Friday, February 29, 2008

We Stole Our Car Back Tonight...

Yep, I'm not kidding you! Our Toyota Highlander was in the shop for two days. They had to order a new sensor, and they were able to install it this afternoon. The Toyota dealership is just on the outskirts of Calgary, as you are driving out to Airdrie. So, it's nice because it makes only about a 15 minute drive. When Joshua drove home from work today, he stopped by the dealership to pick up the keys to the Highlander. He told them that we would be back late in the evening to pick it up. They said that was no problem. Joshua found out where the car was parked and came home for supper. After supper, clean-up and some piano practice, we were finally ready to go pick up the car. It was 8 p.m., but hey, it's a Friday night! Of course, we knew that the dealership was closed, but we didn't know how closed it would be. We drove up and there was a locked gate guarding the very parking lot where our car was parked! We drove around to the other side - another locked gate! Then I noticed an empty parking spot on the edge of the parking lot. All we needed to do was pull through, hop the curb and drive out over the grass! That's exactly what we did! Sara and I transferred to the car for a girls' ride home, and the boys went in the truck. As we were driving away, Joshua said he saw the security guard booking it across the lawn to the spot where we drove our car out of the lot! If I had noticed, I probably would have gone back to explain, but as it stands, the poor guy is probably still freaking out! But, we have our Highlander back and everything seems to be working just perfectly!

Happy Leap Day!

Joshua did some math for me this morning. (Cause he's good at that sort of thing and I'm terrible at it!) He figured out that there are about 7 people out of every 10,000 that have birthdays on February 29th. So, I have a question for you. Do any of you know someone who was born on a Leap Day? If you do, you HAVE to post a comment and tell me about that person and how old they are today. I knew a little girl once who had this special birthday. I can't remember her name, but she was a baby when I met her family. I think she would be 16 this year.

Another interesting thing I heard about Leap Day today. (Also from Joshua - he hears weird things at work!) Apparently, if a single guy gets a marriage proposal on February 29th, he HAS to say yes! There are so many things wrong with that, but that's what "they" say! Has anyone else heard other weird Leap Day folklore?

Hope you enjoy the day! It's Friday, so that should make it a great day for everybody, regardless of the holiday!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

That's The Kind Of Week It's Been

This was the scene just before supper tonight. Our car suddenly decided that it was not going to go any faster than 15 km per hour. After a call to the Toyota dealership, we were told that the car's computer was thinking that the car was on a slippery surface (there is no ice on the roads right now). So, it was engaging the ABS (automatic brake system) and not letting the car accelerate. Fortunately, Joshua was the one driving the car when this happened. I was at home with 5 kids, and he had taken a load of stuff to the Goodwill drop-off. ( He came home from work early, because he wasn't feeling well. Then, after being in a house with 5 active, wonderful children, he decided he needed some fresh air!) He called to say that he was crawling home at 15 km/h! We have free road side assistance from Toyota, so we called them to send a tow truck. The guy arrived after about an hour, and took the car to the dealership. The service shop had closed already, so Joshua left the keys in the night drop. Hopefully tomorrow they will be able to fix the problem without much hassle. They seemed to be familiar with what was happening...

I've been babysitting every day this week, so it's been busy around here! Inspite of the nice weather and lots of outdoor play, the kids have been so scrappy with each other. I've needed lots of grace to deal with the fights, bossiness and tattle-taling that's been going on. I'm not the only one, though. I have some other friends who are having similar weeks! Yesterday was the worst, and I'm afraid I lost my patience more than once. Today was better. And tomorrow - well, to borrow a phrase from my favourite movie - it's "fresh, with no mistakes in it!" Here is a picture from one of the happy, friendly moments we had today!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Happy Birthday, Sara!

Sara turned 7 years old yesterday! I'm going to borrow something from my friend, Judith, and write a little birthday tribute. Judith does this for each person in her family on their birthdays and I've enjoyed reading them over the past year.

