Wednesday, November 27, 2013

dancing and skating

Twice a year, our dance studio hosts a "watch" week, where parents and siblings are invited to come see what the girls do.  This year Dominique is taking "modern dance".  She is enjoying it.  They did stretches and some dance drills, then practiced their music routine for their recitals in the spring.

There are 7 or so girls in her group, but Dominique and Natasha are the youngest and smallest.  The music is kind of funky theatrical music.  Modern has some elements of ballet, jazz and lyrical- so they kind of act out the music.  It starts off with them acting bored and them coming "alive" as they watch another dancer soar.

Dominique is excited because she will be lifted up and spun around by one of the bigger girls.  A part of me will be sad to see her leave dance, but at the same time I like the idea of her being exposed to and getting a taste of several different disciplines and Brian will be VERY happy if she leaves dance.  Thankfully she has lots of interests and the other activities she is interested in are CHEAPER- oh yeah ;)

She was inspired when she saw another girl her age doing jumps on her figure skates.

Emora wants to follow along with the big kids.  She is interested in karate, dance and skating, but the Sensei recommending starting karate at age 7, so we'll find something else to start with first.  So fun to watch them learning things I've never learned, of growing in skills and of building relationships through it.  One thing that has been nice is that the kids love what they chose and are dedicated to their activities.
Emora has really enjoyed skating this year.  I've been taking her since we moved up here.

That first year she'd only last 10 min. on skates at a time.  I never thought she'd even like it.

And Ivan was the oldest when we moved here and has done so well at learning since he'd never even been on skates.  He's getting steadier and steadier and can go fairly fast, but doesn't know how to stop yet!

I'm thankful that there are still lots of activities to take in even when it's so cold out.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Painting with cousins and reading with Ralph

It's always fun to get some cousin time in.  The kids suddenly decided they all wanted to paint and came up with some great creations.

I've been taking the girls to a special program the school has been hosting with our schools' mascot Ralph the Reader.  He goes to school everyday and a couple of his "moms" have been doing sessions on his life at school, how to train and handle a dog and books about dogs.  They've also had dog themed snacks each week.

It's pretty cool having a dog at school and brings some joy in everyone's lives during and after school.  He lives with our friends the Cochranes and the other day when I took the girls over there and saw Ralph it was so strange- like I was seeing someone famous!  I'm always seeing him at school and forget that he goes home eventually too.  He's pretty beat by the time these evening sessions run and often lays down about half way through.
Our dog Saba has been getting old quickly.  She's 10 now and has some mass growing on her leg that we hope is just a fat lump (the other option was that it could be cancer).  She gets anxious at night now when she can't get to us, so we now sleep with our door open for her.  She has been a good dog in lots of ways, but not very friendly with the kids.  I don't know how long we'll still have her, which is weird since she's been a part of our lives since before we had kids.  Dogs can be some work and we don't invest in ours nearly as much as we should, but she's given us a lot in love and loyalty in security and in learning life lessons.

I haven't asked a question here in so long!  Did you have a pet growing up? Do you have one now?

Saturday, November 23, 2013

quick visits

Mom and dad came down for a quick visit last weekend.  The girls decided to comb grandpa's hair with their new combs.  It was fun to watch them because I remember doing dad's hair as a kid.  He'd let us put his hair in a hundred ponytails if I recall correctly.

Speaking of blasts from the past.  I highjacked this jacket of dad's about a decade and a half ago.  I don't use it anymore and thought maybe it was time to return it.  This was his actual jacket when he was in his 20s.  We have old pics of him in it when he was dating mom (or were they just married?).  Some of the leather is worn right off on the collar, but other than that, it's still in good shape.  I wore it for lots of years too.  Dad said he remembers some of his sweaters going missing too, um, yep that would have been me.  My favorite sweaters as a teenager were ones I had "borrowed" from dad.  I wore them forever too.  Not sure if they ever got back though--- sorry dad!

