Monday, September 30, 2013

My Picture Perfect Children

Saturday was the first day of Tot Shabbat, the Jewish equivalent of Sunday School. I figured since I had documented Sam and Rachel's first day of Sunday School a couple of weeks ago I should also get my camera out for Tot Shabbat. Sam and Rachel were completely willing participants, as you may be able to tell, and posed beautifully for picture after picture.
Ooops! I must have been thinking of some other time...

Friday, September 27, 2013

A Long Time Coming...

Before I started dating Dave I didn't have my driver's license so I biked (or walked) a lot. In all sorts of weather, at any time of day. However, when Dave and I got together, he had a car and so he encouraged me to practice driving and, about a month before we drove halfway across the country together, I finally got my license. And I left my bike in KW. We walked a lot in Edmonton, but then we had Sam, and then Rachel, and I drove a bit more. And biking kind of fell by the wayside.

Earlier this summer (like four months ago) I became very convinced that I should start biking again. And that I needed to bike with Sam and Rachel. So I got my bike back from Tim and Janice (who graciously stored it for me for six years), and we got it tuned up, and we got a bike attachment to turn our Chariot into a bike trailer and the kids and I got proper bike helmets. And we were all set.

But then we spent every last minute of our time painting/moving/unpacking and there was no time for our inaugural family bike ride. But yesterday, it finally happened.
Rachel's face in this picture cracks me up!
We didn't bike all that far, just a couple of kilometres, but it was great! I loved hearing Rachel and Sam laughing with the thrill of their first bike ride in the Chariot. And biking while also hauling about sixty pounds of kids and ten pounds of equipment was not all that bad. In fact, we left the bike arrangement set up so I can continue to bike with the kids. I'll keep you posted on how it goes...

Speaking of "a long time coming," my blog friend, Erika's post yesterday was one of the best things I have read on the internet in a very long time. Seriously, go and check it out :)

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Just Like Mom. Almost.

The other day as I was making supper, Sam and Rachel had a tea party. It was a clear indication that they really are my kids and that children act out what they see at home. Although I'm pretty sure I've never burst into tears when my hostess poured me too big a cup of tea, nor have I ever tried to shove a friend off a chair. I also don't think I've ever needed to be distracted from a "too much tea" incident by someone taking funny pictures of me with their camera. Except for all those things though, it was just like when my friends and I have tea.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Rest Of Our Weekend Was Actually Pretty Good!

So despite the disaster of Friday and Saturday (during the day), the rest of the weekend was much better. On Saturday night Dave and I had a date night at Mongolian Grill. (Mongolian Grill is a make-your-own-stirfry restaurant.) We waited in line for about half the time, just waiting for our meals to get cooked, but since we didn't have the kids, we just enjoyed it and took lots of pictures, experimenting with various camera settings. Ha!
various meals being made
left: cleaning the grill; right: my food before it was cooked
Then Dave and I bought a few groceries and wandered around Chapters for a bit. It was a very relaxing evening.

On Sunday Dave played guitar at the Sunday School assembly (About sixty kids from aged 2 to Grade 6 meet together to sing songs, collect offering and hear the Bible Story before going to their classrooms for a response time.), I told the Bible Story, and then after church I stayed for a youth-mentor lunch. I finally got home around 2:30 and Rachel woke up around 4. We then spent about an hour outside getting things ready for winter. Our picnic table and BBQ are put away, the lawn has been mowed, we weeded some raised beds and generally cleaned up the yard. It was a great day to be outside and I really enjoyed the relaxed family hanging out time.
I don't usually post the same pictures here as I do on Instagram but I'm making an exception for these two. Rachel, pushing her baby in the stroller while in her church clothes and rain boots, was making me laugh. And Sam was having a good time picking berries off the hedge and throwing them into the empty sandbox. Like I said, it was just some good outside time.

I finished up the weekend with book club (yes, I was out four nights in a row over the kids' bedtime) and then I stayed up way too late reading the book for our next meeting. Which isn't until the end of October. But I really got into the book. If it continues to be good I will do a review of it.

Monday, September 23, 2013

See Below For This Post's Title

The actual title of this post is "Things Which Happened This Weekend Which I Don't Want To Forget, Except For That Some Of Them I Do Want To But Probably Shouldn't." It was too long to fit up above.

