Saturday, September 4, 2010

Prettiest Flower Girl...

Our trip to Ottawa for Will and Care's wedding was filled with so much family and fun...thinking about it makes me feel a little lonely here on the prairie. We were so proud of Willow and her flower girl performance!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Driftin' Away....

Squeezing every last drop we can out of summer....Willow and Kyran are loving this trip to Swirls

Monday, August 23, 2010

Summer's Buzzin'

Everyday dressing up is fun in our house.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Playin'

Elina and Willow enjoy some playground time....

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Heritage Day....

After a morning at the Esplanade Heritage Festival with Grandma, we finally got a moment to hang out to together in the backyard. A quick breather from our West Coast journey before Dad takes off for a week in Ontario and Best Man-ing. Days like this with Willow are a sweet like a summer plum.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

There's No Place Like Home!

After two full days on the road we finally made it back to Medicine Hat. It was so much fun to go away, but in the end, there is no place like home....Willow was so happy to flop on her own bed and race around through the overgrown garden. You can check a out all the pics from our journey in the album to the left.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Back to Van

Our trip is coming to a close...it's been wonderful seeing so many old friends! This is our last day to enjoy all of what the big city has to offer....including one of Mom and Dad's favorite Gelato stops! Tomorrow we hit the road for home...I think we are ready....

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Friday, July 30, 2010

Sooke!

Ahhh the life of Island hoppers! We thoroughly enjoyed the ferry trek from Galiano to Vancouver Island. The West Coast is just such an amazingly beautiful place! And a short drive past Victoria is Sooke...one of he prettiest places on Earth, I am sure. Combine that with more wonderful old friends and the next leg of our journey was completely memorable as well. Here are Willow, Bronwyn and Ada checking out the rocks on the beach at Whiffen Spit. We are just going to spend as much time as possible at the beach, enjoying every aspect of the ocean's watery goodness!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Galiano Island

Our days spent on Galiano Island were some of the most magical ever. We spent our days at the beach, exploring tide pools and experiencing the true freedom of 'island life'. Willow was completely enchanted by Makayla, who celebrated her 9th birthday while we were there. All that attention from an older, cool girl made a huge lasting impression on WIllow. Adam and I had a fantastic time as well. Visiting with our old circle of friends reminded us all things good in life. It was great to be there and we were sad to leave....I wish we could have stayed a whole summer!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Vancouver!

There have been so many exciting, new experiences here in Vancouver. Today Willow met the ocean. Ok, so it's not a pristine beach, but the 2nd beach on English bay is real beach...complete with shells, sand, crabs, mini tide pools and lots of sunbathers. It was so neat to see her sit and watch the vastness, the waves and just drink it all in. We also visited the place at Ferguson Point where five years ago we were married...and guess who took our commemorative picture sitting on the wall...Willow of course! What a blast! Later, we went to one of our favorite haunts - the Clubhouse, where WIllow experienced some real West Coast cusine - SUSHI! She loved it...and so did Mom, Dad and even Silas.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Pit Stop Picnic

Enjoying a little nosh in Roger's Pass. Willow is a great traveller, enjoying the view and the bag of activities I brought along for her. She loved seeing the mountains....

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Packin'

Willow is helping Mom pack up for the big trip to the West Coast....I don't think anyone really knows what will be in store for the SWAN family....

Monday, July 19, 2010

Willow's Playdate Party

We got all of Willow's friends together for a backyard morning playdate party. The weather was threatening rain but the sun held out just long enough for us to have a really great time. Shelby, Ian, Caili and Addison brought Willow the coolest hand made calico cat pinata as per her request. I love this look of quiet contemplation right before the mayham begins....There are plenty more pics to be looked at from the big party in the 'Willow Turns Three' album on the left.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Three Years Old....

