Saturday, June 27, 2015

I hope 'owl' see you again!

We’ve been having a major heat wave here lately.  To the point that people from Alberta as well as Ontario have been telling me this is hotter than what they’re used to (and I always thought both those provinces had much hotter summer temps than us).  It’s just that it’s gone on for such a long stretch.  We had a very small amount of rain maybe a week or two ago and I was so not used to rain anymore that I literally felt like I didn’t know what to do!  It’s crazy, because usually in June we’d have a fair bit of rain, but we had little rain in May AND June this month, and as far as I know there’s no end of this heat in sight.

It’s been great in some ways, because we’ve been using the yard a ton and getting out to the park a lot.  I love feeling like we’re not stuck indoors due to rain, we have way more than our fair share of rain most of the time.  But this heat is getting brutal, and today felt so warm that it was hard to be outside at all.  Inside is hot, too, and right now I’m upstairs which is an inferno.  But outside was so freaking hot that when James and I were out on a little afternoon date, it just felt uncomfortable to do anything that involved being outside.

We went for a bit of a hike (after getting some authentic pizzas and eating them at a little park in the shade) and ended up going into a forested area.  We were heading back out of the little trail when we heard a loud HOOT, HOOOOOOOOT! from a little ways away from us and then spotted a white and grey coloured owl in a tree VERY close to where we were standing.  After admiring that one for a while, we looked back because it kept looking in one direction and then made this sort of meowing noise, and it turned out there was another of the same type of owl in another nearby tree!  It was such a cool experience to see them.  I LOVE owls.  I find them mesmerizing.  I told James I must have a thing for big eyed birds, because my favourite animal is the ostrich, and now I’m thinking my 2nd fave is the owl.  So cute, and just so rare to see like that.  I definitely want to go back there with the kids sometime and hopefully spot them again!

A graduation surprise party

Last Wednesday was Andrew’s Kindergarten graduation.  My ‘baby boy’ is going into Grade One in the fall, how did that happen so fast?!  Where did this past year go?!!  It’s crazy to think about.  It literally feels like yesterday that we were checking out the school and we weren’t even sure if it was where we wanted Andrew to go, and now he’s done his whole first year and I don’t worry for one second that it was the wrong place for him to be, because it was a completely positive first year experience.  I love his school and all the staff, I couldn’t imagine not having got to know the people that we did this school year.

James and I went to the ceremony while my mom stayed with the girls, since they would be napping at least through part of it.  The ceremony was nice, just done in the classroom so fairly low key.  I had felt teary beforehand but didn’t have tears during the ceremony.  It was just really cute watching the kids go up when their name was called, and have the teacher tell us how they answered two questions: One thing you learned in Kindergarten, and What do you want to be when you grow up.  Andrew’s answers were: That it takes 3 days to get a cold after you’ve got the germs from someone (LOL) and Robotic Engineer.  (He’s wanted to be a ‘robot builder’ since he was 3!)

After the diplomas were given out (which my mom did the writing for!) the teacher put on a slideshow she’d made of the year.  It was really sweet, and I did feel a bit emotional watching it, because you could really see how all the kids have grown over the year.  I spent a fair bit of time with the kids helping out and I feel like they’re all comfortable around me and I got to know them a bit, and their different personalities.  So it was sad to realize that it won’t be the same next year, and some of the kids are moving so we might never see them again.  

After the slideshow we hung around and took pictures and the kids each had a little piece of cake, and then Andrew and I went around and got some of the other teachers in the school to sign his yearbook before we went home.  

