Friday, August 1, 2014

pioneer parade

Small towns are cool.
I'm sure a lot of people - some I know very well, in fact - think that small towns are lame…. and their small-town parades are even more lame.  I feel the opposite.  I mean, big cities are great and I have loved being able to be close to big cities.  But having both - particularly living in a small one and being close to a biggish one - is great.
You gotta love the small town feel and you gotta love a small town parade.  All these people walking to main street with their lawn/camping chairs, setting up along the streets, meeting up with friends, bumping into other friends.  Its just good stuff.
I thought heading out at 9:30 (about a three block walk for us) for a 10:00 parade would be plenty of time.  I was mistaken.  We still got a good space, but it was about the only good one left….right at the beginning, across from the fire station.  Note to self - leave around 9:15 next year.
By the way - the celebration is for Pioneer Days - mainly celebrating the Mennonite Pioneers.  There are all kinds of festivities all weekend, particularly at the Mennonite Heritage Village/Museum.  And the grocery stores have farmer sausage on sale - that part is extremely important!  I stocked up yesterday and bought the limit of 12 links of sausage.  Yum!
The parade started with some RCMP in their official uniforms.  Unfortunately they left the "M" out of the equation (as in Mounted…. as in mounted on a horse).  There are of course a few select rcMps around, but they are only m-ed for certain celebratory purposes in the Musical Ride thing.

There were bag-piper people, which I love.  I wouldn't exactly like having a bagpipe player in the family, and not practising in the house under any circumstances, but in a parade like this?  Yes please.  And a little bit more, please.  I took the picture after they basically had passed because I noticed at the last minute that one of the last drummers had ear plugs in.  Not that you can see that in the photo.  But I found it rather humorous.
We got a kick out of this se-mini.  As in a mini semi.  It was pretty fabulous.
The school I work at had a bus that they drove through - and some coworkers handed out candy.  Me thinks they need to step it up a little next year…..
I was a little disappointed because on the other side of this float stood Gru and a minion.  I love Gru and minions.
My big sister and three of my nieces were also in the parade with their ranch.  Kim in the blue (first two pictures), Riley next, also in blue.  Timaya follows in green and then Shandy, also in green.  Riley made a valiant attempt to throw candy at the cousins but it didn't quite happen.  Don't feel sorry for them, though.  They got buckets of candy from all of the other parade people (Superstore had the best candy, if you ask me.  Even if you didn't ask me, they still had the best.  Bulk bin selection!)

And the telltale sign that horses were in the parade…. maybe that is why the RCunMPs were just RCP.  They are no stupid dummies, you know!
Hockey team recruitment was out - handing out paper hockey helmets.  Keep those away from my kid! No hockey for me - please!!  A) I am too cheap to pay over and over and over for all of that expensive equipment; B) I am too lazy to spend every single weekend and several week days going from practise to game to more game to more game and; C) I like my kids to have a full set of real teeth.

I thought I should also get in a picture from the Carillon News.  They are also (sort of) our employers.  Yup, still out there delivering papers.

Cade, who did not want (at all) to go to the parade until I told him that they threw out a lot of candy, stayed in the "ready position" whenever he was not actually out there gathering goodies.  He would run out whenever candy was thrown and then kind and generously hand some over to his cousins and sister.  After a while they all seemed to get smart and realize that they didn't really need to exert a lot of effort because Cade would do most of it for them.  They're no stupid dummies either.
I had to get at least one tractor picture - there were a lot of tractors and cars in this here parade!
The after of the parade was kind of like halloween….. dump out all your candy on the floor, do a little trading of things you don't want for things you do.  The pioneers never had it so good.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

last days of school

Sheesh.  It is already getting to be that time when we are looking at how close school is going to start again, and here I am talking about the last days of the previous year.  It sure doesn't crawl by, these summer days.  I supposed in reality I am looking more at when I have to return to work more than when the kids go back to school.  I've got three weeks - they still have five.  Poor me.  Sniff.
Cade finished grade four (translation into American - fourth grade) and they had a recognition ceremony.  Although it sure looked, felt and functioned much more like a graduation ceremony (middle school starts with fifth grade here).  What is with all the graduating stuff anyway?  I'm pretty sure we all would be okay with leaving graduation until the completion of twelfth grade and just doing that up nice and fine.  But whatever - 'tis the age of overdoing everything.  I should have been born in the prairies in the late 1800s.  Although then I wouldn't have the joy of committing myself to boring you on this blog.

