Hard to believe she is 8 already! August 13 th marked our Echo turning 8. We had to split up her birthday celebration to include Aunty Karyn who drove down from Canada for her visit the week before.
Saying goodbye on the 11th
So on the Friday (a day before Karyn had to drive back) we had an Echo day. We took her to the Como zoo (a zoo run on donations only) and she got a $30.00 limit in the main gift shop.
She HUGELY lucked out. They were having a sale on a series of large stuffed animals that had her buying 2 for pretty much exactly $30.00. After much agonizing we purchased a red panda (my favourite animal) and an elephant. Talk about a happy little girl!
With her new Stitch teddy from Aunty Karyn
After the zoo we had to drive back home and clean up for Echo’s first dance recital at the YMCA! There was 2 recitals planned due to summer scheduling conflicts with parents. For this recital not only was Aunty Karyn and Trinity there with Mom and Dad but she was the only one in her class that made it!
Dancing solo with Miss Grace
She did an amazing job dancing with her teacher Grace, and looked absolutely adorable in her little pink outfit. We were so proud.
After recital it was home for a cupcake cake! Since she is currently obsessed with Stitch I went on Amazon and found some little Lilo and Stitch statues to put on top of the cake. Success!
Monday marked her actual birth date so we had presents from us and Aunty Holly, Uncle James and Cousin Jimmie. I went all out with the Stitch stuff and Aunty Holly totally hit the mark with her Lego set.
Thank you Aunty Holly, Uncle James and Cousin Jimmie!
We also spent time at our favourite park.
A day or two later Echo got a parcel from Gammie. A brand new instant camera with film. Included was a lovely card from Aunty Heather and Hudson.
Add in birthday phone calls from Grandma and Nana and Baba and dinner out solo at McDonalds.
The topper on the day was swimming with Daddy while Mom worked out in her class upstairs.
Echo told me it was the best birthday ever. High praise indeed! Happy Birthday Echo!!!
Now for the BIG excitement for the week… a trip to the CALGARY ZOO!!! You read that correctly… Kathy, myself and my girls at one of the best zoos in Canada. The last time we went here was when Emanuel was a tiny baby! A LOT has changed!! First off, 5.00 fee for parking! We parked in the Tiger lot! Trinity thought that was cool.
At the zoo
One of the amazing entrance statues
It took a little pre planning and organizing but we managed to get to the zoo when it opened at 10, pay our admission (ouch! even with a coupon) and get going. Apparently quite a few schools figured it was a good day for a trip to the zoo as well so it was a little busy. BUT we managed to see everything we wanted to and really enjoy a rather perfect day.
Ready to see and do...
We started with the penguins. That is, the ones you could see from outside the main exhibit. The wait when we got there and when we were leaving was well over 30 min and the penguins that were visible from right past the entrance of the zoo were exciting enough for our two little ones.
Of course we had to take pictures in front of the exhibit sign too… it was just too cute.
Me, my girls and the nifty penguin statues
We decided to bypass the North American exhibit (umm can see most of that ANY time) and the dinosaurs (new exhibit but lots of walking AND we had the wrong “e” named child with us for it). Instead we headed right over the bridge (what a high water level there is right now!) and onto the African exhibit… we needed to get in our lion time (though really all we got to see was a VERY well groomed head)…
The tortoise on a walk was much more rewarding!
Though the renegade peacock was more exciting…
And the visiting sparrow… we figure he was there for the same reason we were… a little zoo culture!
Let’s see what else was there? Of course Trinity had to pore over that map and choose the animal shapes that interested her the most!
Master map readers
Oh and lots and lots of flamingos, an unexpected find! And pink to boot…
Trinity and the flamingos
We had to stop for a hot dog along the way… just a snack to tide the girls until we got our lunch break. Of course that was coupled with a potty break.
We HAD TO see the elephants, Trinity was emphatic about that.
There was also the last remaining dinosaur from the original dinosaur exhibit to check out. Trinity was quite interested in what seemed to be a hole in its neck. Apparently it is a historical landmark now.
