The Life of K

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Wee Ones and Big Strides

WeeOnes_JandKids
Before the race.
The Wee Ones and Big Strides race was last Sunday on Father's Day. It's a local race in support of a neighbourhood preschool and is set up just like an adult race with a start/finish line, water stations, and medals. This was the third year we did the race - the kids have come a long way in 3 years!

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At the start line.
It seemed smaller this year, but the park was still packed with kids ready to run! The 1K started just after 10am. The course goes out, does a lap of the soccer field, and comes back. Little K wanted to run with me so J went with Little J. We ended up running pretty close together. Poor Little J... if he didn't have to wait, I'm sure he could have gone so much faster.

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The final stretch.
It was pretty hot, but 1K doesn't take very long when you actually run most of the way. We crossed the finish line and grabbed water to drink in the shade. A big thank you to J's mom who came, held our bag, and took the action shots.

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Happy kids with their medals.
Another year, another race.

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Shirts, bibs and medals.
Maybe next year the kids will be able to tackle the 3K!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Father's Day

FathersDay_J
J.
Happy Father's Day to J!

Father's Day was a bit of a bust. I kinda screwed up his coffee (he has a fancy Aeropress) and pancakes (the grill wasn't hot enough so they didn't cook properly), and we had to rush out to the kids' race. Oops.

WeeOnes
Heading to the race.
The race was fun but more on that later. The 4 of us ran and then came back home.

FathersDay_Card
Card from Little K.
The kids gave J the stuff they made at school. A cute card from Little K and grass she grew.

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Pretty grass.
Little J was so proud of the iDad he made. Each app had a note when you "opened" it. 

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iDad.
And we got him a cover for the bbq (which I ended up taking back when I found a better and much cheaper one at Costco the next day).

FathersDay_JandKids
Before a huge water fight!
The afternoon was spent playing in the backyard.

I almost forgot, but every year I ask the kids some questions about their dad for Father's Day. Here they are:

What's your dad's name? J (they said his full name)
How old is he? 34
What is his job? To make money for us.
What's his favourite colour? Blue... wait, his favourite colour is red!
What does he like to eat? Pancakes.
What's his favourite animal? Kitty (k) Sandy (j) 
What does he do when he gets home? Plays with us (j) Changes (k)
Who is your dad's best friend? Pike
How does dad smell? {points to her nose} (k) Kinda good. Kinda in the middle. (j)
What's your favourite thing to do with your dad? Play.
What does dad always say? Expressions.
I love my dad because... He's nice. (j) He's nice. (k, copying her brother)
Is there anything you'd like to say to your dad? Yeah, I love you. (j) Yes, I love you. (k, copying her brother) I loved when you let me and you watch Guardians of the Galaxy 1! (j) I love you super much, more than the entire galaxy! (k)

Happy Father's Day to J, my dad and J's dad!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Gymnastics

I said earlier that I'm a proud dance mom, well I'm also a proud gymnastics mom. Little K did the spring session of gymnastics at Corona and loved it! She was in a group with 5 and 6 year old girls. During the 1.5 hour sessions, they moved around the gym from the floor to the beam, the bars, the trampoline, and the foam pit.

Unlike dance class that happens in a studio behind a closed door, the gym is viewable from the sitting area so I've been able to watch most of the classes. At the last class though, parents were invited to follow along after the warm up. It was fun being so close to the action.

Just like with dance, Little K is very serious about learning the moves. She works hard but also goofs off with the other girls. In the end she got her certificate and earned three of the 5 badges for her age group. To be honest, I'm not sure what they all mean, but I do know that Little K really loves gymnastics!

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Waiting for the coach to set up the floor equipment.


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Somersaults!


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Swinging and knocking over the pad.


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Swinging from the high bar.

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Jumping on the trampoline.

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Getting her certificate.

