Monday, December 30, 2013

Growing Up Too Fast Part II

Around comes December and it's time for Alexander's birthday!  I cannot believe that he is 8 years old and in grade 3.  Really...I remember being that age.  Alexander is quickly becoming a wonderful young man (did I really just type "young man"?}  He is more logically minded than his younger brother.  It shows itself in his responsibility and love for learning.  He has worked really hard on his reading and he particularly loves to read non-fiction books on pretty much anything.  Tanks, airplanes and weapons are popular but also things like "most dangerous" lists.  He does a really good job of taking care of his brothers, too, and helping them out.  I love that we watch The Amazing Race together and get to see all sorts of cool places that we'd both like to visit - maybe someday we will.  I really look forward to seeing what the future holds for him with us...even if I will soon have to say "I have a pre-teen".  There are perks to them getting older but it just makes me think of how soon they will be out on their own!

We love you Alexander!  Happy birthday!

He is so into planes right now and all things "mighty" and list-like.  (The cotton candy clouds kept disappearing so we had to remake them a few times...)

He so loved playing football this year.  Their wind up was even on the hallowed Taylor Field!

Until nest time...

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Growing Up Too Fast

Well, that's it.  It's official.  Evan is now 6!  Seriously, 6!  Where on earth does the time go.  He's in grade 1 and it's just crazy.  It was his birthday at the end of October and it was just great to celebrate with him.  He is such a joy to have in the family and probably more like me than I really understand.  He is definitely not the quiet one...he goes and he goes on loud from the moment he gets up until he goes to bed.  I wish I had that kind of energy!  It is great getting to see him develop into the boy that he is and no longer just follow what his older brother does.  Evan is a very caring boy - he absolutely loves babies...any babies...he will sit and talk to them and play with them for a very long time.  He'd really like to be able to hold his baby brother more but his baby brother will no longer take it!  Evan is also our musical and creative child.  He adores singing so his teacher at school this year is the perfect fit.  Much of their learning has been turned into song!  He really enjoys his music lesson and will spend a ton of time at the piano just playing whatever he can find.  He also loves to draw and colour.  He can almost always be found with markers and a piece of paper.  We can see that he loves to learn as he is picking up reading all by himself...with no help from us.  Of course, he loses mittens more than we'd like and had four jackets in his locker at once this year, because he couldn't remember to bring them home but we love him quirks and all!  I'm looking forward to seeing what kind of boy and man he continues to grow into.

We love you Evan!  Happy birthday!

His fun (and super simple) Minecraft cake...

Pictures from his ball season that I had never of the other parents took a bunch at the final tournament.

Until next time...

Thursday, December 26, 2013

My Grandma - Helen Fehr

Well, my grandmother on my Mom's side passed away just before Thanksgiving.  Her funeral took place Thanksgiving weekend in Saskatoon and, you know what?  It was a great time.  My brother told me that he made this comment to a friend who then asked him oh, was it a good sermon?  Truth be told, neither of us were quite sure exactly what the sermon was about.  The weekend was really great for so many other reasons.  We laid Grandma to rest but we know that she loved Jesus and that we will be reunited with her one day in heaven.  While that doesn't make us miss her less here, it really does give a hope unlike any other and it always seems to take the edge off the funeral.  Truly, the weekend felt like old times.  It felt like any other get together we had had at Grandma Fehr's house when I was a kid.  I've been to gatherings since I've grown up but they've never quite had that same feel.  This weekend did.  It was times spent together with cousins and aunts and uncles and, yes, there was sadness, but there was joy and camaraderie, too.  I know that this will be the last time that things will ever feel just like that but it was one last hurrah so to speak (and I mean this all with the greatest respect - if it weren't for my grandmother, we never would have had those good times to begin with).

I ended up being roped into (voluntold) doing the grandchildren's tribute at the funeral - at least it was with two of my other cousins (one who was also voluntold and the third one that we made come up with us :) ).  These were cousins that I grew up with and spent most of our childhood gatherings with.  There were a couple of hiccups, but we'll just pass those over.  We just read memories that many of the grandchildren had written the night before.  I hadn't been at that gathering so I hadn't actually contributed a memory, but I'm not good on the spot, either.  When I thought about it, the memories that first popped into my head were of Grandma, sitting around the Christmas tree, handing out gifts to everyone, young and old.  She always had something and figured out how to make sure we'd got something that we enjoyed.  The other memory that I had thought of was when I was just out of high school and she was driving the same direction as us.  She didn't like to drive long ways by herself so I drove her halfway in her car.  I didn't have a clue what we'd talk about for a couple of hours but I needn't have worried, the conversation just flower and she was so easy to talk to.  I also realized that I didn't feel a need to write a tribute at her funeral, because I had written my tribute to her when I had done up a photo book for her 80th birthday.  I feel very blessed that she was able to meet all four of my children.  I truly thought I had a picture of her with each of my boys individually as babies but I can't find one of her and Jonathan so here are the other three...

