Saturday, May 29, 2010

Webber takes gold!!

Emily has had a pretty good week for gold medal wins. On Friday her Choral Speech club competed in Edmonton (yet one more trip to Edmonton) in the provincial contest. They won 1st place and the team received a trophy and a scholarship for the school. They performed two pieces and Emily had a solo part in the first piece.

In case you don't know what Choral Speech is I have posted a video on YouTube of the second piece. Unfortunately, I only got about 3/4 of the performance because I ran out of memory space but you'll get the idea. Basically it's a dramatic reading of poetry by a group.

(Well, I'm having trouble uploading in YouTube. I'll put the link to the video here if I get it figured out.)

You've got to be kidding me!!

Thurs 3:30pm - Webber Academy:

Thurs 7:00pm - Olivia and Mirabelle after dance class:

Friday 8:15am - Canada Olympic Park from our neighborhood (almost completely snow free 24 hours before this photo) :

Sat 11:00am - Marcy in our backyard (starting to melt):

Frank is in Calgary this weekend (arrived just before the snow.) He was so excited to watch soccer games and Madeline had a cheerleading demonstration, etc. etc. We even had plans to go to an opening weekend game for the Calgary Vipers amateur baseball league. Everything is cancelled. I guess there's still hope for Emily's 2pm soccer game tomorrow.

(See the post below - just two days before - with short sleeves, sunshine and ice cream!)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Field Trip

One thing I always try to avoid volunteering for is field trips. When the girls were in preschool and kindergarten I went to all of them because I thought 1:1 or 2:1 ratio was important at that age. But, once they hit 1st grade I avoided them. Kids are over excited about being out of school and either under or over stimulated by the venue. All this leads to bad behavior and the last thing I want to do is discipline someone else's child. That said, Marcy has had me as a chaperone on a disproportionate number of field trips compared to the other girls. It's a combo of the youngest child and teachers knowing I have nothing better to do!!

Yesterday Marcy's class attended the Calgary Children's Festival - a free, open-air street fair at the downtown Olympic Plaza with arts and crafts, games, and educational presentations. You can imagine the number of kids that were out there, especially since the weather was good. Not my ideal field trip but I had just three girls to keep track of and they were very well behaved and cooperated with each other on what to do next. Here are Marcy and her classmates Kyra and Mia building with straws:

Their favorite part of the day was when I agreed to buy them some ice cream. It was a great way to end the day and used up the last twenty minutes before getting on the bus (and I got to sit and relax while they licked away!)

Treasure Hunt

For the Monday holiday I decided to take the girls geocaching. I knew Sarah and Chris has done this before and when I looked it up I found out that there are a ton of "caches" hidden in the Tuscany ravine area near our house. Olivia, Emily and Marcy intended to go but Olivia decided she should prepare for final exams (very mature decision) and poor Marcy woke up with an awful migraine that morning. Emily invited her friend Beth. We went to the Loonie store ($1 store in Canada - the $1 coin has a loon on it) and bought trading items and set off on a course to find three hidden treasures. It took a while to figure out the best way to use the GPS but we finally found the first one. So exciting!!!

The next two came a little easier. It worked out well that Emily spotted the first, they both worked together to find the second, and Beth found the third. We didn't get great trade items but feel good that we left some good stuff behind for the next hunters.

Fury takes Gold!!

Emily's Calgary West Fury soccer team won their final game to go 4-0 in the tournament and take the gold. They each got a gold medal, the team name will be added to a big perpetual trophy, and they got a smaller glass trophy for the team. They were all very excited!!!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Long Weekend

Monday is Victoria Day in Canada so we have a long weekend. The main thing on the calendar for the weekend is Emily's soccer tournament here in Calgary. She had three games yesterday and a team party which made for a long day. She has one more game today. So far they have won all their games and are in first place but the last game today could be for the title and it's against the Calgary West rival club - the Blizzards!
I love to watch Emily's team play. They play in the top division for Under 10 girls and are consistently number 1 or 2. They play/practice 3-4 times a week so it's pretty serious stuff at this age. But she loves it and it's great for me!!

Yesterday Emily got to play against her good friend Beth from school. They normally play in different divisions but for this tournament there was just one division. Emily's team won 2-0 but it was the best game of the day. Emily and Beth got to go up against each other a few times. Emily was happy that one time she beat Beth, one time Beth beat her and the other times it was a tie. They play with each other all the time at recess so I think this was fun for them. Here are two pictures I caught of them together during the game. As it turns out they are both #3.

