Thursday, May 30, 2013


First off, I have to give a huge thanks to the Muirhead's.  Janet researched and found a karate club in Qu'Appelle.  They put Kellen in it and he went for quite a while before we entertained the idea of Ivan trying it out.  He was begging us to let him try it at this point and we were so thankful that the cousins didn't mind us joining.  Once Ivan was in, we started talking to the Sinclairs who were taking karate in Indian head.

In the end, they decided to switch clubs and started going to Qu'Appelle also.  In fact, the Sinclair's dad joined and we got the sweetest deal of all as he has volunteered to drive all the boys out many, many nights.

The class runs from 7-8:30 pm, so we had to move out by about 6:30 and were home by 9pm twice a week!  But he loves it and his friends are all in it (I wanted a pic with Kellen, but this night that I drove the boys out, he didn't make it that night).

The light was great in a field and we had a bit of time to spare, so I pulled over and told the guys to stand for a pick.  When that wasn't working out so well, I started counting out their katas and they started moving in formation.  It was beautiful!

They aren't ready to compete and test for a new belt color yet, but maybe next year...

Tonight is the last night of karate and I can't say I'm dissapointed.  It'll be nice to have a couple of nights with less on the schedule and enjoy the summer off from it.  The Sinclairs are now in Japan too, visiting family.

Spring is well underway and summer is nearing.

It may be time to try out my wet suit some day soon.

Things are winding up for the school year and transitioning toward summer- about a month left to the school year- which means lots of special events and outings and festivities.

We feel in many ways that we have all been in a strength and endurance training of sorts as we've reorganized our lives.  Changes can be hard, but sometimes they can bring the best out of us.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

jumping over the valley

The Sinclairs have become sweet friends to us.  We first met Eleanor, Paul's mother, not in person, but via her book we picked up while out on a date.  She chronicled growing up in a farming family and living in Fort Qu'Appelle.  We had often driven by her home overlooking the valley while living with the Koops'  A weekend or so ago we got to go for a bit of a visit while Brian was laid out sick in bed.  It was good to good the noisy trio out of the house so he could try to recover.

  It's always so fun to see the valley from a different hill.  I'd love to climb each one of these hills some day.  Everyone of them gives a slightly different view.  I love how their shapes can become familiar to me and how their colors change ever so much as the seasons progress.

They can see two of the lakes from their yard and the kids loved jumping on the trampoline and jumping from the balcony onto the trampoline.  OK, the smaller girls didn't like that part so much!

Ayako and the 3 kids are heading to Japan to visit her family for 2 months!  Ivan is in mourning and they haven't even left yet!

He asks me repeatedly each day if Ayako knows how to e-mail him and that he needs to e-mail them while they are gone.

Thankfully they won't be gone all summer long!

The boys were saying how terribly HOT it was (it wasn't all that hot- very windy actually), but they have to show off some too!  The mesh wall to the side was added a year ago or so because the wind ripped part of the house's roof off one year!  The wind can be so strong here and then everyone seems to get hit with congestion and respiratory probs and infections... but thankfully we just got a good rain and it settled down the dust a bit.  Not sure how things will settle for Ivan with his buds gone.  I'm glad they will at least be back for part of summer.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Transitions are hard

Well, it's been a few weeks with me subbing and I'm still not totally sure if it was the right thing to do although I don't know that we had many choices in the matter.  Not too many doors were opening up for us and we had to push hard just to get through this one.

It's a strain on all of us and lots of adjusting and learning to do things differently.  It feels a bit sudden and unforseen.

But I try to take it one day at a time, draw on the strength from the one who is above all and sees all and knows why he called us here in the first place... and trust our family and kids in his hands  and know that some of these are growing pains and stretching pains and new territory strains.

We were so looking forward to the snow melting, the ice breaking up... and it finally has, but the waters have risen.

Brian says it was good that they put the cement walls up on the beach, that the water is right up to it now.

Lord protect and give grace to these little ones as we go through this huge transformation in our home.  They are so amazing, help us to be sensitive and caring to their needs.  Guide us all in this new path and may your light warm and direct our way.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Cool, cool Fort Qu'Appelle!

There are lots of great reasons to live in Fort Qu'Appelle and we are still discovering all of them.  One is that there are lots of great artists here.  This weekend, Sue Bland had an exhibit of her work.  I remember in Abilene taking the kids to a museum with children's book artwork.  Sue has also written a book that she illustrated and it was fun looking at those illustrations as well as some of her other work.  And she has endeared herself in my heart as one of the best artists ever by the fact that she encouraged and facilitated for us to join in the creating too.  She had a "playroom" all set up with fancy bought and found papers and supplies for us to make collages and birds.  Dominique really got into it, she made the flying kite scene.  I made the garden above it when I discovered that our seedlings had frozen and died outside. 

