Friday, June 28, 2013

School's Out

Ten months ago, Callie and I walked across the school yard for her first day of Kindergarten.  That playground that was so intimidating with four hundred kids running and shrieking isn't so scary anymore.  I always know exactly where to look for her in the sea of school children.  My girl has a handful of blisters and calluses which suggests she spends a fair bit of time swinging on the monkey bars.

A year ago, Jon and I had to make a decision about where Callie would go to school.  At the time it felt like the most important decision we've ever had to make.  We were worried about making a wrong choice and screwing everything up for her at five years old.  What if she doesn't like school, what if she doesn't fit in, what if she struggles with learning, what if she's not a good listener, what if I didn't read to her enough, what if I didn't prepare her enough, what if, what if, what if....

We choose to enroll Callie in the French Immersion Program.  That means her entire day was instructed in French.  Since neither Jon nor I speak French beyond translating the odd cereal box, I think our apprehensiveness was justified.  Our evenings were spent learning and pronouncing vocabulary, counting en francais, and watching French cartoons.  I know very little about second language learning but I will say that it is pretty neat to see our little sponge soaking it all up.  

Despite all our worrying, our hesitations, and our apprehensiveness, I'd say things turned out pretty good.  Big sister basically rocked this Kindergarten thing...

Of course it helped that Callie had an amazing teacher who she loved.  Madame is the kind of person who genuinely loves kids... even other people's kids.  I'm a firm believer of the idea that people rarely remember what you say but they never forget how you made them feel.  How lucky we are that Callie felt loved and safe, listened to and taken care of.  She felt special, as if Madame had chosen her to be in her class.  Merci Madame for easing our worries and what ifs.

I have to give a shout out to my friend, colleague and music teacher extraordinare, Mrs. Smith.  This girl was adamant that she wasn't going to take music lessons next year.  But as of lately, she's been drawing these ta's and ti ti's and Mr. Squigglypants everywhere. 

    The boot room is still loud but there are no more tears, just friends and smiling faces...

    Outstanding Academic Achievement winners get pick their celebratory lunch!

I know it's just Kindergarten, it's not even mandatory to attend in our province, but we are so proud of our girl.  Yesterday was Grad night in our town and I'm scared I'm going to blink and it will be her blond curls under that cap and gown.  We are all looking forward to slowing down the pace around here.  With school all wrapped up it's time to bring on summer.  We will start checking things off our summer to-do list first thing tomorrow.  Good Nighty. 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Hodge Podge

This is our last week of structure and routine before summer vacation officially begins.  We have been mentally adding things to our summer to-do list but haven't put any of it on paper yet.  It's hard not to get too far ahead of yourself at this time of year.  There is still a full five days to get through before shifting down into low gear.  

Our Alberta family and friends are soaked.  Seeing the flooded towns and cities on the news is unbelievable.  It makes me think about how little power and control we really have in the world.  There are things bigger than us causing us to be humbled.   

These photos were taken last week.  Before our own rains began.  We're not anticipating anything quite like Calgary but it does look like we will be waterlogged as we countdown the days to our holidays.

The swing set has been repurposed to accommodate the monkey we have in the family.  Lately this girl has been hanging and swinging on anything she can reach.  Her hands are full of blisters but that doesn't seem to slow her down. A few band aids and she's good to go.

I finally broke down and bought her this Angry Birds hat that she LOVED so much.  You never know when they just have to have something if its for real or if it's just going to get swallowed up in all their other stuff that they just had to have.  So far this hat has been a permanent fixture on her head.

Building forts has been the thing to do lately.  The girls asked if they could sleep overnight in their forts in the living room.  Why not?  I figured they would both be back in their beds before morning but Callie didn't budge all night.  She slept soundly underneath blankets draped over chairs lying on top of a padded, vinyl ottoman cover with no sheet.

Lexi quickly gave up trying to fall asleep in her fort choosing a comfortable bed instead.  But she did insist on keeping her boots on.  Sweet dreams my little cowgirl.

Five more days.  Rain, rain go away!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

A Mix of Sun and Rain

When Callie asked me what I wanted for my birthday this year I said, "I want two things.  No crying and I want the sun to shine".  She pulled through with the no crying but as for the sunshine, I'd have to wait.  

