Strangely, when I stay home all day is when I seem to have the most trouble getting a photo of the day... This day, the 28th, was all about finishing my work on the photos I took for my daughter's ringette team. I had a few printed and then made some adjustments. These are the test prints.
I may do team photos again, but I'll never again do them after Christmas. It was next to impossible to find the time to process them over the past 6 weeks. I'll have them ready to hand out at the Rampage team windup in April. Best I could do! I would like to have a better lens for next time, too.
Also: I slipped and fell this morning, and strained my neck in the process. Owww. Very painful. :( I caught Sophia's cold, too. Whiplash and sneezing are a bad combination! Sophia is feeling better now. Today, she went skiing with her class at Mission Ridge and then stayed overnight with a friend in White City.
We're deep in the throes of cleaning our overstuffed basement. And we just decided on Monday to have a yard sale this Saturday. So much to do before (and after) the sale! Good thing I'm off tomorrow. I'll be preparing for the sale tonight, too, but first, I wanted to pop in and write something; otherwise, there may be no blog post at all this month.
We're planning to sell children's clothing at our sale, which is something we've never done before. Up to now, we've given everything (up to size 5) away. But the massive pile of clothes (and shoes) we have to get rid of right now is just too much to handle the same way we have in the past. (Plus, we could use the money for school supplies.) We're only selling for six hours, and I'm sure we'll have lots of clothes left to send to Texas.
I don't know when I'll be able to do my monthly photo tasks or roundup for July, and this bothers me! Oh, how I loathe getting behind on these things. But I'm determined to get our house in order before ringette starts (October). (My hope was to do it before school starts, but I can see there's more to do than we have time for before September 4.) We've made some good progress and we can't stop now. Moving is not an option and continuing to live in this mess is not an option, either!
I'm still learning about food during the times when I'm not with other people or working (at work or at home): podcasts while driving; videos during work breaks; reading for a few minutes before bed. I've:
Aside from simply being interested in nutrition (which I've always been; although I didn't always have correct information), I've been fascinated, astonished, and saddened by what I've been learning lately. We now have access to "new" (in some cases, old, but forgotten) information about food's enormous impact on our health, and this information should be turning our world upside down, but I'm afraid mass acceptance is still a long way off.
I'll be reading Wheat Belly soon. Thanks to Neil for buying it for me at Costco today, unrequested, even though I know he has some reservations about me reading it. :) But I don't need to read the entire book to start making a change. All it took was one 42-minute radio show (see link above) to make me seriously consider giving up wheat -- with the possible exceptions of homemade pie (rare treat), homemade turkey dressing (rare treat), and spelt bread* (occasionally) -- and it's not even an issue of weight for me; the other health implications are enough.
*I think the jury is out on spelt; I can't be sure it's not as bad as modern wheat, but I'd like to keep it as an option for my family -- at least as another delivery vehicle for butter. Lucky for us, our friends at Orange Boot Bakery make an excellent 100% spelt bread (bonus: it's fermented/sourdough).
P.S. And, of course, we've been taking in as much of the Olympics as we can! These days are full.
Over the past month, I've been learning more about food.
Is Sugar Toxic? (CBS 60 Minutes report)
Sugar: The Bitter Truth* (Dr. Lustig, University of California)
(Thanks to Stacy Julian for mentioning these on her blog.)
I haven't watched all of this yet, but here's a fancier version of Dr. Lustig's message in a 7-part (+2) series:
The Skinny on Obesity*
Real Food Summit presentations (when they were free):
These websites are great resources, too.
(Thanks to my friend, Erin, who posted a link to the Real Food Summit on Facebook. I wouldn't have known about it otherwise.)
Dishing Up Nutrition radio show from Nutritional Weight & Wellness:
From 2011 (because they were already on my iPod)
Cure Tooth Decay (borrowed from library)
Nourishing Traditions (purchased from Chapters - love it!)
Nourished Kitchen (blog and recipes) - here are two great posts:
As a result, I'm working on some changes for myself and family. Most basically:
*P.S. I think all of these resources are useful, but I especially recommend Dr. Lustig's presentations and the Oct 1 and Jul 21 Dishing Up Nutrition shows for important health information.
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.
Express yourself: A little reminder for myself. Inspired by Ali Edwards (this post). After I wrote the message, I held the camera in position with my left hand (and the marker in my right hand) while Neil pressed the shutter button. I couldn't have done this without a helper!
