Saturday, November 29, 2008

First Day of Ski Racing Lessons!

Finally, the big day arrived! Sara and Sky started ski racing lessons! They've been looking forward to this day for a long time. After arriving home last night at 10:30 p.m. (we went to Calgary for one night), we drug the kids out of bed at 7:30 this morning for 3 hours of ski racing. It was a beautiful, sunny morning, with temperatures above freezing. We still have only had one snowfall this winter, so the local ski hills in Edmonton are very late in opening. In case you're wondering how they got all the snow on the hill, they made all that snow! They have huge snow-making machines that blow a fine mist of water all over the hills. They usually run them all night long when the temperatures are below freezing. It took a long time for them to get a good base of snow. It was a good first lesson. The kids had fun, so that's the most important part! There were some disorganization issues that irritated Joshua and I, but nothing we couldn't deal with. Here are a few pictures of the morning.

Sara, following her class to the ski lift.Sky, giving me a happy little wave as he waits in line at the "magic carpet." (It's a ski lift that you stand on and it takes you up the hill, like a giant conveyor belt.) Sara with her class. She's the one with the pink helmet.I really had to include this video of Sky! We're not sure why they had the kids raising their hands like that - probably something to do with balance - but it was so cute! It was amazing what they had these kids doing on the first day.

Thus begins a winter full of lessons and races. I'm hoping it will be mostly fun! Lessons are every Saturday morning, from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. for both kids. On Tuesday evenings, from 6-8 p.m., Sara has an additional lesson. Joshua will probably take Sky on those nights as well, and just ski alone with him, so he doesn't feel left out. I'm sure there will be lots more posts and pictures, as ski racing will kind of be our lives for the winter!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Birthday, Sky!

My little boy turned 5 on Friday! It was such a busy day that I didn't have time to put together his birthday post. And now, such a busy week that I've been working on this for awhile! Here a few pictures of the last 5 years of Sky's life. I've had a hard time finding pictures of Sky by himself! It seems that all the really good ones are of Sky and Sara. I guess that's the life of the second child!

Sky was born at home, in our bathtub, and it was very much on purpose! He loves to hear me tell the story about how he was my "water baby!"
He got chicken pox when he was only 8 months old!
Already showing his goofy side at age 2! Almost 3 years old

4 years old and 2nd year of skiing!

And here he is, 5 years old already, enjoying some chocolate birthday cake!

I think the thing I love most about Sky is his sense of humour! He loves to tease and tell jokes and do silly things and generally make people laugh. He will do almost anything to get people to laugh at him. Last year, around Christmastime, I bought a bag of fresh cranberries. For a "fancy" dinner one night, I floated a few cranberries in each person's juice glass. Sky ate every single cranberry in his juice (about 5) just because we were all freaking out and laughing at him! If you've never tasted a fresh cranberry, just know that they are SOUR!! He's had such a good vocabulary from a very young age. Once he hears a word, he remembers it. He amazes me everyday with the words he knows. Just last week, he used the word "compost" in the correct context! And even when he's not even trying to be funny, he cracks me up. Just today, Sara was running around the house, screaming for no apparent reason. (She was especially challenging today...) I told her to leave me alone, so she went downstairs to bug Sky. He came up and informed me that Sara was screaming her head off. I replied, "I know." His eyes suddenly brightened up and he said, "I know! I'll take her for a walk around the house until she calms down. That will make her stop!" Too funny! He makes me laugh inspite of myself so many times.

Sky's favourite colours are orange and black, his favourite food is macaroni and cheese and favourite drink is Sprite. (He does eat his veggies - I promise!) He loves Batman, Spiderman, dinosaurs, dragons and anything "scary." He's very good at entertaining himself and is always dreaming up some new "game" or invention. He reminds me a lot of my brother, Scott. I know he's going to be very good at sports. He started walking at 9 months and then taught himself to go up and down stairs by 10 months! He was riding a real bike with training wheels at 2 years old, and before he turned 4, the training wheels were OFF! He started skiing when he was 3 and gets mad because he can't ski like Daddy. In the springtime, we're probably going to put him in baseball, because he can hit a baseball like nobody's business! He is a very smart, witty, and talented kid. I know that will come with it's challenges. Pride will rear it's ugly head. Frustration at less than perfection has already been a problem at times. I pray that Sky will always give God the glory for the accomplishments that he makes. I pray that I will have the wisdom to guide him.

