Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Happy 4th Birthday Sam

Happy Birthday Sam (almost a week late...last Thursday)!

I cannot believe that you are 4 already!  Time has raced by and it seems like a few moments ago you were our tiny special baby and now you are a big girl!  You love going to preschool (with your mom), are a puzzle maniac and your imagination is and your sister can play for hours and hours.  My little pony is a current favourite but you love all things pretend.  You have a wonderful funny spark of energy inside you and love to run and jump.  You speak an surprising amount of Spanish (thanks to Dora) and you are learning French from Katie already too.  When you smile your big smile it warms out hearts...I wish I could really take a picture that captures that face and record that laugh and essentially bottle up your joy for whenever I need are so precious and loved.   You are also strong...this year threw you a big curve ball and you've handled it with amazing grace and acceptance.  I can tell that you will not let your Diabetes define your life.  We are so proud!

Katie and Sam in their house that Dad built but they decorated.  
Sam colouring.
We had a super busy week last week...I'll admit to some silence due to the diabetes anniversary (last Tuesday)...couldn't decide how I felt about the end, I've decided that while there's a hint of sadness remembering what we went through at the time of diagnosis last year, there's a huge sense of accomplishment at how much we have learned and achieved.  The sense of ease and comfort with how we manage our life right now feels relatively peaceful and I'm happy with where we are.

The other busy thing was celebrating birthdays!  Sam's fell on a school day so I brought cookies to school and she got a paper crown (which she wore off and on all weekend!) and got to blow out birthday candles while the class sang to her.  We cleaned and prepped for our little kid party on Saturday (which had me washing floors on MY birthday, Friday...that's motherhood for you!).  When we were all ready Saturday morning, the girls waited and waited.
It was a great crowd...9 kids including 2 growing toddlers (including the one who's showing off her belly button!) and accompanying adults bringing the total to 17 (this was only by inviting 3 families, I guess 4 including our own).  Nice and small eh?
The weather was pretty spectacular for January (-4 or something?) so we bundled up the kids and took them sledding.

Well, some moms and young kids and big kids chose to stay behind.  Reports are that the sledders had So Much Fun.  (they went just down the block in the green space near us...the perfect size hill for little ones.)
Steph and N.
Meg and A.
Katie and D...the biggest school kids (D is in grade one this year, and already turned 6 in January) stayed and played downstairs for a bit as well as enjoyed some colouring.
There were cupcakes with little plastic Doras and Spidermans on top.  I used my friend Megan's chocolate cake recipe that we have at all their parties and I love...I did a run through with a low carb coconut flour, but though the flour was low carb, there was so much sugar that it was about 25 carbs per cupcake.  The regular flour recipe was about 31...may as well go for the good stuff!  I did use plain Nutella for icing...a simple way to avoid the excess of icing sugar.
Presents were generous and thoughtful...This was a tiny My Little Pony that the girls both knew by name.  (Twilight Sparkle, yes really)
It was a very wonderful birthday.
The girls helped us shop for and pack up the treat bags for our guests...always just cheap little things from a dollar store but lots of fun.  The glasses were a big hit!
C and Katie LOVED them and requested this photo of the two of them.  Katie has been taking off her glasses and wearing them lots...I have had to ask her to stop and put on her regular glasses.  (hmm...what were we thinking?...we forgot that she already has glasses) (and yes, our own girls get treat bags too...maybe not in line with the original intention of treat bags but it's hard not to keep some fun for ourselves too)
One of the other goodies was these squishy octopus toys that crawl down walls (you throw, they stick and fall slowly and it looks like crawling).  Before C and G left, the girls had much laughter playing with these in their room.  Pure fun and friendship!
We had a family party on Sunday evening and I'll share some pics later (the pics are not as pretty because of lack of daylight).

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Skaters

Well, before you could blink, things got busy again.  We enjoyed the rest of holidays and then I worked 4 days last week and this week.  Let's get caught up shall we?

