Tuesday, November 30, 2010

at the beach in winter

So what do you do at the beach in winter? Play of course! We walked out to see the lake and when the kids jumped off the wall into the snow, they discovered that it was even deeper than the foot and a half of covering we had already trudged through to get that far. It was now a cushiony bed up against the wall. So that was good for several leaps and lots of laughter.

Next they tried out the slide. It is very fast with snowpants on and dumped them into another huge pile of snow. Good for more gut wrenching laughter.

They also loved leaping off the swings into the slides or falling off backwards into the drifts.

However it didn't take very long before the cold had taken it's toll and we were hurrying as much as you can through thick snow, back to the van, which I luckily had not gotten stuck in the parking lot (I very nearly did get stuck and ended up opting to park right on the road, facing homeward!)

Warmth, home and some hot chocolate or vanilla milk are always a welcome treat to fun outside in the cold winter.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Same place, different season

Before in the summer

After- in the winter

Winter here has it's own charm. It's actually been a pretty good winter so far. There is plenty of snow, but hasn't been super cold for very long and we've had warmer days, like just under freezing. (That's mild, here). It was about -1C the day I took this picture at the beach, but I have now realized that just because it is minus 1 at the house, doesn't mean it will be that nice at the beach. It's always cold there with the wind whipping off the now partially frozen lake. It's pretty dangerous too. I was thinking the water was way out there and walked toward it when I heard a crunch, only a few feet in. I dug down in the snow a bit and sure enough, there was the shore, totally hidden in a wide expanse of snow covering.

This weekend we went to my cousin's in the city to watch the Saskatchewan roughrider's play for the Grey cup.

They brainwash their kids early here. Through school no less!

Ivan enjoyed watching football for the first time, even though the preferred team lost! It was so fun to be all together.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy American Thanksgiving!

Although it was pretty cold out today (-20C or so), the sun was shining, so the girls and I ventured outside. My workout today was this: warm up- get girls dressed, aerobic- shovel the walk, circuit training- lift child over snow, then through snow and snap pictures, return to shoveling, then pull children in sled down freshly shoveled driveway, cool down- undress children.

It was so gorgeous with the blue sky and snow all sparkling.

If you are dressed well, the cold is pretty manageable. Our cousins had just brought over a huge bag of scarves and tuques (in Texas, they call them toboggans- which here is what we go sledding on!) The kids all found hats and scarves they like. Emora liked every hat and modeling them for us.

I thought Arwen looked so cute today in the tree, I just had to get her picture!

The girls giggled and giggled as they threw snow at me. After school, Ivan and Dominique took to the pile of snow across the street, along with half a dozen other kids from the neighborhood, then they played some more in our backyard, sledding down the pile of snow from our shoveling.

We had spagetti for thanksgiving tonight. Not very festive, especially since this is one of our family favorites and we eat it about once a week! But I did manage to put some of the pureed pumpkin to use and we at least had pumpkin pie!

I am in full Christmas gift creation time and it is going well, so that is exciting. Some years I take on way too much and it's overwhelming, but I think this year I have a more reasonable list of things to make or maybe I'm getting faster.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

the new ride

Brian found himself a replacement truck in Moose Jaw on the weekend. This was the first view we had of it. Ivan had made him a card and drew him, dad and a truck. He waited until Brian drove up to see the color of the truck, then ran off to finish coloring it and give it to Brian when he walked in. It was super cute. Now he can get back to the monster basement job.

We haven't ridden in it yet, but it's exactly like his old truck, except with an extended bed and automatic instead of standard and less miles, different color and most importantly PLATED for SASKATCHEWAN!! That was such a stupid ordeal, but it gave Brian a reason to go back to Texas and that was exactly what he needed to see friends and draw encouragement and love from them again and come back envigored for our life here.

Life here is filled with snow right now. Brian's not all sure of what to do with it all, but I assured him a little snow won't wreck the driveway. However, he seems to be enjoying keeping the cold stuff up and out of the way.

Here is a pic of our first snowman here, which is a giant compared to our Abilene snowmen- AND there was still plenty of snow in the yard, he wasn't half grass and half snow and we didn't even have to harvest snow from other neighbor's yards, like we did in Abilene. But, just like the ones in Abilene, this one didn't stand a chance at remaining intact much longer than a couple of days. However his threat of extinction was not from the sun and heat, but from the aggressive little people who brought him to life! Yep, he was felled by his own creators who were so excited to beat him up and topple him over. He is now two giant balls beside each other in the yard which I'm thinking look like the start of one awesome snow fort!

