Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Skating, sweating and cross country

This morning was CeCe's second skating lesson.  I have to admit, I was a little nervous.  Maybe even a lot.  We had tried on Ginny's old skates (which were Bauer) and they fit, so we had them sharpened.  We laced them up this morning and waited on the bench with baited breath.  The instructor came up, gave me a little nod and commented that we had new skates.  She inspected them and they seemed to be to her satisfaction.  And I'll have to admit, she may not be warm and fuzzy, but she does know what she's talking about.  CeCe did amazing today.  She got up on her own, more or less did everything she was supposed to and I didn't have to go out on the ice at all.  She even took a few steps going backward!  I guess the right equipment does make a difference.

On Monday Jorja brought home a note for cross country running.  It turns out their race was going to be 2 km.  That seemed like a lot to me.  There was no way our seven minute training session equaled two kilometers.  So I got a pedometer app for my phone and we set out to run 2K yesterday.  We didn't run the whole way (had to walk for a few stretches), but we did it.  And neither of our chests felt like they were on fire either.  It's amazing what even one day of conditioning will do.  It was about 25 degrees yesterday while we were running though, so we were both good and sweaty.  I sweat when I breath in the summer, so this wasn't a new feeling to me.  But for Jorja, this was apparently a new experience.  As we were nearing the end of our run, she said, 'Dad, am I ever sweating!  I think I'm sweating in parts of my body that have never sweated before.  Usually just my armpits get sweaty!'  Good times.

So with her one full run of 2K under her belt, we set off for the race today.  She made sure we had a towel along so that she could dry off when she was done.  She was anticipating another sweaty outing.  

We were so proud of her.  She finished the race, still running, in about the middle of the field.  21st place overall.  Pretty good for someone who was needing her inhaler after runs a week earlier and never ran that far before.  She was tired, but her lungs felt fine this evening.  Here are some shots of the big race.

In her Team Father Gorman blue shirt:

Her 'sharpied' number on her arm:

A little less than half way though, they came by the start/spectator area:

The final stretch:

A much deserved drink and towel:
So it was an exciting day in our house for two kids and and their sporting endeavors.  Pretty cool to see the improvement.  October 1st is the next race.  It will be interesting to see where Jorja is then.  Later.

Monday, September 15, 2014

A leisurely stroll and seven minutes of agony

I went out to the park with the girls yesterday and took my camera along.  Then they decided to show me how they jump off of the playground equipment.  The places they jump from are above their heads.  Crazy.  If I were to attempt that, I think I would need a week's recovery time.  Here's Jorja:

And Ginny:

Then I thought we should go for a walk.  There's a ball diamond behind the playground and on the other side of that, there is some construction going on.  It will eventually be a lake/retention pond.  I wanted the girls to pose beside a tree.  Ginny was pokey getting over there so I snapped a shot of the other two girls first.  This ticked her off and then she pouted for the picture.  Maybe it's not that appropriate, but I think this picture is hilarious:

Next it was imitate the sign:

Jorja wanted her own picture on the rocks back at our house, but Ginny wasn't cooperating.  You can just see Jorja's disapproval in this shot.  Talk to the hand:

'Finally, the little brat got out of my shot.  Now smile sweetly.'

CeCe always poses sweetly:

And then there's Ginny:

On a totally different note, Jorja decided that she is going to join the cross country team at school this year and they have been practicing at lunch hours.  Her asthma has been pretty good the past year, but she's never really challenged herself like this before, so we made her take her 'blue puffer' along.  She used it after the first couple of runs because her chest felt really tight.  I told her I would train with her at home too - I am a little concerned about her getting up to the 2K race distance.

