Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

From our family to yours... HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

My One Year Old Kindergartener

Myers is an official member of Reagan's Kindergarten class!

Well, he was.

At least, if you were to ask him (and if he were to be able to verbally answer you) that is what he would have you to believe.

I have been volunteering as the Mommy Helper in Reagan's class once a week for the past several weeks, and this day of the week has most definitely become Myers's favourite day!  He has loved going to school with his big sissy, and he has loved being able to interact with all of her friends.  Unfortunately, all of his interacting has caused a bit of a disturbance more than once in class, so today was probably the last time that I will be able to take him with me.  

While I fully understand that it is more important for the REAL kindergarten kids to get an education, I have to admit that I am disappointed that I won't be able to help out in class anymore.  That is, unless I can arrange for alternate child care for Myers on whatever particular day I want to be in the classroom. And I do have a couple of options before the end of the school year for that to be able to happen, so my fun is not completely over!

The first few times that I helped out in class, Myers sat quietly in his stroller at the back of the classroom and rarely made a peep.  But as he has gotten older, he has become more vocal.  And more mobile.  And he is now very comfortable in the kindergarten classroom, so he doesn't want to be confined to his stroller.  

He wants to PLAY!

Today, he was simply too cute for words.  As Mrs. Dreyer was asking the kids to say silently in their minds the sound that the letter A makes, Myers suddenly blurts out in a very loud voice, "ah, ah, ah!"  Now of course, he was not responding directly to Mrs. Dreyer's question.  But he did give the correct answer!  It just happened to be a rare coincidence that one of the few clear sounds he can make happened to be the answer to her question, and that he was "chatting" with his sounds at just the right time as well. We all had a good laugh!

As I've mentioned before, even though is not walking yet, Myers can pull himself up on just about anything and he can stand on his own.  So, at snack time today, Myers promptly crawled over to one of the tables, pulled himself up to standing beside the table, and began to pick snacks out of the kids lunch boxes.  

Later in the day, as the kids all went to the front of the classroom for carpet time, Myers decided that he would join right in.  He crawled up to the front of the class, plopped himself between two of the older boys, and sat criss-cross-applesauce just like everyone else.  It was cute, and all the kids thought so.  But this, of course, caused less attention to be focused on the task at hand than should have been.  But it was not as much of a distraction as when he started trying to dance around during music class!

So as you can tell, Mr. Myers is just too full of mischief to be able to roam free in the classroom anymore, and he is too full of mischief to happily sit in his stroller.  

I guess he'll just have to wait until he is five years old like all the other kids to become a true kindergartener!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Newlands Festival of Trees

As my business, The Bride's Assistant, has grown over the past few years, I have expanded my services from beyond being a Wedding Coordinator to also include Special Event Planning.  It is in that capacity that I was asked to manage the Newland's Festival of Trees to benefit the Langley Memorial Hospital Foundation this year.  

Over the past several weeks, I have been in contact with over 300 businesses in the Langley area in an effort to get new participation for this charitable event.  The purpose of the event is to help raise money for the Langley Memorial Hospital Foundation, and to provided businesses with a fun and festive way to promote their business during the Christmas rush.  

Live Christmas trees were purchased by making a $200 tax-deductible donation to the Langley Memorial Hospital Foundation.  Tonight, all of the participating business were invited to Newlands Golf and Country Club for a Decorating Reception.  The pre-purchased trees had been placed throughout the entryways of Newlands so that the teams of tree trimmers could immediately begin decorating upon their arrival this evening.  In all of my previous correspondence with each of the participating businesses, I had encouraged them to use their corporate colours or themes for their decor... for example a landscaping company could decorate their tree with miniature lawnmowers, rakes, gardening gloves, etc.  The teams truly outdid themselves in this effort, as the trees all looked amazing upon completion.   The festive event was a super fun, team-building experience for the participating companies, and it was a great way to kick off the holiday season.  Newlands was transformed into a Christmas forest!

Once the job of decorating was complete, it was time for the companies to vote for the tree of their choice in the following categories...  Best Corporate Tree, Most Enchanting Tree, Best Creative Use of Material, and Best Decorating Team Spirit. The only rule was that you couldn't vote for yourself!

