Wilds of British Columbia. And Kids.

Earlier this year I traveled into the wilds by myself with our three wild kids through Saskatchewan, through Alberta, to halfway through British Columbia. To Prince George, in fact. The place, not the child. As they say, it was an adventure.

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Homeschooling Round 2.5. And Parenting School. For Me.

This year we will have two students in the house, and it’s both exciting and terrifying at the same time. School has officially begun!

We started our year the last week of August – 4 days after our whirlwind trip to Grasslands National Park, Yellowstone National Park, and Laramie, WY for the eclipse. OI VAY!

We are currently doing well, there are still some kinks in our scheduling that will need to be smoothed out, but we’re off to a much stronger start than last year. Last year our strong start didn’t happen until the end of November (but we still got through all our work – thanks goodness for flexibility!). I’ve learned a bit since then (the hard knocks school of parenting, perhaps), so I’m hoping this school year will be filled up better than last.

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First Eucharist & Confirmation PLUS Farm Week

Nothing like slapping several different events into one post, but it’s been awhile, so I’m off the hook.

Confirmation & First Eucharist

What can I say – my first child is now fully initiated into the Catholic faith. It’s hard to describe how thrilled I am that he can receive Jesus at Mass now; it’s crazy how far he’s come on his journey. And not only can he receive Eucharist now, but all the ministries are open to him (officially); he just needs to learn a few things on the ‘how’ and ‘why’ before he can glide into them. He’s already signed up for altar server training though :).

Spencer posing with Bishop Gerry Wiesner and Fr. Darryl (his Godfather and sponsor).

We are currently bishop-less here in Saskatoon, and our priest, Fr. Gerard, sought out Bishop Gerry, who is an Oblate of Mary Immaculate and is living in the Oblate retirement home here in Saskatoon.

True story: Bishop Gerry was the bishop of my home diocese, Prince George, for much of my time that I lived there. Neither my mom nor I remember if he Confirmed me or not. We could find out, but haven’t yet had motivation (we’ll see when I get there in a couple weeks).

Spencer’s official “before” picture.

The very excited and supportive sisters before the Mass.

There’s still a long journey ahead, which never ends for any of us, really, and I’m looking forward to sharing a part of that journey with him. Keep praying for him and for all of us!

The Farm Life

And as part of our homeschooling, we have gone to two farms now within a week of each other. First trip was to LaLa’s Little Farm, where she’s hoping to do educational days as well as offer a preschool this coming autumn.

Felicity brushing the donkey. And loving it.

I’m hoping we can continue to make a few trips out there and get to know the animals more. One very nice thing is that this little farm is only about 20 minutes away from us (outside our end of the city), which is super attractive!

Spencer feeding the goat.

Spencer holding one of the four baby rabbits. So cuddly!

We enjoyed our time there, despite the caterpillar epidemic choking our area right now. Thankfully they’re getting fewer and fewer, and hopefully the birds make good meals of the moths that show up…

The Dairy Farm

And yesterday we had the great privilege of touring the Fehr Dairy Farm. The older two and I went and had a GREAT time! I learned tons, the kids learned tons, and I totally think Spencer would easily fit into the farm life. At least on occasion ;). He asked good questions and got right in there excitedly to attach the machine to the cows’ udders.

Spencer being shown how to work the machine.

They also had baby calves (even one born that morning!) whose tongues sneak up on you and tap you on the shoulder (uhhh, ask me how I know). They were quite cute. And yes, those are chicken eggs in the kids’ hands…

This spirited calf tried to lick his ear.

This farm also had a few pigs. The farmer (possibly Mr. Fehr?) said each pig provides about 100 (or 150?) pounds of bacon. Holy cow! or pig, as it is. That would last us….well, a very long time. Especially with my pork digestive issues (buuuuuut BAAAACONNNNN!). Oh, and they’re cute things too. Cleaner snouts than the cows…

It was a fabulous educational trip. They had chickens as well, and if you know my Spencer, he was all over that like syrup on pancakes. This boy might have a thing for chicken farming or egg farming in his future (anyone know of good apprenticeships for 7-year-olds in the area?). I have no idea why he loves chickens so much, but he adores them.

