I went for lunch and visited the Regina Floral Conservatory with my mom, her 5 sisters, and my grandma who will turn 95 in October. Wonderful time! (I took pictures of everyone, too, but chose this one to represent the event and post on my blog. I also shared a picture of the mouse we saw on Instagram.)
My hometown of Yellow Grass, SK. There were four or five grain elevators here when I was growing up. I took this picture through the windshield with Neil's phone, and added the Boost filter in Analog (Mac software).
After the girls danced in the Prairie Gael recital, we went to YG for supper at R&R's to visit with them, Mom and Dad, Grandma Byrns, and Uncle Joel. It was a gorgeous day for the girls to play in the pool with their cousins, too.
Every Christmas, I give each of the girls an ornament. Here are the latest.
2008: Bought these handmade stars at Rogers Pass Discovery Centre in BC. They were made in Manitoba (more: The girls' 2008 ornaments).
2009: Bought these lovely ornaments at The Alamo in San Antonio, Texas (more about that day on our trip to Weslaco: December 23).
2011: Bought these handmade bead ornaments at the MacKenzie Art Gallery Shop (my favourite local place for ornaments). I don't recall where they were made; it might have been a third-world country.
2012: Bought these cool motherboard ornaments at the MacKenzie Art Gallery Shop (more: 22/12/12).
2013: Bought these Basic Spirit ornaments, handcrafted in Pugwash, Nova Scotia, at the MacKenzie Art Gallery Shop. Sophia's is the partridge in a pear tree (10% of the funds go to ending hunger); Madeline's is the hummingbird (a tree will be planted); and Georgia's is the globe with children (10% of the funds go to Aids relief in Africa).
For the early years, see The girls' ornaments 2001-2007.
Our 12th family photo this year -- and the end of my December Daily photo project. Hooray! We took this picture when I got home from work. The girls were excited to wear their new hoodies which they purchased with Christmas money at Urban Planet. (Georgia's hoodie says, "Monsters need hugs too," and Madeline's says, "Free polar bear hugs.")
Our family pictures got much easier through the year. The last two were very quick and easy. My tips for a project like this: use a tripod, use the 10 continuous shots setting on the timer, don't pull children into it until the camera is completely ready, and let them act silly for at least one set of 10 shots. Sometimes those are the best shots (like this one). Now that everyone cooperates easily -- because they know it only takes a minute of their time -- I think we'll keep going with these monthly photos. :)
In spite of December being crazy full, as always, this was one of the easiest daily photo projects I've done -- and I've done many! The reasons are clear to me: I wasn't trying to follow another person's prompts (which are fun when I have more time to experiment); and, near the beginning, I roughly planned out the whole month of picture ideas (my own prompts) based on our calendar -- where would I be each day? what pictures did I really want to get? when could I be flexible? This worked well!
For our New Years' Eve, we ate turkey dinner leftovers for supper and now we're all going to watch Brave on the big TV downstairs. Happy New Year to all! I hope you have a fantastic 2013.
P.S. After the movie, we all played a game of Cranium and two games of Clue Carnival (which Georgia won at school recently). Neil and I still had to strain our turkey broth so we were up until midnight. The girls were more awake than I was at that time!
Today was turkey day at our house. Along with our roast turkey, we enjoyed dressing, potatoes, gravy, cranberry-orange sauce, cabbage rolls (made by my brother - thanks for sharing!), mashed rutabaga, coleslaw, and raw veggies. For dessert, we were lucky to have apple pie and saskatoon pie - both made by Neil's mom and kept in our freezer (unbaked) since they left for Texas in November. Thanks Donna! The girls, who ate less pie than the adults, also had a little more of Neil's homemade chocolate ice cream. We're glad Laurel was able to join us for dinner (unfortunately, B is still in TO) and a few games of Bananagrams. Also, Sophia played four Christmas songs on the trombone for Laurel -- because she was required to perform for someone over the holidays.
We're dog sitting for my brother and his family while they're on vacation this week. Their dogs, Charlie and Miley, are on the couch, while our dog, Dash, is on a desk (where he very often lays looking out the window). I had wanted to get a picture of all three dogs, but wasn't sure I could get them all to sit still together. What luck that they did this on their own and all I had to do was say Dash's name to get him to look at me. :) We enjoy having these dogs at our house. The only problem we've had is with Dash getting mad when one of the girls gives attention to Charlie (the big guy).
