Settle in and get comfy... there are 40+ pictures below.
It was a glorious fall day here today. More like a perfect summer day if you ask me. We decided we needed to get out and do something so we headed off to our favourite apple orchard, Mountain Apple Orchard.
It did not disappoint. The lady bugs and wasps were minimal and the apples were abundant and begging to be picked.
We arrived just in time for lunch. Like Elodie, Danica seems to like yogurt.
Ingrid was kind of cranky to start.
I look at this picture of me and I'm hardly recognizable to myself. In my head I don't really look this old and tired. But this is what almost 40 looks like on me. I can't be too surprised or upset about it, I suppose. I have earned every wrinkle and grey hair and every single spot of sun damage . When I first scrolled over this picture in my files I wasn't going to post it, ready to discard it along with nearly every picture taken of me in the last eight years or so. But looking at again more carefully I thought of my quote from "The Velveteen Rabbit":
"You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out, and you get loose in your joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."
This is me. I am real. Every single choice I have made and every single experience I have endured in my life have made me so.
Life could be worse.
Ingrid's physical confidence is growing by leaps and bounds, literally. She loves to climb things these days and is branching out beyond playground structures. She was itching to get up in this tree.
Elodie gave it a whirl but didn't care too much for it. She's always willing to try, though. She doesn't shy away if there are other people around.
The three amigos and their dad took a tractor ride to the orchard. I took advantage of a five minute walk and pushed the stroller along with me. Alone. It was blissful, I tell you.
Look at all those wasted apples on the ground! I always feel so bad over the waste but it happens naturally. They just fall of. I suppose they eventually decompose and fertilize the ground but still... what a waste.
Elodie picked an apple for the very first time. The last time we were here she was just weeks old, there were biting Chinese ladybugs attacking us and there were no apples to pick because of a hail storm the previous weekend.
Elodie goes all in. When she sets her mind on something nothing, not even a tree branch, can stop her.
I love the shy little smiles.
These ladders were a big hit. They each confiscated one and had Derek lug them around to optimal picking spots.
Early on Derek picked a small apple and handed it to Danica to hold on to. She didn't let go of it the entire time. Her two little hands worked hard to keep it from falling.
Ingrid was very excited about the giantness of this apple.
Danica is still holding that apple.
We tried to get a picture of all five of us together. It doesn't happen often and the picture below speaks volumes as to why not.
Derek looks great but the little princesses are not doing so well. Danica wanted UP! The sun was too bright in Elodie's eyes and as she raised her hand to shield her eyes she klonked Ingrid right in the head. Good thing this wasn't a video 'cause the whining and crying was deafening.
Eventually Danica decided to take a few bites from her prized apple. She liked it very much.
As we made our way out of the orchard we came upon this big mound of dirt. Ingrid and Elodie had a blast, climbing up and running down over and over and over again.
Ingrid was blazing down the hill like it was her job but Elodie was more tentative.
She scooted on her little bummy now and then and brought home quite a bit of dust and dirt.
Ingrid was hellbent on giving my nearly 40 year old heart an attack! I was so sure she would catch the toe of her shoe and hit the dirt teeth first.
Still working on that apple.
By the time we got back to the barn she had eaten quite a bit, especially considering she only has six tiny little teeth. It eventually slipped from her hands and my heart nearly broke watching it roll across the ground, picking up bits of dirt and gravel as it went. She worked hard on that little apple for HOURS and then it was gone.
I sat in the back next to Ingrid during our drive to and from the orchard. Danica has not been a good car traveller these last few months but we were tired of letting it be a reason for not getting out of our neighbourhood. Being in the backseat, I was able to distract and calm her better. Ingrid thought it was the bomb. On the drive home she put on this elephant mask and pretended she had to use it to smell all our food to make sure it was okay to eat.
Sometimes I think I expect Ingrid to be so much more grown up than she is. She is the oldest by nearly three and a half years and I think I sometimes expect her to do so much more than an average six year old should have to do. I look at her best friend who is a few months older than Ingrid but is the youngest of three in her family. I see the way she is babied a bit by her mom and I observe her being a little immature. Birth order really does make a difference, I'm convinced.
Ingrid is only six. I need to spend more time with her to see her in these silly moments and enjoy them for what they are. If I had been sitting in the front seat I would have been expecting her to be leaning forward over the seat to hand distractionary toys to Danica. And that is not fair to Ingrid.
Fortunately, Danica slept the whole way home. Yeah!
Ingrid loves doing craft projects and is always asking me to set up some for her to do. I've been a little stumped and pressed for time these days but today I delivered. I stayed up a little later last night and drew up a tree and some leaves for a Thanksgiving Thankful Tree. I asked Ingrid to write on the leaves all the things she is thankful for and stick them to the tree branches.
She loved it!