Ivan and Emora made birds.  They are best seen as the sunshine plays with them, but we have made numerous discoveries about the birds.  First, they move!  Oh yes, as we move in the room, so do they!  They fly in the sky....

...settle in the trees, soar over the hills.  They also appear in the morning as shadows on the closed curtains.  That was one morning of delighted yelps one morning.  Then when we thought we'd seen them in every possible way, another morning brought yells of "come look mom".  Ivan noticed that in the day, the birds are also in shadow moving across the opposite wall with the light from the window!

Then as if that wasn't fun enough, the kids sat in an old desk at the art center, with ink well and when we discovered and opened a drawer under the seat, Sue gave the kids prizes of jewelry and wooden frame.

After our jaunt at the art center, we went to check out the lake melt.  These walls are up in anticipation of flooding.  Two years ago the entire beach, park, volleyball courts, boat dock, parking lot, fields, camping areas and road were all under water- it's taken 2 years to recover.

I think it's still a bit too cold even with my wet suit.

Skipping stones is fun no matter what age.

Loving the warmth!  Dominique and I had our first soccer game.  We played a super strong team.  The first half was not so bad, but we fell way behind in the second half.  However, the kids never stopped playing!  They kept digging right to the end and said they had fun, so I'm super proud of them.  It was fun time with Dominique too.  The drive was 1hour 20 min. each way and a 1 hour game, so we were gone all morning.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Watch out- big changes ahead!

Just when we thought we were getting into a bit of a routine in the Fort, we've turned everything upside down again!  So our big news now is that I am now on the substitute list.  It's taken a while to get everything through and there were big hurdles again this week as the entire system moved to a computerized way of doing things, but I've been in the schools about 7 times so far.  While Brian's construction work can be consistent at times and certainly through the summers, it can get very sporadic in winter and I can get us a lot more money in a school for 6 hours, so we have undergone major change.

Now I get ready every morning and don't have a clue where I'll be until about 8:30am.  Then, I'll either be with Emora or in one of our schools.  In the day when I go in to a school, Brian is still home to take care of our littlest.  Brian's hopes were also to get into more music, and he has gotten a couple of gigs lately, but even to practice has been a challenge since I am getting called in a fair amount.

Meanwhile, change is going on all around us.  Dominique has her first loose tooth.  Ivan did a face plant into the cement on the way to school one morning and along with scrapes to his face and lip, he may have helped cut his two teeth through, because after being toothless for 10 months (top 2 front teeth), they are FINALLY cutting through the gums and barely visible.

The ice on the lake is melting (more pics to follow).  We are enjoying some aspects of Fort Qu'Appelle like SPRING and soccer and artists in the valley.

This one keeps trying to grow up so fast.  She wants her training wheels off so she can learn to ride without them.

She likes to ride with her seat as a booster, which is practically legal for her.

She is loving being an artist rock star with her daddy making music.  We were given a keyboard!!! So now when daddy practices, she plays the keyboard, mostly the gunshot effect.

I've already seen a bit of everyone in the schools, from student services, grades 1, 2, 6, 7, individual assessments, group work, the full class, grades 8,9,10,11,12.  ELA, Art and Native Studies.  The kids are just like mine:  good for the most part and totally defiant at times.  My kids have taught me well though...and I'm still always learning.  I'll be in kindergarten and grade 10 next week.  Dominique is training me on the kindergarten part and I've seen the grade 10s a few times.  It's my cousin's class which gives me a huge advantage, 'cause she just tells me upfront what all she wants me to do with them.

Some days it's a juggle, but it seems to be the path open for us for now, so we've charged on through.

Who was your favorite teacher and what did he/she do that was so special?

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Dance recital and end of the dance season

This weekend was the big dance recital in Fort Qu'Appelle, which is the wind up big end hoopla to the season.  All 3 of our kids have been sick over the last week and home from school.  I was concerned about Dominique even going to dance.  She was feverish Friday.  I took her to her practice anyways on Sat., but she wasn't running fevers.  But then that night as we watched the solo and duo performances, she was telling me her tummy hurt.  No matter, you could not have kept this girl from that stage and she did awesome!  This was Brian's first time to a dance recital.  I had gone last year to see what all it was and to watch the cousins dance.  Then I saw the competition in Regina- still not a prolific knowledge of the dance world, but I guess it had informed me some as to what all goes on.

It hadn't occurred to me that here we were paying out the wazoo for dance and fundraising... and Brian didn't even know what all she was learning.  He was impressed with the dancing enough Sunday to decide that if she really likes it, she could do dance again next year.  The performances are really well done and you could tell that the girls learn a lot and work hard on their routines.