I love you so much, little boy! You are a special joy in all of our lives. Thank you for making me laugh. Thank you for always knowing when I need a hug or a helping hand. God has given you a sensitive heart and I pray that it will stay that way forever.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Aloha Friday #3

It's time for Aloha Friday! I ask a simple question and you answer! If you want to participate, head on over to An Island Life and follow the instructions.

My question for this Friday:

What are the scents of the hand soaps you have in your bathrooms and/or by the kitchen sink?

I realized this morning that we have a very "smelly" house - in a good way, I hope! We have 4 bathrooms and 1 kitchen sink, so the scents in our home are: Sparkling Peach in the main floor half bath, Enchanted Orchid in Sara's bathroom, Warm Vanilla Sugar in the master bathroom, Cherry Blossom in Sky's bathroom, and Melaleuca's Original anti-bacterial scent in the kitchen. (Yes, we shop at Bath and Body Works!)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Before The Day Is Over...

It's almost time for bed, but I wanted to post a couple of things before I head to the warmth and softness of my down comforter. (It is COLD out there!) Thank you to all of you who posted comments on my last post. I have been strengthened and encouraged by your love, support and prayers. I thank God for the wonderful friends that He has brought into my life over the years. Today wasn't the best day of my life or anything, but it helps to know I do not walk alone and that I am loved!

The other thing I wanted to share is something that greatly encouraged me as a homeschool mom. I've shared a couple of times how I've struggled to teach Sara and how she's struggled to grasp what I'm trying to teach. It's hard for me to be transparent about this because there is so much comparison stuff that goes on with moms. Some parents realize they're doing it, but I really believe some don't. It's really painful when I feel like it's my child always "falling short" some how. Last year Sara was not reading at the same level as her peers. It was a daily, uphill battle. Finally, in February of this year, something clicked and Sara began to progress in reading! It has been such a joy to watch her learn new things everyday and actually get excited about reading! But, this year we are struggling with Math. Not just the normal, "we need to brush up because we forgot over the summer" kind of thing. It was like no comprehension whatsoever. What happened to everything we did last year? I actually got to the point where we stopped doing Math at all. I felt paralyzed and helpless. On Monday evening, I was able to get away to attend a monthly meeting with the Christian homeschool group I've joined. I had the chance to talk to a mom, Sherri, who specializes is something called mediated learning. Another mom I talked to awhile ago, told me that she thought Sherri could help me. It was so good to talk to her. She assured me that I was not alone. She understood my feelings of failure. She offered her continued support and monitoring of my situation. And she said a lot of things I needed to hear. As she spoke to me, I just started crying - right there in front of this stranger! It's just that she seemed to know exactly what was in my heart. She recommended a little booklet called "An Easy Start In ARITHMETIC," by Ruth Beechick. I think I remember books by this author hanging around my mom's library when I was being homeschooled! Last night I took some time to read through the book. It was so enlightening. She explained some things about how a child learns math that just blew me away. I've been frustrated that Sara can only do math problems with manipulatives. I've been told, "Well, that's all fine and good, but she really should have her additions facts memorized." Mrs. Beechick explained in the book that a math problem written out, like 2+2=4 is the third and final mode of learning math! Those are abstract symbols and most children don't even fully comprehend what they mean until Grade 3. Manipulatives are NOT a crutch - they are a necessary part of development and learning! I have manipulatives and we use them a lot, but I keep taking Sara away from that and expecting her to fill out a workbook page full of abstract symbols. Today we did Math for the first time in weeks! It wasn't much, but we did it! Sara used blocks to tell me that 2+2=4. God gave me my miracle! And she even said to me today, "We're not going to do a paper, are we?" I replied, "No, no we are not!" And I'm O.K. with that. There were so many ideas in the book about how to use "real-life arithmetic" as you go through each day. And that playing games is an excellent way of learning math. I can do that! Today was a baby step, but we'll take one baby step each day and eventually get somewhere.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Being Real

Today is kind of a weird day. We were supposed to get our annual family picture taken after lunch. I spent the morning preparing everyone, like any good mom does before a family picture! Bathing the kids, getting everyone dressed, plucking my eyebrows...:-) Our friends, Miguel and Melissa, are in town today from Calgary. Joshua went to seminary with Miguel, and I think they did more than their fair share of creating controversy in the classroom! Then, Miguel met and fell in love with Melissa! They asked Joshua to perform the wedding ceremony and he agreed to do it. That was a year ago, in July. Now, they have a little one on the way! The plan today, was to have lunch and then, do a family photo session with Melissa, who is an amazing photographer! (I just discovered her blog today and it is a must-see! The pictures are so beautiful, they just might make you cry!) Anyway, Miguel e-mailed this morning to say that Melissa had spent half the night in the emergency room. They think all is well, but of course, they were exhausted. They still made the trip up here this morning, but felt it was best to re-scheduled the photo session. We had a nice lunch with them, but it was evident they needed a nap! Our family is going to Calgary next week, so we'll be doing the pictures next Friday. I can't wait! Melissa is so very creative!

