Saturday, December 20, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Only family picture of the year, which the girls refer to as the Bank-Robber Mommy picture.

Making gingerbread houses with Edie's class.

Merry Christmas!

I figured that it's about time that I used this site again. I usually hand-write Christmas notes to accompany cards, but found myself too far behind the 8 ball to get at it this year (Celia and Edie are very good at reminding me of the things that I've said that I was going to do, but haven't yet, and somehow sewing up holes in pants that are too small but have seahorses on them trumps actually sitting down and writing a letter to someone I love...).  Given that most everyone who we send cards to live very, very far away from us, I'd like to give you a glimpse into 2014 for Team Jardine.

I must say first off though, we still like it here, 3 years in. I can recognize that I sound pretentious when I say that, but life is really, really good for us here. I can confidently say that our quality of life now trumps every other place we've lived. I know there are a lot of variables at play here (health being a big one, hours of sleep/night too), but yeah, if someone we liked told us that there was an opportunity in Saskatoon for them and asked our opinion on what they should do about that, I don't think we'd hesitate in recommending it.  To anyone! There are so many good things that you can spend your time doing with great people in this city. The biggest downfall in my book is that I wish it was closer to home (NS), but within 6 hours I can fly there. I can handle that, for now :)

We started off the year with a trip to see Tim's parents in Bermuda in January. Gosh that seems like a long time ago now. And we can't find the pictures. But it was fun, and warm. Tim smashed a rotten coconut on the beach and it was a putrid smell, that's the thing the kids recall the most. It was the last visit we had with Tim's grandmother, who passed away within a few months of our being there, and we also got to see Mama Lilly. If we never mentioned her before, Mama Lilly was the live-in Bermudian nanny of Tim's mother's family growing up on the island. She is in her 90's now, lives in a nursing home and can still recall that Tim is Deb's boy every time we visit. Our kids know bits and pieces about her legacy, and Lillian is Edie's middle name, in her honor. We really enjoyed our visit to Bermuda, and the kids made out like bandits in the My Little Pony department. It unfortunately was also our last visit with Amber, the resident laboradoodle at Tim's parents place. Amber passed away very shortly after we left. Celia still talks about her.

Celia and Charlie, like bread and butter.

Which brings me to a big topic of discussion in our house. Animals. We always knew that Celia was an animal lover/whisperer, and it only gets stronger as the days go on. On a rational day with Celia we will engage in role-playing in which I am a (insert any type of animal you want here) mommy, and she is my (insert the juvenile term for above animal). The scenario that plays out can vary wildly depending on the day, but generally the  juvenile gets lost, makes itself found, and wants to snuggle, and this is on repeat, a lot. On an irrational day, I am endlessly consoling Celia (also involving lots of snuggling) because Charlie won't give her enough room on his dog bed. She let me know that she wanted a box of animals for Christmas this year. This kind of stuff is the tip of the iceberg in the deep character that runs through our little one. She is such a unique and fantastic person. And we love all of this about her. 3 has been a bit of a roller-coaster year for her (as it is for many of us), but she's a very determined little girl and she's learning, learning, learning all of the time. She's giving Edie a run for her money. Gymnastics is her gig for the time being. and she'd love, love, love to be in a karate class, but we're not ready to go down that road just yet. For some reason we think we'd have a hard time reigning her in if she actually knew how to throw a proper punch. She also spends a lot of time on her strider bike.

Totally giving up on ice skating for the day.

Celia is in pre-school with a fantastic bunch of 3 year olds. They are such a wild and funny group. I always feel like I need a nap after my helper day. They recently had their Christmas concert where 1 kid wouldn't go up on stage, another girl went on stage but held her hands in front of her face the whole time, another would only stay up if his mom was up there, a little brother (who is not in the class) took centre stage the entire show, and the rest of the kids had their individual 3 year old moments throughout. Celia got hit in the face a few times with tapping sticks...It was very entertaining.

