Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Happy Birthday Leif

You will be 6 years old tomorrow! What a wonderful year you've had.

You have learned to swim underwater, ride a bike, feed a baby and read simple books. You have made amazing diagrams, maps and lego creations. You are excited about learning French.

You have built dinosaurs, received report cards, lost teeth, and found library books.
You have ridden on the Big Rides at the fair!

You have charmed girls, fought with boys and lost many of your earlier fears . . .
but . . .
you still cry if you think you've hurt someone's feelings, or if you feel you've disappointed us. You still worry about people who are put into awkward situations, and you still love being at home with your sisters.

We are so lucky to have you in our lives and love to watch you grow into a sensitive, playful and caring boy. We take turns taking credit for your
wonderful qualities. You are observant and detail oriented like your father, and sensitive and careful like me.

You are the best big brother that your two little sisters could have and the light of our lives.

We love you birthday boy.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

. . . and proud of it!

Tineke's a walker . . .

It started with about one step a day over the last few weeks, and now she's full-fledged! So, like her sister before her she's a ramblin' 10 mth old. With her new ability comes a bit of an attitude, like 'keep your hands off - I've got somewhere I've gotta be!" and you may get yelled at if you try to stop her.

Anyhoooo. Here's some video so you can see (and hear) what it's all about over here! The kids are very proud of her latest accomplishment. She's one of the gang now!

ps. she hit the stop button herself as she slapped the keyboard - hence the quick ending

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Summer Vacation Part 1 - Cars and Hotels

Well, I figured I'd better post before an entire Month went by! So I kind of made it!
We finally took the road trip I've been dreaming of all year! On July 18 we headed out into the sunshine and drove every day for a week. We then had a weeklong vacation in Red Deer before making the return journey over two days. I cannot express to you how excited I was to spend time on the road with the kids.

The journey through southern BC has got to be one of the most beautiful trips in the world. The highways (with the exception of those teeming with orange pylons and excavators - or the smokey closed off variety) are smooth and beautiful, the scenery is otherworldly, the fruit is tasty and the sun is shiny. We scheduled only 3 - 5 hours a day of driving time each day. That's nothing! The kids were wonderful travel companions. They played together, sang, read books, looked at maps, and sketched in their sketchbooks. We made many bathroom stops (Yes! Not always at my request!) We listened to one book on CD, but there were no 'screens' allowed. When they got restless I pulled out some instruments and we turned on 'rockin' music and shook it like a Polaroid picture.
Eventually Tineke would con us into giving her all of the instruments until they ended up in the black hole between her and her door (which is also a great storage spot for bottles, cookies and toys). Then we'd be quiet again and stare into the dark dark woods, or the shady lakes, or the rocky cliffs.

Now, let's talk about hotels. They are the reason that Leif has decided that he wants to be our 'night assistant'. You know, someone who comes into our bed every night to cuddle and just be present in case we might require an assistant. I guess he rather enjoyed the close quarters of the hotel, and who could blame him? The first hotel we went to provided us with a big foam mattress which we tucked into the closet and turned into a little movie watching nest for Leif and Laika (so that I could somehow put Tineke to bed on the opposite side of the room, 5 feet away).

Then of course there was the luxurious Banff Springs Nest, which both big kids had a turn sleeping in. Here it is modelled by Laika, Tineke stands nearby to provide scale.

After having a very long well-deserved sleep at Fairmont Hot Springs Erik wakes up to find this little friend close by.

Another nest! This time in Revelstoke. The indoor pool was right on the other side of those curtains.

Ah, luxury at the Banff Springs. Tineke and I were in another bed and Laika got the nest.
And this is one of my favourite pictures. It almost looks like it would have been easy to sleep with both Leif and Tineke, but don't be deceived by their groggy appearances. They are groggy for a reason. It takes a lot of energy to keep your mom up all night, it pretty much wipes you out by 7 in the morning. This photo was taken at 10 am! We got 'late' check out for 11:30 so that we could squeeze in one last swim.
Cars and hotels and grandparents houses were all great, but Tineke did not sleep through a single night of our holiday. The foreign environments meant confusion for her and a need to be held (which is nice . . . I love my baby), but I did get a little worried that the rings under my eyes might never go away. Thankfully, a return to home meant a return to sleeping through the night. I'm glad the kids enjoyed the close and cozy quarters, because there will obviously be a day about 10 years down the road when they may not be so eager to volunteer for 'the nest'.