Our neighbours have the funnest little bubble station. They can often be found blowing bubbles and are so welcoming to anyone who wants to join them. Janelle rests a plastic lid on top of a cooler. She has a little dish for bubbles and some wonderful bubble wands and doesn't seem to mind that the kids spill all over the place (which is something that stresses me out to no end). She just appreciates having kids over to play with her little boy so she can kick up her heels for a minute (and she sets out camping chairs for all the parents so they can join her for a chat while the kids play).
Tuesday, September 19, 2023
Monday, September 18, 2023
It stormed pretty hard last night—not so much that it flooded the basement or anything, but still pretty stormy. I listened to the rain as drifted in and out of sleep while I fought with Phoebe about whether or not we should be sleeping (guess who was on which side of that argument). I woke up to the unmistakable THOOM of the power going out and thought about checking on the basement...but Phoebe was asleep right beside me and I figured pretty much anything of value had already been moved out of the path of the flood, anyway.
The power came back on around 5:00 in the morning, by my calculations (from information gathered from the flashing alarm clock, which alerted me of precisely how many hours had passed since it turned back on). We woke up in the morning and began our rush to get ready for church—stuffing the children into their Sunday best, filling their bellies with breakfast, brushing their hair and their teeth.
We were right in the thick of it when we realized no one had seen Benjamin.
He wasn't in his bed. He wasn't downstairs playing LEGO. He wasn't answering the full-house announcement. Had he gone outside?
His shoes were all inside and the front door was locked. Perhaps he'd gone out the garage door...but that door was locked, too...
Fortunately, checking the garage door led Andrew past the couch, where he found Benjamin sound asleep. He woke up very disoriented and spoke nonsense for a good ten minutes before he finally woke up enough to eat breakfast and get dressed. It was really quite concerning, so we were glad he snapped out of it.
Once he was dressed, he went to wait in the van while we put some finishing touches on the other kids and gathered up items for my church bag and collected all our sheet music and hymnals and...I was just putting on my cute little fall booties for the first time this season when my phone buzzed. It was a message from Grandpa:
"Church is canceled."
"Oh. Why?" I asked. "Power outage?"
Saturday, September 16, 2023
Friday, September 15, 2023
Wednesday, September 13, 2023
Saturday, September 09, 2023
This is the picture I snapped of the Happy Face Barn (outside of Cayley, Alberta) on the way back to High River from Grassy Lake.
Thursday, September 07, 2023
Yescherday was the co off. It was loud eaven thou I made some new frends at the co off. It was at the church. It was a bit to loud for me. Mom siad she sind up for Ben and Zoë. When I was in my clas it was qwit, like really qwite. I loved it so much. The end.
Tuesday, September 05, 2023
This morning Alexander was unpacking the dishwasher when he came across the cheese grater. In the past, this was an item that he left for someone else to do since it's kind of sharp and is complicated to put away. Today, however, he told me how he's becoming a Big Boy and knows where everything in the house goes, so he'd be able to put the grater away himself (it goes in one of the upper cabinets).
He went on to tell me how sometimes Phoebe likes to help him put away dishes, but he doesn't always love that because Phoebe doesn't always put things away in the right places. She'll put bowls with the plates and forks in the junk drawer. And that's frustrating because it ultimately makes more work for him. I commiserated with him (because—oh!—if it ain't a gospel truth that teaching children to work is often more work than simply doing the work by yourself) but explained that it's important that we left Phoebe help...even though she creates a little chaos in the process.
To be fair to Phoebe, she is growing up to be a Big Girl and knows where practically everything in the house goes as well. Just the other day she wanted me to help her with a snagged fingernail and I told her it was one that I had better no rip off. We'd need the fingernail clippers for this one!
"Nail! Nail! Nail!" she repeated.
"In a minute," I told her. "I can go get the nail clippers as soon as I'm finished here."
She put two and two together and headed for the stairs.
"Get! Get! Get!" she sang as she climbed up.
She returned with the fingernail clippers and so I paused what I was doing (for transparency sake: playing a game of Shanghai Rummy...) and gave her a little manicure right then and there.
In an effort to keep her occupied away from our game for a moment longer, Andrew suggested that she go put the fingernail clippers back.
"Oh, no, no, no!" I said. "These are the good nail clippers from our bathroom drawer. I want to put them back there myself. She might be trusted to retrieve the nail clippers from their spot, but I don't think we can trust her to put them back in their assigned location. Who knows where they'd end up?!"
Monday, September 04, 2023
Sunday, September 03, 2023
In retrospect, I should have been more forthright with Heather about our accommodations while we were in Canada. To be fair to myself, I was experiencing some insecurities regarding my likability* when I reached out to her to ask if I could stay with her while I was in Canada and, unfortunately, she and her parents and sister had reservations to camp at Waterton the very week I was due to be in Canada.
