Tuesday, February 28, 2006

What donut are you?

You Are a Boston Creme Donut
You have a tough exterior. No one wants to mess with you.But on the inside, you're a total pushover and completely soft.You're a traditionalist, and you don't change easily.You're likely to eat the same doughnut every morning, and pout if it's sold out.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Someone likes Kindergarten!

Someone likes Kindergarten!
Originally uploaded by Allan & Cheryl.

Michael started afternoon Kindergarten today. He said it was "fantastic!"

We arrived early and he had already introduced himself to the other K boys on the playground and spent 15 minutes racing around with the other 5 year old boys before school started.

Michael apparently reads well. He has "homework" of 1 easy reader little book (GMP: about the size of a Bob book) to read tonight and one Magic Schoolbus book for me to read to him.

The class also counted to 100 today and make Fruit Loop necklaces with 100 Fruit Loops. Maddy and Melissa were insanely jealous so we stopped at the Safeway on the way home to pick up a package of Fruit Loops. All M's are now munching on Fruit Loops while Melissa and Maddy make Fruit Loop necklaces. (Note: while editing I just got word that the twins have DUMPED the Fruit Loops while I've been here blogging...)

For interested parties - the half day issue has been resolved two ways:

1. I drive Allan to work everyday and THEN drop off Melissa in the morning. That way I have the van. Allan then busses home or catches a ride with a co-worker.

2. Grandpa has retired and when available will be here to watch the twins and Maddy so I can run Michael over to the school and drop him off. Today he stayed with the twins while Maddy and I walked over to the school to pick up Michael and Melissa.

If for some reason I don't have the van (as Allan may still need it some days) then Grandpa can probably do some of the drop off/pick up. Plus our feet all work just fine.

Another side-note: MADDY saw the kindergarten classroom when we picked Michael up. She didn't want to leave and threw herself on the floor in protest. The K teacher told said, "Oh you must be Madeleine. You will be in my class NEXT year." She said there aren't many ahead of Maddy on the wait list, so her guess is that Maddy will get in next year at least for part of the year.

For the interested - Maddy continues to grow up by leaps and bounds every day. We worked on counting today and Maddy counted up to 39!! She also sounded out the word "back".

Sunday, February 26, 2006

This Just In

Dad called tonight and in his inimitable round-about way told us that he is now retired! Woohoo!

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Bright, Cold, and Breezy

The weather seems to have turned quite upside down so far this year. January set new records for cloudy days, rainfall, and warm temperatures. February, in contrast, was been cold and bright.

I came home on Friday and took a couple of shots of the plumes on our neighbour's Pampas Grass waving in the evening breeze.

We were hoping to enjoy some of that sun this afternoon, but it started snowing! The kids lasted about an hour on the playground before a big rottweiler showed up (with his owner) and we figured it was a good time to bug out.

I did it, I did it, oh yeah, yeah, yeah!

I did the 4 mile Walk Away the Pounds Express DVD!!! So we spent 30 minutes outside with the kids this afternoon and then I spent 60 minutes working out on Saturday night.. Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. Between the walk, Leslie Sansone's perky chatter and the Dora the Explorer songs stuck in my head - I'm feeling pretty good.

This was my first time through the 4 mile walk (60 min) but I have had her "2 Mile Walk" VHS video for 4 years. It went home with my sister after our kids messed up our VCR last month and I figured it was time to get some new videos.

I like the Walk Away the Pounds videos because they are made for people who are un-co-ordinated. There's no tricky aerobics or dance moves. However, if you are just new to the fitness, it's probably better to start with the 1, 2, or 3 mile walk before jumping into the 4 mile one. The moves are more complicated than in the 2 mile walk video, but since I had the other one pretty much memorized, that actually was a good thing.

4 miles wasn't NEARLY as hard as I thought it would be! Not much longer or much harder than doing 2 miles pushing 3 children in the stroller with buggy board. It's a great option to have. Now I'm going to go see what is on TV - totally guilt free. Or maybe even go out and rent a movie. I think I've earned some couch time.

I did it, I did it - oh yeah, yeah, yeah!"

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Buggy board

Buggy board
Originally uploaded by Allan & Cheryl.

Maddy has been waiting for this day for over a week now! She can hitch a ride standing behind the double stroller! She's got short legs and not very good endurance - so has really been struggling with the walk out to the school - especially on days when we do it twice. This will mean we can keep walking and not have to stop and wait for her to take rests.

The set up was a big pain though. The instructions were only in German, not English, and the diagrams weren't clear. I couldn't figure it out and it even took Allan a long time. The other caveat, it may not be seperable from THIS stroller as you have to CUT a piece to fit the individual stroller when attaching. For something that cost $120 Canadian - I would like to see it install easier and be movable between strollers (like a double and single).