Sara came into this world on February 24, 2001, at 2:34 in the morning after 23 hours of labour! She was born at home, on the floor beside our bed. (On purpose!) The gentle, loving hands of Brenda, our midwife, helped her into this world and into my tired arms. (Joshua was holding me!) Sara's eyes were open wide as soon as her head popped out! We didn't even hear her cry for several hours - she was too busy looking around! Seven years later, Sara is still a very observant little girl. She loves to watch people. She loves to be with people too. But, when she's with a group of people, you won't always find Sara right in the middle. Often, you'll find her off to the side, watching and soaking it all in. It might look like she's not interested or involved, but she doesn't miss a thing! When she gets home from Sunday School or music lessons, she will role play the whole scenario over again! If I want to find out what she learned, I just have to listen in on her play time later!

Here are some of Sara's favourites....

Colours - Pinks, Purples and Red
Fruit - strawberries, raspberries, kiwi, and mango
Activities - playing with friends, playing outside, singing, role-playing/dress-up, riding her scooter, skiing, ice skating
School Subject - Math
Style - anything that sparkles and glitters - the flashier, the better!
Kid's shows on T.V. - Berenstein Bears, Franklin and Timothy Goes to School
Dessert - apple pie, ice cream and anything chocolate!

If asked to come up with an acrostic for her name, this is what I would say...

Sweet and Sassy
Ready (to try new things and go new places)

From the minute Sara was born, she turned my ideas about motherhood upside down! Being Sara's mom has been a full of challenges, but I wouldn't trade my little princess for any other little girl in the world! Sara is everything that I am not....and yet, she is very much the same as me. She is teaching me so much through her life. Things that will take a lifetime to learn. Sara is a free spirit and a dreamer. She declares to the world, every day, that it's O.K. to be yourself. No matter how much of a damper I can be sometimes, she has something in her that refuses to be quenched. When she grows up, Sara wants to drive a pink Jeep! And I know that someday, she will, because she's just that kind of girl! I call her my princess-tomboy. That's really the best description yet!

I thought you might enjoy seeing some pictures of Sara from the younger years! I'm going to try to include one from each year of her life.

1 year old - first summer in Canada.

2 years old - on vacation in B.C.

3 years old - after Sky was born, she had to learn to fend for herself!

4 years old - "reading" bedtime stories to Sky!

5 years old - creating a beautiful bouquet of flowers.

6 years old - singing and dancing and just being Sara!

I love you little girl! With everything in me. I pray God will give me the wisdom to teach you and train you in the way that you should go. And may I learn how to be your friend - not just your mother. Thank you for 7 years of love, adventure, and smiles!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Zoo Adventures!

Today was a busy day! First, we went to the chiropractor, then we met a friend for coffee at Starbuck's, and then we headed to the zoo! Joshua's Uncle Peter and Aunt Derry gave us season passes to the zoo for Christmas. The Calgary Zoo is actually open year round, but for obvious reasons, we haven't wanted to go since we received our gift at Christmas! I was thinking that it was a shame we had already wasted almost 2 months of our membership. Then, when we went to get our photo ID cards made, they activated the passes effective today! That was exciting! It was another warm, sunny day today. We had so much fun and the animals were so active! I got some great pictures, so I'll just let those tell you our story for the day.

Sky enjoying his PB and J in short sleeves!!! The sun was so nice and warm!

Cheesy (or should I say peanut-buttery!) grin!
Petting the Ankylosouraus! There is a Prehistoric Park that's part of the zoo. We'd never explored there before, so it was all very new and exciting!
The new sting ray exhibit was very cool!
Learning all about elephants!
Sara was very enthralled with the touch screen on this one!

The zoo's baby elephant opening wide for her bottle!

Sky loves the porcupines.

The giraffes are always eating.

Zebras are so fascinating to me - I would say they are my favourite at the zoo. This one posed nicely for me!

Sara took this picture....

And Sky took this picture! Pretty good, eh?!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Star Light, Star Bright

I haven't taken many pictures lately, so this evening I snapped a few of the kids doing their cute and silly stuff! (You can enjoy them at the end of this post.) Joshua is away on a business trip for three days. He left this morning and drove 3 1/2 hours south to Medicine Hat. He's helping out at the branch there while one of their employees is away. The evenings are always the most difficult when Daddy is gone, but tonight went quite smoothly and peacefully. We watched the lunar eclipse from our big window in the bonus room, so that helped pass some of the time! I turned off all the lights so we could see the moon really well. Then, while the moon slowly became dark, we had fun wishing upon a star together. We learned a little rhyme that goes like this:

Star light, Star bright
First star I see tonight,
I wish I may, I wish I might
Have this wish, I wish tonight

