Today we had haircuts... just Sara and I. I could hardly sleep last night because I was thinking about what I wanted the hair dresser to do. I decided to have it cut right above my shoulder. My hair was down at the middle of my back before. When we got there I told the hairdresser exactly what I wanted and you could tell she was surprised. A lot of my friends have their hair short so I thought it would be neat. I haven't had my hair that short since I was about 3.
When we decided a number of weeks ago to come down to Phoenix for a weekend, Dave immediately started to search for a run to register us in. It is a great way to spend a Saturday morning and you get to see more of wherever you are visiting. Of course, you get a t-shirt too which we don't have enough of.... (Why don't they get creative and start giving socks, or toques or headbands? Just a question.)
Well, he found one. It was a bit different than anything we'd done before. It involved a lot of mud. MUD? I said I'd run, not get filthy from head to toe! But, love makes you do strange things...so I agreed. Dave was giddy. Look out Mad Mud Run! We were pumped!
This morning, we headed to the course early and I wondered what we'd gotten ourselves into. Many of the competitors wore costumes - from argyle socks, to bright patterned shorts. There was even a lady in a wedding dress. It was awesome! Dave and I chose green - little lame but at least we matched. My purple bandana was a late addition thanks to my good friend Amy who knows my day is not complete without a touch of purple. (Those were our wedding colours by the way...what was I thinking?)
A friend of ours lent us his Hero cameras so we could take video and photos during the run. Unfortunately, only the one Dave had worked so we have no photos of Dave in action. But, we did all the obstacles together.
After completing the 4 mile run and all the obstacles, there was a mud pit about 3 meters wide, 10 meters long and 2 feet deep. You have to go through it and go under all the flags. There is absolutely no way to stay clean. We even had mud in our teeth at the end! But we crossed the finish line feeling amazing! There were hoses at the end to spray off. It helped but we're not sure those clothes will be clean again!
Who knew how much fun mud could be? We do now! Next time we'll wear costumes. Yes, I did say next time.
Halloween continues to be my favourite holiday! It is so much fun to decorate, create fun food, make cool costumes and of course, have an excuse to indulge in chocolate!
Parker and his friend Jett hit the youth dance the Friday night before dressed as ???? We're not sure but they looked really good. Wonder if the girls thought so. In case you're wondering, Parker's shoes are size 18 and Jett's are size 21.
Often, we have a Halloween party or two. This year we had a pumpkin carving party with a few friends. The pumpkins turned out great!
Sara and two of her friends dressed up as the Three Blind Mice. Sara got an award that day and went up to receive it dressed as a mouse. Pretty funny!
Hannah had planned out her costume for weeks... She had convinced her cousin Owen to go as Prince William and she would be Kate - one of her favourite people. We found her the perfect dress, a coat, the shoes and even a fascinator. That picture is yet to be taken because William had to go without his princess. In the middle of the night before Halloween, she woke up so sick and missed the whole day. For a 9 year old, does it get much worse? I don't think so. My heart broke for her. So, there will be a Halloween party coming up. TBA At one point when she woke up, she rolled over on the couch and asked me, "What did Matt dress up as today?" I answered that he didn't. "Lame - o" was her response before she rolled over and fell back asleep. So, maybe we'll have to make him dress up for the party. Suggestions???
The candy haul was therefore a little smaller this year, but have no fear, we all still managed to get an adequate amount of chocolate. :)
Ever feel like you have two left feet? Hannah did. Literally.
