Sunday, September 21, 2014

summer is back!

calgary is bipolar.
we had boots and sandals lined up beside each other last week.
i feel like shoes and sandals is an acceptable combination.
or shoes and boots.
but boots and sandals seems a wee bit extreme.
but, then again, who am i to say?

all i know is i am grateful the snow didn't stick around long.
we have been outside a lot this past week, soaking up every last bit of summer we will get.

the boys also started gymnastics this week.
it went so well! .. despite the fact that i showed up to the wrong location.
back in high school, i had friends that went to this gym and i just assumed it was still in the same place.
but apparently they changed locations... 10 years ago!
we made it to the right location a couple minutes late (which is actually pretty typical for me) and the boys had a great time.
i am with holden in a mom & tot class, and chet is in a class with 5 other kids his age at the same time. the timing is perfect.
i think it will be great to have gymnastics to look forward to each week through the fall/winter.

new calling.

matt got a new calling last week. he is now the YM president in our ward.
we both looove working with the youth.
so he is definitely excited.. and definitely nervous.
i think he will be super great in there.
it might be a bit tricky because i am in the YW presidency, but we know it can work.
our first official activity together was a youth temple trip on thursday night.

Friday, September 12, 2014

joy school.

this happened yesterday:

yep. that is holden, running through a freshly melted snow puddle.
no shoes.
or pants, for that matter.
we are classy like that.

wanna know something else classy about us?
we have pet salamanders.
2 of them.
they don't have names. we aren't even sure what gender they are.
matt found them in a hole by his work and brought them home.
i pictured us keeping them in a bucket for a couple days, maybe.
but, one thing lead to another, and now we have a terrarium.
and we go buy crickets from the pet store to feed our new pets.
i can't say i am a huge fan of having something slithery in our home, but chet and holden think they are pretty neat.
and they think matt is especially neat for bringing them home.
such a cool dad!

other news:

chet started joy school this week.
we decided against doing an official preschool, once and for all.
i was stressing out about the decision all summer, and i'm not really sure why!
as long as we are helping him grow and experience new things, he will be just fine when he starts kindergarten next year.
on mondays chet goes to a music class.
on tuesdays we all like to go to storytime at the public library.
on wednesdays chet has joy school.
and on thursdays both of our boys are in gymnastics.
plus, we have our science center pass. and they go to primary on sundays.
so we will be busy this fall/winter!
we feel very blessed to be able to give our boys such fun opportunities to learn and grow.

for joy school, chet is in a class with 5 other kids.
2 boys, 4 girls. chet is the oldest.
all the kids are from our ward.
each mom takes a turn hosting 'school' at her house, which means every 6 weeks i'm in charge.
i have heard other moms say that joy schools can be a pain in the butt, but it sounds like a pretty great deal to me.
we have a set curriculum, so there is definitely structure. but it is mostly just supposed to be a fun learning experience for the kids.
and, based on chet's excitement about his first class, i think it will be just that!

while chet was at his joy school this week, holden and i went out and ran errands.
i had the years before holden came along to run errands alone with chet, and i loved those times.
chet was a cute shopping buddy.
but, like many other things that second children get scammed with, holden hasn't had the chance to be my solo shopping buddy very often.
and for some reason, when the three of us go shopping together, his best traits never seem to shine through! 
it was really fun to spend that time alone with him.
he was excited, helpful, and it was obvious that he felt special.
he is a nice boy. and he is growing up oh, so fast.
his vocabulary is improving every day.
i feel like we can have full on conversations with him now.
his prayers are to die for.
and one of his most adorable phrases is 'oh man!'.
he says it when he makes a mistake. it's precious.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

get me out of here!

it has been snowing here in calgary for the past couple days.
it's september. it's not supposed to be snowing!
and certainly not the kind of snow that piles up.
i would have been sad if it had snowed that kind of snow that melts when it hits the ground, because any kind of snow in september is disheartening.
but that's not the kind of snow we have been getting.
we have several inches of wet, heavy snow piled up.
power is out, schools are closed, and a good chunk of the trees in the city have been damaged by the weight the wet snow.
it is devastating.
tears have definitely been shed.
(at least by me!)
and i am even more committed to getting our family out of here.
the farther south the better.
and the sooner the better!

global warming? puh-lease.

we had to leave the house yesterday to take chet to his first day of joy-school, otherwise i probably would have hid inside all day.
but i figured since we were out, and all bundled up, i would document the nastiness.
we drove to a farm field not far from where we live and snapped a couple pictures.
holden cried the entire time. he just kept saying, 'cold. cold. cold.'
chet was slightly more enthused at the start, but ended up sobbing too.
they must be mine :)

thank goodness we harvested our vegetable garden on labor day, otherwise our summer project would be ruined!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

camping.. for half a day.

my wife says, 'camping is a tradition in my family'.

hey, it was a tradition in everyone's family until we invented the house.

