Monday, February 23, 2009

The Races

I will not bore you with details, because to anyone other than moms and dads, these ski races can all seem the same! Sara and Sky had races on both Saturday morning and Sunday morning this weekend. Saturday was our Nation's Cup #3, an "in-house" race with just the racers in our ski club. The kids are split into teams, and each team races for a different country. Sara races for Italy and Sky races for Canada. The first video here is Sara, taking her first run of the day. She missed a few gates, but she was a lot more confident than the last race a few weeks ago. You can see the happy smile at the end!

This is Sky, with his second run of the day. A couple of missed gates at the end, but I liked this video because of the thumbs up at the end! Such a little showman! He would want me to tell you that on his first run of the day, he didn't miss any gates for the first time in a race!

Sunday morning, we had to be at the ski hill at 7:45 a.m.! This race was way bigger than just our little ski club. Our ski club hosted the race, but racers from all over the province could register to race. There were 300 hundred racers, which meant 600 runs because everyone does 2 runs! There were so many people in the lodge in the morning picking up their racing bibs, you could hardly even move in there!

We also had the drama of forgetting Sara's mitts. Joshua had the idea to go through the "lost and found" bin and we found a pair of mitts that Sara could wear! They were a little small, but kept her hands warm. Then, when the ski shop opened at 9 a.m., we bought her a new pair that fit properly, so she could race without that distraction.

Also, I forgot the camera... No biggie, I was thinking. I got plenty of good videos the day before, so I would just enjoy watching the kids without the camera always in front of my face. Well, our little man actually won an award and I didn't have a camera to record the moment! Sky finished 7th place in the 5 year old male division! He skied perfect runs both times, with a time of 41 sec. the first time and 40 sec. the second time. Anyone in 4th - 10th place got a special ribbon. The 1st - 3rd places get to stand on a real podium and receive medals! Sky's coaches were very proud, as most of the boys who placed in the top 10, were already in their 2nd year of ski racing.

Sara was even faster and more confident for the Sunday race than she was on Saturday! She missed gates both times down, but she was so much faster. For the first run, she ran over the last gate, caught her ski and it popped right off - about 2 feet from the finish line!! She sat there trying to figure out what to do and I was screaming, "Sara, get up, get up, get across the line!" The next racer actually came up and passed her, crossing the finish line before she did! If she hadn't missed any gates, she would have had the right to a re-run, but she was already disqualified. (We don't tell her that, by the way.) So, that added to her time, but other than that, it was probably her best, fastest run ever, only missing 2 gates! We were very proud of both kids!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Aloha Friday #12

It's Aloha Friday! As a reminder, Aloha Friday is a blogging tradition that originally started with Kailani over on An Island Life. I ask you a simple question, and you answer! It's a great way to interact with family and friends and to meet new bloggy friends along the way! To participate, just head over to Kailani's blog and follow the instructions.

My question for the week:

What is your favourite bedtime snack?

I must admit, I almost always have a bedtime snack - unless dinner was really late or just lots of it! If I want something salty, it's definitely potato chips - my husband and I can polish off a whole bag in one evening! If the mood is sweet, then I really love Oreos dipped in milk!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Pay It Forward Giveaway

A couple of weeks ago, I was the proud winner of a "Pay It Forward Giveaway" hosted by my friend, Sarah M.! I received a wonderful CD, Steven Curtis Chapman's "All About Love." Thank you again, Sarah! Now, it's my turn to give!

Here's how it works:

1. Leave a comment to be entered into the giveaway. On February 28th, I will draw three names, and they will be the winners! I will let you know that you won and mail you the prize.

2. The three people who win, will host their own "Pay It Forward Giveaway" and continue sharing the love! Now, naturally, this prize need not be extravagant, just a simple treat in the mail! You can choose any prize you'd like to give.

The giveaway I chose is a kitchen scrub pad! Now, before you either start laughing, or scream and run the other way, let me assure you that this is no ordinary scrub pad! This has been a "must-have" in my kitchen for several years now. They're kind of hard to describe, but I'll do my best. The pad feels very scratchy and abrasive, but are absolutely safe to use on any surface, including non-stick finishes and flat top stovetops. Don't let that fool you, though. These little pads can scrub off the worst stuck-on messes - that's why I love them so much! They're made from plastic, that's "woven" into little loops, that look just like terry cloth. This makes it really easy to rinse them out. They do not hold gunk and I've never had one get stinky, even after months of use! I usually use mine for about 3 months each. So, I hope that convinces you that it's worth entering the giveaway! I think you'll fall in love once you get one! So, comment and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Sign On My Back Reads "Please Run Me Over!"