People always ask if you feel any older.  I'm not sure what thirty-eight is supposed to feel like but I do feel great.  Do I feel older than thirty-seven? No, not really.  Do I feel older than twenty-seven?  Definitely yes. And by older I mean I prefer my shorts a little longer and my necklines a little higher.  I prefer close friends and family over thumping night clubs.  I see more early mornings than I have late nights.  And I do more in a day than I ever thought was possible just ten year ago.  I think aging is simply just a change in preferences and perspective.

The mix of sun and rain this weekend had us in and out, in and out, changing clothes, swapping shoes for boots then boots for flip flops, and finally lathering on sunscreen for a beautiful Father's Day afternoon.

It was a quiet Sunday at home with our little family.  The girls dragged their dad out of bed because they were excited to show him the things they made for him.

Here's just a few of dad's treasures...

Callie's card from school says her dad likes hamburgers and likes to shop at Walmart.  I could agree with the hamburgers but like is a pretty strong word when it comes to shopping at Walmart.  He generally tries to avoid shopping.

And Lexi, she says her dad likes to eat salad and he likes to shop at the grocery store.  And what girl doesn't love a dad who takes her for ice cream?

This dad loves his girls more than hamburgers, salad, and shopping combined!  Happy Father's Day.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

More Good Things to Come

Tonight the tub had a ring of dirt around it after the girls were done.  We scrubbed feet and fingernails and we washed away a weekends worth of exploring a new frontier...aka a campground we have never been to before.

The weekdays are a basically getting in the way of summer holidays right now.  But we've got some business to wrap up before the official start of summer.  This girl has just over two weeks left of kindergarten...

 ...and little sister will soon have a year of preschool under her belt.  These milestones are going to be in need of some reflection and some moaning about time going by too fast.

But time stood still at this campground.  With no power and no cell service, the time of day is judged by the location of the sun, pangs of hunger from the belly, or when the tired grouchies come out of little campers.

Campfire s'mores, mosquito bites and midnight sunsets.  All signs of more good things to come.
Cheers to a good week ahead.

Sunday, June 2, 2013


This week has had a lot of parenting challenges. Some major six year old crises have occurred.  The headlines would read something like, " Ponytails Not in the Right Spot Results in Nuclear Meltdown", "A Broken Shoe Creates Havoc Before Dinner", "Twenty-five Pairs of Shorts and None of Them Feel Right"... 
And so you know, this is not an finite list.

I don't want to go into a "this parenting thing is hard" rant because that's a given.  And by the time I sit down to write, the girls are tucked into bed and feelings have softened to the point of being over it.  I don't think I was ever disillusioned to think the task of raising the next generation was going to be a cakewalk.  I believed other people when they told their trials and tribulations.

What I didn't realize was that all the no's, and non -compliance, the arguing and meltdowns are necessary for growth.  When your patience gets pushed to its limit it's like exercising your muscles to exhaustion. In the moment you can't take anymore but the next day your muscle is toned and stronger.  The next day your patience is refueled and stronger.

And while the muscles and patience are recovering, there's plenty of time for forgiveness and I'm sorries.  Promises to do better and try harder.  All necessary for our growth as humans.  The thing about dropping pictures into a post like this is looking back at smiling faces and peaceful moments. A reminder that the tough moments do not make up the majority.  That life is good and calm and peaceful.

I don't usually like to dwell on these "rough" moments.  Rough in quotations because my rough day is meager in comparison to others truly "rough" days. Usually using this comparison is helpful to keep us out of the poor me, bad day slump.  When you go through the list of gratitudes... we have our health, our family, food to eat, shelter from the know it could always be worse.  But this comparison can be as dangerous as other comparisons we make between our lives and others.  Because there is a truth when we acknowledge our feelings.  To say, this moment was tough,  my patience was lost somewhere after the sixth pair of shorts that didn't feel right, the second attempt at hair ponies and the impromptu trip to Wal-Mart scouring the shelves looking for any pair of shoes that would meet the never ending criteria of a six year old. This is truth.

Happy 90th Birthday Grandma Betty.
What is great about having only meager rough moments in one's day is that recovery is quick and it feels good.  Talks are had, hugs are given, and feelings are repaired.  And we've grown.