We spent a morning at the Science Center over the break.  It was fun, but unfortunately busy...daycamps and families...lots of people.  Even our usual strategy of getting there as close as possible to opening time didn't work.  The most fun thing?  Finding this interactive exhibit in the new environment gallery.  I don't know what these things are's a projector that interacts with you when you walk in the projection.  The object was to jump from ice floe to ice floe while they shrunk...simulating polar bears losing habitat...cute little footprints that you make as you walk over the ice.  Sam could not get enough of this.  (Katie and our friend W liked it too)
 The girls were eating yogurt for bedtime snack...I think they liked it.  (and see how I can play with camera settings on the new camera?...this one shows only pink  Right after this snack, I managed to yank Katie's other top front tooth was definitely ready but needed a wee tug.  She was all excited, until she saw in the mirror...there was a little fleshy bit hanging that (apparently) just needed time to heal...(not trying to be gross, but just in case you ever come across the same is normal) was a little strange and she knew it and was so upset that her school friends were going to laugh.  It receded overnight and was gone by the time she went back to school, so all was fine.

We have SKATERS!  We tried skating on Saturday, at the indoor pond/rink at Millennium place in Sherwood Park and the girls LOVED it.  It may also have been my first time on skates in maybe 20 years.  How crazy is that?  Aside from a little wobble (and getting past the burning pain in my high arches..."I think I remember why I haven't done this in 20 years...") I had fun too.  It felt like such a healthy, Canadian thing to do!
 There are these walker type supports that helped the girls feel comfortable on the ice.
 We had a great family morning.  A nice stranger took a photo for us, aside from having my eyes closed, it's a great photo!
 Millenium has also, since our last visit, added some new areas to their playground, including this Beaver room.  The grey part of the wall is magnetic and the sticks and stones stick right on them.  The animal silhouettes on the tree trunk all have buttons that make the animal noise.  It's really a perfect blend of educational, nature and fun (perfect aside from not really being nature).
 Here's the dam on the other side of the room, and another magnetic wall.  The tree trunk stools and beaver are all very light and can be easily moved around.  Amazing.  Millennium Place really knows how to do things right in my opinion.  (Ben says this is called "money")
 We wanted to get the girls some night lights, as we have been using our bathroom light for this purpose and are tired of it, but to do so, we decided we needed to move Sam's bed.  Instead of her bed being beside Katie's bed, the beds are foot to foot.  It leaves room for the night lights on the open wall now, and while Katie's side of the closet is covered a bit by Sam's headboard, there's still enough room to get things in and out.  Not perfect but a good solution for now.  The girls were so excited, they were jumping up and down and Katie said "This is the BEST DAY EVER!".  (notice the BIG stuffed dogs that were a gift from my Uncle Jerry?...The girls love love love!)
 After the fun we had skating, Ben and I did some quick internet research and found lessons at a nearby indoor rink that started that very week.  We took a deep breath, signed both girls up (it was for ages 3-5 so they are in the same class...super awesome!) and went and bought used skates the very next day.
Lessons are on a weekday at 3:00...perfect time to have down time beforehand and enough time to get ready for dinner afterwards.  
 I was kind of shocked at how quick and organized the program is.  I barely had time to tell an instructor about Sam's diabetes...which isn't a huge deal anyway...I test her before, give her a snack and I'm there the whole time.  It's a half hour lesson, no supports for the kids (how awesome...why didn't I think of this...of course the kids can just DO IT!).  See both Sam and Katie on the right in the picture below.
 This is Katie, looking skaterly, with some other kid from the class.
 There was a little bit of this too...
 And Katie said afterwards that she didn't like it because she hurt from falling so much.  We talked about falling being a part of learning, and the only way to fall less was to practice more.  We've had one other session since and it was great...Katie hardly fell and was happy not to be sore (mothers always know)...both girls have improved so much already...Katie is even getting a bit fast!  It goes for 10 weeks, so I can't even imagine how well they will be skating by March.