Great-Grandma Fehr with Alexander

Great-Grandma Fehr with Evan

Great-Grandma Fehr with Bradley

So, I will just leave you with a copy of the tribute I wrote to her in my photo book a couple of years back...

Family is a treasure that not everyone is so blessed to have.  The memories that we store up from our childhood can resonate and comfort for years to come.  I feel so blessed to be a part of this Fehr family.  There are memories that I think back fondly on and always bring a smile to my face.  Things like getting kicked out of the kitchen while Grandma, Mom and the aunts prepared holiday meals (I understand now that there are kids running around my house!) or finally being old enough to sit and visit with the aunts and uncles.  There were many giggles and fun had in the spare bedroom as the four of us cousins (Amanda, Karina, April and myself - Sandra) shut ourselves in there for hours on end.  Then there was the treat of getting to sleep on the hospital bed (as we called it) in the basement.  That was the BEST bed!!  I remember the wooden ottoman full of toys and presents being handed out around the Christmas tree.  There were Easter treats hidden in the basement (and SO hard to find when Uncle Gord hid them).  There were the treasured visits with Aunt Elaine and Uncle Steve, since they so often lived far away and camping at the lake in the summer time.  The unseen legacy of a God-fearing and loving family is one of the most valuable things that we can pass down.  For these, and many more reasons, I feel like I have a treasure in being part of the Isaac and Helen Fehr family.

Until next time...

PS The cutest thing of the whole day was the tactless interest of my 3-year-old in how they were going to get Great-Grandma and her coffin down into the hole.  He made sure he had a front row view and watched very carefully as they used the straps to lower it down.  He tells me it was the favourite part of his day.  I'm sure Great-Grandma would take that for what it's really worth.  He always has been interested in how things work.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!!

"And there were, in the same country, shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them, and they were sore afraid.  And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.  And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."

That night the angels announced the birth of Jesus - the reason for our celebration of Christmas.  I couldn't help but notice their praise...which also struck me as instruction to us..."Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."  This meshes with the rest of the Bible and its instruction to our purpose in life and how we are supposed to live...summed up in these simple words that night so long ago.  The only way that this praise happens, as well, is when we look at Christmas in light of Easter.  More and more I have been conscious of how the two intertwine and how we really need to celebrate a bit of Easter at Christmastime.  For, if Jesus was not born to die for us, there really would be no reason to celebrate.  I've also become more and more drawn to the Christmas carols that tie both in.

I want to leave you with a video of this Christmas carol - "A Christmas Hallelujah - by Cloverton".  This has been making the rounds on Facebook this year but I first stumbled across it a year or two ago.  I have always love the music to Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen but it just left something to be desired in the words.  These are the words that my heart always wanted this music to have.  So, take a listen and have a very Merry Christmas!

Until next time...

Monday, December 23, 2013

It's Beginning to Feel a Lot Like Christmas

Well, ever since my camera has gone off to the repair shop, I have gotten out of the habit of taking photos of E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G.  So, I made my chocolates in November but I don't have a picture.  I may have even done other festive stuff without taking a picture but that's OK :).  Anyway, I love Christmas, I just wish that it didn't show up in stores November 1st.  That's just too early.  Around here, Jason makes us wait at least until after American Thanksgiving and preferably longer than that.  As I age (shhh, no I don't), I think I agree with him more.  The specialness really decreases the longer the season lasts.  Anyway, we have had some Christmas fun this year and I just wanted to share a bit of it with you!

First off is the kids' Christmas party.  Jason's work puts this on, the kids love it and it's always the kick off to the season (I'm actually very glad it's at the end of November so that it doesn't interfere with all the other goings on!)

This year, we had a balloon artist.  Such cute little guys!

And we rode the slide...about a gazillion times.