-jim gaffigan

yup. that about sums up my feelings for camping.
some people like to give me a hard time about my lack of enthusiasm for camping.
i often feel like they are taking a shot at my toughness when they tease me about that.
and that's not fair. i am tough.
(just not necessarily in the emotions department!)
but, physically, i think i am tough.
i can do hard things.
i can camp. easy peasy.
i just don't want to.
here are some examples of reasons why i don't want to:
1. i don't like spiders.
2. i don't like being cold.
3. i don't like being dirty.

and just to be fair, things i like about camping include:
1. getting out of the city and enjoying the beauty of the earth.
2. watching my boys explore nature.
3. sitting around a campfire.

the thing is, the common denominator between all the postivies is that they can be done without ever setting foot in a tent!
 which makes what happened this weekend so perfect (in my eyes.. not matt's. and i do feel a wee bit bad about that)
due to a last minute change of camping dates, our work schedules, and other important commitments, matt and i were only able to make it out to the camp for saturday.
we left home early saturday morning, spent the day partying hard at the campsite, and got home just in time to put our kids down in their own cozy beds.
perfect, right?!
i honestly really did love our day out there.
the land we camp on is owned by one of matt's sisters and her husband.
it is 2.5 hours from calgary, and not too far from waterton.
it is gorgeous.
some highlights were: off roading, zip lining, shooting, frog catching, kite flying, soccer, and using an outhouse.

there is a hill next to the place where we set up camp.
from the top of the hill you can see the camp in one direction:
(it might be hard to see, but camp is on the closest side of the pond, just to the right of the center of the picture.)
and mountains in the other:
(panoramic photo courtesy of matthew k. leavitt)

and the 'parents of the year award' goes to.. us!
we did indeed strap our boys into harnesses and let them zip line down a 300ft cable.
they loved it!

polar bears.

we got the new ensign magazine yesterday and i did a little flip through.
there is an article in there about some canadian kid, and down the side of the article there is a list of facts about canada.
one of the facts states that canada is home to 50% of the world's polar bear population.
... really?
there are about a million other facts that could have given readers an idea of what canada is like, but they chose the ol' polar bear stat?
it's not like polar bears are roaming the streets up here!
i am assuming they live in the wretchedly cold, uninhabitable parts of the country.
i can guarantee i will never see a wild polar bear as long as i shall live.
unless, perhaps, i go on one of those weird cold cruises. to alaska, USA.
and just to make my point further, in the last decade the only polar bears i have even seen in captivity were in california.
i could see this fact being shared if polar bears were our national anthem or something.
but they aren't.
our national animal is the truly proud and noble.. beaver.
so it is a downright irrelevant fact.
poor journalism.
and now my testimony is wavering ;)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

garden & 1000 miles.

we went out to our garden on monday night, like every other monday this summer, and decided to do a 'practice harvest' to see if our carrots and potatoes are ready to pick yet.
we pulled up a couple handfuls of carrots and a potato plant, and we were so thrilled with what we found underneath:
all of the work we have done in our garden this summer is actually paying off!
it looks like we will be able to do our real harvest in just a couple weeks.

can you tell the boys were pretty pleased with our haul, too?
now i just need to figure out how to make pickles with our (smaller) cucumbers, because the idea of making his own pickles was the only thing that motivated chet to get out to the garden each week.

and on a completely unrelated note:
at the start of the year, i wanted to make a running goal for myself to work towards.
i decided that i was going to try and run 1000 miles in the year 2014.
everyday i would mark on my calendar how many miles i ran, and at the end of each week i would figure out the new total.
apparently i didn't set my sights high enough though, because i completed that goal a couple days ago.
on august 24th i reached my 1000 mile goal.
sooo.. now i'm not sure what to do!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

science center.

we were supposed to go camping this weekend - the annual leavitt family campout.
but the temperature all of a sudden dropped and the camp was cancelled.
things are bumped to next weekend. 
so now we have this empty weekend to do with as we please.
there are a whole list of things we want to do before the summer ends, but most of them are outside activities. and today is not an outside activity kind of day. it's chilly.
so we hit up the science center. and we had fun.
we have only been there once before, when holden was just a little fellow.
this time the boys were at a perfect age to enjoy it - especially the kid section.
we even ended up getting some memberships for the boys and i to use once the temperatures really plummet!

this is my favorite picture from our outing:
that white tube shoots out air. holden thought it was magical when he put the foam ball on top of the tube and it would pop up.

