Monday, May 28, 2012

flowers and spring

We have our flowers in and more coming up front last year. It is very exciting to see what will flower and what they will look like since I've never seen them yet. I was given plants from mom, my cousin Sheena and from another parent, so it's a bit of a mystery what I have where and how it will look all together. We just got a few already flowering plants to give it a boost, while we impatiently wait for the rest to bloom.
Brian was working on a roof by the school, so after dropping off Ivan and Dominique, we went to say "hello".
Our kitten narrowly missed being ejected forever from the house. He's a bit of a menace and we keep hoping he will grow out of a lot of bad habits- like tearing up our new dining room chairs! Ah well, as if it would stay all nice with kids anyways. But he has drastically sped up the rate of deterioration!
He has made himself at home and when he was kicked out one night, I realized he does in fact know where he lives and returns when a too tender heart calls for him not imagining him out alone in the cold rain.
Our Saskatoon bushes may take a while to give us berries! Yeah, they are glorified twigs, but I was excited to see them leaf out within a couple days of planting them.
While I like having space on our counter again, I miss the proximity of my fresh herbs in the kitchen. I had them in through the winter.
It was so easy to just pick some off when cooking.
Now I dont' want to stop and go harvest them, especially when it is raining which it does often this time of year.
Right before we left Abilene, Valarie invited us over to do a stepping stone craft. So forever, we have these treasures, reminding us how little the kids were when we left for Canada.
I have enough of these bricks to give one to each kid and keep one for us-- I thought some day, they may want something substantial as a treasure from the city where they started off their lives.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

trees and soccer

The trees are budding out so that is a lot of fun.
I am enjoying the color on the bark of the two trees we planted in the back yard. This one is weeping willow white birch- I believe. If it's the same as the one I see in the neighborhood, I'm excited to see it grown. I love the way they capture frost and how they whisper and dance with the wind. I remember as a kid, there was a giant one in the yard across from us. They are so graceful.
The tree in the front is going to flower at some point and we hope provide shade for our front window. This tree is a good shade tree and looks like an umbrella in other yards. We have a big window that makes for a very hot room in the summer, so some shade here would be nice.
This week we went separate ways for soccer. Dominique's team drastically improved, so that was fun to see that they maybe got it figured out.
Next week we play in two different places again. Fortunately, each week, one of the two was a home game. We can't complain really. I think 4 of the 6 games have been home games- and we've been enjoying a bit of travel to see a different town and get to know the province a bit (OK- mostly Brian enjoys that!)

Saturday, May 26, 2012

the garden's in!

This was another picture from reading week- or children's literacy, or whatever it was called!  Our last day, we had a carnival with Story and Rhyme Time and a puppet show, then games and face painting and snacks.  It was a lot of fun, although I was outside with the paint, so I didn't see how the inside fun was coming along.  I did find out that my kids conveniently forgot that I had told them to just have 2 snacks each.  When I couldn't get them to eat anything for lunch just afterwards, Ivan admitted that he'd had one of each FLAVOR of cereal bar, and one of everything else, except the gummy treats!  And there were a lot of snacks too-- all gone at the end, I'm sure in large part to my trio!

We got our garden in last weekend. Brian nailed some of the extra wire fencing on the fence for the tomatoes to grow on.  The gate and rainbarrel are up and functioning.  And we are filling the compost bucket again now for next year.
Here we have raspberry canes (an impulse buy- 90cents each- and they come up each year!), brocoli, green peppers, rutabaga, "Big Buddy Okra"- seeds from Mr Griffin's garden that the guys would harvest from year to year, beans and tomatoes.
In this section we have cucumbers, squash, zuchini, spinach and lettuce. Another section has the carrots, kohl rabi, radishes, and something else... can't remember. So far, I've covered it one night- when it snowed nearby! Yeah- and I'm still gathering up my courage to swim in the lake.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

hike and read

These pictures were from another of the challenges for reading week.
I told families to try to read somewhere they had never read before. I took my kids on a hike.
I gave them a choice of 3 hills.
They chose the cemetery hill that overlooks town.
We parked at the bottom and hiked up, then read our books.
Ivan was a bit distracted because he wanted to go explore, then they started to discover the ladybugs and that lead to further distraction and lots of giggles and fun.
It was a great view and tons of fun to get out and be active.
One of my very favorite things to do is to read.
And I love reading with the kids or having them read to me.
I've also been discovering the joys of being outside.
And of noticing the world around us.
And I am a person who needs, needs, needs to be active.
I get a bit crazy if I don't give my muscles a good workout now and then.
So I got to combine three favorite things...
physical activity, reading and the outdoors
with three of my favorite people.
The sun was starting to set as we left.
It was a perfect way to end the day.
I hope they'll still want to do these kinds of adventures when they are teenagers and I'm not cool anymore! My friend took her kids to Alberta to do an hour hike up a mountain. She wants to work them up to a 3 day hike. I think that would be such a blast! This summer my cousins' reunion is a camping one and the kids are very excited. This will be a Baggett first and we hope to LOVE camping.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Scavenger hunt