We wished for a long time, so I'll try my best to remember a few things that each person wished for. Sara wished that her birthday was tomorrow and that she could ride her bike really fast (I thought she was pretty fast already, but apparently she's feeling slow!). Sky was the most vocal, as usual, and he wished that he could be a grown-up so he could drive a car, and that he could have a plate full of donuts, and that he could live in a teapot! Seriously! I wanted to laugh so bad, but he kept saying, "Don't laugh at my wishes!" There was lots more, but I can't remember it all! I wished that it was summer, and that I could play at the beach and that Joshua were home tonight. And then we all wished that we could get hugs and kisses from each other - and those wishes all came true!
And now for the pictures...
Sara was practicing writing - on her own!! - after supper tonight!

Sky loves to make up songs on his recorder for me and I love to listen!

Sara still loves bathtime!

This child ate almost half a bag of carrots before I realized it! At least it was carrots and not chocolate!

Don't miss my earlier post today with all the weekend news!

Warmth and Sunshine!

After a very cold 6 weeks, it has finally warmed up!! The warm air blew in on Friday, Saturday couldn't make up it's mind, but ever since Sunday it has been absolutely gorgeous around here! We went for a family ski day (+ Grandpa) on Sunday at Sunshine ski resort and it definitely lived up to it's name for most of the day! The sky was so very blue. Of course, I forgot to bring the camera! The kids did an awesome job skiing - they both successfully navigated a BLUE run during their lessons! (For those of you who don't ski, the colour levels go from green/easy to blue/intermediate to black/hard to double black/expert.) I've decided to only ski green and blue runs for the rest of my life, so the kids will soon be officially better than their mommy! They already go faster than me, but they do need to work on control a little more. Sara was in an all day lesson, so we didn't see her much. She had a great report card at the end of the day and she was absolutely exhausted! Sky skiied with Joshua and Grandpa and I in the morning. Then, he went to day care after lunch for a break and a one hour lesson in the afternoon. Sky almost had a run in with some trees in the morning. We yelled at him to turn, but after we could see he wasn't turning, Joshua pulled in beside him to block his path of destruction. They both fell down in the collision and Joshua fell right on top of our tiny little boy. It was not a pretty sight! Sky cried and cried and Joshua and I exchanged some words (I won't say anymore!), but in the end, everyone was O.K.! Sky's wrist was hurt a bit and he kept complaining and wouldn't ski after that. So, we decided it was time for a break and an early lunch. Joshua and his dad went off to ski a couple of more exciting runs before they joined us. Sky was really whining about the wrist, so I decided to take him to the first aid clinic just to check. After a thorough inspection, the guy said everything was just fine. I think he thought I wanted him to do something, but I assured him that all we needed was a second opinion. Sometimes our kids just don't seem to trust us when we tell them they're O.K.! After the way cool, Mr. Ski Patrol told Sky that his wrist was fine, we never heard another word of complaint!

Monday was Family Day in parts of Canada. Only 4 of the provinces have instituted it as an official holiday, but Alberta happens to be the one that started the whole thing 18 years ago! It was just their way of creating a long weekend in February. It's a very popular day/weekend for family outings, such as skiing, ice skating, hiking, swimming, fun fairs, etc. There is so much going on during Family Day that it's hard to choose what to do! And the crowds and traffic are insane! Since we were exhausted from all the skiing the day before, we chose to stay home and play together. It was so warm that we were all shedding our jackets when we were in the sunshine! We even decided to have a little picnic lunch on the sunny back deck! Tuna sandwiches and fresh veggies never tasted so good! The kids played with their friends outside until the sun started to go down. Joshua decided to play a little Paul Bunyan and do some tree removal in our yard! There were 6 young spruce trees in the backyard that we didn't really want there. They were just going to cause problems in about 10 years for a number of reasons. One of them being the power lines they would have tangled with eventually. So, while they were still small, Joshua chopped them down! He started with a chain saw, but after that broke, he cut down the other five trees by hand! What a guy! We're going to fill the empty spots with other types of trees and/or shrubs. Joshua's also building some planters in a couple of the spots, so I can plant flowers and herbs. I'm really excited to see how it all looks this summer! It was a fun, busy weekend and we made a lot of memories! I guess that's what Family Day is all about, eh?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

What Is Beautiful To You?