Without dance class this summer, Little K has signed up for more gymnastics. We'll keep signing her up as long as she loves it!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

May Reads

You know I'm always reading so it feels weird to have only read 4 books in May. In my defense, The Poisonwood Bible was long. Good, but long. Though if I had to pick a favourite, it would be The Book Thief. Such a great story. The Paulo Coelho books were good too, but I think I'm getting tired of his style. Onto the books!





19. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

Summary

The Poisonwood Bible is a story told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce, evangelical Baptist who takes his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959. They carry with them everything they believe they will need from home, but soon find that all of it -- from garden seeds to Scripture -- is calamitously transformed on African soil. What follows is a suspenseful epic of one family's tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruction over the course of three decades in postcolonial Africa.

My thoughts

I've had this book for years and I'm not sure why it took me so long to pick it up. Last month when I asked for book suggestions, a few people recommended this so I grabbed it. I'm glad I did! What an interesting story of a family who goes on a mission to the Congo. I pulled my hair out reading of the things Nathan Price did - from how he treated his family to the people of Congo. A religious zealot who is so determined to "do the right thing".. cringe-worthy.

When the girls go to a grocery store after years of living in the Congo, the description of the amount of food and the lack of smell really hit me. We really are fortunate with our access to food and clean water.

So many parts of this book will stick with me.





20. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Summary

It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.

This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.

My thoughts

Now this was a great book! Narrated by Death, which is an interesting choice, we follow Liesel through childhood. I'm not a big fan of wartime books, but this story was different. And seeing how non-Nazi Germans survived Hitler - or didn't - was interesting.




21. Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coelho

Summary

Twenty-four-year-old Veronika seems to have everything she could wish for: youth and beauty, plenty of attractive boyfriends, a fulfilling job, and a loving family. Yet something is lacking in her life. Inside her is a void so deep that nothing could possibly ever fill it. So, on the morning of November 11, 1997, Veronika decides to die. She takes a handful of sleeping pills expecting never to wake up.

Naturally Veronika is stunned when she does wake up at Villete, a local mental hospital, where the staff informs her that she has, in fact, partially succeeded in achieving her goal. While the overdose didn't kill Veronika immediately, the medication has damaged her heart so severely that she has only days to live.

The story follows Veronika through the intense week of self-discovery that ensues. To her surprise, Veronika finds herself drawn to the confinement of Villete and its patients, who, each in his or her individual way, reflect the heart of human experience. In the heightened state of life's final moments, Veronika discovers things she has never really allowed herself to feel before: hatred, fear, curiosity, love, and sexual awakening. She finds that every second of her existence is a choice between living and dying, and at the eleventh hour emerges more open to life than ever before.

My thoughts

While this was an interesting story, parts of it rubbed me the wrong way, and I found myself very angry at one character in particular.



22. The Pilgrimage by Paulo Coelho

Summary

'The Pilgrimage' recounts the spectacular trials of Paolo Coelho and his mysterious mentor, Petrus, as they journey across Spain in search of a miraculous sword.

The Pilgrimage paved the way to Paulo Coehlo's international bestselling novel The Alchemist. In many ways, these two volumes are companions—to truly comprehend one, you must read the other.

Step inside this captivating account of Paulo Coehlo's pilgrimage along the road to Santiago. This fascinating parable explores the need to find one's own path. In the end, we discover that the extraordinary is always found in the ordinary and simple ways of everyday people. Part adventure story, part guide to self-discovery, this compelling tale delivers the perfect combination of enchantment and insight

My thoughts

I'm sorry to say that after reading so many of Coelho's books, I'm a little tired of his style so my thoughts on this book may not be as great as if I'd read it at another time. The story was interesting, like his other books, but I was confused as to whether it was fact or fiction. Don't get me wrong - it was interesting but unbelievable and I couldn't get past the mythical/magical parts.

And that's that! What are you reading?

