Chronicles of the O'Brien Family Adventures...

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Ice on Whyte


The sculptures were a little lack lustre this year, not surprisingly as we are having days ten degrees above zero warm. As Sean mentioned, it was more Slush on Whyte than Ice on Whyte. But we still had a fabulous time mostly on account of the super awesome slides adorning the festival areas. 


They even had maple sugar cotton candy this year, along with maple syrup taffy. 






Even Cai enjoyed the slides!







Friday, January 23, 2015

Music, Theatre and Skiing Adventures

Thursday's are our busiest days this year. It starts with getting Aidan and Summer downtown for musical theatre by 10 am. Then Cai and I carry on to his Music Together class which starts at 11 am. Both classes end by noon. Another mom takes my kid with hers to Snow Valley for an afternoon of skiing. I meet them there, just in time to help get them suited up for their lessons. The next few hours I get to entertain and otherwise help amuse a toddler while the kids ski. Every one of these evenings so far is also taken up with activities: either parties, outings or as the case next week - the opera!

Not every Thursday afternoon is skiing though. Those that aren't, we have our diy club! This month our diy badge was Magician and the kids had fun learning a variety of magic tricks. 

These pictures are from Aidan's and Summer's very first time skiing!! 




Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Robotics of the Future



Following cello this week, Aidan and I went to the Telus world of science premiere of Roboticize Me, a documentary on robots. It was fascinating to see the new developments in the field and great fun to watch the host of the show speak to us live about his experience exploring this cutting edge technology. 


We discussed the ethics that arise around the subject and Aidan and I enjoyed a discussion of our visions of the future. 


It's a fascinating area. I'm most excited about the potential in robotics aide for handicap and elderly people. To have robotic help that could allow an elderly person to remain independent in their home longer sounds fantastic to me. I remember watching grandparents reach the stage where they had to get rid of their houses and move into old age facilities, places that I visited and felt the despair palpable in the air. It always seemed so sad and dehumanizing to me.
 

Advances in robotic technology are greater than I had known. Our next generation will likely be seeing more integration of robotics into everyday life. It's an interesting time to be alive!


Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Dance of Life


I used to dread aging. I used to think 30 was old. Now the thought amuses me as I relish my age, ever deepening and growing and changing. Life has just gotten richer and fuller. I'm just as capable as ever I was (or more so to be honest) and now it's like I'm in 3D instead of 2. I never fathomed that life just got better and easier and more dynamic. More fun too. Maybe it's just me. Maybe it's because I live more intentionally, cultivating happiness and peace. But in any case, I look forward now in joy. I know of my potential. I know the secret of life; what it's all about. And I am in love with it all. In love with me, in love with the world, my family, our lives so rich and spectacular.

Aging is a process to treasure. Can you believe it? I found my very first white hair tonight - or rather my husband spied it while he was asking me if he had white hairs in his own rugged stubble) and I was over the moon. I was elated! And it was beautiful! I didn't even pull it. Instead I marveled at it's glistening beauty.

Yes. I'm getting older. I don't expect to get IDed anymore. Crows feet dance at the corners of my eyes. And I love every moment of it. Each year is a new depth of my being. Each moment that passes, adds to the wholeness that is me. And every year is better than the next. I love my life. I love my young kids and the older ones too. I thrill at the idea of watching them marry (if they so choose) and have kids (if they so choose) getting to spoil grandchildren with my boundless love and affection, while having time to travel and live in simple solitude and peace with my husband as our white hairs proliferate in abundance.

It's so all good. I'm in love with life, at any age. Bring it on! Because I'm going to keep on dancing.


Monday, December 29, 2014

Coming to a Close


The year is coming to a close, as it always does with tremendous speed and agility. I hardly breathe, inhale, exhale, open and close my eyes in wonder, and another year has slid through my hands like so much sand.


The year has been beautiful and exciting and abundant. We have enjoyed many trips and activities and adventures, living life by our terms, not by those society tells us we ought to conform to. The kids have vibrant social lives and are always eagerly learning new things. Their knowledge thrills me, their confidence inspires me. 


I love my own evolving confidence and self-appreciation that leads me to take better care of myself. As I learn to nurture my children better and more unconditionally, I slowly learn to do the same for myself. Sometimes I wish with all my heart to be that better mother, that better person. But I'd far rather have peace and self-acceptance and love. It's a work in progress.


Life is so spectacular in all it's manifestations. It's a great ride. The trick is remaining clear in my thoughts on what is real and what isn't. Or better yet, dwelling and living and loving aside of my thoughts and despite them, finding the respite of the moment without judgement or doing but simply being. 