I should mention that in the morning we had gone around and handed out the little gifts we made for all the teachers.  I told Andrew when we were planning what to get for his own teacher, that if there were any others he wanted to give something to as a thank you, we would come up with a cute little gift for them.  It turned out that with his teacher included, there were TWELVE staff members that he wanted to give to!!  So I turned to Pinterest for ideas, and then put my own spin on what I liked.  I got a few packages of these little brown paper gift bags, and added a packet of seeds for flowers as well as a really cute sunflower made with burlap from the dollar store (they came in bunches of 3 so I just cut each flower off and each bag had one).  Then I printed labels for the front of the bags that said, ‘Thank you for helping me grow this year!’ and Andrew signed his name underneath.  He added a special note to the main recess and lunch monitor, who he ADORES, (and she gave him a card and wrote me a letter that DID get me choked up, I even cried a bit when I read it to James later, it was so heartfelt!) and for his teacher we added a dollar store gift card (so she can buy some school supplies for her next class) and Andrew picked out a pretty necklace for her at the mall.  Also from Pinterest I found a sheet that asks a bunch of questions about what he’ll miss about his teacher and what he learned etc, and he filled it out and drew a little picture of her.  It was super cute, and she loved it, and all the other staff were charmed by his little self, because he seriously is a little Mr. Charming!  The girls also helped hand out the gifts, and they of course were a big hit, too!

When we got home Andrew was SOOOO over the moon excited, because we threw him his very first ever SURPRISE PARTY!  It was very low key as it just involved us and my parents, but he was completely OK with that.  He had a Spiderman helium balloon waiting for him, as well as about 15 regular balloons all over the living room, and some presents, a cake, and yummy nibblies.  He was SO happy.  I realized that I had never kept a party secret from him before, any time we’ve celebrated anything he’s always known about it in advance.  So this was an extra special party because he was completely taken by surprised.  It was really sweet, I was happy to honour him because he’s come so far in the past year, and it definitely felt worth celebrating.  I know some people are against the whole ‘Kindergarten graduation’ thing, but personally I think it’s a big milestone, because for a lot of kids it really is the first introduction to school, and being that it’s full time it’s a pretty big transition.

It was a great day.  There were a few hitches along the way but I’ll save that for a future ‘blooper’ post…!!!

Father's Day weekend

I’ve been so bad about writing things down lately, I HAVE to change that…

Last Friday (not yesterday!) Andrew gave James an early Father’s Day card, to let him know that on Saturday (the day before Father’s Day) they’d be going to see Marvel Live at the Pacific Coliseum.  Andrew and I got the tickets for it all the way back in January so it was exciting to finally be giving the gift.  They went and had a great time together.  The show sounded really awesome, with lots of stunts and tons of fire and explosions (Andrew was very excited when telling me, ‘The fire was actual REAL fire, too, Mommy, it wasn’t fake!’)  It was a perfect Father/Son thing to do to celebrate!  

While they were at the show I struggled to get the girls to nap, finally got them down and then my aunt and uncle came over for a little visit.  I rarely ever get to chat with them without the interruption of the kids, so it was nice to be able to sit outside with a glass of wine and just talk.  I had to wake Margaret and Emily up to see them before they left, though, because I’d promised them they’d see them and I knew how disappointed they’d be if they missed out on a bit of a visit.

It wasn’t long after that James texted to say they were on their way home.  The girls and I picked them up along the way and we went to Go Thai in New West for supper.  We almost never go to a restaurant with all 3 kids (the girls have only been to restaurants maybe a handful of times, total!) but we went for it, and Go Thai was a good choice in that we were able to sit outside, and no one else was out there.  So we didn’t have to be overly concerned about the noise the kids made (although of course we do try to teach them good table manners!)  It went OK, but only Andrew would eat any of the food, and it felt quite exhausting in all honesty.  Aside from the sheer cost of eating out for a family of 5, I also remembered why we almost never take them to restaurants.  It’s so much work!  But the food was good, and from there we just had a short trek down the street to Hume Park.

We checked out the new water park, which Emily in particular LOVED, although after playing on the regular playground Andrew and Margaret enjoyed it, too.  It’s just that Emily can hold her attention on one thing for a good chunk of time, so she can be content wherever she’s at.  The other two tend to bounce from one thing to the next a lot.  It’s something I want to work on with them...In part it’s just who they are, their personalities being quite similar it’s not surprising they’re both like that!  But I also think it’s something they could work on so they could have more focus.  It would definitely make things a lot less complicated for me if they could do an activity for more than a few minutes at a time!!  But that’s a whole other blog post…!!  It was a fun, somewhat spontaneous trip to the park, and I’m glad we went.  