Reflecting on the season: This is the season when I see the sun setting on my way home from work (sunset was 4:55 pm on this day). I pulled over to take this shot. And I just happened to catch a small plane in my photo. :)
It's a sign: You can't deny the wisdom on a lululemon bag, can you? (I did a bit of sharpening and added a little edge burn (PW actions) to draw more attention to the main message.) Speaking of breathing, I think I'm feeling slightly better today; I'm hopeful that my second cold is on its way out.
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!
For last week's prompt, I'm glad I was able to step out and take some pictures while the sun was shining. It makes all the difference in a picture like this.
No posts for 10 days. Yeesh. It just wasn't possible, though. We've been extra busy and I've been sleeping more thanks to a very nasty cold. Here's a brief recap of the non-ordinary happenings over the past week and a half.
Since we're having hard frosts night after night now, Sophia was collecting all of the remaining tomatoes from their vines (so we won't have to cover the plants with sheets any longer). I love it when I can capture something real (not staged) for the weekly prompt.
What else is happening around here these days?
P.S. Neil called Delta about our kitchen faucet on Friday morning, and on Monday, we received a new hose in the mail, completely free. He installed it that day and there's no more leaking. We've had a bucket under the sink for months! Why do we wait so long?
P.P.S. Also in the past couple of weeks, the girls had some appointments. On Oct 7, Neil took all three to have their eyes checked. They all have good vision and healthy eyes. On Oct 14, I took Sophia to her orthodontist. We were very happy to hear she won't be starting treatment any time soon. He feels he can correct everything with braces after she has grown some more. She'll have another checkup in one year. Sophia learned that she has lost all of her baby teeth. The last one just came out 3 or 4 days before her appointment.
I decided to share three photos for Picture Inspiration this week. I took the photo above specifically for the prompt (we have a wonderful crop of garden tomatoes this year -- yum!), and the other two are from our trip to Yellow Grass on Saturday. They struck me as "back to basics" as well.
A basic childhood pleasure. I love how you can really see the big weed seeds in the air. So much easier to photograph than dandelion seeds! And below, some of my parents' bison herd. I don't usually crop my photos into unusual dimensions, but I really wanted to zero in on the cow-calf pairs and eliminate the fence in the foreground. I also applied the Pioneer Woman Heartland action. I think it turned out pretty cool.
I got up a little earlier today. I was laying there wide awake anyway. I know it's because I have only two days left in Marketing at Head Office and it seems a bit surreal. I was thinking of all the things I need to do today and tomorrow at work, including getting my office completely packed up.
The past week or two have been full, and I'm feeling behind on my blog posts. I know it's not a life requirement but I do pressure myself to capture what's happening. I have a terrible memory for details and a very strong desire not to lose them. This is my record! Anyhow, I can't cover everything I've missed today, but I want to mention a few things.
Georgia had her ears pierced last Wednesday! She had been wanting this for a few months and I told her we'd do it when she was the same age Madeline was when she had her ears pierced -- right before kindergarten. Georgia chose cute Hello Kitty studs. You can see them in the picture above. She was very quiet and sat perfectly still while her ears were pierced one at a time. She has been great about making sure her ears get cleaned with the antiseptic three times a day, and they look very healthy. When I turn her earrings, I say her kitties are doing somersaults. :) I should mention also that shortly after her ears were pierced and while the Claire's lady was explaining the care routine to me, I started feeling faint. I had to sit down on the ear-piercing chair and take my jacket off. I don't know why this happened; I wasn't even thinking about it in detail, and there was no blood at all. Embarassing!
The girls are enjoying their last two free weeks before school starts. Madeline's friend Mattea has asked her over for a few playdates. Sophia had a sleepover at Meghan's house last night. All three are spending lots of time outdoors playing with Zoe and Nadia on our street. It has been very nice to have these playmates so close (sadly, Zoe is moving in a few days). Plus, the weather has been great. We were truly blessed with a beautiful summer this year. The girls have been able to run through the sprinkler the past two days.
Yesterday, all three girls went to the dentist for a cleaning and check up. Neil had to take them on his own this time. I usually go, but I was unable to get an appointment when the girls had no school and I was off. Neil and I are going next Friday morning when all the kids will be in school. Happily, Sophia and Madeline's teeth were free of cavities. I have to make an orthodontist appointment for Madeline as her top teeth are very misaligned. (Sophia will have her 4th or 5th ortho checkup in October, too.) Also, Georgia needs to go to the pediatric dentist because she has three cavities. Boo.