A note about our retro sofa which I would prefer not capture in photos... As much as I'd like to have a more attractive couch, it makes perfect sense to keep this one for now when several children and dogs use it on a daily basis, and when the children do silly things such as leaving a full, but opened, drink bag (taken home from a party last evening) laying on the couch, where a dog will most certainly inspect it and squirt grape Kool-Aid on the cushions. Just one example. Why bother getting a nicer couch at this time?
P.S. I'm taking down the Christmas tree today!
We had a wonderful Christmas Eve hosted by my brother and his family. We enjoyed seeing them along with my parents, Grandma M, Aunts Colleen and Bev, and cousin Richy and his family. I'm glad I was able to snap this just seconds before we sat down to a delicious meal. Now I need to get myself to bed. Santa is on his way! Merry Christmas everyone!
I'm so happy to have made this layout! So many things pulled together in one place. This is the epitome of scrapbooking for me -- photos from different times brought together to make connections you wouldn't experience looking through a typical chronological photo album. It was a fun topic to explore, too. I enjoyed learning even more about geoducks -- just for the heck of it! There are lots of interesting geoduck videos on YouTube, and this episode of Dirty Jobs: Geoducks with Mike Rowe was quite entertaining.
Besides geoducks, this layout features pictures of each our girls on their first St. Patrick's Day (2001, 2003, and 2006). It's pure coincidence that I happened to complete the layout today! I started it two weeks ago.
Here's the journaling:
In July 1996, Neil and I visited Grandma Byrns at her home on Puget Sound. We saw water squirting up through holes in the beach, and learned it was coming from geoducks. We had never heard of such a thing!
The geoduck (pronounced "GOO-ee-duck") is a mollusk native to the Pacific Northwest. It is the largest burrowing clam in the world, weighing in at anywhere from 1-3 pounds at maturity. Life expectancy is well over 100 years.
My Aunt Chris gave us this tiny Geoducks t-shirt when Sophia was born. Aunt Chris enjoys thrifting and this item was certainly a second-hand treasure!
Each of the girls wore this t-shirt when they were babies – and all three wore it on their first St. Patrick's Day.
Thanks to Wikipedia, we think this t-shirt may have come from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington – where the geoduck is their official mascot. Go, Geoducks go!
The pull-out on the 6x12 side is The Geoduck Fight Song. I couldn't resist including it. And doesn't Sophia look like she's ready to fight?! :)
This picture came to mind when I received last week's prompt. I took it in 2006 at my paternal grandmother's apartment. The baby in the framed picture is me, photographed by my uncle in 1971. Grandma gave this picture to me when we visited in 2010. It now sits in my scrapbooking area.
I think my youngest daughter (soon-to-be 6) resembles my maternal grandmother, so I had her pose with a picture of Grandma, taken when she was about 2 or 3 years old. I almost managed to capture the same expression. After this, Georgia gave me some great smiles to photograph, but I thought this worked better with the picture she was holding.
I've had this blog post in draft for a week, but couldn't find time to finish it. The past week was a doozy -- perhaps my least favourite week of 2011. Glad it's behind me!
And Picture the Holidays? I've missed six days now. Momentum. Lost. :( I will try to start again tomorrow (I was enjoying it!), but I won't even try to do the missed prompts until I'm off work. Just four more work days (and much to do in the evenings) and then I have 11 days off! Oh, how I need it.
Six days in, I'm feeling committed to Picture the Holidays. I've made it this far; just 25 more days to go! One of the best things about a project like this (I'm sure I've mentioned it before) is that I end up with pictures I love that I wouldn't have taken otherwise. Perfect example right here.
You hold the key: Perhaps the key to surviving the holiday season (with peace of mind) is to stay well rested. I'm terrible for not giving myself enough sleep, so I'll use this as a reminder to go to bed earlier this month. (It's been easy so far as I've been suffering a cold for more than 2 weeks now.)
