Monthly Archives: July 2012

Life is a beach.

What a great day. I needed a day like this to relax and unwind and let the kids run wild. My sister and I took the kids up to Winnipeg beach for the day. They had their ‘Boardwalk Days’ festival on this weekend so their downtown was closed and all set-up for a fair. We swam, had a picnic, played in the sand, played at a park, got henna done (Ammie got a butterfly, Maddie got some stars and Rhys got a scorpion…which he named ‘Scorpio’), had poutine, played at an arcade and went on a few rides. Wow, that’s a lot of fun for just one day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ooh-La-La Bonne Anniversaire Ammie!

What a great day we had at our Fancy Nancy Tea Party Birthday! The weather was just perfect and everything seemed to come together just splendidly.  I had a lot of fun putting this party together and decided to go-out with a bang since James and I have had the rule that the kids could have big birthdays until they’re 5 and then much smaller one’s from then-on (although I suppose now that we have another child on the way we’ll be starting all over!).

This theme was ridiculously easy to put together considering I just had to look around my own living space (and some of my mom’s) and pull from our own decorating. The menu was also a no-brainer. What do you serve at a tea party? Well, you serve pink lemonade,  (iced) tea, cucumber sandwiches, pretty jelly-roll pinwheels, imperial cookies and pink cupcakes (and various other pink treats like jellybeans, cotton candy and pink candy corn)!

Here is a glimpse of what the party looked like:

We had a table set-up for the tea. My mother-in-law let us use Ammie’s great-grandmothers tea set. You should have seen Ammie’s reactions while the two of use were un-packing these, her eyes just kept getting bigger and bigger…everything was so pretty! The fun part about this was allowing everyone to choose their favourite pattern.

I didn’t snap a good picture of it, but I had a little kids table set-up to do all of the hair, make-up and nails, which was a huge hit. What little girl doesn’t want to sit and get all decorated!?

I had a little Fancy Nancy reading corner set-up in the back corner of the yard (in the shade). Amelia brought her two favourite stuffed animals, Princess Cupcake and Jo-Jo, who were also dressed-up.

Then we had the food table (the most important part of a party, if you ask me). I have a frame that I recently painted ‘Cherry Blossom Pink’ that will be going in Amelia’s room that I thought would look nice hung above the table.

I also had a chandelier that I hung-up over the other side of the table and a pretty frame with a picture of Amelia in it. Before getting to my mom’s house I stopped at Safeway and picked-up a bunch of flowers, all in pinks, whites and purples. You have to have flowers at a tea party!

My friend Candice made a b-e-a-utiful sign for the occasion. I knew that I wouldn’t have time and all of my craft supplies available to make it myself, so I outsourced the job. I’m so happy that I did because she went above and beyond what I would have done. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Fancy Nancy books, she used the same fonts and letters that are on the covers of the books!

Thanks Candice!

And here are all of the lovely ladies wearing their crowns, jewellery, make-up and boas! What a fancy bunch.

As Amelia was getting tucked into bed last night, wearing her new Fancy Nancy pj’s, I asked her what her favourite part of the fun-filled day was, she replied, “That all of my friends were there!” I couldn’t agree more. You can make everything as posh and dainty and fancy as you want, but it’s not going to be any fun unless you add friends and family!

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Mag-NEAT-o.

Today’s learning activity is brought to you by the letter M!

Thanks to a morning trip to Toad Hall Toys with their Grandpa, my kids spent the afternoon learning all about, you guessed it, magnets!

The kit came with a number of different science experiments to try out. With it you make little cars and boats and a fishing line (just to name a few) to learn about magnetic forces acting at a distance, the poles and how they attract and repel, and how magnetic materials can become temporary magnets. Pretty cool stuff!

My favourite experiment was the magnetic sculpture (surprise surprise) in which we took one of the ‘super magnets’, used the metal screw nuts and built works of art!

All-in-all there were 10 experiments that were listed, each more fun than the last…and that doesn’t even include all of the free-play that will be had with this kit. Rhys is currently working on building the Eiffel Tower.

Who knew magnets could be so much fun?

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She Sells Seashells.

Today’s learning activity is brought to you by the letter S!

Are your kids bored with summer already? Rhys told me yesterday that he wanted school to start today. Oi! We’ve got another month and a half to go! I have the kids doing some reading (we’ve been visiting our library quite a bit), book reports, art journals and Rhys is working on a grade 2 math book, but they still have days where they lose their interest and start to go stir crazy.

 The kids decided they wanted to explore sea shells today. It’s amazing how kids can be enthralled with simple nature items if you pair them with a little bit of guided learning. Rhys and Amelia thoroughly enjoyed exploring each and every shell (as well as some rocks, feathers and a couple pine cones).  I let them take some time just turning them around in their hands before I sat down and had them  look at the shells in different ways.

What colours do you see?

What shapes can you find?

What are the different ways we can sort them? Big, small, similar, broken, shiny, smooth?

What do they feel like in your hands?

Which one is your favourite?

When they became slightly bored with just looking at them I brought out some paper and got them to trace and draw some of their favourites.

