Thursday, October 9, 2014

born to ride

About 10 years ago, we bought a trike.  It was purple.  We thought Mags would enjoy it but it never really took with her...it seemed awkward.  I began to believe the trike was poorly made and that we had simply made bad purchase...that happens.  Through the years, the trike has very rarely been used...kids would try it but never seemed to enjoy it...and yet we kept moving it with us.  Good thing too because are we getting our money's worth out of it now.

Everyday, we are out there in that beautiful afternoon autumn sun.  Good times.  I love it.




Tuesday, October 7, 2014

our little pianist has a piano

Last Fall, Bridget came home from a playdate with her friend, Sadie, and was all keen on learning how to play the piano.  Sadie had started lessons earlier in the school year and had taught a few things to Bridget. 

Years ago, I had attempted to get the older kids hooked on the piano but it didn't really seem to take.  As much as I believe in some of the traits of a tiger mom, I am not such a mom and I wasn't up to the task of badgering the kids into practicing, nor was I into spending all of that money, only to have them eventually wear me down and convince me to let them quit in a few years time.  We had enough going on there for a while and so I didn't push the piano.

Anyhow, B wouldn't let the piano thing drop.  She honestly seemed keen.  So, how fortuitous that Santa brought her a keyboard for Christmas only a couple of months after the play date with Sadie.  

With that keyboard staring at us, I decided we should spring for some lessons and see what happened.  However, I told B upfront that I wasn't going to badger her to practice but practice she must if we were going to pay for the lessons.  She listened earnestly and agreed to my terms.  She practices every morning before school and genuinely seems to enjoy it (and she enjoys her lessons!...Can you hear my surprise? Neither Kev nor I were happy piano students).

Six months later (this video is from last June), here is our little pianist at her first recital (I didn't get my phone out quickly enough for her solo pieces...she was the first to perform and I was nervous for her...).... 


Her teacher is the second from the left and these are her students of which B is the youngest.  She really likes her teacher.


Last week, B's teacher let me know that Bridget had progressed to the point of needing the pedals of a piano and that our little keyboard was no longer enough.  She suggested we rent.  Kev and I headed to a piano store on the weekend where the nice manager dropped the hint that buying off of Craigslist might be the better way to go.  What seemed like a painful task of hunting down a piano and then arranging to have it delivered (or renting a truck to do the job), ended up being super easy.  One of the people I emailed offered to deliver the piano to us so...voila...our little piano is now in our living room.


It has been interesting to see how happy this piano has made all of the kids.  Apparently, our living room feels like a "real" living room now.  And, somehow, I feel more grownup...not sure why but there you have it.

Monday, September 22, 2014

whazzup mid-september??

We have sort of started to toilet train Franny.  She had some success early on but now seems disinterested.  The other day, as we were settling for a nap, she decided she had to go number 2.  Trying to be supportive, I let her get up, grab her dolls and head to the potty though I was pretty sure it was a stall tactic in order to put off napping.  


I was wrong.


After a little play and a short read, she pooped in the potty.   She is a marvel.  She does not care if she gets a reward afterward.  This kid doesn't seem to have a currency to help us motivate her to use the toilet.  Could be that she is already completely overindulged...hmmm....

I found this gem on a bedroom wall the other day...


Closer look...


Not as much free play now that school is back on but a little time was found recently...


Wait...is that Snow White?? (or one of her dwarves??)


Beautiful days this past weekend let us have some time at a park.  B wasn't really into it...


Franny reacting to B saying she wanted to go home...


Franny pretending that we are all ignoring Bridget's plea to go home...


G's weekend ended roughly (and on his face)...lesson:  do not attempt to fly down a hill on a scooter at top speed...


It's all too exciting, isn't it :)?? xo

Friday, September 19, 2014

a little KP action

We don't go to many concerts around here.  We are fans of music, for sure, but why not just listen from the comfort of your own home or while running, while driving, while lying in bed....the options are endless and free (you might see a theme threaded through these posts...I am frugal in some areas). 

Last weekend, Eve and Maggie and I were invited to see Katy Perry live and we just had to say "yes, thank you!".  This sort of opportunity doesn't often arise so I couldn't be a party pooper.  And, it was fun (exhausting but so fun).

Maggie had actually been asked months ago by a good friend.  I dropped her at Maya's house at 1 pm (of course, because Katy Perry was scheduled to hit the stage at 9 pm :).  Mags was sooo excited for the concert and after 3 hours of volunteer work that started very early in the morning, followed by a soccer game, she was ready to kick back and party with her pals.

Marie and Lauren collected Eve and me around 3 pm.  I had planned to suck back a Red Bull prior to departure but forgot and - guess what - I survived.  Being out of the regular routine, with the sun shining and with good friends, I found energy I didn't realize I had.  


Eve and Lauren had worked tirelessly on their shirts to honor KP and were adorable.  We met up with other mother-daughter duos and the 8 of us had a fun dinner before we walked back through the warm Fall night to the concert.



We ran into Mags as well which was surprising given the size of the crowd.


I spent much of the early part of the concert fielding texts from Maggie about buying a KP concert shirt.  I consented after she let me know that she was finally at the front of a ridiculous line that she had been standing in for ages.

We had great seats with the added bonus of this pair in front of us...


But it really was a great night and we could see the concert and KP is a energetic, creative artist who kept us entertained till the end.  

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

another birthday for kev


This past year has been a really good year for Kev (from my perspective :).  

He is doing really well in his job which he gets to do from our dining room most days.  It isn't uncommon to see him walking around in the backyard, in the sunshine, taking a work call.  He sometimes weeds while on these calls...a fabulous multi-tasker. He has been known to take his laptop out back on the nicer days and crank away in the fresh air. 

