Wednesday, December 4, 2013

December 4: Operation Christmas Child

Packing gift boxes that will make a trip overseas.

December 3: trimming the tree

With two new cats in the house this year, the concept of a Christmas tree is one big experiment. We put it up and left it for a week before we decorated it. The cats like to play under the tree but mostly stay out of it. We have kept a few of our best things packed away this year though. I am not risking Liam's little clay handprint, Mallory's glass Baby's 1st Christmas rocking horse, etc.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

December 2

The advent calendars are broken open. Note to file for next year: there is not much selection left when you do your Advent calendar shopping on November 29.

Monday, December 2, 2013

December 1: Reindeer Run

I am back on the wagon for doing December Daily again this year - my 7th (!) year running. This is one of my very favourite holiday traditions. You can learn more about December Daily if you are so inclined here.

I won't have all my photos printed day by day, but do hope to have my pages planned out each night with the only thing left undone being the prints themselves. Since I won't have completed pages til January I thought I could at least post one of the shots of the day from each page to keep me on track and remind me of what goes where.

I adhere to the 'daily' part of this only very loosely. We had multiple events on Sunday so the others will appear later in the month, and there's a holiday event or two that happened in November that will magically shift to December for memory keeping purposes, too. It's all good.

Here's to December 2013!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The one with, admittedly, a ridiculous number of photos. And they're all about swimming.

One of the fun things that's happened around here over the past few months is that Liam has joined the local swim team, the Pool Sharks. This makes my greedy little triathlon-lovin' heart ever so happy. I'm picturing the two of us doing kick sets together for years to come and having him give me pointers to hone my technique.

Today was Liam's first meet. There was actually a meet last month that we didn't make it to, so most of the kids have been in this environment before, but not us. As luck would have it, this meet is hosted by our swim club, so at least we had the familiarity of being at our own pool. The day started at 7 a.m. when Liam had to be on deck for a 45 minute warm-up swim.
The only way you can tell which kid is yours when they are in the pool is to get to know their goggles (since their team caps and suits are all identical). Thank goodness for that big of neon green on the edge of Liam's goggles!
Team meeting with Coach Heather before the warm-up ends.
Mallory did an amazing job of being patient through about 6.5 hours of swimming, of which Liam spent less than 5 minutes in the water after the warm-up.
The warm-up concluded with a few last-minute pointers. Liam's learning how to be more effective in his push-off for the backstroke.
And then, it was meet time. The first event was the 100m IM - one length each of butterfly/back/breast/freestyle. Liam looked a little bit like he wanted to throw up while they were marshalling the kids into their events and lanes.
Out on the pool deck now, one step closer. Looking even closer to vomiting.
About to get on the block.
And they're off! ...launching perfectly into the butterfly. This race had about a 40% disqualification rate - it's so easy for the little kids to forget which stroke to do or make a technical error like only touching with one hand - but Liam managed to stay in the race.
Finishing up his length of backstroke.
Off on the breaststroke.
I didn't get a good shot of the freestyle. Our pool is a lovely pool but it has a pitifully small viewing area for something like a swim meet, with crowds of people all trying to watch their swimmers, and then you're shooting through glass, too. Phooey. Anyway, after his swim he checked in with his coach for feedback, and then came off the deck and back into the gym to await marshalling for the next event.
Mallory with her signage and her iPod playing Monster High movies on repeat.
Next event - butterfly.
Good dive!
And then one more event before lunch, backstroke.
Liam's age group was 8 and 9 year olds (he's at the younger end of the spectrum) and there were a few swimmers with considerably more experience. He placed 12/13 in several events so I was happy to see him hanging in there and getting through his events, but he was not really a contender in the races.
After lunch his first race got off to a bad start. It was the breaststroke and he hesitated on the block and looked to the other guys in the race before diving in. As you can see, they were in the water before he was off the block.
Part of being a swim team parent (we found out after joining swim team) is volunteering in a myriad of different ways to help the meets run smoothly. Chad was an official timer today and took his job (and the dress code) quite seriously.
Last event of the day, and it was Liam's favourite - the freestyle. He started off with a great dive off the block...
...and at the end of the race, there was one yellow cap at the finish line, waiting for the other swimmers to come in. Who was it with a lead like that?
It was Liam!
Again, checking with his coach for some feedback (and a high five) before leaving the pool deck.
Here he comes to see us...
...ribbon in hand!

He was supposed to swim the relay leg too, but one of the other kids on his team was sick today so the whole team had to forfeit because they didn't have the numbers they needed. Ah well... next meet is only 3 weeks away, so he'll have the opportunity then. We were out of the building by about 1:30 since we didn't have to stick around for the last event.

Great swimming today, Liam!

Friday, November 1, 2013

How we do Halloween

Halloween always starts a few days or weeks before the big day, when we do a dry run with our costumes. This also allows me to sneak in a few pictures on a day when the weather is nice and the kids aren't trying to race out the door to start trick or treating.
This is what we were supposed to be this year: the kids were minions from the Despicable Me movies. (If you don't have kids in the house then you may not have ever had reason to see these movies!)
Chad was Gru...
And I was Vector, the villain from the first movie.
When the big day arrives, we all dress up. Even the cats! Actually, this is the first time I have ever bought a pet costume. Judging by the cats' expressions I would guess they are hoping it's also the last. (Truthfully, they tolerated the costumes pretty well.)
Lucy did not want to keep her hat on, though.
We order pizza for dinner and get together with gramma/grampa/aunt/uncle/cousins to show off costumes prior to going our separate ways to trick or treat.
We had to put Despicable Me on to show everyone what exactly we were dressed up as.
Before anyone's head explodes, we try to take a group shot on the front porch. This was the best one this year. Every year is a little bit easier! Luckily we were somewhat covered under the porch... because it rained, nonstop, all day long.
I take another one of these two, too, just to give myself some options!

Then we say good bye to the rest of the family, and set off trick or treating. First stop is Mallory's friend Rowyn who lives two doors down.
I snap a few more shots as we go door to door, but it's pretty wet out, so the camera gets packed away early.

Luckily we all wore something on our heads (even if only a skullcap) so the rain didn't feel as bad as it could have. And, it was pretty warm. Mallory never lasts as long as Liam, so I took her home early while Chad stayed out with Liam. We relieved gramma and grampa of their duties - they had been handing out candy for us while we were out on the streets ourselves. Chad and Liam made it home eventually and we all ate too much candy before settling into a sugar coma-induced sleep.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

The witching hour is drawing nigh

A few weeks ago, we made a trip to the pumpkin patch to load up on some seasonal gourds. (Are pumpkins officially gourds?)
We had three come off our own vine, but I like to take a few photos at the market where they sell these, and it's only fair to buy something in return. We did not actually need so many pumpkins. Come November 1 we are going to have a hefty garbage/compost contribution.
Part of the reason why we really didn't need to buy many is that there is only one pumpkin-carving fan in this house, and even he gets squicked out by the guts.
 Mallory made it clear what her opinion of the whole situation was.
Still, Liam was diligent about getting the job done.
With the finished product. Those carving kits really do turn out great pumpkins!
We had to test it out on the front porch, just to make sure it'll be ready for Thursday night. Anyone else hear that there is a 100% chance of rain on Thursday accompanied by 45 kph winds? Awesome.
And, the whole porch, decked out and ready to go. I think the orange and purple lights are festive. Chad is not so sure. I did restrain myself from buying the grave stones and giant cobweb though, so we've both done some give and take.
That doesn't mean I won't go back on Friday and pick them up when they are on clearance.