Monday, 18 November 2013

We survived...

...Birthday Season 2013!!  From September 12th to November 6th there are 8 birthday's in our family, including both of our boys.  We pretty much spend the fall buying presents, assembling toys, and eating cake.  A week ago we hosted Lucas' friends party.  Finally taking down the balloons and streamers (that in a moment of weakness, I told them we would leave up for awhile) on Thursday officially marked the end of birthday season.  Phew!

Wanted to share a few photos of the details of his party.  We put up a sign saying our house was The Jedi Training Academy.  The Padawans had to complete all their 'training' (the games) in order to become Jedi's.  Don't want to post photos of other people's kids, so you can just imagine 13 boys, and 3 girls running around our house for 2 hours of chaotic bliss.  We also had lots of craft supplies out for them to build droids with.

Dark Side Bowling
Han Solo in Carbonite (that's purple, yellow, and green jello).  We had 4 Hans and the kids were only allowed to use toothpicks to free him.
Lucas blasting the Stormtrooper.  We then opened the other California shutters to reveal Vader in the window well.

Using The Force to eat the marshmallow without using their hands
Pin the Lightsaber on the Jedi.  Used a large gift bag with the handles removed and attached it to the easel.  Just printed out lightsabers and backed them with bristol board.

Lightsaber fruit skewers.  Found the skewers with the flat 'handle' at the bottom at the dollar store.   Painted them black and then added a red sticker for a button.

Unfortunately don't have a great cake photo without kids in it.  But you get the drift...Awesome Vader cake by Oma.  The lime sherbet you see there was for "Yoda Soda."  Lime sherbet and Sprite.
An army of Star Wars flashlights with Jedi Training certificates attached for party favours.

Got the Jedi Knight certificate printable and some great ideas here, and then took my own creative licence.

We survived Birthday Season...Bring on Christmas!!

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

5 Years!?!?

This is one of my favourite songs...EVER.  It is (obviously) about fathers and daughters, but I think that the lyrics so beautifully describe the relationship between any parent and child.  Since I have been blessed with 2 crazy boys, and will never have a girl, I am claiming it as my own.
I have had the pleasure of watching my Lucas shine and grow for 5 years...That boy who made me a Mom turns 5 today.
I have written a couple of mushy posts about Lucas in the past year.  So what can I say about him that I didn't already say here, or here.  I mean, you already know that I sort of love that kid, and that I think he is sort of awesome.  Well, what I can tell you is that 5 seems like a big birthday.  Five seems to mark the real end of babyness, and little kidness, it seems to mark the passage into being a big kid.  As I sit here feeling all sorts of feeling about that, I am struck by how very proud I am of who he is.

Lucas has done so many things this year that make me glow with pride.  My pensive little observer has shown me how brave he can be.  I can see in his eyes, and is body language when something makes him nervous, when he is not quite sure.  But that big boy takes a big breath, and dives in.  It's seemingly small things; trying karate, soccer, and basketball, riding a scary ride at Disney, or battling Darth Vader at Jedi Training.  He is becoming confident, he is sure of himself, he is brave.
In the summer I had the boys at the splash pad.  Lucas spied a couple of boys playing with similar squirt guns to the one he was toting around.  I suggested that he see if they wanted to play.  He bravely headed over and asked in his sweet Lucas way if they wanted to play with him.  They said no, and took off, his face crumpled, his shoulders slumped, and I was grateful that I had my sunglasses on.  He came back over, holding back tears while he told me they didn't want to play with him.  Just at that moment, when the tears were about to tumble out he spotted another potential squirt gun toting playmate.  He looked at me hopefully, and said "maybe that kid would play with me."  I encouraged him to go and find out.  He took that big breath and off he went.  He played for two hours with that little boy, gathering more and more kids throughout the morning.  He has learned to make friends on his own, he knows he has worth.  When I sent him off to school, one of my biggest hopes was that he would find a friend.  He has found friends, kids who come running when I drop him off in the morning, kids who he identifies with, who he enjoys being with.  He is making good choices in the people he surrounds himself with.
In his class each SK child has a JK partner who they line up with.  The parents of Lucas' partner approached me a few weeks into school to thank me.  They said that Lucas has been such a help to their daughter, and that they were truly appreciative of him.  He holds her hand and makes sure she has her backpack, he helps her hang up her things, and with her coat, he helps her get her lunch set up.  I could have just burst I was so proud of him when I heard this.  He makes a difference in the lives of others.
Just this week Lucas came home from school and told me that one of his closest friends told him, "you can't play with M, because she's a girl."  My first thought when he relayed this story..."Oh boy, here we go."  Not quite sure where the conversation was headed,  I asked him "what did you do?  "He very matter of factly informed me, "I wanted to play with M so I went and played with her anyway, she's my friend."  He stands up for himself, and for what he knows is right.
My baby is growing up, he doesn't need me quite the way he used to.  While I hold the memories of that tiny baby close to my heart I am so very proud of the big boy he has become.  He is becoming the kind of person that I hoped he would.

