1 October 2015

In Kindergarten

Wow, my little girl is in kindergarten!  When such milestones happen, I am always reminded of how quickly time passes.  Seems like yesterday when we brought Sophia home from the hospital.  Now, she is starting a new chapter in her life.  She is no longer a pre-schooler.  She is now a kindie.  

A few years ago, Ed’s uncle recommended to us the IB program of education.  His kids attended an IB school in Trinidad and he raved about the program.  So, when it was time for us to decide on Sophia’s schooling, I went looking for an IB school in Vancouver.  We applied to a local IB school and crossed our fingers that Sophia will get accepted.  Based on the number of families applying and the number of spots available, there was around a 30% chance of getting in.  I was beyond ecstatic when I received the email informing us that Sophia was being offered a spot in the kindergarten class.  It is a big financial commitment for us but one that we truly believe is worth every cent.

Sophia’s first day was four weeks ago and she has adjusted very well to her new schedule and surroundings.  When I picked her up one day during the first week, she said, “I like this school; they have puppets”.  She has made friends and seems to enjoy the program thus far.  Each day, the students are assigned a job, such as being the meteorologist, light monitor, pencil picker-upper, etc.  Three times a week, they have PE, Spanish, and music classes.  They have circle time and play time (which they call Centres).  They have a topic that they inquire into for a few weeks (called unit of inquiry) and they integrate reading, writing, math, science, etc into the inquiry.  The first unit of inquiry for the kindies is called Who Am I.  One of her projects last week is a “Me Bag”.  She brought home a small brown paper bag.  We were to help her pick three to five things to put in the bag that represent who she is, her likes and interests.  Then each student gets to share her Me Bag with the class during circle time this week.

I have been quite happy with the level of communication and engagement with parents.  The kindergarten teachers have a website where they blog about the topics they covered that week and they post a few photos of the kids while in class, doing their activities.  I have had a few chances to chat with Mrs. M when picking up Sophia after school.  The Spanish teacher has her own site where she posts links to the topics and videos the kindies learned so we can help practice the Spanish words at home. 

I can’t even describe the joy I feel watching Sophia grow and learn.  To see your child demonstrate confidence, knowledge, and new skills brings such pride.  And it makes me appreciate the wonder of nature more.  Human beings are amazing creatures.  I never appreciated it as much as I do now, when I see how much this little baby I cradled in my arms just five years ago can do by herself now.  And she’s just beginning.  Amazing!

Team work for Swimmy the Fish

Playing in the park

Play time
PE class

Junior school assembly

27 September 2015

2015 Camping trips #2, #3, #4

Am so behind on blogging that I will have to do an all in one post about our camping trips this past summer.  

Deception Pass
In the end of June, Sophia and I went with the Van Dops to Deception Pass for three nights.  Ed was in Ontario competing at a dragon boat competition so it was just me and Sophia who went.  There is a lake near the camp ground that was quite ideal for kids.  The water was warm and shallow.  The kids had great fun playing with the inflatable orca whale, which the girls named Dolfina.  They thought was a dolphin at first, hence, the name.  The kids played a lot around the campsite and rode their bikes around and around the campground.  And since the Van Dop trailer was hooked up to an electrical outlet, the kids also had a little time for a movie and the iPad.  

Alice Lake
In mid-August, Ed, Sophia, and I went to Alice Lake with the Van Dops, Blommesteins, and LeWongs for a couple of nights.  It was chilly and cloudy so we did not go swimming in the lake.  We went hiking, instead, around Alice Lake and Stump Lake.  Thankfully, it did not rain.  And thankfully, the Van Dops have a propane camp fire thingy and we were able to keep warm around the fire.  

Lake Wenatchee
The last weekend of August, we made the drive to Lake Wenatchee for three nights of camping.  It was the same group that went to Alice Lake, plus we were joined by Vangie, Skye, and the Lindners.  This is our third year going to Lake Wenatchee.  The first year, it was super windy and it was too cold to swim in the lake,  Last year, the weather was awesome and we spent a lot of time in the lake.  This year, it was cold and raining on and off all weekend.  Alas, we could not play in the lake.  We found other things to do like horseback riding and playing in the playground.  The kids also found a teeter totter made from logs and spent a lot of time playing on it.  

So many great memories are made in these camping trips. The kids will grow up with these fun memories of them camping and playing.  I love watching the kids get along well and do things that they were not able to do before.  As they get older and spend more time playing on their own, the adults have more time to relax, sit and chat with each other.  We all have such busy schedules that having a weekend here and there to slow down and just hang out with each other is wonderful.  These moments are definitely priceless.

