought would have the hardest time. He is just angry that Brian won't take him to work everyday to do construction. I've told him that age 5 is just a little under the legal age to work, but that means nothing to him.

On a positive note, I don't think I will ever tire of Saskatoon berry pie and my cousin Sheena has been trying her hand at making Vietnemese coffee, with fancy coffee from Vietnam! I think she's mastered it. Yep, I'm still being spoiled.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

so spoiled

It was so nice for Brian and I to get a few hours together without our energetic trio. My sister and her family went out to my parents to stay the night and take care of our kids so that Brian and I could go out for dinner and do such important marriage things like talk with each other. Even though we are staying at the same house, while with others, it just seems that we barely get to see each other, so that was a huge treat.

Mike and Sheena have been such amazing hosts. We live with them and their 3 girls (when they are home) when we are in Fort Qu'Appelle. They have made us feel so at home with them and we have loved sharing our hearts for our lives in Fort Qu'Appelle. Here are Mike and Sheena with Tod Vogt, who I met in Quebec and visited in Africa. He was such a wellspring of encouragement.

Being closer to nature has also been a delight. Mom's flower garden has exploded with gorgeous lilies. Here is one among many, I'll try to post the others too. And here is a fox that we saw jut out on the road as we were leaving my parent's house. We followed him for a bit so that I could get this pic. I have loved experiencing nature with my kids.

But my supreme spoiling has been this morning. I got to have a shower without Emora in the room and when Ivan came to pester me at the door, auntie Sheena set him in a chair far from my hearing range. Then, since Arwen ewas ntertaining my kids with crafts and books, I asked my cousin how I could help her with food prep. and she told me that I didn't need to do a thing. Emora was happily "cleaning dishes" as I sat, checked e-mail and relished the freedom. I could really get used to this village raising the child thing!!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Berry picking

We are back in the Fort again. The last couple of days have been so fun. Yesterday we spent several hours with good friends in Regina and today we spent most the day with a blast from my past- Tod Vogt who I first met in Quebec while he and his wife were studying French to go to Africa. I then went to visit them and their team in Africa in 1995. Brian and I got to see him once since then, but now we met up here at the Fort. It was so neat as he and his team were the reason I first got interested in missions and now he reappeared in our lives as we are planted in this our next step in our journey.

Talking about planted, the last time we visited, we were excited to harvest Saskatoon berries on a beautifully scenic hill overlooking the valley. This time here, we were excited to eat Saskatoon berry pie. YUMMY!

Friday, July 23, 2010

the waterslide!!!

Here is a picture of my fabulously pregnant sister Jenn. She's 7 months along, but baby is just a wee bit big (that's an exageration- because huge is not a kind word during pregnancy- note to non-pregnant people), so they will be bringing this one out a bit early. The other pic. was Emora and mom enjoying a snack. Although Emora still totally wants me, about 80% of the time, it is nice to see that during the other 20% she is warming up to her other relatives. She thinks dad is pretty much tons of fun, she runs to mom as an easy way to get food, she also loves Imogen, unless her cousin is on my lap at which point she gets wildly jealous.

I took the kids to the pool with Jenn, John and Imogen. The tricky part is always the waterslide. Before tonight, Jenn would try to distract Emora and watch her while I made runs with the bigger kids (one at a time with a kid on my lap). Then we figured out that Ivan and Dominique could actually go on their own, if someone would catch them at the bottom. So I walked them up and rode down last with Emora after they had gone and were caught by John. This was the biggest hit. Ivan and Dominique were next seen running up (as we yelled- don't run) on their own and sliding down, while Emora yanked at me, pointing to the slide, wanting to go again and again. I did let the older kids wear arm floats down because it lands in deep water, with a bit of an undertow turbulence at the end. They had a blast.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Art Festival

To everyone in Saskatoon or Regina- you are welcome to attend the midsummer's art festival in Fort Qu'Appelle, Sat. July 31st from 10am-4pm. Brian is playing, don't know what time though as well as many other artists. Kid's activities too. See:

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Our unsteady rhythm

You may have guessed it, or seen us, in which case you would know that we are back in Saskatoon now. Confusing eh? (had to throw in the eh!) I think we've actually finished all the legalese for now, which is downright amazing. The kids even seem to be making the Fort Qu'Appelle/Saskatoon transitions better, although every time we get in the car, they ask if it will be a long time!