Wow! I just can't believe that Willow is three years old. I guess the time just flies like a run away snowball from here on in. Willow is her own person through and through. As she learns and struggles through her knowledge of herself as a little person, I do the same as I figure out how to be a parent of a little person. The last month has passed in a blur to say the least. >The broken leg, the cast and the level to which her dependence on me increased was both exhausting and eye opening. To suddenly have to carry your three year old around to go to the bathroom, get in the car, get on the couch and everything else you can imagine really made me realize how independent she is. It also made me feel extreme gratitude for having healthy, able kids. It got me tapped in to new levels of compassion and empathy for my beautiful little girl. I don't think that she was very happy to be so needy, and at the same time I could see how relieved she was to know that Mom and Dad we completely with her in her struggle. My heart just went out to her as she would cry with the pain. Or later, I was bursting with pride as I watched her nimbly walk and play in the backyard...happy just to be a kid in the sunshine. Throughout the whole ordeal, he spirit was never broken and that speaks volumes about the person that Willow is.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The cast is off

The cast came off without a hitch. After x-raying her leg again the orthopedic surgeon says that the fracture is completely healed. She has been walking around quite gingerly on in, still limping but very happy to have it off. The first thing we did upon arriving home - a super long bath with tons of bubbles, of course! And the second thing she did was spend the following day, her third birthday, having a complete riot in the sand and water at Echo Dale park!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Red Cat

Willow had a fun time at Caili's birthday party today. She got to get her face painted so what did she choose? Why, a red cat, of course!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Canada Day!

This year Canada Day was spent very low key, in our backyard. No big outings, festivals or fireworks for this girl. We had a fun day and the day was brighten up by a visit from Elina and Jen. Jen gave Willow a sparkly Canada Flag tattoo...in red, of course!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Crafties

I've got Willow rocking the craft scene. Now tht she realizes she can walk, she wants to run, so I've got to come up with activities and entertainment that keeps her still. Rest is the best thing for healing her leg, and staying off of it is really important. It really is quite torturous for her - no sprinklers, swimming or bath to cool down and refresh...just as summer is heating up...

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Hanging Around

Today Willow figured out how to walk on her cast. Out on the front lawn she limped circles around me shouting "Look at Me! I can walk!" She amazes me with her adaptability and spirit.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Fractured Leg

After three days of crawling around the house, crying, tantrums and not being able to bear any weight at all on her leg, we took Willow to her pediatrician. Sure enough, the x-rays in her file showed a fractured tibia. I was beyond frustrated to say the least. The following day we were to come back to Emergency to see the orthopedic surgeon. After fours hours we emerged and Willow was sporting a bright red cast. Of course she picked the color immediately - her favorite color. She was such a trooper that day - I knew she deserved an ice cream cone on the way home. So, there was a real and true reason why she had been crawling around for the past three days. Poor little pumpkin - just as the rain seemed to subside, and the hot weather has begun. She missed the rest of her swim lessons and I don't see any pool time (or bath time for that matter) anywhere in the near future. The cast will be on for three weeks. Happy Summer!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day!

I Love this picture of our morning because as I look at it I realize that Adam and Silas and I are all in the shot, meaning that the only person who could have taken the picture is, guess who: Willow! Our Father's day was celebrated in the morning with pancakes, coffee and a couple surprises for Dad, most exciting of which was an ice cream maker. The day was spent with Adam immersed in coursework as I popped in and out, trading sleeping kids for awake ones as he held down the fort. In the evening we met Grandma for a nice dinner at our favorite Thai restaraunt. Willow was in low spirits throughout the day as she had a grand wipe out yesterday in a bouncy castle at Redcliff days. She and Adam spent the night in emergency getting x-rays. No broken bones were reported but her injury is quite debilitating. She hasn't walked yet and it has been about 30 hours. It is a lot of work to carry around a 35 lb toddler for every little thing including the bathroom, to the table etc.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Piggy Piggy Piggy

Today Willow played for what seemed like forever with her piggy bank. Putting the coins in, taking them out, pretending to buy stuff, making change. It was so peaceful. When her interest finally started to wane, I suggested that maybe she would like to paint her white pig. Of course she was game. Who would've thought that a ceramic pig could provide fun that would last for an entire afternoon....