And lastly, Andy’s cousin Leah, who was 28, just passed away from health complications this past week. We attended her funeral Tuesday and I’m certain the family would appreciate any prayers you might offer for her and for them. It’s been a hard journey this last year for them and they are greatly saddened at her passing. We are thinking and praying for them often.

In just over a week I will be on the road with the kids on a grand adventure to Prince George. I am thinking of journaling our trip over facebook…it will be an interesting adventure but we are all looking forward to it!

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Oops, She Did It Again

The bangs in the before are long, with a few whisps from her previous cutting extravaganza.

That 2 year old. She is absolutely intent on cutting her hair. So she did it again. Le sigh. And I won’t be calling her a 2 year old for much longer (eek!). Nine days to go until the birthday!

And we had a great tooth-full Easter. Or, maybe lack-thereof. Spencer’s first teeth that have come out all on their own (no dentist intervention needed, whew!). He was so very very thrilled that they came out the same day – one in the morning, the other at bedtime. The one that was left hanging (literally by some sinew or something, hardly anything) came out because I was worried he might swallow it in his sleep. He was opposed at first (I’d been offering to use floss to tug it out), but then relented after we shared our worries. He thought it would hurt a lot, but I said that it would hurt at first, there would likely be some blood, then it would stop and not hurt anymore, fairly quickly. Now, this is going off of a memory of just shy 30 years ago, buuuuut I figured it was probably true.

So I tugged a couple times, it popped out with a surprised cry and then joyful dancing. “Mommy! You were right! It hurt a little at first, then it stopped right away!”

Who just won the Mommy-For-Truth award? Yup. Me. His utter surprise that I was right was a mild downer, but I took the award and ran. 😀

And I went for allergy testing. Let me tell you – they all itched like CRAZY! Not anaphylactic, thank goodness, but explains last year’s Birch pollen season to a ‘T’.

Before I left the allergy specialists’ office, he gave me an antihistamine, as well. So this was a relatively treated reaction. And that bump for the birch (in the circle) lasted for about two and a half days, maybe three. The one on the right (arrow pointing) was response to dust mite. It didn’t last as long; I think it was reduced by the next morning. But that birch, holy. cow. Some nasty stuff right there. I also had a strong reaction to grass pollen. Which means that my allergy season effectively runs from May-August. It’s only all of the summer, right, so no worries there. Not like we venture outdoors like we’ve been hibernating all winter or anything.

Turns out, if your allergist knows stuff, they can pretty accurately predict your allergies. He had asked if I have had any reactions to foods. I mentioned I once got hives in my mouth from a peach. And it started with lips tingling, which I also get with apples. Sometimes. After the test, he gave me a sheet that had a good explanation of the allergy. I’m highly allergic to birch pollen protein, and depending on which part of that protein I react to, my body can react also to similar proteins. Like those in peach, apple, and a bunch of others. It is unlikely to be allergic to everything in that scope, but I am susceptible to them because their protein is similar. He said in particular, when I mentioned the lips tingling, he was convinced it was at least the birch, because the tingling is very common in birch allergies. 

And this week is full of Confirmation-First Eucharists at Andy’s work. 170 kids over 3 packed nights. So I’m letting the kids watch shows. While I make supper. So I don’t go insane. In my attempt to tone down the cartoons, though, I “forced” them to watch How the Earth Was Made, focusing on volcanoes.

So interesting! Supper was slightly delayed as I spent a little too much time watching along. The girls lost interest only about 10 minutes in (“but I didn’t want to watch that show!”), but Spencer is enthralled. He even said, while they were showing the work they are doing studying Hawaii, that maybe when he grew up he could  be a scientist and work learning about volcanoes. That’s pretty high praise from this 7 year old!