Katie (and Sam) received cute dresses from Grandpa Ken and Gram Cheryl's trip to Hawaii...Katie likes the dress just a little bit, don't you think?  =)
We are heading into a busy weekend...Ben is working extra teaching review for grade 12's preparing for Diploma exams tonight, Friday night and all day Sat and Sunday.  It's a bit long but a good opportunity.

In other news...I've been meaning to mention for ages...Auntie Andrea and Uncle Sheldon are expecting a baby in April!!  We are beyond excited and happy for them. I cannot wait to hug and kiss my little niece or nephew and for the girls to have a little cousin.  It's going to be great.  =)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Winter Fun

Yesterday, we went sledding with some friends to a hill near their house.  (Russ and Steph and W and N)  The weather was nice temperature wise...around 0C, but there was a wind that definitely made it a chilly outing, even with snow pants.  We were very excited to try out our new toboggan!  Verdict..very fast and a nice comfortable ride.  Fits 2 kids and an extra long grown up no problem!
 It was a bit of a walk to the hill...lots of unpacked snow made it a nice hard work out for the grown ups.
 I'm wearing my new winter coat...puffy and warm, like a sleeping bag!
 In the evening, we went to Gram and Papa's for New Year's Day dinner...turkey and many yummy sides dishes and great company. Papa brought out some blocks he had bought to stay at their house.  Great blocks...nice and smooth and great variety of shapes.  The girls got right into it!
 Today has been a Take It Easy Day.  Ben is helping Papa with something for St. VDP and the girls and I have played, sewed, read and eaten.  After doing a workout, I was going to do a bit of yoga stretching, and when the girls said they wanted a yoga mat, I gave in and figured I could stretch on the rug.  A little hard to do (too slippery) and so I gave up...and the girls were having so much fun playing on the mats, I couldn't take them away.  They lined up all the my little ponies and penguins.  Not sure exactly why, but I'm sure there was a whole story involved.  Yes, Sam is still wearing her nightgown.  I haven't been too strict about getting dressed in clothes if we are not heading out anywhere.  Must start soon though, get back into the habit before school starts up again.
 Katie is wearing a dress that I just whipped up.  She had picked out the floral fabric ages ago and I ended up adding hot pink lining and bottom strip, just for a bit bolder colour.  It's not really well constructed, especially the last minute addition on the bottom...what, measuring, what's that?...but I don't care...I still love it and so does she.  I may see if I can talk her into some kind of sash though...Im not sure if the waist is exactly where i want it on her.  We'll see...she may never take it off.  =)

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


Why aren't you in your bucket!!??

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Well!  We finally got our new camera!  Just in time for holidays.  I'll admit I could have been sharing pictures last week, but I was tired from busy Christmas stuff and this week, I have been in a very relaxed, lazy mood...and Ben has one new sock (knitting instead of blogging)

On with the photos...A little fuzzy but otherwise a great family picture.  This was a few days before Christmas.  

Big news this the extended family Christmas dinner at GG Mary's on Dec 23rd, Katie's loose front tooth was SUPER loose.  She was playing with it all night and then came running to show me that she had twisted her tooth all the way around and it was stuck.  After trying all evening to pull it out, this time it finally came out!
 And this is Katie's new smile!  It's adorable and hilarious and a week later I'm still laughing in my head at how funny it looks (like she got into a fight!).  I'm sure the other top tooth beside it won't be long now, it's been getting looser too.
 Sam played Santa at GG Mary's.  She did really well even though she pulled all sorts of presents for other people before getting one for her...and she was pretty happy when she did.
The dinner with family was great...our first of 4 in a row...and the girls were in perfect form, funny, silly, independent and thankfully, not afraid of anyone.