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

35 Months

Willow has an intense eagerness to learn. This morning she sat at her table and worked on her alphabet activity book. She is trying so hard to write all the letter and she wants to do it 'all by herself'. She draws some pretty creative marks and line and tries hard to trace the letters...but it is her desire to sit and do formal learning that is amazing to me. She seems to be caught in an in-between world of still needing help, still needing Mom but desperately wanting to do everything on her own. She can get very frustrated and we are prone to power struggles and tantrums. She cannot handle a loss of control over her decision making. She is learning the very foundation s of how to be a strong, independent woman and she is only three years old! Yikes! She has been experiencing some very high levels of frustration and anger towards Silas lately. "Little Guy" is always in her face, in her space, showing great interested in whatever she is doing and it drives her nuts. She will be working on some task, concentrating so hard and up rambles Silas to thwart her plans. "NO SILAS!" she shouts, before he is even near her. Or she pushes him wiht her hands or feet. It upsets me so much. But the funny thing is, 80% of the time, Silas doesn't get to phased by it, he just keeps on trying. (20% of the time he cries with hurt feelings) We seemed to have hit a real wall with this about two weeks ago. It was driving me nuts. It felt like I could never turn my back on them, even for a second. I am happy to say that this seems to be settling down and I hope that we continue to move through this phase of big sister hood quickly and that we all can find our groove. It is interesting Willow has lately been pointing out when she feels peace as in "It is very Peace in here right now". I think it is wonderful and amazing that at her age these thoughts can be hers.

This morning, after she woke up she told me " I dreamed about Artemis and Demeter. I dreamed we were in a climbing factory. We would climb up and them jump down onto big mats. It was Halloween and I was a cat and Demeter was a catapillar and Artemis was a ladybug." She went on and on about the details of her dream....it was so interesting. Her dreams, at least the ones she tells me about are often about family.

Willow had her first swim lesson today. She absolutely refused to get her face or head wet which is why I wanted to take lessons with her. She had plenty of fun and it is great that Caili and Shelby are taking the class too. She didn't want to do many of the things that the instructor was showing: blow bubbles, emerge their head, go down the slid etc etc. But I promised her that she could hold onto to me as tight as she wanted and I would never, ever 'dunk' her and to that she replied, with her arms tight around my neck a whisper in my ear " Thanks Mama."

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Spectrum Festival

WiIlow experienced her first pony ride and did a lot of other fun stuff! It was one of the best Sunday strolls downtown!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Princess Lip Gloss

Loot bags from kids parties can contain some pretty exciting stuff....stuff that your own Mom might never let you have. And that was the case with the princess lip balm that came from Ben and Isabella's Birthday party. She got to try a little bit of it and then I put it up on the shelf in her room. After bedtime, all had been quiet for a while and we thought she was sleeping, and she called out. Guess who had been having a lip balm party in her room? Of course she looked funny but all I could think of was chemicals and lead and parabens and all the good stuff I am sure were packed into that little tube....and they seemed to make her so hyper too! It took quite some time to unwind from this fun!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Best Friends...

Shelby and I trade childcare...it can be a little hectic watching over four kids, but it helps that they love each other's company so much! These girls can sit and read boos together for ages.... and look at how much fun they are having!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

In Full Bloom...

We discover new corners of our neighborhood on sunny Sunday afternoons.


Monday, May 24, 2010

Magic Moment

Dad and daughter...a very special relationship....

