Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Take Some Time Tuesday {Appreciating Change}

The school year draws to a close tomorrow and with it comes change.
A tidal wave of change.
And, if I've learned anything about myself of late...it's that I actually prefer things to stay the same.
The same ol', same ol' is good with me.
Be that as it may...change is on the horizon.

With the end of this school year comes the end of my role as a classroom teacher {for now}.
I say farewell to a most fantastic bunch of students.
Students who have taken leadership and given it a new definition.
Students who are in charge of themselves.
Students who begin with the end in mind and put first things first.
Students who get themselves to school on time...even when it seems out of their control.
Boys and girls who value eachother enough to think win-win.
Who can seek to understand and synergize to get the job done.
Students who know a thing or two about keeping the saw sharp.
Students who, when asked to create a top ten list of what they loved about grade five, asked if they had to stop at 10.
Students who are appreciative for the opportunities they are given.
Students who will forever hold a special place in my heart.
These will go home with each student.
Visit the girls over at eighteen25 to make your own!

Next year, I embark on a new opportunity about which I am both thrilled and a little week in the knees!
Come September, I will take on an administrative role and challenge myself to grow in new dimensions.
At the same time, I head back to Univeristy to work towards my Master's degree.
To learn to empower my colleagues to be teacher leaders.
All for the betterment of our children.
The 144+ students who come to us everyday.
Students who we care about.
Students who trust us to keep them safe and help them grow into leaders.
Students who we value for who they are...not for how they perform on tests.
Little leaders who make us proud.
Little leaders who achieve greatness everyday.

On this last Tuesday of this school year, I take some time to be thankful for the opportunities that I've had and those that are waiting for me.

Last summer, we traveled to Pennsylvania to learn from the best.
How do we go about bringing out the leader in each of our children?
Ask Muriel Summers {centre}...she knows.
She's walked the walked.
She changes the lives of children...everyday.
I feel so fortunate to have learned from her.
In February, we traveled to San Antonio and listened to Principal El speak.
We laughed.
We cried.
We learned.

 My mind knows change is essential...but my heart reminds me that it can hurt.
I have to remember that change leads to growth.
And growth leads to success.
And all will be well.

The Alamo ~ San Antonio, Texas

Friday, June 24, 2011

Welcome to Starbucks...

What can I get started for you?
We'll have a Venti Caramel Americano and a kids White Hot Chocolate. 
Please and thank-you.

With those words, almost every Friday for the last 10 month  was underway.

It has been tradition, that after we drop the big kids off at school, Ava and I head on over to one of our favourite haunts.
In the comfy chairs.
Only the comfy chairs will do.

We drank our drinks.
Ate banana bread.
But mostly, we enjoyed each other's company.
We coloured fairy pictures.
Made cards for teachers.
We even made party favours while sitting in our favourite chairs.
Sometimes she did her work...and I did mine.
We made memories.
Today our tradition came to an end.
Today was Ava's last day of Kindergarten.
We took our final Friday trip to Starbucks...
because today she's officially a grade-oner.
Next year she'll be in school all day.
Sitting in a big kid desk.
Playing outside with the big kids.
Learning math.
Learning to read.
Learning to write.
She is over-the-moon.

Me? I'm coming to terms with this fact:)

When school begins in the fall...we'll be making new memories.
Memories that involve me and each one of my kids. 
Memories that involve being excused from school for no good reason.

No good reason...except for spending time sipping on Starbucks and connecting.
There is no better reason.
Here's to our memories made and our memories to be made.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Tale of a {first} Triathlon

The Tale of a {first}Triathlon begins with an early morning wake-up call.
Add a healthy breakfast...double check for the necessities...and we're off.

After loading and unloading the bikes in the rain...setting up the bikes, towels and runners in the transition area in the rain...we headed indoors for some final words of wisdom.
My favourite?
"Stay out of the puddles 'cause you don't know what's in 'em!"

The excitement and anticipation shifts to nervousness as they wait to take the plunge.

In no time, the whistle blows and the first triathletes are in the water.

There's just enough time for her to catch her breath...as she heads off to the transition area.

After a quick change {addition of helmet, runners and sweater} she's off and running.
 Following a 1km bike ride, she's back and ready to run.

That's my girl...she's completed a swim, a bike ride and a run in the rain...and she's still singing!

A glorious race ends with the much-anticipated medal.

Way to go peanut - I'm proud of you!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Splish-Splashin' Good Time {Part 2}

I'm starting to think that Mother Nature has it in for me.
If it's not blizzards, it's torential downpours.

Since we were greeted with this, this morning...
We were forced into plan B.
Indoor swimming.

They don't seem to mind!

Plan B means no barbecue.
No soda chilled in a bucket of ice.
No self-serve fruit and veggies.
No pretty little table with orange and blue tissue balls.

It means instead...a bagged lunch.
And pizza delivery.

Birthdays are all about the little things.
Especially those little things that are not a part of your everyday.
On any given day {except today} you will not find prepackaged carrots and dip in my fridge.
And...unless we're planning a camping trip, you won't find bottled water in the pantry.
The chips?
Okay...those you WILL find in my pantry on any given day.
Unless I beat you to them!

The goody bags survived the change in plans.
The birthday gal decorated the bags herself.
Somethin' Fishy gummy fish.
Juicy Fruit gum...all dolled up.
And a bouncy ball.

We knew a few days ago that the weather was ify at best.
We decided to go with cupcakes, because they're easier to deal with than slices of cake.
Surfboards ridin' the waves.
Mother Nature has given a different meaning to the phrase Splish-Splashin' Good Time!
But it will be a good-time nonetheless!


