Tuesday, 10 September 2013

First Week of School Thanksgivings

Well the first week of school has come and gone and I can say I am truly thankful for so many reasons.  Here are a few.

1. Rykauna's first week of Grade nine at a high school where she did not know anyone went amazingly well.  Our dear eldest made the difficult decision of opting to go to the closest high school instead of remaining in an academic enrichment program that would require her to take a nearly 1.5hr one way city bus commute.  Realizing the extra time saved would prove valuable, she chose to start grade nine the hard way... with no friends to accompany her.  Although she misses all her great friends at the other school she is comfortable with her choice.  She has quickly made some new friends and even had one come over Friday after school to hang out and have supper with us!

2.This school year is starting out on an exciting note for Logan because the new middle school he just started attending on Tuesday has lots of extra-curricular sports going on.  Last school year the teachers were on a "work-to-rule" program and all extra-curricular programs were cancelled until about May.  For an active boy like Logan, this was a real drag.  Although Logan does well academically, he is not really fond of school work.  The 'other' stuff is what makes school enjoyable for him.  Hopefully this year will be really enjoyable.

3. Hudson started grade three in typical Hudson-style... very little fanfare, just going 'cause that is what you do'.  No big complaints, no big excitement.  The only change for him has been the bus.  I have in past years opted to drive him instead of putting him on the bus since the bus would pick him up at the local English school.  The distance to the English school is not much less than the drive to his French Immersion school so I have always driven him.  This year, with Li Lin attending the local English school, and him attending the French school, I had to put him on the bus as their start times are too close together to drop both of them off.  I have managed to figure out a way to pick both of them up though.  It requires me leaving with her as soon as she gets out but it saves him an over one hour bus ride home!  The actual distance by car is only about five minutes.    I am SO thankful we worked out a way to pick him up.  The poor boy was coming off the bus looking exhausted and telling me matter-of-factly that the "air circulation on the bad wasn't the greatest."  Yup, that is as upset as he gets.  No other complaints.  His face lit up though, when after two days of the afternoon bus, I told him he would not take the bus home anymore.

4. Li Lin.  I had been dreading this week all summer.  Mainly because I was not looking forward to the drama of settling her into a school routine.  She told me frequently since registering her in June that she "hated that school", was "not going to go", and that she wanted to go "back to my Chinese school".  Yes, that is the Chinese preschool that she complained about almost every time I sent her.  She actually loved it there but would complain anyway even though she would not necessarily want to leave right away when I picked her up!  I knew she actually secretly liked it and my feelings were confirmed because when I took her out in June she cried saying she "loved her Chinese school."   Two nights before English school, she started crying in her bed and telling me she was "scared to start school", did "not want to be away from me", and the next morning even told me she was "stupid, not smart."   I  comforted her as best I could during these times and reassured her that kids who learn to speak fluent English in under a year are definitely smart!  She looked at me with the "Oh man, even that excuse failed", look  and my dread levels definitely soared.  The night before school, I was optimistic that it would go well though because in her bedtime prayer she asked God (while speaking in the third person), "Please help Li Lin not be scared when she goes to school tomorrow."  She woke up Thursday morning full of energy and ready for school.  When I dropped her off she quickly, confidently, walked into the class alone , put her shoes in the correct cubby, then turned to me timidly to wave good-bye.  I was afraid she might lose her resolve to stay there, so I quickly said a goodbye and left.  It was unbelievable!   No tears.  No drama.  The bedtime prayer of a little girl was definitely answered in front of my eyes.  She has not looked back either.  She even begrudgingly admits to liking it.  It was so heartwarming yesterday to pick her up from school and see her happily skipping across the school yard.  I am a thankful and a happy mom seeing her so happy attending school.
Just before heading off to school.  The other children had already left for school.  The other kids were not keen on a photo today.  I think they thought it was more a little kid thing and didn't want it to have their pic taken. 

5. Thankful to have more time to spend with God.  As much as I thoroughly enjoy having my kids home with me in the summer, I do like the routine the school year provides.  With everyone including Steph off their usual routine in the summer months, I sometimes find the chaos of a lack of routine makes me more inefficient with my time thus resulting in less personal, quiet time with HIM.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

The Summer in a blur of pics...

This summer, like all summers it seems, went really fast.  It was enjoyable in many ways and hopefully memorable for the children.  Since I have been terribly remiss in blogging I am going to catch up with a little photo storytelling.  A picture is worth a thousand words...so here is my wordy post thanks to Rykauna's photography.   She took most of the pics.

We began the summer up in Northern Ontario at a Bible conference.  We spent the long weekend there and enjoyed meeting up with some family and friends we hadn't seen in a while.  Our niece S, came back with us and visited with our family for the better part of two weeks.  She was lots of fun to have around.  Too bad we somehow did not take many pics during that time.
Niece S, and Rykauna made us all orea-stuffed croissants one day.  I wish I had taken a few more pics of her;(

We took in the beach on a few afternoons.  For the record, the lady in the top left is unknown...not me.