I'm bracing myself for the onslaught of school and activities, and anxious to get the new calendar updated for the school year. I have numerous messages in my inbox with date information, and I feel uncomfortable until it's out there where everyone can see it. This will be a top priority for this weekend, as well as labeling the girls' school supplies. I can't wait to get them out of our house! The girls drive me crazy with things like this because they can't stop touching them and spreading them all over the place.
Well, it's time to get going to work. I still want to write about the past two weekends, but it likely won't happen until this weekend. This evening, I'm planning to make Buttermilk Blueberry Breakfast Cake for my last "cookie club" coffee break tomorrow. Thanks to Pinterest, it took me about five seconds to decide what I want to make!
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!
Sophia has continued to do well in track, and she loves it! She's participated in three quad meets and one track meet at her school. These photos are from the third quad meet in which Sophia got 1st place in triple jump. After her school meet (where she won five 2nds, one 6th, and one 8th), she received a silver medal for the Midget Girls category. We're not sure yet if she will be going to the city track meet or not.
The kids haven't had very much school lately! For the Victoria Day weekend, they had no school on Friday or Monday. While I worked until noon on Friday, Neil took six kids to the Science Centre: our three girls, our niece, the boy Neil babysits, and Madeline's friend, Lauren, who was here for a sleepover Thursday night. (Sophia also had a friend, Desirae, over for a sleepover on Saturday night.) Having a family membership for the Science Centre is awesome! They allowed all seven to go in under our membership.
The kids were in school yesterday (Tuesday), and now are off for two days due to the teachers' job action. It's not an all-out strike yet, but I hope they come to an agreement very soon! We're wondering if there will even be a city track meet at this point. Also, the school community council had a big spring carnival/fundraiser planned for tomorrow night, and it had to be postponed. I feel bad for those who have put in the hours to plan this event, so I hope it still happens (but NOT next week -- we have Mosaic).
So, the kids are only in school two days this week, and this is my vacation week! Part of me wishes they were in school for all four days as planned (I have tons of housework to do!), but on the other hand, it's nice not doing the morning rush to get them going to school. Plus, if I had been at work, I would have been jealous that my whole family had these free days without me. Georgia still has preschool, though, and right now she's at the Dino Bouncer place on a field trip. On Friday, we'll attend her preschool graduation!
Regarding my week off -- my staycation -- I am LOVING it! This is the first time in over 16 years, other than being ill or on mat leave, that I've had a whole week off and stayed home the whole time. I'm getting so much done! Not quite as much as I had hoped (my plans were too ambitious, perhaps!), but still a ton, and I'm glad. I'm relieved. So much was long overdue.
Also, I'm finally feeling better. That cold I had, that started on Friday the 13th, turned into a sinus infection and I was totally miserable all of last week. If I had not been taking this week off, I would have stayed in bed a couple of days. But I couldn't; there were too many things I had to do before my vacation. (For my sinuses, I used a neti pot a few times. I think it helped a great deal and may have shortened the infection.)
Time to get back to my spring cleaning! This is just about the half-way point of my nine days off and I intend to accomplish a great deal over the next few days. :)
Last Friday, I had the day off work (my work as an employee, that is), and I woke up with a cold. Not how I wanted to start my three-day weekend! At least it's just me; the rest of my family is cold-free.
Friday, I spent much of day preparing a new free sampler for Bite-sized Scrapbooking. It includes the first three layouts issued for BSS in February. In those early weeks, I wasn't providing a sneak peek or a sketch, so I needed to create those elements for the sampler. Please go and download the sampler if you're interested! It will give you three inspiration layouts and a good idea of what subscribers receive.
When the kids were out of school, we all went to Cherrylane Greenhouse near Grand Coulee to shop for plants. Laurel came with us, too, while Bronwyn stayed at a friend's house. We all LOVE going to greenhouses. This is one of my very favourite things to do every spring. We hadn't been to this place before, and we went because I had purchased vouchers on SwarmJam. It was a lovely greenhouse and the people running it are super nice and eager to help. We had fun picking out a bunch of plants. I let the girls get whatever they wanted, so we'll have an eclectic variety of flowers! I'm very excited that I picked out seven perennials for our yard (one was Sophia's request, actually). I love perennials, but we don't have many. I decided it's time to start investing in perennials. I will write more about the plants we purchased in another post.
