Friday, June 27, 2008

2007/2008 School Year Wrap Up

So, Daniel and Claire finished Grades 5 and 2 respectively yesterday.  I think that they are both happy to be done for the year.  Claire says that she will miss all her friends dreadfully and Daniel is just happy to be done.

They both did extremely well this year.  They both received high honors, which means that they got no less than 80% in each and every subject they took this year.  They also both received a Merit Award for independent work and Daniel received a Music Award for Recorder.  Very well done!!!

Daniel shaking Mrs. Heatherington's hand.
She is the music teacher.

Claire receiving her High Honors Award from her homeroom 
teacher, Mrs. Berhinger.

Daniel receiving his High Honors Award from his
homeroom teachers, Mrs. Campbell (hand extended) and
Mrs. Fegyverniki (in black) 

These are the Teacher Gifts that we made.  I bought the perennials and then we repotted them into the sand pails and the kids made the cards.  We gave one to each teacher and one to each TA in Daniel and Claire's classroom.  We also gave one to each of the secretary's at the office.  They were a huge hit.  Of course, they wouldn't say if they didn't like them.  Would have liked to be a fly on the wall in the staff room! 


Thursday, June 26, 2008

Grade 2 Field Trip to the Past

On June 19th, 2008 I accompanied Claire and the rest of the OES Grade 2 students to the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village about an hour and a 1/2 east of our place on highway #16.

The Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village is an open-air museum that takes you back in time to the early 1900's - 1930's and shows you how the Ukrainian settlers of east central Alberta lived.  The site is littered with historic buildings that have been moved to the site and restored from various locations all over east, central Alberta.  It is pretty cool.  The other thing that is pretty cool about the museum is that they have actors that portray people that would have lived in this time frame.  AND THEY DO NOT BREAK CHARACTER FOR ANYTHING!!  This can be neat or annoying based on your mood at the time.

We are crossing the bridge from the present to the past
oh, and learning how to say "hi" and "goodbye"
in Ukrainian

The Constable who was from England.
He locked the kids in his jail cell because they were supposed
to be in school.

The Constable's Wife listening attentively.
Mrs. Berhinger, who I am sure has been on this trip a 
hundred times pointed out that this lady was
Ukrainian last year.

The sod house and it's inhabitant

Inside the tiny sod house

One of the highlights for Claire anyway was the visit to the school house where all the kids received a spelling lesson from Mr. Book (pronounced like hoot).  Claire thought it was fabulous and got to write the spelling word on the board.  The little boy that got sent to the corner, on the other hand, did not think it was so hot.

Note the poor guy in the corner

Claire spells Vinegar correctly on the board
after writing it 10 times on a slate.

There were pigs to see and chickens to stalk.  There were also cows and gardens everywhere.  I liked this one outside the sod house because the lady had it set up in squares.  The kids thought it was cool to weed it for a bit.  Now, how come I can't get Claire to weed our garden?

The Black Smith's shop

Thatch roofed barn that was housing a cow

We all had a great time and were very tired when we got home.  Claire fell asleep on the way to karate that night.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Seattle Wrap Up

On our 4th day in Seattle, we slept in and just took it easy at the house until after lunch.  Then we made a quick trip into the City to check out Pike Place Market.  The kids and I spent some money, Claire and I got some beautiful hold-it-all little cosmetic bags and she used her's as a wallet as she had been carrying her money around in a paper bag.  Daniel found two dragons that were to his liking and Claire also found a very tiny cat and rat figurine to spruce up her room.

We had coffee at Le Panier, this awesome french bakery right by the market that reminds me of the one that Daniel and I love to go to in Ottawa.  Claire had this delicious Merangue cookie and the rest of us had equally yummy goodies and I had a great cafe latte.

We got Gelato to eat on the way home, but unfortunately, mine ended up on the street!  I can be so clumsy some times.  Everyone else thought it was super funny and I have to admit it was worth a laugh!

On Thursday Stephanie and Aaron both headed off to work and the kids and I relaxed and did some laundry until after lunch then we headed to Target to get some goodies and to Bellevue to check out the Whole Foods store.  That place is awesome and I was able to bring home a case of my favorite bottled, water.  Thursday night we went to Stir, a great Japanese/Chinese restaurant for supper right in Renton.  Daniel tried Tofu cashew and thought that it was pretty good!  Claire and I stuck to your basic Chinese food and of course, Auntie Mee-Mee had the crazy Sushi.

We headed home on Friday morning at about 10:00 am and arrived at our overnight spot in Fernie at around 8:00 pm.  We had an amazing trip and would do it again in a heartbeat.  It really isn't that bad a drive when spaced over two days and the views/scenery are great all the way.


