Monday, September 30, 2013


Upside to owning your own business:
You're the boss so you can decide to cut out early on a Friday for your Mountain getaway.
Melissa's Road Race
Downside to owing your own business:
You don't. 

For Melissa's Roadrace in Banff this year we were going to leave at noon on Friday.
Cut to Thursday when it became quite apparent that this was not going to happen amidst the estimates, car returns etc. crowding that day's schedule.
Even some major help from the Old Man {thanks btw} didn't get us out of town before 5.
I would say live and learn but I've learnt this lesson all too often.
I'll just keep being the optimist and plan accordingly.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Green Boy Leggings

Jeff would argue that there is no such thing.
Boy leggings that is.
I disagree and I'm in charge of wardrobe so I guess I win.
Anyways I decided to hand down a couple pairs of Fiona's old leggings and wanted to boy them up a bit.
Boy leggings
I think if Cedric wore these with the heart buttons it might just push Jeff over the edge.
I had already cut up the shirt for another project that I'll share some other time.
This one went a little something like this.
1. Cut the bottom hem off the pants {in this case all the girly stuff}.
2. Cut the sleeves off the shirt {measure the width cuff you want + 1cm}.
3. Pin right sides together, matching raw edges.
4. Sew with at least a cm seam allowance.  {I turned mine inside out so I could sew along a stripe.}

Done, easy.
You could obviously buy fabric for the bottom but this way the cost was $0.
Boy leggings
And then you too can show off the cutest little chicken wing legs.

PS. Don't judge my cobwebs.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Ups and Downs

Upside to owning your own business:
When your childcare doesn't pan out you don't have a boss to tell you that you can't bring the kids to work.
Shield Autobody's youngest worker
Downside to owning your own business:
When your childcare doesn't pan out you don't have a boss to call in sick to so the kids have to come to work.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Fruit Rescue

Is it just me or is fruit rescue all the rage this season?
Not a new concept of course but it just seems that everyone is getting on board.
We thought we hit the jackpot when we drove past this yard.
Fruit Rescue
"Please take a whole crate" the owner begged us and we happily obliged.

I could relate to her desperation.
We have a beautiful plum tree in our backyard.
I'm sure it's at least 60 years old. 
Let's just say it looks like it's seen a thing or two.
In the spring we get this.
plum tree blossoms
Which then produces this {many times over}.
Our tree reaches the end of it's fruit bearing season each year around Labour Day weekend.
And every labour day we are away.
We pick and eat and can and dry and freeze as many plums as possible before then but just can't use them all.
Those close to us know about our plum situation and this year a couple of those folks offered to rescue the last of our plums.
I, of course, told them that I couldn't look at another plum and please take them away before they litter my lawn and start to decompose.
Not pretty let me tell you.
And they did it.
Diana and Carly picked the tree clean and I couldn't have been happier.

Well yesterday they invited us to be a part of their next mission to save the fruit.
We loaded up the kids and headed out to a beautiful farm with 2 very healthy apple trees.
Fruit Rescue
The kids loved it but, to be honest, I think Jeff and I loved it more.
{The farm dreams were definitely fueled.}
Fruit Rescue
Now if you have a bursting fruit tree and don't have fruit enthusiasts for friends there's no need to fret.
There's an organization in Edmonton that can save you from a rotting wasted fruit mess.
Get you out of your "jam" so to speak.
Apparently they have been around since 2009 but this is their first year on my radar.
It's volunteer run, anyone can sign up.
The pickers keep a 1/4, 1/4 goes to the food bank, 1/4 to the tree owner and 1/4 to the organization for processing.
Win, win, win and win.
If you ask me, that's pickin' brilliant.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Green Bag

It's been so long since I've done a "green" project.
It's actually been a while since I've done a project of any sort.
Unless you count yard work and gardening of course. 
All our summer time is spent outside and at the lake.
Everything else takes a spot on the back burner.
Fall is the perfect time for a little reusing since our needs change at this time of year.
The kids are involved in new activities so we need to equip them accordingly.

Fiona started a dance class this fall.
I'm in heaven by the way. 
This is in fact the sweetest dance class you've ever seen.
These little 3 and 4 year olds are dancing on hundred year old floors to a live pianist.
The teachers are amazing and it's within walking distance of our house.
Like I said, heaven.
After the first class we realized a little bag to put her gear in would be helpful.
We have approximately 253 reusable totes to choose from but none fit the bill.
Up to the attic we went in search of some fabric and instead spotted this...
My friend Julie passed this down and it was one of our faves.
When I was planning out this project I actually couldn't bring myself to cut this dress.
You know, on the off chance I want to use it again?
I don't know, maybe I can pass it forward someday.
Anyways, because of my hesitation, this project is reversible.
1. Turn inside out.
2. Pinch the bottom hem.
3. Accordion along the whole hem.
4. Feed {threaded} sewing needle through all layers.
5. Loop back and repeat until accordion is sewn then tie off the thread.