These pictures were from reading week- I'd made a challenge for each day of the week and they were so fun- if I do say so myself! This was the word scavenger hunt. We had an easy level page and a hard level page of pictures of signs from all around town. I convinced my trio to do it biking. We would look at the page and try to figure out what was next in proximity. It was a bit hard for me to resist telling them where they were and I did notice myself stopping in locations to help them notice the signs. Plus, since we were on bikes, I didn't want to have to back track, so I'd tell them if they were missing something and to look again!
We got some help from cousins who joined us too and a classmate of Ivan's joined in a bit and told them where some of them were.
Trees are budding and leafing out. The flowers are from apple trees I believe and they are so glorious! I had wanted an apple tree so badly, but was not able to convince Brian, but now I'm not crying over it since we have 3 types of berries that will come up some day: strawberries, raspberries and Saskatoon berries.
I'm also hoping that Dominique's teacher will invite me back to her full apple trees. She let Janet and I harvest her apples last year and we are still eating them! I have one last apple crisp left and some apple puree still that we have been using as apple sauce.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Back from AWOL

OOPS- I've been a bit absent haven't I? I find this time of the year a bit busy and if we aren't busy doing something, then we are outside, because it's finally gorgeous!, that is if it's not raining. But now I don't even mind the rain because we just got our garden in. We've been working on it for over a year! Yep, I'm serious. We had wanted to plant last year, but realized that we were no where close to ready. The spot we wanted to use had an unwanted shed on it and had been used to park cars on, so as we waited for the chance to have the shed moved, we sought out advice and got a lot of help from my cousin and neighbor who helped rottortill in the fall and we added all sorts of stuff to the soil. This spring, we added our compost, which- even though untouched all winter, had broken down quite a lot! Brian built a fence with a gate. It's so cute! Then he also improved our back gate which was falling over from an overly heavy back gate pulling on it.

We got a ton and ton of things planted. We bought flowers and cilantro and strawberry plants that we put in the front flower beds. We also got raspberry plants, pepper and tomato plants.

From seed, we planted: carrots, radishes, kohl rabi, spinach, lettuce, brocoli, rutabega, okra, beans, cucumber, squash, zuchini and about 3 more things I can't recall. It's way too much for the space we had, but some seeds are from the fall, some may have water damage and I'm pretty sure the okra won't grow either (at least not until we get fruit), but we are just excited to see them grow. They are seeds from Big Buddy and I'd love to at least see them flower.

In Abilene, it was frustrating to garden. We barely ever got anything from our work and it just became a chore and cost, when 5 min. away was an affordable store with lots of variety and cheap vegetables. Here, it makes total sense to garden. The vegetables at the store are very limited and costly. If we can get some of our own, it will be a huge cost saver and so much easier than driving into the city. Plus, here, it's so nice in the summer, it's a delight to be outside and even weeding seems like a good reason to get out! But in Abilene, 100+ F or 40 C was just unbearable to get out and work in the garden. The only thing we ever wanted to do there was swim or be inside! A neighbor rottortilled for us again and Brian made a rain barrel that is probably overflowing right now. He realized that about an inch of rain fills it and it's been raining all day!

The first picture was from the dance recital we attended. Moira was a character in a musical theater piece. I also got to attend a hilarious play she was in and her dad directed. Some fun outings. And the best outing of all- yesterday, I went into the city solo and got a ton of errands/shopping done as well as got to swim- laps- all by myself. I gave myself the challenge of doing what used to be my regular routine. For years and years, once a week, I've done 100 laps. It would take me about 70 min. When we moved here, I was having knee problems and there was no indoor pool. When I did get to a pool, I usually had the kids with me, so I couldn't do laps. Then I had knee surgery. I got to go once or twice to a pool on my own, but my knee still hurt a lot doing certain strokes. Yesterday, it didn't hurt and I pushed myself to do my old routine. It took my an extra 15min, but I was also having problems with my goggles. Once I figured them out half way through, my time got a lot better. I felt like a million dollars! It was so amazing. Now I'm trying to psych myself to go to the lake once a week. I don't have a wet suit yet and am a bit terrified of how cold it will be, although I like to lap swim in cold water and it is actually better for my knee. I've got tights and a sport shirt to wear with my swim suit for warmth and a bit more coverage. I got a waterproof watch so that I'll know when to get out. I figure I could bike there, swim and bike back- just gotta get in!