I told another parent that last year I was just watching as a spectator.  It was all together different watching this year.  Now I saw every dancer as someone's son or daughter!  I said that I could never adjudicate because I would give them all glowing reviews just for getting up on that stage in front of all those people.  So much courage!

It was great that she loved it.  If not, we would have looked for something else, but if the shoe fits...

Their song was "A dream is a wish your heart makes" from Cinderella.  The kids were especially excited to realize that Dominique's costume is it's own disco party.  In the sunlight, it makes crazy flashing orbs all over.  They howled with laughter the entire way home in the van as she provided disco mood for our drive.

So disco queen/cinderella princess, you've always shined in our hearts and you do no less on the stage either.  It's fun when they find something that they not only love, but that comes to them naturally.  Ivan is taking off in karate too.  His sensei was reassuring me that although he is one of the beginner students, that he has also had the least amount of lessons, and the sensei could tell that Ivan was picking up things quickly. So we've got 2 in their fields of operation at this point anyways.  Just one more child to figure out!  Emora is also saying she wants to do dance, so we'll see some day if it's her thing too. 

Meanwhile, it's now time for soccer.  I'm coaching Dominique's team and we had our first practice this week.  I passed the "can mommy do this" test and she wasn't totally horrified that I'm her coach, so that was cool.  It was so fun working with the kids and helping them improve their skills.  I'm hoping it will stay fun for all of us, which I am really thinking it will.  I realized last year that I am a bit of a crazy soccer mom- cheering for all the kids and then feeling like maybe I was stepping on the real coach's toes or weird-ing out the parents.  So now at least it won't be weird when I'm hollering at all of them ;)

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Saba's an old koot!

It's been a LONG week.  We have a sick trio in the house.  They've missed school about a week and the antibiotics are kicking in slowly- we hope.  They started staggered and so that is making it longer too.  So I don't even have any good pics to share, but when picking up Ivan's homework at school, I saw this on the bulletin board outside his class...
Then I went to his best friend's sheet and read this:

So fun, friends rock!  Even if we don't get to see them anymore because we are SICK! ugh.  It's also dance recital weekend, so I'm trying to get everyone well, especially the little dancer.

So, in other exciting news, Saba is 10 years old!  Yep, she's officially an old koot, or at least retirement age ;)

We got her before we had kids.  She was our baby and we paid attention to her. 

She lost some of the attention once our kids came into the picture.  She morphed from the one we took pictures of and played with to the one we called to clean up food messes the kids made.  She has quickly figured out which seat belongs to the youngest and thus the most food spills location. 

She has also prided herself on keeping the cats in line.  She still tries to de-flee our cat, although he doesn't have flees here in Canada.  Our pets match now.

Emora likes Saba the most.  As a little little one, she liked to hand feed Saba.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013


So ready for spring to actually be here and for soccer to start and newness.  It's melty out, sort of, so we pulled out the rain boots to realize that everyone's feet have grown.  So I said, "move the boots on to the next person" at which Dominique protested "Are those BOYS' boots?  I don't want to wear boys' boots".  So I told her I'd girlify them.  I got out our gold paint pen and her nailpolish and went to town.  Then Emora wanted to decorate the boots that were handed down to her, even if they were already "girl" boots and she wanted me to put a couple of decorations on her boots and also do some of her own.  So Emora's boots also have big blobs of pink she has gladly added.

I shouldn't have put gloss on them afterwards.  It's made them sticky and I'm not sure how to fix that.

Brian made me a couple of plant holders.  The one on the left I saw on pinterest and is for strawberry plants.  The one on the right may be for flowers on the play structure we are hoping to build.

The snow has been melting and while I had laughed a bit at Brian shoveling it around to help it melt, what did I find myself doing out in the sunshine this weekend?  Yep, moving snow off the big pile and spreading it out all over the yard.  We have been so ready for the snow to leave already.  This has been a long LONG winter.  In my defense, I wanted to get some exercise anyways and it was too gorgeous to be inside on the wii or one of my workout videos.  I figured I could help our snow leave and get some cardio at the same time.

Yeah- 1st sidewalk chalk of the season.  And just as the last little bit melted away, we opened the curtains monday morning to find this!!!

Crazy Saskatchewan!  Could someone tell the weather that it is now MAY 1st!  To top off the crazy weather, it's wrecking havoc with my kids.  Ivan's been sick since Thurs., Dominique started running a temp. Sun.  Finally got them in to the dr. yesterday and they are on meds, but still look half comatose and now Emora is running a slight fever!  Oh well, it could be worse and at least we'd just loaded up on movies in the city so they have plenty of shows to watch and rest with.

We've got dance final recital this weekend and soccer starts Monday ;)  Looking forward to a new season.