Thursday, January 23, 2014

January 2014 Gymnastics Graduation

When I signed Hannah up for gymnastics for the fall session I asked about moving her into the 5/6 class even though she was only 4 and the gym was fully supportive.  I’m glad they were and I’m so glad we went ahead and did this!  She started out behind the other girls in her skill level but as the weeks went by I began to see her growing and challenging herself a little more.

One of the new skills she tried this term was to do a handstand on the beam with her coach helping her.  Gotta love her dismount!  Now that’s creative.  Winking smile

There is one of the coaches at the gym that Hannah only had once but I absolutely love her and she is wonderful with the Hannah!  I would watch my little girl come alive under her coaching and she would bring new things out of her each and every week.  The theme Coach Kathy had for her was ‘slow your body down Hannah’ and you can see why in the video below. 

Coach Kathy stepped in the next time Hannah cycled through and there was immediate results.  She’s only 4 and my first priority for her gymnastics is having fun but it’s also neat to see how she improves when encouraged by a great coach!   Whenever she’s worked with Kathy she gets this sweet grin of satisfaction on her face knowing she’s risen to the occasion and Coach Kathy rewards her with tons of encouragement.  A win-win for both.

Hannah has been taking gymnastics for almost 3 years now it's been fun to watch her through the years.  Here’s a quick throwback to her first gymnastics session in a parent ‘n tot group in the spring of 2011 when she had just turned 2yo.

Hannah I’m so glad that you enjoy gymnastics so much and that it’s still something you look forward to each week!  Mommy loves watching your learn new things and make new friends in class!IMG_1959

Thanks Coach Sydney!


Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Puzzler

Hannah visits with Mom and Dad on Thursday evenings while I teach piano at home.  Last night when Mom and Hannah got to the house dad was working on a puzzle.

Hannah walked over to check out what he was doing and he mentioned that there was an unusually shaped piece that he couldn’t find while he pointed to the gap.  Hannah looked around the table for a bit, reached across dad and then popped this piece into place.puzzle 1

Mom called me at work laughing telling me about it while Hannah found another piece and put it in too!  Heh. 

The puzzle?  Check it out.  1000 pieces of van Gogh’s ‘The Starry Night’.puzzle 2

Probably beginners luck but it still makes for a great memory! 

Dad called me at work this morning and asked what time Hannah’s lunch was.  He was wondering if he could sign her out so that she could go help him with is puzzle?  Rolling on the floor laughing

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Learn to Skate ~ Night 1

I’ll admit it.  I am not a skater.  I don’t enjoy it.  My feet cramp up in skates and it’s one of the rare things I just don’t want to try again if I can possibly help it.

So, when Hannah showed an interest in learning to skate  I knew I needed to start her in a class where Mommy could cheer her on from the side of the rink.  The unparented learn to skate class is for kiddos 5 and over but since she was going to be 5, 5 days before the last class I decided to see if I could register her.  I was excited when I could!

Next step, get my girl her skating gear.  We began at a second hand skate shop but the only skates they had were black hockey skates and the look on my sweeties face was so sad!  She would have worn them if they were her only option but since they didn’t have any in her size we moved on.  She was happy to see the exit door of that place!

We stopped at Walmart next to see what they might have and it was SO cool!  Check out these shelves.  One pair of little girl skates and they’re adjustable so fit Hannah perfectly!

photo 2photo 1

Yes, those are pink and purple princess skates!  They practically jumped from her feet into our cart!  Oh yes, she was one happy girl!

Next up was helmet shopping.  We found it difficult to find one that fit her head properly and when we finally did it didn’t have a face mask.  With 55 kiddos on the ice and all ‘learning to skate’ that’s too many blades for this Mommy to put her on without a mask to protect her.  I was going to buy one but then Ange and Gavin found one they had and Gavin put it on her helmet.  Thanks so much!!

Tuesday night was the big night!  It was a frigid night with wind chills hovering around –35oC/-31oF(Surprised smile) so it was one of the rare nights when we were going to the arena to get warm!  Winking smile


Hannah’s friend Noah is in the same class.  Here are our 2 kiddos all set for their first big night!IMG_1929

The coaches came off the ice and taught the kids how to get up when they fell.  LOL…that was a lesson my sweetie would use often!!  She was excited and informed me that she wanted to get on the ice so that she could skate a ‘figure 8.’  You go girl!!