Victoria weekend is supposed to be a big camping weekend for Calgarians but I guess traditionally the weather turns cold every year. This year was no exception. It was about 35 degrees for the morning game. Everyone was bundled up in coats, toques, and mitts (that would be hats and gloves.) Luckily someone brought hot coffee and someone else brought Bailey's. Got to love Canadians who never forget the booze!! By the afternoon it warmed up to about 50 degrees. Still cold to me but Marcy had a great time making dandelion bouquets with some other siblings.

And while all this soccer was going on Olivia went to a movie with friends by herself and then went to a Chinese zither concert with her friend Mirabelle from Irish Dance. Mirabelle's mom is the zither instructor and organizer of the concert and Mirabelle played. Olivia wore one of Mirabelle's Chinese dresses but she had already changed by the time I found her. Olivia and Mirabelle really like each other because they are the same age, same size and both wear glasses (but Mirabelle took hers off for the concert.)

I'll post again with the tournament results. I'm really hoping Emily's team wins. They always seem to end up in 2nd or 3rd place in these tournaments. They deserve a win!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

An Urban Hike

Since the weather has turned for the better this week in Calgary I decided to take the girls for a city hike. There is an amazing amount of hiking available right in the middle of Calgary. It turns out the the community quite near us called Silver Springs is named after an actual spring. I discovered this last week and hiked it with a friend. I knew the girls would like it so decided we should go. It turned into a long hike from the house (last week I drove to a park and hiked from there) but everyone did great. We brought along Emily's good friend Courtnie. Here are the girls walking along the escarpment (what is that anyway?? That's just what it was called on the internet hiking guide.)

The springs lead down to the Bow River. Everyone took off their shoes and played in the water and climbed all over the rocks. Snuggles had an especially good time as there were some other dogs down there and he went for a swim in the river. He was in Lab heaven.

Here's Olivia hanging out at the edge of the springs. She wasn't too interested in me taking her photo. She was just happy the the hike to the springs was over.

And here are Emily, Marcy and Courtnie where the springs comes out in a small waterfall. It really is amazing that we are a 5 minute drive from our house!!

Hopefully this spring weather holds on and we can find some more of these urban hikes to take. That's the hard part about moving so quickly - we're only just figuring this place out!!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Last of London

Here are the last of the London photos. It's kind of a misc. mixture of the rest of our trip. On Friday afternoon we stopped by Trafalgar Square:
Bunches of kids managed to climb on the backs of the lions at Trafalgar Square. We couldn't figure out how they got up there. Frank helped boost the girls up in front of the lion which makes a great picture anyway!

After Trafalgar Square we went to St James Park in front of Buckingham Palace. We bought a Chelsea mini soccer ball on the way, played a bit of soccer, chased some pigeons, and then realized just how jet-lagged we were! Had to force everyone up before they fell asleep in the park.

One of our stops on the double decker bus was Westminster Abbey. We spent quite a bit of time here as they had a good audio tour and Marcy did a kids scavenger hunt tour - and got a giant chocolate coin at the end.

We also saw St Paul's Cathedral on Sat. (Had to get all the churches in on Sat since they are closed on Sun.) At St. Paul's we got there just in time to get to climb to the top. It was 500+ steps - you'll have to ask Olivia how many exactly, she counted. There were a couple stops along the way for views but still quite tiring. Luckily only the last bit of stairs were on these winding-type.

On Sat night we went to the musical Wicked. It was great and all the girls enjoyed it. And even though it was late they all stayed awake through the whole thing. Madeline was especially excited about dressing up for the event.

And that's the end of our London trip. It was such a quick trip but we had a great time. I'm sure we'll go back someday and I know the thing the girls will want to do again is go to Portobella Market in Notting Hill. I don't have pictures of that but this was their favorite thing. It's a dangerous thing to have four girls who all enjoy shopping!!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Big Surprise!!!!

We take break from our tour of London to bring you a big birthday surprise. Two weeks ago I saw that American Airlines had a super saver weekend fare from Dallas to Calgary for this past weekend. I sent an email out to family and friends inviting them to take advantage and come for a visit. Sarah pointed out that it was Emily and Anna's birthday weekend. Oops - I forgot - but all the better. I told Sarah to bring Anna as a present! I told Emily that we had to go to the airport to pick up a package that Frank was sending from Dallas. She was very surprised!!