So after our Sunday afternoon walk, we went out to the park to run.  I asked her how long we should run for.  She figured 15 minutes sounded good.  (I think their practice times are 20 minutes.)  I said ok and set a timer on my phone.  We stretched and then we were off.  I started jogging and she tore off in front of me.  She turned around and laughed at me and said, 'Dad, you at least have to start running.'  I told her that she had to pace herself and she shouldn't just give 'er off the line like that.  She said okay and we settled in for a jog.  We went around to the far side of the ball diamond and then she asked how long that had been.  I pulled my phone out of my pocket.  Three minutes.  We were both breathing pretty heavy already.  We pressed on.  There are a few small, rolling hills in the park, so we ran a couple laps over them.  Five minutes.  We...pressed...on.  A couple more hills and we stopped to check the time again.  Seven minutes.  We were both really sucking wind at this point.  'That's pretty good for today,' Jorja said.  I couldn't have agreed more.  We walked home and she said her chest felt pretty tight.  My chest felt really tight!  I told her that maybe that tight feeling wasn't asthma, it was just getting her lungs used to some more exercise.  She said maybe, but she liked the way her blue puffer felt.  It appears we have a ventolin junky on our hands.  Maybe I could use a hoot of that too.  We'll see what tomorrow brings.  It's training day.  Later.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Cold, hard skating lesson

Today I took CeCe for her first skating lesson.  We had found a class one morning a week that wasn't on a preschool day, so we thought it would work out well.  Since she only has preschool twice a week, we thought it would be good to have something on another day.

All three girls took skating lessons last winter in Saskatoon where things were ran a little more 'loosely'.  There were large classes and a lot of teachers on the ice that broke things down into smaller groups of similar abilities.  They all had fun and they all learned a lot.  The improvement they all showed each year was pretty impressive.  CeCe only had one year in before we moved, but she went from needing a walker to being able to get up and shuffle across the ice.  Her biggest problem is that she gets lazy and would prefer to sit and listen to the teacher as opposed to stand there and balance.

So when we found this class here, I thought it would be perfect.  This was the description on their website:

Lil' Skaters Step 1 (Ages 3 - 5 years)
This class is designed for preschoolers with prior skating experience who are still unsteady and unsure of themselves on the ice. This class is recommended for skaters that can get up off the ice to their feet with little to no assistance from parents.

They use the word lil' in the title of the class.  How serious could it be?  The answer is 'quite.' We had a small class today - only four kids came out, but there are only five registered.  That should make for a lot of one on one instruction time, right?  Not so much.  

The instructor introduced herself in a thick Eastern European accent.  She listed her credentials - certified power skating instructor, figure skating instructor, speed skating instructor, roller skating instructor, in-line skating instructor...okay, maybe I added a few, but the list was impressive.  She then said how all kids learn at different paces and that's okay.  (maybe she's not so bad)  Her son wanted nothing to do with skating until he was four.  Every time they took him to the ice he would sit down and cry.  Then one day he just took off.  Now he's nine, plays AAA hockey and is the best skater on the team.  Gulp!  Then she sat all the kids down on the bench to inspect their skates.  She told me that CeCe's blades were too rounded and she would have trouble.  She then said that knee pads were mandatory (website said optional) and face masks were strongly recommended.  (When she says strongly recommended, it feels like mandatory.)  Then she said that all children were required to be able to stand up on their own, and they would be working on rudimentary skating skills - forward, backward, cross-overs.  Gulp!  I looked over at the two moms beside me.  They gulped.  She said that parents would be allowed to stay at ice level for the first couple of lessons and then they would be required to stay behind the glass.  She then pointed to her eyes and said that was so she had their attention.  Gulp!  Moms gulped! 

Finally the class began.  I looked at the two moms and we all wondered if our kids would be allowed to stay.  The lively 'ring around the rosey' playing over the sound system seemed in sharp contrast to the mood on the bench.  Before long, she was back at the bench confirming that CeCe had in fact taken lessons and could stand in these skates.  (She had a serious hate on for non-Bauer skates.)  I said yes.  Gulp!  The moms gulped for me.  A few minutes later she was back at the bench with some grippers for my shoes so that I could help CeCe out.  One other little girl had to have a parent help too, but she was better than CeCe.  At first CeCe didn't want me out there.  But as the lesson dragged on, she leaned on me more and more and just wanted it to be over.  By this time, so did I.  

After the lesson, she asked the other mom if she would be comfortable going on with her daughter a couple more lessons. She then asked me what I wanted to do.  I said we would try it for a while.  She asked if we would change skates.  Gulp!  I said yes.  Reluctantly she nodded.  I guess we're on probation?  No improvement and we'll be sent down to the minors - parent and tot lil' skaters. I've never really been that intimidated by a child's instructor before.  

