Hockey Week In Doha

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When we travel home to Canada in the summer time we have a long list of things to bring back to Doha. This usually includes, cold medication, certain spices we can’t get here, books, Lego and many other things that are either hard to find here or are just better from Canada. One of the main things on our list this year was hockey equipment for the Middle and Youngest Muppet. After watching the oldest Muppet play all last year they were both eager to join in the fun. I had set the date in the calendar to register for the new hockey season thinking that with jet lag and starting work and school I was sure to forget. By the end of August the three boys were registered and ready to hit the ice. The oldest was placed on a new team this year and the other two would have to have a skating assessment to see where they would be placed.

When we arrived at the rink for the skating assessment the two younger Muppets were excited and ready to get on the ice. I was a little nervous since the two of them hadn’t been on skates for a few months and they were both a bit wobbly. The two of them shuffled around the rink slow and steady while the other kids did laps around them and the oldest Muppet was out there to encourage them to keep going. At the end of the assessment both Muppets were exhausted and ready for a break. They had done really well for not skating for so long but the coaches agreed that they would both need a bit more practice before they would be able to place them on a team. They suggested a few weeks of the learn to skate classes and then we could reassess them when we felt they were ready. I agreed that it was probably a good idea but I had two very disappointed Muppets on my hands.

I told the middle and youngest boy that we just needed to practice more so that they could keep up with the other children. The following day after school with skates, helmets and gloves in tow we went straight to the mall. Public skating was scheduled for 90 minutes and I wanted to find out more about the learn to skate program. Once I got the three boys on the ice I asked about signing the two younger guys up for a few weeks of lessons. The woman at the front desk informed me that they had been full since the beginning of August and that she would call me if they had a space open up. I knew that this was a phone call that I would never receive so I looked at the public skating schedule for the week and figured I would just have to bring them myself so they could just practice. For two weeks we went to the rink every day that we could after school, the Muppets were starting to get the hang of skating a little faster and both of them had more confidence on the ice.

The following week we went to continue our “skating lessons” only to find that they had changed the public skate timing and now had figure skating and the learn to skate program in it’s place. The only time the public skate was on was in the morning and early afternoon and then at 10:00pm, none of these times were going to work for us. Frustrated I begged the coordinator of the learn to skate program to take two more kids, I assured her that they would only need to be in the classes for a few weeks before they were strong enough to join hockey. I was told that it was impossible, I hopelessly pleaded with the learn to skate people to let me teach my own kids and that I would pay them to use the ice. To say I was desperate was an understatement.

We took the oldest to hockey later that week and I expressed my desperation to a few of the parents there. I wasn’t sure how I was going to be able to manage taking the Muppets to the rink across town a few times a week and maintain my sanity. Thankfully the Eid break was coming up and this meant that there would be public skating all day for at least a week. I vowed to take the kids as much as we could over the break and decided that after the holiday we  would ask for both of them to be reassessed and hopefully end my teaching children to skate madness.

The week we returned to school I ran in to one of the coaches at pick up time. He told me to bring the middle Muppet to skate with the team that Wednesday and he would see where he was at. Later that night we received an email inviting the youngest Muppet to join the Gecko team of Under 6 year olds. Since his birthday was before December 31st he was able to join that age group and I graciously accepted the spot.

Wednesday arrived quickly and after school we made our way to what was quickly becoming our third home. Once everyone was fed and homework completed I suggested to the middle Muppet that we should get his hockey gear on so that he was ready to go once the practice started. As I pulled on his jersey I noticed he looked a little nervous, I asked him if he was excited about skating in all of his hockey gear or if he was feeling a bit worried. “I am a bit nervous Mummy” he admitted with a shy smile “I am scared I will not be good enough and then I won’t get to play hockey”  at that point my heart broke for the middle muppet the last thing I wanted was for him to be disappointed again. I asked him if he thought his skating had improved over the past few weeks and he told me that he was proud of himself and that every time he went on the ice he got better and more confidant. I told him that it was alright to feel a bit scared but that if he went out tired his best and showed the coaches how hard he had worked that I was sure they would find a place on the team for him. I gave the middle Muppet a big hug and he cautiously made his way on to the ice.

At the end of the practice the middle Muppet skated off the ice with a huge smile on his face, “Mummy, I had so much fun!” he said “Hockey is great and I really want to do this again next week!” The coaches agreed that his skating had improved enough for him to join the team so now all three Wilson boys are in hockey. We travel to the rink two nights a week and we are there two days on the weekends, the security guards recognize me from a mile away and the lady at Mc Donalds knows our Saturday morning breakfast order before I say it. The Muppets absolutely love playing hockey so it makes all the running around worth it.

This year I am a mom of three hockey boys, three times the equipment, three times the practices and three times the games. I was never one that wanted to push my boys in to this sport but seeing how much fun they are having and the skills they are learning makes me glad that hockey chose them at the moment and I am sure that the Muppets will turn this princess in to a hockey Mom sooner or later.

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The Art of a Quiet War

playing_soldiers_rexWith the end of October coming next week the weather is starting to feel a bit more manageable. The Muppets are getting outside usually once in the morning for recess and then they are able to play outside in the late afternoon. When they do they still come home covered in sweat because lets face it my boys don’t walk anywhere. This month in door play in our house has been restricted to quiet play, Lego, video games and watching movies. My husband has been on nights for the past few weeks so he is sleeping during the day. Our house is usually filled with boys running around, yelling, wrestling shooting guns at each other or slashing light sabers. It has been tough on the boys not to have this freedom but it has forced them to come up with some new games and to think about the volume of their voices.