Tonight we are going to Joshua's parents for supper. I'm happy I don't have to cook! Now I need to go do some housecleaning. There is much to do before our house guests arrive for the weekend. I don't feel like doing anything, though. I've been feeling very tired and lonely lately, in spite of the busyness of life. Lots of things going through my head and heart. Wanting to help Sara understand Math (even 2+2 would be a miracle right now)...feeling disconnected from my husband and praying for a way to break down the wall...missing my old friends...wanting to make a difference somewhere, somehow and feeling like I'm stuck in a hole. I need a day just to think and pray and process life, but that just doesn't happen. Life marches on and I try to keep up. It's been a bit overwhelming lately. I don't mean to put a damper on any one's day, but I've realized lately that I don't spend enough time being "real." Life is not about being happy and upbeat all the time. God created many different emotions for a reason. So, I share my feelings so you can know the real me, so I don't have to walk this life alone. After all, that's the name of my blog, "Sharing Life With Peggy." Maybe I could help myself and others a little bit more if I weren't so darn concerned about image all the time...

Monday, November 17, 2008

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas...

We couldn't help it - it just happened. They were calling our names. So, we put up some Christmas decorations yesterday!! I think it all started with the Christmas craft fair we went to in the early afternoon. It was definitely festive and put us all in the Christmas mood! I bought this beautiful snowman pillow with some of my birthday money. Isn't he cute?! I have a weakness for snowmen...With every new house, there are new decorating challenges that come with Christmas. Where do you put all that stuff?! We've been dragging around this huge, wooden sled for years now. Joshua's parents gave it to the kids, filled with presents one year. I've always wanted to use it to decorate at Christmas, but we've never been able to fit it anywhere. Well, finally, we have the PERFECT spot! There is a large space above the closet in our front entryway. We haven't figured out how to decorate it for the rest of the year, but the sled works great for this season! It was Joshua's idea, actually. So, he brought in the ladder, we all raided the Christmas boxes for stuffed animals, and got to work. I stood on the stairs and played the role of director. Joshua did the arranging. The kids handed/tossed things up to Daddy as he needed them. We are very proud of our creation! What do you think? We went out to buy a little tree to add to the arrangement, and found this threesome of green trees. There's actually an electrical outlet up there in that space, with a light switch down below, just for that outlet! Whoever built this house thought of everything!The kids were excited to find their Santa hats! We finished up our spontaneous decorating spree with the garland around the banister. It looks nice, but I was disappointed that there was no outlet nearby so I could also wrap lights in with the garland. The bows are ones that we used in our wedding 9 years ago! They are still in great shape and I will keep them as long as I can!

I'm not sure when the tree will get put up, but I will post pictures when that happens! Probably next week. We have friends from Calgary coming to spend this weekend with us. They arrive on Sky's birthday (Friday), so we will be busy celebrating and having fun with everyone. I will also be busy this week getting the house ready to hold 4 adults and 5 children!

Edmonton Oilers Hockey Game

Some of you have asked about the hockey game we went to this past Thursday night. We had the greatest seats - Row 4 from the glass! We were right on the curve of the glass, actually, so Joshua complained a bit about the warped view... But, we already knew he was warped to begin with! :-) The game started out great, but began to deteriorate by the middle of the second period. The Oilers totally fell apart and the ended up losing 2-5 against Toronto. There were a ton of Toronto fans there, too! We were surrounded by their fans, but they proved to be a friendly enemy! No fighting, so I was glad. You never know with these games... Especially when my dear hubby does his fair share of taunting and trash-talking! I managed to get some pretty cool pictures. Here are a few, for those of you who might be interested.

Joshua, watching intentlyHorcoff and Pisani

Rexall Place

Friday, November 14, 2008

Snow Pictures!