The party was then moved into the grand Conservatory Ballroom for a social reception, complete with complimentary hors d'oeuvres, holiday treats, wine, and other refreshments.  I had invited the performance team from Langley Gymnastics to provide us with breathtaking, high flying entertainment, and the girls didn't disappoint!   The over 200 people in attendance were also charmed by the 60 members of the Langley First Capital Barber Shop Chorus, as they swooned us all with a selection of Christmas carols.  

We wrapped up the evening with the announcement of the winners in each of the categories, and on behalf of Newlands, I presented the winners with an array of prizes.  The biggest prize of all was the envelope that I presented to The Langley Memorial Hospital Foundation with $3950.39 of donations inside!  

I was very proud of the special helper that I had in attendance as well.  Reagan was happy to join me as my assistant, and as always, I was excited to have her with me at one of my events!

The Festival of Trees will continue until December 24th, and the thousands of guests that come to Newlands during the holiday season will be able to enjoy the Christmas forest.  Everyone is invited to cast their vote from now until December 24th for the tree that will be selected as the winner of the title of "Master Trimmer."  

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

What the Hell? Reagan Has A HOLE IN HER HEAD!

Reagan came home from gymnastics last night, complaining of a headache. 

It was not all that unusual, as this used to always be the first thing that she would say when she walked in the door.  It took a few weeks for me to figure it out, but her headaches were actually coming from having her hair pulled back into a tight ponytail all day at school, and then all afternoon at gymnastics.  Hello, even I would get a headache if my hair was pulled back for 11 hours!  The headaches disappeared once I started letting her wear her hair down to school on gymnastics days to alleviate the tension!

So when she walked in the door last night after Ryan had picked her up from gymnastics, I was a little surprised to hear her complaint.  She pushed her dinner around her plate more than she actually ate it, and we finally gave up the battle of trying to get her to eat and told her she could go get ready for bed.  I went upstairs with her, and was helping her to take her ponytail down once she had her pyjamas on.  It was at this moment that my heart jumped into my throat.

In as calm of a voice as possible, I said, "Reagan, we haven't done a lice check in awhile.  Mommy's going to look at your hair for a few minutes, okay?" This was fine by her, as she loves for me to play with her hair.  (There was an incident of lice with a child in her Kindergarten class earlier in the school year, so Reagan is used to paranoid Mommy making sure that the little critters haven't jump onto her head next.  Hence, the ponytail at school everyday...) While she was lying on her bed, I called down to Ryan for him to please come upstairs and to bring my cell phone (camera) with him.

Again, trying to remain calm so that Reagan didn't start to freak out, I parted her hair to take a closer look at what I had already discovered.  This was what was causing me to nearly faint and debate on if I needed to make a trip to the hospital.

Ryan took a look and mouthed, "What the hell is that?" to me.  I just shook my head in confusion and began to ask a million questions of Reagan...
Did you fall at gymnastics?
Did you hit your head?
Does your head hurt?
Did your coach look at your head at any point tonight?
All Reagan could say was that she was running and that she bonked heads with another little girl on the team.  I knew that I needed to be able to see exactly what I was dealing with, as the dried blood surely was making it look worse than it really was.  At least that was what I was hoping for!

I convinced Reagan that even though she was tired and that it was now already past her bedtime, we needed to have a spa night downstairs!  I fixed a pile of comfy towels on our counter top, and had her lay her head back into the sink as if she were at the salon.  All the while, I was talking in a froo-froo fancy voice, making her think that were having so much fun at this elegant salon.  But on the inside, I was seething mad!  How could something like this have happened and no one at the gym realized it or told Ryan about it when he picked her up?

Once I had washed her hair and removed all of the caked-on blood, we discovered that it was actually only a small puncture mark instead of a large gash in her head.

But still, how in the world did this happen?  I asked Reagan the same series of questions, but I still had no answer that provided an explanation as to the hole in her head.  We let her go to sleep, and I began to phone a few of the other Mommy's on the team to see if anyone had any clues.

No luck.

This morning, I called the gymnastics centre the moment that the office opened.  I explained what we had discovered last night, and asked if they could please give me the phone number of the Mom of the little girl that Reagan bonked heads with.  For privacy reasons, they wouldn't give the number to me directly.  But they phoned that Mom, and gave her my number at my request, and within half an hour she was phoning me.

