Monday, January 27, 2014

junior kindergarten registration!

On this snowy Monday morning... I registered my second baby for Junior Kindergarten.

What? How did that happen? I just blinked!

This is the first year our school is doing full day kindergarten, ie 6.5 hours rather than 2.5 hours. Such a big difference, and Phebe is going to be a young scholar, with her birthday landing in October. That means she'll be starting school at 3 years old! Oh my. I think I might start her off for a few months on half days. But there's one thing for sure, she is more than ready for school. Seems to me that the second child develops, matures and becomes independent even faster than the first baby!

She's ready, but I'm definitely not!

more snow!

Friday, January 24, 2014

chinese new year

chinese new year

Chinese New Year is a week from today!

Like last year, we'll be spending it in Cuba. And, from memory, last year I had big ideas of getting some shots of both my girls wearing their silks on the beach! I'm not even going to put that pressure on myself this year, if it happens it happens.

This week (and next), our photography class is working on an assignment centered around creativity. An item, location, something... that we can creatively see in our minds eye and build a photography session around. Well, you can imagine my creativity is pretty much centered around the beach at the moment… swimming suits and summer dresses are the only things I can envisage during this brutally cold winter, even the ‘hardy born-and-raised Canadians’ are saying it’s brutal, so that’s sayin’ something! I am not proud to admit that I have even driven the 1 block to pick Lilah up at school! Aha! However, all that aside, and since I always aim to get a few pictures of my girls in their silks each year, I thought this would be a great opportunity.

We visited the Hunan Embroidery Museum of China just 4 days after Phebe joined our family. Embroidery is a pretty big deal in Changsha, Hunan and our in-province-guide, Amy, advised us if we wanted a true Changsha, Hunan souvenir, this was the way to go! So we bought Phebe this gorgeous little jacket and pants in the little shop (within the Embroidery Museum). It cost an arm and a leg, compared to the dresses we bought in the markets, but it is oh so beautiful and totally worth the money we spent.

I found this little blurb online about Hunan Embroidery…
Hunan embroidery is one the four famous embroideries in China. It’s developed from the needlework from the countryside of Changsha. In the end of Qing Dynasty, handicraftsman Hu Lianxian and Yue Weishi mixed the stitch of Jiangsu and Guangdong embroideries with that of Changsha local embroidery, forming a new style Hunan embroidery. It is known for its bright color, vividness and strong expressive force. 70 kinds of stitches have been developed by craftsmen of Hunan embroidery. In recent years, they developed “double-faced embroidery”. On a transparent material, each side has a subject, both subjects are very perfect. Hunan embroidery has won several prizes at international expo and is popular all over the world.

These silks are very precious to us.
And I know this is very forward thinking, but I imagine one day in the future, seeing my Phebe girl's children wearing them.

So this past Monday, we pulled out our big box of China souvenirs. We found Phebe's special outfit and she really liked the mini umbrella, so we went with it as a prop. And when I asked her if she wanted her hair curled, she was thrilled and totally excited, repeating to me: "Just like Reese, just like Reese!" - he is a little boy in her preschool class and has very curly hair! Her hair is a little short for curls, but we did get a few waves in it!

Here's a few of my favourite shots - I have a pretty cute little actress on my hands!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Friday, January 17, 2014

skating again!

Skating, it's become our Friday tradition around here.
As long as the Canal is open and the weather is above -20C, we'll be hanging out skating, until the sun goes down!

The girls have so much fun.

And Phebe is really getting the hang of it... well, she's spending more time on her feet and less on her bum!

Rideau Canal - Friday tradition Rideau Canal - Friday tradition

Thursday, January 16, 2014

black & white theme

Another interpretation of dramatic, for this weeks photography theme.
This time I dug a little deeper!


[ the flickr set is here ]

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

a pretty pouter!

'dramatic' theme

So I've mentioned here before that I'm taking a photography class.

We got our assignment this week, and I've been working on my homework. Our theme is 'dramatic' and (thankfully) the teacher allows us to interpret this in whatever way we choose. While most people will interpret it with drama in their composition, setting or post-processing of a photo, unfortunately I find that skill hard. I appreciate the lighter brighter side of photography.

So here's how it went... I traded my Phebe girl 1 candy and 1 tv show (Team Umizoomi!) in return for giving me a little drama queen! I mean seriously, she must have thought I lost my mind, offering her rewards to pout! Ha! The girl doesn't need a whole pile of encouragement in that department! In fact, when I put the dress on her she pretty much channeled her own drama queen, she immediately told me she looked like Elsa (from Frozen!) and the pouting began.