Shine on Lukie!

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Back At It

So we have been downright terrible at keeping up with blogging since we ran our big 50K over a month ago.  With birthday season upon us, Thanksgiving, Halloween, school, and work schedules we have been busy and focused on other things.  Add to that Mr. Cooper no longer having an afternoon nap or quiet time, and feeling a bit tired and run down, when I finally park it on the couch after the boys go to bed, blogging hasn't been my first choice in entertainment.  However, we do have every intention of keeping up with our blog, so here goes...

Leigh left you last at the finish line of his 50K journey, but there is still so much to tell you about that day.  We want to give you the nitty gritty details, because we really do hope to put together a couple of teams for next years race.  So to ease me back into blog writing, and because I only have until the boys are done watching Epic before little people start asking me for things I am going to share some of the things we LOVED about this experience as a list, because lists are easier (and faster) then (cohesive) paragraphs...


1) Setting and accomplishing a goal with someone who is important to you is a REALLY good way to strengthen your relationship.  We set out to do something together that seemed insurmountable at times. We spent months training, sometimes running together, a lot of times not.  Sometimes one would struggle, while the other didn't, sometimes we both felt great, sometimes we both struggled.  In the end we were both fully invested in the same goal, in the end, as a team we realized our goal.  The things we learned through this process serve us well in our marriage.  We have become more understanding of each other, more aware of each other's needs, and we have a new awareness of the strength of our relationship, and our ability to accomplish anything together.  So if you want to strengthen a relationship with someone you care about, set a goal, and chip away at it together.  You won't be sorry.

2) The race organizers got game.  We have run several different races, both large races and small local races.  As runners we LOOOVE a well organized race.  The folks that organize the Sears Great Canadian Run know what they are doing.  An event of this
magnitude requires a huge amount of behind the scenes work.  From our perspective as participants it was executed flawlessly.

3) Being a part of something bigger then you brings perspective.  Running is a pretty selfish thing.  It give ME time to myself, it lets ME think and reflect, it lets ME feel good about accomplishing goals, it lets ME eat ice cream sometimes.  Sure it makes me a better and more patient wife and mother, but it really is my ME time and my passion.  This race was not about me.  This race was about showing gratitude, about giving back, about giving hope.  When we think about the needs of others, we realize how much we are capable of giving.

4) The post-race food was amazing!  From the time the first teams started arriving at the finish area there was a barbecue going on.  The super speedy teams didn't have to wait hours for some grub to fill the post-race void.  They could hit up the barbecue and hang out while other teams arrived.  In the evening there was a buffet style meal with pasta, salad, veggies, bread, dessert, and drinks.  After a long run (and this was the longest of long runs I have ever done) I love a good satisfying meal.  This hit the spot.  I can tell you for certain that this was the best post-race food I have ever had at a race.  And what was even more awesome was that everyone was invited, not only participants.  We were able to celebrate and enjoy a meal with so many people who had come out to support us.

5) The speakers and events at the post-race banquet were inspiring.  From learning about the amazing accomplishments of the top fundraising teams, to hearing directly from a family who like us, had benefitted from amazing paediatric care at Sick Kids, to the woman who cut off and donated her long ponytail, the evening culminated in an inspiring way.

6) Making connections with people changes your life.  Everyone has a story, everyone has joys, and struggles, and fears.  Being a part of this event gave us the chance to make connections with so many different people, to hear so many stories, to appreciate and be appreciated, to hear of sorrows and successes.  It has made us grateful for all that we have, and opened our minds and our hearts to the struggles of others.  We can learn so much from the experiences of others

and last but not least...

7) Running is awesome, and all the cool kids are doing it.