Thursday, January 23, 2014

Loose Moose

Look what was in our backyard yesterday! The kids were stuck to our kitchen window for over an hour watching the moose being tranquilized and then hauled away. What an experience for them!

It was pretty neat. The kids especially liked it when they actually had to use a gun to sedate the moose (after I told them that they weren't trying to hurt it). They also loved watching the police & firemen help lift the moose onto the crate and push it down the pathway.

The news was also there and they interviewed our neighbours kids in from our backyard. Katie did not want the news man to come and see us -- she was more scared of him than the moose!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Gold Medals on the Stairs

Practicing the piano was becoming a painful exercise, and seemed that Scott's piano career could not continue if things did not change somehow. We came up with a plan. We decided to begin awarding gold medals.

For FHE, we talked about the different roles and responsibilities we all have. Scott is a "piano student" so he has certain duties associated with that. We made a chart that he fills in when he completes one of his duties. He can earn a "Gold Medal" for completing all the requirements in one of four categories, including: 1) New Song One Hand; 2) New Song Two Hands; 3) Review Songs; 4) Study.

There are 7 weeks until the Winter Olympics are over, and we challenged him to work on earning medals every week to see if he can get more than any of the countries participating.

He rushed off to practice and got a gold medal that first night. Gold medals are awarded immediately. Bronze & silver medals are awarded Sunday evening, if those categories are not completed to the gold standard.

Katie wanted to have a duty chart and get medals too.

R made a chart for her (although she wasn't quite satisfied until she had a computer-printed one like Scott's). She is to practice going potty without being prompted. She also goes to her various classes (dance, music, sports, play group). There are only so many times that a person can go potty in one evening, so she earned a bronze medal.

She was very sad that she would have to wait until the next day to get a medal. She struggled with the concept of bronze, silver, gold. Eventually I relented and said that she could have a bronze medal tonight, and then we'll still give her a gold when she finishes that.

We started making the bronze medal out of paper and she was sad that Scott would get a nice medal made from melted beads and she would only get paper. So I started making her a little bead one. She wanted it to have purple and pink in it, as well as brown. Since Scott's gold medal had a #1 in the center of it, I started with a purple #3 for hers.

She said, "I don't want to have a THREE -- I am almost FOUR!" She did not want to listen to me when I pointed out that Scott is 6 but his medal only has a #1 on it.

"Fine," I said. "You can have a four on it. Whatever. But if you cry again, then I am not making you a medal at all, okay?"

"Okay. [sniff]"

A few moments later when it came time for the medal ceremony, Scott was sure to point out to Katie that she had to stand on the bottom stair, while he would get to be higher up on the third stair with his gold medal. The tears were still barely below the surface, but we avoided another outburst by pointing out that the bronze medalist gets her medal first. Whew.

We sang O Canada together, and then the kids went up to bed. Katie kept looking down and saying, "I love my brawn medal!"

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Happy Birthday Katie!

Our baby girl is turning four!

For weeks we have been talking about Katie's upcoming birthday. I think it is challenging for her to grasp what it really means. She knows she has to wait, but she struggles a bit to tell the difference between waiting until tomorrow or waiting for 3 weeks. Plus, I'm pretty sure she doesn't remember her previous birthday very well, so she wasn't sure quite to expect on the big day.

I just LOVED to watch her as we sang to her. She is so special to us and I hoped she could feel some of that as we all celebrated her big day. She was a little angel baby and she is still such a sweetheart. Good-natured. Friendly. Shy. Happy. Cuddly. Silly. We just love Katie.

Katie is #2 for a lot of stuff. Scott's pretty quick on the trigger to make sure he is first in line for most things, so Katie is accustomed to being somewhere further back in the order. No matter how many times we told her, she seemed surprised that she was going to be the first one to get a piece of cake, first to hit the pinata, the one to open the presents, etc.

Cousins Eating Cake

Scary Fairy

So, the fairy pinata didn't look very glamourous. It was fittingly dubbed the "Scary Fairy". I would blame my team of assistants, but this was mostly a solo effort:

S: Dad! You didn't let me help finish the pinata!
D: Sorry. But I couldn't let you see what I put inside. It's a secret.
S: It's always t-shirts in there.
D: Not this time.
S: Well, then you just gave it away!
D: What?
S: Now we know it is something but not t-shirts

Luke Assumes His Traditional Role

Adalia On the Attack

Let this be a warning to other Scary Fairies


Sunday, January 05, 2014

Skiing With Cousins at Whitefish

We spent 3 nights on the mountain at Whitefish, Montana with the Kalispell cousins and my parents. We rented a cute little condo right next to the main lodge and then we were inundated with snow. More than a foot of snow fell during our time there, and I had some of the best runs I can remember as I came down the front of the mountain.

At first our kids were intimidated to go down the longer runs where things got steeper than they were used to. I ended up walking down for my first run so that I could help them along. By the end of the first day Scott had cut loose from me completely so that he and Afton could go up the chair and back down as many times as possible. I was a little concerned for Scott's safety, as he seems to have a "speed first, turns second" approach to skiing. I could tell Cam had similar concerns for Afton at the beginning of the day -- I could tell because I turned around to see him race up and tackle her when she seemed to be going too fast and out of control. That would have been a funny thing to watch from the chair.

Katie enjoyed the magic carpet area, but then that broke, so we had to figure out how to ride the chair together. It is not easy for an adult on a snowboard to assist a toddler on skis on the chair lift. She was so cute to watch coming down the hill. She makes perfect little snowplow turns and sings Christmas songs to herself as she goes. Her favourite one was the chorus of "What Child is This?" Adorable. You don't really have to teach technique to Katie. You ask her to make a turn and she kind of just does it. Then she saw a someone do a quick stop and she said, "I should do that too" and she did it.

Because there is night skiing until 9 pm on part of the hill, we essentially had 12 hours of skiing available daily. It was great to be on the hill, because we could take breaks whenever we wanted to, and the older kids were out almost every minute of it. R hasn't skied in several years but she put on some skis and went out for a few runs with Krissy in the evening. No one could resist all that powder.

The condo was outfitted with lots of games and fun things to do, so there was never a dull moment. When they were on the hill, Afton and Scott were great ski partners, and then when they came indoors, Afton would play with Katie and Scott would play with Cannon. Grandma was such a good sport about watching whichever kids were taking a break in the condo.

Everyone had such a good time that we decided that we need to do a repeat.

Ready to Ski

Chair #6: Cam, Scott & Afton

Big Snow (Connor)

Apres Ski





Afton & Grandpa





The Momma