On Father’s Day when I got up I got the kids sorted and took them over to my parents’ house so we could see my dad.  We had a nice visit there, with muffins and scones and strawberries for breakfast.  James got to have about an hour and a half to himself, and when we got home we had something more to eat and then the girls went for their nap and Andrew and I worked on getting his teachers’ end of year gifts prepared.  (As a side note, I’m SO happy with how they turned out, I got the idea from Pinterest but put my own spin on it and I actually feel like the end product was Pinterest worthy itself, which is something I pretty much NEVER say about my Pinterest attempts, sadly!)  

After the girls’ nap we took the kids to a park with a small zip line and fairly big playground.  It turned out to be a great choice.  There was a little girl there who was from another country and the mom said a few times, ‘We don’t speak any English!’ (which I literally think is about the only English she could say!) but the little girl was OBSESSED with Margaret and followed her around everywhere and would clap in her face and when Margaret clapped back she would do this gleeful little laugh.  It was SO CUTE.  Everything Margaret did, this girl wanted to do, too, and I like that because Margaret is a twin, she’s used to having a sidekick, so she lapped it right up!  We had a little picnic-snack there, and then headed home.  It wasn’t the most relaxing Father’s Day but James enjoyed it, and it was nice to have some family time together.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Better late than never!

(Written on June 18th…)

Last Saturday we had good intentions and had hoped to get the kids out but decided instead to just stick close to home.  I did a bit of a grocery shop, which I don’t tend to do on the weekend usually but we were running low on quite a few things.  We had my parents over for dinner that night and spent a lot of time in the backyard.

On Sunday we decided to cross something off our Summer Bucket List.  We took the kids to New Brighton Park.  We’ve gone past the park quite a few times and tried to go once last year but parking was insane and we had to go somewhere else.  We left early and got there by 10am, and managed to get a parking spot but I think within another half an hour there would have been none.  I don’t know if they don’t allot much parking to prevent the park from getting overcrowded or what, but despite the full parking lots, it really didn’t feel busy.  The kids enjoyed the playground, and then we took them to the outdoor pool for a while, which they all absolutely loved.  You have to ‘keep within arm’s reach’ of your children the entire time and while of course with the girls we have to anyway because they’re not that used to being in the water, it was a bit stressful because they want to do separate things and then Andrew wants attention as well, of course.  It’ll be a little easier next year I’m sure, but it was fun enough that we plan to go back again in the summer.

After some swim time, we got changed and went and set up a picnic near the playground so the kids could go off and play if they wanted, and come back for snacks as needed.  They still needed our help a few times but it worked out pretty well.  From there we checked out the beach, where we saw a giant purple starfish hanging out on a rock, and after a little walk we decided it was time to head home.  We’d hoped to get the kids all sleeping on the way, so we could maybe go for a drive and just ‘relax’ but only Andrew slept in the car...for no longer than 5 minutes, and then announced, ‘Well, I had my nap, and I’m feeling energized!  LOL


When the girls went for their nap (which took a crazy long time to get them to do, considering how tired we’d have thought they’d have been), I spent some time with Andrew and sat outside in the sun for a bit, and James spent some time washing our bikes.  When he was done I took mine out for a little spin.  I almost never get the opportunity to ride my bike, but whenever I’m on it I remember how much fun it is to cycle.  After I rode around the block for a few minutes, I came back and James got Andrew’s bike out.  He’s kind of struggled with learning how to ride a bike, in part because the one we got him turned out to be a bit of a lemon (even though it was not cheap) and also because he doesn’t have a whole lot of patience (admittedly, he gets that from me!)  But because he’s a bit bigger now, or maybe because he’s been motivated by seeing some of his friends from school riding their bikes, he took to it much better this time.  And he actually went for a decent length bike ride with James.  Father/son cycling time, something James has been looking forward to for years!  Andrew still has the training wheels on but they’re jacked up so that he really does have to work on balancing.  I think they training wheels should be coming off after a few more practice sessions.  If we were able to get him out on his bike every night he’d be doing awesome but the reality is it just doesn’t happen as much as we’d like.

The weekend ended up being as relaxing as it could be with the kids.  It was tiring, but fun, and we all managed a little time in the sun and got a few things done that we’d hoped to.  I love that we have so many more summery weekends to look forward to.  


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