The kids all had made their own caps and tassels, obviously.  My darling son took his own path and made a bassel….. a ball tassel.  And it was great that he did.  It kept him entertained during all of the parts he would have much rather not been present for.  Eric and I entertained ourselves as well by watching him swing it around, back and forth, up and down, and any-which-way (but loose).  It was quite humorous.  I wouldn't have wanted him to make a standard old boring, run-of-the-mill tassel like everyone else made for anything.  This was so Cade.

Cade, I think I have mentioned this before, has the best teacher ever.  And Lucy gets her next year.  Pretty excited about that.
For one of the last day activities with Mia's seventh grade classes - as in all of them - they went to the park.  The different classes took turns doing different activities - playing kick ball, volleyball, critter dipping, making teacher look-alikes from things they found in nature and some other things I can't remember.  I suggested to Mia's teach - the fabulous Mr. Carter - that we do some ice blocking.  Of course they had never done that before so I headed out and bought some ice and taught them how.  Unfortunately the other teachers we less-than-thrilled with this as he was not following protocol.  I felt a little bad about suggesting it but when the kids had a fantastic time, I felt more bad for the kids in the other classes who didn't get to do it.  Sometimes flexibility and embracing something new and different is a good thing.  But what do I know.  Probably if I were one of the other teachers I would have felt the exact same way.  Okay, moving on….

Near the end of the day, we had class against class tug of wars.  I joined in the pulling and it was rather enjoyable.  We got second place, I think, in all of the classes.  
There was also a girls against boys pull which the girls won easily (it should be said that girls outnumber the boys substantially - but I'm sure that is not the reason for the win….).

I was so grateful that Mr. Carter asked me to participate.  I loved hanging out with the class and getting to know some of them better.  A bunch of them ended up calling me mom and acting like my bratty children.  It was quite delightful.  I would love to be able to spend more time in my kids' classes.  It is so fun and rewarding.
The last day of elementary school is always a picnic and it was, unfortunately, the cause of a bit of angst.  One child wanting to go with his friends for the picnic, one wanting to go with her friends, and one parent being pulled in two directions (Eric came late).  We survived thankfully, thanks to leaving Cade with Auntie Glenda and Cole.  Lucy and I went to sit with some of her friends and their parents.

I tried to get a picture of Lucy with her teacher, Mrs. Penner, but she was pretty hard to track down (Lucy, that is).  She was tearing around with her friends and I couldn't get her until it was too late.
Mia's last day of school was filled with even more angst.  Not a good way to end the year….. girls treating other girls poorly - like they have no brains in their heads (which may or may not be true for some young teens).  Thankfully my particular daughter has more than her fair share, so while her friends acted like complete morons, she was a voice of reason and comfort to those wounded.
Eric and I had headed over to the school to watch the big race….  The students, in teams, were supposed to put together "cars" to see if they could push one person about 100 meters without it falling apart.  There were all kinds of stipulations about what you could or couldn't use.  We helped Mia come up with a great plan that followed all the rules.  Yes, we are rule followers.  Then when we arrived at the school, the first thing we saw was all these "cars" that didn't follow the rules!!  Like one rule was that they couldn't have axles - they could have wheels, but no axles.  Mia's group was the only axle free "car" in the parking lot!

The sad part was that "The Sparkly Balloons" never even got to go on its first drive.  Mia's team was no where to be found.  Finally Mia came around and we discovered the reason behind their absence.  It was because of the whole brainless business mentioned above.  So we headed up to her classroom with her to try to see what we could do.
What we wanted to do was not what we did.  We wanted to slap some foolish girls around for being completely selfish and unthinking, but what we did do was try to bring a little calm and sanity.  And perhaps a little reason.
All of this to say, it did all get straightened out in the end…. although words are unfortunately not soon forgotten.
That was how the school year ended.  Thankfully - extreme thanks - that is not at all a reflection of how the first school year in this fine town of Steinbach was.  Thankfully, it was pretty great.