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Desks for the Girls

Desks for the girls
Originally uploaded by Allan & Cheryl.

We were fortunate enough to get 2 desks off freecycle for the girls room. Michael already has a desk in his room (his was also from Freecycle). Allan spent the last 2 evenings driving to get them.

As the lighting is bad where her desk is - Melissa has also taken over Allan's old red desk lamp and our old office chair w/o the back. We tried every other chair in the house and they were all either too short or too tall.

Maddy is over the moon with her new desk. It is an actual Kindergarten size school desk that used to be in a school and it's bright red. She was jealous of Melissa's desk last night. Her enthusiasm cheered her Daddy up after he spent 2.5 hours in traffic going over the Port Mann bridge to get the desk and then driving back.

This means that the little yellow IKEA table has been passed on down to the twins - who were very excited to get it in their room.

Sometimes there is nothing to say

A mom on Amity's lost her 5 year old daughter to leukemia. Sydney was almost exactly Michael's age. The disease spread very quickly - only 4 weeks from diagnosis to death. Her mom posted today that even 2 weeks into the treatment - the doctors were sure she was going to make it - she was doing so well. It's heartbreaking. There are threads of condolences. But my "I'm so sorry for your loss - you will be in thoughts and prayers" sounds so trite.

Losing a child so young and so quickly has to be every parents nightmare. You think when you are pregnant that if you can make it past the first trimester - it will be o.k., then it's once the baby is viable. Then after they are born - you breathe a sigh of relief when they get past age where SIDS is a risk. But anything could happen to anyone at any time and most of the time, there's not a thing we could do about it. Life can be so unfair.

Which Sci-fi crew would you best fit in?

You scored as Millennium Falcon (Star Wars).
The world around you is at war. Fortunately you know how to handle that with the greatest of ease. You are one of the best at what you do and no one needs to tell you that. Now if only the droids could be quiet for five seconds.

Millennium Falcon (Star Wars)


Serenity (Firefly)


Galactica (Battlestar: Galactica)


Deep Space Nine (Star Trek)


FBI's X-Files Division (The X-Files)


Nebuchadnezzar (The Matrix)


SG-1 (Stargate)


Moya (Farscape)


Babylon 5 (Babylon 5)


Bebop (Cowboy Bebop)


Andromeda Ascendant (Andromeda)


Enterprise D (Star Trek)


Your Ultimate Sci-Fi Profile II: which sci-fi crew would you best fit in? (pics)
created with QuizFarm.com

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Melissa - Day Two

Melissa - Day Two
Originally uploaded by Allan & Cheryl.

Today was Melissa's second day of school AND valentine's day. Melissa spent over an hour yesterday painstakingly writing out valentines to all her classmates. Given that we had only one day with the class list - I did a first and bought a box of valentines. There were enough left that she's also addressed valentines to the Aunties. They should be going out in the mail soon!

Melissa's 2nd day of school was BETTER than the first. Allan's rather cynical point of view was that was likely due to the Valentines party! She was overjoyed that almost all her classmates HAD remembered to add her to the class lists they got last week. She came home with a construction paper "mailbox" full of Valentines cards and some candy's.

I did a no-no though. I sent her a chocolate bar in her lunch. She wasn't allowed to eat it.

Melissa informed me today, "No candy is allowed at school, Mommy. Just for parties like Valentines day and then we have to take the candy and eat it at home, not at school".

This really IS a strict school. Even private Christian schools didn't go so far as to BAN candy. It's probably for the best. No pop machines or snack machines in the school either.

At home we had the Olympic coverage on a fuzzy CBC on in the background most of the day. I spent a lot of time explaining different sports and the concept of the Olympics. Michael was fascinated with most of it. Maddy just with speed skating and figure skating. There was a lot of twirling, leaping, and jumping going on in the living room this morning!

While the twins napped, we did some Valentines crafts. Michael and Maddy each made a Valentine animal craft that I found on-line. Those they are very proud of and were too much work to send off to anyone. So they are keeping them. They also made cards for Melissa, and started working on cards for relations. Some are the leftover cards from Melissa's bought box. Others are handmade.

I have noticed a huge change for the better in Maddy since Melissa started school. She is happier and behaving better. I'm getting to do more stuff with her. I realized today that I have NEVER shown her how to properly hold scissors! Little things like that have just been missed. She wrote her own name today on her craft, backwards and not quite spelled right, but still it's a big leap for her.