It's no wonder athletes were so good during the cold war.  Later.  

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Fingers, verbs, cracks, aim and shoot

Life with CeCe is rarely dull.  With her older two sisters back in school full time now, I'm getting to spend a lot more time with just her.  I know I'm biased, but she's a pretty fun kid.  Here is what we've been up to this week.

We usually go for a walk after lunch to check the mail.  We have to cross one fairly busy street and little miss independent doesn't usually like to hold hands.  Sometimes there's a 'I'll walk right beside you,' or sometimes there is a fight.  As we were coming home the other day, I had a bunch of letters in my hand that was closest to her.  Instead of switching them to the other hand, I simply held out my index finger for her to hold.  She paused, looked up at me, nodded very seriously and said, 'Finger accepted!'  Then we marched across the street.  

She also has the ability to turn every word into a verb.  She likes to sweep the floor - goes to the closet and gets the broom out and every thing.  Only she doesn't sweep.  She brooms.  'I'm just brooming Dad.'  She also likes to 'help' fold the laundry.  I don't know why I care.  If you could see the inside of her drawers, I may as well just take stuff right from the dryer and cram it in.  But I fold it nonetheless.  And she helps.  'When we're done laundrying can we watch a movie Dad?  I sure am good at laundrying.'  Yes you are.  Yesterday we had to stop at Superstore after we dropped the girls off at school because I was out of coffee.  That's not a good thing.  So we went and she sat in the cart and played the drum.  'What are we going to do when we're done Superstoring Dad?'  That's a good question.

We recently purchased an easel and we like to have some art time.  

Yesterday when I was getting supper ready in the kitchen, she was playing with the stuffed animals in her bedroom.  I could hear her nattering away, making them talk to each other.  Suddenly I heard, 'Dad, come here!  I want to see if I have something in my crack!  I need you to help me see in there.'  This got my attention.  Turns out she dropped something between her bed and the wall, and this was the crack she was referring to.  Whew.  Didn't know what I was getting into there for a second.

Today we went to the park.  After we had been there for a while, I was ready to head home.  She wasn't.  She said to me, 'Come on Dad, we can stay a little more.  I'm here.  You're here.'  It's tough to argue with that.  I asked what she wanted to do.  She said we could play aim and shoot.  This immediately got my pacifist Mennonite roots worked up.  'What is that?' I asked while trying to stay calm.  Turns out it's a game Ginny invented where you run with your arms pointed at a monkey bar and then jump and swing from it.  Aim while you're running and shoot when you jump and swing.  Seemed harmless enough.  Here it is.


And shoot!

After she saw how the pictures of her turned out on my phone, she thought she should take some of me.  Why not?


And shoot!

Holy sh*t, not so close!
So that's what kind of week it's been around here.  Later.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Back to school

There has been plenty of nervous energy and excitement around our house for the past few days.  It all culminated yesterday when the girls started at their new school here in Lloyd.  I think the parents were just as nervous as the kids if we're being perfectly honest.  

The school put on a back to school BBQ bash last week, which was really cool.  We were able to tour around the school, see the girls' classrooms and meet their teachers.  It definitely relieved some of the stress.  Both girls have great teachers and after two days no, things are looking good.  Here is Jorja on her first day:

And Ginny on her first day:

CeCe even had an abbreviated afternoon of preschool.  She was sooo excited.  She's been looking forward to this day for over a year now I think.  It's all she's been able to talk about for a while now.  The first day was optional as far as whether or not parents stayed.  I was prepared to stay for the hour, but she told me she was good and I should leave.  How's that for a brave little girl:

I pray this will be a good year for all the girls.  So far we're off to a good start.  Later. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

ALS IceBucket challenge

This week, the ALS icebucketchallenge hit our house. First up, Julie was nominated by a friend of hers who lives on the east coast. They must be used to the cold ocean spray out there - probably a piece of cake for them. Out here on the prairies, we're not used to that sort of thing. But Julie is not one to back down from a challenge. Here are some still shots from her video. 