And I even had one kid brave enough to sit on Santa's lap.  They all loved their presents, though.

Then we had to decorate our tree.  It was even well after December 1st by the time we did this and the lateness really didn't bother me at all.

We started with the star.

Then we had fun adding the ornaments (though Mom did get to dictate the upstairs tree!)

Finally, it was all done - what a pretty tree!

We always have two advent calendars for the kids.  This one, which is a whole bunch of tiny books, telling the story of Jesus (the books then hang on the tree)...

...and this one that is full of fun little LEGO bits.  This year, we had the LEGO City version.

Then we had to decorate the downstairs Christmas tree.  It was SO crooked.  I couldn't figure out why until I realized that the new spot I used this year was by the walls of the know, where the house was sunk.  So, this is the new and improved Reginan Christmas tree stand (good thing I have a tree skirt!)

Xander is almost tall enough to reach the decorations at the top of this tree!

Even little Bradley got in on the decorating fun!

This is my three little goofballs enjoying "Snowman Milk" aka egg nog.  They all love it and I thought the new name was very cute (the carton has a snowman on it).

Then we had the Winter Celebration at school.  Evan's class made gingerbread versions of their families (which we got to decorate and eat!)

Xander's class did a poem but I didn't want to post a picture of everyone so here he is by the snowman decoration that he and his friend made for the gym.

Evan also made a presentation about his family (unfortunately everyone else had already left by then so he just got to present to us and his teacher...he was a bit sad).

And Xander was lucky enough to have his name drawn as one of the kids who got to get their face painted.  We thought that the green jacket really just made him look like a ladybug in a tree.

So, Christmas is here and only a few days away now.  The preparations are pretty much done so hopefully we can slow down, relax and actually enjoy the season now!

Until next time...

Sunday, December 22, 2013

All The Posts I Never Made

I heard this quote once..."There is never enough time to do everything but there is always enough time to do the most important thing."  Well, I feel like blogging is not the most important things so it has kind of fallen by the wayside lately.  However, I like it and I love reading other peoples' blogs, so I thought that I should really get back on the wagon.

Jason has told me that I need to learn to do that thing where you hover the mouse over the text and a little box pops up with information that is kind of an aside.  When I do posts, I tend to have some little drama or song going on in my head and this post was no exception.  I was thinking up a title and this country song I used to know called "All the Things We've Never Done" popped into my head and that has been the tune I've been singing this title to for a couple of days now.  Let me see if I can link you up to a YouTube video of the song.  It's really pretty and sweet.

Anyway, that really has nothing to do with anything :).  However, I am planning on actually blogging.  I have a bunch of those posts that I kept thinking in my head scheduled to post over the holidays (if I've done it correctly, anyway).  So, check back about every other day and I will have witty (or not) conversation for you and inspiring (or not) photographs.

So, this is just to say - hey I'm back and I hope some of you might still check in occasionally!

Until next time...

Friday, October 4, 2013

And Now, Stay Tuned, for the Second Instalment of....Our Summer!

Well, the weather is chilly and it's definitely a long time since summer.  I spent one day (before we turned the furnace on) just cold and, frankly, I missed summer.  Fall has its charms, I suppose, but I wasn't ready for the chill in the air.

Well, school has been in full swing.  There have been BBQs and meet the teachers, early mornings and lunches, spelling tests and recesses.  Speaking of recesses, there was also a black eye...poor Evan fell on the steps of the play structure.  It didn't look too bad when he came home but the next day (picture day) he woke up with a black eye - I've never really truly seen one, I don't think.  He wasn't too happy about it but he has gotten over it.

We also started a new venture about a week ago...a paper route!  Jason has done most of it so far, but technically it is my paper route.  We split it with a neighbourhood boy because it was a LONG route (think 2 hours of walking every day).  It's more manageable now and I've even kind of enjoyed my morning forays into the neighbourhood.  Our house is kind of in the middle of the route so it'll be great for the kids to help out when they're a bit older.  It's good exercise and fresh air but -30 may not be so fun.  Hopefully we have a little less snow than last year but I'm sure we'll deal!

I also got my camera back from the repair shop today.  They phoned a couple weeks ago (then sent it to the wrong store so it ended up in Saskatoon) to give me the quote.  It was truly absurd as the repair was quoted to be as much as the new camera I would get.  So, as much as I didn't really want to spend that much money, it looks like I'll be getting a new camera.  Not sure what exactly was wrong, the report just said impact damage.  Guess I shouldn't drop my camera on the concrete.  It does take its toll over time.