Saturday, I took Sophia to her piano lesson, then shopping for dressy sandals (for her piano recital) and a birthday gift for her friend. (She went to Haley's party later in the day.) The shopping took much too long but we came home with good purchases. Sophia's feet are the same size as mine and it was challenging to find sandals that weren't too high or too expensive. We found some at Walmart for $15.
It was mid-afternoon by the time I started working on Madeline's clothes -- my real plan for the day. Clothes, clothes, clothes. There's no end to them, it seems. Madeline is quite particular about her clothing, so she easily rejected about half of the clothes that were available to her (and those were separated into two piles: donate and keep for Georgia). The remaining third is still more than enough. Madeline's dresser and closet are full and we didn't even open any of the other three bins of 7/8 clothes in our basement. I'm still going to have to go through these soon because I would rather get rid of at least half of those clothes NOW, than have to go through six bins of 7/8 when Georgia gets to that size. Can you feel my pain? At least the job of going through Sophia's clothes will be much easier. She actually doesn't have that many clothes that fit her any more. I hope she has enough but we'll see about that next weekend.
*Okay, I need to insert here that we did not buy all of these clothes! In fact, we have purchased very little. In addition to a few gifts of new clothes (which the girls LOVE), we have received hand me downs from three families. Our girls are always overjoyed to receive these clothes and I am very thankful for them because we can't spend much money on children's clothing, but the price we pay is the considerable space they take up in our house and the time I spend sorting through them. I am not ungrateful; just slightly frustrated.*
I continued dealing with children's clothing on Sunday because we had a bunch of bags and piles and bins that contained a mixture of sizes. This photo shows just some of the 10s (which are too small for Sophia), 7/8s, 6X/7s, and 6/6Xs I sorted that day. But here's the best part: While I worked on this, I had the laptop set up so I could watch Penny De Los Santos teaching Food & Culture Photography on creativeLIVE. The course was three days long (May 13-15) and I only caught about 20% of the live broadcast over the weekend, but what I saw was absolutely riveting! Neil and I both wished we could see all of it, so we purchased the course for $99, which I think is incredibly inexpensive for 24 hours of video. Certainly a bit of a splurge, but now we can watch the whole thing on the TV downstairs whenever we want. I'm so glad I noticed a tweet from @thepioneerwoman about this course. After seeing Penny's short video, The Power of Food Photography, I just had to register. I don't really aspire to BE a food photographer; I'm just fascinated by Penny's photos and her approach to food and culture photography.
Meanwhile, Neil started cleaning the incredible disaster of a place we call Sophia and Madeline's room. (Neil got possession of the laptop when I had to spend some time dealing with the clothing/toy storage room downstairs.) We had not seen the floor in their room for quite some time, and he made some good progress on it before we all had to stop and get ready for the girls' piano recital. After the recital and supper, I continued working on the floor until it was finished, but I wasn't able to get to all the surfaces in their room before the girls' bedtime. I will try to squeeze this into my vacation week (next week) because it simply has to get done.
And where were the girls during all of this bedroom cleaning? Playing elsewhere and that's fine with me. In fact, I prefer they stay away; it's much easier to throw things out when they're not there to protest! Madeline did show up at one point and rescued several silly bands before they were swept into the dust pan. (I can't even imagine what it would be like to have carpet in the girls' bedrooms. Scary!) Although it seems easier to declutter without the kids' help right now, I know they need to learn how to do this -- and I'm not sure how to teach them -- so I am considering signing up for this class at Simplify 101: Organizing with your kids.
Sophia and Madeline's piano recital was at 4:45 p.m. on Sunday. It was a nice event, as always. This was our fourth one. Madeline (pictured below) played a solo on the piano (Autumn), played sand blocks in the rhythm ensemble (Waltz), and sang with several other children (MYC Theme Song). Sophia played a solo on the piano (The Greatest Show on Earth). She played so clearly and enthusiastically! It was great to hear! Unfortunately, she got stuck about 2/3 of the way through and couldn't finish. She got up, visibly upset, and came straight to me. Sadly, we hadn't brought her book along, so she couldn't refer to it.
