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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Snowshoeing at Cypress!

Okay, first off let me apologize for the quality of these photos. Night + rain = crappy pics!!
Anyway, last night Greg and I went snowshoeing up at Cypress Mountain with 5 other couples from our Ultimate days. We were all talking about how we used to see each other 2 - 3 times a week and now we're lucky if we see each other 2 - 3 times a year! Kids and the fact that most of us have moved away from the Vancouver core to more affordable housing locations took its toll!

Here is a shot of us after climbing our first hill (and discovering how out of shape we are!) and getting last minute instructions from our guide Mark. You can see how wet our coats are already!

The good thing about this tour was all the breaks Mark gave us! During this one we played a game called Huckle Buckle. We lined up and partnered off and got ready for some fun! Mark would call out "Huckle Buckle ... " and then two body parts - like hands to ankles - and then you had to run to your partner and join body parts. That sounds rather naughty but Mark kept it innocent!
Greg and I were the first out - I had a hard time bending down to grab his ankles in my too tight snow pants!! :)
But it allowed me to take some pictures of the action.
The line up ...
... right hip to left hip - as you can see, Jonina and her partner are right hip to right hip. Ooops! 

A rather nice picture of my sister-in-law Jonina! 

I think this is the last 3 pairs having to do a 360 then get back to back. Tough to do in snow shoes!! 

Andrew giving a high five after he and Richard took the win. (That's Richard in the blue hat.) 

The gang. Going down the left side: Kristen, Jonina, me, Greg, Heather (hiding), Steve, Pete. Going down the right side: Davina, Dave, Rob, Richard, Jessica, Andrew and Rachel. 
The cheese fondue was really yummy and followed by an equally yummy chocolate fondue!
The birthday boy Steve. His 40th was the excuse for the outing. 

A very bad picture of the entire group. I'm not sure what is making it so foggy. Either the flash was picking up all the rain or my lens was foggy. Anyway ... it is what it is. 

We had a ton of fun and would do it again in a heartbeat!
Hopefully next time it won't be raining!!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Five on Friday - Jan 28th

That time again. Time for 5 random things that happened this week ... or are going to happen (see #5).

1. Visit from Aunt Moira
My Aunt Moira came in from Osoyoos on Tuesday and stayed a couple days with us. We haven't seen her since August and it's been ages since she stayed here. We didn't plan anything special, she just wanted to tag along on our everyday activities. Poor woman had no idea what she was signing up for! Here she is watching Marley and Paige's skating lessons.

And here's Marley ... 

... and Paige ... 

... and, last but not least, LC. She insisted on wearing her snowsuit too. Has to do everything her big sisters do!! 

So Aunt Moira got to see Paige's preschool, go grocery shopping with LC and me, pick Marley up from school, go to skating lessons and sit and wait for Paige while she did her ballet. See what I mean? NOT very exciting. But I think she enjoyed reaquainting herself with the girls. After ballet we headed to New Westminster to take her to her step-son's where she will be staying for the rest of her visit.
Thanks for staying with! Hope the rest of your visit is more relaxing!!

2. Party invites
Marley is now completely obsessed with her upcoming birthday (end of February!!) so we spent this week working on her invitations. She is having a Rock Star birthday so we went to Michaels and bought some glittery cardstock in hot pink, silver and gold. The hot pink was for the invitations  and the others are for some decorations - which I'm sure she will start harrassing me to make soon. Yikes!

I cut each sheet into 4 and then traced a big star onto each 6x6 square. Then I typed up the party details in Word, printed them off, cut them out, glued them on ... and let Marley decorate with some fun star and guitar stickers.  

Here's the stack! Marley is inviting every girl she's ever known I think!

3. OLW and Photoshop Elements
One of the prompts for January was to take a picture of ourselves and then use the given overlay to create a 5x7 picture for our album. I can only assume that at some later date we'll be tasked with taking another picture. I dutifully took the picture (and even posted it here already) but I hadn't done the overlay portion of it. Poppa Graham gave us an old computer for the girls to play on in the kitchen. I happened to notice it had Photoshop Elements on it so the other day I got playing. Here is my finished picture.
I noticed two things ... I HATE that it's off centre but there's nothing I can do about it now (note to self, make sure next time that it's centred!) And I forgot to change the colour of the date - it's next to the word beginnings. Oh well. It's not worth going back and changing it now.
I really liked working in PE and may have to think about getting it on my laptop.