That's it, super easy and ends up looking like this.
Fiona loves it and Mama loves the cost of $0.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Climb of Hope 2013

I never thought I would hear Jeff utter the words "fun" and "run" in the same sentence.
Well folks it happened.
I know, socks knocked thoroughly off.
This event was so well run that we have already signed up for next year.
Sure, there has been an abnormal amount of cursing in our stairwell the last couple of days.
Jeff may or may not be soaking in scalding hot water to ease the calf pain.
And a pointed foot is no small feat {ha!} today. 
All thanks to the name of this game: Stairs.
Hence the "climb" of course.
Climb of Hope 2013
The true test were these dreaded Hotel Mac Stairs near the end of this 5.5K.

Luckily it was as beautiful a run as it was tough.
Set in the amazing Edmonton River Valley.
Climb of Hope 2013
We didn't get a team pic but I did capture the rest of the team crossing the finish line.
I promise Chloe was running right up to the end despite her nonchalant composure.
Climb of Hope 2013
Obviously we were all there for the run and the cause.
But I'm pretty sure no one was complaining about the Starbucks coffee and Hudson's burgers.

Team Track and Shield is 2 members strong for September 2014 and recruiting.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Final Ontario Post {For Real}

After the service the rest of our trip was spent visiting.
And by the rest of our trip I mean Saturday.
We fit this trip between my work shifts.
As a former manager and business owner I am aware that asking for time off as soon as you start is a great way to make a not-so-great impression on your boss.
So we squeezed it.

First stop, terrorize check out Gram's new digs.
There isn't much in the way of entertainment at care centres, at least not the variety little ones crave.
{Backgammon anyone?}
Being the resourceful kids who they are though, they made their own fun.
The fish tank and model lighthouse provided entertainment for the first 15 minutes.
Cedric lodged himself behind a door that locks open.
 Then gave us the mother-of-all-stinker-looks when he realized he was the only one who could fit.
We did eventually get them to pose for some pics and sit with their GG.
Sitting quietly, however, is not their favourite.
Fiona took a shining to a ball of pink yarn and started a game of catch.
Catch then escalated to whip-at-yo-head and was shut down for safety reasons.
Thankfully GG got a kick out of it at every level of intensity.

Our next destination was Aunt Julie's.
There were two little chairs just for them and some perfectly selected toys.
 She has a great shady backyard which the kids terrorized loved.
 I mean, did you see that look?
I can only imagine the pranks in store for us at the hands of this little man.

We managed a little nap before a dinner and park date with my Aunt Elizabeth, Aunt Cathy and cousin Sarah.
At dinner Jeff and Sarah bonded over their mutual desire to be organic farmers.
{Remind me to tell you someday about Jeff's retirement plans for us.}
The night was really chill at the park.
It was my turn to have a rare chat with Sarah.
I've mentioned before that I grew up away from my extended family.
I never attended the large Christmas dinners or birthday celebrations.
Now I'm not complaining.
 My parents made our celebrations so special and I wouldn't change a thing.
I am, however, glad that Fiona and Cedric will have grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins close by.
I felt especially grateful for this when a great conversation with my cousin was cut short.
Now we're on opposite ends of the country and most likely won't pick it up again.
Sure it seems like everyone's so connected across the world.
I might be able to find her on Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Pinterest or Facebook {though she went off years ago}.
I also may be able to contact her via email, text, iMessage, Facetime or Skype.
But even with all these available forms of communication there's nothing like sitting side by side on a grassy hill at dusk.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Final Ontario Post {Finally}

**Just kidding, this is actually part one of two.  I really planned to fit it all in then I started looking at photos from the root of our visit and just couldn't.**

I've been going to Toronto to visit family all my life.
It's because of this that I often forget to do some sightseeing.
I remember as a child going to the CN tower, Bluejays' games {in their unbeatable days}, Canada's Wonderland and the Toronto Zoo.
Now, as an adult, I would much rather spend the time with our family.
I am looking forward to someday introducing our kids to these attractions.
This, however, was not that trip.

We arrived to some typical Toronto weather.
 Hot and humid.
Memories of sitting perfectly still in my Grandma West's apartment whilst aiming 3 fans in my direction came flooding back.
The memories kept coming as we drove through my Gram and Grandad's old neighbourhood and up to their church.
We walked in to a warm reception by extended family and old friends.
Many sought us out to see the "great-grands" since our kids are the only ones to date.
The church was beautiful and a simple picture of Grandad sat at the front.
Nothing more was needed since his memory, though already strong in all of us, was brought to life by the many respects paid.
Gram said afterwards that she thought it was the most beautiful service she had been to.
I agreed.
The readings and eulogies by my family members blew me away.
With each one I felt like Grandad, as I remember him, was brought back to me.
We had spent so many years seeing parts of this phenomenal man robbed.
Then in this one gathering they all came back.
I contributed by reading my post from July 2nd.
I was so glad that I wrote it when I did since it proved to be the purest form of what I felt after his passing.
My truly amazing cousin Sarah sang "Lark" unaccompanied.
She filled the room with her voice and kept the beat with a hand over her heart.
I was truly beautiful.
{Here's Josh Ritter singing it, skip to 25 seconds if you don't want to hear the banter.}
My Mom and Aunts put together an impressive table of memorabilia.
{And you know how I love my memorabilia.}

