Back to School 2013-2014

August 4, 2013

Can you believe it.  I’ve not posted since February, and for that I am very apologetic, but tomorrow Miss K starts 1st Grade.  The time seems to have flown so quickly and with me going back to work and school it goes even more quickly.  Although I have not attended college over the Summer I have been working on a distance learning program through North American Montessori Center (NAMC) to gain a better understanding of the classroom.  Unfortunately this does not give me full American Montessori Society (AMS) or Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) accreditation as I have neither the time nor the funding right now, but I am thrilled with all that I am learning and how I can put this into action in the classroom.  During the last school year I completed 13 credits in Early Childhood Education through Paradise Valley Community College (PVCC) and have signed up to do a further 6 this semester whilst completing the third and final unit of my Preschool Training (3-6) of the NAMC.  The plan is that I will have my Child Development Associate (CDA) in Preschool for next Summer so keep your fingers crossed and then my Certificate of Completion in Early Childhood Education by Summer of 2015.  Nothing like keeping me out of mischief.  I have learned so much that I have put into action both with the children at school and also with Kirsten.

Very proud of her picture and waiting for it to be hung on her wall.

Very proud of her picture and waiting for it to be hung on her wall.

Miss K and I have actually just been doing some art work/crafts.  I had 2 of the Melissa and Doug peel and press sticker by number kits in my stash here at home so we have just completed them both as Miss K enjoyed the first 1 so much.  The first one was the Mermaid Reef and the second was the the Fairytale Princess.

I will try and be better this coming school year and at least aim to make one short post a week to keep you more up-to-date on our goings on.

Melissa & Doug Fairytale Princess

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So much to do, so little time to do it?

March 10, 2012

I think I mentioned that I went back to work middle of January after over 10 years of being at home.  This has been a huge learning curve for the 3 of us.  I did allow myself to get a cleaner and she helps for a few hours once a fortnight (every 2 weeks).  We also have a landscaper come in to help with the pruning of the bushes in the back yard once every other month but for the most part I continue to try and run the house myself.  How’s that going I hear you ask?  Well the blog is even more behind the times than ever now and for that I apologise.  Since last writing Kirsten and I had a wonderful week in Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan staying with our friends the Kelly family that we met on the Disney Cruise.  I am sure, for those of you who read my daily diary you will remember the trials and tribulations of the family during the cruise and the fact that they had to leave the ship in Cabo.  Everyone is doing fine and we were treated as part of the family.  I keep telling them thank you as we had such a great time.  Kirsten, not used to having siblings, was in her element with 4 for a week.  By the end of the week she even had their names rather than calling them “brother” which I thought was cute.  Jennifer certainly kept us busy for the week on top of keeping her household as close to routine as possible and this included:  bowling; a trip to a Jungle Java; visiting local parks; a gymnastics class for Kirsten; and of course the Henry Ford museum

We had hoped to see a real snowfall.  It was a little funny to watch Kirsten hop from snow pile to snow pile yelling “snow”.  Hey, don’t forget she’s from the desert.  She’s seen real snow once in her lifetime before this.  We did get all excited when there was a severe weather warning threatening 6-8″ for the penultimate night but when we woke up there was a few inches of very wet snow that disappeared in a matter of hours so that was no good.

Now we’re getting ready for our next trip.  This one is to go back and visit the family simultaneously celebrating my big 40!  I can’t wait to see my sister and meet my nephew for the first time.  He turned 1  on February 3rd.  Some of you may remember the birth announcement I posted on the blog last year.  He was born 3 weeks after we left from our last visit back at the start of 2011.

Apologies if I’ve forgotten to share anything with you.  I know it’s going to be a while before the next time so please take care.


Belated Happy New Year – Trip to England and Norway Part I

January 18, 2011

 

Yes, she was scared of it

So much has happened since I last wrote that I have absolutely no idea where to start.  I’ll probably start where Kirsten and I flew off to Europe on the evening of Tuesday 30 November.  We left Daddy at home to man the ship, so to speak, and he was going to join us in England 2 weeks later.  The start of the trip didn’t quite go to plan.  Daddy and I had no handover as he ended up sick in bed so I had to find alternative arrangements to get to the airport.  I had 2 wonderful friends who volunteered themselves the task and I ended up accepting Steve’s offer.  Steve was also going to be collecting us from the airport on our return so he already had our spare car seat.