She didn't know how desperate I was for accommodations and I was too insecure to say, "Hey! Take care of me for a minute!" So neither one of us thought to suggest that I just...housesit...for her! That would have solved all my problems!
When she drove me to the airport on Wednesday morning (spoilers!), she was like, "Nancy! I should have just given you guys the code to my house! You could have stayed there while I was away! It wouldn't have been a problem at all!"
In fact, Heather was so sweet that when I asked her if I (and my children) could spend the night at her place on Tuesday evening and have her drive me/us to the airport on Wednesday morning, so immediately said yes.
Then apparently she turned to her mom and said, "I just said Nancy and her kids could spend the night at my place on Tuesday, but...where will I put them?"
Her mom reminded her that her camper would be sitting in her driveway so (spoilers!) I ended up sleeping in the camper with not one, not two, but five little girls! (Miriam slept inside with Sadie and Miley, so I had three of Heather's girls with me and two of my own, and Heather didn't lie—that bed in her camper is really comfortable!)
She didn't even hesitate. She just said, "Of course!" and then bothered about the details, like determining where we might sleep...and informing her husband, who has been working on advanced certifications for his pilot's license (he's already a pilot but is getting extra certifications) and who she hadn't seen for a week and who was due to arrive home on Tuesday evening that, well, he'd have a house full of company to greet him in addition to his wife and his girls. And do you know how Ryan responded to this news?
By bringing home a little packages of airplane biscuits for the kids.
When he walked in the door he presented them to his daughters, who immediately started squealing with glee while also calling out, "The cousins! The cousins! Did you bring some for the cousins?!"
"I brought enough for everyone," Ryan assured them, handing biscuits to my children as well.
He's definitely the calming presence in that house, perfectly complimenting Heather's natural rambunctiousness. But she is such a fun and loving and patient mother! It was fun to spend some time with her and I so appreciate how graciously they hosted us.
But, before I knew I'd be spending the night at Heather's house on Tuesday, we had arranged to meet her down in Waterton on Sunday. Waterton is a national park in southern Alberta that abuts Glacier National Park in Montana (together they comprise an international peace park).
We went to Emerald Bay on Waterton Lake, to splash and kayak and sit and visit.
When we were deciding where to go, Heather asked, "Are your kids allowed to swim-swim on Sundays?"
We don't have a problem with that in our household, though I know that Andrew's family did while growing up (though to be fair, when Grandma and Grandpa took our kids to Grover the year I was too pregnant with Alexander and Zoë was too sick and Andrew was too out-of-town to join them...they also let the kids swim on Sunday)! Karen texted me to say that they "did NOT let the kids swim in Lake Powell this afternoon." And later Shayla tagged me in this picture on Facebook:
Our plane landed in Calgary around 4:00 in the afternoon. My mom had arrived at the airport at around 3:00 to pick us up, and then we were just about the last people off the plane, and then we had to stop to use the potties, so by the time we made it out to my mom she felt like she had been waiting forever!
But the nice thing was that she was waiting beside another lady, whose family members were on the same flight as us. They had been talking, and when the other party finally arrived, they said their goodbyes and my mom said something about how she hoped her daughter and children would be coming soon.
"Oh, was it a mom traveling with three girls—a big one, a medium-sized one, and a little one?"
"Yes!" my mom said.
"I was sitting behind them!" the woman said. "They were all so well-behaved!"
That was a nice thing to hear!
We first went to get settled into our hotel, and then headed into downtown Calgary to meet up with Auntie Abra & Brady and Piper & Anton. Piper had offered to host a little dinner at her apartment's recreation room. She even let us swim in the pool, which was nice (though her pool was freezing cold, Piper had brought a bunch of pool noodles and squirt guns and balls and things which we appreciated getting to use)!
After we were finished swimming, we went to the rec room where Abra brought her kitten Padme. We had fun watching her hop all around the room:
Saturday, September 02, 2023
David was able to drive down to Okotoks with Millie to meet up with us on our last day in Alberta. We just met at Big Rock Elementary School (because in Alberta it's normal to use the school playground equipment outside of school hours (unlike out here where they lock up the school playgrounds and put threatening signs up on the fences about trespassing)). School hadn't yet started for the kids when we were up there, so the school grounds were empty and available.
It was fun for the little girls to play together again. It sure was hard to catch a picture of them together, though! They're both such busy little climbers that it was hard to catch both their faces in the same frame—up, down, around and around! I'll post this picture of Millie and Phoebe together since there aren't any identifying characteristics in this picture, but this is how most pictures turned out, with one girl facing the camera and the other not: