Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Still recovering

I've felt a cold coming on for some days now so I've been resting lots, and trying to ditch sickness quickly. I don't feel so bad, but after a nap, I feel WAY better. Unfortunately, Ivan seems to have gotten it too. I kept him home from school today. This morning I was wondering if he really should be home as he was watching a video, wanting to look at picture albums and read, but he had a great nap this afternoon and has gotten worse. He now has a mild fever and sounds like he's got croup. We just picked up some more children's tylenol, but he took one taste and is refusing to swallow it. He is terrible with medicine he doesn't like- even if I get it down him, he has a history of immediately throwing it up, so that makes me leery of forcing it into him.

Poor guy is groaning and moaning and finished 3 chapter books. I sure hope the girls don't get it.

Here are some more pictures taken by my cousin Sheena.

Our hearts are with several of our friends going through very difficult situations, so even as we are joyful that the bathroom is nearly done or that we are generally healthy and so thankful for each other, our hearts are heavy for others who are grieving relationships and dealing with their brokenness. We could all be there so easily so we are also humbled and reminded to give thanks as well as be a friend and most of all follow the path the Lover has placed us on and not give into the ways of our broken world. We are so ingrained in our culture to place ourselves first, but that is the fastest way to fall fast and hard and drag down a host of people with us. It's a delicate balance to be healthy, careful to love ourselves without putting our own needs above others.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

pics by Sheena Koops

My cousin took some pics of us.

I'm fighting a bit of a head cold, so I'm trying to rest lots. Yesterday I let the girls do computer and crawled back into bed. A couple of extra hours really helped.

Today, Ivan and Dominique are in school and Emora takes a nap anyways, so I'm hoping we can nip this little bug and be done with it.

Brian is getting the basement bathroom renovated, so that is exciting and I've been slowly getting the girls' beds built. It's slow going since I need Brian and his tools to do it too and the bathroom has been the real priority.

We are racing a bit since we want these done before we leave for Texas and the weekend before we go, we'll be going to Stoon to see everyone real quick and drop off Saba for her vacation with the grandparents ;) Thanks mom!

These pics were taken by my cousin in the high school library. We do have some little readers in the family and that makes me very, very happy. They are such sweetums.

Monday, November 28, 2011

video time

Sorry I've been so delinquent. We had a super busy weekend with 2 sleepovers of 2 sets of cousins and a trip to the city with a library story time in town, then a library visit in the city, swimming all afternoon (4 hours) with the kids jumping off the diving board (big highlight), a run to get groceries, 1st cousin sleepover, then other cousins coming from Saskatoon for fun and sleepover. Yesterday we got to visit the Community Outreach Center as a big gang and later I took the kids skating. Ivan and Dominique are getting better and better at skating without the assistance of a bar, so that is so fun.

Today I'm fighting a cold, so trying to rest up-- but outside it's totally gorgeous so I feel bad missing out on the nice temperatures.

Monday, November 21, 2011

friends and family

Dominique took Emora and my picture one day. Can't remember what the occasion was.

It was fun to watch Neve light up to this book. Babies are so amazing. She was totally getting into it and it's so incredible to think that this little person is understanding things and relating to people and her world in her own way.

Dominique's got a best friend in her class. She and Sierra love to play together and they are quite sweet. But Dominique does drive me a bit batty when she begs everyday to play with Sierra!

Today started off a bunch of uncertainties and scheduling mayhem, but smoothed right out with some help from the neighbor and promises of help from others, that we didn't actually need in the end. Sometimes I like a quiet day-- especially when it starts off looking a bit too crazy!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

she wore her jeans!

I don't know how I managed to have 3 kids so particular about clothes, but then I don't like fussy clothes, so I guess that is my own particular taste too. Dominique and Emora like "fancy" clothes and Ivan likes tight pants (tight on his waist) and t-shirts. Even though it's cold, he has yet to wear a long sleeve shirt. So Dominique and I painted on some of her least favorite pants that she thinks are too boyish. She will have to wear them because the only pants she has been wearing are knickers and socks or knickers and skirts and socks. One school day I made her go back to her room and tone down her clothes. She had tights, knickers, socks, a skirt and dress on all in bright contrasting colors. She looked like a clown! Really, I'm trying to encourage her free spirit, but not so much on school days. Then I try to give her a bit more guidelines clothing wise. Today she tried on her jeans and a long sleeve shirt. She looked so normal and so schoolish- it made her seem older-- so strange! It was cute, but we love her wild ways too. Hopefully she can be some of both and find lots of avenues to express her love for color.

We get lots of hand-me downs, which we so appreciate. Emora got this in a bag of clothes and she is so proud of it. She wanted me to get the camera and take her picture. Well, of course, I had to oblige. I thought it was cute how she kind of looks like snow white too.

The big kids and I had a blast tonight. I left Emora and took Ivan and Dominique to the public skate. I actually got to skate some and the big kids got some personal attention with me too, which we never get when Emora is along. By the end of the evening both the big kids went across the ice without the bar to assist them! It was glorious. They had the biggest smile on their faces and are all excited to try again next week. We will get to go to the pool this week too. We have Friday off from school, so we're going to all go to the pool and we'll see if Ivan will brave the diving board. I'm sure Dominique will want to do it again. I LOVE seeing them learn something new. So amazing!!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Snow pictures!!

This was after our first snow. We didn't have much, but enough to pull the sled and make a little pile. An Abilene, Texas size snow fall- when we used to borrow snow from all the neighbors to make a half snow/half grass snowman. A day or so ago, we got a huge dump. In fact, I shoveled snow for about an hour today, but haven't taken pictures of it yet.

I used to joke with the Texans that we went to school being pulled by sled dogs. I guess the truth now is not so far from my story then as the kids pulled Emora to school.

My mom and aunt Carmen came for a quick visit last weekend. We showed them around a bit and got a pic. beside the icy water of Echo lake.

Better go make some supper, hummm may be pizza night since we are having a fun inside day. After shoveling, Dominique and I painted flowers and butterflies using stencils on several of her pants that she refuses to wear because they are not pretty enough!! And our big excitement for the evening will be a movie from the library and desert of hot chocolate with ice cubes laced with cinnamon and marshmallows. Dominique wanted to do an "experiment" today. She saw a video where kids put grapes and cereal in ice cubes, but since I didn't want to drink soggy cereal and I didn't think the kids would either and since we don't have grapes right now, I figured cinnamon and marshmallows would be fun in drinks and oatmeal to cool them down- after they are heated. Kids are so complicated some times!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

trying to do too much...

I realized as the kids were going off to school that maybe today would be a good day to go into the city. I think of this at 9am, not last week or even last night, when I wasn't sure if Brian would make it home that night or if the roads were bad causing him to delay. He made it home and was taking the big kids to school, they have GLOW right after and after that Brian could pick them up, so that left me an open slate.

I threw some food in a bag, my lists in my purse and a kid in the van, trying to make some quick calls to get the day organized a bit better.

I got fabric for the girl's headboards, spent 1.5 hours in dreaded WALMART doing dreaded SHOPPING, got a bed for Emora (thankfully it fit in the van), got calls from cousin Janet who went the extra mile and found transportation for the kids to GLOW. That was a good thing, or we wouldn't have had time to get groceries. Emora was a GEM the entire time in the stores and I gave her some more food to snack on while we did another 1.5 hours in Superstore!! By the time we got to the cash register, I realized I was totally wasted tired. I asked Emora if she could drive me home and she said she didn't know how to work the van. Smart girl!

Usually when we go do an errand and swim in the city, she crashes on the way home, but this time she cried and whined 30 min. of the ride home instead- she fell asleep the last 15 min. and the time it took me to unload everything, then when I had to take her out of the van, she cried and whined another 30 minutes while I put things away. By the time Brian walked into the door with the big kids I was about comatose on the couch!