I wasn’t sure how Kirsten would do on the flight as when we did the same trip 21 months ago she slept about 2 hours out of 10.  This time I was lucky. When they turned the lights off after dinner, almost midnight local time, I managed to get Kirsten to sleep and she slept for about 5 hours.  She woke in time for breakfast.  What helped is that we had moved back a row and had 3 seats between the 2 of us so that Kirsten could stretch out.  We landed in Heathrow but had to sit on the runway about 45 minutes while they waited for a “Gate” to open  up.  It turned out that Heathrow was the only airport open that day due to the snow in England! Kirsten just kept shouting “I want my Nanny”.  Who could blame her.  She’d just spent almost 11 hours on a plane, 10 of which were up in the air.

Our first full day in Highworth, Wiltshire (my parents) and I realised that although I’d done my best to stock Kirsten up on winter clothing England was having a harsher winter than normal and she was going to need more vests and a better coat.  We went to a shop called Matalan and Nanny bought Kirsten a wonderful big sparkly pink coat with scarf that Kirsten literally lived in for the next 5 weeks.  We had a week in Highworth and caught up with numerous members of family.  Due to the snow there still weren’t as many as originally planned but my Mum did have 18 for dinner on Sunday and we all fitted around the dining table.  That was quite a feat!  Thank you to all the family members who did make it across that first week.  There were many that I hadn’t seen since my wedding reception back at the end of May in 2002 ( you read right, wedding reception.  John and I eloped so had the reception 6 weeks later).  This, of course, was also their first opportunity to meet Kirsten although they had all seen plenty of pictures on our share site etc.

On December 9 we flew with Nanny (my mother) to Oslo, Norway to visit my Grandmother.  I hadn’t seen her in almost 10 years and the last time I’d been to Norway was just after I met John and I took him for a long weekend to meet the Norwegian side of the family.  We had 4 full days in Norway and made the most of them.  Kirsten and I had an overnight quick trip down to Larvik to meet my best friend from my year at Folkehogskole in Seljord, Norway, back in 1990-1991.  We have stayed in touch for 20 years.  The last time we saw each other was for a couple of hours in 2007.  I went with John to Denmark on a business trip and Irene, my friend, took the ferry from her home town of Larvik to Hirtshals and met us for dinner.  What more can I ask of a friend.  This time I got to meet her 3 children, Hoda, Ali and Heidar.  I hadn’t seen the youngest 2 and I’d not seen Hoda since she was 6 months old when I went over for our 5 year reunion in 1996.  She was definitely no longer a baby.  There was no language barrier between the children and Kirsten got on great with all 3 of them.  Thank you to the entire family for being so hospitable with the 2 of us.

 Back in Oslo by Saturday lunchtime and that evening we caught up with my side of the family.  We were staying with my Grandmother, but my Aunty, my 2 cousins and 4 of their children all came making us 11 for dinner.  It was chaotic but again great to catch up.  Before dinner we all dressed up and went up the hill behind the house and went sledging.  My cousin, Eli, pulled Kirsten all the way up on the sledge and then took her down the hill.  It was when Kirsten realised she was going to have to walk back up the hill afterwards that everything went downhill.  Kirsten found during this trip that with all the extra clothing she was having to wear it wasn’t as easy to walk so in that case why should she!

Sunday we actually had most of the day to ourselves.  We were due out for dinner with my Mum’s best friend to celebrate her birthday in the evening but until then we could do as we wanted.  I wanted to visit Sognsvann which is a lake a couple of miles from my Grandmother’s house.  We decided the easiest thing would be to take the bus along the main road and just walk from the bus stop to the lake.  Kirsten, of course, was getting cold just from sitting still.  There was a little outdoor cafe open at Sognsvann so we had hot chocolate, hot dogs and warm waffles to eat.  The locals were finding it interesting watching Kirsten scream but when it was explained to them why then they understood the reasoning.  The difference in temperatures between Phoenix and Oslo were quite a bit for a 3 year old to deal with and I feel Kirsten did brilliantly.  On leaving Sognsvann we took the tram down to Oslo centre, walked through the main station and then took the bus back to my Grandmother’s house.  Kirsten doesn’t get to go on public transport  at home as there isn’t really any close by and she’s always asking to go on buses and trains so we tried to make the most of it for her.

