School Girl

May 18, 2010

Yesterday, Sarah got to go to the school for Primary orientation.  How exciting!

She had received her invitation in the mail last week and had been carefully guarding it from her siblings.  She put on her prettiest princess dress for the occasion, even though I suggested that she might be over-dressed for her fire-hall tour with the preschool, immediately following! How could I argue with the logic that it was a very special day, so she needed to wear her special dress?!

We got to the school with all the other children – there are currently 70 children registered in the school for English Primary, and 18 in the French Immersion class.  She was put into group “1” of four with one of her best friends, Katerina, and with Kaylee and Ella, whom she knew from dance class.

At the first station, they listened to one of the Primary teachers read them a story and answer questions, the second was to play with play-dough (building fine motor skills), the third was following directions (print their name at the “top” of the paper, draw their favourite foods, then cut and glue some other pictures from the flyers), and the fourth station was identifying lower case letters with magnets.

Sarah & Katerina

At each station, they met a different teacher and were given a bag of goodies at the end.  The bag contained three books (one in French), construction paper, scissors, glue, crayons, a pencil, a container of play-dough and some magnetized upper & lower case letters & numbers.  Sarah was so excited by this, she has carried it everywhere and even slept with the bag last night!

We met some of the other children who will be in her class and know two-thirds of them already.  We were interested to learn that the class will be made up of an even split of boys and girls!  She will get a call in another couple of weeks with a time that she can go to school and spend the morning with the primaries while they are in class.

The hardest part now will be waiting for September for school to start!

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Bragging Rights!

March 8, 2010

I think I’m about to burst, I’m so proud!  The boys’ report cards couldn’t have been any better!  Some excerpts:

“…Evan’s project surpassed the model we were using as teachers, and therefore, all grade five students were shown Evan’s project as an example of what a strong project would look like.  Evan combined careful research, strong organizational abilities, and meticulous attention to each detail in his illustrations and other text features to create a project that stood head and shoulders above the rest.”

“Evan’s contributions to classroom discussions have demonstrated his strong knowledge base in history as well as geography, and he has exceeded program expectations.”

“Alex is a terrific role model for any student.  He continues to be a very conscientious student who celebrates the successes of himself and his fellow classmates.”

“Listening to others’ ideas and opinions is a strength for Alex.  He understands when to speak and when to listen.”

Then we got this snippet in an email from Sarah’s Highland Dance teacher, when discussing the fact that Sarah is ready for testing in Level 2 even though she just started dancing this year:  “Sarah is one of the ones that comes in and you just hope they stick with it because the talent is so obvious.”

As for Olivia, she can now spell each of her family members’ names, and she went the entire day without getting sent to time-out!

This is the kind of day that makes the hairy ones worth it!

Various Matters

February 4, 2010

*I have discovered how to ensure that none of my children will ask for a bite of my sandwich: add pickles.  In fact, by adding enough, they will hold their noses and run away.  (Perhaps if I just carried an open jar of pickles around, I could buy myself some alone-time; wish I’d discovered this one years ago…)

*Still haven’t found the missing Valentines.  Going out and buying another box will guarantee that they are found, but negates the great buy of purchasing them for a dollar weeks ago.

*I fed my family salmon burgers on home-made whole-wheat buns for supper last night.  Olivia took one look and put herself to bed, sleeping until 7:30 this morning.  Must remember that recipe for future cranky days…

*I had a wonderful, fun visit getting caught up with my childhood friend, Carla yesterday.  She was visiting from Ontario with her husband Mark & son Jack.  Neither Carla nor I could remember the last time we’d seen each other (she moved away in Grade nine) but we were as comfortable as if we’d seen each other last week.  It was fun to have an eight-month-old in the house too!  Unfortunately, we didn’t take any photos, but she’s hoping to be here this summer for the Reunion.

*My daughters do a great imitation of Jack Sprat and his wife.  When eating leftover supper for lunch, Olivia had a plate-full of only spare ribs & rice while Sarah would eat only squash & broccoli.

*Still looking for the missing library books…  Sarah asked this morning, “Is there anywhere we haven’t looked yet?”  I don’t think so, but there must be since they have to be in the house somewhere.   I guess we’ll have to renew them to buy ourselves some more time.  When my brother was about this age, one of his library books went missing.  My mother searched and searched all over their house.  (Sound familiar?)  Eventually, it turned up under the crisper in the fridge where he had hidden it; he loved the book so much he didn’t want to return it! (Yes, I’ve checked there too!)

