Thursday, June 28, 2012

Oh Canada!

I think we probably didn't appreciate Canada enough while we were living here.  It was hard to get past snow in May, June, Aug, Sept, etc.  But, when the sun shines and the temperature goes up just a bit, it really is a beautiful place.  Here are some of the sights so far:

Moose spotted on the drive to Kimberley

Marysville Falls

Geocaching on the North Star Trail in Kimberley

Jumping off the high dive
at Fairmont Hot Springs

Horseback riding
(on Joker, Lola, Canyon, Hickey, and Butch)

Great fun in Kimberley.  Wish we could get here more often.  We head back to Calgary tomorrow to visit with friends.  Olivia got a head start on the friend visits since Jaydene was able to come to Kimberley with us for a couple of days.  A welcome addition to our vacation fun!

Chicken reunion

The Notre Dame Lewis Hall Chickens had reunion #4 and finished a full circuit of everyone's "home territory."  We've been to Charleston, SC, Dallas, Chicago and now the NJ mountains.  It was a great, relaxing weekend and so good to catch up.  It's the first one that all seven of us have made it to since Charleston, maybe? (Hey - where did Kathy go in this photo? Getting a refill? I'll have to update this post later with another photo!)

And could we have planned it any better?  It was Beer Fest weekend at Crystal Springs resort.  We tried all kinds of beers and while there was no shot gunning or funnels, we drank our fair share for a bunch of old ladies!  And we got this great souvenier glass.  Sue Lippa will regret leaving hers behind, I'm sure of it.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Some final school events

Nauryz Celebration - Traditional Kazakh spring holiday

Super Hero Day - Marcy as Wonder Woman and Emily as a Power Puff Girl (which one??)

Science Fair - 3rd Place winner for a solar oven

Spring Music Concerts

If you build it, they will come!

Trader Joe's has finally made it to the Dallas metroplex with a store opening this past Fri in Ft Worth.  On Sun, Madeline and I stopped there before I dropped her off for Frog Camp at TCU.  It was crazy busy with police directing traffic, cars forced to circle the block in order to enter the parking lot, and people waiting outside for a cart.  We lucked out with a not too far away parking spot and a cart available as we walked up.  We mostly went for gummy candies for Madeline and for dark chocolate caramels for everyone else in the family - and they were out of both!  But, I got stuff for Father's Day dinner, other tasty chocolate items, and whatever I could reach out and grab between all the people.

We are all excited about Trader Joe's opening soon in Dallas proper and Steven and Barbara have got to be excited about the company's success and expansion.  But, what will Barbara bring/send for fun treats when we can get it for ourselves???  For now, Ft Worth is a bit of a drive but Madeline has offered to make pit stops every time she's heading home this fall!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Graduation Party!!

Forgot to post about the party before graduation.  We had friends and family over for Pappasito's fajitas with all the fixings and Barbara provided a really tasty Sam's cake.  Yum!  We were taking polls about who is an icing person and who is a cake person.  I'm a cake person for sure.  How about you?

Maddie and friends
 Cake - in TCU colors!!
 Present time, present time,
open a present, see what's inside!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Going Away Party

We had a mid-week day off of school (Emily's birthday) which seemed the perfect time for a going away party for Emily and Marcy.  (Olivia did not want to include her friends in this and had a massive sleepover the Fri before we left instead.)  Emily and Marcy each had five girls over for the afternoon.  I didn't want twelve girls running around the house so I planned outdoor activities and prayed for good weather.  It was a beautiful day.  They ate pizza, had a neighborhood photo scavenger hunt, played with water balloons and ran through sprinklers and made ice cream in a bag.  It was a 2 hour party which I thought was plenty of time but no one was ready to leave - a successful party!

Marcy and friends on scavenger hunt
"Take a photo with a student from AIS"
with Alex from 5th grade
 "Spell a word with your bodies"
 "Everyone in a small space"
 "Take a photo with someone in uniform"
with one of the village maintenance men
luckily Weronika on the far right speaks Russian!