Once they got home Emily and Anna planned their birthday weekend. They decided on the food (chicken and dumplings for dinner, chocolate chip cake for dessert) and they even made their own birthday banner.

Emily is skipping school today and they have quite a schedule for today - biking, lunch at Calgary Tower, baking cupcakes, painting nails, and relaxing.

They really love sharing the same birthday and this 10th birthday was extra fun for them because they never expected to be able to spend the day together!!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

London icons

We saw all the things you'd expect to see while traveling around in London. On Sat we rode around on the double decker, open top bus. It was a hop on, hop off ticket so we saw quite a bit of the city this way. We had the recorded commentary instead of live but it was still plenty informative. Here are Frank and Marcy enjoying the ride. It was a nice weather day on Sat!

We definitely looked like a bunch of tourists posing with the telephone booth. We were going to really make a spectacle of ourselves and get inside but Marcy, Emily and Olivia got inside and said it smelled like a latrine. Maybe it was used as a latrine? Staying outside was just fine.

What could be better than a photo with the local "bobbies" with Big Ben in the background? There were lots of police out in London because of parliament elections coming up and a big demonstration planned for Sat afternoon.

Here's everyone piled into a cab. We all fit in the back and of course the 3 youngest fought over who got to ride on the pull down seat facing backwards. We only ended up riding the "tube" once because with 6 people it was only a little more expensive to take a cab. (And required less walking to and from stations!)

I think I have only two more London posts. Stay tuned for the conclusion. Is this a little bit like people pulling out there vacation video and forcing everyone to watch??

Friday, May 7, 2010

London - Buckingham Palace

An obvious stop on the London tour is Buckingham Palace. We worked our plans on Sat around being there for the changing of the guard. Little did we know that we really needed to just devote our whole morning to holding a spot if we wanted to see anything. We only showed up 30 minutes early and the crowds were crazy. We did catch random soldiers marching and riding horses but have no idea what actually happened with the changing of the guard. Here are some of those marching soldiers:

I got this photo of Emily and Madeline with Frank while he was trying to give Emily a chance to see what was going on behind the fences. (She got sand in her eyes just as we arrived at Buckingham Palace so she REALLY couldn't see anything.)

We didn't get to see those silent, unmoving guards up close at the palace but we did find one at the Tower of London on Sunday morning. You can see that the day was cold, wet and windy but I convinced Emily and Olivia to stop as we raced for the exit for this photo. (Not a great photo since I was trying to hold an umbrella which was being blown inside out at the time!)

Thankfully we stopped at Buckingham Palace on Friday afternoon when things were much less chaotic and you could actually see the buliding. Everyone was much happier at this visit than the one the next day!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

London - Part 1 of ????

We went to London this weekend to see the, really to see Frank. He had to go to London to deal with his Kazakh work visa. Since he couldn't make it to Calgary we met him there. It was a quick trip - we arrived Fri 1pm and left Mon 1pm but we did alot while we were there. I have lots of pictures to share so I'm not sure how many postings it will take!

Here we are outside the flat we rented on Glouchester Terrace near Hyde Park. It was a bit small and Frank and I slept in the hallway a couple nights in order to accomodate jet-lagged children, but we weren't there much so it was okay.

Events are a bit out of order here but we went to see Fulham FC vs West Ham on Sun afternoon. The stadium is called Craven Cottage and is 100+ years old. It was cold and rainy on Sunday but we survived and enjoyed seeing a win. Walking to the stadium from the Fulham store (where we proved ourselves instant fans and bought a little of everything) one of the girls spied this car parked in a driveway. Couldn't resist snapping a picture of ND around the world!

More to come! Stay tuned for further London postings.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

It's May 5th!!!

The past two days have been cold and snowy and more is coming through tomorrow. Here's how things looked this morning:

On the way to school this morning (which took 1 hour 40 minutes round trip) Marcy and I decided that the trouble might be the decoration in our 2nd floor windows. This is a close-up of those windows:

The girls made these snow flakes and we hung them in the windows before Christmas. They have made good winter decorations but more importantly they have been a distinguishing feature for the house. Our house is pretty drab and boring. In fact, if it weren't for the neighbor's hockey net I'd easily drive past our house on a regular basis. Our house number is hard to find as it's on a pole by the front door so I always tell people coming to the house that it's the one with the snowflakes. But, maybe it's just one more weather jinx so today I'll take them down and see if the weather improves.