Sunday, March 01, 2009

Merry Christmas! (oh, wait, is it March already?)

Christmas has come and gone (whoa, can't believe I'm talking about Christmas way into March here!) But yes, Christmas, and along with all the good food, yummy candy, travel (to Niagara Falls), and guests (Auntie Nancy, whoo!), we of course got a fair number of presents. Here's my favorite present -- from mama and yeye to Isaac and I.

But the presents haven't stopped flowing yet -- anyone recognize these?

Soon after Christmas, dad found a set of these Encyclopedia Britannica for kids in pristine condition online -- the exact same set that mama got for dad (and his siblings) many years ago. They're long since out of print and now a bit hard to come by, so Dad was pretty excited when he found these! Dad has many fond memories of hours spent sitting in front of the bookshelf jumping from article to article in these books, and I look forward to doing the same. So cool, eh?

Last but not least, we started piano lessons last month. Mr. Weston, my teacher, comes over to my place every Tuesday after school and puts me through my paces. I already knew him before, as he sometimes substitute teaches at Wines Elementary, so that was helpful. I love taking lessons from him! So far, I've learned the treble and bass clefs, how to read C and G above middle C, and F below middle C. I'm just starting on half notes, dotted half notes, and whole notes. Practicing every day gets to be a bit of a chore, but so far it's been very rewarding!

All Grown Up

If mama were still around, I'm sure I would have posted a lot sooner than this, as long before now she would have been emailing and calling to ask what I've been up to lately and bemoaning how quickly I change over the days and weeks she hasn't heard from me! 

You can hardly blame me, though -- I've been busy! After the embarrassment of having to report to my neurologist that I only know 10 or so words, and the humiliating offer of a referral to a speech language pathologist to help me ramp up my speaking, I've been diligently working on picking up more vocabulary, such as "I'm hungry," "Dada? Um..." (a la Isaac), "Help me," "Up," "Bounce," etc. I'm no Ashlyn (who at my age knew all her multiplication tables and square roots to 12), but I'm getting better at making my wishes known!

I'm also taking more opportunities to do things independently, like eating,

And bathing... well, not quite there, but I give it my best shot every once in a while. (If only my short stubby arms could reach above my head!)

One major step forward has been my move to a big boy bed, with a custom-built rail on the side so I don't fall out at night. I didn't know exactly what to do with it when I first got in, but I've since figured out how easy it is to get out whenever I want, and I grace my parents' room with frequent visits through the night -- not usually wanting anything but to be tucked back in bed, but hey, I do like to have the option!

What is it you want me to do in this big thing?

Bounce, anyone?

Oh, this is what you mean!

Who Knew Letters Meant Something?

I'm going to have to call 2009 "The Year of Letters." Who knew letters meant so much? Suddenly, after Christmas, it occurred to me that maybe I could read scriptures like Ethan does, and I've since made great strides in reading my own verse when we read scriptures each evening. It's slow going, and I still need help with the big words, but I have caught on amazingly quickly to sounding out words I didn't previously know, and remembering them for next time come across it!

I also started piano lessons in February, with my favorite substitute teacher Mr. Weston (who also happens to teach piano). Letters again! Only this time they mean notes on the keyboard. Middle C, G above middle C, G clef, F clef... letters are everywhere! My lessons aren't quite as long as Ethan's (his are 30 minutes long, while I can only manage to sit still for 15 minutes), but still, I love taking piano!


While we were living in Edmonton, dad finished the whole basement right under my nose, and I, more interested in playing tennis and chasing girls at the time, didn't even lift a finger to help. Neither did any of my other brothers, for that matter, but Michelle, loyal daughter that she is, spent many an hour with my dad, if not exactly helping (besides handing him tools and helping to paint), at least offering him company and moral support.

So, now I'm a homeowner, also with an unfinished basement, and, sadly, lacking much experience in being handy around the house. But, unwilling to let that be an obstacle, a couple of months ago, I made my first attempt at framing a partition wall with a pocket door. A smallish wall, and I'm glad for that, because it still took me all day! Call it my experimental wall, if you will, because I figured that if I could manage the small wall, I would press forward with framing the rest of the basement. So, here you have it, from beginning to end (well, the pictures actually pick up from middle of the project, but, oh well).

Addendum: Crooked framing notwithstanding, I decided to call my first wall a success and have since framed the rest of the basement -- pictures to come later! Now stuck at electricity... will keep you updated!


We just got back from Texas a couple of days ago -- an incredibly long drive to and from, but still, worth it for the fun visit we had with grandma and grandpa. (Oh yeah, and Uncle Andrew and Uncle Aaron, too, but most of the time they were playing video games in their bedrooms, so I didn't get actually get to see them much.)

Grandpa and grandma have been in Washington, D.C., for the past month while grandpa works on painting a big mural at Lockheed Martin Flight Service headquarters. It's the second one he's done for Lockheed Martin -- in fact, the reason why he got this job was because someone from up there saw the mural he painted at his workplace in Texas and thought it was so good, they wanted one up there, too! Here's us standing with grandpa in front of the mural he did in Texas. Isn't he a great artist?

Artwork aside, the main reason for our visit was to welcome Uncle Shaun and Aunt Kari's new baby Olivia into the world. She came a couple of days after we arrived -- so the timing was just right! Mom doesn't want another baby of her own, but she sure was excited to be able to hold someone else's baby for a while (and then give it back when she was done!).

We, on the other hand, only got to see her through the glass. No holding for us!