Mostly the weekend was really good, although a little busy. Our weekend started off with Sam being too sick to go to school on Friday and throwing up on me while I was holding him. Number One Thing To Not Forget: If Sam has been lying on the couch, without moving, for two hours and suddenly wants me to hold him, he likely needs to throw up. Get him to a sink pronto!
These are the flowers I bought on Thursday to congratulate myself for surviving two days of sick, non-sleeping Rachel. I had lots of time to admire them on Friday while taking care of Sam. Ha!

That night I ran to Wal-Mart because Sam had finished off all the applesauce in the house and wanted more. Cookies were on sale. I bought three bags to share at Sew Be It that night. But there was a lot of other food and so I came home with two and a half bags of cookies. I have now been eating way more cookies than I should because, hey! They are here and need to be eaten anyways. (In fact, I'm scattering Oreo crumbs all over the computer as I type this post.) Number Two Thing To Not Forget: Just because cookies are on sale doesn't mean you need to buy out the store. (Or maybe I should forget this one???)

On Saturday, our community had its Doors Open Event. Last year we got to check out our local airport but this year Dave had to work. I decided it would be a brilliant idea to go on my own with the kids to check out a mosque and our new police station. Sam was super-psyched about it. There was a "half hour" wait to get a tour of the police station. I decided the kids (and I!) could handle it and settled in. Finally about forty-five minutes later it was our turn. Number Three Thing To Not Forget: When someone says the wait time is "half an hour", double it and then DON'T WAIT.

Sam was very interested in everything and really listened to the (quite adult-focused) tour. Rachel on the other hand ran in and out of the interview rooms, tried to press buttons on the breathalyzer computer, wanted to open every drawer in the offices and screamed her head off when I tried to carry her. After about fifteen minutes I gave up and asked if I could leave the tour with the kids. That was fine except, since we were in a secured area, we had to be escorted out by a sargeant. I was completely mortified. Number Four Thing To Not Forget: Don't attempt a tour of the police station on my own with a toddler who is bored and uncooperative.

You think I would have learned my lesson about toddlers and tours (I sense a reality TV show in the making here!) but there is a reason I am writing this blog post. Sam was completely bummed about leaving the police station early (think, silent-tears-coursing-down-his-cheeks-disappointed) and really wanted to go to the mosque. So I said we would stop and see. That tour started off with food which was awesome. And then our tour guide was very informative about Islam. Very informative. After about twenty minutes Rachel started rolling around on the rug, pushing chairs everywhere and running in circles and giggling. Big sigh. We left the mosque early too. Number Five Thing To Not Forget: Don't make the same mistake twice.

Then we went home and all had naps/quiet time/ate cookies and life got much better. Number Six Thing To Not Forget: Cookies make everything better. Which kind of negates Thing Number Two.

And because this blog post is already pretty long I'm going to write about the rest of our weekend tomorrow.

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Ice Cream Project And A Confession

One of the (many) things I love about my church (how many blog posts have I started that way?!) is how we really embrace our children and youth. I think we do a good job of including them in church as individuals and not just as a part of their families. One of the ways we do this is through the youth-mentor program. When a youth turns twelve, together with their parents, they choose some adults in the church they want to be paired with. Then the youth-mentor coordinators take all that information and pair people up. The idea is that it gives youth another adult in the church to connect with. And this relationship lasts until the youth has graduated from high school (and beyond if they want!).

Here's the thing: while I think this program is great, I'm kind of scared of the teenage years. Give me a child who is a toddler, a young child, heading into pre-teens and I shine. I am fun! I am confident! I am awesome! This is why I was a nanny for so many years. (Exception: When it comes to my own kids I am often frustrated and question my every decision. I think that's the definition of "parenting.") When it comes to teens though, I feel I am on slightly shaky ground. I really dread the teenage years with my kids. I think every adult has their "boggy ground age" with kids and my age is definitely the teen years. I keep repeating to myself the mantra a friend shared with me that "you grow up with your kids" so that by the time they are teenagers you (mostly) know how to handle them. (About ten years ago, a group of us was sitting around and talking about our favourite stages of being with kids. We determined that between the four of us we could successfully raise children as long as they didn't mind moving around to different adults as they reached different ages! Now I just need to remember who was excited about the teen years. Ha ha ha!!!)

However, I was a youth mentor before to an amazing youth named Vanessa. While Vanessa was in Grades 7 & 8 we hung out and had a lot of fun together. Then Dave and I moved to Edmonton, but Vanessa and I stayed in touch while I was gone. We moved back to KW last spring on a Saturday and that Sunday I was honoured to stand up and be Vanessa's advocate as she was baptized and became a member at our church. I still stay in touch with Vanessa even though she is at university (how is she old enough for that already?!?!) and I really enjoy spending time with her.