As I mentioned before on Sunday evening we walked down to my mother’s best friend’s house to help celebrate her birthday.  My Mother and Anne have known each other since they were children and lived almost next door to each other.  Anne’s daughter is also my Mother’s goddaughter.  She’d invited a number of friends over for a dinner party, and of course, we were invited too.  Kirsten was the only child, but I may be a biased Mother, but again I think she did wonderfully.  Thank you Anne for inviting us.  We had a lovely evening.

 Monday Anne had been kind enough to take the day off and said she would take us wherever we wanted to.  I had never been to Hadeland Glas so this was where I wanted to go.  For those of you interested in finding out more here is the link:  http://www.hadeland-glassverk.no/english/  In all my time spent in norway I had never been there.  Now I went in the cold of winter and the scenery was spectacular and when I get back to Norway it is definitely on my list of things to do again.  It is similar to an outlet mall except built around a glass factory.  They also have a lot of the Norwegian porcelain there too.  Again another on my list of things to do is to visit Porsgrund next time.  Hadeland Glas is located at the end of a lake so the scenery is spectacular.  If you get the chance to visit Norway add it to your list of things to do as well.

Tuesday morning and it was time to say goodbye.  The temperature was also about -18C (-4F) so cold but unlike anywhere else that I know the flights were all on time leaving the airport.  We just had to be de-iced prior to take off!

OK that’s it for now.  I’ll try and do another post in the next couple of days which will start up with my husband’s arrival on December 15, 2010.


Kirsten Iceskating

November 3, 2010

I know, I know…two posts in one day but I have a lot of catching up to do as I want to make sure when I go away in 4 weeks’ time everything is completely up-to-date so that when I get back I only have to post about what we have done during the trip.

Kirsten was given a pair of ice skates by her Norwegian Great Grandmother last Christmas.  To me she is known as Mormor (Norwegian for Mother’s Mother) and to Kirsten she will be referred to as Oldemor (Great-Grandmother).  Some of you will know and others won’t that when John and I moved to Arizona back in 2002 I decided to take up the sport of Figure Skating but stopped when I discovered that I was pregnant and hadn’t been back since.  Kirsten had started to mention that she wanted to go iceskating and not because I had made the suggestion to her but because she had a number of bedtime stories that mentioned skating and a number of the programmes she watches on tv also mention it occasionally.  The other Thursday, 21 October, Kirsten had an early release day at school and it was also Parents n Pups at the icerink.  This meant that during the Learn to Skate session for children part of the ice is set aside for parents to take their toddlers (2.5 – 5 years old) on the ice for a group lesson too which I thought would be perfect.  I had already confirmed with the ice rink that it wasn’t sold out in advance ie people signed up for the complete 6 weeks, so that Kirsten and I could do a drop-in class (just turn up).  On the Monday after swimming (which is right by the rink) we had popped into the rink and had both pairs of skates sharpened.

On Thursday after school Kirsten was forced down for a nap as I knew it would be a late night.  The class runs from 5.45 – 6.30pm and Kirsten is normally going up for a bath between 6.30-7pm so there was no way that would happen.  The staff at the ice rink welcomed me back with open arms and it was as if I hadn’t been away for the last 4 years.  I’m hoping to take Kirsten again tomorrow.  If she shows as much enjoyment then I suspect that we will stop swim classes and start iceskating class in the New Year instead.  I look forward to that too as it is something I can do with Kirsten, but ultimately it is Kirsten’s choice.  John also left work early so that he would be able to be there too.  Kirsten was wrapped up wonderfully warm as we used some of the clothes that I have purchased for our trip back to England over Christmas.  In actual fact she was so warm and toasty she just didn’t want to get off the ice at the end.  I’d layered her up with tights, leggings and snow trousers on the bottom half and on the top she had a cotton long sleeved t-shirt, fleece jacket and the snow trousers as they were actually dungarees and you can see she had her cycling helmet on her head and also mittens.  The mittens were the only item of clothing we had a problem with as they kept coming off.  Probably because she was holding onto me so tightly.