He is fit and continues to make exercise a priority.  There are days when he jumps up from his desk (aka the dining room table), straps on his sneaks and hits the pavement without bothering to put on proper running attire because he doesn't want to wake the nappers (that would be Franny and myself) by coming into the bedroom.  He just gets it done.  He is also getting out on his bike with friends now and then which is fun.

He is a very present dad.  Working from home can have its downsides - that is for sure...trying to focus with kids running through the house, dance music blaring, piano being practiced, moody wife wandering around (yes, that happens now and then) - but there are a lot of upsides at this time in our lives.  The kids have Kev around for impromptu weekday conversations, technical help, homework help, family meals (often cooked by Kev), bedtime reading, and all-around, general loving. Kev and I get more time together (which I like to think is nice for him when I am not moody...I can be good company :).  In his line of work, being home this much is a real treat.  We know it probably won't always be this way so we are treasuring it.

Kev turned 43 last week and I made him dinner which we squeezed in before swimming lessons (not Kev's...the kids') and then we had cake after swimming lessons.  On Friday, I took my guy out for sushi and drinks and then we hit Nordstrom's with a good buzz on to buy him a much needed sport coat.  Do we know how to whoop it up or what!? (however, it was fun to recklessly spend a chunk of money...the alcohol helped...).

In addition to the sport coat, the kids made him a sweet card,  a special coffee mug and bought him treats.  Mags is a little more technical than the others and put this fun video together (she said she could slow down the video but it would involve spending money...I think we are raising financially savvy kiddos).  Enjoy (we sure did)!






Monday, September 8, 2014

a peek at kev's phone....

Kev's cell phone photos are always fun for me to go through when I think to ask him for them.  We are living a shared life but sometimes have a different view.  Let's see what he's been looking at....

He grabbed a pic at Jen and Pete's...our first night east this summer....silly kids....


Night number two at Derryck and MP's...fun in the pool...


Franny made a new friend in Skye....


Hanging at the cottage...






Pooped in the city....


City visits with McGuire cousins...






Time with Tan and Shane....



(I love this one...Franny not wanting to disturb Brynn but wanting to watch as well)....


Kev got some time with his old pals...


Back out west where the temps were soaring and beach time to beat the heat...



Watching fighter planes during Seafair...not sure we need to do that again...


Fun pig roast at Marc and Cindy's...





Family park time and a game of tag...


A duck tour while Joan visited...a definite must-do...


Lazy time...


The End. 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

the 2014-2015 school year begins....

It was a fairly calm morning here yesterday as we got ready to head to our different schools to begin the school year. 

Evie started at the middle school first.  She, like Mags, has an earlier start time than those at the elementary school.  After having to head to band practice and choir early 3 days/week last year, this is no big deal for her.  She was nervous but cool.  We had been in the school the week before to practice opening her locker and running through her first day classes (she changes classes just like high school...different teacher, different kids, different classrooms).


There was a bit of mayhem when we got to the middle school.  It wasn't 100% clear where to go, what to bring...... Eve had to open and close and reopen her locker a few times as the information we got changed but she did this all easily and I thought it was good practice (unfortunately, she did manage to whack the poor girl with the locker beneath hers in the head....ooops:).  Anyhow, it all got sorted out, she met up with her bestie Lauren and off they went laughing like they had been there for years.


I headed home to see how things were progressing for the the next drop off.  Everyone was ready early.  Even Gabe seemed a little excited to be starting school (Bridget was VERY excited!).  I had to slow them down a bit as I didn't want to be too early but eventually we were off.

First stop was B's class with Maggie's grade 5 teacher who is now trying her hand at grade 2.  Bridget is thrilled to have one of her best pals, Betty, in her class for the 3rd year in row.  


With B quickly settled and somewhat crazy (had to remind her to calm down a bit...too happy and excited to be back at school...so different from Gabe), G and I headed off to find his class.  This year G seems to have scored again with a great teacher (cross our fingers).  She is coming off a few years of teaching kindergarten so we are hoping she is patient and she has young boys of her own which is a good thing.  I think it is going to be a great year for our boy (even if he doesn't seem all that enthusiastic yet:).


With the elementary school morning bell, I was off to preschool with Franny.  We had been in for an orientation day the week before so it was fresh in her mind as to where we were headed.  We hadn't made a big deal out of it and the kids were told to do the same...no biggie, just somewhere to play with friends and new toys....


On our way to preschool, I told Franny that I would be putting her bag in her cubby, helping her wash her hands and then I was going to go for a run while she played (something she is used to me doing from home).  I could see her processing this in her carseat.  She said, "Mommy leave Franny?".  "Yep, just for a bit but then I'll be back to pick you up."  She seemed ok with this and, low and behold, she was.  She was awesome.  That green playdoh held her attention as a I slipped away. She was fine and I was fine.  Knowing that she doesn't need to be there made it easier.  This was my decision because she will have fun, make friends and learn a few things for a couple of hours twice a week.  But boy I couldn't wait to go back and get her.


After a quick work out, I was back home to get Mags to school.  As a big grade 7 student, she had a late start to her first day.  The middle school has the grade 6 students come ahead of the older kids...smart move with all of those first day, new school jitters.  Mags loved this and had a relaxing morning.  At 11:00, I ran her over and got to kiss her nose as she scrambled out of the car. 




Then, it was back to pick up our Fransters who looked pooped.  The 8 little toddlers seemed fine when I arrived as the first mom on the scene but as they caught wind that it was pickup time and mommies were coming soon, the whole class lost it.  The poor, sweet teachers were reassuring parents that it hadn't been like this all morning. It was sweet. Franny kept her cool.  We will see how it goes on day 2....