With Melissa at school, Michael actually helps Maddy and explains things to her, like what he's doing. He plays with her too, rather than her always being left out by both the Melissa/Michael duo AND the Megan/Maribeth duo. When I'm not trying to force Melissa through doing actual school work, I can sit and help them with crafts while the twins nap. I actually read a story TO Maddy today. I don't remember the last time that has happened. I read to ALL the kids at bedtime: educational stuff to Melissa/Michael, work on reading WITH Melissa and Michael, and read baby books to the twins. But I haven't been reading books on Maddy's level and hadn't even really realized it.

Michael is ending up doing his math pages and reading practice with me after afternoon snack time. The same time that Melissa works on her homework. The twins and Maddy have spent that time both days watching a Dora video on the TV. Maddy being wiped out enough by the walk to pick Melissa up, that she WANTS to just flop in front of the TV.

I've been amazed so far at how much easier the days have been. I'm hoping it lasts. We'll see, but so far I feel like I have MORE time for the kids; Melissa included believe it or not.

The other bonus? Having to get up earlier, they are going to SLEEP earlier!

Oh and it's Valentines day. I'm not much for "Hallmark holidays" and we had talked about NOT doing anything, but Allan went and picked up tulips for me on the way home. They are very pretty.

What does your Candy heart say?

Your Candy Heart Says "Get Real"
You're a bit of a cynic when it comes to love. You don't lose your head, and hardly anyone penetrates your heart.

Your ideal Valentine's Day date: is all about the person you're seeing (with no mentions of v-day!)
Your flirting style: honest and even slightly sarcastic
What turns you off: romantic expectations and "greeting card" holidays
Why you're hot: you don't just play hard to get - you are hard to get

Monday, February 13, 2006

"I've decided I really, really like school"

That's what Melissa said to me when we picked her up this afternoon!
She loves it! "I've decided that I really, really like school and I can't WAIT to go back tomorrow" :) She says that she loves her teacher and she has made "lots of new friends" already. They class had music class today and really enjoyed that. There are 20 kids in the class counting Melissa.

I spoke with her teacher after school. The teacher is impressed with how well she is reading! The spelling words will be easy for her - they are still doing short vowel words. In math the class just today started a new unit on measurements/volume/weight. However, they just finished adding/subtracting up to 12. I *think* she meant up to the sum being 12 - not the 12 plus 12. But I will have to clarify. Melissa hasn't done all of that yet either way with math u see and hasn't had much subtraction - just an intro in primer. Though she does understand the concepts - just doesn't have facts memorized. So we'll need to work on that some. I do have a (very annoying) CD with with math facts songs and flash cards we can use to help with that.

As far as the other kids - this is the calmest day we've had in a long time. No fights or anything between the younger four. Michael and Maddy both did some K and preschool work and they played well together. I think all the walking helped with that.

Allan dropped us off this morning at the shcool and the younger M's and I walked back home. Then to the school to pick up Melissa and back with a detour for an errand on the way home. Total milage just under 3.5 miles today. Kindergarten is out for now for Michael- even if I had a car - it's too much driving and the start time is right when the twins are napping. But I got lots more time than usual to work with him today so I'm sure he'll be ready for first grade in the fall.

After the walk home - we had snacks and the kids played in our backyard for a while. Then Michael went to work on his math at the desk in the living room and Melissa went upstairs to her room to do her homework (one page of spelling work) and to address all her valentines cards for tomorrow. We're going to need a proper desk or table for the big girls room and send the little Ikea table/stools over to the twins or out to the backyard because Melissa is really getting too big to work comfortably at it.

All in all a good first day.

Ready for school

Ready for school
Originally uploaded by Allan & Cheryl.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Tag - I'm it

Tag - I'm it - my Aunt has tagged me (along with my parents).

This appears to be a very long-running game of New Year's Resolutions Tag. Now I did my New Years postings and ponderings back at New Years - but since I can't sleep - I figured I would play.

7 things I want to do in 2006:

  • Get back in shape physically
  • Play at LEAST one movement of one of the unaccompanied Bach cello suites as a prelude or offeratory in church (i.e. in PUBLIC)
  • See more sunrises
  • Climb a mountain I've never climbed before
  • Get out of debt/Be more disciplined and organized about finances
  • Get to know knew people - enlarge our circle of friends and to find some "couple friends"
  • Go camping with Allan and all 5 m's! We've only been once with all 5 kids and it was at the SDA camp for Filipino campmeeting. Melissa was in Maine the long weekend we camped at Manning Park.
7 things to do less of in 2006:

  • overextend/overcommit myself
  • waste time doing nothing (yes - these two contradict each other - I go in cycles)
  • yelling
  • emotional eating
  • self-isolation - that's happened a lot since the twins because it's too much work to go out
  • overspending
  • impossible expectations
7 ways I‘m going to be a better wife/mother/friend in 2006:

  • Get back into shape
  • Reach out more often and be the one to intiate contact/conversations
  • Try to have more reasonable expectations of myself and my family
  • Pray for my family and friends
  • Take care better care of myself so that I am better equipped to give to others
  • Work on arranging to go on dates with Allan now and then (as in arranging babysitting and planning something)
  • Read more to the kids
7 Scripture Passages I want to Memorize in 2006:

  • I am not this organized about planning to memorize. But I do plan to start helping the kids learn their memory verses. The Beginners class has one a month and I'm not sure if the the Kindergarten class Melissa and Michael are in do memory verses weekly or monthly.
7 Books I’ve Never Read that I‘m Going to Read in 2006:

  • I have a problem with this one. If I haven't read the book - I probably haven't heard about it or I don't really want to read it! When I do hear about a book I want to read - I just request it online from the library and they send me an e-mail when it's in. Our library system is WONDERFUL about getting the newer books into the system and they can pull from all over the Greator Vancouver Area now - not just our specific city library system. I'm a huge fan of the public library system!
  • I will read way more than seven books in 2006. I have started taking the kids to the library almost every week. When we go - the deal is that Mommy has to find ONE grown-up book before we got to the children's section. So I'm reading about a book a week. Which my sisters will laugh over -but it's harder now than it used to be to get any time at all to read.
  • Lord of the rings trilogy - yes - that's right. I've never read any of the Lord of the rings books. Allan even has them

7 Movies I’ve Never Seen that I’m Going to Watch in 2006: I know I'll end up watching more than 7 movies in 2006. That tends to be our "date night" after kids go to bed every couple of weeks. I am finding though - that it seems to be harder and harder to find movies at video rental places that aren't just the latest new releases. It's like once they are not knew anymore - they just aren't kept around.

  • Chronicles of Narnia (We have the books - so really want to see this one)
  • Memoirs of a Geisha (I've read the book - I want to see the movie)
  • Roving Mars (I'm thinking date night at an IMAX - Allan's going to want to see this one)
  • Zathura (o.k. - my sister was in a stage version of Jumangi - so now I want to see this one too)
  • Supersize me (much as I'm sure I"ll regret it.....)
  • Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind (if I can find it around - always meant to rent that one - haven't yet)
  • Lord of the rings trilogy (but only after reading the books - Allan's got the dvds too)

7 people I want to join in too:

  • AllanE
  • Any of my family members - sisters, parents, cousins, SIL (that shoud cover more than 7 right there)
  • Jamie and/or Melissa
  • Jo/momofheathens
  • Anyone else who reads/comments on here (If you are sitting there thinking "HEY - she didn't mention ME - then I mean you...and I claim Mommy brain)

If you decide to play, please post a comment that you did so in the comments for this post. Anyone blogless else who wants to play-Tag, you're it too. you can post your entire seven 7's in the comments.

If you decide not to play - well - it's already the middle of February! The game had to end sometime. Though I'm wondering if this will STILL be going around by Q4 of 2006? At what point does a list of things to do in the year_____ become - well just irrelevant? End of Jan? Feb? March because it's the first quarter? End of June because the year is half over? Or all the way until December of 2006?

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Big changes for Melissa

Melissa - Jungle Tigress
Originally uploaded by Allan & Cheryl.

Melissa starts school at the Traditional school on Monday! This is a sudden and big chance for Melissa and our family.

It was only just a couple weeks ago that I put Melissa and Michael on the wait-lists for Grades 2 and 1 at the Traditional school. I stopped by yesterday after Maddy's dance class to drop off the application forms for next year. I asked what the odds were of her getting in next year were. They told me it didn't look like she would be in for next year "unless you would be interested in transferring her now"!!!!

They have had a student transfer out just this week and all the people ahead of us on the list said they wanted school year 2006/2007. They also told me if I took the spot for her - all the sibs get first preference to get in from here on out.

So she starts Monday. The plan is that Allan will drop her off on his way to work (except *I* am going on her first day!) and the kids and I will walk over to pick her up after school. It's just under a mile away, so it will be a walk, but Maddy and Michael can walk that far now and I have the double stroller for the twins.

It's also located next to a bank and Starbucks on one side, and a walk-in clinic and pharmacy on the other. It's a block away from the dance studio and 2 blocks from the library. There is an IGA in the plaza across the street and we walk by the Safeway to get there. So we'll be able to do other quick errands in combination with picking Melissa up. Contrast that to the regular public school, which is the opposite direction and not near ANYTHING.