We went for a quick walk down the street to go give a tour to my parent's of aunt Mary and uncle Bill's new house.  If you hadn't noticed, winter has arrived in Fort Qu'Appelle.  Until last weekend, we didn't have snow, but this fell when mom and dad arrived and then when they left, the temperature dropped 20 degrees or so and we've been in a deep freeze ever since.  It is super pretty outside though.

I was hoping to do some of this today since it's so cold, but they didn't have public skate times this weekend!  urgg- but they had some times last weekend and we'd told dad to bring his skates too.  It's amazing to see how good the kids have gotten since last year.

Dominique is thinking of switching out of dance for next year and doing figure skating instead.  Emora wants to follow Dominique.  They were also talking about karate- so we'll see.

Dad was able to show Ivan some stick handling skills, so that was awesome.  One thing we've learned especially with our son is that it takes a village to raise a child.  It's so wonderful to have a great uncle who can introduce him to fishing, an auntie who taught him guitar, an uncle who taught him art, another uncle with a tie to hunting, grandpa who can share hockey knowledge, grandma who can sing of foreign lands, more grandparents who sow love into their lives...

Emora is getting more and more confident where she doesn't always use the bar to skate.  She hasn't gotten the skill of getting back up yet though, so hopefully that will come soon.

She and Ivan actually played nicely together for a bit.  (A rare occurrence).

Brian took most of these pics and mom did some rounds around the rink on the walking track.  We are missing the daddy this week.  He's off to NY to visit his dad who he hasn't seen in a couple of years.  He took on an extra job this summer to fund his trip and surprised him!  Which means we've been Brianless all week.  I'll tell you what, I've got a new admiration and understanding for those single moms out there- and I know mine is not a permanent situation.  It's crazy trying to do it on your own!  And of course, the day Brian left there were a dozen extra scheduled items to take care of- like parent teacher interviews!!  Aunt Mary and Uncle Bill came for half the week to help with the kids some, but even then, it's been exhausting and the list I've had for each day was crazy.  I only subbed 2 days, but it was so hard to get everyone where they needed to be.  Thankfully there was no school Friday and now it's the weekend- so we're about home free!  I'm thankful for the big family we have even though they are stretched all over the continent and so thankful for my kids and Brian to share this fun and crazy life with!

Monday, November 18, 2013

on to the next holiday!

Here are some last pictures to share from halloween time.  The candy is no longer a drama issue, since there are a measly 10ish not favorites left.  We seemed to get rid of it faster this year.  I let them go crazy for a bit, then we shared and I also baked some with halloween chocolate.  They still have lots of chips.  They are fun treats at times, but at halloween with so much, I find it a bit overwhelming. 

Emora had a play date and the girls wanted matching painted bracelets.  So this is what we came up with.

Ivan continues to love doing projects with his dad.  Here Ivan was helping recaulk the tub.  He is also learning to shovel snow and is excited about getting older- except when it comes to boring things like his allowance job or daily things like hanging up a jacket!!

This year it seemed to take forever to get the pumpkin done.  When I wasn't subbing, I would stay up half the night and run myself ragged getting it all cooked, pureed and frozen.  It was nice to be done all at once, but this year I had to go in for a sub day and knew it just wouldn't be possible, so I cooked one day, peeled, pureed and froze over the weekend.  I had some critics show up who wanted to "help".

And give visual drama to our documentation of the grand event.

LOVE, love my little turkeys!  They are now eagerly looking forward to Christmas.  Ivan asks me often if we can put up the tree today.  I told him to hold off at least until Dec.!!  But it is around the corner.  I love how they are excited- don't like stressing over gifts and wish I was better about that, but maybe this year will be better???

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Jam night

My cousin Sheena plays guitar and does gigs from time to time.  We often have family hang out nights where she plays and everyone sings along or adds whatever musical accompaniment they can.  Her daughters have all had music lessons either violin or piano and she goes to a fiddle camp with her daughter in the summers.  She wants to take my kids or for me to come too, but it's crazy expensive, so in the meantime, she thought up an alternative. 

