Saturday, November 26, 2011

Ski School!

We are in Vail for the Thanksgiving holiday which has given Declan a crack at ski school for the first time. 
Serious ski school swagger!

Getting measured for gear...

I stood outside for FOUR hours trying to get some good pictures and video of Declan's first day skiing.  Parents were kept pretty far away by a fence, and the sun made it very difficult to see.  I had my telephoto lens which allowed me to take pictures, but when I downloaded them to the computer  I realized that I had been taking pictures of someone else's kid for the most part.  In my defence, when you take a dozen three year olds and put them in helmets, goggles and matching pinnies, it is very very hard to tell who's who.  I am just  glad I brought the right one home. 

Declan is in the middle, really leaning into his boots!

So this is the only bit of video I managed to get where it's actually Declan skiing!  He loved ski school.  My only regret was that he wasn't able to attend the Colin Adamson School of Alpine Instruction.  Colin taught me how to snowboard by following behind me, continually asking "what's wrong with you? why can't you do this?", while videotaping all my falls. Good times.   

When we came out of Ski School, Declan saw this dog and said "Look Mommy, it's Rin Tin Tin!" Who knew he'd be hanging around in Vail. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Annual Thanksgiving Pageant

Declan's preschool Thanksgiving pageant was staged yesterday morning.  The three year-olds did a rollicking little number entitled "11 Little Indians" which was pretty cute, political incorrectness notwithstanding.  For those who want the full multi-media experience- here is the crummy video I shot.  Declan is the first horse out of the gate, but he freezes in his tracks when he sees me in the audience.

This still marks an improvement over  last year when he burst into tears when he saw me.  Progress! 

The rear view of his authentic native garb. 

Declan's Papa and Yaya came to see the show and share in the turkey feast that followed.  I tried to take a nice family picture of them all together but as soon as he is holding hands with two people at the same time, Declan is conditioned to automatically start swinging.

For dessert, I put a piece of pumpkin pie in front of Declan and turned around to get him a fork. By the time I turned back, the pie was already all the way in his piehole, no fork required. 

For the feast all the kids make their own placemat which proudly broadcasts what they are thankful for. Here are some heartwarming samples from some of his classmates:

And here's Declan's:

All the other kids are thankful for their mommies and mine is thankful for a retro canine movie star.
Alrighty then.  The worst part is that every night before bed for the last six months or so, we say what we are thankful for that day, so Declan has tons of practice saying sweet things about his family.  But when the time comes to go public, he's all about Rin Tin Tin.  It's one thing to get trumped by a dog, but a dead dog?  Too much to take, I tell you.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Visitors

So we were the very lucky recipients of a visit from the much-missed Walbergs, who defected to California this summer, wrenching Declan apart from his dear friend Abbey.  Here I surprise him with the news that we are on the way to the airport to pick up Abbey and her family to come and stay with us.  Pardon my voice, I was deathly ill and could barely speak at this juncture.  Funnily enough, I thought I was ill because I am immuno-suppressed with all the wicked fertility meds I'm on, but as it turned out, I was just the Typhoid Mary with a very contagious GI bug that I then went on to bestow to the rest of my family and all of our houseguests, one by one.  Hostess of the Year right here I'm telling you. 
As advertised, Declan was keen on helping take care of baby Sophie, and we all enjoyed having a baby in the house again.
Backyard s'mores.

Hanging out at a birthday party the Little Gym.
Jammed into the baby seats at the Wonder Place.
This is the point where Declan asked Nicole if she would join our family.  He must have noticed that things run much smoother with an extra mom around.  Those Mormons might be onto something.

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Hallowe'en Fairy.

So my friend Liz passed along this ingenious idea to me last week to deal with the post-Hallowe'en excess- solicit a visit from  the Hallowe'en fairy.  After very carefully picking out six pieces of candy to keep, Declan then left the rest of his candy hanging on his bedroom gate.  (Yes, we lock him in his room at night.  Declan's judgment is questionable at best; he can not be left to his own devices. I hope this causes some controversy among my extensive readership, so that we can dub it GateGate. )

Anyway, Hallowe'en Fairy takes the candy while little one sleeps, leaving a present in exchange, and bob's your uncle.