Back To School

August 12, 2010

Can you believe it…finally the day has come and Kirsten went back to preschool  on Monday after almost 3 months holiday.  She finished on Friday 19 May and went back Monday 9 August.  It’s been a long hot Summer.  We had already decided that she was going to go for 5 days a week but were only planning on having her there from 9-12 but we bumped into the Mum of one of her classmates at Anthem outlets a couple of weeks ago, and she mentioned that her son would be there till 2pm (he’s also a high energy child like Kirsten).  That made up our minds for us and Kirsten is now staying until 2pm.  We’ve just finished day 4.  She’s also having 3 swim lessons a week until 3rd week of October.  She’ll be having 2 at the local YMCA (Tuesdays and Thursdays for 30 minutes) and will continue her weekly lesson at Aquasafe but that has now moved to Monday afternoons.  The last 3 nights she has slept through till 7am which is unheard of so it just goes to prove that she needs to be both mentally and physically exhausted in order to get a good night’s sleep.

Over the Summer I have done a little quilting.  I completed the “Pinwheels and Paperdolls” quilt based on the Cowboy Baby Quilt from the Material Obsession book.  It is now on Kirsten’s bed.  I even made her a couple of matching pillowcases.

I also finished the binding on a couple of the “Schnibbles” quilts that I did in Miss Rosie’s Quilt Club so they are all finished.  I’m giving some of them away as gifts and keeping the first, “Picnic”, “Roundabout” (That I made for John), and the lone star, “Center Stage” as they are my first, and my last from the club.

Now we’re getting excited as we have 2 trips coming up.  We have our week away in Dana Point, California at the end of September and then I am going across to England for the entire month of December with Kirsten, and John will fly over a couple of weeks later.  We will all fly home together first week of January.  We think we have managed to arrange house sitters for both sets of dates which we are really pleased with.

Last but not least I have now been working with the doctor for almost 2 months with regards to weight loss and have spent about 6 weeks taking thyroid (natural), testosterone and vitamin including B12 complex shots.  My weight is very slowly coming off although John’s has fallen off (about 15lbs to date).  I’m also having a fortnightly weigh-in using a bod pod too.  Everything is being monitored.  I had a second round of blood tests about 3 weeks ago and was told my thyroid numbers are at least going in the right direction.  On top of all this I am using my Bodybugg to monitor both calories in and calories out and my doctor is monitoring my food log.  Nothing like doing everything I possibly can.  So far I’ve lost about 8lbs.  I’ve got about another 12-15lbs to go till I reach my goal.  If I’m lucky I’ll reach it before I come to England.

If I’ve missed anything I apologise and if I’ve rambled too much I apologise too.


Sickness and Quilting

July 6, 2010

Yes the two do go together.  Kirsten spent last week sick again.  She had some mild pains on Friday night but we didn’t really think much of it then on Sunday she started the day with a very runny nose and finished the day with a high fever.  From there we then went to vomiting etc.  On Monday morning I took Kirsten to the doctor and they ran tests for strep; flu and bladder infection but everything came back negative.  They told me it must be a virus and therefore would run its course in 8-10 days but in the meantime I had to do my best to keep Kirsten hydrated as the tests did show that she was on the edge of dehydration.  Of course it was the hottest week of the year so far and we couldn’t go swimming, and it was also the last week of camp for her.  Not a good week for me food wise.  Kirsten just wanted cuddles and affection.  Anyway we found what worked was to put her on the bed in the guest room with the television on, a cup of juice, a box of tissues and some snacks in the hope that she would eat and my sewing room door is opposite so I could get on and do some work.