The conversation went something like this.
Me:  Sorry to worry you, but did Isabella come home from gymnastics last night complaining of a headache?  I think she and Reagan bonked heads at some point. 
Other Mom:  She didn't have a headache, but she kept saying that her mouth hurt and that her tooth was loose.   
Me (as the light bulb comes on in my head):  Ummm, I think Isabella's tooth may have gone into Reagan's head last night when they collided. Reagan came home with a hole in her head that is exactly the size of a five year old's tooth.  And she was bleeding pretty good from it.  It doesn't surprise me at all that Isabella's tooth is now loose!
Well, at least I now had an answer.  

I am still pretty upset that no one at the gym realized that it had happened.  I plan to talk to Reagan's coaches about it and to show them the pictures I took last night when we are at the gym again on Thursday.  Both Reagan and Isabella are fine now, but I feel like the coaches need to know that it happened, and that they missed it.

I'm just VERY glad that it turned out to be only a minor accident!

Monday, November 21, 2011

The United States Has Two New Citizens

I am so excited that I can not stand it.  I don't know if I have ever been so proud.


In all of the research that Ryan and I have been doing for our decision making process about moving to the US, we discovered that it was actually quite a very simple process for our children.  Unlike Ryan, Reagan and Myers do not have to "immigrate" to the US as they are naturally already US citizens... we just had to claim that citizenship for them by filing for a "Report of Birth Abroad" for each of them.

And today, we did just that!  We decided that regardless of what decision we make about moving South, it is important for our children to have complete dual citizenship in both the US and Canada.

We got up bright and early this morning, and we were on our way to Vancouver by 6:30am for our 8:30am appointment.  We may live only 40 miles away from the heart of Vancouver, but once you add in the crazy traffic, it can take twice as long to get there as you would think.

We arrived at the US Consulate's Office in plenty of time before our appointment, however we still almost ended up being late due to the insane security measures that we had to go through.  Seriously, they would not even allow us to bring in a sippy cup of milk for Myers.  No toys, no phones, no electronic devices of any kind, even if it was just for the purpose of keeping the kids entertained.  We literally had to beg for them to allow us to bring in ONE diaper and TWO baby wipes.  Yes, they counted.  And neither of these items could be in a purse or diaper bag because bags, even hand bags, are not allowed.  I understand the need for keeping everyone safe, but Ryan and I both felt that it was taken a little too far.

Anyway, once we were finally inside, it was smooth sailing.  I had done my homework, and was fully prepared for this appointment.  Each and every document that was requested had been completed and checked over numerous times before this day.  But, even so, I was nervous that our request would be delayed or denied if I had somehow overlooked something in the massive amount of paperwork that was requested of us.  Birth certificate, Official Registration of Live Birth Certificate, my US Passport, Ryan's Canadian Passport, our Marriage Certificate, my Canadian Immigration Record of Landing Certificate, evidence of my physical presence in the US for at least five years prior to Reagan's birth but after my 14th birthday (very specific on that one), plus the actual application form for the Report of Birth Abroad, the application for a Social Security Number, the application for a US Passport, two photographs, and the required fees all had to be completed for both Reagan and Myers.  Needless to say, it was stressful making sure that everything was complete and correct.

But we were successful, and at approximately 10:30 this morning, Reagan and Myers became official US citizens!

Now all we have to do is start the much more complicated and intricate process for Ryan!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

One Year Old Birthday Boy

I know it sounds so cliche to say, but I really can not believe that a year has already flown by since the birth of our precious little boy.  Looking back, it really does still seem like it was only just a couple of months ago that we were in the hospital room, holding our breath, anxiously waiting for Myers to take his first breath of life.  

And now, here we are, a full year later!  We didn't waste anytime this morning... Myers's first birthday present was all set up and waiting for him when he woke up.  And he didn't waste anytime before starting to play.  He was immediately ready to get to work building stuff!

While he was busy playing, I was busy finishing all of the birthday party decorations.  As you can see from the picture below, there was snow on the ground this morning, just like when we he was born!

It wasn't long before Myers's party guests began to arrive, and he was right in the middle of them, ready to play just like the big kids.  They only stopped playing once they realized that it was time to eat...  PIZZA TIME!