I never found my camera software, so I went to Plan B. I plugged the camera into the computer to see what would happen and it found a photo program for me! Should've done that to begin with... I like it better than what I had before, too! Here are the pictures of my birthday snow! This is what it looked like before we trampled on it...
This was the view out our front, living room window.
Our little snowman!

Sara, letting everyone know she did not like the snowball Daddy nailed her with! (But, she had no problems returning the favour!)
Sky, being goofy and hiding behind the bush for protection! Those scraggly branches didn't help much!
One more thing, that doesn't have anything to do with snow. I just posted a new recipe on my other blog, Recipeasy, so be sure to check it out! It's a crock pot recipe, for all you crock pot lovers! Click on the button on my sidebar with the pumpkin on it.

Aloha Friday #2

Yay, it's time for Aloha Friday again! To participate, head over to An Island Life, and follow the instructions!

This week's question:

What is something cute or funny a child in your life has said recently?

Just yesterday, my kids were playing "school" together. I was cleaning up the kitchen in preparation for making Rice Krispie treats. Sky noticed I was getting the ingredients out, so he ran to Sara and said, very seriously, "Teacher, I promised my mom I would finish making Rice Krispies with her. I need a day off today." I was cracking up in the kitchen! Guess what the "teacher" said?! "O.K." Can you tell my kids are homeschooled?!!

On a more serious note... I guess I'm thinking about my kids a lot today and am reminded once again how precious every day with them is. I found out today that a dear friend of mine lost her little baby boy about a month ago. His name was Lucas and he was about 18 months old when he went to be with Jesus. He was born with Charge Syndrome (you'll have to Google that) and had many complications, issues and pain throughout his short little life. I hadn't checked MK's blog lately, so I was not aware that Lucas had passed away. I spent some time reading her blog and just cried and cried. I felt guilty for not knowing before now. There was one particular poem she posted that I want everyone to read. It's heart wrenching, but beautiful. It's called "If I Knew." Please read it - you'll be glad you did...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Random Interesting Happenings

Well, hopefully they will be interesting to you, anyway! I realize I haven't been very "informational" in my latest posts, so some people may want to have a few more details.

1. Joshua is just finishing up a cleansing/fat burning program called Isagenix. There is a 30 day program and a 9 day. Joshua did the 30 day one. To date, he's lost 22 pounds and feels great! I'm very proud of him for sticking with it. I don't think I could have done it. Although, I'm entertaining the idea of the 9 day program (don't tell Joshua!) - I could use some more energy! I won't bore you with details - you can read about it on their website if you want more info! Mealtimes have been interesting around here. There are "cleanse days" where Joshua doesn't eat at all, so the kids I have to hurry up and eat supper before Joshua gets home so that the sight and smell of food doesn't drive him crazy! Breakfast and lunch have been really easy, though. I just have to mix up a protein shake for him and it's done!

2. We now have an alarm system in our house. There was already one installed from 15 years ago, but it was inactive. Since it was already there, we looked into getting it activated again. We also found out it would save money on our home insurance! So, we got some of the alarm components updated and added smoke alarms (monitored by the alarm company). So far, there have been no mishaps! If there ever are any, I'm sure it will be great blog material! I've already had a few minor panic attacks when the kids go barging into the house after we've been gone, forgetting that the alarm is set. Fortunately, I'm fast (I have 45 sec.) so I've been able to get it turned off in time!

3. On Tuesday morning (my birthday!), we woke up to a beautiful winter wonderland of snow! It was not forecasted, so we were a bit surprised! Finally, the first snow of the year!! I was so excited when I got up, and was out the door taking pictures within 5 minutes! It was the perfect birthday gift for me! It was one of those fluffy, sticky snowfalls that covered every little branch. After a late breakfast, we all went out to play in the snow. Joshua had the day off because it was Remembrance Day (same as Veteran's Day in the States) and it's a stat holiday. He always gets the day off for my birthday, and I quite like that! We built a little snowman (not enough snow for anything big) and had a snowball fight. The snow made great snowballs! Then we took a walk to admire the neighbourhood before lunch. I took lots of pictures, but you'll have to wait for them. Reason? That brings me to the next thing...