This year I was asked to be a mentor for another girl who is just starting Grade 7. (This youth is also amazing, by the way!) Last night we went out for our first meeting. We talked, laughed, walked and ate frozen yogurt. And we invented The Ice Cream Project. We have decided that we are going to eat at as many ice cream places in KW (and surrounding area) as we can and then we are going to rate them. So at some point in the future, we will have determined where we can find the absolute best ice cream/frozen yogurt in our area and then we will declare the official ice cream/frozen yogurt place of our mentoring relationship. I think it's going to be fun. And tasty. And I'm really looking forward to it and to spending more time with my youth. (Sometimes I think of my youth as "my mentee" but that just sounds weird so mostly I refer to them as "my youth," which also sounds weird.) We are also going to do other things like volunteering the nursery and going rock climbing but The Ice Cream Project is the one we're really excited about :)

How does your church/community of faith include youth and, if you have one, what is your "boggy ground age"?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

A Mystery Is Solved

Last night was Meet The Teacher night at Sam's school. I apologize in advance that this post may be kind of boring for most of you, except for maybe my parents, but I wanted to document Sam's first school days. The title of this post is in reference to the fact that parents don't generally go inside the school. I say good-bye to Sam outside, he lines up with his class and then the building swallows him up for six hours and twenty minutes until it spits him back out for me to take him home. Okay, that sounds a little dramatic but it has been very strange for me to not know what Sam does all day. So last night we got to actually see his classroom. I had seen it before when we went for our first day, forty minute visit, but it was neat to see it from Sam's perspective and with his explanation of things. He was very proud to show it to us.

I don't know what Sam's name tag is used for but he wasn't cooperating for a picture on his first visit day. I think he looks so unsure in the picture and I know it was taken on his first full day so he probably was. Or I'm just reading into things. Sam has told us a surprising amount about school, especially considering he never ever told us anything about preschool last year. Therefore we'd already heard about how each kid has a basket for their collection of things they find outside. Sam is obviously into gathering sticks.

Sam wanted me to read him a book in the reading centre so I obliged.
Rachel discovered another activity while I was reading to Sam and Dave and I had a good laugh about Sam's answer on the class list below. We think they were trying to establish classroom rules. Sam's idea about "In our class we..." was "count to 105 and even farther." Ha ha ha!!!
Supper was served before we got to go in the school. It was hot dogs and popcorn. The popcorn line was really long and we got some of the last twenty bags so we had to document our hard earned popcorn.
I was really glad to get a glimpse into Sam's life at school. His teacher, Ms. K., told us Sam has been doing really well at school and we were glad to hear that. We were even happier to see how comfortable Sam was in his classroom and how excited he was to show us around. Now I have a little more context for how Sam spends his days and a lot more reassurance that this really is a good thing for him.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Scenes From A (Sick) Morning

Yesterday morning Rachel woke up with a fever so instead of taking Sam to school and getting lots of chores done around the house, our morning looked like this instead:
Rachel wrapped up in blankets on the futon. Sometimes she wanted me to hold her and sometimes she didn't.
We basically watched Baby Einstein all morning. Well, sometimes I read my book club book and drank tea.
I ignored all the laundry waiting to be folded.
What happens at our house when you misbehave.
(Or when you need an actual bath because your best friend decided to throw you 
into her big brother's bath.)
Thankfully Rachel was feeling a little better by the time Dave got home and they caught up on some work together. Rachel and I went to pick up our CSA because we hadn't left the house all day. Dave made supper and I managed to get all seven loads of laundry folded and put away! Whoo hoo!!!

And that was our day yesterday. I hope your day was better.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Monday, September 16, 2013

Sunday Morning Shenanigans

Since we had some time before church yesterday morning I thought I would attempt to get a picture of Sam and Rachel on the first day of Sunday School. For Rachel, this was her first day of Sunday School ever! I also had a secret yearning to get a photo for a new blog header. However the kids were in a silly mood. As I was looking at all the pictures last night I was struck by how Sam and Rachel had similar poses or expressions in many of the pictures. Check it out. I think they just might be siblings :)
Then as we were leaving church, a few kids discovered the apples on the apple tree. Sam took off to join them in picking apples. He carefully selected apples for me and Dave. I loved seeing all the kids hanging out, picking and eating apples. I just love our church community so much and I'm so happy that we are back in the swing of things with Sunday School and all the Fall activities starting up.