Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Finny is a BIG fan

A friend just sent us a picture of Finny and her buddy Sophia from the Writer's Festival. It was sent along by someone in the marketing department. The shot was captured while author Melanie Watt was taking questions. Melanie is the creator of Finny's favourite character, Scaredy Squirrel. If you don't know Scaredy, that's him on Finny's hand. She brought all five of her Scaredy Squirrel books for Melanie to sign, plus her puppet (also signed). It was like she was seeing a rock star...! Even if I have done nothing else right as a mother, the fact that Finny was this excited to meet a writer is a big success.

As an aside, Melanie took Finny's question. How can you not call on a kid holding up your character's puppet?

If you want to see more of Finny's Scaredy Squirrel pictures, you can look on Finny's blog. She writes it all herself.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Portland Praise

Who, you ask, goes to Portland for a family holiday in October? What do you mean? Is it rainy there, or something?

We took the above picture during a TORRENTIAL downpour, peppered with hail. Look at the girls...if they looked up, their eyes would be pelted out by ice chunks.

What is the only thing you can do when the skies open in Portland? Head to Powell Books, of course. I actually think it should be raining when you head in to spend an hour or two in a book store.

Our trip to Portland was part of Molly's birthday present. We promised her an NBA game and $30 to spend on books.

She was happy...

We headed down on Friday afternoon, fighting Seattle traffic to make it to the preseason game between the Trailblazers and Golden State. The game was exciting and the arena was packed. It was good seeing some of the fringe players fighting for their spot on the roster.

We had a great hotel across the river, a terrific Hotwire score. After a delicious free breakfast, we headed in to town for the day. The skies cleared while we were browsing in Powell Books, so we walked down to Voodoo Donuts. To wait in line. That's right, line.

There was a half hour wait to order donuts.

Luckily, we had lots to entertain us. Like the crazy "end of the world" guy. Standing in front of the "Keep Portland Weird" mural. So, success there, Portland.

We finally made it inside the donut store. There was some excitement.

And for good reason.

Good things come in pink boxes.

And then the feast began. We got a dozen. They went quickly.

Portland may be weird, but it's tasty, too.

Then we walked down to the Saturday market. The Spoonman was there. He makes things out of spoons. They have apparently branched out and also make some crazy headbands.

Observe Plunger Head.

Lukey, impaled by drumsticks.

Never run with scissors...or a spatula. That looks like it smarts.

That will be a headache in the morning...

We walked around downtown and looked for a place to eat dinner.

We popped into Nike and designed some $300 shoes. Then we walked away.

Dinner was an amazing Vietnamese spot. This $7 bowl of Pho was amazing (I forgot to take a picture until I had eaten most of it...it was that yummy).

Sunday morning, we headed out on a great walking tour. We learned a lot and covered quite a bit of the city.

After another trip for ANOTHER dozen Voodoo donuts, we drove around some of the residential neighbourhoods before heading back to the Rose Quarter to watch the Trailblazers practice. It was a free event and place was packed.

Look carefully at this picture to see Molly's face looking backwards. We had good seats.

As soon as the practice was over, we started our drive home. It was a lovely long weekend and it whet our appetite to return to Portland in the spring.

Monday, October 22, 2012


...so, we have avoided it as long as we possibly could. Music. Instrument.

Molly has brought home what she calls "fun homework". Recorder practice. Fun for whom, I ask?

After a highly questionable rehearsal, from which I retreated upstairs due to my dislike of bleeding ears, Molly asked her sweet brother, "That was awesome, right?"

"Totally," he confirmed.

Let's just say, she asked the right person.

Friday, October 19, 2012


We spent this afternoon at teacher/parent conferences. Three of them. It is no end of nice to go into your kids' classrooms and hear teacher speak so kindly about them.

Heck, we have to love them. We are genetically pre-programmed to think they are the bees' knees. These teachers are paid to spend six hours a day with them, but you can't pay them to like them...they have to do that part on their own. It is a relief to hear such positive words combined in sentences that also contain our kids' names. Phew. Bottom line: we are a pair of proud parents.

I have to share one funny side story, though.

Finny and her brilliant and caring teacher were discussing her goal of memorizing multiplication tables. Her teacher was reassuring her that it would be easy, she just had to put in the time.

"Don't worry, Finny," she said. "It will be a cakewalk."

Finny's face fell. She went from hopeful optimism to dismay.

"Oh no. I am terrible at cakewalks."

I had to explain to her puzzled teacher that we had gone to a school fair in Kelowna this summer and Finny had tried (and failed) five times to win a cake at the cakewalk. She was so bitterly disappointed. And now she was being told multiplication tables were like that...?! We talked her down.