It's hard because it does not seem worthwhile to make the drive in and just get one thing done, then have to turn around and do more a few days later, so I'm always trying to get WAY TOO MUCH done. Emora was so fabulous all the way through, until the end when she basically said "that was insane!" and I have to agree, but I don't see much of a way around it.

We have everything we need for the beds now. We are reusing and repurposing all the materials except the cloth material I got for about $15 and the one mattress we bought. Emora was so excited about her bed and can hardly wait for me to finish it for her. I made a dent in the Christmas shopping which is much better in the done state than in the dreaded state and we have vegetables in the fridge which makes me so happy! We need some chill and play days I think.

Brian being gone made us feel like we were spinning a bit to just keep afloat with everything... it's so much easier when there are two of us to manage.

Monday, November 14, 2011

picture probs again

experiencing technical difficulties again- failure to upload pictures again. I'm hoping this will resolve soon. Meanwhile, I'm making slow progress on my chair beds. My handyman is gone, so that sure slowed things down and the fact that it's back to school/work week. I've discovered that Brian and I make a good reno team in that I have lots of ideas, but I'm not always sure how to get to what I'm imagining and I really don't like power tools. I'm pretty comfortable with the jig saw, which is not really a safe tool, but one I've used a fair amount. I'm terrified of most everything else- really hate the circular saw and don't like the drill (I'm always breaking bits and stripping screws). But when I can have Brian's capable assistance, wow! I tell him what I'm thinking and he says "you could use this, or this", then he uses the scary tools without breaking bits or stripping screws. It's great! I do have to get into the city though to get material and I should really get started thinking about Christmas. I am the worst shopper imaginable and so I really dread getting gifts for people. I always feel like I haven't done and good job at it and I'm really quite miserable in a store. I'm not much good at receiving gifts either. I wish everyone could just KNOW that I love them without me having to find something that they may just hate. Other people I know have such a gift for finding the item that really fits and means something to others, but not me!

I'm also usually making a lot of gifts, but this year I feel tired of that whole process too. So I'm not sure I'll really be making much. But then I flipped the calendar and realized with us leaving for Texas, I don't really have much time to get things rolling and since I have to do any shopping in Regina, that complicates it even more!!! How about I just tell you all here and now that I love you???

OK, enough whining, I'm sure you didn't come here to hear any of that and I really can't complain. We are doing well. The kids very quickly got over their sorrow of missing Star, Brian is doing what he loves. My girls give me hugs everyday and huge thanks for the beds I'm creating for them and I just put the down comforter on the bed so I'll be cozy even with Brian gone. I had several offers for a bed mate tonight after three little ones begged to watch Clone Wars and now fear the dark- but I told them all to get over it. I love to cuddle with them for naps, but not to get a good night's sleep. So off to bed I go...

Sunday, November 13, 2011

construction zone

It was a bit of a crazy weekend. Brian was surprised at quitting time last Thursday when his boss told him they would take the day off. It was so great for all of us to have a day to sleep in and rest. Then mom and my aunt Carmen came for a quick overnight visit. The kids LOVED playing with them. The next day we showed them around a bit before they left. Brian went into the city to get some more supplies for the basement bathroom renovations and supplies for transforming our vehicles into winter ready transportation. It's better to drive on winter tires, so he's trying to find at least 2 for his truck and the van needs a bit of work to get it's summer tires off and winter tires on, so that was his main focus- as well as picking up his new amp. He's really excited about it. It weighs 25lbs and is the size of a carry on bag as opposed to his 70lb amp that is the size of a dishwasher (well nearly). He loves it already and gets to use it Monday and Tuesday when he goes to the booming metropolis of Estan (I'd never heard of it) to do a prophetic music workshop with one of the G7 group he's a part of out of Regina.