The view from here: My only view during daylight hours yesterday -- the view from my office -- very different from the 11th floor downtown where I used to work! We see rabbits in this space every day, but none were out when I had my chance to take a picture. I love being able to see the sky from my desk. The sunrise was gorgeous this morning.
Every little thing: My sister-in-law made this pretty camera strap cover for me. She knows I love red. :) I enjoy seeing it every day. Thanks again, Shauna!
I took this picture enroute to Avonlea last weekend as it was was the only opportunity I had to work on The Art of Composition. I used the visor mirror which created a soft frame on three sides, and I processed the photo with the Pioneer Woman action, B&W Beauty (which provides more contrast than just removing the colour). I'd sure like to spend more time on the assignments for TAOC, but it seems I have little time during daylight hours! These days are already too short and we're still six weeks from the solstace. I knew the timing of this class in the fall would present a challenge.
Neil's sister Shauna came from Edmonton for a short visit this past weekend. On Saturday, we went to Avonlea for an early Christmas dinner with Donna and Lou before they go to Texas for the winter. Grandma Louise, Ron, Carol, Laurel, and Bronwyn were there, too. Ron and Carol showed us some of their photos from a recent trip to China. Later, as 10 pm approached, we decided to stay overnight even though we hadn't planned to. I didn't feel like driving at that point and the girls wanted to stay. It was good to visit a bit more in the morning since we won't see Donna and Lou for several months.
Sunday morning, there was quite a blanket of snow on the ground -- our first snowfall of the season! I only say that with excitement because it's very unusual to have our first snow so late (November 6). (We heard on the news: "There has only been six times in the last 125 years Regina hasn't had snow in September or October." Snowless Regina rare in November) The highways were bad and it was a slow trip back to Regina.
Both Madeline and Sophia played ringette games on Sunday. Madeline was the goalie for her team for the first time. She was very eager to play goal. They didn't win (9-6), but Madeline played quite well! (Especially after one referee coached her on getting the ring out of the crease within 5 seconds.) Sophia had a good game also, though her team lost by 1 point in the last 20 seconds (9-8). It was an exciting game to watch! She played forward and scored two goals -- her third game in row with goals and assists. I think she may be earning a forward position (which is what she wants). We'll see.
I'm so looking forward to having four days off work this weekend! And the best part: three of those days are mostly free of outside commitments. I really NEED this. There are so many things I need to catch up on; my sanity depends on it.
I found this prompt a little more difficult than I thought I would, but I like how this picture of echinacea turned out. The blue tones in the background were a pleasant surprise when I looked at the picture on my computer; I don't even know how that happened! The next photo is the top of a corn stalk. The third one I shot pretty tight, but cropped it even further on the computer.
I can't believe it's been a week since I last posted. Where has the past week gone? It sure went fast, anyway. Let's see:
Now, I'm off to work... and looking forward to Georgia's kindergarten welcome program/liturgy tomorrow morning, The Art of Composition starting tomorrow, and Crop & Create Saskatoon this weekend. Very fun stuff! (Less fun: packing and a dental appointment for me between now and then.)
I've been wanting to write this post for weeks now. At this point, it's now or never! I hate to miss recording some things as I feel like my blog/record book would be incomplete.
The last third of August was so very busy. Honestly, much busier than I would have liked.
At work, I was wrapping up my old job and packing to go to a new office location. On the 24th, I went out for lunch with a large group of coworkers to the Rooftop Grill. It was a farewell lunch for our co-op student which turned into a farewell for me, too (which is totally fine!). They gave me a nice card and a gift card for The Keg. Also, on my last day of work at head office (August 25), Neil packed lunches so he and the girls could have lunch with me in Victoria Park. My mom happened to be in the city that day, so she met us downtown as well. Unfortunately, my last day was so full of meetings, my lunch break was rushed and shorter than usual.
At home, I was spending quite a bit of time preparing BSS Bundle #1 as a free gift for subscribers and for sale.
And there were school preparations. I spent hours updating our family wall calendar for the upcoming school year with all the information I had received and could find. Labeling a gazillion school supplies took a few hours as well. All three girls were very excited about their supplies and insisted on helping. I miss the days when I could label school supplies in front of the TV after they went to bed!