4. We are now the proud owners of a "real" computer! For all of our married lives (almost 9!), we've only had a laptop. It worked great for those years that Joshua needed to tote it back and forth between church and/or seminary classes. After he got the job with the bank, he didn't need to do that anymore. And I finally got to use the computer to my heart's content! That's when I joined Facebook and started my blog. I dare say I got more done before that! Anyway, last week, a new Future Shop opened in our city. Joshua works right by the new store, so he got in line the first morning they opened up. Our new computer was 1 of 25 available that day at an incredible price! Even my brother, the computer geek, said it was a really great deal and a decent computer. (We consulted him first!) So, we have this HUGE monitor now (O.K., it seems huge to me - it's a 20 in.), and I'm seeing lots of little details I've never noticed before! It's been fun, but not without it's hassles. I can't find the software that came with my camera, so I'm a little stuck right now with pictures...

5. Tonight Joshua and I get to go to an NHL hockey game to see our Edmonton Oilers play! Joshua's boss, Jeff, sometimes gets tickets from a lawyer that the bank refers clients to. It's is way of saying "thanks for the business." This time, Jeff offered the tickets to Joshua! So, we got a babysitter and will be heading out tonight! Hopefully they win! Poor Joshua - tonight is one of those nights where he has to drink a shake for supper (because he ate real food for lunch), so he'll have to watch everyone else eat at the game! He can snack on almonds...woohoo! Oh well, it's healthier and saves us money!

That's all I can think of right now that would actually be interesting to you! Hope you enjoyed the update. Now, to go figure out the photo/camera software situation around here....

Oh, I also wanted to make a disclaimer on my excitement about the snow... You WILL hear me complain about snow, winter, cold weather etc., as we go through the season. But, there is something very special about the first snow - even if we eventually get a lot of it! As my friend said the other day, it's the snowfalls between #2 and #100 that we complain about!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Aloha Friday

I'm trying something new today! I'm going to ask you a simple question, and you answer it! It's called Aloha Fridays, and the original idea came from the blog "An Island Life". My good friend, Jennifer, from Florida started participating in Aloha Fridays and I've enjoyed reading all the answers to the questions she has asked. If you want to participate, just click on the link to "An Island Life" and read the instructions!

My question for this Friday is:

Do you have a Saturday (or Sunday) morning breakfast tradition with your family? If so, what is it?

My husband used to make Baked Oatmeal one of the weekend mornings, but lately we've taken to drinking protein shakes for breakfast, so that's kind of on hold for now!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

My Birthday Gift

My birthday isn't until next Tuesday (the 11th), but I already got my gift from Joshua and I wanted to show it off! New dishes! Do you like them? My favourite part is the colour. I also really like the simplicity. My old ones had a pretty busy pattern. They had also started to wear out in the middle, so that every time you scraped them with your utensils (which is every time you eat!), it would leave a permanent grey scratch. I've wanted new ones for a long time, so I got to pick these out over the weekend. Guess where we got them? IKEA!! Of course! Thanks, Sweetheart!

Monday, November 3, 2008

When I Grow Up...

O.K., O.K., I know I've been awful about posting lately! It does mean I've spent less time on the computer, which is always a goal for me... I posted the other day, but alas, I lost the whole thing when I went to change the font! I was so not happy! I will try to recreate what I wrote...

Recently, one of my dearest bloggy friends, Nadine, posted about how quickly our children grow up and spread their wings and fly away from us. It was a sweet reminder to cherish those little moments while we can. I must say, that is not my natural tendency. Usually, I'm waiting impatiently for them to grow up. The night before I read Nadine's post, I was reminded of the sweetness of childhood while I was putting Sara to bed. I promised Nadine I would blog about it!
We had had a difficult evening. I was being a selfish Mommy and Sara was just being a little girl. She was playing with her toy mixer and dishes while I was mixing up some meatloaf. I got frustrated with the water she was spilling everywhere and the room she was taking up, and over-reacted. I banned her from the kitchen and I could see the hurt in her eyes. She cried and cried and I knew I'd hurt her spirit. Why do I do that? It took me until the next day to apologize. Even before I'd apologized, I know that she had forgiven me already. That night she snuggled with me while we read our bedtime story. When I tucked her in bed, I kissed her, and stood to leave. She reached her arms out to me and wanted an extra hug.

She squeezed me tightly and said, "You're my little, favourite Mommy!" (My kids always call me their little mommy!)

I said, "Well, that's good, cause you're my favourite little girl."

She continued, "And I'm going to come visit you lots when I grow up!" Then she added, "With my husband!"

I laughed, "O.K., good night!"

It warmed my heart, but also reminded me that someday she will grow up...and move away...and get a husband...and I won't be the one kissing her before she goes to bed each night. She won't always be around to "help" me cook and bake and make messes. Someday I'm going to miss that. And I want to enjoy it while I can.