We had a shock this weekend though when Star was run over and died. Not fun. But a chance to talk about life and death, about living well and the treasures we have in friends, family and all living creatures. Whenever faced with a death, it makes us value who we have even more. We went from tears to thankfulness that we are healthy and so fortunate in the lives we get to live. We had a little ceremony and buried Star next to Tinker. Next the kids wanted to make crosses for them- which of course I let them, even though I really don't want to make our backyard look like a cemetery! They did a fabulous job painting them though, so I really can't say no to them.

Meanwhile, Brian and I have started on some projects. He is working on the final basement job- redoing the bathroom. He is building a cabinet/bench to house our water softener and sump pump, will mud, repaint, level the floor, tile and install a new sink with cabinet and toilet. I started to reconfigure our dinning room chairs into beds for the girls. The chairs are from Brian's childhood, but they were starting to fall apart and even if I had figured out a way to redo the backs on them, they were really too big for the small space we have for a dining room. But I didn't want to chuck them out, as they were not only solid and beautiful (at one time), but also have sentimental worth. The girls both need bed frames and we had 4 chairs, which means that I can use 2 chairs for each. I disassembled the chairs and noticed that the seats are the perfect shapes for butterflies. I will put new fabric on them and make them the head board fastened on the chair backs. The front legs of the chairs and seat frame are all supporting legs. I'll get pictures as we go, but already Dominique is sleeping on her partially finished bed and hugged me a thousand times for it. It's so much more solid then her jicked up bed that was our temporary idea for the last year!

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

walk up flag hill

Big thanks to Janet for giving me these pictures. I had similar pictures that I accidentally erased! It was such an amazing morning, still warm and the light had an soft orange glow to it.

It hadn't snowed yet.

Now everything is blanketed in white and the kids are enjoying smashing ice, throwing snow balls and experiencing the different textures and designs that snow brings.

I enjoy that some too, especially when it sparkles like so many diamonds on my front lawn. I'm not crazy for diamonds, but the glitter of snow is quite mesmerizing and I'm not sure how else to describe it.
These orange hills were breathtaking too- especially with the sky so blue and dotted with perfect white puffs of clouds. I love all the colors of fall and will return to this time and place in my mind when the whites and greys of a long winter seem a bit overdrawn.

Smiles to you and hope you enjoy the day, each one is a gift no matter how we wake up in the morning!

Saturday, November 05, 2011

More from halloween

It's been a super awesome weekend! I got to be part of a video/skype baby blessing for my bestest friend Tighe in Texas and it was so encouraging. That got me missing her and my friends their some, so after I was done, Brian and I got out the calendars to figure out our game plan. We are totally going to have the kids ditch some school- so that we can spend some time at the grands in Houston and then with friends in Abilene.

I woke up this morning, thinking that there are not near enough hours in Saturdays. I wish we could double it. My wish list of things to get done needed a good 35 hour day, but I was able to get a couple of monster items off the list and calling people to make plans for our Christmas vacation perked me up some more.

I went ahead and cleaned the bank today instead of my usual Sunday afternoon so that we can go skating tomorrow during public skate time and also enjoy an afternoon off. While cleaning, I kept picturing us on the road headed to our former "home". It'll be so lovely and several details have already been taken care of, so that's way fun.

We didn't get up the flag hill, but Ivan was gone with Brian all day to the city, I figured one fun thing a weekend was enough. They got supplies to refinish the unfinished basement bathroom, so that is getting me so excited too. Once that is done we can really say the renovations are done. Of course there are other things we dream of, like replacing rotting windows, but some of those things are maintenance or improvements in my mind, not really a part of the basement renos.

The only bummer with him finishing the basement bathroom is that I may feel like I have to clean it then!! Right now there is only a cement floor and the toilet is destroyed by the hard water, the sink is plastic, so none of it cleans well and even if I clean it, they still look terrible, so my solution is to just give it a very rare swipe with a cloth so that it is not totally revolting. I mostly just ignore it though- which has been pretty fun ;)

Rumor is we could get our first snowfall tonight, so we'll see if we wake up to a white blanketed town. If we do there will be many squeals of delight from some very excited kids. They've been wondering when the snow would come while I was thankful that it's held off and been so nice so long. We got all the summer toys into the shed this time in preparation. Last year, we'd left stuff out and quickly realized that plastic is destroyed pretty fast under 4 feet of snow. It did make spring thaw exciting with treasures coming up through the snow banks though.

