Monday, June 27, 2011

Little Caton's

Peter has been calling the new play fort "Little Caton's" after the ropes course at camp. Maybe just a bit smaller than Caton's; hence the "Little".

The big kid and little kids put the finishing touches on it this weekend. In fact, the 22 year old son had to talk some sense into the 46 year old dad. Robin's motto seems to be "Go big, or go home". But I think the fort is mainly finished.

Gaelle can't do all that Peter can do but she does her best to keep up anyway.

The zip line has been in storage for a few years, but Robin knew right where it was and out it came. He's not completely happy with the location, but the kids love it. Kaylin is a bit disappointed because her knees drag on the ground.

No dragging for Gaelle. It's just right.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Soccer star

This is Peter's 2nd year of soccer and we can certainly see the difference in his ability from last year even though he hasn't been playing soccer much through the year. Just the fact that he's a year older and has had other athletic opportunities in the past year has made him able to focus more and he's more coordinated.

I could tell the night before his soccer started that he was nervous about something. The inane questions started and the non stop chatter was in full force. (That's not always nerves, sometimes that's just his silly self.) I'm trying to get him to recognize that he's feeling something when this behavior starts without making him feel like he's doing something wrong. Right before he started his practice he admitted to Robin that he was a bit nervous about starting again. Maybe he wasn't going to be any good.

That is excellent for him to start putting into words what he feels. It's not easy for a lot of us and it's especially not easy for him.

We've all been anxious for this day... the day Gaëlle becomes a Tim Bit. We were fairly confident that she would stand out on the field and she certainly does.

She doesn't have much skill yet, and let's face it, not many of the other kids do either. But she certainly has determination. And speed.

She does lack a little bit of focus, again, pretty common with the little ones. But all we have to do is start cheering her name and she pours on the speed and races for the ball. Kids start falling and somehow she ends up with the ball. Then she flashes us a smile and a big wave.

She is loving it!!!!

Playing catch up

Josh is the grill master in our family and so last Sunday he had the honors of cooking the meat and the fish. Yes, we had 3 options.

I knew all the boys would want the ribs but Gaëlle also turned out to LOVE the ribs. Peter and Gaëlle both love to clean off the bones. And clean them they do.

Robin decided to build a tree fort in the back yard. The kids are over the moon excited about it.

Can I help?

Robin kept the wooden ladder off until the very end but even so I caught Peter out there one day just hanging out on the fort. I really hope this is a good idea and not one of those things that spurs the kids on to dangerous stunts. You know... typical childish behaviour. Robin bought new materials and so it is very strong and as safe as he can make it.

One interesting thing to note. When Gaëlle first came home it seemed she had no fear of anything. She jumped into the water. She climbed on any kind of playground equipment that she could. Heights meant nothing. But Robin noticed that she was initially timid of the metal ladder he was using to build the fort. That's a good thing. Fear doesn't paralyze her but there is such a thing as healthy fear that makes us all act a little more careful.

Last weekend the kids were all outside when they saw a snake. It turns out Gable is the fearless one here. He literally dove to catch the snake. Never one to throw out the important stuff, Robin was able to pull out an aquarium, a warming rock, and chips for the tank. Peter kept the snake in his room for a few days but we have since let it go.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Belated birthday boy

Robin had a birthday this week and so we all came together for the birthday meal. Believe me, it is great having everybody home but it is hard to get us all together at the same time for a meal. The older kids are always on the go. But we managed on Sunday to finally have our meal.

Robin asked for a new light jacket and so that was the collective gift.

Robin was also showered with candy. We all know how good he is at sharing and so Peter is full of smiles.

Favorite playground toy evah

This is the elementary school spinner.

Gaëlle waits in line every day to have her turn on the spinner.

Gaëlle has had multiple arguements and fights on the local playground because of the spinner.

But she LOVES LOVES LOVES her spinning.

She also loves the monkey bars and keeps trying to make it across to the end.

School Fair

Now that Peter and Gaëlle have been here for over a year, we are starting to do repeats... activities they have already done once and so now they know what to expect. It's powerful to see the memories come to the surface and to see their excitement as they anticipate the KNOWN. So much about their lives here is still unknown. There are still so many activities/concepts that most kids their age take for granted and they are just clueless about.

It was also interesting to see the difference in their approach to the school fair. Peter was ready to spend his tickets on all of the activities all at once. He was ready to dive in. Gaëlle wanted to walk around and see everything first before she committed her tickets.

Her first choice was a tattoo.

Peter played a spinner game and the spinner stopped at a nail polish kit. My creative son came home and painted rocks with it.

Gaëlle was all over the bouncy castle. There were some older girls in line who had to wait just for the younger children to be finished. I knew Gaëlle would love to be in with them and could easily hold her own so she bounced with the big girls. Smiles all around.

And of course we ended our morning with the BBQ hot dogs. Yum.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Class field trip

Gaëlle spotted the turtle sunning itself on a rock and wanted to take a picture. So this is for her.

All of the primary classes went to a local wildlife park for their end of the year field trip. It was my first time going and it was a nice day. Gaëlle had asked me several times to go with her and I'm glad it worked out for me to go. Most of the animals are local to NS.

Today I'm uploading the photos because I'm home sick. Not as much fun. Hopefully it will be short lived.

The peacocks wandered free all over the park. Not the least bit afraid of anything or anybody including a little 2 year old chasing them.

The kids could feed the ducks and the deer.

The big yellow bus ride was a highlight for Gaëlle but I don't think it turned out the way she wanted. Notice she is at the back of the line. Her friends are in the middle of the line. I'm glad I was able to go with her because we had a great time together, but it's obvious that she still has difficulty with social interactions with her peers.

Playground fun

Just some photos of us out and about over the last week. It's so easy to head to a local park to burn off some energy. That has been much needed lately.

We love this boat playground in Bedford. Here is Gaëlle flexing her muscles.

Peter asked me to get a picture of him jumping down. So here you go.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Can I help?

This would be something Gaëlle asks every day at least once. "Can I help?" Usually I can find something for her to do. This time she mixed up the corn bread for me. And it was good. Whenever I have stains on clothing I make sure and call her. She loves to rub out stains and she does a great job.

On another note,our week has been a bit interesting. Gaëlle is having a difficult time. We're constantly analyzing the behavior and questioning why she is doing what she is doing.

A minor example: Lately she has been deliberately putting her shoes on the wrong feet. She will start to put them on correctly and then she will look up at us and deliberately change them so they are on the wrong feet. I picked her up yesterday and the first thing she did was draw attention to her feet and the fact that her shoes were on wrong. WHY? Wouldn't you think she would want to be the smart little girl who knows how to do everything well? Is it a simple matter of attention? She'll get attention however she can. She knows it bugs me when she can do something and she chooses not to?

There are a bazillion of these examples ranging from minor annoyance to serious concern. And this has been my week. Stay calm. Don't react. Go over my adoption resources. And breathe. Remember, it's all about safety and trust.