Monday was Family Day in Alberta (and Ontario). It's actually an official holiday, so Joshua had the day off! Since moving to our new home, we aren't as close to the mountains as we used to be while living in the Calgary area. It used to take us only an hour and a half to get to the closest ski hills. Now, the nearest one is in Jasper, 4 entire hours away! It makes the one day ski trip, either very, very long (especially for children), or it necessitates an overnight stay. Then, you're talking about major expense because lodging in Jasper doesn't come cheap. Joshua went skiing in Jasper once with his dad for one of those VERY long days (up at 4 a.m. and home around 7 p.m.) just after Christmas. Then, Joshua and I were able to go with Bryan and Karen two weeks ago. We were feeling badly that kids hadn't had a chance to ski in the mountains this year, so we decided to splurge and take them for Family Day. Joshua's dad also joined us in Jasper, so that took some of the pressure off me. For those of you who don't know, skiing is not really my most favourite thing to do. I tolerate skiing but, I do not LOVE skiing - much to the chagrin of my dear husband.

Here's picture of me, Dad, Sky and Sara (left to right) on our first run down the mountain on Monday morning. It was an absolutely beautiful day!Sky joined me after a few runs for a break and a snack. He wanted iced tea and brownies!Sara was not about to go inside, so she and Daddy headed up for another run!Now I must tell you what happened to me after lunch. My family convinced me that I should go with them to the very top of the mountain (instead of just the chair that takes you to about halfway). It involves taking two chair lifts to get there. After you get off the first one, you have to ski down a short "Blue" run (that's intermediate for you non-skiers), to get to the next chair lift. There hasn't been any new snow lately in Jasper, so there were some pretty icy spots on the runs. I was slowly, but surely making my way down, just trying to get that part over with. My little racing children had already disappeared with Grandpa! As I made another turn, suddenly, another less-than-confident skier, came right across my path and we ran into each other. She managed to stay on her feet (I found out later), but I lost control, fell backwards, and began sliding down the hill FAST! At first, my legs started to go in the wrong direction, but I somehow managed to get them back together. Now, my skis are pointed straight downhill, and I was still attached to them!! I had a lot of thoughts going through my head in the next 10 seconds, but my foremost feeling was anger. I was so incredibly angry with that woman for making me fall! I screamed my head off as I hurtled down the hill, desperately trying to make my skis go sideways, so I could dig in and stop! I didn't care what kind of a scene I was making - I just wanted that girl to feel REALLY bad for taking me out! I finally stopped, still in one piece, with a very painful spot in my middle back. Not to mention my extremely wounded pride! Joshua, who was right behind me, has dubbed me with "the most spectacular fall that anyone has ever made while I was skiing with them!" Oh yay! As Joshua helped me up and returned my poles, I demanded to know where the girl was who ran into me. I was informed she stopped momentarily, looked at me still falling, and proceeded on her way. Can you believe it??!! I was TICKED! If I took somebody out like that, I would not just ski away without apologizing and offering to help! It's probably just as well, though, because I was mad enough to beat her up! Karen, I told you I had a sign on my back! (A snowboarder ran into me last week, while I was trying to help Karen ski. Fortunately I was standing still, and didn't fall over. And I was glad it was me and not Karen!) Anyway, I finally made it onto the second chair lift and all the way up the mountain. I had a little venting/cry session on the way, which made me feel much better!

Here I am, with Sara and Sky ready to head ALL the way down the mountain! It was truly an incredible view! And I lived to see it! I also made it down without further tragedy! Sky went on a Blue run with Grandpa, and I went down the Green (easy) with Joshua and Sara. Sara was looking out for me the whole way and made nice, slow turns so I could follow her down. She's a sweetie!
Halfway down, I stopped for a break at the mid-mountain lodge. I enjoyed some time by the outdoor fire pit, drinking my Gatorade! This was my view as I waited for the rest of the family to ski some more runs. When they came back, the kids were glowing because they skied their first Black (expert) run! I was proud of them, but you'll never catch me on one of those!
We finally skied out to the parking lot and got comfortable for the long ride home. We stopped for supper and a car wash (yes, Karen, the same one!) and arrived home around 9:15 p.m. Then it was goodnight to another great Family Day!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Valentine's Day Tea Party!

On Friday afternoon we had friends over to celebrate our annual Valentine's Day Tea Party with us. I never do things exactly the same way every year, otherwise I'd get bored! This year I kept things very simple, since the rest of my month has been pretty close to insanity! We had a very lovely time with Dawn, Patricia and Jonathan, some new homeschool friends. Patricia is our official new babysitter and the kids just love her! I was very happy they could come with only a 2 day advance notice!