I borrowed this DVD from the library because this summer we are going on a very epic journey to see two major things: a supervolcano and the complete solar eclipse.

Oh, and heading to Rome in two years, but that’s another post.

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7 Quick Takes Friday

Apologies, apologies for the confusion about the pseudo-post yesterday…I was testing a feature out that we’ve never used, along with editing a post that will be elsewhere later…

So I’m making it up with a 7QT. And pictures.

1. 

silly face

We attended a family retreat in Martensville a couple weekends ago – it was fabulous! The kids had their own retreat, there was a nursery, and then there was the retreat for the adults. It felt almost like being pampered having the kids taken care of so much!

We realised that this would be the first time Felicity would be on her own – I don’t think she’d ever been separated from all of us at once before! She was completely fine in the morning, waving to us and then turning her back so quickly, but after lunch (which she had with us) it was a different story. Thankfully we were able to make it work still, and I do think she had a lovely time in the morning playing.

cookie-face

2.

It doesn’t look like it, but the weather’s been taking a fabulous warm turn and I believe we have ourselves an early spring here in the north. This was a particularly windy day, and wind, even in spring, can take away all the warmth.

BUT we’ve been enjoying finally getting outside to play. Only warmth ahead! And maybe a little rain. We will blaze forward and enjoy gardening! Or, at least I will.

3. 

Lazy daisy. Picked up some screws at Home Depot the other day with the girls, turned around for a minute, looked back and found her like this. Chillaxing. *Sigh* the life of a 2-year-old.

4.

So Cassia has taken up the hobby of drawing. It’s love/hate for me. I love her cute little people she draws. I hate the millions of sheets of paper left all over the living room floor, the kitchen table, the den…

A friend years ago recommended just using drawing books so that everything is contained…it might take some convincing before we get to that.

Interestingly though, as illustrated in the picture above, she’s demonstrated that she can draw in other people’s style as well. I think it’s so neat! The way she draws pictures and the way Spencer does are different and easy to tell apart. She completely recognises this and when she went to draw Spencer (yelling his head off, she tells me), she drew him in his own style of drawing. Then she drew herself (jus’ tawkin to m’self).

I’m so intrigued where she gets her inspiration from – no one has ever told her (that I’m aware) that girls should have eye lashes and boys shouldn’t, for instance. There have been a few other interesting things too. Recently fingers have been added to her peoples.

5. 

I’ve been working hard on my Catechesis of the Good Shepherd materials. I feel that I have the foresight of Dory, that is to say nil, and so I’ve been scrambling a great deal attempting to get my materials in order. Saturdays this month have felt so very inconsistent, between my having to cancel a few sessions and kids having other random activities, I’m feeling behind in presentations, which is hard! Especially in Lent, these presentations are all key to receiving the Easter presentations. Le sigh. March, why were you out to get me?

However, I’m getting materials made so there’s progression.

6.

Speaking of materials, if you follow me on social media you may have seen this, but it’s too good not to record here.

So, I was painting the Good Shepherd figure, I got to the face and became stuck at the mouth. I hate doing mouths. So I decided to postpone it until after the kids were in bed and I could look online to see what others have done for the GS’s mouth.

Spencer, however, noticed that the Shepherd was incomplete. So Spencer thought he’d offer his talents. I believe the conversation went something like this:

Mommy, I can do it for you. I’m good at making mouths. See, he’s eating a bird in that one.

Numero 4 is the bird culprit. And he’s right. There is a bird in there.

I gracefully declined.

But I love his options.

7. 

I made this the other day:

It’s like a stacked bread…roll it out, spread it with butter, herbs and cheese, slice it to squares, stack it in the pan and bake like normal.

So I ate about half the loaf. And while it was darn delicious, I think it could have been better. Have you ever made this before? What have you used for flavour?

Head on over to Kelly’s page for allll the other Takes!

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