Myers's favourite part of the day was his birthday cake.  Who doesn't love cake... especially one made out of ice cream?!  It was the perfect treat for our teething birthday boy!  He couldn't shovel the yummy stuff in fast enough...

Just like his big sister, Myers loves balloons.  So it was fitting that we had filled the house with balloons for him on his special day.  

He was pretty tuckered out from all of the excitement of the morning, which made it very easy to put him down for his afternoon nap.  But once he woke up, he was ready to play with all of his new toys.  Thank you again to all of our friends and family for spoiling our sweet little man!

I'll wrap up this ceremonial post with the latest updates for Mr. Myers.  Since his last update here, (10 months old) Myers has been one very busy dude.  In the past 2 months, he has

  • started crawling around WITH his toys.  It is so cute to hear him make the little vroom vroom noises when he pushes his cars along with him.  
  • begun to talk on the phone.  Well, not really talking... it's more a bunch of ma ma ma ma ma ma to whomever is on the other end of the line!  But he loves to pretend just the same.
  • discovered that he can get whatever he wants out of me by reaching and saying Momma.  And trust me, he says Momma ALL. THE. TIME.  
  • also discovered that Momma will also give him whatever he wants and then even more in response to the tight squeezing hugs and big open mouth kisses that he showers upon me ALL. THE. TIME.
  • still shown no interest in walking by himself, but he can now stand on his own and will walk through the house while pushing either a walker or riding toy.  
  • figured out how to push the buttons on EVERYTHING.  The remote control, the TV, the BluRay player, the phone... anything that has a button that blinks or buzzes, Myers is going to push it!
  • settled into a routine that includes crawling to the door at the speed of light everyday at precisely 2:35 when I say, "It's time to go get Reagan from school."  
  • two more teeth that have come in, giving him a total of eight chompers now.
  • continued to grow to now be a full 20 pounds and 30.5 inches long.
There is no doubt about it, he is turning into a little man!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Super Hero Day at School

Today was Super Hero Day at Reagan's school, and she was very excited to wear a costume for another occasion besides Halloween.  She wore the same costume as she wore to school for Halloween this year, but with a few modifications.  We transformed her outfit from Rockstar Barbie to Super Hero Reagan without much trouble at all.

Here she comes to save the day... mighty Reagan is on her way!
This was a last second pic that I snapped with my phone before we left for school.
Reagan was excited to see all of her friends at school, and it was fun to see all of the Super Hero ideas that everyone came up with.  From Red Riding Hood to Spider Girl, and from Batman to Iron Man, these kids were ready to become the newest members of the Justice League!

It took a bit of coordination, but I was able to get all of the Super Heroes to LEAP into action to save the world from doom and destruction, all at the exact same time!  

There was no doubt about it, we were all going to be very grandly protected from any bad guys today!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The First Snowfall

It wasn't much, maybe almost an inch I would say, but it was enough to qualify as the first snowfall of the season.  And it was enough for Reagan to build a quick snowman all on her own!
Sorry for the picture quality...
This was taken from my phone while I was inside where it was nice and warm!

With the current forecasted temperatures, this little dusting of snow may stick around for a few days.  Brrrrrr... it's COLD outside!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Autumn Leaves Are Falling

I was simply too pleased with how these pictures turned out to not share them here...

Saturday, November 5, 2011

A Blast From the Past

I'm not quite sure how it all got started, but Reagan and I somehow ended up playing dress up together today with a few of my old evening gowns and pageant dresses.  She was convinced that she was wearing my wedding gown until I showed her this picture of me in the gown from back in 1994!  Yes, I was once a pageant queen.  Just click on the picture of me from back in the day for the details of that story!

I didn't make an attempt to see if that dress would still fit me, as I didn't want to run the risk of ripping it to shreds since it was handmade for me way back when.  However, I did decide to try and see if my high school prom dress from 1993 would still fit.  And guess what... it did!  Here's a comparison of both now and then for you...

I am sure that my husband is convinced that Reagan and I both had completely lost our minds when we concluded the fashion show by both sporting little black cocktail dresses.

It was a super fun morning with Reagan... now if I could just come with an excuse to get dressed up like that for real for a night out on the town one evening!