I used to love decorating for Christmas. I'm trying to love it now! It required one full morning with no one else here. I spread everything out and then it is sort of like Tetris as I figure out where it all goes. I turned on the Christmas tunes and had a little stash of chocolate. In the end, it was a great morning...and I love the feeling of magic after it's all done! The best was when Hannah walked in the door from school and said, "It looks so beautiful in here!" A good mom moment!
We arrived home safely tonight after the most magical vacation. We never did go on a honeymoon. But, while we were there we got asked if we had just gotten married and were on our honeymoon. That was the day after I turned 40! WOOHOO! I'll take it!
French Polynesia is so beautiful. I felt like I was in a dream every day. I am so grateful to have had this experience and to have seen it all with my favourite person. We get very little time together now, so a week away with no responsibility or cell phone was the best present ever. Thanks Dave!
We biked, snorkelled, hiked, swam and sat around a bit too. We loved the warmth and sunshine.
But, it was great to get home safely and see our kids tonight. Home is a great place to be. Not gonna lie though, I could do without the snow.
New favourite drink - virgin chi-chi in a coconut. Delicious!
Birthday cake from the Captain delivered to our room!
A snorkelling adventure off the coast of Moorea.
As we departed from Huanine...
Bora Bora is the island seen behind us. We were on a small private island for a whole afternoon.
This day has become a favourite for Dave and I. We run up and down hills and coulees to chase our kids and cheer them on as they run their cross country races. This year Sara ran 2km, Matt had to run 4km and Parker did 5km. Each of their routes were hard! There were some nasty hills and the weather was cool and rainy. There were even a few flakes that flew. We were so proud of them. They worked hard and each of them had trained using "Dad's Cross Country Training Regime". They stuck to the schedule and their hard work paid off. Parker and Matt both qualified for Provincials! They are next weekend in Red Deer. Sara would have qualified too as she got 2nd but there are no Provincials held for Grade 7. Well done Stew Crew! Glad Dad and I could get our work out in today as we chased you around! It was a blast!
We are down to the final hours before we drop Grandma and Grandpa off at the MTC. It's been a fantastic weekend of Conference - topped off by Pres Monson's announcement that YM can now go on missions at the age of 18!
We made it! What an adventure we've had thus far! We will never forget "the year we did the pageant". When we walked out of the hotel early last friday morning and found that our Suburban with all our luggage had been taken from the hotel parking lot, we were in complete shock. With an hour and 25 minutes until our flight left, there was not much time for discussion or decision making. We had been planning this experience for a very long time. So, we filed the report and got on the plane. We had our PJs from that night and Dave and Sara's stinky clothes from Girls Camp the night before. That was it.
It has gone uphill from there. We have had many hours of rehearsal and costuming. We have had many devotionals and songs. PArker and Sara joined the choir. In cast team time (Times that you are not rehearsing) we have met many new people and played a lot. Our Gadianton Robbers game has been a hit.
In the end, the experience has far outweighed the plight of stolen luggage. I will never forget the feeling and shock of loss but it has made me appreciate our health and safety and important things. We also have recognized that we can live on less. My mom's wise words have comforted me a lot this last week. "you can't take it with you!"
So, the show continues. We have not "broken a leg" but we have been able to experience amazing things and discover what matters...and what doesn't. (Any one who wants to drop off ice cream next week though when I get home and start all the work on insurance claims and all the paperwork, feel free!)
Summer to me means no schedule! We spend every moment of our lives on a tight schedule. I honestly believe that is the cause of my "smile lines" deepening around my eyes. :)
I love the long summer nights and the option to get up early or sleep a little bit longer than normal.
Summer started here this past week. Sara was the first to finish exams. She didn't even rub it in. What a gal! We celebrated with a late night bonfire with our cousins. Hot dogs and the biggest smores you've ever seen.
Matt was the next to finish. He celebrated at DQ with his peeps. They didn't have lunch...they shared an entire cake...which they personalized with their initials. How cool is that?
Parker finished on the final exam day at LCI. He was happy it rained on the days leading up to it because its so much easier to study when its rainy. Physics 30 departmental completed! He celebrated by going on YM camp. He could think of nothing better!
Hannah was the last to finish. She actually missed her final day and we made a quick trip to Great Falls...Target, Fuddruckers, Ross Dress for Less, Cafe Rio and an awesome waterslide.
Summer is here and we are so ready!!!
So, on Friday when I came home from my run, Sara and Hannah had started breakfast. The best summer breakfast I'd ever seen!