And Edie. Edie has had the great fortune to have had 3 fantastic school teachers so far in her life, and to be genetically pre-disposed to being a super-student, both Tim and I were that kid. Since pre-school she has had access to teachers who have been really good at stretching the kids out of their comfort zones while giving them confidence at the same time. Superheroic. Edie is in french immersion in a grade 1/2 split because of declining numbers in her school and the arrangement is working well for all of the kids, but especially the younger ones, like Edie. She gets great pleasure in correcting our french. She's super awesome.

Writing sentences is one of her favorite classroom activities.

Edie is a swimmer, scientist, writer, mathlete and third parent. And a wonderful person. We love her to bits. She's also very healthy, which gives us great relief. For those who knew her in her early days, we are very glad to report that those days, though valuable, are far behind us.

Nana Midge came to Saskatoon this summer for a visit.  It was so lovely to have her around for a few weeks while Tim was away. She got to help us out with the kids's triathlon, which was a super fun day in June.  She also got to watch the Subaru Saskatoon Triathlon the next day, which I took part it. I have been racing for 3 years now, and think that my favorite races have been the ones that my mom has watched. There's nothing like seeing your mom sitting on a bench reading a book by the river when you're on the last leg (lag) of a three sport race, and being able to cat-call her on your way by. Man, that was a great feeling. There is nothing pretty or lovely about the end of a race, but man, it feels good to see your mom at the finish line. I got to race in Yarmouth in August as well, where the bike course actually went past my parent's house...It was so cool to have a whole family crowd cheering me on while I sped past, and I definitely got that nagging guilty mommy feeling hearing Celia screaming for me as I passed by (in reality it was not me she was screaming for, it's that Edie got to hold the cowbell and not her). My mom was at the finish line on the waterfront in Yarmouth, my hometown. Such great memories.

She's a runner too!
Best help on the course.

Proud dad.

This picture is actually going to be used in promotional materials for this race series.

Tim took the girls for a weekend in June while I took a trip to Lake Louise in the Rocky Mountains with some friends from the cycling club I ride in. This is another event that I hope never to forget. If you're in the area, and can ride a bike, I highly recommend exploring Lake Louise/Banff/Jasper National Park on a bike. Come and visit us, and we'll take you there.

Bow River summit- top of the catchment! Best day of riding ever!

Tim is doing very well on the work and family front. All around great guy. We just watched a promotional video that he is a part of for the Global Institute for Water Security at the University of Saskatchewan. It should be available online soon, and although it's hard to watch Tim in a serious role, it does a good job of explaining what Tim does and thinks about on a daily basis. I'll post a link to it when it becomes available. Tim also finally got a bike (ok, I got it for him), and it's a nice way to get to work and back when the weather is cooperative. I've even been riding it this winter, which is proving to be another antidote to the winter blues that can be so strong here.

Coffee on a bike.

Tim is still playing ball hockey in the fall, winter and spring. It provides him with well needed exercise and escape from work and family responsibilities. His team generally does quite well in his league, and this summer they ended up at provincials. The girls and I went to Regina to see him play, and we had a wonderful weekend at a hotel with a swimming pool (throwback to vacations of my youth) with rainbow pancakes, which may be the best food Celia has ever eaten, according to her. She has requested that we go back to Regina for her birthday, and never would I have ever dreamed that one of my kids would ever request this. Ever. But we might do it. On our way back from that trip, Celia, Edie and I drove through the storm of our lives, which included a tornado made famous (on the net) for this photo. Cool in a life experience kind of way, but you can believe that all three of us were crying and screaming while I was doing 160 km/h down the highway to get away from the funnel cloud travelling towards us. Life on the prairies.

It's been a good year. Our best wishes to you this season, and for the year to come.

With much love,

Laura, on behalf of the team.

Barb J, this picture is for you. Big dolly's tucked in to her bed.
Brian, this picture is for you- This book was given to us by Brian Fry in Australia. It was his when he was a little guy.
Super fun summer.
Yes, Tim is riding Edie's bike.

Saskatchewan River fun.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Holiday update coming soon!

(read: Get off my case, I'm working on it!)