She was thankful for: Elodie & Danica, toys, food, BFFs, friends, epi-pens, glass, our house, hands, Dr. Boyd, sun, grocery stores, earrings, Canada, Norway, fud, bugs, shoes, teachers and God.
We asked Elodie what she was thankful for and she said glue, presents and the dentist office.
She had little interest in adding to the tree herself, preferring to put together some Hallowe'en friends. Of the twelve in the package she did eight, leaving only four for Ingrid.
Elodie is such a little doll. She carried those guys around everywhere, talking to them as if they were real. She called them her friends and went balistic if Danica even touched one.
Derek took advantage of the nice weather and decided to caulk up the exterior windows. He hates heights and was so nervous about going up on that ladder that it took him about 10 minutes to get from the ground to where he is in this picture. He's a nervous nelly.
Elodie wanted to put on a show of all her shoes. Ingrid obliged her and took this picture.
Ingrid asked is she could vacuum. WHAT?!?!?!
It lasted for about 2.3 seconds.
And Danica has a solution for all those countries causing problems for the world. Sayonara North Korea! Danica just literally bit you right off the map. Problem SOLVED!
Danica for President!
The week started off with a dental appointment for me and ended with a double header for Ingrid and Elodie. Ingrid is practically a veteran now and doesn't mind the dentist at all. That is, I'm sure, because she has yet to need any more work since her dental surgery two years ago. She was very excited to show Dr. D. that two of her teeth had fallen out. It's so nice to see Ingrid's confidence growing and watching her talk to the dentist herself, answering for herself, taking part in her own health maintenance.
Ingrid went first and came away with a clean bill. She had a cleaning and a full checkup and got the all clear! Yeah! I always worry about Ingrid's teeth. She has weak enamel (enamel hypoplasia) resulting in all those silver caps to protect the more vulnerable teeth and on her two eye teeth the enamel is naturally rougher in texture making them take on a yellowish cast in between cleanings. But she works hard to keep them clean and brushes them all the time. She does a good job but always submits to a mommy or daddy inspection which, at only six, is absolutely necessary, I think.
Today was Elodie's very first visit. Derek and I have been very vigilant over her teeth, constantly checking for signs of the hypoplasia or cavities (that girl has a gigantic sweet tooth!). We have never seen anything so we were confident that she would get a green light as well but we are never certain. When you're responsible for the health and well-being of another human being the pressure to be perfect can be crushing sometimes. If she has a cavity then who's fault is it? The ones who feed her and brush her teeth, that's who. Certainly not her.
I wasn't expecting the appointment to go well. Generally, Elodie only does what Elodie wants to do. And going to the dentist is not high on her "must-do" list. Fortunately I was able to go ahead a few days and spoke to the hygenist who would also be working on the day of Elodie's appointment and when I got home I immediately told her that "Kim" the hygenist was working (very big concern that it was going to be a man) and was really excited to meet her. Ingrid didn't skip a beat and started talking about how nice the hygenist is and saying that she herself was really excited to go.
The day started off without incident. As we got ready to go Elodie began resisting a bit but decided she would go if she could wear her princess dress. I don't rock the boat so off we went with a wrinkly princess in tow. There was no hesitation in getting to the office. We had already been through the tears about not wanting to go the night before but come go-time the next morning my warning of "I have to take Ingrid to the dentist and you can't stay home alone so you have to come, too, whether you go into to see the dentist or not."
We got into the reception area and she was handily distracted by the toys and then we met Kim and she was lovely. Elodie happily followed her into the exam room. BUT she insisted that Ingrid should go first. As Ingrid sat back in the chair, put on the sunglasses and bib and talked away to the dentist Elodie was sitting nearby taking it all in. When the dentist told Ingrid to open wide, Elodie did, too! It was very cute. My confidence that she would submit to a check was growing more and more with each passing minute.
And, lo and behold, when it was her turn SHE DID IT!!!!
Elodie is a rockstar! She let both the dentist and the hygenist take a look.
That's our dentist with the dark hair and our hygenist with the blonde.
Elodie also got the green light but the dentist did enquire whether she had fallen as a baby and hit her mouth because her two front teeth overlap a bit and apparently it can result from a fall. To my knowledge, she never hit her face on anything hard enough to cause any damage. Her bottom teeth have also grown in pretty tightly spaced. So much so that she often gets fish and corn stuck in them and has to stop mid-meal to ask us to get the floss for her.
She initially consented to a cleaning but changed her mind when it was time. She simply said "no" and she meant it. There is no convincing Elodie otherwise, ever.
The best part of going to the dentist, though, is getting to take a trip to the treasure chest. Dr. D. lets them pick as many things as they want. Fortunately, my girls are not greedy and chose only two things each.
Ingrid picked some new teeth for herself.
