Thursday, August 30, 2012

Banff and back again!

Kids, we're not in Texas anymore!  That was very evident earlier this week when we headed West up into the Canadian Rocky Mountains.  Jared was able to take a day off work so that we wouldn't have to battle the weekend crowds in nearby Banff.  We knew not to have too high of expectations while planning a day in the mountains with small children.  We will definitely have to come visit again in 3-4 years when the kids are old enough to enjoy the outdoor adventures fully (without nap breaks and meltdowns!)

The highlight of our trip was taking the gondola ride up to the top of the Sulphur mountain.  The kids were very brave....probably too brave, as they took in the views from the top of the mountain!

Going up the gondola

....and up!

Hold on tight to this guy!

Catch me if you can!

Rock climbing

Julia giving her princess smile....or just smooshing her head into her shoulder as hard as possible!

That's better!

Hungry from all of that "hiking!"

They are almost all looking!

Following the gondola ride we went into downtown Banff and enjoyed lunch at a local brewery/cafe.  Jared then drove the kids around in the van while they snoozed for an hour while I did some shopping.
The views were breathtaking, and it was a very fun (and tiring) day!  We hope to do another trip to the mountains soon.
The kids are doing great and are looking forward to starting their preschool here next week.  They will be going to the school MWF for 2 1/2 hours.  The program includes typically developing kids along with children who have medical/developmental delays.  It is founded by 2 speech pathologists, and Kai will be receiving speech, physical and occupational therapy during school and at home.  While he would fit in perfectly in a regular classroom (besides not being potty trained and having a speech delay), we are thankful that he can receive some special instruction while having fun at school.
One of the cute things that Kai has been doing recently is raising his hands in the air while we pray with him.  In one of our kid's devotional books that we read last week, it mentioned that there are many ways to pray besides folding your hands in your lap.  He now insists on everyone raising their hands while praying.  I agree Kai, it does seem more fitting!

Julia has probably had the hardest time adjusting to the move.  She has been having difficulty falling asleep alone and was waking up in the middle of the night for over 3 weeks.  She just started staying in her bed all night recently with the incentive of having a "daddy date" after continued success!  She still occasionally gets curious during nap time and has snuck into our bathroom to play with my makeup.  Here is how I found her one afternoon.  Yes, that is mascara all over her face! 

Julia adds makeup onto her list of things to play w/ during naps including nail polish, magic markers, and poop!

Isaac is as busy as usual.  My mother commented that there has never been a more appropriately named storm as Tropical Storm/Hurricane Isaac! That is a perfect description of him!  He is very athletic and loves rough play.  We are constantly laughing with him and holding our breath as he tries new stunts!

I forgot to mention in my last blog post that we are uncertain about how much longer we will be up here in Canada.  On our way up here Jared received a call from his boss saying that they have decided to focus more on the Texas office instead of the Calgary office, and that our time up here would likely be more like 3-4 weeks instead of 3-6 months.  What?!  Yes, it took me more than 4 weeks just to get packed, locate medical records, contact schools, prepare our house, etc.  We communicated that while we understand that there is work to get started on in Dallas, our house is currently being leased until mid-October.  We are hoping that they will let Jared continue to help out here in the Calgary office and complete work for the Dallas office long distance until October.  We have been here for almost 4 weeks now, so we are assuming that this plan is fine with them!  We miss our Texas friends and would love to get back into our normal routines, but we would prefer to do that from a house, not a hotel room!  This new "opportunity" is sure providing ways for me to work on my patience and flexibility!
Here are a few more pictures before I head out!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Catching Up!

We survived the 32 hour drive up North and are still all in one piece!  We have been here in Airdrie, a small community just north of Calgary, for a week now.  The differences between Canada and the States are subtle and not so subtle.  We definitely got a lot of stares when we took all three kids to the grocery store with us.  Apparently kids in Calgary are meant to be seen, but not heard!
We are currently experiencing a "heat wave," (80s during the day, 50s at night) which we find extremely pleasant!  The weather is so nice that we head outside right after breakfast and have to drag the kids in at bedtime.  The kids have been taking great naps!

The "company house" that we are staying in is furnished and has all of the basics that we need.  One of the families Jared works with even dropped off toys for the kids to play with.  That has been a blessing since we could only fit so much into our minivan!  The area is beautiful and we can see why Canadians love their summer so much!  We are planning on taking a day trip to Banff soon along with a few other outings.  My only complaint is that Jared is here for work and not for leisure!
We have enjoyed meeting a college friend and her children who live in Calgary now, going to playgrounds/splash parks, and getting to know Jared's co-workers.  I am finding that I have less distractions here since my only responsibility is my family.  I pray that it will be a sweet time for our family and that I will have energy and time to focus on Kai's speech and development and addressing some behavioral issues with a little girl that I know!
We had a lot of fun times in Texas the month before we left.  Jared's parents came to visit the first week in July.  One of the highlights of their trip was hosting a crawfish boil at our house with family, church friends, and neighbors.  Jarred got the crazy idea while at an oil field event months ago.  He flew in crawfish from Louisiana, then added other meats, veggies and a lot of spice.  The kids were very brave and held the live crawfish.  When Julia was told that we would be eating the crawfish later that day, Julia said,"Mommy, no way!"  To our surprise, she ate more than her share that night!
Checking it out

Turtle fruit bowl made by Jan

Isaac enjoying a dirt appetizer!

Neighbor friends

We also enjoyed a visit from my brother.  The kids can never get enough of Uncle Zachy!  A few weeks later we packed up the van and headed to Nebraska.  We dropped Jared off at the airport to join his father and brother for a fly fishing trip in Washington while the kids and I spent the week with my family.  We were able to celebrate my mom's 60th birthday, see all of our cousins and close family, and wear out my poor mother!  Here are a few pictures from the birthday party.  Mom really wanted a nice family picture to use for her Christmas photo this year.  Needless to say, the kids didn't have good naps and the pictures speak for themselves.  I think she should still use it for their Christmas card.  It's so much more real than having 7 toddlers all smile at the same time!

Are we having fun yet?


Kai driving the boat w/ Papa Jones

Julia & Cousin Izzy playing dress up

Isaac loves his Uncle Zachy