The recital continued with another couple private students, and then Sophia's teacher asked if she wanted to try again. Sophia agreed. She played just as enthusiastically as the first time, and then... got stuck in the same spot again. :( Mrs. Young tried to help, but without the music for reference, they were both unsure what came next. What a bummer. We all learned a hard lesson about taking the book. We should have had it with us even though Sophia didn't think she needed it. Well, it won't happen again! It's over, and she's okay. (I think this helped a tiny bit: another private student had the same problem and he didn't have his book there either.) The thing is, she knew the song at home when no one was paying attention, but she was nervous about the audience. And the entire song wasn't quite etched in her brain. At the end of the recital, her teacher praised her for trying again, and several parents patted her on the back afterward, saying she was very brave. She is, and I'm proud of her, too!
On Monday (yesterday), Sophia participated in the track & field day at her school. She competed against other girls in grades 4 and 5, and came home with a fist full of ribbons: five 2nds, a 6th, and an 8th. The 2nds were in high jump, and the 60m, 80m, 200m, and 400m races. The 6th was in triple jump (she claims she thought it was a practice jump), and the 8th was in shotput. (A very determined and trained runner in grade 5 won 1st place in all the races.) Our niece, who's in grade 5, won 1st place in triple jump, 4th in high jump, and 7th in the 60m race. Sophia (and B) also had a 90-minute dance class Monday evening and she said her legs were burning in class. Not surprising, huh?!
The long weekend was fantastic! Family Day is my kind of holiday -- a day off work, totally free of obligations.
Last weekend, we all went to Medicine Hat for Sophia's ringette tournament, the Ed Horvath Interprovincial Classic. (Except Dash, who went to Laurel and Bronwyn's house for the weekend.) Epic blog post ahead.
We left on Thursday, February 10 after I got home from work. It seemed like a long drive that evening as it was dark, snowing off and on, and there was some drifting snow. We saw a few vehicles in the ditch between the divided highway. All had just gone in within minutes as their lights were still on. We were glad others had stopped to help. We arrived in Medicine Hat at the Travelodge about 10:30 p.m. (9:30 AB time). None of the kids had fallen asleep. We thought Georgia might since she wasn't feeling well, but she stayed awake, content watching DVDs. Once we got our things into the room, the girls all went to bed amazingly well. (In my experience, this never happens when arriving late to a hotel room!) As soon as they were asleep, I went to bed, too. Neil stayed up late playing cribbage with some of the other ringette parents.
***Friday morning, we were up pretty early and headed down to the breakfast room (complimentary continental breakfast) about 7:45 a.m. We had the place to ourselves. The girls were eager to go swimming, so when the pool opened at 8:30, we were ready. All five of us went in. The water temperature was great! Surprisingly warm. The waterslide was good (not too fast) and the pool was just the right depth for Madeline to stand with her head out of the water. She and Sophia had a great time sliding. Georgia wore her life jacket, but was still very unwilling to be on her own, so she stuck with me or Neil the whole time. I took her down the waterslide twice, and then she didn't want to go anymore (especially as Sophia pleaded with Georgia to let her take her down the waterslide). Just as we were all going to leave the pool, two of Sophia's team-mates came to the pool and asked her to stay swimming with them. Neil stayed to supervise and I took Georgia and Madeline to the room to shower.
Once I was all ready for the day and Neil and Sophia were back with the other two, I drove to Medicine Hat's local scrapbook store, Scrapbook Central. I wanted to tell them about Bite-sized Scrapbooking and check out their wares, of course! The store owner wasn't there, but I spoke to the lady working there and told her all about it. I left a few cards, too. I was quite nervous about this (I am so NOT a salesperson), but it went okay. I don't know if it will mean any business for me, but at least I tried. Scrapbook Central is a very nice little store, packed with good stuff. I shopped a bit and came home with a few sheets of paper, letter stickers, and labels that I love.
I got back to the hotel about 11:30 a.m., and we headed over to the Medicine Hat Mall to have lunch before Sophia's first game. A couple other families went there, too. The first game was at 1:45 p.m. vs. Indus Lightning at the Kinplex. The Sticks of Fury had a rough start. They were down 6 points before scoring and then outscored their opponent the rest of the game. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough and we lost 8-5. Sophia scored one goal in the first game.
All of the ringette tournament stuff was at this arena and we wouldn't be back, so we spent a bit of time feeding the raffle baskets, and buying a set of ringette mini sticks (2 sticks and a mini ring) and "Ringy," a soft toy (a ring with arms and legs) for Georgia. Plus, there was a cool sports photographry set up where they had dozens of photos of each girl in action, taken during the game, displayed on computer monitors (there were about 8 of them) where you could browse the photos and choose some for printing right there. There were a couple great shots of Sophia, so we bought an 8x10 with a small picture inset in the corner. It's a nice keepsake.