Instead, this was more how her lessons (and many other kids too) started out.


I was thrilled with her perseverance though as she got up time and time again and by the end of the class I really could see an improvement!

Way to go Hannah!  You did so well at your first lesson and I’m sure you will improve each and every week!IMG_1939

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Surprise Disney Birthday Cruise ~ The Big Reveal!!

Our cruise is now just 6 1/2 weeks away so it was time to share the news with Hannah!  Besides, Mommy was just too excited to keep it a secret any longer!!

I’d often wondered how I might share the news with her and in the end decided to use a few different ideas that I’d gained from others. 

First there was a phone call from Goofy with the big announcement!

I was pretty sure she’d need more clues so I made up a poster for her to ‘read’.


She quickly figured it out and was squealing with joy!  I had made a cake and iced it but that was all.  Hannah looked at it earlier in the morning and said, ‘Mommy, that’s a really plain cake.’  Little did she know the topper that was waiting to be added.  IMG_1910

Since we’ll be on board for Hannah’s 5th Birthday, she felt candles and singing ‘Happy Birthday’ were in order.  Sweet!IMG_1913

I booked this cruise for us almost a year ago so it’s been a long, long time to keep the secret.  I’m so thankful it worked out as her reaction was priceless!  Nana is retiring at the end of this month so we’re excited that she is joining us too!  Mom and Dad will be on their cruise to Hawaii while we’re in the Caribbean.IMG_1914

I’ve been tucking away a few little treats for Hannah so gave her a couple of them yesterday.  A sweet little sundress with hearts and anchors on itIMG_1915

and a pirate dress for my adorable little girl to wear on pirate night.IMG_1920

I cannot express how excited I am for this trip!  It’s been a dream for a long time and I’ve been saving for it since before Hannah was born and I’m sure it will build memories that last a lifetime!  5 is the perfect age and I know the 3 of us will have a great time together!!

Only 45 more sleeps!!  Wheeee!!!!

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Times They Are A Changing

Tuesday was a brand new day.  I woke up and prepared to go to work and my dear friend Norma woke up to a life of retirement.   We have been the best of friends at work for over 20 years, sharing most lunch times and breaks together and this is going to be a big change for both of us.  IMG_1620

I am SO happy for her as she’s worked hard for all these years and deserves a long, wonderful retirement!  Norma has been a great friend and mentor and I will miss her words of wisdom at work.  Her husband John retired a number of years ago and now she gets to join him in their new life together.  I’m sure there are many wonderful days before them and many, many trips to exciting places!  IMG_1621

It’s easy to say that of all the memories we share together the one I’ll cherish the most is her being with me when Hannah was placed in my arms.  She was the calming presence in our room as we prepared to go to the Adoption Centre in Changsha to meet Hannah and I will forever be grateful for her presence at this most amazing time of my life!!Imported Photos 00068

You will always hold a very special place in both our hearts Auntie Norma!!norma and hannah2 nov 2009

Norma hoped to retire quietly but Cory and I had other plans for her.  We stayed late Dec 23rd knowing that the 24th was the last day we’d all be there together and also that her grandchildren would be at work with her that morning.  The perfect time to create a memorable departure!  IMG_1803

Yes, he blew up every single one of those balloons and stuffed her office full!

The kids arrived the next morning and were only too happy to help Auntie Norma/Grandma out!norma 2

The jury is still out on who had more fun?  The kids or Cory???

By the end I think Cory was crying ‘uncle’ so we called off the kiddos.  This pic just makes me giggle.  Check out my ladylike little girl!norma 1

So much for sliding out quietly!!

Norma, I’m so happy for you and looking forward to hearing about your retirement adventures! It won’t be the same at work without you but our friendship has stood the test of time and I know that it will continue now, just through phone calls, texts, emails and lunch visits. 