I'm sure you'll be able to tell from the photos that there was a lot of giggling and cracking up going on too! She thought the whole thing was pretty silly. And I'm pretty sure you can also tell that she enjoys being an actress!

So that's my take on 'dramatic'. I have a spicy Hunan girl, there's no need for any more 'dramatic' around here!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

skating on the rideau canal!

It's not officially our Phebe girls first skate on the Rideau Canal - but it's the first time I've been with her! Baba took the girls during the Christmas vacation, but it was SO cold that day... I was obviously not 'feeling it'! I did send my little purse camera along with Baba, but you know as well as I do... it never made it out of his pocket!

So, on Friday morning, when we were walking Lilah up to school, I decided we should head to the Canal for a little ice time. It was the first day in quite a while that felt remotely 'warm', by that, I mean higher than -20C. In fact, I think it was about a balmy -10C, which weirdly enough does feel balmy after living in extreme cold for an extended period!

Anyway, we came home after dropping Lilah off at school, grabbed the skates and the camera, and headed back up the street to the Canal. Phebe, was so excited! She has sat on the sidelines for 2 years now, each Saturday, watching her big sister take skating lessons. So being able to have a go at it herself, just gives her the biggest buzz! She is just so proud of herself. She won't start lessons until the Fall, when she turns 4 years old - but even having the ability to walk around on ice, laugh when you fall(!), get yourself back up after you fall - any and all of these are no mean feat when you're wearing 2 blades on a piece of ice! And they're all great things to know before starting lessons!

Anyway, I was very proud of her. With a little encouragement this girl will put her mind to anything. And I was very happy to get a few pictures of her on our very own iconic Rideau Canal, otherwise known as 'the world's largest skating rink'!

Notice how vacant the canal is at 9:30am?! Gotta love that. We went back again, at 3:30pm, after collecting Lilah at school and there were a lot more people around. I also posted a video of Phebe at the end.

skating on the rideau canal - morning skating on the rideau canal skating on the rideau canal - morning

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

'learn to see it' - photography class

I started a new photography class this week, 'Learn to see it... from shoot to print'. It's an online course with the very talented Lisa @ 'The Long Road to China'. It's 11 weeks long, with a new assignment each week.

I think this happens to me every winter, I get bored with my current set of skills and really want to push myself further during these long cold winter months. Our first project, to introduce ourselves to our classmates and kinda get to know one another better, was to take a series of photos with the theme: 'My Style'.

Now, I've never really thought about it before... having a style. But when I think back on all the photos I've taken, I guess I lean to the side of lifestyle photography. I love capturing the real life moments of my two girls. And I especially love it when my pictures tell a story. My favourite is to shoot with natural light, and I love lots of it, because generally my aperture is wide open! Which is sometimes not a good thing, because I do lose some sharpness and focus in the process. But that's what this class is for, to help me and push me further. So if you see a lot of photos appearing over the next 11 weeks, you'll know why!

Since the weather outside isn't cooperating, I decided to take a few indoor pictures for 'My Style'. Nothing fancy, just my little Phebster eating lunch!

Phebster! Phebster! Phebster!

Monday, January 6, 2014

she says!

fuzzy cat hat

lilah: "I want to be a nurse when I grow up."
phebe: "I want to be Dr. Maharajh!" (her heart surgeon!)

Regarding playing with one of Lilah's toys one day: "Lilah's going to freak out and we're going to say nothinggggggg!"

phebe: "Lilah, let's play married."
lilah: "No Phebe, I don't want to kiss you on the lips!"

After her afternoon nap one day, I had just put the tree up and the stocking were hanging on the fireplace... she exclaimed, "Oh look, it's a tree and a pair of socks!"

"My knickers are in my back bum, I need to get them out!"

"I'm excited about being all grown up!"

me: "Oh no! Did you see Phebe? It's snowing AGAIN!"
phebe: "That's because it's winter time, Mama. In summer time it's warm."

Sunday, January 5, 2014

christmas holidays, this 'n' that

We had a wonderful Christmas break. I thoroughly enjoyed our two weeks together, as a family... relaxing, eating, just enjoying our time together. I can hardly believe school starts back again tomorrow. Yikes!

I'm definitely not ready for routine again, even though I do normally thrive on routine! It's just the bitter cold weather we've been having lately, oh my, I am not a fan! The idea of dragging the girls out in it 3-4 times a day, is not a pleasant one. We booked a trip to Cuba over the holidays and I printed off a January calendar page and put it on the fridge so the girls can put an X to mark off each day, as they count down to our trip. Right now we're standing at 21 more days to go. We can do this! The thought of sun, sand and warm seawater is so enticing right now.