We are getting into a little routine of sorts. Today we went to village time where we saw auntie Jenn, Imogen and about 30 other kids and their moms trying to escape the rain at the play area of the mall. Jenn and her mom friends meet Tues. mornings at the park or this wintertime escape place. Emora really loved the play structure and kids. Dominique made a friend who gave her a balloon. It was very joyful and loud.

Tomorrow we are going to the downtown library for puppet time. A lady we know did such a wonderful performance that we are willing to suck up the outrageous parking meter fees to go again. We also plan to go to the special summer program this week, which features a children's entertainer. Friday nights, the Wallaces go swimming and we've been glad to join in on that. It is a bit tricky because kid friendly places are number prejudiced here. Yep, you heard it from me and what I mean is the crazy rule that you have to have an adult for each 2 kids under 6. This means that I can't take my trio to a pool or play place by myself. Luckily for me, Jenn and I have gone together and her next child is still safely tucked inside her, so that one doesn't count. Really, I think it's quite unfair. What does a mom do with triplets? I used to take 4 under 4 to the pool. OK, so it did make the lifeguard extremely nervous and he'd set up his chair immediately in front of where we were playing, but we never had an incident. I do look back and think I was probably temporarily crazy at the time, but that was survival mode with 4 under 4. Swim day was a highlight of our week!

Jenn and I are also planning for camp cousins next week. Let the good times roll, or waddle (she is 7 months pregnant and baby is trying to win the biggest baby unofficial contest. We are trying to tell baby that his/her mom did not sign up for that, but apparently baby is not totally English fluent yet).

Picture 1- me, mom and my sister
Pic 2- Dominique and my brother
Pic 3- dad
Pic 4- Emora and I on a train ride
Pic 5- Ivan and Dominique on the merry-go-round. Emora also rode on it for the first time and loved it.

Friday, July 16, 2010

a wondrous summer day

Today was incredible. We are in Fort Qu'Appelle, it was hot and we had to take Arwen to her swim lesson, so we planned to swim the morning away, then go back to the house for lunch and for Brian to take the van in for it's inspection. The water was insanely cold in the lake. It took me an hour to get used to it and the kids never did get used to it. They cried, but liked it enough to splash up to their knees and loved playing in the sand. Once I was used to it, I loved swimming. It was great for "lap swimming" since it is so frigid cold and there were even some waves from boats. When I got out, the sun was so nice to lay in and warm up again. The kids dug a "hot tub" and filled it with lake water. I didn't see any of them sitting in it and it was a bit small for that, but what a great idea! They dug a hole and filled it with water. I'm sure after not too long, the sun would have warmed it and they could have then played in warm water.

My cousins have a huge trampoline set up, so the big kids played on that all afternoon while I lounged outside and Emora slept. It was so lovely. I would have liked to lounge longer at the beach to the sounds of water and laughter, but it wasn't too bad either to get to hear all the birds making their music and my kids fighting over who is jumping in what way on the trampoline.

Brian came back with not only the inspection passed on the van, but he'd also had time to go to SGI and get Saskatchewan plates, plus we had gotten our photo ids in the mail that we had just done days ago! So, everything is finalized now, apart from closing on the house, selling Brian's truck and buying a new one.

I also got a call from my doctor. I will have a sonogram done on my knee in Sept. and he signed me up for physical therapy. Not sure when that is going to start or how often, which could be tricky since I am not always in Fort Qu'Appelle.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

at the spray park in Saskatoon

Last week, Jenn and I took the kids to a spray park. It was awesome. There was a big spray/splash area, big grassy areas with trees and shrubs, a playground, activity center and city employees to do activities and games with the kids. They loved it, I loved it, we'll try to go back again this summer.