This is a public school, but they do have uniforms. They don't have to wear exactly the same thing and exactly the same thing everyday, but they do have to stick to the colors/style restrictions.

Navy blue jumpers, skirts, skorts or pants.

Tops have to be plain white or powder blue (the only logo allowed is the school crest from the uniform company any tops not from the uniform company after to be completely plain).

Shoes have to be navy blue, black or white, no writing, no flashign lights, no characters, no obvious name brands.

Tights and socks have to be navy blue, poweder blue or white as do hair assessories.

No coats in school - all layering (fleeces, sweaters, sweatshirts, vests) has to be navy blue, powder blue or white - with no logo or brand name visible unless it's the school crest.

No high heels, platform shoes, tank tops, bare midriffs, flared pants, torn clothing, no characters, writing or logos other than the school logo on any clothes.

So that really relieves me as a main concern of mine with public school was the dress issues. I can't believe how inappropriately so many little girls are dressed. This avoids that issue but does still leave some room for indivuality.

Last night Melissa and I went shopping for school clothes. This was completely necessary because out of her overflowing closets and drawers we came up with all of 2 items that could be worn to school: a white t-shirt and navy blue shorts! Melissa has up until now preferred to wear pink and the most colorful clothes she can find. So shopping was in order!

We were able to find a navy jumper and navy skirt at the thrift store. There was absolutely NOTHING at Walmart. If you are a boy you can find basic clothes at Walmart, but NOT if you are a girl! They didn't even have basic, non-character, non-flashing shoes for gym! What a complete waste of time!

From there we went to Payless shoes and found a pair of white runners on sale for $7 - gym shoes!!

Next stop was Zellers (the Bay already being closed by 8pm) where we had better luck. At Zellers we found a powder blue plain front zip hoodie, a plain white button dress shirt, and plenty of white, navy and powder blue socks and tights as well as a package of hair elastics in varying shades of blue.

At the end of the day I needed to order some items from the uniform company (fleece vest, hoodie, navy jumper, powder blue l/s shirt, white short sleeved shirt - all with school crest and the name tags to label it all. The name tags are iron on and come with her phone number and name printed on them. "M" instead of the first name so we can pass clothes down).

Today we picked up the uniforms and the supply list from the school. We saw where her classroom will be tomorrow - but the teacher had already left for the day.

We were able to find some of the needed supplies at the Shoppers Drug Mart across the street but I ended up having to go out again this evening to round up the rest of the required supplies. While we have art supplies and such in the house, they weren't the right type. The list was very specific about which brands, which sizes, and quantities. But it's better she has her art supplies still here for her at home anyway.

One unexpected development is that while we were at the school Michael saw the Kindergarten classroom; which I have to say is one of the best stocked/kid friendly looking Kindergartens I have ever laid eyes on. We were also told we should send Michael as well, as they do have an opening in the afternoon K session.

Michael was all eyes and ears and has now launched a campaign to go to school as well. But K is a half day and I seriously don't think Maddy could manage the walk out 2, possibly 3, times a day every day. She just simply couldn't do it. If Allan has an early meeting, we have to walk Melissa to school in the morning, then walk home. Then we will be walking every day to pick her up and back home. Adding another Michael drop-of just isn't practical.

So to Michael's sorrow, the current plan is for Michael to start 1st Grade this coming September. The plan is for Maddy to not start K until 2007/2008. She's much less mature for her age compared to Michael and Melissa and we think she would do better being 5 turning 6 in K versus 4 turning 5. Whether she will homeschool or go to school for K remains to be seen. That's a long time away.

Melissa is actually very excited about school as well. We are hoping it turns out to be a positive thing for her.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Giggling girls

Giggling girls
Originally uploaded by Allan & Cheryl.

Everything and everyone is a reason to giggle today.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

You've come a long way Babies!

Happy Birhday Megan & Maribeth! It's been two years, and what a long way you come since then.

Maribeth on the CPAP, BC Children's Hospital NICU - February 2, 2004

Megan in her isolette, BC Children's Hospital NICU - February 2, 2004

The twins were moved to the SCN at Royal Columbian Hospital after a few weeks. This is them at 4 weeks, finally in the same bed - March 4, 2004.

They came home at 7 weeks. Megan was around 5 lbs, and Maribeth was still under 5 lbs.

Megan & Maribeth learning to push-up at home - September 8, 2004.

Megan & Maribeth learning to pull to standing - December 19, 2004.

Megan and Maribeth coming after the camera - January 27, 2005. This was just before their 1st birthday last year.