The weekend before school started, I decided I had better decorate a shirt for Georgia's kindergarten paint smock -- after all, I had done the same for both Sophia and Madeline! For all three, I used an old black t-shirt from my closet and some glitter fabric paint. Designs were done on the fly, with the child's input, and they're all different but all have their name front and centre. (This is what the paint looks like when wet; it's more translucent and glittery when dry.)
On the 19th, we went to a farewell barbecue for Neil's cousin, Rhonda, who was moving to Ottawa for a new job, on very short notice. I'm glad we could see her before she left town! The party was at Darren and Ali's. We hadn't seen them for quite awhile (at least I hadn't) and the girls enjoyed playing with their little second cousins, Gabe and Avery.
On the 20th, we went to Yellow Grass to see my Great Grandma Byrns (visiting from Saskatoon), Aunt Chris and Uncle Tim (visiting from Idaho), and family who live in YG. First, we went out to Mom and Dad's farm to see the bison. I wrote a bit about this excursion on my layout about Madeline and the bull. The girls were also thrilled to ride on the Rhino with their grandpa. Sophia even drove it for a little while! (Madeline isn't quite tall enough yet.) On the way back to town with Mom, we enjoyed seeing many different birds in the marshes and flooded farmland along the road.
Back in town, my sister-in-law, Robyn, brought her children, Ethan, Jordyn, and Kacy, over to Mom and Dad's for a visit. (Unfortunately, my brother was working and couldn't be there.) Great Grandma, Chris, and Tim left before supper as they wanted to get back to Saskatoon before dark. The kids hadn't seen their cousins for months. They really enjoyed playing together, and going for walks and to the park. The younger four also painted some pictures. Painting at Grandma's house has become a tradition! We had a nice dinner at Mom and Dad's and went back to Regina in the evening.
On the 21st, we attended a thank-you barbecue for those who helped with the K4J Vacation Bible Camp earlier in the month. All three girls attended the camp (Sophia as a captain), and Neil had helped with props and clean up.
On the 26th, Madeline had her first appointment with an orthodontist because her top teeth are very crowded. He recommended that she get a couple baby teeth (top eye teeth) pulled right away to give the permanent teeth a little more room. She'll definitely need braces in a couple years, too. (She had those teeth pulled after school on September 6. Her mouth was frozen for a long time, but she still participated in her ringette camp that evening.)
On the 27th, we went to Weyburn for a welcome party for my cousin's baby, Lexington. (We had helped them out with their daughter, Bailey, while Lex was born on June 14.) It was nice to see them again, as well as Mom, Grandma Mantay, Aunt Colleen, Robyn, Jordyn, and Kacy. (Ethan was with his dad.)
On the 28th, we enjoyed having dinner with our friends, the Eleys, at their house. The food was delicious and it was a very nice evening. I'm still thinking about the fresh fruit salad of peaches, nectarines, raspberries, and blueberries, with citrus pound cake on the side. :) Thanks MJ and R! You're great hosts!
And with that, we were off to the start of a new school year, new job, and new activities in our schedule. I think I've covered everything from here on!
On Saturday, August 13, we drove to my aunt and uncle's farm near Bickleigh, SK to celebrate their 35th wedding anniversary and the farm's 100th anniversary year. They really went all out on the celebration and it was a wonderful time. The weather was fantastic, too!
We arrived at the farm shortly after 2:00 pm. First thing, Neil set up our tent in a shaded area, and we got our beds ready. The girls found their little cousin, Bailey, right away and read stories to her in the tent. Before dinner, Neil and I visited with relatives. My parents were there, my Great Grandma Mantay, all of my mom's sisters, Uncle Roger, my three cousins who grew up on the Crickett farm, their spouses, baby Jack, and my cousin Richy and his family.
Dinner was catered and served in the big white tent. The meal was delicious and the tables were lovely. There was a short program after dinner, MC'd by my cousin Carolyn. My cousin Nancy and her husband dressed up in my aunt and uncle's wedding dress and suit, Sophia and Madeline read a cute poem called I'll Go On Wrinkling, and the Crickett girls sang a song they wrote for their parents about the history of the farm and growing up there. After the program, a local band set up and played from about 8-10 pm. My cousin Jayne sang with them. It was a very fun relaxed evening -- a great time! We managed to get Georgia to bed in our tent around 10:30; Madeline a little later; and Sophia about midnight when we turned in, too. The night was absolutely perfect for tenting. Not once were we too hot or too cold.