Afterwards, we ended with a game of ‘Where’s That Rock?’ in which we lined-up 4, 5 and then 6 seashells and hid a little pebble underneath one of them. The kids took turns changing the location of the rock and order of the shells to try to stump one another. As it turns out, Amelia was surprisingly really good at getting it right on her first guess (which irritated Rhys like no other)!

The seashells held the kids attention for quite some time, enough time for me to start thinking about what else I can dig-up around the house or yard that they can learn about and explore.

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Bump.

Baby bump. 22 weeks.

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Complications.

I can now say for certain that it is extremely awkward to receive bad news in a public place. Not to say that it’s ever a nice thing to get bad news, but there are more ideal locations than the mall or a Starbucks.

I got a call from my midwife this morning as I was sitting outside of a Starbucks at a mall. Double wham-y. I listened carefully as she read-out my ultrasound report, trying to hear her over the chatter of my kids and mom. I began writing things down because I knew I’d forget exactly what she’d said and the terms she had used.

When I got off the phone with her I quickly collected my things and choked back my tears as I went inside to locate the kids and my mom, who had ventured to a nearby store. As I walked over my composure rapidly crumbled and my watery eyes and quivering chin turned into streams of running tears and broken words and sentences. We went over to a bench and I relayed, between sobs, what the midwife had said. There could be complications…

Complications…

Com.pli.cations.

The news every expectant mother hopes to never have to hear. Turns out I heard it today, at a Starbucks, in a mall, with people walking by and watching me come undone with the thought of what this means for our baby, for us. It was awkward but I suppose you get to a point where it doesn’t matter because you’re trying to wrap your mind around what you are hearing.

There is a possibility that our baby could have some heart issues which could be a marker for potential genetic disorders (or it could just be issues with its heart). There were a few things on the ultrasound that didn’t look right so I need to go to genetics to have a fetal assessment done and we will have more answers given to us at that appointment, or they’ll give us the all-clear and say it was nothing or that baby was originally in a bad position or that things evened-out and grew properly. Of course we are praying that it’s nothing and that baby will get a clean bill of health, but it’s hard not to worry when there is a list of things that looked ‘wrong’ and their recommendation is for you to get an amnio and a genetic assessment done.

If you are the praying type I would ask that you join with James and I this next week as we anxiously wait to hear about our appointment and our little one’s health.

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Other Side of the Tracks.

James and I like to joke that we grew-up on opposite sides of the tracks because, well, we did. We see eye-to-eye on nearly everything (faith, finances, parenting, our relationship, etc.) but it’s interesting how different the paths were that lead us to this point.

James grew-up in Elmwood right on Bronx in a tiny little house. He attended a community elementary school (Prince Edward) with some fairly underprivileged kids. I, on the other hand, grew-up in Charleswood and attended a private school for my entire education.   My family regularly went on vacations to places like Mexico and spent every summer in Penticton, B.C. stuffing our faces with fresh peaches, learning how to work a pottery wheel with my Grandmother and slowly slipping down the canal on an inner-tube. James can count on one hand how many times he’s been on an air plane, I think I lost count when I was 7. He grew-up listening to his dad play cheesy old gospel records while Mozart and Vivaldi were common morning tunes floating around our home. My parents loved to entertain and would often have nice dinner parties with people who, from my 4 foot perspective, must have been very important decked-out in their stylish 80’s sequins, shoulder pads and fur coats. There’s a story that one of my mom’s friends tells about how my sister and I were over playing with her kids one day when we were asked what we’d like to have to drink. She was expecting an answer like “milk”, or “water” but instead one of us politely chirped-up and said, “Perrier and orange juice please”. There also a story that my mother-in-law tells about how a she let a construction worker take little Jamie for a ride in his front-end loader to 7-11 for a slurpee.

James learned how to fish in a canoe on the rivers of Manitoba and I learned how to sail a boat in the British Virgin Islands. Two polar opposite upbringings (one not better than the other) and yet, by God’s grace, we’ve somehow come together and met in the middle to forge our own way of life with this family that we’ve been given.

I suppose that I’m thinking about all of this because we’ve moved back into Elmwood after having looked at buying houses in River Heights (and, quite honestly, we were hoping to find one simply to keep our kids at the school they were attending).

Our first morning back I woke-up before everyone else and rummaged through a few boxes to find our coffee pot not realizing that we hadn’t picked-up cream for a few days. I quietly stole out of the house and made my way to the corner store to buy some when I was struck by how happy I was to be back in this neighbourhood. The sun was poking through the houses, the grass was glistening with the new dew, birds were flitting around and the streets were a familiar sight. I knew that this person lived there, that house had a friendly shaggy dog, that other house always gets decked-out for Halloween, that guy walks his dog between 7 and 8pm every day. After being in a community for, going on, 5 years you get to know the little quirks and nuances of it’s residents and it’s rhythm. You know what each changing season brings to life in your little corner of the world. I was surprised by how at-home I felt. I let out a deep-sigh of relief, allowed the months of stress to slip off my back and thought to myself, “Ah, we’re back. All is well.”

Growing-up I would never have driven down in this part of our city and thought that one day I would be happy to raise my kids on the streets of Elmwood, but it’s where I find myself today. I’m glad to be back here, it feels like this is the side of the tracks that we are supposed to be on for this stage of our lives.

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