Each year it comes about and I think of all those things I want to change: less time on my device, more exercise, more sleep, improved diet more of the time, more time connecting with my kids immersed in the magic of the moment. More mindfulness. More love. Cleaner and tidier home. Healthier foods for my children. More unconditional love for us all. Less indecision. Less judgement. Less clutter. Less overwhelment.

The story is always the same.

But I don't mind. Because it is a journey and there are no destinations. I think of my previous year and all the growth I hoped to accomplish. Was I successful? Do I see a difference? Indeed it doesn't even matter. I know I am definitely more accepting of myself just as I am. That's a big one. Because if you can't accept yourself, there's no hope for accepting others. Regardless, I think it's important not to measure and compare. I can only know in the moment what my goals are - and it makes no difference where I have been or where anyone else is. 


I love. I am. And I know that everything is okay and perfect, precisely as it is. And that goals are still fun to have and pursue.

I wish for you, my dear friends and family a very happy new year. Embrace it with joy and love, open and receptive, and nothing can truly go wrong. It's going to be a fabulous year. The best one yet, as life expands and grows with ever new awareness and bliss.


In joy, I love you all.

Experiments: Light


In honor of the rebirth of the sun in the turning of the wheel, we've chosen Light to be our next experiment and study set.

 
We began by discussing the components of white light, a refresher for the kids to be sure. The rainbow glasses were spectacular to look through as it breaks white light into rainbows everywhere you look. Even Cai got in on the fun.


Next we moved on to building a color spinning wheel to play with the properties of colors mixing.
 

While Aidan eagerly took on the task of joining the enclosed motor to wires and a battery, Summer just as eagerly colored disks of paper and cut them out for the experiment.


Our colored rainbow didn't create the perfect white we expected on spinning due to imperfections in the colors. But it was close enough to be really cool!
 
 

Next Summer colored red and blue to make a spinning magenta, red and green to make a spinning yellow and blue and green to make a spinning cyan.

Cai created his own disk to watch spin on the wheel as well!


We observed an LED light stick and watched how different colors were created with the combination of different colored lights. Cai was pretty stoked about the stick.


We finished our experiments with sprinkling baking powder through a beam of light, observing how light travels in a straight line. Our fun will continue next week as we explore the idea of bouncing light through prisms.



Sunday, December 28, 2014

December. In a Walnut Shell.


It's been a beautiful winter so far, amazing really with temperatures above zero. I can't remember a year quite like it!


It's my favorite time of the year. I love the festivities, the traditions, the lights and music everywhere. 

It has been an extremely busy month. 

Snow men have been made. Forts have been worked on. Snow angels have landed in the yard.


Cai made his first snowman with the help of his big brother and took his first sledding ride in his lap. He loved it. On the same sledding expedition Summer knocked out a tooth (thankfully a baby one).  



And then of course there was the decorating fun, made even more exciting with our brand new Yule tree. Our last tree had been with us since I moved out from home twenty years ago. It was a great little tree, bought for me by my mom as a birthday present that first year Sean and I were on our own together. Our new tree is huge though, and grand - opulent. It's pre-lit and has tufted ends that look like they've been dusted in snow. 

 

The first of December started back up our advent calendar rituals. 


And a week later we begun our gingerbread baking, for houses and gingerbread men.
 
 


Aidan earned some cash at a craft sale. 
 

And the kids performed in the NLC talent show. 
 
 

We saw lights, lights and more lights. 
 

Summer and I painted ceramics with friends as a mother/daughter activity. 
 
 

I made a fused glass ornament for the tree. 
 

There was a poetry collage day.
 


Presentation at Games Days (here Aidan presents for his group in front of a full room following a presentation on wildlife and litter by the Rehabilitation Society). 
 

A Christmas in the Park with a bonfire, hot chocolate, good food, friends and copious amounts of sledding. 
 


And Cai even sat on Santa's lap at the Scout's Christmas party. 
 

On the same night that Summer had her Violin recital. 


Snow has been decorated. 

 

And Yule has been had!

 

Complete with family and music and lots of good cheer.
 


And followed with lots of games and fun. 
 


I can safely say we've been busy with a wonderful month of December with much festivities and fun. There were plenty of activities not included above, like a World of Science homeschool class day, games days, swims, sleepovers and of course our diy club, among others. 

But now after a week of holidays and general relaxation, we are all refreshed and excited to embark on a new month and a new year ahead. 

Ok. To be honest, I'm ready to hibernate and sleep for at last three months but alas, my busy kids have other ideas. So instead the adventure continues!