Thursday, June 16, 2011

An {Orange and Blue} Splish-Splashin' Good Time

It's party time!
If the weather holds-out, it will be a splish-splashin' good time at the outdoor pool.
If not, the 9 year-old birthday gal and her pals will soak up the fun indoors.
Will Mother Nature rain on our parade...again?
Only time will tell.

Rain or shine...one thing is for sure, goodies will prevail.

My little anti-girl has decided on an orange and blue themed party.
We're tossing in a splash of fishy-goodness for funsies.

So far...the soda bottles have been made-over.
Take a Jones Soda Pop bottle, add a little paper, a little ribbon and voila....
 As I fiddled with the bottles, Ava set to work with the remnants.
Check out her stylin' headband.
Oh...and matching bracelet.
I think I hear the runways of Paris calling!

She didn't stop with accessories for herself, she whipped one up for Charlie too.

It's the last birthday party of the year in our house.
I've got to make it a good one!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

5 Things I L.O.V.E. AboutYou

Nine years ago I left my 2 1/2 year old at home and headed to the hospital...to welcome the little girl who already had a name.
Nine years later, I listened as she snuggled her little sister before bed tonight and heard her say...
"When you wake up tomorrow, you won't have an eight-year-old sister anymore."
She's a great big-sister.

Little Miss Elle Laurenne was born at 11:33 p.m.
She weighed in at a healthy 8 Lbs. 8 ozs. {she would be the smallest of my babies}
Her entrance into the world...slow, then fast and furious...would come to define how she goes about life.
My Belle likes to lay low.
She's quiet and thoughtful. Silly and emotional.
She has a passionate side.
And a feisty side.
Maybe even a temper.
She has her own opinion and she isn't afraid to share it.
She's a dreamer.
A goal-setter.
A leader. A hard-worker.
An individual. A team-player.

Ukrainian Dancing

5 Things I l.o.v.e. about my Belle.

#1 - Her sense of humour is subtle.
For example, at the Armoury {where we were celebrating her cousin's graduation} she turned to her dad and demanded, "Drop and give me 20!" 
In the middle of her nightly reading, she announced...
"Mom, I'm going to ask Madame if I can borrow her Frindle tomorrow."

#2 - She's determined and passionate; not taking 'no' for an answer.
When we entered the doors at the University of Alberta and she saw the Panda logo...she immediately pronounced that she is going to play hockey for them.
No question.
Just a fact.
Kids of Steel Triathlon
#3 - Elle bounces back from heartbreak.
Did I tell you about the time {during a very heated Ringette game} that she scored on herself...twice?
It goes something like this...
It had been a back and forth kind of game...1-1; 1-2; 2-2; 3-2 us.

You need to know that in Ringette, when the ring enters the crease, only the goalie can touch it. She must pick it up and throw it to her teammates.
 You know where this is going, don't you?
She picked up the ring and tossed it...right into the back of the net.
No problem...she bounces back, right?
We all {nervously} laughed it off in the stands, she skated around her net to gather her thoughts and positioned herself back between the posts.
The game continued. Back and forth.
Here they come again...she stops the ring.
Nice save.
Picks it up...and throws it...
Right into the back of her net.
She fell to the ice..sobbing.
I teared-up.
So did the other moms.
Her coach made her finish the game.
{It's kind of like getting right back on the horse.}
We lost...4-3.
No problem, it's only a game.

When I went into the dressing room to see her, she was still crying.
Her heart broken.
Not because they lost.
But because she was disappointed in herself.
Then...the other team came for a visit.
They gave Elle their Heart and Hustle award...and sang her a song...
"Holey, Moley...what a goalie"
Guess what I did?
There may have been a few more tears.
The other team had just taught her that her errors did not define her.
She bounced right back and played the next game.
#4 -Elle's heart is two-sizes too large.
She is the most thoughtful child I know.
Consider this...
She wanted me to bring slushies for her classmates {to celebrate her birthday.}
I arrived with 18 slushies in tow.
Too late...all the kids had gone.
Mom of the Year, I know.

 I. Felt. Terrible.
I had disappointed her.
And you know what she said?
"I'm sorry you had to spend all that money and now the kids are gone."
Enough said.

#5 - She's been known to make up words when the real words escape her.
upsleeves = short sleeves
downsleeves = longsleeves
Sometimes, she has to resort to her ability to describe things.
"Mom, I dropped that thing that goes between pages in a book, so don't lose your spot."
"You mean a bookmark?"
"Yah. A bookmark!"
What will she be like after babies or in her eighties!?

My Belle is an original.

And I'm glad I have the only copy.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Thanks a Latte

'Tis the season to be thankful.
Thankful for those who have helped us in our quest to raise well-round children.

Today, we say Merci, Grazie...Arigato to...
Our piano teacher...who understands when we leave our books at home {for the third week in a row} and allows my girls to make beautiful music.
Our dance instructor...who has the ability to push the girls to higher levels and make them love dance all at the same time.
I am so thankful that they make it their goals to help {my} children become better people.
They help them feel success.
And hardwork.
Sometimes a little disappointment...how to handle it and grow from it.
They give them a sense of belonging to something special.
To developing skills.
An opportunity to be active and use their brains on a different level.
They give them their time.
And their attention.
And their praise.

And for that...we say...Thanks a latte!
Measure and cut the paper to fit the gift-card.
Glue the bottom so that card can't sneak through.
Slip the card into the holder.
Wrap with string.
Adhere self-adhesive label {with message} to a coordinating piece of paper.
Cut paper around label and apply hot glue {dots} to the corners.
 The hot glue {sots} give the gift-card holder some depth.

Thanks a latte!
 We're off to celebrate at the year-end piano recital!