The girls got up about 7:30 am and went out exploring. I learned later that they ate cereal in the house with my Aunt Valerie. Neil and I packed up everything and took down the tent. Mid morning, my aunt prepared a breakfast feast of ham, eggs, pancakes, and fruit in the big tent. After breakfast, we enjoyed more visiting with relatives. The girls spent more time with Bailey, often in her family's RV. We also managed to get some family photos (I'm so glad because it was on my to-do list for this summer!). After that, the girls and I, along with Melinda and Bailey, decided to try out the Farmer's Golf that my uncle Cliff set up around the farm. Only Sophia and I continued after the first hole, and we completed four holes before heading back to the yard.
After lots of goodbyes, and tracking my mom, grandma, and aunts down on the Farmer's Golf course, we left the farm about 1:40 to catch the 3:30 pm departure of the Riverhurst Ferry. We made it in good time and had a 15-minute wait. We had never taken the ferry across Lake Diefenbaker before. It was a nice break in the trip. We got out of the truck, walked around on the ferry, and used the washroom, of course. At Regina, we went straight to Laurel's to pick up Dash, and we got home around 6:30 pm. It was a whirlwind trip. Short and sweet. I'm glad we went!
I went back to work on Monday after my glorious week off (10 days in total). I loved my vacation time! The weather was fabulous. I loved being at home and doing whatever I felt like doing most of the time. And, of course, I loved crossing a few things off my to-do list. For me, it was a great balance of productivity and play. Here's a recap of some of the things we did after the girls returned from Camp Monahan (aside from regular housework, BSS work, etc.)
Thursday morning, Sophia and I made Dill Pickle Spears. I think they turned out well, but Sophia doesn't care for the taste of the vinegar. She LOVES garlic dill pickles, but these weren't quite right for her (the white wine vinegar, perhaps?). Maybe we'll add more sugar next time or try another recipe; they were very easy to make.
Later on Thursday, all three girls had an annual check-up with our family doctor. They're all doing fine and growing well. (Georgia also began a 24-hour Holter Monitor today so the pediatric cardiologist will have the results at her heart checkup in January.) That evening, we went to Boston Pizza for supper as Neil had a gift card to use (it was a thank you gift for his lunch supervision at school). The girls were excited to eat out as we hadn't eaten out at all in July (making up for some extra eating-out expenses in June).
On Friday afternoon, we all went shopping for school supplies. It was our first time buying supplies for all three. The girls were full of eager anticipation for this event. Before we went out, we "shopped" our house for supplies that could be reused. Georgia is quite happy to use things we already had (for example, she'll use Madeline's scissors and Sophia's backpack from last school year), while Sophia is quite a bit less willing to reuse (which frustrates me!).
We purchased the majority of school supplies at Walmart, Staples, and Costco this year. There were some great deals such as duotangs for 10 cents (we needed 24) and 200-sheet packs of loose leaf for 25 cents. Shoes were purchased at Winners, the Bay, and Payless. Finally, two new t-shirts for each girl from The Children's Place (less than $7/shirt). They all selected a t-shirt that says "Best Sister Ever" with an arrow to their own head. And all three wore it to their first day of K4J Vacation Bible Camp on Monday. :)
After shopping, we picked up the girls' packed bags and drove them to Corinne. Lou met us there and took the girls to Avonlea to spend two nights with their grandparents. We needed a babysitter on Saturday, so this worked very well for us. As always, the girls had a great time out there. They went for a hike in the hills, swimming at Dunnet, and sewed some potholders with their grandma.
On Saturday, Neil went golfing with friends, which is something he hasn't done for years. They golfed at Flowing Springs and had to take a long break while waiting for a severe thunderstorm to roll through. Meanwhile, I was alone for much of the day. So unusual! I listened to scrapbooking podcasts, and worked on July pictures and a series of scrapbook pages I had started in May 2010. (Photos to follow in a separate post.)