Right now, we are in Fort Qu'Appelle. Today we picked Saskatoon berries. I would like to pick enough to last us all year, but for now I think we have enough for about 3 months. Brian needs to come back again next week and promises to pick some more. But he won't have all the helpers- like me and the kids! Emora and Dominique spent the entire time just eating off the bushes. Actually I think Emora got full by the end because she actually started putting them in the bag then. I had the craziest time picking since I often had Emora on my hip or on my shoulders leaning off to pick more snacks. We went to the same place we saw them last year, a hill that overlooks the whole valley. It was breathtaking. We also saw pelicans soaring over the lake and a green snake slithered away from us in the tall grasses.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

a very fruitful day

We arrived last night in Fort Qu'Appelle so that we could attend to stuff again. It was good to come because we were pretty discouraged last week and asked the Lover for encouragement on our way here. The phone rang soon after- our financing is going to go through and they will only require putting down %5.

This morning, my cousin offered to take at least 2 of our kids, so Brian and I thought we'd get some business done. We made another attempt (about our 5th) to get our Sask IDs made. We had just gotten our Texas driving records in the mail (SGI's newest demand of us, yet another hoop to hurtle). Lo and behold, (after another good hour at their counter, with numerous calls to the central office and cranky, sleepy baby on my hip) we got them, both of us! By this time, we were late to meet the inspector at the house we are buying, but we hussled over to find out that the house is in great condition. We had been concerned about visible water damage, but he reassured us of what all the various sources were and told us easy ways to resolve them.

Seeing the amazing successes we'd had, Brian took the van by for an inspection, they booked him a time for Fri. and assured him that the time limit of 45 days was only for federal inspections, which the van does not need. Brian asked if the crack in the windshield would make the van fail the provincial test and they assured us it would not.

Then to beat all, I thought Dominique and I would see if we could hunt ourselves up a doctor. We found a great one, who talked to us, took us seriously, was kind, fun, capable and seemed genuinely interested in us. This also occurred after only 30 min. of waiting having just walked in off the street. We didn't have to fill out a mountain of paperwork, or waste the day wilting away waiting to be seen. It was phenomenal! Now nearly all our legalese is done. I believe closing is Aug.16th or there abouts and we are more and more excited about it.

Monday, July 12, 2010

the birthday bash

Dominique's 4th birthday...
Ivan jumped on her bed and shook her awake, yelling "Dominique, Dominique, Dominique, What do you want for breakfast?" He had promised to make her her birthday breakfast. His question however was rhetorical because all he can make is cereal, but he poured her cereal and the milk, very proud of himself.

The first thing she told me that morning was "next year, I want a star cake". Nothing like preparing in advance I guess. The kids and I had just made and decorated her butterfly cake the day before. We decorated it with dried fruit and nuts, then sprinkled little candy covered chocolate decorations. It actually tasted great, even though it looked kind of crazy.

Dominique was the first to be face painted. I asked her what colour of butterfly she wanted to be and she said she wanted to pick her own thing, not a butterfly at all. "But you are having a butterfly birthday", I reasoned. Did you know there is not much reasoning to be had with a just turned 4 year old? So she was a tiger, or if we use our imagination, maybe a monarch butterfly? Addyson, Imogen's cousin did not want paint on her face, so she got two butterflies, one on each hand.

We played lots of games, pin the antennas on the butterfly, bean bag toss in the butterfly, dance and freeze, red light green light, the birthday girl says (like simon says) and went on a butterfly hunt. It helped that mom and dad have a big deck and yard. We had pizza and salad, cake and ice cream. She got loads of presents, then Imogen stayed the night for a sleep over!

They watched Cinderella and ate popcorn, then all fell asleep very late on a big pallet in the living room. The adults meanwhile, got to play Settlers of Catan! so fun.

As the last bonus of the day, dad arrived home from his trip to Mexico and the kids were all excited to see grandpa Ian. He kept Jenn and I up past midnight telling tales and showing us some 700+ pictures. Yeah for happy days and another year of wondrous life with such an amazing girl!