Saturday, 27 September 2014

Happy 6th Birthday Daniel!

We have a six year old!  How did that happen?  As his Grandpa G. commented, Daniel is now officially more than a handful.  While he is often a blur of activity, Daniel is also a very snuggly member of the family.  He does not ever get enough of "pick up highs" from Dad and Mom, and has even started trying to hug Sophie in that same picking up style.

Daniel loves to make and build things out of anything and everything, but his favourite toy is definitely Lego.  It certainly came as no surprise when he asked if he could have a Lego theme for his first solo birthday party, and his Lego-loving Dad was eager to be part of the planning.  To replicate one of their favourite activities at Legofest, Keith built this race ramp which he and Daniel painted and decorated together.  They even made a trip to a craft store to find just the right embelishments.

 The party was basically a LEGO building playdate plus cake, but it seems everyone had a great time.  While the boys headed straight for the race ramp, Sophie enjoyed making her own lego figure pictures with googly eyes, glue, markers and stickers.  I suspected that the boys would only want to play with the actual lego, but Daniel had asked if we could have a craft, so we had the art table ready.  We also had a selection of lego figure pieces for everyone to build their own lego figure which could ride in their race car and go home with them at the end of the party.

Keith helped the boys create their lego vehicles which they could race down the ramp.  They also made up stories about their cars and drove them all around the basement.  It turns out that under the ramp was a fun place to hang out.

What would a party be without cake?  Daniel's Grandma S and Auntie Melissa made this amazing Lego cake.  Yes, all those big pieces are chocolate cake.  The "bumps" are peanut M&Ms.  The platter and border was made out of actual lego, but everything else was quite edible and delicious.

Eventually the boys gave the Lego man craft a chance, but only because I would't let them race back downstairs until everyone had a chance to eat their cake.

To ease the sadness of leaving a Lego party, we handed out these cute marshmallow pops to our guests.  They were very easy to make, and the kids loved them.

Daniel thoroughly enjoyed his party, and has been enjoying building and playing with his new lego sets ever since.  Welcome to being 6, Danny boy!

Friday, 5 September 2014

A Whole New World

Daniel's first day of kindergarten was this past Wednesday.  He has been super excited about going, especially since the big kindergarten open house at the school last spring.  Our calendar has seen a lot of use as Daniel regularly counted to see how many days were left until he started school.  On Wednesday morning, he came upstairs singing and kept on all the way through getting ready.  After breakfast he asked, "The doors open at eight, right?"  I assured him that we did not, in fact, need to be there when the doors opened, but would be sure to leave early enough to account for morning traffic and still get to school by the time they actually began supervision at 8:15am.  

Here he is standing eagerly by the front door, wearing his favourite hoodie (Thanks Grandma!) and Batman backpack.  It was raining so hard that even Daniel agreed that he should probably wear pants instead of his favourite red shorts, but they were in his backpack just in case the sun came out later (it did not, but he busted out the shorts mid-day anyway).  

The lighting was better on the front step (protected from the rain), so I made him pose for pictures there too.  You can't tell in the picture, but the rain was in fact torrential that day.  Rubber boots had not been at all on my back-to-school shopping radar, but apparently they should have been.

Daniel was pretty sure I could just pull up to the school and let him out, but I stubbornly insisted we walk him in.   I could tell he wasn't convinced that was at all necessary.  Keith met up with us just as we were walking in the school so that we could all see him off on his new adventure together.  Daniel's teacher met us at the hooks and explained to Daniel and another student the three jobs they had every morning when they came to kindergarten: hang outside stuff on your hooks, check your mailbox, and "pop" the smart board balloon with your name on it to let Mrs. H know you are present.  Once the jobs were completed, they could choose a station to explore at until the whole class arrived.  Daniel quickly settled into the Lego table station and looked at us like, "You're still here?  Seriously?"

Thankfully he was willing to take a short break from Lego to give us each a hug and send us away.  Sophie wasn't sold on the idea of leaving Daniel behind, but happy to have Mom and Dad to herself for a few minutes before Keith had to get back to work.  She and I made a quick trip to a nearby store to buy rubber boots for Daniel so that he didn't get soaked at recess.  We snuck them over to his hook without being seen, then headed home for some girl time.  It was very quiet without our boys and I found myself checking the clock throughout the afternoon.  Daniel will attend school for full days, but only on Mondays, Wednesdays and alternate Fridays.  By the time he came home with Keith he looked like this:

Yup, pretty tuckered out.  It didn't help that the Tour of Alberta bike race ran that afternoon and traffic took much longer than usual.  This kid was out cold.  We managed to rouse him right after this picture, and he regaled us with anecdotes all evening.  The next countdown is on; day 2 is on Monday.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Construction work

I bet you thought this would be about Daniel?  He is, after all, the construction obsessed child in our home.  Legos, magformers, recycled boxes and tape, you name it, he has built with it.
 Sophie is more into destruction as a rule.  And dresses. And sparkly things.  In fact, this is Sophie's natural state.

When we were invited to join friends at a "Come Build With Us" program at the family centre, I was excited for her and her friend to play in a way that didn't involve dressing up as princesses and having tea parties.  Not that there is anything wrong with that, we just want a well rounded, knows-she-can-do-anything sort of girl.