At Hot Lunch on thursday, she reminded me that there was after school skating with the school. We haven't been able to make it once this year. She asked if we could please go. I responded with the most common response lately. "Sorry, Hannah, we have too much going on after school." She ( unfortunately) wasn't too surprised by the answer and said okay. As I got on with my day, I realized if I shuffled a few things and got a friend to take Matt to football, I could find the skates, grab Sara and surprise Hannah by picking her up ready to skate. So that's what I did. It actually wasn't hard to find the skates. ( Different funny story - Dave accidentally grabbed the skates and brought them to Waterton this summer thinking they were the life jackets... They are both in the same kind of hockey bag. Imagine our surprise at the boat dock.... :) So the skates were just inside the shed still. I quickly grabbed Sara's, Hannah's and mine. As I looked briefly at Hannah's I thought they looked a bit small this year so I grabbed Sara's old ones thinking they'd work. I found helmets, gloves and tall socks, threw everything in the car and dashed to pick up Sara. I was sweating when I picked them up but it was so fun to surprise Hannah. She was thrilled! So, off to the rink. Sure enough last years skates were too small. I mentally patted myself on the back for packing another pair. She started to put them on while I turned to visit with another mom. Then I heard a little voice. "Mom...." I turned to look at her. "It might be a little hard to skate in two left skates....." Really? In my haste I grabbed 2 completely different skates. Both left feet!!! We laughed so hard we cried! I asked her what we should do. She said "I came here to skate!" So, she did - on two left feet! Thanks Hannah! I tried to make your day, and you made mine.
We are officially old. At least we are if the qualification is that you have a child who is 16. Wow. I've said that word a lot lately over the past two days. Wow. He was successful and got his license yesterday. Funny story...our vehicles all have September 23 as their expiry date for the insurance. I had forgotten to put the new pink slips in the cars. So, when the Driving Instructor checked the insurance, it was expired. He came into the office, inquired about it and told me sternly that I had a homework assignment when I got home. I felt like I was 16 again.
When they arrived back, Parker winked at me and gave me a discreet thumbs up behind his back. Wow. Did I say that yet?
This morning, he and Matt got in the Smart Car and drove off to seminary. Wow. We're growing up!
When we woke up this morning, we did not plan on a red ribbon day. In fact the morning was a little rough. Everyone was late, breakfast was sub par and tempers may have been a little short in one child or another. (We won't mention any names.) But, as they say, the show must go on. So, without eating our Wheaties, we all headed out the door. Matt and Sara had the City Cross Country Meet this morning at Nicholas Sheran park and I hoped they would not self destruct from lack of sleep and food before they even got there.
Dave and I biked over there to watch, cheer and take pictures. We were almost late as well, arriving at 9:13 for Sara's 9:15 start. Guess chaos can sometimes breed success (I hear my siblings laughing now...) because they both did really well. In fact, they both placed first! There were 96 girls in Sara's field. She ran 2k in 8:30. Matt had a smaller field but pulled away from the pack immediately and ran out front the whole time. He had to run 3k. We have been unable to confirm his time yet.
So, it was a red ribbon day. Actually, most days are in my book. But this one really was after such a slow start - and we even have the ribbons to prove it. Great job guys!
Suffice it to say that we had a really great time in the thriving metropolis of Burley, Idaho. It's a small town in the SW corner of the state - full of potato fields and cowboys. But, it does have the Snake River that runs through it and that's why we chose the Vikingman Triathlon as the ideal spot to "try" our first triathlon. Parker and I signed up for the Olympic distance - 1500m swim, 40km bike (turned out to be 46k) and 10km run (turned out to be 12k through a cow pasture). Dave, and his cousin Bruce decided they were up for a bigger challenge and entered the Half Ironman - which we now call the 70.3 (which is how many miles they complete) because Bruce pointed out that saying you complete half of something sounds a little less than remarkable. He's got a point! They swam 1800m, biked 80k (more like 90k) and ran 13 miles. If I say that we had a lot of "fun", would you believe me? Actually, we did. Thanks to all who helped us train and cheered us on - especially Amy - the best one person support crew anybody could ever ask for. She prayed so hard for us that none of us would get a flat tire on the bike. She has a lot of faith because none of us did! Unfortunately, she got two on her bike as she biked all around tying to follow us and throw us food, water or whatever else we might need. I think she did more miles than the rest of us that day!