*I’m currently selling cheese (band), blueberries (school) and hanging baskets (choir).  The cheese really sells well, hanging baskets in Nova Scotia in February – not so much!  (They won’t actually be delivered until May.)  Of course there are 588 kids around town selling blueberries, so who’s left to sell them to?!  If you are interested in any of the above, just leave me a comment!

*I kept track of all our grocery receipts last month since we’re trying to be more frugal.  There are some things we’d like to do to the house this year on top of the maintenance we have to do and the money has to come from somewhere!  We spent $1277.63 on groceries, 11.63 eating out (I treated Olivia & Alex to a trip through the McDonald’s drive thru after their appointments at the IWK) and zero on alcohol.  D’Arcy freaked out a bit when I told him that number, but if you work it out, it equates to $6.87 per person per day.  We’ll see how we do this month…

*When we registered Sarah for school last week, we expressed an interest in French Immersion.  Yesterday, we had a call that enrollment for that program was lower than expected, so they have extended the deadline until March 10th.  Back when the boys first went to school, there was a lottery to get your child into a French Immersion class!  How things can change in only a few years!

*The other night, our seats at the supper table all got switched around.  Sarah was sitting in her father’s seat and he was sitting in Alex’s seat.  As a result, he was pretending to be one of the kids and started playing with his carrots, becoming a walrus, unicorn, etc.  The rest of the children joined in, brining much laughter while their mother told them not to play with their food.  Now they ‘re asking to have carrots every night…

*From the sounds of things, D’Arcy’s Thesis will not be defended in time to walk across the stage in May. Bummer. He’s still going to try to have it finished ASAP so that it is no longer hanging over his head. December graduation, here we come…

*We went curling at a fun-spiel on the weekends with our friends. We drew tiles to be assigned teams and I happened to be put on a team with a man who didn’t seem to realize that it was “fun night”. He got after me in the first game because I had my broom in the wrong place when he was delivering the shot. One of the other men on my team told me that no one ever wants to curl with this man because he’s an a**. Later, I was spoken to again, for talking to our friend Janice, who was on the opposing team in that game, as he was delivering his shot. We ended up winning both of our games and at the end of the evening, as he was leaving, this cranky man said to me, “You were pretty good – for someone who doesn’t curl!” Gee thanks! Can we curl together again sometime?? All in all the evening was really fun and it was great to get out on a “date”. I’m hoping that Evan, Alex, D’Arcy & I will be able to make up a team in the family curling event this year!

Back to regularly scheduled life…

Family Literacy Day

January 27, 2010

Today is Family Literacy Day.  How appropriate that today was also the day that Sarah registered for Primary.

School.

Where did the time go?

When the school had called with the appointment, I was feeling a bit nostalgic and wasn’t sure I was ready to send her to school.  However, she is very ready.  We have registered her for French Immersion which we didn’t do for the boys.  At that time, we would have had to commit to driving them to school each day and running a B&B, I just couldn’t commit to getting them there on time in the mornings.  Now, then program is located at their home school, so the decision was easy.

I waited in the hall, talking to Auntie Kay and Neil (who will be in her class) while Sarah had a visit with Mme. A.  She was a little bit worried that she wouldn’t know everything, but came out smiling.

I had a Tourism Board Meeting in Halifax, so kissed Sarah goodbye and sent her to preschool with Auntie Kay.  (But not before getting a photo of Sarah & Neil in front of the school together!)

I had a great meeting and actually passed D’Arcy & his carpool on the highway on my way home, so arrived just as he did.  When I walked in the door, my father was sitting on the couch in our family room, surrounded by many children.  They were reading a Curious George counting book; my mother had gone to their house to get some of the food for our “Family Literacy Day” Celebration.