Friday, June 20, 2008

Seattle Day 3

For our 3rd day in Seattle, we slept in and then headed into the City to see Aaron at work!  It was really neat to see the building that he is working on and as he says Seattle was built with his hands and he isn't kidding!! 

He is building a condo up in Victoria Heights where the movie 10 Things I Hate About You was filmed so I took some pics of the kids in front of the old, gorgeous apartment buildings.

This a picture of the kids on a sculpture in Victoria Park and behind
them is the condo that Aaron in building

The weather was typical for Seattle, wet and cold!
This is the view that the people that live the condo that Aaron 
is building are going to get to enjoy!  Jealous!!!

Daniel and Claire on the steps of the Victoria Park Apartments

Isn't the architecture on these buildings spectacular?

After our quick visit with Aaron we headed to downtown Seattle to eat lunch at Ivors and feed the Seagulls.  This is just a little fast food fish restaurant right down by the water in Seattle and the Seagulls LOVE it, well, actually they expect you to feed them your french fries!

Claire is good with all creatures great and small

Daniel has one incoming!

I was completely scared that they were going to bite me.  
Looks like this one and I are having a discussion about this particular
french fry

Daniel actually touched the belly of this big bugger!

Stephanie chose to go down closer to the water to feed these ones.

Once we finished our lunch we headed home to relax for a few hours and for Auntie Mee-Mee to get her required afternoon nap.  Then we headed back into the city for birthday supper at Elliott's Oyster House.  I have to say that this was the best meal that the kids and I have ever had, I think, at least since the kids were born.  Daniel discovered a love for Calamari, but I have to say that it was super fresh and nothing like we get up here in Alberta so, I don't know if the love will last.  Aaron ate 2 1/2 dozen oysters and loved them all and Claire and Daniel thought that it was pretty cool that they got to pick a shell to take home.   The best part of our meal was the chocolate souflee that we had for dessert.   It was sinfully good!!  We gave Aaron a cordless phone for his b-day prezzie, which he loves because it brings him into the 21st century with the rest of us and he and Stephanie can throw away the one that they currently use with the monstrously long cord!  

Uncle Aaron opening his Prezzie

Claire about to try an oyster

Daniel thinks that oysters just taste like salt water and is
not sure what all the fuss is about

Seattle Day 2

Day 2 in Seattle was spent just taking it easy and taking care of some shopping that I had to do.  We hit Bath and Body Works first and got that job taken care of.  Is it sad that one of the things I look forward to the most when I visit my sister in the US is a trip to that store.  It really makes me so happy!  I came prepared with a list of the stuff I had in stock at home and a list of the stuff I thought I needed.  I was also purchasing for Donna so, you can imagine that we were there for awhile.  The kids were pretty good and we only had to lock them in the car at the very end.
This is my Bath and Body Works Store that I have at home with all my latest purchases integrated.  I have to tell you that there are few things that give me greater joy than lining all my Bath and Body Works goodies up on the kitchen table.  BTW, Curtis thinks that I am crazy.

After BBW, we headed to the Rainforest Cafe for lunch, which the kids still think is fabulous even though they are getting older and jaded at the ages of 8 and 10.  Then we headed to Bed, Bath and Beyond to get beech sheets.  They are these super soft sheets made from beech trees. They rock and if you get a chance to test them out I totally recommend it!

We then made a quick stop at Barnes and Noble to get Heather Armstrong's book and then headed home for supper and a relaxing evening of reality TV on Steph and Aaron's giant bed and DVR.  

Seattle Day 1, Part 2

After we got back to shore from our trip to Tillicum Village, we decided that we had enough time left to head over to Alki Beach and check it out.  This is the beach that Sam and Jonah travel to to fly a kite in the movie Sleepless in Seattle.  You can also go on a boat tour and see the boat house that they lived in, but alas, we will have to save that for another trip.

The beach is really nice and the kids enjoyed stretching their legs.  The weather was less than ideal, but I know that my hardy northern canadian kids would have swam if they would have had their suits!  It was a nice place to just sit for an hour anyway and now I can say that I have been there.

Alki Beach lighthouse from the boat to Tillicum Village

Alki was the place that the 1st white settlers landed in Seattle and they called it New York Alki (by and by) hence the Statue of Liberty.  Thank you Aaron for lending my your book on Seattle area beaches as I learned this little fact from your book!