I'm pretty sure we'll be back to "try" again. We may all be addicts now!
It's September 21 and maybe, just maybe, we are getting back into a schedule. Despite our best efforts, summer did in fact come to an end and we had to conform to societal rules and go back to school. Here's what three of the four of us looked like. Parker started school at a different time so he has still evaded the camera. Don't worry, we'll get him! Hannah started Grade 4 with Mr. Howg. Matt started high school and Sara started middle school. Where has time gone?
Felt like it for us last week! While Dave, Parker and Matt were at Helaman's Encampment, Sara, Hannah and I and our good friends Amy, Dean and Owen, went on a road trip to Salt Lake City. One word - incredibly awesome!!!! Whoops, that was two! We had such a great time together! The weather was great, the company was greater and the activities in Utah were fantastic.We could not go to SLC and not hit Temple Square. It was so beautiful!!! I would like a gardening lesson from the staff there! One of our best "treasures" we found were Morph Suits. We had been eyeing these online for quite some time. So, when we discovered a store called Zurchers that sold them, we had to buy them. Look for them in future Stewart Family adventures.... This is Sara and Hannah in front of the Conference Center. We certainly got a few looks! Dean and Owen hadn't been to Temple Square since they were quite little so it was so great to take them there!
We went to the "This is the Place" monument. There is a whole village of pioneer homes and shops to explore. We saw a bank robbery, had a pony ride, panned for gold, saw a printing press, ate in a saloon and learned the "Deseret Alphabet" in a little school house. Halloween there sounds really cool. Maybe a good fall trip...someday.
We met up with some friends of Amy's from their physio days in Pocatello! As soon as we met up with them, we didn't leave them! Emma, Sophie and Lilly were lovely and the kids all got along so well! They were excellent tour guides and hosts. Thanks girls! We look forward to a future visit with you! Perhaps in Canada....
We rented a house right by Utah State University, which was cheaper than a hotel - and so awesome to have so much room! We arrived on July 4th. Hence the flag on the front lawn!
We went to a Real Salt Lake MLS soccer game that night. Wow! The fans were amazing and the game was great! They played the New England Revolution. RSL got a red card in the first 3 minutes which meant they had to play a man down the entire game. It was intense but they played hard and the final score was 3-3! Amazing fireworks in the stadium after and all across the valley as we drove home on the freeway. All for Amy's birthday! (Which was that day!)
It was hot and beautiful there! So, we went to a neighbourhood pool with our new friends and swam for hours!
What prompted this trip in the first place was the fact that there was an American Idol Concert being held on July 6. We were huge American Idol fans and it seemed like too good of a thing to pass up. So, with the motto "Carpe diem" going through my head, we bought tickets and planned the trip. The concert was amazing and over 2 hours long. We loved it and had to keep pinching ourselves to see if it was a dream or not.
June is over. Came and gone like a blur! Now the lazy, hazy days of summer are upon us. They are as welcome to us as the first sliver of light in the morning after a bad dream. Don't get me wrong - June was not a bad dream. More like a roller coaster that keeps going and going when you think it needs to stop.
But so many good things happened - some of which were Award Ceremonies. We are so proud of our kids (righteous pride of course...) They have all had some great accomplishments.