8 July 2015

Sophia's graduation #1

A couple of weeks ago, Sophia had her graduation from the 3-5 Early Child Care Program at Collingwood Neighbourhood House.  I hope it is the first of many graduations for her.  Sophia started going to the group daycare at CNH when she was 13 months old, first in the Infant program, then the Toddler program, and finally the 3-5 program.  I consider ourselves extremely lucky for getting a spot at the daycare as the waitlist is long and many families don’t get a spot when they need it.  All three programs are very well-managed, and the teachers are really good and dedicated.  It is a fantastic daycare and Sophia loves it there.  I have thanked my lucky stars many, many times over the last four years that my daughter gets to go to such a wonderful place on workdays.

The kids who will be going to kindergarten come September got to participate in the graduation ceremony.  They wore a gown and cap, marched into the room in a line, and sang four songs for their family and friends who attended (complete with actions, of course).  Then they received a certificate and a present from the teachers (a book).

I know a lot of people find it hilarious that a 4-year old would have a graduation from daycare (I do!) but it does make it more fun for the kids.  And I think it helps the kids accept that they will soon be leaving daycare, and all their friends, and they will be going to a new school to meet new teachers and classmates.  Sophia did not like the idea of going to kindergarten at the start of the year (she said she was scared) but since they started prepping for their graduation, she has become more accepting of the fact that she will be going to a different school in a few weeks.

Even though the graduation ceremony is in June, most of the kids are staying on until the end of August.  But I am already starting to feel sad about leaving CNH daycare.  Our experience with CNH has be awesome, Sophia’s teachers have been amazing, and our little daycare community feels safe and comfortable.  I have known some of Sophia’s friends since they were one year old.  I am going to miss seeing them everyday.

The grad photo!

Getting ready to sing.

Double Trouble

28 June 2015

Dinner with Carla

Yvette and I met up with Carla for dinner one Friday evening in June. We haven’t seen Carla in nine years! But the camaraderie felt just like old times. Carla, Yvette and I worked at the same company fifteen years ago and we all became good friends. In 2001, Carla moved back home to Dawson Creek and eventually married. She and her husband settled in Grande Prairie and had two kids. The last time Carla came to Vancouver was nine years ago for our friend’s wedding. But with two kids and a family business to help run, a trip to Vancouver just wasn’t in the cards until June 2015 when Carla decided that a solo trip to Vancouver to catch up with old friends would make a perfect gift for her birthday.

We went to a Japanese spaghetti place on Robson for dinner and later that evening, we stopped at Bacchus for some tea and dessert. We didn’t stop talking from 5pm to midnight! We had a great time catching up on each other’s lives and reliving memories from fifteen years ago. We were so busy chatting that we even forgot to take a photo of the three of us. What I will remember most is how wonderful it is to jump back into a friendship and feel like we just saw each other yesterday.

Thank you for visiting, Carla, and we sure hope it will not be another nine years before we see each other again.

24 June 2015

Sabrina's graduation

Earlier this month, Ed, Sophia, my mom, and I traveled to Edmonton to attend my niece's convocation ceremony at the University of Alberta and to celebrate this big milestone with her.  She has worked hard the past four years to get her degree (with distinction, to boot) and we wanted to be present to cheer for her as she walked across the stage to receive that piece of paper that states she has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology.  As one of the speakers said during the ceremony, this is an accomplishment nobody can take away from the graduates and they should be very proud of themselves.
Congratulations, Sabrina!
My brother from Virginia also came to Edmonton to attend the celebration.  It was great to be able to spend time with my family and catch up with each other.  We live far away from each other and don't get to chat all the time but when we do get together, we always have an awesome time together.

It was also good for Sophia to experience going to a convocation ceremony and seeing the graduates around her.  Anything to encourage education for her is a good thing.

It was wonderful to see Sophia and Sabrina hanging out.  Sophia just wanted to be with Sabrina the whole time we were there.  She followed Sabrina around and asked her all sorts of questions.  Sophia helped frost a cake, bake chocolate chip cookies, and bake cheese bread (Sabrina's into baking).  It made me so happy to see the two of them have that bond even if we only see them once or twice a year.
Strolling with Nanay and Sabrina

Making cheese bread
The day before we were to return to Vancouver, we went to visit Fort Edmonton Park.  There was a fair with rides and a fun house, there was the fort itself, and the town that the pioneers built outside the fort.  It was all preserved and there were people dressed in period costume to give the feeling that you are visiting the past.  We all had a great time.
Carousel at Fort Edmonton