1.  Saying a little prayer. 

2.  I'm not going to like this. 

3.  Oh mamma!!

4.  The children squeal in delight! 

5.  That was cold!! Dave, run me a hot tub stat!!

Late on in the week, I was nominated by my brother. His wife nominated him after he dumped a whole front-end-loader bucketful of water on her head. I asked the girls if they wanted to do it with me and only CeCe was up to the challenge. She was super excited and really into it. Here's some shots of us. 

1.  CeCe yells, 'let's do it as a team!!'

2. Her bucket hits her head a little before mine. 

3.  Oh mamma!!

4.  That is really cold. 

5.  More screaming...mostly from me. 

So there you have it. A lot of fun, but it is bringing a lot of exposure to a worthwhile but overlooked cause. Get out there and donate. Later. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Birthday, Andy Brown, love moments and friends

Not quite a week ago, I had a birthday.  Number 42 in case anyone is wondering.  Depending on which child you ask, I have either 8 more years or 38 years until I am an old man.  I'll go with the 38. The girls made me some cupcakes which tasted really good.  I'll let you be the judge of the looks:

I think they turned out pretty awesome.  Especially when you realize that they put the tip of the icing bag into the middle of the cupcake first and filled the middle up with icing.  Mmmm.  Icing.

That was on Monday.  On Tuesday I was reading the paper and came across an article on a band that was going to be in town.  I had never heard of them, but I noticed that Andy Brown was opening for them.  He is an artist that Julie and I have really liked ever since we first heard a song of his on the tv show Rookie Blue back in 2011.  I have since bought both his albums on iTunes and they still get played regularly.  Anyway, I texted Julie and told her Andy Brown was going to be here.  'Our Andy Brown?' was her reply.  Yup, our Andy Brown.  She asked around work for a babysitter and there were a couple of teenage daughters, but they were busy.  So Julie told me to go by myself.  It wasn't the same without her there, but he put on a really great show.  He played a little coffee house in town and there were maybe 25 people there.  It was just him and his guitar, some incredible heat (it was really hot in there) and a pint of beer.  I talked to him after the show and told him the story of how we heard of him and both wanted to come but couldn't.  He was a really nice, down to earth guy.  I bought a CD there and he signed it for me.  Yeah, I know I already had the digital album, but you can't sign that.  

To top the week off, we had the girls in DVBS at a church here in town, so I had a couple of hours to myself every day.  I'd be lying if I said it wasn't kind of nice.  But they really enjoyed themselves, even though the first couple of drop-offs were a little rocky with CeCe.  She was super excited to go until we got there and then she glued herself to my leg.  I sat with her the first day while they sang a couple of opening songs.  Then she spied the snack of cookies already set up in an adjacent room.  That looked pretty good to her.  I told her she wouldn't get any unless she stayed by herself and had fun.  She pondered this for about 30 seconds and then told me I could go.  Nothing like a cookie to make things better.

One day they were learning about the ten commandments and made a craft that had them all listed.  Ginny was reading them to me and got to the 'no adultery' one.  She read it and kept going to the 'don't covet' one.  She asked what that meant and I told her.  Then she went back to the adultery one and asked what that meant.  (You'll need a little background info here first.  Every time Julie and I hug or kiss in front of the girls, they chime in with a chorus of 'Love moment!  Love moment!  Love moment!'  and often come over to join in the hug.)  So I said to Ginny, 'You know how me and Mom have love moments?'  She nodded.  I said, 'No adultery means that I only have love moments with Mommy and no one else.'  She was satisfied with that and I heard Julie snickering from the next room.  We both thought it was a pretty good (and funny) explanation.  

Here are a few more pics from the week taken with my birthday present (I got a new camera!):  

Then on Friday we went to Saskatoon for an overnight trip.  (See the previous post for some pics of the pics.)  We saw a couple of friends, the girls swam in the pool, we went to their old school playground and managed to get a hold of some of their friends to come and play for a bit.  It was a good trip.  This evening, we had some more friends from Saskatoon stop in on their way home.  It was really good to see them too.  Sometimes you don't realize how much you miss people until you see them again.  Later.