Winnipeg plowed through 11 million dollars in snow clearing in January alone of 2013, twice their anticipated budget. A further casualty of old man winter that month was Alex's little car. Hidden behind massive snow banks and any signs of roadway obliterated by freshly fallen snow, Alex got T boned by a truck coming out our back lane. Tara's broken finger was the only human casualty, but her cast was quite the hot accessory at school (no pun intended). We got a respectable 4x4 SUV to replace the little compact car and now completely embody the Winnipeg suburban family unit.
The kid's grand parents moved out this summer and we quickly got over the empty nest syndrome. It was a double blessing as it gave Tina a reason to spend countless hours at IKEA.
This was also the year that we finally pulled out all the old carpet and a thousand staples and had our hardwood floors refinished. It was the best decision we ever made. Our only regret was that we hadn't done it sooner.
As usual our summer was spent soaking up the sun at home and at the cottage. Kaya and Tara both love the water and we got in some canoeing this year at Coney Island. K and T also had a blast travelling to Minneapolis for a completely child centric mini vacation (water parks, amusement parks, Lego land and Minneapolis children's library). Tara had a great soccer season.
This summer Kaya transitioned into a big girl bed in a bedroom shared with big sister Tara. Despite Alex's misgivings the transition has worked out great and the sisters are closer than before. Kaya also transitioned into Tara's awesome daycare and our lives are so much simpler for it. Kaya continues to be her amazingly clever self, speaking in complete sentences, rocking jigsaw puzzles and slowly moving towards toiletting independence.
Tara remains utterly sweet and generous with her peers and sister, showing emotional intelligence beyond her years. She had started to read level one books by the end of kindergarten and in the last month she has moved up to chapter books. I am thinking of introducing her to Tolkien... Also she is a pretty good story writer/illustrator herself. These days she is working on mastering "carry overs" in addition and multiplication tables. We are glad that the Manitoba curriculum has gone back to traditional math! Her latest passion is making elastic band bracelets on her home made loom. She's been making one for everyone in her classroom; did I mention she was generous?
Tina moved into a management role this year with Manitoba Housing's Asset Management team. She is managing a group of professionals and developing technical skills in-house, from scratch. It brings a cartload of new challenges, skills to master and wisdom to develop, but, it also comes with a sense of doing some good in our communities and opportunities that come from having a blank slate.
Alex started out the year teaching at a Catholic private school and they invited him back for another extended term in September that runs into the coming new year. He's well liked and making a difference in the school by taking on extra responsibilities, providing the students coaching in composition, running the book fair...
As our very busy year draws to a close, we are hoping to connect with friends and family again. We hope the bitter cold of December also brings some light and joy in your homes. We discovered new things, learnt new skills, overcame setbacks and all-in-all, we had a good year. We hope the new year is just as good to all of us. Happy 2014.