She was delighted by these and thought she was hilarious. She couldn't wait for Derek to get home to show him her new teeth.
(Sidenote: Why is Andersen taped across the top of our tv? I figured it was high time that Ingrid learned to spell her last name and since she's a visual learner and likes to watch tv, I decided to put the name up there and just let it sink in, gradually. No pressure 'cause god knows Ingrid doesn't respond well under pressure! And, IT WORKED! By the end of the day she could spell her name! Even Elodie has learned from it, readily identifying all the letters now, too.)
I knew it wouldn't be long before they started playing dentist. When she's in the right mood, Elodie can be such a trooper, easily putting up with Ingrid's sometimes bossy ways.
Later on in the day Ingrid and Elodie's Halloween costumes arrived. The timing couldn't have been better. I was so relieved to see that they were actually nice. AND THEY FIT!!!!
We all especially love the trains. For the moment they are pretending to be brides.
We are so thankful that September is still warm enough to wear skirts and simple jackets to school. Ingrid loved her outfit and double ponies so much she wanted me to take a picture. Elodie loved her ponies, too, and wanted to be in the picture as well.
Elodie has begun to start printing her name. She has long since learned how to spell it thanks to a little song we made up together and now we're putting it on paper. What better place to practice than on a birthday card to a favourite cousin?
Some time ago I found a craft that uses colourful bottle caps to make a rainbow. I've been collecting them since the spring. To break a serious case of boredom today I took them out and let Elodie play with them. Not surprising she started by lining the colours up in neat little rows. Then she blossomed out and made a flour and the sun.
Danica discovered the magnets on the side of the fridge. She's quite taken with them and uses them often. They are forever all over the floor and are very, very slippery if you step on them.
Ingrid got her ears pierced and is already planning for the day she can change them.
Someone else was very tired and bit the dust mid meal.
We had visitors for a day. Danica confiscated Alec's swords.
And seemed to know how to use them!
Look!! I'm in a picture!
When you're the littlest sister two times over you come to expect a certain amount of bedazzling.
Elodie loves to do puzzles. She did about 90% of this one all by herself.
Another before school shot.
Danica loves to pick up and sometimes lick our very dirty shoes. Yech! You know, there were three selling features on this house for me. One of them was that there was an actual foyer that we didn't have to cross over to get from one side of the house to the other and it had doors that we could close to keep small, crawling children away from dirty, yucky shoes. Do you think those doors are ever closed?
Danica has discovered that our stairs are climable and she is all over it! Can't turn my back and she's up there like a bat out of hell. We have yet to find a baby gate that is wide enough to cover the stairs.
Elodie entertains herself pretty well during the day sometimes. She is currently enjoying making herself some friends and talks to them all day long. Here she is creating her latest. Derek loved it so much he took it to work (with her permission, of course!).
Also happened this month: Elodie started swimming lessons. She's officially a big girl now even though she looks so teeny, tiny in that big, big pool. Parenting Elodie is a very different experience than parenting Ingrid. They could not be more different. With Ingrid I practically had to get in the pool with her the first few times but Elodie just went right in. She wasn't all gung-ho about it and entered with trepidation but went in nonetheless and never looked back. She knows she can hold her own and she does.
During her lesson I couldn't take my eyes off her. Ingrid started her next level at the same time but I never once glanced in her direction. She does just fine now. She doesn't need to me to watch her every single second. It wouldn't have mattered even if she did, anyway. I was transfixed on Elodie.
I watched that little pixie girl of mine blow bubbles, jump up and down in excitement, high five her teacher and splash around in the water. Despite her independence, she stayed close to the insturctor. She continued to smile the entire time. She was confident and quiet.
My heart nearly burst with pride.
Sometime last year Ingrid discovered that she could do monkey bars. We tried out nearly every park we could think of and the ones at her school play structure are the ones she does best. Derek and I have gotten the feeling that lately she's not getting much of a chance on them now that school is back and she's not an assertive child, likely getting passed over for her turn. So we went over today to let the girls have a go at them. The entire play structure is pretty enticing.
Danica climbed up and over a step for the very first time!
Elodie tripped over Derek's feet and fell down, landing hard on her knees. She was so sad but recovered well in her daddy's arms.
Sometimes Derek finds my camera lying around and takes pictures without my knowledge.
There are lots of these kinds of bad selfies on there.
Look at the little baby! She is too cute.
Three years ago Derek forayed into distance running for the first time by running the Canada Amry Run 1/2 Marathon. We all went to watch and cheer him on. Elodie was just three weeks old. I remember jockeying for a position at the overpass rail so I could watch and photograph Derek as he ran by below us. But Elodie fussed and wanted to nurse. So I did. Right there on the sidewalk. And while I crouched on the ground trying to discreetly nurse Elodie and keep my camera at the ready, Ingrid decided to climb up on the bottom rung of the rail and somehow got her head stuck between the rails. That was fun! Let's just say my debut as a mother of two went swimmingly well. NOT!