Back at the start of May I did a day’s class at The Olde World Quilt Shoppe which is my local quilt shop here in Cave Creek.  One of the teachers had done a beautiful baby’s crib quilt that she called “Pinwheels and Paper Dolls” based on a baby’s quilt (“Cowboy Quilt”) that she had seen in a book called Material Obsesssion (http://www.amazon.com/Material-Obsession-Modern-Quilts-Traditional/dp/1584797525/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1278428713&sr=8-1).  My good friend Sunny collected Kirsten from school that day and took her home to play with her 2 children so that I could do a full day’s class.  My plan was to make the quilt big enough to fit on a full size bed when Kirsten converted from her toddler bed to her twin (English single) which turned out to be over the course of this weekend.  Anyway back to the quilt.  The reason the teacher called it Pinwheels and Paper Dolls is the fact that one of the fabrics she used has what looks like the old fashioned paper dolls on them and she “fussy cut” them (made sure you saw the whole doll) to include them on the quilt.  The quilt is made up of blocks of pinwheels.  The crib quilt had 9 blocks and I worked out that mine would need about 40.  With Kirsten sick and the fact we couldn’t go out anywhere I managed to catch up on sewing the remainder of the blocks and then creating the rows and sewing the rows together to make one large panel.  Today I will be going back to the quilt shop to choose a fabric to use for the inner border and then the outer border will be long strips of the dolls.  I still have to choose a backing and then I’m going to get Whitney (one of the owners of the quilt shop) to quilt it all for me before I have to bind it.  I’m also going to buy some more of the fabric and make a couple of matching pillowcases.

I’m hoping you can follow this link to see how the quilt has progressed:  (http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=186183&id=629046142&l=41caeedc0c)


Almost Halfway

June 16, 2010

Wow.  Apologies for the delay in the next post but as usual we keep ourselves busy.  My Mum came out on 11 May – you remember the trip that she was originally due to make in March but was postponed due to British Airways striking.  Anyway she was due to return to England on June 1st but guess what?  British Airways went on strike again and her return flight was cancelled so she was here until Sunday 13 June.  This suited me fine.  Kirsten had finished Preschool for the Summer back on 19 May and John had to go on his Company’s annual conference on Saturday 5 June and wasn’t due home until evening on Thursday 10 June.  This meant that I actually had company myself for the 6 days John was away and that Kirsten had someone else to fuss over her too.  Kirsten is actually at camp at her Preschool for the month of June.  She’s going Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9-12 and calls it her special camp out.  She is still having her swim lessons on Thursday mornings but we’ve discovered that although she can swim a width of their pool unaided by rotating from front to back whenever she gets tired she doesn’t behave the same in our pool.  As we now have a YMCA about 5 minutes from home I have signed her up for swim lessons there too, so for the entire Summer (June/July) she has a second swim lesson Mondays — Thursdays for 30 minutes every afternoon.  The difference it made in a matter of a few days as to her confidence outside!  She’s exhausted in the evening and it’s a nightmare to get the dinner cooked but I would rather she were safe around water.  She’s now teaching some of her toys to swim in the bath every night too by practising back floats and kicking with them.

Can you believe Kirsten has turned 3!  Celebrations were long and drawn out due to Kirsten having strep!  We thought she had a stomach virus as I was then sick over the weekend too, but when we went for her 3 year check-up a week later we talked to her doctor about it and mentioned she was still suffering a little.  The doctor took a throat swab and told us she was positive for strep…oops! So she went on antibiotics and is absolutely fine now.  Anyway due to being sick we had to postpone her party at Build-A-Bear and also didn’t get to have a BBQ at home on the day as planned.  We finally had our trip to Build-A-Bear on Friday.  There were 6 adults and 6 children and the children had a $25 limit to spend on building their bear.  Fun and chaos all around.  No they don’t just have to build teddy bears, there are dogs, monkeys, Hello Kitty and all sorts.  Kirsten went home with a very hippy colourful looking bunny another child went home with a Hello Kitty and a little boy went home with a Coyote.  You choose your soft shell, then how hard/soft you want to stuff it and then do you want to give it clothes etc.  Kirsten was exhausted at the end but slept for 25 minutes in the car then crashed (ie couldn’t cope any more) but didn’t nap once she got home.  We all had to suffer that afternoon.

While my Mum was here we took Kirsten to the photographer.  Partly to commemorate her 3rd birthday but also as we had got pictures of the 3 generations of us together when my Mum was here for her 1st birthday so we wanted to update those pictures.  Here are a few of them.