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Pop Up Painters

PopUpPainters_InstructorTracy
Amazing instructor with the sample painting.
You've probably heard of Paint Nite, right? It's where adults go, often to a bar or restaurant, and are led through a complete painting, while enjoying a drink and the company of friends. It's pretty popular with events almost every single day all around the city. I've been twice and, even though my paintings leave something to be desired, I loved the experience.

And the kids love my paintings. Little K even has one hanging in her room. They asked if they could go, but the problem is that the events are often at night and go past their bedtime. Plus the whole being in a bar thing.

Enter Pop Up Painters. It's basically Paint Nite for kids... the same painting fun minus the bar and alcohol. Events take place around the city, at grocery stores, community centers and in the park. For a peek at what painting in the park looks like, check out my post from last summer! They will even come to your house or event... need a birthday party idea?

I love Pop Up Painters and so do my kids. They've done three now and have already asked when they can do it again.

Most recently I saw on the Pop Up Painters Facebook page, a free event held at the Independent Grocer in Barrhaven during their Market Moments. I eagerly signed up the kids.

PopUpPainters_MarketMoments
Market Moments.
The painting, called Kindness is Beautiful, is a soothing blue, green and yellow scene with grass and a bird couple. The artist led the kids through each step from creating the background with a sponge, to painting the grass and birds with a brush. I love that they teach different techniques using different tools.
PopUpPainters_GettingStarted

Using a sponge to make the background.

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Already covered in paint!

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Proud kids with their paintings.
Pop Up Painters offers baby sensory classes where you create a beautiful painting with the help of your baby's chubby hand or foot as well as adult and corporate events. This little company has a lot to offer!

Have you ever tried Paint Nite or Pop Up Painters?

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Proud Ninja Mom

Little J has been doing karate almost two years now and the other week he tested for his yellow/orange belt.

KarateKid_HiYa
Punch!
When he was 4, we sold karate as ninja training, and we still call it that. Little J is very determined and quite good. He has learned all sorts of different punches, blocks, and kicks. But, even more important, he has learned discipline. Karate is a very disciplined sport and Douvris runs a tight ship. The class is packed full of 4-7 year olds and they pay attention and do the moves. It's fun to watch.

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Kick!
The dojo is somewhat of a fishbowl with a big window so parents are able to watch the class. I appreciate being able to see in. For belt tests, we are invited in to watch.

KarateKid_Block
Block.
Little J goes to karate one night a week but may go 2 in the summer months. His dojo gives the option of 1 or 2, which is nice.

KarateKid_Punch
Punch punch!
And just a little note about Douvris... it's locally owned and run and the senseis are great. They are strict but great with the kids. Very encouraging while pushing them to be better. They have summer camps in case you're interested!






KarateKid_Patient
Waiting patiently.
Little J is thriving in this environment. Hopefully he'll carry these skills through life, whether he stops at yellow/orange or makes it all the way to his black belt.

This post isn't sponsored. Just my thoughts with some links.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Proud Dance Mom

Last summer we signed Little K up for dance. She did two 4-week sessions where she got to try different styles like ballet, jazz, tap and musical theater. She really liked ballet so when September came around and classes were divided by style, she chose ballet as her one class.

LittleKStartingBallet
Eagerly waiting for her class to start.

LittleKinClass
A rare peek into the dance studio.

OMGHair
Beautiful bun.

CuteBun
Testing out a fake bun.
Dance is all new to me. We chose DanceRoots because it is right beside karate and Little K's class overlaps with Little J's karate class. I was able to take them both while J stayed home and made dinner. I spent the first bit with Little K, had 10 minutes to myself while they were both in class, and had Little J with me at the end. Overall it worked out really well, logistically.

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A ninja-in-training and a ballet dancer in the rain.
Little K settled into her class. She was really enjoying it and learning. Her teacher kept saying she has great feet.

Christmas break comes around and the parents are invited in to see what the kids have learned so far. Little K would not get up. She wouldn't leave my lap. She wouldn't do any of the moves. We had just bought her recital costume and were worried it was money down the drain, that she wouldn't go up on stage when the time came.