We went back to the hotel and many of the ringette players and little siblings played (or watched) mini sticks for awhile. There was a great space not far from our room that was just lined with chairs, with big windows for light and lots of floor space. It wasn't next to any hotels rooms, either. Perfect!
At 4:15 p.m., all of the ringette families gathered at Houston Pizza for supper. It was a good set up with all of the kids at a long table between two rows of booths where all the parents and coaches sat. From there, we went straight to the Family Leisure Centre (a very nice, new facility with an extra wide ice surface) for the girls' second game vs. Airdrie White Out. Sophia played goal for this game and they tied, 7-7. It was a great game and Sophia played well. We didn't know what to expect from these Alberta teams, and it was good to see that the Sticks of Fury were competing with them at the same level. Also, during the game, Georgia -- who had been coughing for a few days and wasn't quite herself, but didn't seem terribly ill at any point in time -- spread my coat out on the bench and went to sleep next to Neil. (Those arenas were so flipping hot, I rarely kept my coat on through the game!)
From there, we headed back to the hotel and the whole team went swimming. Madeline and Georgia also went in; Georgia with her life jacket. She didn't move around much and was happy when some of the big girls would hold her or hoist her up onto a platform to watch the others. Some parents went swimming, too, and many of us just watched. The kids had a lot of fun. The sound in that room was deafening! We got the kids to bed quickly after that, as they had an early game. I wasn't feeling great, so I headed to bed around 10 p.m., too.
***Saturday morning, we were up early agian and ate breakfast before leaving the hotel at 8:15 a.m. The breakfast room was very busy this time, mostly our team. Our first game was at 9:15 vs. Calgary Dynamite at the Family Leisure Centre. We thought this team might be tough as they were the only one in our pool to have won their first two games. Our girls had a super game. We scored four goals quickly before the other team scored, and the final was 14-4 (officially 11-4 as they only record a 7-point difference). I prefer close games, but I must admit, this was fun to watch. Lots of cheering from our part of the stands. Plus, one of the girls on our team (Savannah) scored her very first goal, and that is always exciting. Also, Neil won the game 50-50 -- $42! And it was the only 50-50 he had entered. Sophia got a tripping penalty during this game (it was accidental).
Between games, we went back to the hotel and just relaxed a bit. I tried to take a nap, but that didn't pan out. For lunch, we just ate some food we had in the fridge that Neil had brought along. The girls' fourth game was at 1:00 p.m. vs. Bow View Lightning at another arena, Hockey Hounds. One of the coaches asked Sophia to play goal for this game and she agreed. It was a close, tough, exciting game the whole way. And a very low score for Novice ringette. We parents cheered a lot! The final was 4-3, with the other team scoring the winning goal at 30 seconds remaining on the clock. Bummer! Oh well. Sophia had played very well and earned Player of the Game! I know she wishes they would have won that game, but she didn't get upset. The Sticks of Fury could not advance with their record, but they had a good tournament. (Once again, Georgia layed down on the bench next to me and went to sleep during the game!)
Straight from that game, we had prearranged to meet at the Family Leisure Centre where they have a wave pool and bigger waterslide. Most of the ringette families went. All five of us went in the pool. I wish I hadn't though. I wasn't feeling well and didn't really enjoy it. Plus, we had no towels! We had not planned on swimming anywhere except the hotel, so we didn't bring any and the towel rental price was ridiculous at the FLC. We made do with paper towels and the hair/hand dryer. Also, one of the coaches, Andrea, hit her head going down the waterslide and had to go to the hospital for stitches on the side of her forehead. That was too bad, but fortunately, she didn't have a concussion.
At 5:30 p.m., all of the ringette families met at the Buffet Medicine Hat for supper. Busy place and a huge selection of food, probably 2/3 Chinese food. The kids really enjoyed it -- many servings of Shirley Temples, chicken balls, and five colours of Jello were consumed! I was hoping for some lighter food at this point in the weekend, but for some reason, I did not restrict my choices to the salad bar.