4. My Happiness Project
I think this is closely related to my One Little Word of RELEASE. I had a very interesting meeting with my therapist this week in which we talked about the book and how I was formulating my own project. It gave me a lot to think about. Not that I've had much time to ruminate this week! It's still at the forefront of my mind though (same with my OLW) and I like that I can find little ways to bring it up every day. Like today, Marley wanted to hand out all her invites at school even though some of the girls are in different classrooms. Initially I said no and then had to take a deep breath when she pouted most of the way to school. I looked inside myself to see why I was so stuck on restricting who she handed the invites to and how she handed them out and the truth was, I wanted to hang onto some sort of control. Time to give it up! Only I can control my own happiness by my own actions and reactions to things.
Have to remind myself that everyday!

5. Snowshoeing and Fondue!
A friend of ours is turning (has turned? I'm not totally sure when his birthday is) 40 and his wife has arranged for a big group of us to go snowshoeing on Cypress Moutain tonight. Check out this link - we're going to be doing the 4 hour Fondue Tour. Yum!!
I'm excited to have an adult evening with good friends but a bit nervous about the snowshoeing part of it. I'm SOOOOO out of shape (my shape is more round these days) and my knee has been acting up since last Friday's "soccer Mom" kicking the ball around with Paige and LC. But I guess I'll just strap on the knee brace and hope for the best! I'll be sure to take my camera so look for a picture heavy post from me later in the weekend!

Well, LC has awoken from her nap so my kid free quiet time is over. It was nice to have a bit of time to blog in peace!
I know I've been craft-less lately ... I have plenty of ideas twirling around in my head but making the time lately has been difficult. Too much else going on! Hopefully I'll get back in there soon. January is almost over so it's time to pull out my Project 12 stuff again. Yay!

Thanks for checking in with me. Have a great weekend!!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Five on Friday Jan 22

1. Marley lost another tooth this morning.

This is baby tooth #4 that she's lost. Her two upper teeth are wiggly right now so I think my Project 12 is going to be full of toothless smile pictures and pictures of  baby teeth this year!!
It was pretty loose last night and she was a tiny bit panicked that it would fall out in the night and she'd swallow it. I had to reassure her that IF that happened the Tooth Fairy would still be able to give her money for her tooth but that no, we did not have to actually produce the tooth! Ick!

2. Single parenting this weekend.
Greg is off to his somewhat annual Guys Getaway with brother-in-law Aaron. Aaron's parents have a cabin in the interior and 7 years ago these trips to play pond hockey, drink beer and lose big at poker started. It was bucketting rain this morning so I sure hope the guys drive carefully!!
I used to be a bit trepidatious (is that even a word? and if so, did I spell it right?) about having the girls alone all weekend. I'm a very lucky woman in that Greg is around a lot. He gets every other Monday off as a Flex Day, he gets every Stat off, he gets 5 weeks holiday a year and he has such a generous sick leave allotment that he doesn't feel the need to "tough it out" if he's not feeling good. He leaves for work most days at 7:00AM and walks back in the door around 5:00PM. I may complain about the time he devotes to soccer or Union meetings/dinners or hockey pool drafts/redrafts/add drops/etc, but really, I am a very lucky woman to have such an available husband and devoted father. So it used to be daunting to stare down the barrel of almost 3 full days with no "relief pitcher". Now however I don't mind so much. I think it's because the girls are that bit older, that bit more independent, that bit LESS reliant on me. It makes my job that bit easier!

Today will be a test of this new attitude though. I like to refer to Fridays as Hell Days. The day is easy right up until 3:00PM. Then it's load Paige and LC into the van to pick Marley up from school. Rush to ballet from 3:30 - 4:30 (hoping you haven't forgotten to pack the ballet bag!) then rush home so Greg can take her and Paige to soccer practice from 5:00 - 6:00. (Paige has started practicing with the team just in case she's needed on game days as an extra body on the field) But now Marley is enrolled in Soccer Academy which runs from 5:30 - 6:30 so she warms up with her team then runs over to the turf field for another hour. Phew! Are you tired yet?
Usually Greg takes over after ballet and I get to stay at home to prepare dinner and entertain a bereft LC. Today I am just praying the rain stays away for a few more hours so I can do the "Soccer Mom" thing on the sidelines in the cold - not the cold and wet! Oh, and I'm pretty sure dinner is going to be McDonald's drive thru!!
Wish me luck!
So I hope you have fun this weekend Hon! See you Sunday!
PS- I may take a TINY bit of extra time to myself on Monday!!