I should note that we had a great dinner at my Auntie Diane's house with Papa's side of the family the day before GG Mary's, but didn't have any pictures from it.  Rest assured, it was a great evening...a lot like ones I remember when I was little...full of people, kids running around and lots of laughter and noise.  We were a bit worried that the girls would be shy amongst so many people, but we had a plan.  We got there early, brought a lot of colouring books and a comfy blanket and that seemed to help.  We only had one tantrum the whole night, when Sam wanted a chair that she had previously had and left...she got over it though...the promise of presents and petting my cousin's pet hedgehog (for real!...cute cute!).

Christmas Eve we spent at Gram and Grandpa's house.  A nice, quiet evening...Sam had thrown up a bit early in the morning and we were worried that we were in for a long Christmas, but though she was quiet and a bit tired, she was fine and much better the next day.  Katie got the Zu Zu pets she'd asked for for Christmas.  I'm not sure if she really knew what she was asking for (I think she got the idea from a school friend) but they are little motorized hamster type "pets".  It's amazing that I haven't taken the batteries out yet.  (ha ha)  Sam got some tiny My Little Ponies that have been a big hit with both girls.
 Christmas morning was delightful...The girls wore new nightgowns that they got to open on before bed on Christmas Eve and they were happy to see that Santa had filled stockings and brought presents. Gram and Papa and Auntie Andrea came to open gifts and have brunch...Gram and Grandpa opted out as Gram had a worsening cold.  The girls received many awesome gifts...too many to mention, they were definitely spoiled.  They are so cute when they sit together and play.
 They have surprisingly, really enjoyed the "Bucket of Penguins" that Santa brought...48 Penguins and 3 Icebergs in a handy storage bucket.  Lots of different shapes and sizes to organize and play with.
 At our 4th night out visiting my mom's side of the family out in Bon Accord, the girls had a great visit (again, we very thrilled when they don't cry seeing family they haven't seen in a while!...seriously, seeing that the girls are growing up is SO SO much fun).  Having a plan to keep them busy (penguins and books!) was helpful.  And playing with the pool table up in the loft was fun too.
 The weekend after Christmas we saw our friends Russ and Steph and their kids.  (See little N in the background...she is SO close to walking!)
 We have enjoyed reading over the holidays too...some Ramona Quimby, some Nancy Clancy Super Sleuth (follow up chapter books to the Fancy Nancy books we love so much and some Lion, Witch a and the Wardrobe).  Katie is kind of actually reading...she doesn't like when I make her read, but whenever I do manage to get her to sound out some words she usually gets it.  And we are almost surely done spelling in front of her...she gets it almost every time.  Not sure what we are going to do about that...though Ben's French improved when he and Gram Cheryl took their French course this fall, I'm not sure he's ready for spelling in French!  (also, this shawl in the picture I knit in the spring sometime and it may be my favourite knit thing EVER)
 Sam found a box just her size the other day...and Katie was very kind to push her around.  (though the box broke pretty soon after Sam tried getting out of it.)  Sam's mood this holiday has been amazing...after our moody November (where she was sick and had a urinary tract infection that antibiotics fixed) we are seeing the return of a wonderful silly 3 yr old.  It's truly been a joyful season where Ben and I have spent lots of time smiling over their heads at the kind, generous and silly behaviour of our girls.
 Last night was New Years Eve and we had such a perfect simple evening.  (if you count making our own pasta from scratch simple..ha ha).  We brought out the Extrme Jenga and had some fun.  Katie joined us first and had lots of fun.
 Then Sam came to see what all the laughing was about.  (previously, she had been playing with some toys in her room, her choice)
 The excitement and thrill of picking an placing the blocks and trying not to make the tower fall was lots of fun.
 Seeing these kind of smiles is such a great way to end a year.
I could have gone into more detail about our Christmas events or shown more presents but I thought it better to catch up quickly then draw it out over multiple posts.  We do have a lovely new camera (a nikon J2...Thanks Russ!) and hopefully, we can get back in the habit of taking lots of little pictures and sharing more regularly.

Happy 2013!