Correction, Finny. It will be a piece of cake, instead.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

All-Sports, All-Day

We, apparently, are a sporty family. At least, my camera tells me that we are...

I uploaded my pictures and all I see is shots of our kids running. A lot of running. And playing. And kicking and throwing.

Our weeks are dominated by our sports schedule. Mondays...Finny has cross-country with the Thunderbirds. Tuesdays...soccer after school for Lukey, then basketball for all three. Wednesday...cross-country for Finny. Thursday...cross-country mini-meet for all three, hockey for Lukey and basketball for all three. Friday...free! Saturday...cross-country meets for Finny, soccer game and hockey game for Lukey. Sunday...free! Phew.

So, they are all little athletes...and I am their professional chauffeur. Organizing all this is its own sport.

Here is Lukey doing the Terry Fox run at school. I think he made it around the field eight times (notice his Butler Bulldogs t-shirt...).

...and then he walked a lap or two with Eric.


 Here is Finny, with her rosy cheeks, mid-run.


And there is Molly, using her long legs for good.

Molly and her best friend Maya are in the same class again this year...for the sixth year in a row. These two are inseparable. Molly is incredibly lucky to have such a great kid for her friend.

There was a basketball program for a week at school, run by Split Second Basketball. The kids loved it.

Lukey was able to start cross-country for the first time...kindergartens weren't allowed, so he had to wait until Grade One. He wasn't sure he'd be able to make it all the way around. He was nervous. There he is, lining up for his first race:

And here is beaming, after running for a fourth place finish. (By the way, that's him on the right. His little buddy Alex looks a lot like him...Alex got first place!)

Soccer is a new addition to our repertoire. Lukey's team, the Giants, includes four boys from his class at school. I, somehow, got roped into being team manager. If you know me, you will recognize that this is a highly unnatural role for me. Good to stretch my organizational muscles...goodness knows, they are weak.

Lukey eating his half-time snack (the schedule for which, I drew up...that's right, check me out, coordinating stuff...).

The team's first game was a blowout, and not in our favour...but in my opinion, it was a total victory. A beautiful fall day and a sweet boy in a blue uniform. Running his little heart out. I just have to remember that feeling in mid-February when the rain is coming down and freezing in my eyebrows as I stand on the sidelines.

Play on, little people.

Our Annual Day in the Country

That's right. It was our yearly trip to Lyden, Washington for the Northwest Washington Fair with the McTaggarts.

We paid our five dollars for parking and went to get our annual dose of good ol' country fun. And everyone know that starts with a pair of goats nuzzling.

We touched a lot of farm animals. They are well-tended and well-loved animals. These critters were better groomed than my children.

If I didn't know that it would result in a divorce (you can take that one to the bank), I would bring a pair of these big brown eyes home.

We got to hear the heavy, furry clomping of the Clydesdale hooves on the wagon teams.

Hearing them all race was like thunder. It makes me think about the use of the "horsepower"...and it makes me think that Ferraris and Lamborghinis aside, cars really don't know a thing about horsepower. These guys are power. Our Jetta...not quite the same.

The day couldn't have been hotter. We bought a giant lemonade early in the day and went back for refills throughout the afternoon. Molly managed to hold onto this one lemon for a few hours. It made for a cheery smile.

It is difficult to really explain the "country" nature of this fair. All of the charm of this place is wrapped up in the truly rural experience. There are prizes and judging galore. The wide range of items put forward by both kids and adults is staggering.

Like fruit and vegetable sculpture....

And, seemingly hand in hand with the agricultural focus is a healthy dose of religion in evidence at the Fair. Behold the tent below...Teens for Christ selling Cheesecake on a Stick. Yep. 

In fact, one of the local churches offered a sprinkler station to try and combat the heat. I wondered if it was a surreptitious baptism or maybe holy water.

I had to get a picture of the Lynden fire department's...um, golf cart.

And while I was taking pictures...our own little photojournalist was snapping her own shots. She took hundreds of pictures on her own camera.

Including about a thousand of this little newborn...

Fair food was eaten.

And pictures of ridiculous angora bunnies were taken.

...although, I have to admit to being slightly disturbed by the little sign over top of the rabbit cages that asked..."Did you know rabbit meat is white?". No...no, I did not. I DO know I felt squeamish reading that sign...

Matthew and Lukey did some great imaginary tractor driving.

And the little boys managed to repeat Beth's and my milking race from the year before. I don't think I have to mention who won the 2011 battle (and by that, I mean, I don't want to talk about it...). The rematch was a little more relaxed.

It was a perfect (if scorching and dehydrating) day with the very best kind of company. May our children/grandchildren wheel the McKnights/Butlers/McTaggarts to this fair for years to come.