I should be in bed!

I'm going to make this short and sweet, because I should have been in bed an hour ago, but I finally got some photos uploaded... more to come. There was a fun program at the library that we got to attend. Whenever there is a kid activity, we try to get there, because it's pretty special to have free programs in a small town like here. We are also trying to take advantage of free skating times! I've been terrible for not taking them, but got corraled into taking them today and it was so much better! The first time Emora wanted me to carry her. This time I told her I was not at all going to carry her and did she still want skates on. She did and did so much better. Now I'm pumped to figure out times to take the girls each week, and I also need to find times to take Ivan. I also promised him we'll try to go swimming when he can go some weekend. Dominique found her courage to try the diving board and can jump off all on her own and swim to the side. She LOVES it, so now Ivan of course wants to prove that he can do what she can do. The weather has been amazing beautiful. Freezes over night, but warms up in the day and since I lost so many pictures from our hike to the flag and since I promised I'd take Ivan up there on a weekend, I'm kind of thinking we may want to go tomorrow.

Andrea- the super pretty face paint is from the kit! See how good it is! I don't know why it goes on so professional looking, but it's fabulous!

And, another reason I hadn't blogged in so long- see those HUGE pumpkins? Over 60 lbs of pumpkin? It's now all pureed and in my freezer, or a freezer nearby ;) oh yeah, pumpkin muffins here we come. There is nothing like a warm choc. chip pumpkin muffin to chase winter blues away ;)

Thursday, November 03, 2011

sorry, crazy week!

ack, it's been so long. Sorry it's been a bit of a crazy week. I fixed our problem with pictures not loading, but in doing that I accidentally deleted some pictures and I'm bumbed a bit by it because they were so amazing! But Janet may be able to supplement and Brian posted a few on facebook and I posted some here already, so we will be able to retrieve some and it's not like we don't have a ton of pictures anyways! I found a location where our computer had saved every picture we had ever uploaded, or snagged from the internet, there were over 5000 pics on here and some 300+ videos. No wonder it was a little full! I am a bit bewildered with the internet and web cam age of how to manage our pictures. It's not like in the film days where you had a manageable amount of pics and stuck the negatives in a file or box, now we have hundreds and hundreds of pictures every couple of months it seems like and it's a bit of a chore to backlog them, and then what do I print off? Do we even look at these in albums still? When we do it's so fun and it was great fun to watch some old videos on the computer. Dominique was so little and talking like Emora does now, but with her own manerisms. It goes so fast so the pictures and videos are great for remembering and treasuring all those precious moments... but sometimes I wonder how healthy it is to be so dependent on technology.

I have avoided the computer for a week nearly! We were a bit busy with halloween and a trip or two into the city for swimming and fun, then I really felt like I needed a vacation, so I stuck my nose in a book and checked out of regular programed life. That was fun. Then I've also been so tired. I need to refigure my life again- like getting to bed earlier or something. With cleaning the bank so early, it's hard to get to bed early enough to get enough sleep. I'd have to go to bed when the kids do! Blah, blah... it's all so un-important!

Little joys this week: The kids had such a blast trick-or-treating-- the neighbors loved seeing them and filled their bags before we'd left our street! I'm serious, I had to go get grocery bags after just 3 houses. It was cute too seeing our neighbor friends come to our door about 5 times! I do have pictures of their costumes, I just need to upload them. Also- dad, I've been thinking of you as I have found wagon-wheels in the kids' loot. Eating them has brought back my own halloween memories, since that is what my dad used to give out. There is way too much loot in the house and I'm not very disciplined to stay out of it I'm afraid.

Better go, the house needs some attention today since I ignored it yesterday and the day before, and the day before... ;)