Friday, May 29, 2009

A little Irish Dancing

It's been another busy week, and I'm finally getting around to putting together the pictures from Meredith's dance recital on Sunday. This year she did Irish Dance because a) it was two blocks from our house and b) it was two blocks from our house. Well it doesn't hurt that we're part Irish to add to all that, but the convenience of the studio was a HUGE attraction! Last year was her first year of dancing and she did a combination tap and ballet class. She liked it well enough while it was going on, but was happy enough to try something new this year. The dance studio also offers adult lessons, so I danced for several months this year too. It gave me a new appreciation for how difficult and incredibly athletic Irish Dance is. My season ended when the foot I broke 12 years ago started complaining heartily about being jumped on! Fortunately, Meredith is much more elastic than I!

A big part of Irish dance is tradition and the kids learned the foundational steps of Jump 2 3's and Sevens. Most dances are based around these steps. Also very traditional is the school costume, a design particular to that school of dance. In Meredith's case, she is a part of the McConnell School of Dance, so her costume was their design. Another key element is hair. Every dancer from the small to the tall, had to have hair in curly ringlets. I'm guessing it's got something to do with accentuating the appearance of the dance, as the dancers mostly dance with their arms straight at their side, and their feet doing all the work. The older dances all wear hairpieces, but the little ones had the option of a hairpiece or having their own hair curled. After curling her hair for an hour and a half, I began to appreciate the appeal of the hairpiece. :)

Her shoes are so cute, they're so small. It still amazes me that my kids have tiny feet, given the size of my own feet! They're called ghillies, or soft shoes. If she dances again next year she'll also begin to learn hard shoe technique.

It was such a strange flood of emotion when I saw her dance onto the stage with her group. I began sobbing! I think I was so overwhelmed with how adorable they all were, how proud I was of what she had accomplished, and a real sense of amazement that my little girl was old enough to be performing on this stage!

Sadly for us, the studio is moving next year. On the positive side, they're moving to get a better physical space and to allow for some expansion. On the negative side, it's not likely to be two blocks from our house! We'll see if September finds Meredith back in her ghillies again!

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Three Princess Grads

This was a very busy weekend! Saturday we were invited out to Virden to celebrate the university graduation of three of my cousins. Airdrie has been done school for a little bit now, and is hard at work. Or so she tells us. We're pretty clear on the fact that she plays games all day at work. Ashleigh and Erin have both finished up their degrees this year, and are making that leap from school to work. It was a beautiful day, and a great reason to celebrate!

Kudos to the woman who made it all happen, my amazing Aunt Judy. Not only did she raise these three beautiful, compassionate, intelligent girls, she saw all three of them through their university degrees, and emerged on the other side with her sense of humour intact!

Of course our little princess wanted to be a part of the action too, so complete with her own tiara, she joined in the celebrations. See any family resemblance?!

Aaron started the afternoon out innocently enough.....with a bit of fun with his buddy Uncle Brad.

He then moved on to scaling the railing of the deck:

Trying to get his head stuck in the fence:

Wading into a sea of junipers:

And capped it all off with a visit from the freaky cat-next-door.

Not to be outdone, Meredith tried to convince Ashleigh and Mike to make funny faces for the camera. After every picture she would turn to them and say "Did you make a super funny one that time?"

Keeping the little cousins in order, and behaving like a perfect lady all day was baby Morgan.

She had a nice heart-to-heart with Grandma G,

listened to Meredith tell stories of all the things she was going to teach her when she got bigger,

and only looked slightly askance when Hurricane Aaron touched down.

Meredith fell asleep within minutes of leaving Virden. Aaron, on the other hand, stayed awake for over an hour and a half, finally dropping off to sleep somewhere around Carberry, by which time it was after 10 p.m. Where does he get the energy from?

Sunday was a whole new day with a whole new adventure: Meredith's Irish Dance recital. Pictures to follow another day!

Friday, May 22, 2009

What's this?

Look what came in the mail today:

It didn't come to the wrong address. It's for her:

Oh. My. Goodness.
It's not like it's a surprise to me, I registered the child for Kindergarten, after all. But really. I have this tight feeling in my chest every time I think about her starting school. I never expected to feel this way. I figured I'd been through the hardest days, those first few weeks after I went back to work when she was one. Then I had the gift of another whole year of being at home when Aaron was born. When both of them started off to daycare, I was convinced THAT was the hard stuff. She was so sad in her first few days of daycare. I've never come so close to quitting my job, jumping ship on my career as I was in those days. Then gradually she made friends, began to look forward to her days there, and begged to stay longer at pick-up time. Now the daycare staff and the kids are a central part of all of our lives and she is flourishing there.