Emily and friends on the scavenger hunt
"Take a photo with everyone off the ground"
 "Take a photo with someone who works at AIS"
Mr Walker, middle school English teacher
 "Take a photo with someone talking on the phone"
random neighbor
luckily Aleena 2nd from right speaks Russian
 "something purple"
I think that flower is purple and that is the clue for this photo!
We had the perfect neighborhood for the scavenger hunt - small, gated, friendly, busy!  I would definitely do this for a party activity again but I'm not sure it would work so well in Dallas.  Certainly Zhaily Village was a bright spot in our stay in Kazakhstan.

Dream Day for a Librarian

Last week I got up early (darn Chinook - he's up early every morning) and was leisurely reading the newspaper.  I came across an article about Chris Raschka, the 2012 Caldecott Award winner.  He was scheduled to appear THAT DAY at BooksmART at the Dallas Museum of Art with all kinds of great authors and illustrators.  How come no one told me about this??  I was instantly motivated and started waking children up to get ready to go.

Marcy, Emily and Anna ended up going with me.  Thank goodness Anna was at our house - she was all for it and I'm not sure Emily and Marcy would have been too excited without her saying, "Yes, let's go!"

We started off the day with a scavenger hunt.  We were too late to be in the running for prizes but it was fun for the girls and we avoided the early crowds at the author signings and presentations.

Some of the scavenger hunt finds:
Next we waited in line for author signings.  All the girls had Baby Mouse books to be signed and Anna had When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead.  I also bought Newbery Winner Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos.  I went to get his signature and he was coming inside.  He heard me say, "Oh, I missed it!" and he said, "If you follow me to my next event I'll sign for you when we get there." So, I walked with him through the museum.  So cool!

My Jack Gantos signed book

Baby Mouse author and illustrator siblings
Jennifer and Matthew Holm

2010 Newbery Winner
Rebecca Stead
After some well deserved lunch, we attended some of the programs going on.  We saw Deborah Hopkinson give a reading from her non-fiction book Titanic.  Emily and Anna both decided it would be a good summer read.  Then we went to see Chris Raschka speak.  He did a funny drawing of his two cats so we could get to know him better and then took volunteers from the audience to act out his books.  Marcy and Anna got chosen!

 Marcy performing Yo! Yes?
 Anna performing A Ball for Daisy
2012 Caldecott winner
Last, we saw Jack Gantos speak.  He was really funny and the girls loved it.  What kids wouldn't when he told stories about 6th grade when he vomited spaghetti on a wall, got locked outside his house naked, and tortured his older sister with a giant cockroach?
What a great day!  We were there for 4 hours and no one complained about being bored or begged to go home.  I'm definitely going again next year.  How could anyone pass up a free event like this???

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Hockaday Graduation

aka out with the old!!

What an exciting day - Graduation!  Hockaday had a great ceremony with a serious procession in, a bit of dancing and fun during the class song (You Make My Dreams Come True by Hall and Oates), and alot of horns and noise during the passing out of diplomas.  Someone said that if you pay more for your education you get to have more fun at graduation because Ursuline graduation is very solemn.

All the girls wear the same dress, this year a very flattering chiffon dress with a tradition-breaking champagne sash.  The big white hats are adorned with flowers of the girls choice.  Madeline chose big red roses just for me - a little touch of Ursuline graduation in the Hockaday ceremony.  It turned out to be a great choice as her hat was very unique and many remarked about it.

Barbara and Samantha and Alan and Joy came in town for the graduation celebration. Only the immediate family got tickets and others had standing room only.  Most of the the family stayed home and watched the live streaming broadcast!  What a great way to do it.

The hat and dress

The graduate with family and friends

Processing in


Commencement speaker -
Jackie Joyner-Kersey

A Holland family graduation -
hat staying chilled on beer!

Graduation live streaming on Sarah's phone -
a better photo of receiving her diploma than I got!