On the menu for this year: cupcakes with pink and white frosting and Valentine sprinkles, those new Oreo Sippers (unwrapped and placed in a glass - it actually looked fancy!), oatcakes with raspberry jam and vanilla rooibos tea. It was all gobbled up quickly, but as politely as possible! The decorations were compliments of Sara's "stuffie" collection. Sky's contribution was to write everyone's names on little heart-shaped place cards. Oh, and they helped make the cupcakes too. They were both very proud!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Used Salespeople??

On our way home from Jasper with Bryan and Karen, we found this ad in the newspaper. If they want used salespeople, then what are un-used salespeople?! We had a good laugh over this one!

Aloha Friday #11

It's Aloha Friday! I missed joining in last week because I was away on vacation (see post below for lots of pics!). As you know by now, Aloha Friday is a blogging tradition that originally started with Kailani over on An Island Life. I ask you a simple question, and you answer! It's a great way to interact with family and friends and to meet new bloggy friends along the way! To participate, just head over to Kailani's blog and follow the instructions.

My question this week:

Do you have any special plans for Valentine's Day this year? Any yearly traditions?

Valentine's Day is probably my most favourite holiday of the year! I love the red, pink and white combination, I love making fancy homemade Valentine's, I love making and baking special treats, and I love giving everything away to my friends and family! Yesterday I baked and decorated Valentine cupcakes with the kids, which you can see below. We had fun!

Today I will celebrate my annual tradition, a Valentine's Tea Party! My new homeschool friend, "D" and her two kids will be joining us this afternoon for tea, cupcakes and other goodies! This tradition started when my little sister, Heather was around 2 or 3 years old. I would have been about 19 and I wanted to do something special and "girlie" with her for Valentine's Day. It was a major hit, so the tradition has continued whenever possible! I wish I could be with my sisters today to have my tea party with them. But, I'll see you girls in April and we'll do something then! :-) Tomorrow I have bunches of little treats for Sara and Sky. Then, Joshua and I have a date at one of our favourite restaurants in the late afternoon. I can hardly wait! I hope all of you have a special weekend with the one's you love most!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Vacation Pictures!

We had a wonderful week with our friends Bryan and Karen! I don't think we could have fit in much more fun and activities than we did! They arrived Monday, February 2nd. We celebrated their arrival with a meal at a Japanese restaurant and more food than we could possibly eat! That evening and Tuesday were rest and relaxation days which gave Bryan and Karen a chance to get used to the 2 hour time difference.

On Wednesday, we took them to West Edmonton Mall, which is about 20 min. from our house. (This is the largest mall in the world.) The kids were at a friends' house so they wouldn't get worn out walking the mall. After exploring, shopping and lunch, we left to pick up the kids. We decided it would be fun to go back to the mall and play at the indoor World Waterpark. Our family had never been there (Joshua used to go as a kid), so Sara and Sky were super excited! It was tons of fun! Joshua and Bryan tried all the scary slides, Karen tried a couple of scary slides and I didn't try anything scary! :-) I spent most of my time with the kids in the wave pool or on the kiddie slides and that was just fine with me! We didn't remember cameras, but that's O.K. because we didn't want you to see us in our bathing suits anyway! :-)

Thursday we were up bright and early for the next stage of vacation. Grandpa (Joshua's Dad) came at 9 a.m. to collect the children. He took them out for a pancake breakfast, which they were pretty excited about! The 4 adults then packed up the car and we headed to Jasper, Alberta (about 4 hours away) for the next 4 days. Here are a bunch of pictures from all our adventures there!

The cozy Gingerbread Cabin where we stayed. Joshua and I have stayed here a couple of times for our anniversary, so it was fun to share the experience with friends!

Bryan and Karen at Maligne (Muh-leen) Canyon near Jasper. There is a river and waterfalls that run very deep through the canyon. In the winter everything is frozen, so it was very spectacular.
Joshua and I enjoying the view at one of the lookouts. Of course, the pathways were completely covered in snow and ice, so we had a VERY slippery hike! It was quite funny! We were all wearing running shoes, so none of us had any traction!

The guys slid down the pathway as fast as they could go. Here they are looking smug and laughing at us girls! Karen and I were just a bit more cautious and we clung to the handrails for dear life!
Here is one of the frozen waterfalls we came across. It was awesome! The picture doesn't do it justice - you can't tell how deep the canyon is.
Me and Karen taking a self portrait.

Karen getting her "ski legs" back after not skiing for many years! She did a GREAT job!
Joshua and I during lunch break on our first ski day.
At the end of a very snowy, windy ski day, the sun finally peeked out and treated us to this beautiful sight!
Jasper's downtown area with the beautiful mountains in the background.

This vacation was so needed and I'm so happy we were able to share it with special friends! Inspite of long, busy days and major sore muscles, we were refreshed. Thanks for coming, you guys! We couldn't have asked for a better time!