Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Out of birthdays

I'm not quite sure how to start this, so if it seems like I'm rambling or rabbit trailing, I apologize.  I've had this post ruminating in me for a while, just not quite sure how or if I should share it.  But here goes.  I'll warn you now, you're not going to laugh like most of the stories on here.  I'm going to attempt to share how a four year old sees life, death and faith.

CeCe has said she misses Great Granny ever since she passed away.  If you remember this post, you will remember that CeCe was quite curious about death and what happens after.  She remembers that your hands get cold and your body stops working and that you get to go live with Jesus in heaven.

To listen to her pray is quite something.  She thanks God for always looking after us and for our blessings.  She knows God is always with us to help us.  She is looking forward to the day that she will see Great Grandma again.  (I tell her that I hope that isn't for a while yet.)  I guess that's why Jesus told us we need to have the faith of a child.  They just get it.  

A couple of weeks ago, we were at Julie's parents' place for the weekend.  The weather was nice, so I took the girls for a quad ride to the cemetery to see Great Granny's grave.  They were all quite fascinated.  The older two walked around reading all the headstones that they could to see when people died.  Some only a few days old when they died, a couple only one day, some long lives.  Jorja is getting into history, so she paid attention to the dates and thought some could be from the Spanish flu and some during the depression.  CeCe found a couple that she liked, and just sat there for a while, thinking about things.  


And some are nameless.  The girls all thought that was pretty sad.


CeCe has a book she likes to read too.  It took me by surprise the first time I read it.  It's a Chester Raccoon book (The Kissing Hand) - we had ordered a group of them from one of the girls' scholastic book fairs once.  There's The Kissing Hand about going to school for the first time, there's one about bullies, one about moving and it turns out there's one about death.  It's called the Memory Acorn.  Chester Raccoon comes home from school and says that Skiddel Squirrel had an accident and died and won't be coming back to school anymore.  The book then talks about how to make and cherish memories about loved ones that have passed.  I got a little weepy the first time I read it and wasn't expecting it.  At the end of the book, CeCe looked up to me and said, "I know why Skiddel Squirrel died.  He was out of birthdays.  Just like Great Granny.  She was all out of birthdays too."  

I guess all this just hits a little close to home these days.  With both of the girls' grandpas living with cancer, it's hard.  But I guess it's just like CeCe says, someday we will all be out of birthdays and then we can see God and Jesus in heaven.  It is definitely something to look forward to.  It's just hard on the rest of us still having birthdays.  Later. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Authority figures and staying in the lines

I feel like I should keep everyone up to speed with CeCe's skating lessons.  Today she had her fifth lesson.  I know, time keeps flying by.  Last week the instructor told all the parents that we were no longer to watch from the bench at ice level.  We could now either go up into the stands, or inside behind the glass.  She said that it was so that 'the children knew she was the authority figure' out there.  Like there was ever any doubt regarding that matter.  Not from the parents anyway.  So here is my view from up in the bleachers.  CeCe is the middle skater in the picture.  

The girls all like to color pictures and usually the picture is for somebody.  However, when the picture is not received with the gratitude and praise that the giver feels is deserves, it can just as easily be rescinded.  Here is a picture currently hanging on our fridge that Ginny made at school for Jorja.


I guess in Ginny's defense, she didn't totally cut Jorja out - she is part of the family after all.

CeCe and I were doing some coloring a couple of mornings ago.  We were working on the same picture of Jasmine and I asked her what I should color.  She said I could color the lips.  'Red?' I asked.  'Yes,' she replied, 'just try to stay in the lines.'  She's kind of a demanding little thing sometimes.  I did the best that I could, but in my defense, the markers had a pretty thick tip.


So we kept coloring and our hands kept bumping into each other.  It was a pretty small picture.  I would say, 'Ahem! Ahem! You're in my way.'  She would giggle and move her hand.  Then we would bump again and I would say, 'Ahem!'  After the third time of this, she said, 'Or you could just say excuse me.  Did you know that?'  I guess I just got schooled in manners.  Here is our masterpiece:


Until next time, stay in the lines and mind your manners.  Later,

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Farmer talk

Today the girls had a spirit day at school - it was farmer day in honour of the harvest going on.  To be honest, we are a little limited in the 'farmer' clothing.  We settled on jeans, caps and braids.  No coveralls, overalls or work boots here.  Oh well, they were happy, had fun acting the part and looked cute doing it.  That's what counts right?

I need to preface the rest of this story with a little background.  Just before school started, we made a trip to Julie's parents' farm.  It was mostly a down day as far as combining went.  The girls spent the entire day out helping Julie's dad and his brothers service the combines.  They tightened bolts, did some vacuuming, went for tools as required and watched some greasing (the greasing is the key part).  At the end of the day, they did get to make a couple of rounds in the combine with their uncle before it got too tough.  They were all in heaven.  Jorja even declared that she wanted to be a farmer when she grew up.  If you look closely, you can see three little heads riding along here:


So that was their experience with farming.  Fast forward back to this morning.  Ginny came in once she was all dressed up and said, 'Howdy there pardners.'  Jorja said to her, 'That's more cowboy talk than farmer talk.  A farmer would say 'Let's go grease up those nipples!''  That's right.  That's what she said.  So the next time you want to make conversation, forget the weather.  Just talk about greasing the nipples.  (I told her she probably shouldn't talk about nipples at school. She agreed.)  Later.

Sasha's pics of the girls

We got back the pictures of the girls that were taken earlier this summer.  Sasha is so talented and so amazing with the girls.  They all love seeing her every year.  I could post all one hundred and some, but that may be a bit excessive.  So here are some of the highlights:












I know I'm biased, but they are all so beautiful.  I want to print them all and put them up all over the house.  It's definitely hard to choose.  Let me know what you think.  Later.


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.