I don’t remember which year this tradition started, but we’ve celebrated it for quite a while now.  Our celebration always involves food, family & books.  Does life get better than that?  This year, we had celebrated at our house because we have two rooms of guests and didn’t want to leave them.  The books we received were:

Olivia: “The Big Green Book of Beginner Books”, Dr. Seuss

Sarah:  “The Quilt Makers Gift”, Jeff Brumbeau & Gail de Marcken

Evan:  “The 39 Clues Series – Beyond the Grave”, Jude Watson

Alex:  “A Good Night for Ghosts” (Magic Tree House Series), Mary Pope Osborne

Anne:  “A Week from Sunday”, Dorothy Garlock

D’Arcy:  “Teachers Touch Lives”, Hallmark

Ginna & Beanah (share):  “Selected Stories”, Alice Monroe

We got a few photos of the celebration, and of course, Alex got it all on video(just  in case you’d ever like to listen to me “I Wish That I Had Duck Feet” to my children!)  (One of my favorites as a child!!)

The poster Sarah made

Casual supper

All family events are now being well documented...

Sarah & Beanah

Reading "I Wish That I Had Duck Feet"

Everyone's books were a hit this year!

My favorite kind of gift - a new book!

A family who reads together stays together...

How lucky are we?

June 20, 2009

I remember back in 1994, I was lucky enough to travel to Germany & the Netherlands and got to go visit my “sister”, Bettina, an exchange student from Berlin who had lived with my parents and me in 1989-90, the year the Berlin Wall fell.  My friend Karen & I met a guy on the train along the way from Iowa, who had NEVER SET FOOT IN THE OCEAN (Other than flying over it, he’d never seen it!!)

I’ve never forgotten that.  Imagine never being in the Ocean!

Aren’t we lucky, that Alex got to go the beach for the day with school on Friday, just because it was a close, easy & inexpensive trip.  Here are some photos – don’t you wish you could have been there too?  I do!  (However, I was having an equally wonderful time at Sarah & Neil’s preschool concert while Ginna was the lucky one who got to chaperone!)

Happy to be spending the day at the beach

Happy to be spending the day at the beach

Pulling a piece of driftwood in from the Atlantic!

Pulling a piece of driftwood in from the Atlantic!

A perfect day in every sense of the word!

A perfect day in every sense of the word!

Parachute!
Parachute!
More games!

More games!

Low(er) tide

Low(er) tide

Alex & Maddie

Alex & Maddie

Almost a week?

April 29, 2009

Wow – it’s almost been a week since I posted an update.  Life seems to be quite busy these days.  Between the arrival of the sunshine and  “guest season” this week, my time has been at a premium.  Some of the activities keeping us busy this week were: taking the boys to see the local High School musical production, Alex’s First Confession (wouldn’t I have loved to be a fly in the confessional for that one!), haircuts for myself & the boys, a “girls” party for the local NDP Candidate, Sunday School, rototilling the garden, de-thatching & raking the lawn, grocery shopping ($400 worth!),Alex’s performance of “My Caterpillar” in the Music Festival (84.5 and another red ribbon!), house-cleaning & re-arranging our bedroom, a Board Conference Call, Preschool, Band, Intramurals, Running Club, Dance, Choir, dinner out with friends, a Tourism Research Forum, and a full house of Music Festival adjudicators all week.  Phew.  

The boys’ school was closed down on Monday because the school had no power.  Which also meant no phones or computers.  And?  From various reports – no emergency lighting on the Primary, One & Two Floor!  My sister-in-law was up at the school to pick up Luke because he was sick and offered to bring Evan home for me.  (Alex hadn’t gone to school because that was the morning he performed in the Music Festival).  Karen told me that she was almost in tears, trying to find the kids in the dark and that the teachers were using their cell phones to try to contact the parents of the 600 kids!  What a nightmare!!

Olivia’s new diet seems to be going well, although I haven’t weighed her yet to see if she’s gained anything.  

Sarah is obsessed with brushing her teeth these days because she doesn’t want to get a cavity.  I know I should be pleased that she’s so conscientious, but waking me at 4 am to ask if she’d brushed her teeth before she went to bed did not make me very happy!

Evan was given a registration form by his phys.ed teacher to join the Junior High Spring Basketball League.  He’ll be playing with boys in Grades 5-9 and the first practice is tonight.  He’s considering going away to an overight basketball camp this summer, so it will be good for him to meet and get to play with some older kids and build on his skills.

