Fun stuff

Another late post from Hallowe’en.  I found this awesome site for paper houses and tried my hand at making one.  The plans are free and are so well done that it was so easy to put together.  I won’t lie and say it wasn’t time consuming but it was a great craft that a child over 10 could definitely attempt! Here’s the house we made:

If you haven’t checked out this site you really should.  It has some great paper houses as well as a great section for gingerbread houses – I may just try it out over the holidays if I get up the courage!

 

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Ghosts

Another late post from Hallowe’en.  Now that we’ve had snow the kids are all Christmas talk now!

Anyhow we had a blast “making ghosts” over Hallowe’en.  I set my shutter speed to 30 or less (depending on whether I had enough light) and then asked the kids to run past as I took photos.  Here’s one we captured.  The kids thought it was a blast how they disappeared.

Happy Progress

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I am inspired by Capital Mom’s recent post about speech to share a more personal story. When my son was about 2 I knew something wasn’t quite right.  He spoke quite early and using 2-3 words sentences almost immediately.  We figured he was our child we wouldn’t have to worry about in terms of language.  But then it happened.  Overnight.  He suddenly wasn’t able to get simple words out of his mouth.  He’d break down and cry.  He’d have days where he was lucky to get one word out of his mouth.  It was heartbreaking to hear him.  I quickly starting asking people about stuttering and googling everything I could find.

Stuttering is a communication disorder in which the flow of speech is broken.  He repeated (li-li-like this), prolonged (lllllike this), or just stopped mid-sentence.  The information was so confusing but from what I could pull out of the reliable information we were right to be worried.  He is a boy.  There is family history, though not directly, but family history none the less.  2 out of 5 risk factors that he wasn’t going to outgrow it.  I tried not to worry too much and figured as everyone told me that he would outgrow it.

Then the teasing started.  His friends made fun of him which made it worse since then he got upset and found it even harder to talk.  But the worst was when some adults made fun of him.  I had to control my mama bear instincts and tried to explain to them that we were sure he had a stutter and then he just needed some time to get things out.  I went home that night crying for him.  It was at that point that we went to the family doctor to get him referred to speech therapy.  Everything I read said we needed to get him in early but it was frustrating as I was told that 2.5 was quite young and that it would be at least 6 months wait if not more.

Shortly after this I was listening to CBC and they had a topic related to fast talking.  Specifically how technology is making us fast talkers.  If anyone has met my husband you likely know he talks VERY quickly!  A co-worker of mine is also a fast talker and we were recently at a social event where she and my husband were chatting and another person was trying to follow.  It was then that I realized just how fast he does speak.  So as we waited for our assessment we tried very hard to slow things down.  We would repeat sentences for him and try to pronunciate every. word. very. slowly.

We were then called to a ‘learning about stuttering’ session and really I think it’s a course they should offer to all parents.  I never really knew about what our kids language truly is supposed to sounds like. We stress as parents everyday that our kids aren’t hitting the milestones etc but we don’t even really understand what they are.  Parents fret so much about their kids sitting, crawling, standing and push to have them walk and then we tend to back off all proud of ourselves.  After the session we now know that he has a couple things with his speech.  They are quite subtle and most people think he’s just being goofy when he does them.  After 6 months he was finally assessed and what our gut was telling us was right.    So January we started speech therapy.  Once a week for an hour and he loved it!  He loved playing with the toys the most but he’d come back so proud of himself when he’d figure out a new sound.  As homework we tried to slow down our stories at night.  Try doing this and tell me it’s not a challenge!  We made a point to really emphasize every part of the word and though it sounds unnatural to me, he actually sat and took it all in.

It was coming slowly at first and then by the 5th session it just clicked with him.  At our 6th session it was like magic and the therapist said she was going to end the sessions.  For him he needed the sounds – now that he knows that he’s saying what he wants to he’s had impeccable speech.  Every so often I still hear the stutter but I can also hear him work through it.  So instead of happy ending I say happy progress since i know it’s something we’ll likely be working on for a while but I finally have my happy go lucky little guy who loves to talk back!

Monday Moments – Colouring

I am taking a stab again at joining Capital Mom’s Monday Moments.  If you haven’t seen her blog before you really should check it out.  So wonderful!

We have a love hate relationship with colouring in our house.  K loves drawing and she very quickly got good at colouring pictures in colouring books but that did not come without her colouring on her walls with crayons, her brother’s face with permanent marker and mommy & daddy’s work documents with pen!  We have learned that you can not leave W to be creative with art since this means eating crayons or using markers to do full body tattoos.  We have beautiful drawings lining the fridge and art wall thanks to colouring but there’s usually some crazy story behind each one.  Maybe that’s why we enjoy art so much?

P.S. Toothpaste rubbed into wall takes crayon art off very nicely with a little elbow grease.

Chores

We started this “program” with K this summer of giving her a chore chart.  I printed off a copy of this one.  Every time we asked her to help with something, like take her brother’s boots off, let the dog in the house, set her and W place at the table, clear her dishes, etc. she got a sticker.  She’d then ask us what day of the week it was and how to spell it and stick a sticker under that day.  We started her in late July and she just completed a whole chart this month.  We promised her once she got a whole sheet she could go to the store and buy something she wanted for under $20.  So we headed out and now she stocked to get her next one filled.  I only gave her 1 sticker a day for the help she did – she never realized or cared that more helping in one day didn’t get you more than one sticker but it still seems to have encouraged her.