Claire having fun

Daniel with some seaweed, yes, he tried it and put it in his mouth

Monday, June 16, 2008

Seattle, Day 1, Part 1

We finally made it to Seattle at about 6:00 pm on May 31st.  I made a wrong turn and had to backtrack on the freeway, but we made it to Steph and Aaron's without a map and all was well.  The first night we just stayed at their place and got to know Archie and took a tour of the neighborhood.  There house is in a fabulous neighborhood right by the Cedar River.  It is hard to describe, but I would consider it a little slice of heaven in a busy urban center.  Their house is great and they have done tons of work already.  TONS more room then their tiny apartment and no one to disturb when walking about.  Very good indeed!

Daniel, Claire and Archie outside on Steph and Aaron's deck

On our 1st official day in the Seattle area was the day that we had the only really touristy thing planned.  We took a boat across the sound (about an hour's ride) to Tillicum Village.  Tillicum Village is an authentic re enactment of a West Coat Indian Village.  We had clams as an appetizer (not that good, I have to say) and a salmon dinner with lots of salad choices.  It was OK, but nothing to get too excited about.  After dinner the actors/dancers put on a show demonstrating some of the traditional West Coast Native American dances.  They were also pretty cool and the kids really liked the mask dance.  I thought that they were again, OK, but have nothing on our Prairie First Nations hoop dancers.  They are awesome.  After the show we got time to wander around the village for about 45 minutes.  We spent most of our time in the gift shop as Claire and Daniel each had $20.00 to spend and that took some serious time.  Daniel got a small totem pole, a small deer statue and a small eagle statue all to add ambiance to his Pokemon House he has made back home.  Claire got a Peace Pipe and some temporary tattoos.  We wandered around a little bit after that and before we knew it it was time to head back to the boat and back to Seattle.

Approaching Tillicum Village

Claire with the Peace Pipe she purchased after much consideration

The Long House where we ate dinner and watched the dancing

Daniel on the shore at Tillicum Village

Totem Pole by the boat slips

Daniel, Claire and Auntie Mee-Mee after dinner and the show

Dancers performing

Another Totem Pole on the Grounds

Getting on the boat to head back to Seattle

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Greyhound Morning

On our way to Seattle, we were lucky enough to have Leah and Bill let us stay overnight at their lake house just south of Cranbrook, BC.  It is a beautiful spot and a little farther than 1/2 way to Seattle and only about 1/2 an hour from the US border. Thank you so much for your hospitality, Leah and Bill.

We arrived under cover of darkness at about midnight and snuck into the house.  We were greeted with small woofs from Belle, the resident greyhound, but after a couple of pets, she allowed us to sneak upstairs to bed.  

We woke bright and early 6:00 am so that we could help Leah with the turn out of the new greyhounds that had arrived from Colorado a week earlier.  The dogs and Leah were returning to Calgary that morning so that the doggies could go into their foster/permanent homes.  It was great to see them all and Claire really loves helping with the newbies.  

This is also the 1st load that we have housed in the ATCO Trailer donated to us by Concord Well Servicing (mark out to them).  This is the company that Curtis works for and Leah's hubby, Bill is very happy to have his garage back to himself!  It is set up pretty well, but we are going to get some 6 packs (three crates on bottom, three on top) and then that will give Leah even more room and she will have lots of space for storage etc.   So far so good, though.  We are also going to get permanent fencing out there that is divided so that all the dogs, girls on one side and boys on the other, can be turned out at once.  This will cut down on the time it takes to get everyone out and plus the girls won't have to hold it anymore waiting for the boys to potty.

We helped load the doggies into the hauler and then Leah headed to Calgary and we headed to Seattle.  We stopped at 3 mile corner just north of Bonner's Ferry and then carried on to the west coast.

The ATCO Trailer out behind Leah and Bill's house

Claire giving Casper some loves.  I have gotten to visit this dog at Sue's in Edmonton and he is just a lovebug.  He went to his new home on the 13th.

Claire and Enola.  I believe that Enola was adopted as soon as she arrived in Calgary.

This is Daniel, Claire and Zoie.  She came to Chinook Winds by way of the Idaho shelter under the guise that she is a greyhound x.  She may be some type of hound x, but more likely something like a bloodhound as opposed to a greyhound.  With that being said, we decided that she would have more opportunities of being adopted by the right family if she was released to Misty Creek Dog Rescue.  This is a wonderful mixed breed rescue located south of Calgary where I am sure that she will find a home soon.

The inside of the trailer.  this is the room the girls are in and the boys are in a separate room.  The door leads to the bathroom that is currently the storage/food room.  Hopefully we will have it functioning as a bathroom soon with running water so that any dogs that need a bath can have it right at the lake house and so that Leah can wash up food bowls etc, without lugging them to the house.  

This is the boys' room.  Sorry for the scary eyes.

US bound!  Crossing the border at about 9:00 am Saturday morning.  Next major stop, RENTON!!