Just like she'll do in Kindergarten. She's just that kind of kid. Very sociable, so extroverted and self-assured, eager to make new friends and see new things.

She's not likely to be the one with the tears come September.

Fortunately, there was no mail of the sort for Aaron today. He's officially enrolled in drool-er-garten by the looks of his shirt today!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Soccer Shiver!

Meredith is playing soccer again this year, and the year is off to quite a start. The season was delayed a week because the field was too wet. The second game was cancelled on account of snow. In May. And last night's game made me wish I'd brought a winter jacket, mittens and a hot drink! Meredith seemed impervious to the cold in the first half and ran around merrily trailing the activity around the ball. She's playing with her good buddy Ethan and any time she takes every chance she can get to either chat with him, or get the ball to him. She spent a stretch of time in goal last night and had LOTS of opportunity to throw the ball back into play (read: she was scored on over, and over, and over again!). Every time she threw the ball in I could hear her shouting "Ethan, here you go! Here's the ball!"

The two of them are one day apart in age and nearly a foot apart in height by the looks of this picture! By the second half of the game, however, she could be found mostly warming her hands inside her shin pads.

The team is made up of kids aged 4 to 6. A vast array of sizes and abilities. Some of them actually seem to get the point of the game.

Aaron is itching to get on the field and run around with the kids too. In the first game we had to stop him from running onto the field to take Meredith her water bottle. Considerate little brother! He is definitely concerned with her well-being. If he gets a cracker, he always holds out the other hand for one for "Mer Mer." Last summer when he was just beginning to talk, he stood at the side of the wading pool while she was splashing about with her hat in his hands calling "Mer Mer, Mer Mer, Mer Mer" and patting his head over and over again to sign the word hat!

Anyhow, last night he brought Teddy Bear along for the ride. He watched the early part of the game, while the sun was still shining and the temperature was less bone-chilling before heading home with Daddy to a warmer climate.

Pray for sunshine tomorrow for game 3! We've had rain, we've had snow, we're just waiting for a plague of locusts.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Fun at the Fair

It has been an action-packed long weekend, despite the ever-changing weather. It's amazing how one extra day at home with the kids makes it feel like we've had a holiday. Saturday Dave and Meredith collected the camper out of winter storage and we got it ready for a summer of use. Sunday we took it down to Falcon Lake to get it set up for the season, and today got lots of little jobs done around the house.

Unexpectedly, we also found ourselves at the fair on Saturday night, at the invitation of a friend of Meredith's. Apparently it's a yearly thing in this neighbourhood, and made us realize that we're never home on May long weekend as we'd never heard about it! It was the same midway that sets up at the Falcon Lake fair, so it was like an appetizer for Meredith, whetting her appetite for the fun to come later in the summer!

It was Aaron's first taste of a midway, at an age where he could take at least part of it in, and eyes were agog!

The girls warmed up on the merry-go-round,

and kept Aaron safe on his first ride! He looked a little unsure when it first started up, so Meredith held his hand like the sweet big sister that she is.

Before long, he decided the fun outweighed the frightening!

The icing on the cake, was the tremendous accomplishment of being able to ride the 'Dragon Wagon' without Mom! These are but two of the many great pictures Dave captured of the two girls in all their glory!

We've spent many of the 48 hours since then going through each and every ride that might be at the Falcon Lake fair in July and that she might just be big enough to ride alone.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Just like Mom!

We're really looking forward to a three-day weekend around here. Seems like the past week has been non-stop! Though we did get a reprieve from playing soccer on Thursday night because it was soggy wet and only 2 degrees. Ahhhh, May in Manitoba! At least we're not feeling badly that we won't be camping this weekend as we usually do on May long weekend.

Anyhow, tonight after the usual work and daycare day, the kids discovered their new favourite plaything. Mommy's nametag.

They took turns wearing it around the house, using it to declare their official status to qualify them to do all kinds of jobs.

Aaron seemed to think the credentials required some examination...

As is all too clear from this picture, Meredith wants to grow her bangs out. I'm not sure if can survive the shagginess that's going to entail.