Afterward, the whole ringette team went in the hotel pool again. Quite a scene! Madeline went in, too, but Georgia opted on her own to stay out this time. Many parents visited around the pool. Madeline had a great time this weekend playing with one of the other younger sisters (Skylar), and they were constant side-kicks at this point. After swimming, we set up a movie (Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2) in one player's room and the whole team and siblings settled in to watch and eat snacks. Meanwhile, a bunch of parents gathered in another room for drinks. When Georgia decided she'd had enough of the movie, I put her to bed and decided to go to bed, too. I couldn't believe it was only 10 p.m. It felt much later to me. Neil stayed up and got the other two to bed some time later -- after someone had complained about noise from the room where the girls were watching another movie. That was the end of that. Around 11:30, I think.
***Sunday morning, I couldn't move. I was sick. My head hurt and my body ached. Plus, I was coughing more. Lovely. I had not felt great all weekend, but this was beyond that. I had wanted to leave around 9:00 a.m., but it wasn't going to happen. At that time, Neil took the girls down to breakfast and I struggled to get into the shower. With Advil Cold & Sinus, I was somewhat functional by 10:00 and we were able to pack up and check out at 11. We stopped at the mall to buy lunch and Valentine's cards for the girls to write on the way home.
The highway was very good, and we made good time. The Valentines kept the girls busy for quite awhile. I had agreed to buy some Valentine erasers and tape, too, so in addition to writing the cards (I had taken their class lists along), they enjoyed taping the erasers onto the cards.
After that was done, I was able to nap for awhile. We got to Regina at 5:30 p.m. Our van was too full to pick up Dash and his crate, so we went straight home and then Neil took the truck to pick up Dash. I don't even remember the evening, except that I felt terrible, and I emailed my manager and co-workers to let them know I wouldn't be at work on Monday.
Other than Georgia not feeling 100% and me coming down with the flu (which kept me away from work and regular activities all week; sigh), it really was a great weekend. It was our first big out-of-town tournament experience as a family, and it was a lot of fun. We really like the other families of Sophia's ringette team and it was great to get to know them better. I love this ringette thing! I'm excited that Madeline wants to play next year, as well. :)
I was off work today. It was so nice to see the sun shining and a warmer temp! I didn't even mind going outside on a photo hunt. Otherwise, we filled the day with errands and various types of work around the house. I did a massive calendar update and checked a few items off my BSS to-do list. Neil ordered the birthday cake and picked up a few other items for the party on Sunday. It was GREAT to have a free day to get some things done.
Madeline insists that she's not sick, and, indeed, she did seem fine to go to school this morning. We gave her some cough medicine and she went. It was one of those times when you just do not know if the child should go or stay home -- and she really, really wanted to go to school today.
You'd think "frosty" would be easy on a day like today. Well, with a -40 wind chill, I didn't spend much time outside taking photos! I snapped one photo of Neil's breath when we parked at the hospital this morning (and then cropped it significantly as I wasn't happy with the original).
Georgia had her annual check-up with the pediatric cardiologist, Dr. Kakadakar, today. All is well! She had an ECG, but no echo this year. Her heart rate is 59-60, which is fine. She'll have a Holter Monitor in a few months because she hasn't had one since July 2009. She's 111.8 cm (44") tall, and we were very excited to see her weight: 18.6 kg = 41 lbs = no more 5-point harness = big girl, easy-to-do-up seatbelt from now on!
I've said this before, but it's worth saying again: the staff at RGH are so great with Georgia! She wouldn't say a word to them or crack a smile in their presence, but she was thrilled with all the stickers and the little teddy bear she received. Likewise, Georgia is a super patient. As usual, she stayed perfectly still for the ECG and was totally cooperative for everything.
P.S. Neil took Sophia to her ringette practice this evening. I didn't take Madeline to her dance class because she had a fever of 39.1. She's been coughing a lot, too. I sure hope no one else gets it! But what are the odds of that?
I don't know about magnificent (actually, I'm quite sure it's not), but it's stark and it's all I've got for today. This is part of our back yard. We've had record-breaking snowfall this year: 120 cm (47") which is more than double the norm at this point (and more than the norm for an entire winter in Regina).
Madeline was perfectly fine today and went to school. I guess she was just very tired yesterday.
Sophia, on the other hand, is getting headaches which started last evening at bedtime. During her ringette game yesterday, she fell backwards onto her head, so she may have sustained a slight concussion. We've been giving her acetaminophen and that seems to work fine.
P.S. The girls bought themselves iPod Nanos (blue for Sophia, green for Madeline, and pink for Georgia) and they arrived today. There was much jubilation in the house!