Tuesday, September 30, 2014

(Not So) Tiny Dancer

So I also started dance this fall. Ballet classes, to be exact. Except I don't get to wear pink (except on my feet) or pretend to be a butterfly. Since our instructor has taught us a small dance from Swan Lake, she calls us "dying swans" instead! But I love my classes just the same :)

Monday, September 29, 2014

Tiny Dancer

Meet Rachel.
She is excited about PINK!
She is excited about butterflies!
 And she is very excited about her dance class where
she gets to wear pink and pretend to be a butterfly.
For some of the time, at least.
Now if only she can learn to wear her skirt around her waist
instead of under her armpits :)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

There Are Some Weird (And Interesting) Fish Out There (And An American P.S.)

Following are some pictures of weird, interesting, or beautiful creatures we saw. I was half amazed and half weirded out by most of these :)

 Yawning eels
I thought octopi were cute. Then I saw this one and now I just think they're creepy. Too bad the picture I took where its head was squished against the glass didn't turn out as it only emphasized my "creepy" designation.

A seahorse-kind of thing
I discovered a new fondness for sting rays. I mean, how cute is this one? :)
The jellyfish were in a strangely lit area so it was hard to get good pictures of them.

Which is your favourite (or most creepy) creature?

PS. So a few of you were wondering why Dave needed a US passport. Dave's mom grew up in The States, and his parents were living there when Dave was born, thus Dave is an American citizen. However, they moved to Canada when Dave was three and he is also a Canadian citizen. For thirty years he has traveled to the US on his Canadian passport with no problems. This is the case for most people we know.

However, when we flew through Los Angeles on our way home from New Zealand, we had an encounter with a border guard who decided to enforce the rules. Technically, if you are a US citizen, even if you hold another citizenship, you need to enter the US on an American passport. Most border guards are not so stringent and will allow American-Canadians (I will speak from the Canadian point of view only), to enter the US on their Canadian passports. So Dave has never had a US passport.

Unfortunately, this encounter was made all the more stressful by the fact that we were extremely jet lagged and stressed out due to our messed up flights. (Cue Natasha having a panic attack at the airport after a very frustrated Dave was escorted into a separate room where I couldn't go with him.) After we had gotten some sleep, Dave decided that he would apply for a US passport to hopefully make future visits to The States a little easier. Since his parents had never received a proper birth certificate for him, nor ever applied for his Social Security Number, we've been dealing with a bureaucratic nightmare for a few months now.

So here is my Public Service Announcement for the year -- get your kids the documentation they need to prove their citizenship now! It's a huge pain in the neck if they're trying to obtain it when they're thirty. Please, save them the hassle :)

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Fish, And Other Creatures Of The Deep

As I alluded to last week, we had quite the day this past Friday. Dave had to go to the US Consulate in Toronto to apply for a passport, and since Sam had the day off from school, we decided to take advantage of the time and make a day of it. We stayed overnight with Donny and Marika and, after Dave's appointment, we all met up at Ripley's Aquarium Of Canada to check it out. Wow! It was so awesome!

It was so great, in fact, that we took almost two hundred pictures so I'm going to share them with you over the next couple of days. Don't worry! I chose my favourites to show you so you won't see more than one hundred and fifty thirty or so :)
Not only did we get to see the aquarium, but we traveled through Union Station and had a small picnic underneath the CN Tower.
There was a huge tank of fish and the plants in this tank were bobbing up and down. Some of the fish were swimming, but the fish on the right were just bobbing with the plants. It was so mesmerizing to watch.
Sam and Rachel were "petting" the fish as they swam by. It was a little odd to realize that all that separated us from the creatures and gallons of water was a thin layer of (hopefully reinforced!) glass.
This was a beautiful tank of sea plants. Or creatures. I can't remember which.
We then stepped onto the moving sidewalk which took us through "Dangerous Lagoon." I was a little freaked out to have all the creatures, including sharks!, swimming all around me. But it was also very cool
Another colourful display. It was seriously a photographer's dream to be here. Colourful, beautiful images everywhere you turned. (This would be why we ended up with 200 pictures!)
Dave checking out an unusual fish, which was just hanging out above his head.
Did I mention there were sharks? Just swimming around above my head?
After "Dangerous Lagoon," we took a break to pet some softshell crabs. I will be honest, about twenty of the two hundred pictures are me, with my hand in the water, but not actually petting the crab. I am not a big animal person and, while I wanted the experience of petting them, it took about eighteen pictures for me to actually build up my courage to do so!
One of the things I really like about the aquarium was how they made it really easy, and fun, for the kids to get up close and personal with the sea life. Like this viewing bubble where Sam got close up with a shark.
We watched the sting rays being fed and I decided that they were my new, favourite creatures. I mean, how cute are they? (There's a better, cuter picture of them coming tomorrow!)
I also loved how the designers made the Life Support Systems an integral, colourful part of the visit. There was a whole display teaching kids (and adults!) how the system keeps the animals healthy.
We ended our visit by petting some sting rays. Since they were super cute I wasn't as hesitant to pet them.
Sam, of course, refused to touch anything, so the sting rays swam really close to him. As did the sharks!

Dave and I quickly agreed that our visit was worth the price of admission, and while we won't be going back every week, we can't wait to go again.

And I'm just thankful none of the glass broke!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Classic Cars And Crazy Hockey

A few weeks ago I read that our local minor league hockey team, the Waterloo Siskins, was having their home opener. So we decided to check out the game. Completely unrelated, we also discovered that there was a classic car event happening not far from the arena, so we stopped in there first.
Sam and Rachel thought that Mater towing the old tow truck was hysterically funny! (see above right picture) Eventually we convinced them that the hockey game would be fun too and so we went to check it out.
First the team was acknowledged for winning the championship last year. A new banner was raised and it was all very exciting. And then the actual game began.

Sam basically sat in his seat, riveted to the action on the ice the entire time. Rachel took numerous bathroom breaks and, for the last ten minutes of play, Dave or I did laps with her around the track at the top of the stands.
I don't know if Sam was more intrigued with the actual game or the Zamboni. Both seemed equally exciting for him.
It was an action packed, tense game, which the Siskins won 10-2. At one point there were four or five penalties going on. It was a little insane!
This was a really good way to take in a live hockey game with our kids. It was entertaining enough that Dave and I really enjoyed it, and low key enough that Rachel's restlessness wasn't a problem. And of course, Sam was thrilled and can't wait to go back.

Go Siskins Go!!!