And in a classic parital-decapitation, Meredith had her turn with the camera too...

Happy long weekend!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Mother's Day Tea

Today I was invited to a Mother's Day Tea at the kids' daycare. Meredith's teacher, the amazing Karen, organized a party where the 8 Monkeys (Meredith's group) invited their moms for tea and entertainment.

The kids have been practising their songs for weeks. They've been preparing snacks for days. They've been growing plants for their moms for who knows how long. I want to know how many extra plants the amazing Karen had to plant to ensure each Monkey had a plant for their mama today!

Anyhow, we got there and lined up to wash our hands (hygiene first....). Then the moms sat at the table while the Monkeys fixed each of us a plate of snacks and a cup of tea.

They were so proud of the 'nests' they had made, and the sugar cookies and the melon balls that looked not so much like a ball!

Next came the entertainment. And how entertaining it was! They had a set of three songs, then they were so pleased with themselves they did the whole set again.

For an intermission, they presented the moms with the special gifts they had made. A beautiful card, a certificate for the World's Best Mom and a fabulous hand made brooch.

What greater gift could a mom get than the love of this child!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Thought provoking

A quick note before I go to bed. Today we went to see our pediatrician for Aaron's two-year-old check-up. As the kids and I were driving towards the clinic I was talking to Aaron about what we were doing to sort of prepare him for it, I guess. I told him we were going to see the doctor to check how healthy he was. I said, "Do you think the doctor will listen to Aaron's heart?" Aaron said "Da" (his version of yes.....he's secretly part Russian). Then he said "thump thump thump" which is the noise we make when we're playing with the stethescope out of the doctor kit at home.
"Do you think the doctor will check Aaron's ears?" "Da, ears."
"Do you think the doctor will check Aaron's teeth?" "Da, teef."

Then we drove along in silence (well, silence except for Aaron saying "thump thump thump" over and over again) until Meredith said "Mommy, do you think Dr. Rajani will look for the love in Aaron's heart?"


I said I thought that was a great question, and that maybe Dr. Rajani would check that out. She percolated on that for a bit then said "Does he have to cut open Aaron's chest to look for the love in his heart?"

Where do kids come up with these things?!

"No Meredith, he definitely won't cut open Aaron's chest. Maybe he'll just listen, and look and watch and see if he can see the love in his heart."

Fortunately, Aaron received a clean bill of health, and no chest splitting was performed.

And just because I love it, here's one of my favourite pictures of Little Miss Thought Provoking (and her furry faithful sidekick) from a couple of months ago:

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Aaron turns two!

How did we get from here... here so quickly?

Aaron turned two today. It seems completely impossible that two years have passed since the day of his birth. I was so shocked when he was born that he was a boy. Meredith had been predicting that "the baby" would be a girl for months, and I fully believed her. I figured she had some psychic sense about it, but apparently she had a 50/50 chance of being right. :) I don't remember the moments right after his birth clearly at all, the rush of hormones and excitement have made it all a blur, but Dave tells me I asked a LOT of times, "Are you sure? A boy? Really?" It took weeks before I could remember that he was a boy in that middle-of-the-night-nursing fog. He's not going to be thrilled to hear that when he's a teenager, I'm sure!

He's definitely a boy! It's been fascinating to watch him grow and develop. He's been exposed to a lot of dolls and stuffed animals and strollers and 'homemaking' kinds of toys around here because Meredith has received so many of those things as gifts. He'll happily play with those things, but just when you think he's giving the baby such a lovely stroller ride, he finds his green tractor and drives across her eyes! He can see a tractor at a thousand paces. He can hear an airplane over top of his own tantrums. Anything with wheels holds a special place in his heart. He's definitely a boy!

So in celebration of his big day today, we decided to pay Uncle Darrell a visit at the fire hall where he works. He got to 'drive' the truck,

watch all the lights blink and flash,

and best of all, shoot a water-filled fire extinguisher!

Meredith enjoyed herself just as much as her little brother. I think Uncle Darrell may have enjoyed himself too, as Meredith told him several times he had to be REALLY strong to be a firefighter!

We wrapped up the day with a trip to Sargeant Sundae for ice cream in lieu of birthday cake, and a full load of laundry for all the clothes Aaron managed to get dirty with one baby cone. It's a great day to be two!