Sky can say the funniest things sometimes! In fact, he comes up with stuff so often that I can't even remember it all. I wish I had a small tape recorder in the car, because there have been some pretty interesting conversations while we're driving! This morning, we weren't driving, but Sky and I were finishing breakfast together. He was munching away on his peanut butter (had to be crunchy) and jam toast. He was obviously thinking as he stared out the window. Then he said, out of the blue, "I don't know why girls cry when something is beautiful." I couldn't help it - I started laughing and he giggled with me! I asked him where he heard that and he said "I don't know, I just learned that." He was still giggling. I said, "Well, I don't do that." Then, after I thought about it, I had to retract that statement! I admitted "Well, maybe I do cry sometimes, when something is beautiful." My definition of something beautiful might be different than Sky's definition. I cry when I hear my children sing. I cry when I hear stories of bravery and sacrifice. I cry when my children still love on me when I know I don't deserve it. I cry when I'm reunited with an old friend. What is beautiful to you? Does it make you cry?

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Piano Recital

Well, the piano recital on Sunday was a success! I was so uptight about the whole thing, and Sara was totally cool! At the last minute, the teacher decided to include Sky's little class in the recital as well. He was so excited! I guess Joshua and I were the only ones who were nervous! I just had to keep telling myself that it didn't matter if things turned out perfectly or not. It just mattered that it was a positive experience for both kids. So, I put my own perfectionism on the shelf (something that I find hard to do as a Mom!), and tried my best to have fun! Both kids did great! Sky's class did a little rhythm ensemble with the parents with them. Sky was bang on, but he was so cute that it wouldn't have mattered what he did! Sara was as pretty as a princess in her new dress from Grandma! She did really well with her group song and rhythm ensemble. Then, it was time for her solo piece. She marched right up there, and tried to put her music on the piano. I had copied, taped together, and folded the sheets in such a way that she shouldn't have had any problems. (It was all very scientific!) But, in the hustle and bustle the paper got folded the wrong way and she couldn't get it to stay open! I was having a heart attack! Sara was very calm, though. She just put up the paper with the first page showing. She played till the end of that page, and then stopped. She was thinking hard, then she looked at us. I whispered to Joshua, "She doesn't know what to do!" I was about to freak! Joshua motioned for her to keep going. She looked at the page again, then reached up and flipped it over to the second side! Smart girl! She played the second page and it was over! I was so proud of her! I asked her later if she was scared and she said "No, but I forgot to bow." I said that was O.K. because lots of kids forgot to bow. She was happy to know there was another recital in the Spring, so she could do it again! Hope you enjoy these pictures!
Sara mentally going over her song before the recital started.Sky playing with his program while he waited.Sara playing the triangle for her rhythm ensemble.Playing "Music Lessons"Sky and Mommy playing bells with his rhythm ensemble.

Happy smiles after a job well done! Aren't they cute?!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Something To Ponder

Today I found myself doing a lot of pushing and prodding, fussing and fretting, and looking at the clock a lot. Then I read this poem and it made me feel sad. It also made me rethink my ways and ask God for grace to change. I wanted to share this with all the moms who read my blog.

If I Had My Child To Raise Over Again
I'd build self esteem first, and the house later.
I'd finger paint more and point fingers less.
I would do less correcting and more connecting.
I'd take my eyes off my watch, and watch with my eyes.
I would care to know less and know to care more.
I'd take more hikes and fly more kites.
I'd stop playing serious and seriously play.
I would run through more fields and gaze at more stars.
I'd do more hugging and less tugging.
I'd see the oak tree in the acorn more often.
I would be firm less often and affirm much more.
I'd model less about the love of power,
and more about the power of love.

Science Experiment Answer!

Time for the big reveal! See, I knew I would get some comments with bribery! :-) All of you were right in saying that the water freezes. The actual result we got, was that the water instantly turned into a cloud of vapor! Quite spectacular! (Mom gets the prize for being the closest!) Only a few drops hit the ground, but I think that if I were a stronger person, and tossed the water higher, nothing would have made it to the ground. Fortunately, I boiled enough water to do it twice, because we all wanted to see it again! Simple, but fun! The simple things have always amused me - I guess I'm still a kid at heart! Did anyone else try it yet?