Trinity was very intrigued by the train that was NOT a real train… a part of the children’s area it ran out on the walkways without a rail. She was certain that that was NOT the way it should be!
Train that is not a train according to Trinity
We also saw the red panda… a favourite of Karyn and mine!
And a goat with the neatest curly horns!
Oh and I got a close up of a second roving peacock…
Lunch was a bit of a rushed affair with two slightly cranky kids but it was totally yummy and gave us enough energy to see our last exhibit. My favourite exhibit was the butterflies. It is way bigger than when I went as a child and still a lovely place. Though with all the children in from school trips the butterflies were not landing very often. Trinity had to check out the pond in the middle of course.
On the way out we had to take a picture on the pink light… All in all I think we spent around 4 hours out and by the end of it we were ALL ready for a nap… so… we did!!!
I got the boys each a pencil and we got a special postcard to share… and then each of the girls got a little kitty teddy… so we did really good with our shopping as well.
Now post nap we had ANOTHER exciting activity planned – dinner with Esther! At HER place! This was our first visit there AND our first dinner cooked by the lovely Esther. Both were wonderful. We caught up, hung out and generally spent some wonderful girly time together. Trinity even had her nails done AGAIN! Spoiled!
Esther in the kitchen
So that was one of our best days in the city… not only did we see some of our favourite critters but managed to corner the elusive Esther in her natural habitat. With a promise of a repeat visit! Seriously this week was an eye opener. I have missed these people.
Late night boardgame with Kathy and Neko
The most interesting fact we could find about hippos
I have decided to start a new little mini Christmas/Advent tradition. We printed out this page from our day 3 on our Advent Calendar. This year I had them tell me things they like about Christmas and I wrote them down. It will be interesting to compare future year’s answers.
Things I Like About Christmas
Polar Express is getting along nicely. Though there were grumblings about writing words (gasp) and doing a word search (which in hindsight I was told was VERY easy)… I am hoping we can continue the last few parts and have a lovely lapbook for them to remember part of our year 2 homeschooling.
Today’s craft for Advent was to make an origami box. Ken and I made one up out of red and green cardstock last night and had the 3 boys work TOGETHER to decorate it! I am planning to make a few more tonight so they can decorate some more, maybe put some of their ornaments in them to gift out!
Our pretty box
Our filler time craft before sledding came from Education.com… Santa and his elves (we made two). I printed them on regular printer paper and had the 3 boys colour and cut them out themselves. You can find Santa HERE and the elf HERE.
Santa and two of his elves
Sledding with Daddy was another success today. Due to work he took them around dusk where they tried a new hill and played with other kids. They were out nearly an hour and came back with rosy cheeks and empty tummies!
Sledding at dusk
We had a busy evening. Ken and Fydo wanted to talk shop and with He Chris around Echo and I were able to join them and Kristen. I also had a few items to wrap and she has the wrapping paper in abundance! Of course this occurred during the supper hour so we decided to go to the nearest restaurant to their home – the Indian place! Ken’s first time, note his carefully separated food!
Ken's careful plate
We wrapped the odd shaped stuff, chatted and enjoyed some adult only time while the boys talked about gaming and programming some and Ken snuck in a 10 min nap (they DO have a comfy sitting room).
Me and my baby
Emanuel and Trinity got spoiled with some special Aunty Karyn time – not only did they do jammie library time but they ALSO went by her apartment and got to see her kitty… by see I am told that they refused to actually go in and engaged in a staring match with said kitty! But in the end he was deemed to be a nice kitty so it is all good!
I got home too late to talk to any of the children about their evening but I hear it went well! Now I just have to get to work on Emanuel’s handcrafted gift for the year – a feltie Elephant ornament that I am then going to blow up to a bigger size to make something more squeezable… with that I am done his list! YAY! I have to share today’s Advent video… Trinity had to watch it over and over and over again!
And each time she watched it she had to tell me HER interpretation on events!!
Now to enjoy crafting while watching anime… oh and take a peek at the start of what Fydo and Ken have declared my “underwear fund”… Night