How did the kids do you ask?
They did great...for 10 minutes.
They spent the rest of the service chasing Daddy in the lobby.
Honestly, I'm glad that they are still naive to the idea of losing a loved one.
Fiona has started to show an interest in death but doesn't yet understand what it means.
I will often  hear stories in which "someone tried to died me Mommy".
She did once tear up when we explained that you don't come back after you die.
That conversation ended shortly thereafter and I certainly won't prompt it's rehashing.
I don't think I'm one to shelter my kids but some harsh truths can wait.
Grandad had a very calculating mind and I'm certain that facts were important to him.
Above all though he enjoyed his time with the people, and especially the children, in his life.
One of his last pieces of advice to my Mom was to "enjoy those kids".
There's plenty of time before they need to face sorrow head on.
For now I'm enjoying them and their innocence.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Cedric at 1.5

We're celebrating a half birthday over here today.
Nothing big planned, just a fabulous day of playground, gymnastics and banana bread. 
Gram's recipe is ridiculously good so it's almost like a cake.
My poor kids are in for a lifetime of me trying to convince them that loaves are cake and a vegetable stick assortment is a fun snack.

Cedric at 18 months is 30" {over 2" gained in the last 6 months} and 23 lbs.
As I wrote the above sentence I was just reminded to book Cedric's vaccines.
See, blogging saves lives people.

His vocabulary is expanding all the time but he loves his faves such as: 
"harrow" {hello}
"umm nuuu" {num num}
"cook-a" {cookie/cracker}
"bawwl" {ball}
"bubbaaa" {bubble}
"buuuuu" {book}
"bowwwww" {boat}
"bowwwww" {airplane}
"bowwwww" {car}
And the old stand-bys Mama, Dada, Uh-Oh and "Go-ooooo!".

He insists on doing everything his big sis does on the playground.
The only difference being that there's a Mama standing below him {who he completely ignores}.
He's sweet but the stubbornness determination is coming through.
As I put together this Cedric collage I was struck by how fast he's growing.
I know, I know, every parent says that.
 But you really never can be prepared for the breakneck pace.
Starting next month he'll even be attending the same preschool program as Fiona.
I'll be looking for your support when that time comes.
Happy half birthday little man.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Track and Shield in September

Track and Shield took a little break for August.
Because...well...August was busy.
We're back though and ready to rock.
Our next race is the Climb of Hope in support of the Cross Cancer Institute.
Looking through past pics it seems as though some runners go all out with the rock theme.
I've never been that girl who wins ALL the costume contests.
To be honest, costume parties stress. me. out.
I'm envious of those who always think of the-most-witty-get-up-you-ever-did-see.
Like this Mom.
I'll see what I can do for this event but am making no promises.

You want to know what else stresses me out?
The promise of many stairs on this run {hence the "climb of hope"}.
Regardless, it's a great cause so we're happy to be involved.
I so appreciate everyone who has donated to our many causes this summer.
{I'd just like to brag again about the fact that I have the best friends and family.}
If you have the means and would like to donate this month it would be much appreciated {yet again}.
Cheryl's Climb of Hope Page
 You're all also more than welcome to submit yourself to punishment with us join our team.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Our Labour Day Weekend

I'm still working on my last Ontario post but in the meantime wanted to share our weekend.
We headed out to the lake on Friday to maximize our last summer weekend.
On Saturday afternoon we cleaned up {as well as you can without running water} and drove back for our friend Josie's wedding.
It was at the Oasis Centre which provided many photo ops during cocktail hour in the garden.
Here's Cedric striking his very best casual pose.
And Fiona doing a fierce take on the "contemplating".
Cocktail hour also led to some fish-tank antics.
These fish were actually a major life saver with the kids.
 Cedric soon figured out that he was the only one small enough to fit behind the tank.
This of course meant that he was back there every chance he got.
Giggling away, naturally.
I probably shouldn't forget to mention this fabulous couple.
Congrats Josie and Kajan, thanks for letting us share your day.
{And a beautiful day it was.}
After the wedding it was back to the cabin to soak up those last days of summer.
The mornings were chilly which graced us with some beautiful foggy scenes.
 The leaves were coming down and subsequently being raked into jumping piles.
 Warm oatmeal felt just right.
 Finally, my morning runs were the perfect temperature and gorgeous.
Jeff, on the other hand, has taken to running in the evenings.
{Yes, you read that correctly, Jeff is running!}
And he has certainly noticed the earlier sunsets. 
After realizing how dark it would be he ended up running down our country road with a carving fork.
{In case of a coyote run in.}
Now that's dedication.
Hope you all had a great Labour Day.


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