 Steph and Rykauna helped out at a Vacation Bible School for the second week in July while the other kiddos, including S, went as campers.  We then headed to the Ottawa valley area where we camped in my parents' trailer for a few days, while attending some special gospel outreach meetings my father was speaking at in the evenings.  The weather was pretty wild, but the kids loved getting a chance to hang out with their "cousins" (actually their very young aunt and uncle, K and J).

The following week, Steph and his brother, helped out at another church day camp while our boys and K (our niece) attended the camp. The next event of the summer was a family reunion of Steph's mother's family.  It was the first official Godin Family reunion.  It was lots of fun, staying at the weekend resort, and meeting family members from near and far.  There was lots of family vs. family competitions including a t-shirt competition. I won't say who won, except that the red team dominated ;)  Steph's brother and his wife were in the country for the better part of the summer.  It was nice to spend some time with them before, during, and after the reunion.  We don't see them much, but when we are together, we just pick up where we left off.  The kids really enjoy hanging out with these cousins too.

In the middle of August, we took a little "nuclear family" time and did a road trip to Boston.  The kids are great in the car (thanks in part to technology;) and love seeing new places and learning about new regions.  It was fun being tourists and sight-seeing fun stuff like the old state buildings, Harvard University, Boston Tea Party Museum, The Children's Museum of Boston, USS Constitution, and fun shops like the Curious George Store.
Rykauna took some alphabet art around Harvard University

The kids are sitting on little brass ducks...relating to some famous Boston children's duck story
Loads of huge painted globes

Massachusetts State House is sporting some fantastic architechture

Steph and the kids cooled off in the heat.  Some of the kids were more than dipping their feet... pretty much swimming:)
The world famous swan boat tours

Desperate measures to avoid passing out.  As soon as I got on the Swan boat I felt like I was going to pass out from the intense heat.  I could feel my heart pounding and knew I was pretty dehydrated.  The others had taken a dip in the above pond so thankfully this shirt was nicely cool and wet!  We quickly ate and drank after disembarking and all was fine.

Not to be outdone...;)

We became Harvard groupies!  The three oldest kids wanted and bought Harvard clothing!

Niece T, I put this up for you...Who knew official Harvard wear is made in Nica?!?
'Chillin' at the Aquarium...pun intended

Group shot after the seal feeding presentation

Sea turtle <3>
Voted Boston's best ice-cream...so we tried it :)

Took a short ferry to another part of Boston

USS Constitution. Involved in wars against pirates, Brits, and wars for freedom

Saw this guy give a walking tour to a couple as he slowly led them to the Pizza Parlour...LOL!

All the kids, big and small, loved this store!

Night in the city

This place was lots of fun.  The kids got to throw the "tea" overboard in the reenactment of the Boston Tea Party
Rykauna had fun taking some low light photography with her Maritime cousins

After leaving Boston, we made our way to Saint John, New Brunswick and took the 11pm ferry ride to Digby, Nova Scotia.  We arrived at my sister's home at the grand hour of 2:30am!  Steph, Rykauna and Logan were only able to stay at her place for two days as Steph was helping out at an overnight teen church camp for the following week in the Halifax area.  I stayed at my sister's with Hudson and Li Lin and thoroughly enjoyed the privilege of spending time with my sister and her girls.

After the camp, we drove to Fredricton, NB for two nights to catch a few zzz before the long drive home.   While shopping, we ran into some good friends that were originally from around here and we enjoyed a good visit with them.  After a swim at the hotel, and a lovely BBQ at our friends' home, we started back home the next morning after church.

Once home, we quickly kicked ourselves into high gear in terms of school preparation and getting Rykauna's orthodontic treatments started.  After getting two teeth pulled on Tuesday, she started her Invisalign Braces on Thursday... just five days before starting high school.  Rykauna is still getting used to talking in them, has 'lost' them briefly already, and is not really fussed on the extra cleaning and chewing on what she calls "Mr Chewy" the grape-flavoured chew toy.  (Some rubbery looking, grape-flavoured, two-inch long, mini cigar-like shaped, chew toy she is supposed to use at regular intervals to make these removable braces fit better.)  It doesn't help that she finds the flavour nauseating.  At least she realizes that it looks better than metal braces so she knows not to complain.  The orthodontist figures he can fix her teeth problem better with these clear retainer-like braces than with metal braces so he is charging us the same price as he would for the "train-tracks".  This made our daughter very happy! :)

Today was the first day of school.  I was going to blog about it, but thought I should blog about the summer events first.  I will try to do another post soon, God willing.