This year's Army Run was going to be my turn. I started running again when Danica was just four weeks old. I maintained a rather sporadic schedule and kept it up on and off thoughout the winter. By April I was really starting to pick it up and was feeling pretty confident. So I registered myself for the race. But then I developed plantar fasciitis in my left foot and a cricky right knee, we went to St. John's for Danica's christening, the weather started to turn warm, then we went to Florida and then the weather got really warm and before I knew it we were half way through summer and I hadn't run in about two months. Clearly a 1/2 marathon was not on my horizon any more.
Instead, Derek ran it. And this time he did it completely alone. First he "trained" for it in about four weeks by running between 10 and 11 o'clock at night after everyone went to bed. Then he went to the actual race by himself because we couldn't muster the troops quickly enough to get there before the start of the race. (And I didn't mind a bit. The thought of having to wrangle all three of them myself outside the comfort of our usual two kilometre radius of our home was more than I could handle.) Plus it was supposed to rain. So we stayed home.
All of the following photos we purchased from the official race photographer, ZoomPhoto.ca.
These men and women are legit Canadian soldiers. Some or all of them have seen combat and here they are, unscathed and passing out dogtag inspired medals to all the finishers. Grounding isn't it? The thousands of ways all our lives differ... I could never.
As you can see, it rained. Correction: it POURED! Hardest rain we've had in a while. He was only about an hour into the race, too. There were massive puddles all along the road. Needless to say, he got soaked. When he walked in the door a few hours later he handed me his still dripping shirt and said, "Lift this." It must have weight seven or eight pounds. No wonder he felt like he was slowing down over the last few kilometres.
Derek does not ever give the thumbs up during a race. He says he needs to conserve every ounce of energy he has just to get through it. Seriously, any unplanned movement is a big no-no. It takes a lot of energy to get a big guy moving, you know. Despite this, nearly every race there is a photo of him giving a thumbs up.
Finished! The 2:14 time in this picture is the gun time. His actual chip time was 2:02. He was aiming for sub two hours. Juuuuuuuust missed it! Darn it.
When Ingrid was four she started asking to have her ears pierced. It just seemed so young to me so I put it off, telling her that she could when she turned five many, many months later. Well, five came and went and I continued to put her off. She might have been ready but I was not. She had begun to ask less and less anyway. As her interest piqued again I told her that we would need a break from her swimming lessons for more than two weeks. Ingrid has been in swimming lessons continuously since she was three so there really hasn't been a break long enough.
Sometime over the summer I had a change of heart and I was finally ready for her to have her ears pierced. I told her that when she was ready, I was ready, too. But she suddenly seemed unsure.
Just this week, however, she decided she was ready and asked me to make an appointment. So I did. I asked her over and over and over again if she wanted to change her mind. I was afraid that she would think she had to go through with it just because I made the appointment. She said she was ready each and every time. I was fairly certain at this point that there was no changing her mind so I went to Shoppers and bought EMLA, a topical anestetic a lot of people use prior to ear piercing. It was a whopping $18!
So the next morning I put the cream on her little earlobes and off we went to the mall to get the deed done. You'd swear I was taking her in for major surgery. I was so nervous!! There was a bench outside the store and I steered her towards it, hoping she would sit and think about it one last time. But she just said, cool as a cucumber, "Mom, can we just go in and do it?"
In we went.
Her she is... one last shot without earrings.
She stayed calm and collected while we waited. She was excited but controlled. I was mightily impressed. She chose the biggest, most expensive ones they had. Surprised? No.
There goes my baby. She's staying brave.
At Visage they do both ears at the same time which I think is a great idea. As they approaced her they told her she could hold my hands if she wanted. I think I was holding on much harder than her. I stood there, looked right at her as the ladies moved in and... I welled up. Despite the gigantic fake smile of encouragement on my face, I was terrified that it would hurt her and sad that my first baby was moving yet another step away from being my baby girl.
Afterwards she was BEAMING!! She literally hoped up and down and was pure giddy looking at herself in the mirror. She was in love with herself! She walked out of that store with her chest all puffed out.
Big girl walkin'.
Elodie loves painting. I am not sure why I make her take off her shirt to paint, though. She is very, very neat. I put out some paper for her fully expecting her to get right into it and make a bif of a mess but she concentrated on just this one little corner of paper. She used a separate brush for each colour and lined all the used brushes up neatly on another piece of paper.
She did paint much of anything but she enjoyed herself anyway.
Danica enoyed some green beans.
And soaked up some delicious afternoon sunlight in the living room.
And Elodie practiced her printing. Isn't it funny how children start off making their letters sooooo big?