3. Party planning.
Marley has started planning her 7th birthday party. It's still over a month away! Yikes! And she wants boys to come! Double yikes!!!
Right now the plan is for a Rock Star party where the kids come dressed up as their favourite Rock Star. She wanted us to build a stage complete with curtains. She went to a party last year at our neighbours with such a setup. Greg may be an available father but he's not a "handy-dad" so we are trying to come up with an easy to install paper version! We sat down the other day and actually sketched out a plan. My first instinct was to quash her dreams as "unrealistic" and "too hard", but as another resolution in my Happiness Project, I embraced her enthusiasm and merely attempted to channel it into a more doable direction. Plans are still rough but I think I may actually be catching some of her excitement!

4. Ready, Set, Learn
Last night we went over to the Elementary school for their annual Ready, Set, Learn. This is a program for 3 and 4 year olds put out by the Province of BC to encourage reading and to introduce preschoolers to their future Kindergarten teachers. This was our 4th year going to this - 2 for Marley, and now 2 for Paige. I don't think Paige cared one or the other last year but this year she is acutely aware that she will be starting Kindergarten in September so was super excited to attend. On the one hand I am also super excited for Paige to attend Kindergarten this year, on the other I can't believe she's going to be starting Kindergarten in the Fall!!! 
Ah, the dichotomy of parenthood!

5. Goodbyes are tough
Today (as I type actually) the Berg family is saying goodbye to their father, husband, brother, son. I had hoped to attend along with what I'm sure are the masses of family, friends and strangers all paying tribute and showing support for this family. My own responsibilities here (over an hour and a half away from the services) prevent it. This saddens me and I am struggling to understand if I am truly meant to help this family in any way. I feel I am uniquely qualified to help them but so far haven't been able to. Hope God shows me the way soon.
I wasn't able to attend my parents funeral but I do remember being asked for input. I chose a hymn - "How Great Thou Art" I think. Gillian wrote a very poignant blog post about asking her children what they'd like to include in Myron's coffin - read about it here. I'm not sure if all the children are going to be attending the service today. For their sakes, I hope so. I feel it took me longer to heal, longer to face reality, longer to say "good bye" because I wasn't there. I strongly believe that I said my good byes to them while we were all waiting to be rescued from our crushed car, but attending a service, seeing the coffins lowered into the ground, being surrounded by friends and family who loved them ... that would have been nice.
Awful, but nice.
Following Gillian's blog has left me thinking about all that happened 22 (almost 23) years ago. Reflection is good.
May the Berg family feel the love, support and prayers that are flowing out to them today!

Well, that's all for this installment. Now I'm off to pack Marley's ballet bag and soccer bag, make sure Paige has soccer gear ready, pack a healthy, quickly digestable snack for Marley to inhale on the way to ballet and more snacks to keep Paige and LC from climbing the walls while waiting for Marley at ballet, wake up LC and then load up the van  ... phew! I need a nap!
Have a good weekend everyone!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

My Family - Mini Album

Almost a year ago I attended my very first Crop (see this post) where I signed up to make a mini album at one of the classes offered. I was still pretty new to the scrapping world and really had no idea what I'd signed up for. During that class I started to feel the full effects of the stomach flu bug I was incubating so didn't finish the album at the Crop. I brought it home intending to finish it and gift it to Greg on his 40th. Oops! Sorry Hon!!

I recently moved all the scrapping supplies from the dining room into our home office and have spent the last little while trying to get them organized to my liking. During this process I came across the unfinished album plus the pictures (now a year old or more!) and decided to finish it. Part of my Happiness Project is to finish those nagging unfinished projects I've had on my plate for ages. Only this time I decided I would make it for myself. A Brag Book of sorts. Something for me to keep in my purse. It's done now. Want to see it? Ha, ha, ha! Like you have a choice!!

Thanks for looking!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Project 12 Slideshow now up

Just a quick note to say I finished my title page for my Project 12 Scrapbook AND figured out how to get a slideshow onto my sidebar. Woot! Woot!! Go me!!

Check it out - it's on the right hand side.

If you click on it, it should take you to my Picasa album and you can see the pictures in a larger format.