The biggest challenge of this program?  Explaining to her that there’s still a limit to the $ amount of the item you can buy.  Maybe as she gets older we can teach her about saving up her sheets to cash them in for a larger toy?

Golden

Whenever family comes out we try to find time to head out to Golden for a night.  We always head to the Timber Inn.  It’s a great B&B 20 minutes south of Golden.  If we head out with more than our family unit of 4 we choose the Alexa chalet.  This time we had 5 adults & 3 kids so it was perfect – it has 3 rooms and 2 bathrooms and a little kitchenette.  We didn’t use it though since we ordered the meal plan.  Totally worth it if you head there.

view from the cabin

It’s good food and the owners are super nice and great to chat with.  We always regret only staying one night when we go though.  Golden seems so close at only 3 hours from Calgary but somehow the day gets away from you and we always think that we should stay 2 nights the next time.

We love it out in Golden – it’s so great to be in the mountains but without the crowds of Banff.  This time since we had the young ones and the weather was slightly chilly we decided to fore go the hikes and check out 2 of the interpretive programs.  We headed first to the Buffalo Ranch.  The woman at the Information place on the highway recommended we head there and it was definitely worth the stop!  The kids loved seeing the Buffalo up close and it was so cute to hear about the different personalities and fascinating to learn about the herd.  The herd is basically wild and so you get an up close look at how they relate to each other and live together.

Len, who lives on the ranch knows a great deal of info about the area and has some funny stories to share about the herd.  On the way back to the van we walked around his property and checked out the stream nearby.  Kokanee salmon were swimming upstream to lay eggs.  None of us had ever had the privilege of seeing this before so it was quite a treat and the kids loved it.  This place is definitely on our list of must see places while visiting Golden.

Checking back in

Yes it’s been a while!  We’ve been frankly, having too much fun!

We had a visit from family back over Thanksgiving and the kids had too much fun hanging out with their new cousin.  We headed out for a couple small hikes but were getting over a horrible stomach bug that had K flat on her back for 6 days!  That’s a first for us.  K never gets sick and this one hit her so hard, poor thing.

So anyhow, I promise to update in the next couple days on our fun time.

First we tried another hike in Bragg Creek.  We love this area this year since it’s so close and easy to get out for a short hike with the kids.  We took the visiting family out there to enjoy the day.  The weather was great!  We attempted Fullerton Loop.  I say attempted since we didn’t really finish it.  We took W, who’s almost 3, and still getting over the same stomach bug K had.  We brought his hiking stick along and he did a great job but truthfully he was cranky!

We followed the path up the trail and made it what we now think was the half-way mark.  W  was getting tired so we decided to turn back.  I plan to attempt it again though to find out if we really had done most of it.  One lesson I learned is to take a GPS next time to find out how far you’ve gone.  The trail says it’s about 6.5km and we likely did about 5km which was pretty good for our little guy who’s only done 1-2km before!

Cleaning House

I always manage to miss the “Spring Cleaning” that should be done at out house.  Instead we tend to opt for the “Fall Clean”.  I’ve already worked away at:

1. the office – I managed to clean through paperwork that has been piling up all year

2. the kids rooms – I have gone through all the toys and tried to organize them in bins – each kid has a big drawer to toss all the toys in.

3. basement closet – this closet collects everything that doesn’t have a home in the house.  I wasn’t actually able to purge anything from here but organizing it went a LONG way since now I double the space in it!

4. kitchen pantry – The floor of our pantry was a mess!  I ran out to IKEA and bought an organizing shelf from the kids section and have all my containers & lids organized and oils etc in a pull out drawer.

5. Art bins – we have 4 art bins for K and so I had her help me clean it out.  She did a great job of testing that all the markers actually worked and we got an entire large garbage bag out of the bins and into the recycling bin!

6. Laundry room – I finally got through all the camping blankets and put all the sleeping bags away and can now walk into the laundry room

7. Lastly I went through my e-mail.  I unsubscribed to any emails that I don’t read frequently.  After signing up on many sites it gets ridiculous checking e-mail and can even be stressful!  I also put filters on e-mails I do like to read but would rather catch up on when I get a chance – this way they don’t come to my phone every 5 seconds.

It sure feels good to clean house once in a while!  The drawback is that my garbage bin was full Monday and garbage pickup isn’t until Friday!

Beaver Flats Interpretive Trail

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So this weekend we actually made it to this hike.  Last weekend we tried but managed to miss the trail.  From the parking lot you head down and then take the trail to the right rather than straight toward the river.  This trail was perfect for the kids.  It was only 1km and interesting for them since there were bridges and forest and waterfalls.  The colours were outstanding and we decided that between the two trails this is now one of our favorite places in the Bragg Creek area.  There are interpretive signs along the trail but the kids just wanted to run ahead and stop only at the waterfalls.  By waterfalls I mean tiny falls.  It still is a great way to help the kids understand what beavers do.

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