Friday, November 19, 2010

A big day at school

Today was report card day at school. Ivan did great! He does need to work on writing and the teacher said that he goes off to "lalaland" at times, but can be easily redirected. Several places it mentioned what a joy he is to teach and how he is well liked. He didn't score well on describing things through drama or drawing. I could have guessed all of his report card before seeing it, but it was neat having had someone else figure him out too. Apparently all the work from last year paid off, she said he had all the readiness skills down. So now I have an excuse for making him do homework- haha. The teacher has been sending notes on things for them to practice, but he was doing so well, we haven't really made an effort. He is mostly forming letters correctly, they are just all different sizes and all over the page!! poor guy, never has liked working with a pencil- letters, drawing or even coloring. But the girls just love it!

We've been to several special programs at Ivan's school already this year. They are so creative and have so many great things. This was for the pre-k, kindergarten and grade 1s and families. It was a night on fire prevention. Ivan was being shy and didn't want to do the fire drill, until he saw his little sisters doing it over and over again!

They laid on a bed, heard an alarm, crawled to the door, checked the nob for heat, then crawled through a tunnel to safety.

Then they got to sit in a real fire truck!

We also got to go to an open house and see Ivan's class, his work, desk, where he hangs his winter clothes and their class' Smart table- a computerized table that they can do activities on by touching with their fingers.

We had some tag alongs that night- Arwen, whose parent's were showing their classrooms and meeting parents, and a couple of our neighborhood friends, so we saw their classes too and this fun school library with hand shaped chairs and puzzle pieces to sit on.

Next week, Ivan gets to go to the city with his class, on a bus, to the Globe theater to watch a drama production of "The Ugly Duckling". He is very excited about it.

I'm not sure how I ended up with such wonderful kids, but I am so very, very thankful. I just love being with them and hearing their stories, their giggles and all the "great, great" experiences they have- even when it's without me!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Driving through blizzards and the city adventures

Here is a nice shot of the valley, which is not how it looked today. I had planned to go to the city today, and so like the other times I've tried to go to the city, a blizzard whipped through. I've been warned that the valley will not seem so bad and then you drive out into nasty weather and that's just what happened. It was snowing when I left, but once I got out of the hills it was very low visibility, snow flying all over. But the roads were not icy, so I didn't think it was that bad. The girls and I were on a mission- groceries to buy, skates to sharpen and a pool calling our names.

I called Brian from the store, which was nice and quiet for a change and he was wondering if I was ok. There had been reports saying not to get out and that it was crazy out there. When I left the store, an hour later, I saw what he was talking about. There was a front end loader and big driving snow removal machine going non stop in the parking lot, moving the snow from behind our vehicles.

At this point, I was thankful that Brian had already put our snow tires on and that the van makes a formidable plow when need be. I called Brian and he googled the skate place because I couldn't see the building in front of me. I made it to the store and found the perfect place to sharpen our skates- then headed back to familiar roads to the pool.

The pool we go to has 3 walls of windows, 2 of which face outside. It was so weird to be in the warm water, swimming while we could see a huge flock of canadian geese huddles together on the frozen pond as snow whipped all around them.

I sent up a few prayers for the ride home and was glad to see that there was little snow on the highways and the visibility had actually improved since the morning. It had turned out to be the perfect day for us! No crowds and we survived the huge 2 week supply Superstore run, even had fun chillaxing in the pool.

Then to top it off, Ivan totally made my day. I've felt so bad about having fun with the girls without him while he is in school and thought he would be mad that I'd taken the girls to the pool without him. As he helped me unload mounds of groceries, he asked me how swimming was- and I told him it was great, but that I was sad he could not have come and he said that that was ok, that he'd had so much fun in school! See, he transitioned to it better than I did! I really did miss him, but I guess I need to get over it!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


We had so much fun sledding, although we didn't last too terribly long- an hour anyways. Emora does not like her snowsuit and I don't blame her. I think it's too small. It was giving to us, but I'm going to have to find something else. She went down with me for a few runs, then she was happy to wait in the van beside us with the door open and watch us for some more runs down the hill.

We didn't go up to the very top of the hill, but did get about 3/4 of the way up once we got really adventurous. That was a bit of a mistake. For our final run, Dominique and I went way up on the hill and came down together in the bigger sled. It was very steep and fast. I couldn't get my feet up out of the snow and we got a full face wash of frozen snow the entire way until we finally crashed. I was a little concerned with our lightning speed and the bushes I was trying to steer away from, plus I could see a thing from the snow and knew Dominique was getting as much as me or more. Once we stopped, she was crying and yelling and we both were so cold and wet with ice/snow caked into our hair! What a finish.