Friday, January 14, 2011

Five on Friday and my first Blogger Award

Welcome to Five on Friday!
A new feature where I can recap some goings on around here.
(I saw this on another blog that I follow and I like the idea. Hopefully I can remember to make this a regular feature! LOL!!)

1. Project 12 - December 2010.
I'd almost forgotten about this little project of mine in all the post-Christmas chaos and stomach flu episodes that seem to be never ending. But a few days ago I dug out my stuff and got to work. Here it is.

And close ups of the left and right hand pages.

A close up of the title. 

This was a sub title that I added into the dark green square because I felt it looked a bit stark. The daisy was a double layered job that I took apart and then added the bling brad to. 
I also worked on a title page- but it's not quite finished yet. Soon the album will be complete! I'm working on putting a slideshow on the blog somewhere to show the whole album. Stay tuned!

2. Skating Lessons
Marley and Paige started skating lessons this week. Marley has taken them before but this was Paige's first time on skates and she was AWESOME! Greg keeps talking about how she has all this innate athletic ability - I think he's onto something! She was pretty shaky when we first put the skates on (and she needs to learn to watch where she's stepping!! Poor Marley!!) but from the time I left her rink side desperately gripping a chair for support, to the time I walked to the viewing area, she was standing on her own. By the end of the 25 minute lesson she was able to get up all by herself - sometimes quite quickly! Kids constantly amaze me with how quickly they can pick up new skills.

Marley is in this picture - 2nd from the right, white helmet. She took to the ice like she hadn't been off it for 8 months!!
Paige is the one in the pink (of course!) This was right at the beginning of the lesson - after she'd let go of the chair. 
Here she is half way through the lesson. They had to pick up a toy from the pile on the ice (where the other kids are) and skate under the arch and over to the board you can see in the picture above where they were supposed to put it through one of the holes.
No blog post would be complete without a picture of LC being LC! Here she is running amok!! 

3. Thank you.
Thank you to everyone who has read my posting about the Berg family and who is praying for them. Your comments to me have been heart warming. They all continue to need our prayers so please keep them coming!

4. OLW - Release
To be honest, right now I am just trying to release the GI bug that won't seem to let me go! Greg and I both woke up at 3:00AM last Thursday with identical desires to throw up! Thank goodness for my friend Trish who took Marley to school, Paige to ballet and then hung onto her for an all day playdate with her own daughter. I felt better the next day and managed to get through the weekend but this week I've had a couple of relapses including waking up at 3:00AM yesterday morning with similar nausea symptoms. Yuck! Now I'm back on the no dairy, no sweets, no nothing diet until ... well until I can't take it any longer or I am better!

5. I've joined a Book Club!
Many years ago my sorority sisters and I had a book club that was TONS of fun. I loved the exposure to books I wouldn't have picked on my own accord, and the social aspect was great too. As part of my Happiness Project, I am trying to find ways of socializing with my girlfriends on a regualr basis. It's incredibly hard to organize social things with my busy Mom friends but I figured joining something like this would be perfect. I already know at least two people in the group and who knows, once I actually attend a meeting (February!) I may recognize others. Also, I'm trying to watch less TV and read more so this will force me to at least read more!!

Okay, that's my Five! Now for something completely different ... I was nominated for a Blog Award by my blogger friend Roxy. I "met" her through the December Daily project. She has nominated me for this ...
Wow!! Thanks Roxy!!
The rules state that I must tell 8 things about myself and then pass it on to 4 others. Here goes ... (1) I have hazel eyes but all 3 of my girls inherited their Dad's blue eyes (so much for the whole brown eyes are dominant thing!) ... (2) I hate mushrooms and can pick them out of a dish at 30'! ... (3) I was born in London, England (okay, okay, a suburb of London called Sutton) ... (4) before the age of 8 I'd moved 8 times and lived in 4 different countries on 3 different continents ... (5) I'm an orphan - technically although I was folded into a fantastic family that I can't imagine living without now ... (6) When I was pregnant with Marley I craved McDonalds chicken fajitas and would go through the drive-thru on my way home from work to get some! ... (7) I am a total, complete, unadulterated chocoholic (much to my waistlines' demise!) ... and ... (8) hmmm ... I played the flute in high school.
There you go! 8 useless Alison facts! LOL!
I am going to pass this along to my blogging buddies Jana, Christine, Sandra and Andrea. You ladies ROCK on your respective blogs!!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Please pray for this family

The above link is to the blog started by the mother of a family who just went through a horrible car accident and are recovering at Children's right now. Their story touched me as I find many similarities with my own history. Especially the injuries to the children. Below is a link to the news article in the Province.