Fast forward to May.

DreamsInProgress
Add caption
There's a big lead up to the recital. The kids practice their dances every week.. I can't tell you how many times I heard the same muffled music through the walls of the studio while waiting for class to be done.

We often talked to Little K about the performance and what it would be like, not that we really knew. Her and I went to check out some dancing at a competition a couple of months ago. She's quiet about dancing, only saying she likes it, but never showing us any steps.

In the weeks leading up to the year-end recital, emails from the studio were flooding my inbox. Info on parking and tickets and makeup and costumes and this and that. It felt never ending. There was so much going on and so much to remember. It was overwhelming, but slowly I pieced together a plan, and made a deal with another mom about the makeup (I'm not buying a $10 lipstick for my 5 year old).

Here's the rough schedule - dress rehearsal, technical rehearsal, two recitals - and here's how it went down.

Saturday: dress rehearsal 


All the ballet classes worked together on a joint performance and needed to practice it together. This rehearsal was at the studio and a good time to get Little K in her costume. We learned that her shoes cut up her heels when she's not wearing tights which wouldn't fit under her costume. Bandaids!

DressRehearsal
My little soldier.

Monday night: technical rehearsal


No costumes or make up needed at this rehearsal but it was at the theater across town. During dinner time. So much goes into the recital and this rehearsal was definitely needed. I got to witness some of the craziness of organizing hundreds of dancers.

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Ready to go on stage.
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Doing their dance.

Tuesday night: Recital #1


Full costume. Full make up. Full chaos! Little J had karate so I took Little K to the theater and got her in her costume. Isn't she the cutest little soldier?


LittleKCostume
Almost ready!
I took her back to the dressing room and no one kicked me out so I ended up staying back there and helping out where I could. I got Little K's make up done and then we hung out for over an hour. Kids were in and out, the ones who were in multiple classes, with costume changes. It was chaotic.

Little K was paralyzed by having make up on and wouldn't eat or drink anything. I was worried about her little tummy since the show was right at dinner time and she hadn't eaten before. She might have been hungry or thirsty but she did fine.

LittleKMakeUp
Baby girl's first time wearing make up.
I didn't get to see the show, but she said it was fun. I know for sure she went out with all the other dancers.

LittleKDressingRoom
A real dressing room.
We capped off our evening with a run through the McDonald's drive-thru.

Wednesday night: Recital #2


J, Little J and I all had tickets for the Wednesday night show so we drove together. Having learned from the night before, we showed up a little later, and I didn't put on Little K's make up right away. One of the parent volunteers had to pull her away so I could run out after dropping her off at the dressing room. She was not impressed I wasn't staying.

But she danced. She got up on stage. I am so proud of her. She definitely knew all the moves and did so well.

SoldiersOnStage
Coordinated soldiers (Little K is second from the left).
Little K's dance was near the end of the first half of the show so we got to see all of the dances before hers. Little J was getting into it, but his clapping was loudest for her and there were tears in his eyes.

After the final bow I ran back to get her and told her how proud I was. We got her changed and went to find the boys. Little K ran into her dad's arms.

AfterRehearsal
So proud of herself!
It's a relief now that the recital is done. It was pretty stressful and Little K definitely had some late nights. It was worth it though. She worked really hard all year and did really well on stage.

She was actually upset that dance was over but then I remembered the summer series. She gets to do another 4 classes in June and try out different styles like last summer - ballet, jazz, tap and acro. J and I think she'll be really good at acro so I'm anxious to see what she thinks.

Little J was so blown away by the dancing that he wanted to sign up too, but he wants to do hip hop. Just like Little K, he has 4 classes in June and he gets to try different kinds of hip hop. He already had his first class and liked it.

Who knows what the fall will bring, but I know one thing for sure: Little K did a great job this year and I'm very proud of her!