We did a few other things over the Christmas holidays that I haven't noted on the blog, so here we go...

new years eve

After Bible Study on New Years Eve, we brought the girls to a 24 hour diner for strawberry milkshakes and poutine!
Then we did a 11pm countdown to the New Year, before they headed off to bed. It was a fun, energizing evening with two slightly hyper girls!


2013 blurb book 2013 blurb book 2013 blurb book 2013 blurb book 2013 blurb book

I got my '2013 - our year in pictures' blurb book in the mail, and I'm in love! Seriously.
See maybe there ARE benefits to cold weather and staying indoors a lot! Ha!


1000 piece - Christmas tradition!

Another annual Christmas tradition, completing a puzzle.
This one was 1000 pieces and delicious enough to eat!


'duck' tape wallets! 'duck' tape wallets! 'duck' tape wallets! 'duck' tape wallets!

I bought the girls a roll of 'duck' tape each, for their stockings.
This item was on Lilah's Christmas wishlist. A friend in school brought in a duct tape wallet one day and she hasn't stopped talking about it since.
So here I was, making duct tape wallets, the newest craze!
To say they were elated, would be a huge understatement. I love seeing them so happy over something so small!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

2013 christmas baubles

We started this little tradition a few years ago. On Christmas Eve, I give my girls their 2013 Christmas ornaments. I try to find something relevant to the past year, and this year it worked out well.

I found Lilah's first, on Etsy, a bauble decorated with music paper to remind us that 2013 was her first year to be introduced to music. A new piano, and lessons each and every Monday started in September. I had no idea how it would go, although my Lilah girl is always positive about trying something new... after her first lesson I could tell just how much she REALLY enjoyed it, and by her 4th lesson she was jumping for joy at the idea of going to lessons! The pride she had at learning to play with her left hand, then her right hand, and just 3 months later, she is now playing with both hands, not sure exactly how to say this, but now she is using both hands to play 2 different notes, at the same time. I am quite honestly mesmerized! She is so confident and loves her instructor, Steve. He is a little kooky and makes her laugh! Along with being kooky, he makes her work hard (usually practicing three different songs a week) and gives her plenty of encouragement when she deserves it.

I didn't take me long to figure out Phebe's huge accomplishment in 2013, her brand new fixed heart and the brave girl that she was during that time. Something I still thank God for. Her experience was positive, her recovery was amazing and we are delighted that she has it behind her now. And of course, the heart decoration had to have her initial on it, because my little miss Phebe was feeling a little put out when we were hanging ornaments on the tree and she noticed that there were two L's (for Lilah), but no P's for Phebe! Indeed. We had to fix that dilemma!

2013 christmas ornaments

Friday, January 3, 2014

the silly sisters!

I came downstairs to the girls playroom this morning and found them both with their chests stuffed.
Stuffed with a couple of their little stuffed animals!

As if that wasn't shocking enough, they were singing "Shake your boobies"!

Oh yes, I totally cracked up!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

a sister bond

Believe it or not, I took these photos back in November. Last year!

I've been a terrible blogger lately. And you'll maybe notice that I've been trying to catch up lately. Sorry for filling your feed with posts as far back as June... yikes! I'm so not proud of that. I may or may not have made a new years resolution to try and keep on track! Ha! But I must say, I feel pretty good to finally be caught up now. For me, these blogs are all about the girls, I want them to enjoy reading about their little lives in the years to come... they are what keeps me motivated!

Anyway, these photos were taken on the day of our first snow storm... November 27th. We were just heading out to swimming lessons and I decided to run back inside and grab my camera for a few impromptu photos - with the hope that I could get at least one to work for our Christmas Card.

I'm so glad I made that decision. I love these girls, the giggles they share and especially the love they have for each other. It chokes me up and I thank God for them daily, that they are part of my life and part of each others lives too. Just yesterday, Phebe was having a little nap on the couch and Lilah kept checking on her every 10 minutes or so, to see if she was awake yet. She said to me: "It's so boring without Phebe!" And I smiled to myself and thought, that's love.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

new years day

~ today is the first blank page of a 365 page book ~

Last year had its fair share of challenges, struggles, adventures, but most of all, joy and love.
Thank you Lord, for a blessed year.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Here's a monthly review of Phebe's year in pictures!

Phebe : January in pictures Phebe : February in pictures Phebe : March in pictures Phebe : April in pictures Phebe : May in pictures Phebe : June in pictures Phebe : July in pictures Phebe : August in pictures Phebe : September in pictures Phebe : October in pictures Phebe : November in pictures Phebe: December in pictures

[ the flickr set is here ]