Thursday, October 19, 2017

Image result for chris de burgh better world tour

Okay, so I don't have much for photos as there was no flash photography allowed and I didn't jump into the aisle when he went from one end of the auditorium to the other hugging women in red dresses, but last night I got to see Chris de Burgh live in concert in Calgary.  Along with Elton John (whom I also saw in concert in Calgary years ago) he's one of the few performers I've always wanted to see perform live.  And the show was fantastic - all the best songs from the greatest hits album that I've been listening to for 25 years in addition to some newer stuff. Plus I got to go with Marla, whom I haven't seen for way too long and that was just as awesome.  And now we get to hang out for another day before I fly back to Victoria just in time for the weekend.   

Saturday, October 14, 2017

It was Thanksgiving last weekend, three days of turkey and sunshine.  We visited the park, rode bike, went to the pool, pulled the tomato plants and let the chickens into the garden. Danika made a batch of gingerbread pumpkins and ghosts which were quickly devoured (not quite the right holiday shapes, but we didn't have a turkey cookie cutter!). And then, after a long weekend, it was a short week - short but somehow exceedingly busy.  The kids had upcoming Scout/Girl Guide campouts so they needed to be outfitted in rain gear, plus it was time for popcorn and cookie door to door sales (we have lovely neighbours but I'm sure they don't want us knocking on their door again any time soon!). Daniel and I attended our first parent-teacher meeting at the middle school.  Logan's teacher started by saying, "You've got a great kid.  I really like Logan.  He's well-balanced, participates in class, is confident without being cocky, is adjusting really well to being in a new school." Mr. Pask is an enthusiastic and positive guy - I'm sure he told every parent he likes their kid.  Still, it's nice to hear.  Logan is a great kid.  And I remind myself to cut him a bit of slack now and then when he's left his backpack in the middle of the doorway yet again or I've reminded him for what feels like the fourteenth time to get in the shower.  Why not just pick the backpack up and then listen to what he's excited to tell me? Isn't that what I really want to hear about?

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Danika turned 9 on September 20 - it was a Wednesday this year, which made no sense to her.  Between leap years and Pro-D days, she apparently has no memory of having to attend school on her birthday.  There was still cake and presents and birthday "pasghetti", and a rousing rendition of happy birthday over the phone from the Winnipeg Knutsons.  And now, at this very moment, her birthday party sleepover is in full swing (at 10:19 pm you'd think it might be winding down, but that doesn't seem to be the case!). She and I and 3 of her friends are in a suite at the Parkside hotel downtown - I'd purchased a night at the hotel in a charity auction and this seemed a good time to redeem it.  We checked in, the girls exclaimed over the fancy facilities, they went swimming, we made pizza and ice cream sundaes, they played a board game, danced to some Mamma Mia songs, and now they are watching a movie (Hotel Transylvania 2) all snuggled into the king size bed in the master suite. 
Danika seems heavier and her legs look longer when she runs these days, so we took some measurements - she's 130 cm tall (51 inches) and 62 lbs (she must have gained 8 lbs this year, no wonder she feels heavier if I piggy back her).  Her feet are a size 2, and she's wearing a size 7/8.  While many of her friends are still taller, the difference is no longer so marked.  She spends more time these days putting outfits together, although none of them are particularly frilly and she remains a dedicated fan of the legging.  She also spends a great deal of time on various art and craft activities, and while she likes to try new things, her stand-by probably remains drawing with Sharpies (such an amazing product).  Although she starts out quiet, she can quickly become as giggly and silly as any other 9 year old girl.  She gets along well with other kids, although she cultivates close friendships with just a special few.  She has very firm ideas and I will probably never win an argument with her (I've heard my own mother make that very same remark of me...) and she can become unreasonable and difficult especially when she's tired, but she can also be absolutely delightful and sweet and funny. Her stuffy collection still takes up a large corner of her room - literally.  From time to time she weeds a few out but just as quickly new ones seem to take their place.  Still, Teddie remains the most beloved, wrapped tight in her arms each night.  She loves games and cards as well, but isn't keen on many other toys.  The Lego phase seems over and Barbies, dolls and the like never held much interest.  She does like video games, especially the ones where you earn points to "purchase" more of whatever the game is about (e.g. to build a bigger farm, or city, or pet accessories). She's been completely off dairy for over a year now and that's made a big difference in her mood - turns out kids are a lot happier when they are not in chronic pain.  That might account for some of the growth spurt if she could just broaden her palate to encompass a few fruits and veggies....Okay.  It's 11:30.  Movie's over, four sets of teeth are brushed, spots on the bed have been claimed, they've all taken turns reading bed time stories - any bets on how much longer they can keep each other awake?