The boys are registered to run the kids’ portion of the Bluenose Marathon (4.2k) on the long weekend and D’Arcy and I will be running the 5k.  Back in January, we had thought we’d like to run the 10k, but I’ve hardly been out running lately and just won’t be ready.  5k it is.  Eek!  (I’m so not a natural runner…)

I have booked our summer vacation(s), so am excited to be planning those!  We will be staying at a hotel in Halifax for three nights surrounding our nephew’s wedding, and have rented a 29′ RV to go camping in PEI for five days.  It’s fun to have that to look forward to, knowing the busy season is just getting started.  Our numbers this year are down so far, and from the looks of our bookings, that trend is going to continue for the near future.  People are still booking though, so we won’t panic yet!!  

This is sort of a disjointed update, but that’s how my brain is working these days!!

It was a busy, family-filled weekend.  We spent Friday putting the house back in order and I am so happy that we got finished!  There were some tense moments while D’Arcy & I moved the piano to it’s new home in the living room after the kids went to bed, but we did it with only one small mark to the floor and only a few swear words between us.  

The boys were up and out to their basketball tournament by 7:40 Saturday morning.  There was still a ton of clean-up and dust to look after, so the girls and I stayed behind for the first two games, and went over to watch each play their last game.  I do love to watch them and look forward to the day I can really watch the game instead of watching snippets while trying to keep their sisters off the court…  The lighting wasn’t great for photos, but here are a few:

 

Alex on the court

Alex on the court

 

Evan on the court

Evan on the court

 

Watching Evan's game

Watching Evan's game

 

Waiting for the game to finish

Waiting for the game to finish

Playing together to keep Olivia (&Alex!) occupied!

Playing together to keep Olivia (&Alex!) occupied!

Right at the end of Evan’s game, Olivia fell down the stairs where we were sitting and got a huge scrape on her back when she fell against the doorstop.  I ended up taking her out, screaming.  I stopped to talk to another parent on the way out, and Olivia did a face-plant on the sidewalk!  It wasn’t her day!  She fell asleep in the van and we took the kids through the McDonald’s drive-thru for lunch.

When we arrived home, Michael, Emily & Phinn were already in our driveway, talking to Karen, Kevin & the boys.  We had such a fun visit with them and I got some good cuddle time with Phinn!  He was as good as gold whenever I held him and hardly fussed at all – even though his first tooth popped through during the visit!  His cousins were all in love with him and he got passed from person to person…

 

Surrounded by the girls

Surrounded by the girls

Surrounded by all the kids (notice Olivia is grabbing for him in every photo!)

Surrounded by all the kids (notice Olivia is grabbing for him in every photo!)

 

Olivia & Phinn - love the headband!

Olivia & Phinn - love the headband!

Alex & Phinn

Alex & Phinn

 

They brought tattoos...

They brought tattoos...

A bit of fun with cousin Mike - at one point I had to explain that "Actually, Mike is a grown-up!"

A bit of fun with cousin Mike - at one point I had to explain that "Actually, Mike is a grown-up!"

We ended up calling Karen & Kevin & the boys and they came down to join us for homemade pizzas.  The cousins all played outside for a bit and then watched a movie together while the rest of us ate.

Sunday, was a beautiful Spring day!  D’Arcy & Evan headed over to the Curling Club in the morning for the family bonspeil and Alex, Sarah, Olivia & I walked over to watch.  Unfortunately, they lost the game we watched, but won their second one.  Evan was thrilled to win a shirt, a game & $5!

 

D'Arcy & Evan, sweeping

D'Arcy & Evan, sweeping

Evan (and we!) thought it was pretty neat they used a picture of him on the poster!

Evan (and we!) thought it was pretty neat they used a picture of him on the poster!

Alex is competing in the Music Festival this week, so he & Maddie practiced “Jolly Holiday” from “Mary Poppins” at our place in the afternoon.

 

"Mary & Bert"

"Mary & Bert"

When D’Arcy & Evan got home, we all played outside in the sunshine with NO jackets!  (First time this year!)  D’Arcy cut down  back one of our Mock Oranges before the chain-saw quit.  

 

A man and his chain saw!

A man and his chain saw!

I barbequed (again, a first of the season!) and had a small fire.  Everybody was tired & worn out by the time supper was over and went to bed quickly.  Evan was tired enough, that he started to spill a lot of feelings he’d been bottling up about how much he hates school right now, etc.  I actually held him on my lap and we talked a lot of things out.  I don’t know how to make it better for him at the moment, but as long as he knows we love him and he can talk to us whenever, hopefully he’ll be alright.

In the meantime, both he & Alex said they want me to go to the School Opening today, so off I go…