Friday, August 22, 2014


here's a list of tidbits from our life lately:

chet and holden had their first sleepover in the same bed. ever since matt finished building their bunk beds, chet has been begging to have a sleepover with holden. it didn't last long. a few hours in, chet shouted for us. when i went in to check on him he told me holden kept squishing him and asked if he could go back to his bed! i am kicking myself for not snapping a picture of them before that happened because they looked so stinkin cute together.

we had family photos taken. i am very excited to see how they turned out. my only request to the photographer was that our pictures be taken somewhere "green". and green it was! we were right in the thick of some trees that housed an ungodly amount of mosquitos. mosquitos don't really like me (which i am so fine with!) but they love the men in my life. chet and holden looked like they had chicken pox the next day. it was so bad! but i am sure the pictures will be worth it. (says the girl who didn't get any bites).

the boys and i spent the afternoon at midnapore lake with the clarke cousins. chet has really learned to love swimming this summer. i think it is fun watching him be so confident with something.

matt and i went to see brian regan live. it was hilarious! my parents gave matt the tickets as an early birthday gift. it was an awesome gift. 

we spent the afternoon at spruce meadows with the clarke & sherlock cousins. the kids got to pet lots of show horses and a couple goofy looking miniature horses. i can't believe i haven't spent more time at that place - it is lovely.

our garden is growing like mad! chet is thrilled that our pickles (AKA cucumbers) are getting so big. he is still a pickle freak.

both of our boys were due for immunizations, so we went to our appointment for that this afternoon. this was the first time i had to take them in when they both needed a shot, and i was kinda worried. i get emotional when one of them gets a shot.. what would i be like after watching both of them go through that?! but, i have to admit it went really smoothly. neither of the boys were super thrilled with the experience, but both of them recovered insanely fast. within seconds of them getting the shot, the boys were laughing with the nurse. it got me thinking: i am so grateful that our boys are so quick to forgive. i often feel like i am royally sucking at motherhood, but somehow my boys still love me and trust me.

chet and holden's 27th cousin was born this week. cooper hughes. us shaughnessy girls aren't super great at keeping babies in for 40 whole weeks.. so cooper came kinda early, like our boys. thankfully, he got sent home from the hospital the other night. our boys have loved praying for baby cooper and, of course, we have too. my heart aches when i think of people who have premature babies. it sucks. and the idea of having another is one of the many reasons why i am so not ready to make our family any bigger.

holden has 2 new teeth. he is behind on the tooth eruption schedule, i am told i was the same way. but he sure isn't behind on anything else. i still get asked on a regular basis if our boys are twins. in fact, i got asked that today at the grocery store. holden is a strong, capable little boy. he is definitely not a baby anymore. he is also super chatty. he talks constantly, and we are blown away by all the words he knows.. and that we can understand them!

i have been working 2 days/week since shortly after we moved back. sometimes i feel bad for leaving our boys, but then i realize that i love going to work! i love what i do, who i work with, and that i am making money.. and our boys honestly love spending 2 days/week getting spoiled rotten by my mom and matt's sister. we feel really blessed with how this has all worked out.

there have been some crazy thunderstorms lately. the other night we got caught in one. we had walked to the park just around the corner from our house and got drenched when run came POURING down on us. we all laughed as we ran home. it made for a good memory:)

our california license plates expired in april. we didn't notice until june. oops. and, due to some importing complications, it took us until this weekend to register our vehicle in alberta. i have been so paranoid driving around with expired plates for the past 2 months. i assumed a police officer would be pretty harsh if he pulled me over... and i don't like getting in trouble. but they didn't catch me! and now i am sad to be without those expired california plates.. they made me feel like i still had a connection to the dreamy place. and now it's gone :(

Monday, August 11, 2014

we have been married 7 whole years.

we went out to bragg creek for a leavitt family sunday picnic yesterday.
the weather and the scenery were both so lovely.
it was a fun way to spend the evening.
it was actually our 7th anniversary yesterday.
that's a lot of years.
imagine if we make it 7 more!
[haha we better.]

a family picnic isn't the most romantic way to spend an anniversary, but don't you worry, we spent saturday night celebrating.
we went out for a date - dinner, shopping, movie.
happy 7 years to us!
aren't they just the cutest little cousins?

and here are some other unrelated pictures from the past couple weeks.
at the garden.
they thought they were so funny wearing grandma and grandpa's shoes.
holden drew all over himself with markers. they were washable, thank goodness.
that boy likes to keep us on our toes.