Friday, May 21, 2010

Friends

Willow loves the company of Kyran. He's older than her by almost two years, very smart and talkative and has a similar type of gentleness about him. He is so patient and sweet with her, a perfect play mate. They played constantly for two days straight.....the favorite game seemd to be playing 'nest' on the top bunk of Kyran's bed with stuffed animals...and Willow's favorite stuffed animal- a softy version of Clifford the Big Red Dog.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

34 Months!

"At this very moment the stillness of the late afternoon radiates as the sun warms my skin. I am feeding the kids snacks as per Willow's command. She is an amazing life force and will keep us all on track for the rest of our time on this planet. Silas and I are getting messy in the grass while Willow sits on the porch and eats. 'I love you!' she calls out to me. I can't remember how old she was when she started saying that. Now it is a staple in our everyday conversation. I can't imagine my life without it. " A journal excerpt. It is impossible to capture moments, but I certainly try. These days are filled with challenges, sleeplessness, tears and sometimes tantrums but I would not trade them for anything. To watch her while she is in the throws of mastering a new skill, seeing things through her new 'person hood' eyes or just being in the sheer bliss of a moment is a constant reminder to me of the perfection of her.She loves to 'perform' for us, a small audience of two, on the grass. "Mom, watch me!" Like being seen by me is some kind of confirmation of being alive. I am thrilled that I still play that big of a role in her life. I wonder, some days, when I hear her fiercely push me away and exclaim, "NO! I can do it MYSELF!" for the hundredth time. She is in a beautiful space, caught on the edges between complete dependence and the beginnings of independence. Some days I just want to hold onto her so tight...but I know that parenting is a process of learning to let go. And those leaps are just the most magical things I have ever witnessed!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Best Friends...

Another lovely day in the backyard. The kids are so lucky to have good friends like Caili and Addison and Shelby and I are lucky that we have each other to 'trade off' with when necessary. It's true, having four kids under the watchful eye is not something that I ever thought I could do, but being in our beautiful backyard space makes it totally do-able. This picture just captures the silly fun and girl-y sass that happens when these two play together. They are both such talkative, smart little people that it is no wonder they enjoy each other's company. And they are only one week apart in age. Willow has proclaimed "Mom, Caili is my BEST friend!!


"

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

Mother's Day with Willow...my puddle stomper, ear to ear grinner, sweet, soft hearted, whipper snapper smart, beautiful daughter...

Later in the day, at bath time I overheard a conversation that she was having with Adam. "Dad, what is your wish for a thing that you never were? I'd like to be a pelican...."

I love my family!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Spring Blizzards

"Mom, where do the ladybugs go when it snows?"

Monday, May 3, 2010

Bike Practice

Getting some time in the back yard to practice on the trike. She was getting the hang of it quite nicely until frustration set in. All those bumps and cracks in the pavement interrupted her otherwise smooth sailing. I don't think she liked the analogy about life I used to try to explain....

Sunday, May 2, 2010

A Gift....

Things were quiet in the house. A little too quiet. I was getting suspicious. Quite often when this type of stillness settles on the house, a huge load of chaos is about to be unleashed. She is in my computer room...probably messing about, getting into things she shouldn't be, probably wrecking some of my crafty supplies. I open the door, slightly miffed already, and what do I find? Willow is sitting perfectly at my little table with her bead box out, peacefully crafting all on her own. She is putting colored beads on a pipe cleaner. This is the very first time she has ever made a craft from beginning to end entirely by herself. When she sees me look in on her she says, "Mom, can I sit in your chair? I am making a craft. is that okay?" And do you know what she was making? A bracelet for me. She was so proud and excited she talked about it for days. "Do you like your bracelet Mom?" "Are you wearing your bracelet, Mom?" She is such a sweet, smart cookie. This gift to me, the first of it's kind, truly is a treasure.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Leaps...

Some Days I really notice when Willow has taken some huge leaps in growing up. Today I was just shaking my head in awe at her. Her language and communication and crazy personality just makes me smile. Today she said,out of the blue, "Dad, do you want to come and see what we got from Grandma's house that I really like, it is really cool!" Hmmm, that was a big sentence, Adam and I grin at each other, raising an eyebrow. She was showing us a scarecrow garden decoration, but the way she said it, it was like she owned it completely. Ahhh, when did I trade my toddler in for a little girl? I look forward to lifetime of funny, wonderful conversations with this sweet person.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Clever Sass

When I asked Willow to help me with something to today she replied "No, I can't, I am not the boss of helping." Ummm, yeah....