The girls had a great time building in a variety of ways.  Sophie enjoyed finger painting, stacking sponges in the water table and making a "present" out of cardboard boxes and string.  Dressing up as a construction worker at this station, she was quite focussed on hammering the nails into the foam block and kept at it until she had them all in.

 Once Sophie tired of building, she hung out with this giant stuffed tiger in the mirror tunnel until the end of our time.  We will definitely come build again!

Monday, 30 June 2014

Canada Love a Day Early

Waterton National Park is not very far down the road for us, but for some reason we haven't managed to get here in years.  Yes, YEARS.  Daniel and Sophie loved their FIRST (yikes!) trip here and I have a feeling that we'll be headed back on a more regular basis.

Our first stop was Red Rock Canyon for a picnic lunch and preschooler friendly hike up and down the canyon.  Daniel's favourite colour is red so he was especially enchanted by this beautiful place.

Both kids enjoyed touching the crystal clear water as it rushed by.  Even though we were here from late morning to early afternoon, it wasn't hot enough to let the kids get too wet.

 Sophie liked to read all the informative plaques along the way.  According to her version, they all record stories about princesses.
 "Yes. Mom.  They are princess stories.  You read next one."

 When we made our way into the townsite, the kids wanted to play on the new playground.  The adjoining spray park looked like fun for a warmer day, so we have yet another reason to return.  Daniel did persuade us to rent one of these surreys for Keith and I to pedal around the townsite as he and Sophie cheered and asked for increased speed.  Let me tell you, I am going to feel that little adventure tomorrow.  They are a LOT harder to pedal than they look!
 Of course, we had to see the Cameron Falls before we took our leave with two very tired and happy kids, and a set of parents to match.  Daniel perhaps summed it up best, "You and Dad spoiled us today!"

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to my favourite Dads! 

Keith is so involved with both Daniel and Sophie, and they absolutely adore him in return.  Daniel could hardly fall asleep last night because he was so excited about Father's Day (and Eggs Benedict for breakfast).

One of the upsides to not blogging for a long time is that I have lots of pictures to choose from!

I love how these family pics from the fall capture the twinkle in my Dad's eyes.  All children love my Dad, especially my own.

And I don't want to leave out my brother-in-law, Justin, although he probably wishes I would.  Ha, like he reads this!  Mom, shh, don't tell.  Anyway, Justing is another great Dad in the family and we are blessed to know him.  Now if we could just get those other two guys on the marriage and daddy track...

Saturday, 24 May 2014


Miss Sophie officially became a three-nager this week.  She's been practising for awhile.  A couple of weeks ago we celebrated with my parents, sister and nephew.  They surprised us with a weekend visit that Sophie has been asking for a repeat of ever since.  On Victoria Day, we enjoyed cake with cousins on Keith's side of the family (but I may have forgotten to take pictures), and on the day itself we celebrated with just the four of us.

Here are a few photos of Sophie from the last few month.  You might notice that she insists on wearing a dress every day, and sometimes more than one.  Thank goodness for an abundance of girly hand-me-downs!  Her princess inspired wardrobe doesn't stop her from running head first, full- speed into everything she does however.  On a good days we refer to her as strong-willed.  Sophie loves to sing, dance, jump and climb.  She adores her big brother and loves to either play pretend games with him or harass him mercilessly, depends on the hour.  Sophie looked forward to attending Kindermusik classes all winter and still sings along with the songs in the van.  Currently we have her in a weekly gymnastics class which she also really enjoys ("I do bunny hops!").  At home she doesn't miss an opportunity to jump on the trampoline or snuggle with Mom or Dad.

I present, Birthday Princess Sophie:
 It was only a matter of time before she began dressing up the cat.  Apparently it begins with accessories.
 "Look at my princess cupcakes!"  Princess Sophie assigned which princess cupcake went to each guest.
 While waiting to eat the real ones, Sophie was happy to decorate pretend cupcakes with Auntie Melissa.
 Grandpa and his favourite granddaughter:
 Grandpa & Grandma with their whole collection of grandkids:

Happy birthday to the little girl who makes every day an adventure!

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Legofest: Everything Was Awesome

This morning we rose with the dawn and drove to Calgary for Legofest.  What a morning!  We were all a bit overwhelmed at first by the three acres of Lego filling the BMO Centre, but soon found something for everyone to enjoy.  Daniel and Keith built race cars to test out on the ramps and added a number of buildings to the Creation Nation display.  Sophie was enchanted by the full size Lego creations and the princess lego.  We all spent some time in the giant pile of bricks and checking out the many lego dioramas trying to solve the look & find style riddles.

 Where's Waldo?  Oops, I mean, where's my family?  You can really see how many people were there in this one, but we rarely felt crowded.  Each area had lots of places to build.

 Could Daniel look any more content?

 Daniel made a white hospital which is right beside the red and white church built by Keith.
 Keith went on to make a yellow and red Calgary tower (bottom right quadrant of picture below), and Daniel made a little white church to be beside it.

 The Lego gallery was impressive.  The pictures really don't do the works justice.  The tiger's mouth is actually open enough to stick a hand in and touch his tongue.

 Bucky the pirate ship in a sea of princess duplo.
 "Look!  Buzz Lightyear!"  Sophie's favourite find.  Daniel was delighted to discover Darth Vader labouring in the wild west coal mine.
I feel the need to add that I am not receiving any compensation from Lego for this glowing post, we just really enjoyed our day!