But most runs, she was going on her own face first down the hill on her crazy carpet.

We would walk up the steep slippery hill weighed down in our winter garb and laugh/scream the entire way down. I think we burnt quite a few calories. We also noticed a trail down from the hill, so I have dreams of us exploring it some day on one of our warmer winter days.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Fun times!

Emora loves to help with the dishes. She started while we were at the Koops during the summer, ever my faithful rinse girl. She would drag the stool over and yell "hell, hell"- she has now been able to add the P most times to make "help".

Ivan thought skating was awesome and I was surprised at how well he did for his very first time. I think it's easier to learn when you are younger, but he was fearless and even tried letting go and skating to me a couple of times. The only sad part to skating is that Ivan can't come with us everytime (he's in school) and I have been told by the physical therapist not to skate. I want to so bad!!!

Along with house chores, Emora is learning how to dress herself to go outside. The big kids were heading out and this is what Emora did. As you can tell, she has a few more items to master, but at least her head and feet would have been warm.

There is a free paper and a for purchase paper here in Fort Qu'Appelle. One of them has puzzles easy enough for kids. I started off doing them and was amazed that I could actually do a puzzle from the paper! Then I found the adult ones and realized that- no I still can't do puzzles from the paper. The kids did find it great fun though and I thought they were so very cute!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

pics of my latest projects

Here are the wall paintings I have done so far. I painted the bedroom one the night before Brian came home as a surprise welcome home gift. I love decorating with paint because it is so cheap! I already own the paints, all I need is time and to borrow the projector. It is a bit exhausting though since I have to do it once the kids are in bed, which means I start at 9pm and it usually takes me until 1 or 2am.

The bathroom was hard because I didn't have a good idea of the colors I wanted to use or where and how to put the designs. I don't really like white walls, but the bathroom has so many different off whites, from pure white to beige cabinet, to off white in the counter and browns in the floor, so we painted it a white in the middle to blend it all together, which was great, but then we have a lavender sink and green/blue/grey tones in the counter, plus browns on the floor. I wanted to incorporate the lavender, since I felt it was now all alone. I started with brown swirls, then lavender details, but they didn't go together, so then I changed the big swirls to a dark grey/green/blue color that I liked, but it was overpowering and drowned out the lavender, so I finally added a golden wash over it to tie in with our golden shower curtain and the browns and now I'm satisfied with it.

Here is the oversized pumpkin dad sent my way when I had no luck finding pumpkins in Fort Qu'Appelle. It made 66 cups of pumpkin puree. It took me all day to cook and puree it!

Here is the pumpkin face Dominique drew on it. She likes her pumpkin faces to have glasses.
Ivan wanted his pumpkin face to be sleeping. I think it looks more like he is yelling or yawning.

What are your favorite pumpkin foods to eat?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Moving right along

The house improvements have been coming along, so that is very exciting although tedious. Yesterday, Brian and my cousin's husband Mike got the last of the windows installed and framed out, while I took the kids to the skating rink. It was a bit of a crazy adventure. Emora wanted to walk with the big kids down the very icy street, which would have taken forever and we were running late, so instead I strapped her into the stroller and she screamed the entire way there. The worst of it was that she wouldn't keep her mitts on or keep her hands under the blanket I had on her, which meant that her hands were freezing cold when we got to the rink. Then she was crying and screaming in pain because her hands were burning. That was the first 30 minutes of skating time. About 20 minutes before skating was over, Emora had finally calmed down and decided she wanted to skate. I let her walk on the ice in her boots instead- which she loved.

The three scenery pictures are taken from the cemetary overlooking Fort Qu'Appelle. You can see Mission and Echo lakes to either side of town. A river snakes through a few blocks from our house adjoining the two. Two other lakes are past them. We're going to make an attempt to sled on the lower part of this hill, that is now covered in snow. It's "only" about -6C (13F) so we have to go enjoy the temperatures while it is "warm".

I painted a design in our bedroom and one in the bathroom, so I need to post pics to show you. I had wanted to buy a metal swirly wall hanging for our room, but they're about $70 and not very big and I didn't see anything that took my breath away, so then I realized that I could just paint what I want. I put together a design with various pictures off the net and borrowed an overhead project from my cousin's classroom ;) I have so many projects I want to do, but those 2 are done ;)