Please remember them in your prayers.
Thank you.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Right now

This literally JUST happened and I had to share it.

There is a picture somewhere of my brother Andrew and I at similar ages in exactly this situation. He was reading, I was grinning wildly at the camera!
When I looked up from my own book to see this happening, I rushed to get my camera. These are the everyday images that are so precious!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

One Little Word - Release

The lovely and talented Ali Edwards (instigator of my recent December Daily Project) also does something slightly different every January. She doesn't make a New Years Resolution, she picks One Little Word (OLW) that she wants to focus on in the coming year. I read about her journey in 2010 with interest and even attempted to choose a word last year but had trouble pinning one down. I know now that I wasn't ready.
This year I have resolved to play along. I signed up for her class through Big Picture Classes and have been working at it already.

My word is RELEASE.
As you may know, I've been struggling with feelings of unhappiness for quite some time now. I started seeing a therapist in the fall and she has been helping me understand some of my natures but there's still a lot to be accomplished. One thing that has emerged is that I am holding on to a lot of harmful emotions so I felt that a word like 'release' is perfect as a daily reminder to let them go. Let go of the frustrations, the resentment, the fear, and especially, the anger. I don't see the need to go into the reasons behind the fact that I have all these pent up emotions right now, suffice it to say that I am hopeful that 2011 is the year I free myself.

We will be doing various exercises throughout the year to keep our word present in our daily lives. The first assignment (actually, this was a pre-assignment) was to make a Title Page. Here's mine:

We could download the background artwork and print it off onto white cardstock then add our word and embellishments. So that's what I did. The letters are Basic Grey and the flower, buttons and butterfly brad are from my stash.

Here are a couple close-ups. 

Our next assignment was a bit harder. It was to define and explore our word. We were given another PDF to download and print off. It contained pre-printed boxes with certain words on them - we had to fill in the rest.
Once they were filled in, cut out and put into a holder, mine looks like this: 
This is an 8 1/2' x 11" trading card protector sheet not the Pink Paisley 9 pocket sheet that Ali listed on our class supply list. I realized once I'd cut the cards out that they were quite a bit smaller than my pockets. I've ordered the Pink Paisley version so we'll see what the size difference is when it gets here (Thursday apparantly! Woo hoo!) For now though, this is what it looks like.
Also, I cut small pieces of Basic Grey papers to add into the other pockets. They may stay, they may not. I figure this is the type of project I can manipulate over the year as my understanding of my word changes.

Some close ups ...
My definition card reads:
Release: To free from something that binds, fastens, or holds back; let go. To relinquish (a right or claim). A DELIVERANCE.
Next to it I made a Title Tag. I  took a Martha Stewart tag, placed my word letters onto it then sprayed it with distressing ink. Once I removed the letters (and fixed the over spray by using a white pen) this is what I got. For my first misting job, I am quite pleased! Thanks Roxy for the tips!!

A couple more boxes ... 
I chose this word Because: it fits with the actions I have started and wish to continue - letting go of resentment and fear; losing weight; letting go of frustrations over body changes. Feeling free finally!
Okay, so I haven't started my weight loss journey yet but that is definitely on my list of things to do this year!!
Ali also prompted us to look up our word in a Thesaurus. Here are some of the alternate words for Release: ABSOLUTION, acquittal, charge, clemency, commute, DELIVERANCE, discharge, emancipation, exemption, exoneration, FREEDOM, freeing, let-off, LIBERATION, liberty, lifeboat, life saver, RELIEF, spring, turnout.
To be honest I'm not sure about some of them but ... it gives one something to think about! 

Our Invitation card.
With this word I invite:
a lightening
a change of heart
change of attitude
new experiences
new challenges
renewed intimacy
renewed relationahips

And finally, we were to see if we could find a quotation. Here is mine (I couldn't fit the whole thing on the card):
It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power. -Alan Cohen
Pretty powerful stuff, eh?

Our last assignment for this month is to take a current picture of ourselves and print it off in 5x7 for the back of our title page. I haven't printed mine off yet but here it is.  

Hmmm .... not sure why I want to save THAT for posterity but ... we'll play along!

Thanks for checking me out!
See you next time.