 The Hallowe'en Fairy left Declan a World Map puzzle- his first 100 piecer.   Much more fun than candy.
Special bonus question: Can you tell what we had for dinner?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Cowsuit.

Declan's other Hallowe'en costume was a cow.  It may seem extravagant to have multiple costumes, but his Banksy costume was homemade (really, not commercially available you say?) and down here in the South, there are like a dozen events that require a costume around this time, and so it's nice to be able to mix it up a little.  Hallowe'en parades and trick-or-treating, trunk-or-treating and class Hallowe'en parties and private Hallowe'en parties and Hallowe'en festivals (not the same thing, btw.)  They are crazy for Hallowe'en here.  More houses here are decorated for Hallowe'en than for Christmas, which my Canadian self finds surprising.  I digress.  Have I ever told you that Shane once told me that if I were a pilot on Battlestar Galactica, my callsign would be  "Sidetrack"?  I've been meaning to. 

Anyway, costume selection.  Declan had been flip-flopping about costume choices.  First he wanted to be Mickey Mouse, which I thought was extra sweet, because unbeknownst to Declan, Shane was Mickey Mouse when he was about the same age.   I was perusing some pretty pricey costumes on Etsy, because I didn't like any of the commercial Mickey Mouse outfits. Then all of a sudden he wanted to be a jack-o'lantern.  Luckily I hadn't ordered the M.Mouse yet, but this flip-flop reminded me that he could turn on a dime.  So I strategized that we should just pick one out in a store, as it's more tangible than ordering one online to avoid another change of mind.  I decided on taking him to Target, because unlike the pop-up Hallowe'en stores' offerings, Target's children's costumes don't each come with a free pair of fishnets.  The Target's  boys' costume selection was rife with super-heroes and ninja warriors, but Declan picked out the lone sweet costume- the cowsuit.  I was really pleased about that, because I feel like this might be my last year for a sweet costume.
Now it looks like I have staged a huge multi-location cowsuit photo shoot in these pictures, but the truth is, he has just been wearing his cow suit a lot lately, and we've just been going about our regular business.  I definitely seem to take more pictures of him when he's wearing a cow suit, and I think that is perfectly understandable.  At various junctures, I would be watching him and think "A cow riding a horse - that's something you don't see every day" and take a picture. or "A cow driving a tractor.  That's something you don't see every day".  or "A cow drinking milk.  That's something you might see every day if you were raising cattle I suppose, but not out of a tetra pak."  So I ended up with a lot of cowsuit pictures.  

And I'm pretty happy about that.

Cow in the thick of the preschool parade.
Cow at circle time at school.

Declan as Banksy

 For Hallowe'en this year, Declan had two costumes, as described in this email exchange with his teacher Miss Whitney, that for some reason really made me laugh. 

Whitney:  What is Declan going to be for Halloween? I know you were trying to decide between 2 things, and Shane told me today he wasn’t sure exactly what you and Declan decided.  We need to know what his costume will be for one of our groups tomorrow. Thanks!

Me:  Well he has two costumes to pick from. We were trying to decide between going as a cow or going as Banksy, the international graffiti artist. Could he go to the parade as Banksy, and the party as a cow, or if that's too convoluted, maybe we had better err on the side of cow.
Whitney:  Well, I think for clarity’s sake – let’s just go with the cow, if that’s alright.  Cause tomorrow, in one of our groups, they are going to complete a sentence saying “I will be a ______ for Halloween” so let’s just go with cow.

So Declan was a cow for his class activities, but when given the choice for trick-or-treating, he opted for his Banksy costume.     Here he is in action at home: 

 He had great fun trick-or-treating with his friends Abbey and Kate, and I had great fun listening to him try and explain his costume to various geriatric neighbours.

I loved this year's costume, but for me, it still runs second to his 18-month old appearance as