I also registered for The Art of Composition this weekend. Pricey, yes, but I see it as an investment in knowledge I'll use for the rest of my life. (I was glad to get a $20 discount as a member of Picture Inspiration, though.) I'm really looking forward to this workshop!
Saturday evening, Neil and I went to the home of our friends, Derek and Lisa, in Pilot Butte. There were about a dozen people there (and no kids, except the host couple's baby). We had a delicious steak supper, and I really enjoyed visiting with Lisa and Karla, whom I hadn't seen for a very long time.
Sunday was painting day. I painted the front door while Neil created and painted a cruise ship to be used in a skit at the K4J VBS this week (Neil is helping with props and stage set-up all week long). They both turned out well! I used the "Exotic Grass" paint that I used to paint one wall of our dining room in 1997. I had wanted to paint this door green for years! So glad I finally did this. What took me so long?
Also on Sunday, Neil picked up the girls at Corinne, and my mom and Buffy (her dog) came over to visit for a little while. The girls and I needed to go to a few stores on the east side, so Mom came with us. Sophia also had captain's training (she's a K4J captain) and a playdate at Meghan's house, before and after our shopping excursion, respectively.
Nature, colour, and light. These are the things I am most eager to capture -- besides my children. I took this photo last Sunday morning and have had this post in draft for six days. That's the kind of week it's been. Spare time is scarce!
Last weekend, we were worried about Neil's dad. He went to hospital by ambulance Saturday morning after feeling extremely dizzy and clammy. He didn't have a heart attack, but was admitted to the Cardiac Surveillance Unit where he stayed overnight. On Sunday, he was discharged with the plan to have a stress test on Wednesday. His test results were great, so his heart has been ruled out.
On Saturday afternoon, Sophia and Georgia had their hair cut at D.A.M. Hair Company (great prices for children!). Sophia asked to have more layers. The length at the back is still about the same as before, but her hair is much more layered around her face, with a shorter section on one side (like very long bangs). Sophia loves her hair cut and it looks great (though sweeping it all into a pony tail, as she's fond of doing, is much more challenging now; and she knew it would be).
Georgia asked to have her hair cut like mine. :) Her hair is significantly shorter than before. Now it's shoulder length with some soft layers around her face. It looks awesome and is SO much easier to brush (we only brush her hair slathered in conditioner while she's bathing). Surprisingly, it doesn't appear to be curlier than before. I thought with so much length off, it would bounce right up, but it's about the same.
While Neil was at the Rider game on Saturday, the girls and I went over to L&B's to see Shauna and Wayne and the boys. The older kids went to the park to play, while Georgia and Rian stayed home with the grown ups. Bronwyn, Sophia, Madeline, and Cole were enjoying looking at the ducks and snails in the lake when I picked up Sophia.
I took Sophia home to pack a bag and then over to Meghan's for a sleepover. I also picked up Neil after the Rider game, and it was close to 6 pm by the time we got to the hospital to visit Lou. After a short visit, we went to Laurel's house for pizza and Neil's mom came with us. Later, we took Georgia home to bed while Madeline stayed overnight with Bronwyn (and the Pilgrims went back to Avonlea).
Sunday morning, I enjoyed taking some photos in the garden. (And I took photos throughout the day for 10 things on the 10th.) Meghan and her dad dropped off Sophia mid morning. In the afternoon, I spent several hours cleaning Sophia and Madeline's room while Neil prepared bison ribs and pork ribs, plus classic barbecue sauce, to take to Weisshaar's (Neil's aunt and uncle's place) for supper. They were very tasty.
The original plan had been to go to Avonlea for supper and to visit with Pilgrims before they left SK, but the location was changed to Weisshaar's since Lou was in the hospital until mid afternoon. We're so lucky he was discharged, though, as the doctor had planned to keep him in until Monday and then changed his mind. Since the entire family on Neil's side was able to be together Sunday evening, and this is a pretty rare occurance, we took some quick informal family photos in the back yard at Weisshaar's. We also got a few shots of the six cousins together. Shauna and her family left for MB the next day. We're so glad they could visit us in SK this summer!