Anyway (you must say all this in the voice of a '50s TV announcer-it sounds way cooler that way), now for the part you've all tuned in for...Our Summer.  This instalment will see the Berkan family travelling north.  Where to you say?  Why, Turtleford, of course.  Let's see what happens...

Come and listen to a story 'bout a man named Jed.
A poor mountaineer, barely kept his family fed.
Then one day.....oh, what's that?  Oh, oh wrong show...sorry.

Back to the Travelling Berkans.

The new, the improved, the very first road trip in the new van!  Plenty of space, plenty of seats...must be the lap of luxury.

Even a picture box!  Funnily enough, the 6 1/2 month old had to twist around in his car seat to try to get a better view.  Kids.

This is the life...fresh air, sunshine, fresh strawberries from Granma's garden...could anything scream summer more loudly!?

How could I not show you this cutie?

Camping in our home away from home.  Not really.  Grandma & Grandpa had the old tent trailer set up so the older two boys and myself slept one night in it.  This was a staple of our travelling days when I was a child.  My bed was the wooden frame you can see in the very bottom right hand corner of the picture.  However, I don't remember the mattresses being quite that hard.

What's a trip to Grandma's without baking some treats?

The wild is calling...all the way from Alaska.  These are the shirts Grandma & Grandpa brought back for the boys.

Alexander really likes to hang out with Grandpa and learn all about his solitaire games.

Lively games of whatever these kids were playing would break out when the cousins came over.

Then, it happened.  The fly in the sugar dish, if you will, the lowlight in a week of highlights...poor little Jonathan got stung.  I think it was a wasp.  As much as we thought maybe he was trying to catch one (again), I think it was just on the patio chair where he grabbed to pull himself up.  It swelled up a bit but ended up not being too bad.

Not only did they make the regular treats, but Uncle Jay & Aunt Alli sold spudnuts at their garage sale.  These delicacies were popular in the far north, having paid for much education throughout the years.

They are nearly as big as a head, after all.

This girl has the touch!  She can put this baby to sleep anytime.  He won't fall asleep on my lap anymore!

Food can be hard to find (yeah, right, well, only if you can't see it because it's covered in dirt).  Potato pickin' fun.

More milestones to be the first lost tooth.  We're not really sure how loose it was, because its exit from the mouth was aided by LEGO.  Guess it wasn't strong enough to remove the piece!

Ah, and now we arrive at the meat of our story...the real reason for the trip.  The cowboy spirit that is alive and well at the Oil & Ag CPCA Turtleford Derby.  We had to make special arrangements this year to ensure we could also attend the finals.  It was an exciting three days with BJ Carey coming out as the aggregate winner and also setting a track record of 57.64 seconds on Day 3 - talk about exciting!  Ray Mitsuing and Wayne Knight both came up just short on the aggregate, placing 2nd and 3rd respectively.

Even Bradley loved the wagons.  He would crank his head around anytime he heard them coming into the infield.  If he ends up a cowboy, I guess we blame Grandpa :)

And Jason got into the cowboy spirit for a day...

So lonely, so prairie...the buffalo poses on a hill behind the race track.

After all that excitement, there was still more to go.  The fun never ends when there are so many people around.  There are grandparents to relax with...

...lizards to watch (safely, from the stroller but they were getting braver by the end) courtesy of my sister...

...birthday parties to attend - so stylin' in her fancy new hat! ...

...trampolines to figure out (at least for my kids - but they did love it!)...

...and bottle rockets to shoot off (they went high and came down hard!  So much fun!)

The kids figured it would go higher if they ALL pulled the release string.

Hey, there was even some scruffy hobo there :)  But the kids seemed to like him.

If you can't count on Grandma to make a crazy dessert she once saw to celebrate a couple of birthdays, then who could you count on?  This is Timbits, covered in ice cream, whipped cream and any kind of sundae/candy toppings you can think of.  I ate a bowl of ice cream and some chocolate covered raisins.  The kids had a blast, though.


Now, it is time for our story to come to a close.  What better way to leave the Travelling Berkans than making ice cream the morning before they leave for home.  Gotta fit it in sometime!

Now, we will sign off until next time, when we return with the third instalment of Our Summer!

Until next time...