Matt was awarded his Chief Scout Award at a Stake Awards Night. Our stake gives these boys buck knives with their name engraved on them so Matt was excited to get that in time for Helaman's Encampmentwhich is a province wide scout camp being held this week at Camp Impeesa near Pincher Creek. Next, was Matt again. He completed Grade 8 - with honours. In Alberta, this is when you move on to high school from Middle school. In addition, he was honoured to receive the Male Athlete of the Year award and the Most Improved Award for basketball. It was a really neat awards ceremony and we were proud of all his hard work. We are positive that hard work ethic will be transferred to his efforts in the back yard and garden over the summer. :) Sara will also switch schools in the fall. She graduated from Grade 5 at Lakeview and will move on to Gilbert Paterson Middle School. Lakeview is such a fantastic school and she will miss it but she is very excited about all the new clubs, choirs and mostly the sports offered at GPMS. She loved her teacher this past year - Ms. Porter. Ms. Porter is also leaving Lakeview with all the budget cuts. So, it was a bittersweet day for both. Great job Sara! Lastly, but not leastly, Parker was awarded his bronze level of the Duke of Edinburgh Award by Lethbridge's mayor, Rajko Dodic. Parker has been working on his award since turning 14. The gold level is presented by a member of the royal family when they are in Canada, the silver level is presented by the Lieutenant Governor of the province and the bronze level is presented by a person of local importance determined by the recipient. Parker wanted to meet the mayor, so it was arranged. Mayor Dodic was very gracious and did a nice job. It was very neat. Parker is working on the silver level now.
As an honourable mention we need to mention that Hannah also completed her year at school. She will enter Grade 4 in the fall. Man, that makes us feel OLD! She barely passed...:)
She will now be one of the "bigger" kids at Lakeview. We're glad to still have her there. It will be a very sad day for us when there are no more Stewarts at Lakeview Elementary. So, on with July and all it's adventures. Congrats on a great year everyone!
We're not sure who's to blame. We're just really glad that we got talked into hardie plank siding instead of vinyl. It was when Dave noticed roof high flames and billowing smoke that we knew there was something wrong. Thanks for the steak, boys. It was delicious! Glad we still have a house standing...
Notice that the gauge is now permanently positioned at 800 degrees farenheit.
Oh what fun it is to run up the Whoop Up hill! But it was a perfect day for Ladies Fest - just a bit misty and overcast for Sara and I to run together...She left me at 3.5k and took off. I was proud of her. She told me later that she would just pick a t-shirt ahead of her and say the colour of shirt over and over in her head until she passed her. Then she would pick another t-shirt and do the same thing. She was speedy! It was an 8 km race and she finished in just over 42 minutes. The whole family was there to cheer us on. Parker and Matt volunteered at the finish line again this year and removed race tags.
All of my girl friends (AKA counselling staff) that I run with ran as well. It was such a great day - topped off with a breakfast and get together after at the Lethbridge Lodge. To our surprise, Sara and I were awarded second place in the Mother/Daughter Category! We both collapsed on the couch that night...and ate ice cream!
Other than December, June is the month that goes by the fastest...and yet the slowest as well. It seems like school will never end. But, before you know it, July has arrived. June is always full of Field Trips, Year End BBQ's and picnics, Recitals, Final tournaments and playoffs, exams, Games Days/ Track Meets, Info nights for next year, an Awards ceremony or two, class parties etc. Oh Wait...don't forget the Teacher Gifts for all the teachers and coaches! It all becomes a blur...also known as June.
For us, we also have a birthday and of course, you have to have a party for that!
But, we wouldn't trade this busyness for anything. We know the day will come when we will miss it. However trite this may sound, it's very true that your kids grow up WAY TOO FAST!
So, I'm going to publish a few posts to try to give a few highlights. The bottom line is that this whirlwind journey of life is a lot of fun!
Actually, track season just ended. It's really short lived! Matt ran the 400m, 800m and 1500m. He qualified for cities in all three and then went on to qualify for zones in the 800m and 1500m. His good friend, Matt Knapik, is his pacer. He just stays on his heels and he brings him in every time - in a very good time, but always behind Matt K. So, he placed third in the 800m at zones and fourth in the 1500m. We were so impressed because...Matt hates track. What could he do with a little training??? Matt Knapik got first in both races. Great job Matt! Maybe next year, our Matt will train...maybe not.
No, Matt is not trying to show off his biceps! Check out that Farmer's tan! Very Southern Albertan, don't you think? Kids, this is what happens when you forget to apply sun screen and then spend all day at the track... Matt and Matt in the lead during the 800m. Matt and Matt. We're excited to see what next year brings!