I love you friend!!  Happy Retirement!!!  norma and cath june 2012

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Ice Storm 2013

Hannah and I went to a friend’s Christmas Open House on Saturday, December 21st.  We go each year and often there are 20+ families who come and go.  This year….3.  The reason was they were calling for freezing rain and freezing rain is one of those rare weather predictions that will keep even we hardy Canadians indoors!  The party wrapped up much earlier than normal and Hannah and I slowly made our way home.  We carefully shuffled down their driveway that now imitated an ice rink and slid to our car that was parked on the road.  Slow and steady was our motto going home. 

Freezing rain isn’t something we get a lot of and especially in the quantity that they were predicting.  We made it home safely and went to bed, not really sure what the night would hold.  I made sure we had flashlights at the ready and woke a few times in the middle of the night as sleep was fleeting due to the storm.

When we woke up Sunday morning it was a whole new world outside!  It was beautiful and yet sad all at the same time. ice 10

Trees like this were 8

When I opened the blinds in front of our sliding door I noticed it was brighter than normal.  A glance to my right quickly showed me why.  The normally 2 stories tall cedars of my neighbours were bent at a 90o angle and now resting against the back wall of the house behind us! (Sadly they’re still that way now even though the ice is gone.  More victims to the ice storm that will need to be cut down.)IMG_1790

I was thankful that we had power although we lost it as soon as we arrived at church.    We’re on the same grid as the church so I knew our home was in darkness too.  It was a quick service and then Hannah and I headed to Nana and Papa’s to check on them as I knew they’d been without power for a while.  They were fine and warm as a gas fireplace was keeping their home warm.  As Hannah and I left the power came back on at their place (not our home yet) so I filled the car with gas (thankful to find a station with power) and we headed to Walmart.  Their power had also just come back on there so once they opened we did what every good Canadian does who has been without power for a number of hours:

ice 9

Hannah and I had dressed up to go to church a couple of hours earlier so since we were at Walmart and nothing was as normal we did what every family does in the middle of a blackout – we had a family photo shoot done!  LOL!!  I had an appointment booked for us for a couple of weeks later but we just moved it up spur of the moment and it went really well!  (A few that I didn’t choose)

We wandered the store, had lunch and then did some grocery shopping, hoping by the time we returned home that the power would be back on.  I kept calling home to check our answering machine but it wasn’t picking up so I wasn’t sure if we had power or not.  Thankfully we did and it had been on long enough to make our home toasty warm.

The challenge with an ice storm is that the slightest breeze can bring down wires again so I was at the ready for it to go out again.  Sure enough, shortly after midnight it went off again.  Since I have sleep apnoea I sleep with a CPAP machine so no power is not a good thing.  At 2am I was on my iPhone, looking into batter back up options for CPAP machines.  Thankfully I eventually fell asleep and slept okay. 

The power was still off when we woke up in the morning so our adventure began again.  Our house was warm which I was thankful for.  Hannah quickly found out that Mommy doesn’t do too well dressing her without lights as she ended up with 2 socks on the same foot and her pants over her head!  Winking smile  Lots and lots of giggles during our adventure!ice 11

It was make-up by candlelight with Hannah being mommy’s big 2

We were finally ready and it was time for mommy to go to work and Hannah to go to Ange’s.  Thankfully she had power.   Unfortunately so did my office as we have our own generators.  The entire downtown area where I work was in blackness….except for my building.  Sad smile  Two days before Christmas, you know I had a ton of things I could have done but alas it was a normal work day.

In the end our power was out at home for 11 hours that day and flickered for a bit again that night but then it came back for good.

I am so thankful for the many, many men and women who worked days and nights on end trying to get power back for everyone.  Our outage was mild compared to those who were out for 10 days!!!  I can’t imagine!

One of the neat things about this storm was the way the trees changed each day as the weather changed.  The first day it was this:IMG_1793


Then changed to this on a day when the sun came outIMG_1820

and things changed once again when the snow fell.  One time I looked in the back seat and Hannah was blinking and blinking.  I asked what she was doing and her response was, ‘Oh Mommy!  It’s so beautiful it makes me want to cry happy tears!’  LOL!!  It truly was beautiful though!!IMG_1852

The ice has now melted so the threat of power failures is behind us.  Phew!!  Now it’s crazy low freezing temps and a snowstorm headed our way that will be keeping us on our toes.

All I can ask is, ‘When does spring arrive??’  This has been one crazy winter already and it’s only January!!IMG_1813

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