She has a dream to get all the kids in the family playing and at least around and loving music, so she has started Jam nights once a month- where we find all the instruments we can and everyone teaches what they know to someone else.  In red is Arwen's fiddle teacher Rowan and she has lots of songs and dances that she has been great to play and help us tag along.  The Koops have several fiddles of different sizes, Ivan brought his guitar, last month Brian also came with his stick.

The kids seem to swap out instruments each song or two, but the fiddles are hugely popular.

Moira joined in on piano with Dominique.

The little girls get to try out the littlest violin.
Ivan was on a violin in back and Arwen was on his guitar.
Rowan and Arwen's fiddles and Sheena's guitar hold together the sounds while all the other instruments make forages throughout the songs.  It's a bit crazy musically, but lots of fun.  Of course the kids peeter out often and they take a break to go PLAY while the adults get a chance to play or visit.
Pretty awesome to be able to build these memories together.  Not sure what place music will have in our kids' lives... time will tell.

Friday, November 08, 2013

Halloween Baggett style

There is nothing like last minute planning.  So I was thinking that I was just going to take the kids around our blocks to trick-or-treat.  But the day of halloween, before we leave for school, I get a call from Ivan's best friend- can he go out with them trick-or-treating?  I say sure and figure I'll go out with the girls in our neighborhood.  But then Dominique is crying "why does he get to go with friends and not me?"  So I do a quick call and ask her best friend if she'd like to go with us.  Her dad says that she is going out with some other kids and moms and we are welcome to join.
These were the kids... along with a few moms.  As we went around, our group actually grew as more friends appeared along the way and wanted to join.  The kids had so much fun and the big girls were so sweet to look out for Emora and wait for her, make sure she was included as her sister and a bunch of the other girls ran full tilt ahead!
I got a call while we were out that aunt Mary was needing to see some costumed kids come by her new house, so we went there and found a whole crew of cousins, aunties and uncles and friend.
We never did make it to our own street, but it was a great night.
Ivan came home with this monster bag of candy.  He wanted to weigh it and it came out to 7 lbs!  That was just his bag- ugh!

This was his costume.  I had told him to get it ready and set it out the night before.  So when the friends are waiting on him after school do you think he knew where it was?  OH NO!  and the DRAMA!  It was terrible.  I hope he learned his lesson, but I kinda doubt it.

We got 2 pumpkins from my aunt's garden and bought a 3rd.  I always let the kids draw on their own pumpkin design, then cut it out.  I was going to let Ivan cut his out, but it was giving me such heart palpitations, I took over before he'd gotten very far.

This first one was Dominique's design.

Ivan was more traditional.

And Emora always does things with her own flair.  We are at the start of a 4 day weekend!!!  I LOVE days off- we are having friend playtimes and Ivan a sleepover and movies and skating... and hopefully some room tidying.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013


Dominique is loosing teeth left and right.  Her bottom ones aren't fully in, a top one is gone and the next one is loose.  I'm about to have to puree her food!!  She's pretty proud of growing up.  She lost this latest tooth at school and reported that there were 3 girls in her class that lost a tooth that day- and her friend Natasha and her lost the same tooth.  They are also partners in dance, so they'll have to smile lots to show just how much effort they went to to look alike!!

Ivan and I celebrated another birthday together.  We always take a picture with him on my lap and us sitting at the dining room table with our birthday cake.  My lap is quickly running out of room- we didn't really think through this pose when he was days old and we'd just brought him home!  Since it was my GRAND 40- Brian took Ivan and his best friend to the city and for a sleepover instead of a party.  Brian used the excuse that I should enjoy a quieter weekend I guess.  Sunday evening I got to invite some friends over for deserts- ok, so most of my friends also come with kids- that is the joy of it too of course.

It was nice to get to see such wonderful people and to be celebrated too!!   I felt very spoiled.

It helped me remember the special people who have endeared themselves to us and that we do have a support group and people that we enjoy spending our lives with here.
Yeah- for 40 (me) and 9 (Ivan) years!!