Postscript - turns out until about 1:00 am.  And then one of them went to the bathroom and woke the rest up around 7.  There was time for games and a trip to the pool before we had bagels and left over pizza and checked out.  And then it was home, and a nap!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

This is what I heard, as Logan was getting ready to head off to school on his bike one morning last week “School is amazing, I love school – well, middle school at least”.  And what’s not to love? He’s got band, orchestra, strings, woodshop, gym, and maybe a little math and science in there somewhere.  The lunch program started this week, which means two days a week of Subway and wraps/Booster Juice smoothies (that’s 2 days a week when I don’t have to figure out what to pack!!).  Life right now is good.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

1st day - grades 6 and 4

The school year is underway and week 2 is already drawing to a close.  After a few days on tenterhooks, Danika finally found out last Friday that she had been assigned to a grade 4/5 split class with Mesdames Coons and Taylor.  She really likes the teachers (yay) and seems to be okay with the fact that her close friends are all in other classes.  We discussed that her Grade 3 teacher felt she would do better in a 4/5 split as opposed to a 3/4 split, given her ability to focus on schoolwork and reading/writing skills (there are no straight grade 4 classes this year).  She’s enrolled in an after school art program at Cedar Hill Rec on Mondays, is planning to sign up for cross-country running again, and starts Girl Guides next week. That should keep her out of trouble.  Logan started at Cedar Hill Middle School – how can it be that he’s in middle school, and I still feel like I should be buckling him into his seatbelt?! It was meet the teacher night yesterday – we zoomed back to the school after martial arts class.  He totally hit the jackpot with his grade 6 teacher – Mr. Pask is enthusiastic and energetic and apparently all about engaging kids and helping them to find their passions.  In addition to a teacher he likes, Logan was also excited to show me his locker, complete with combination lock (it was still tidy!). Long and McQuade was onsite to rent instruments out to students – Logan is signed up to play the violin in the intermediate strings/orchestra program and he is also playing the tenor sax in the band program.  Thankfully, he’s been allocated a second tenor sax to keep at the school so he doesn’t have to transport that monster horn back and forth twice a week.  His first band class is today and the current band teacher’s instrument of choice is the sax so he should be in good hands.  Hopefully the first thing he learns is how to fit all of the pieces together to play it!  

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Gambling with Grandma Alice

On the way out to Mamma Mia

Fishing with Grandpa and Uncle Lee
Canada 150 chairs at Lower Fort Garry

Shannan, Chris, Logan -zipping down
The last two weeks of summer were spent in Manitoba, splitting our time between Dauphin and Winnipeg.  We made day trips to lakes around Dauphin, kayaking and tubing behind Grandpa’s boat.  There were also several fishing expeditions and Logan and Danika were both able to reel in numerous walleyes from the Winnipegosis river, which Grandma fried up for supper.  Grandpa took the kids out on the quad on the gravel roads near his old farm, where they took turns driving and wandered through an old abandoned house next to one of the fields.  Christopher and Grace were able to spend most of the trip with us, giving the cousins lots of time together.  In the evenings, Grandpa set up targets in the backyard and the boys took turns shooting Uncle Shane’s old pellet gun.  Uncle Lee was visiting from Denver, and he instructed the boys in the art of betting on shots – by the end of the visit each boy was up several dollars, although there may have been some strategic doubling up on Uncle Lee’s part.  The gambling wasn’t limited to the back yard however – the kids also learned to play “31” for quarters, a card game that we spent countless hours playing at family gatherings growing up.  Danika and Grace were particularly interested, spending a great deal of time practicing, using rainbow loom bands rather than coins.  In Winnipeg, the girls donned party dresses and went out to supper and the closing performance of “Mamma Mia” at Rainbow Stage – it was really well done and we all came home humming ABBA tunes, although some of the highly suggestive dance routines had the girls’ eyes popping wide open! There was also a trip to the trampoline gym (one of the usual haunts), a visit to historic Lower Fort Garry (the kids were not so impressed), and a trip to Adrenaline.  The latter was a new adventure for us; it’s a rope course and zip line built in a behemoth 55 foot outdoor structure on the open prairie (yes, that means climbers are completely exposed to the gale force prairie winds).  Shane and I took the kids up and they all had a fabulous time, conquering any apprehension admirably and moving steadily through one challenge after another.   I, however, have developed a deep discomfort with heights over the years and did not find the experience quite so enjoyable (although Danika did keep patting my arm and telling me I was doing fine).  By the end of the course, I just wanted off and was ever so happy to jump off the 55 foot platform and zip back down to the ground, where several glasses of wine were well-earned. 

We arrived back in Victoria just in time for the Saanich Fall Fair.  The kids and Daniel bought wristbands for the rides and made a valiant effort, but the 33 degree temperatures in the baking fairgrounds eventually forced us to call it quits.  Despite sipping water in all of the lineups, we overheated before making it onto all of the rides - the Zipper will be waiting for you next year, Daniel!

Monday, August 21, 2017

It's harvest season - like all years, some crops were good and others could have been better.  The garlic was a bust - this is what happens if I don't use Dennis from Dauphin's seed garlic (I am hoping he has 7 or 8 bulbs to share this year!). The fennel self-seeded from last year and grew all over the place.  Something repeatedly ate the snap peas before they could grow.  I dug up 20 pounds of lovely potatoes, which was a boomer crop for me.  I think it's the first time I've recouped the money I spent on seed potatoes.  I had 4 figs from my new fig tree, and hundreds of lemon blossoms (not sure just  how many will successfully turn to lemons). There were tons of blossoms on the guava tree as well, but I read too late that it requires pollination with a paintbrush so I don't think there will be any little guavas this year.  There were a handful of lemon cucumbers, and a lovely crop of lettuce and mustard greens.  I let a bunch of radishes go to seed and the chickens have been munching on seed pods for weeks.  The tomatoes are gorgeous, although they've yet to ripen - several volunteer plants popped up in pots and the compost pile, so I have even more than the dozen seedlings I brought home from the Blenkinsop garden stand. And while I sadly do not have a peach tree, I did have a dozen eggs to swap with a neighbor.