One of the best events in my opinion that comes around once a year in Lethbridge is Ladies Fest. It's always held at the beginning of June and fills up within a few days because it's so popular. There are 750 entries permitted. It's a 5 mile run - for just women. Some may say this is discriminatory. I think it's empowering. You will find all sizes, shapes, ages and levels of fitness at the run. They all have one common goal - to do it, however they can, because they can.
My running friends and I have done this for a number of years now. We all look forward to it and book it into our calendar. For the past few years, we've even let our families fend for themselves on that saturday morning and stayed for a short while to feast on the brunch. What a treat!
Last year, Sara asked if she could do it. I signed her up. We entered as a Mother/Daughter team - and we won second place! This year, Hannah decided she wanted to try. So, I signed up all three of us. Sara wanted to try it as an individual and Hannah and I signed up as Mother/Daughter. After we registered, we learned that Sara had a basketball game at the same time, so Hannah and I went to the run together.
I wasn't sure she would finish. It is a long run, with two rather large hills. She set a goal for herself and it was to do it in less than an hour and ten minutes.
It was a beautiful morning and when the gun went off, we shuffled our way to the start line, took a deep breath and headed out. The birds were singing and we started to run.
It's such a great feeling to just be able to move and be healthy. Hannah and I enjoyed every step of the run. When we got tired, we would just slow down a bit and adjust our pace.
Well, she finished. We finished. All my friends finished. And we all finished strong! One of us placed second overall (and she ran with a race number of lady who was unable to run because she'd been diagnosed with cancer since she'd registered). She said that made her want to work even harder! One of us bested her time by three minutes. One started five minutes after the gun went off and passed A LOT of people. One kicked so fast at the end that she passed people she'd followed the whole time. One had her kids cheering for her from their Chariot. One had to run straight from the run to work - so she ran FAST! One helped lead the warm up - and then ran the race too! Hannah blew her goal out of the park! She ran it in 53 minutes! Bottom line, everyone ran their own race. Life analogy there?
I just enjoyed every minute! The smell of the blossoms, the sound of friendship and laughter, the wind blowing (perhaps a bit stronger than we would like!), the birds chirping and the feeling of freedom and strength each step brings.
There is no better way to start a Saturday morning. Good job Hannah! And thanks Ladies!
Thanks to Dave, Grandma and others helping with things at home, I was able to accompany the LCI Chamber and Jazz Choirs to the Con Brio Music Festival in Whistler, BC. Parker and I departed our home at 3:30am on Wednesday to board the bus. We stopped for the day in Vancouver and then they competed and performed in Whistler on the weekend. It was a remarkable experience. There are some amazingly talented adjudicators, musicians and teachers. Everyone learned a lot and had a great time!
This is the LCI Jazz Choir. They performed on Friday Night to a large, very responsive crowd. They did a great job and were encouraged by their performance. Don't they look great? I'm biassed. Dave and I found the shirts and ties in Montreal when we were there for his award. We had to buy a new inexpensive suitcase to get them home with us. What parents don't do.... But, I'm so glad we did.
Remember these rings from the Olympics? We had the kids line up in between performances on Saturday at the rings for a group photo. After the photo, they broke out into an impromptu performance. An audience quickly formed and cheered them on. Some people even threw money!
Kim texted while we were away and was not aware that I had gone on this trip with Parker. Her response was, "my u live a glamourous life". I laughed out loud. 17 hours on a bus both ways with 37 teenagers and late night room checks... Actually, it has been fun and I'm so glad I could be with Parker and see his choir do so well. What an amazing experience for everyone. We all live in a beautiful country with so much to offer!
We know we're pretty darn lucky. Grandma and Grandpa offered in January to take us to Hawaii over Easter. Reluctantly we accepted... Jokes! The countdown was on! On April 5, the day finally arrived and we flew out of Calgary. The 6 of us, Grandma and Grandpa and Aunt Carolyn were off for a grand adventure. The flight was great, we picked up our cars - one of which was a convertible (Why not - we were in Hawaii?!?!) and headed out for an adventure.
We had the most wonderful time! We swam, boogey boarded, snorkelled, surfed and enjoyed the fresh Hawaiian air. We went to Pearl Harbour, had Matsumoto Shaved Ice, played games - especially Farkle, BBQ ed and explored the island. A favourite for everyone was the Polynesian Cultural Centre - we decided we wanted to move to Samoa where the men do all the cooking! It was so fantastic! We all want to plan the next trip back... Thanks Grandpa and Grandma!
To some, moonlight madness may mean a late night shopping trip for serious bargains! For our family, it means a dark, cold, starlit night, bright attire, crumpled race tags and our favourite running shoes. We all ran again this year and celebrated a successful finish with good friends, and of course... Dominoes pizza and Tim Hortons cookies. Doesn't get any better...