This morning I came down stairs to make breakfast before hockey and found them having a full scale nerd war. Hockey nets were set up against walls for shelters, blankets fell over pulled out couches and tables and chairs made bearers for each person. Now normally I would hear the three of them get up and there was no way that I wouldn’t know that they had a Nerf battle going on, but there they were as quiet as could be sing hand signals and whispers to communicate. Needless to say I was impressed! The oldest looked up from his hiding place under the couch “Sorry Mum did we wake you?” I smiled and told him that I didn’t even hear them and thought that they were still sleeping. He beamed at me “Good” he said “I was hoping our quiet war wouldn’t wake you up.”

It has been a long few weeks for the five of us and it will hopefully come to an end soon but it is nice to see that the Muppets are old enough to adapt a little bit better to certain situations. I will continue to enjoy the silent wars for a little while longer. Our house will soon be filled with noise and chaos once more, and to be honest I like it that way too.

Creating With Muppets

IMG_0054When the Muppets were much smaller I had dreamt of doing arts and crafts with them regularly on weekend mornings. One morning I decided that it would be a great day to start. The weather outside was blistering hot and we had hours to kill before it was time to go to the pool. I remember I excitedly pulled out a roll of white paper and taped it to the kitchen table. I laid out the paints, brushes and water and invited the Muppets in to create. Well they created all right, one big giant mess! In the end we had paint everywhere, the paper had gotten ripped in a fight between two of the Muppets and at least one was sobbing uncontrollably. From that point on I decided that group projects were out of the question and we would stick to individual creating if we ever decided to go down this road again.

This week we have been off for Eid break, the Muppets have enjoyed building lego, skating lounging around the house and visiting with friends. Yesterday as the middle guy and I were looking at Halloween costume ideas online we came across a recipe to make dinosaur fossils. Now anyone who knows the middle Muppet knows that he is a dinosaur expert, his first word was Stygimoloch and he knew the names of at least 20 dinosaurs by the time he was two and a half. The middle boys was more than excited at the prospect of making our own dinosaur fossils and decided that today would be the day that we made them.

I called all three Muppets in to the kitchen to help me prepare the fossil mixture. They measured out flour, salt and water then took turns mixing until it was time for mummy to take over. We divided the dough in to three equal parts and they got to creating. The baking sheet was quickly filled with raptor claws, T-Rex teeth and dinosaur eggs. The youngest Muppet suddenly jumped up from his chair and saying he had a great idea ran upstairs. A few moments later he returned with his giant T-Rex, he had the idea to make a foot print fossil and the other two Muppets quickly caught on and ran to get more dinosaurs. An hour of fossil making fun later we put two baking sheets full of “bones” in to the oven to bake. The middle Muppet waited at the table watching me clean up, after about 10 minutes he asked how much longer will it take Mummy?” I told him that it would be at least 3 hours and then we would have to let them cool. His face dropped but he quickly turned his mood around and decided that this afternoon would be a great time to dig for fossils.

So while the fossils cook, my future paleontologists discuss where dinosaur bones were found and dream about discovering a new dinosaur some day. Creating with the Muppets now is a lot easier than it used to be. Not only have we killed a few hours on a hot Friday but they are super excited to see the finished project and it has inspired them to learn more about something they all love.

The Olden Days

  
We woke up yesterday morning to another rainy day. Since returning from the lake a few days ago the weather has been a bit wonky. The muppets were happy to see the rain falling and puddles forming on the roads however they were less impressed with the thunder and lighting storms, hail and cold temperatures that accompanied it. My mother and I looked at the forecast for the rest of the week and with sunshine predicted for the next day we decided that we needed to do something outdoors for our last full day in Canada. 
Tomorrow we will start our journey back to the heat, humidity and sand. The muppets had suggested going swimming at the lake, the water park or the Calgary Zoo. I reminded them that they had been swimming in a lake for two weeks straight and that when we get back to Doha that swimming would be the only activity we will be able to do outside for some time. I suggested that we did something new that we had not done in Calgary before and brought up Heritage Park. It was a place that I had only brought the muppets to once when they had turned the train there in to Thomas the Tank Engine and I am pretty sure there were only two of them at that point. I told the boys about the different things that were there and how we would be able to see how people lived years ago. 
The three muppets were very curious about what types of things they would see at Heritage Park. I hadn’t been there in years but told them about the steam engine that they could ride on as well as a candy shop they could visit. The oldest muppet thought it sounded interesting and the middle muppet agreed stating that riding on a train and going to a candy shop sounded like the perfect day. We continued to talk about the things I remembered from Heritage Park. I told the muppets about the bakery, the school house and that there was a house there that people thought was haunted. “Is the house really haunted Mum or are you just joking?” asked the middle muppet. I told him that people had seen lights in the third level of the house even though there was no electricity in the house. That their had been sightings of shadows in the windows, and there had even been a few people who had seen a woman in a flowered dress holding a child in her arms in one of the rooms but when they looked back she was no where to be found. The muppets sat in silence for a minute then the oldest boy spoke, “None of that will happen when we are there right Mum?” I assured him that ghosts would not bother him if he didn’t want to bothered, and that they were stories that other people had told and may not be true. 
The next day we made our way to Heritage Park, the muppets were super excited and each rambled on about what they wanted to see first. The oldest wanted to ride the train, the youngest wanted to find the haunted house and the middle guy of course wanted the candy shop. We made our way through the park enjoying the sights our tour guide the youngest muppet pointed out everything that he saw from “the olden days” He pointed out a box by the washroom. “Look mummy that is where you could buy a news paper in the olden days!” I giggled and told him that it was actually something that they used today to sell newspapers and that little boys used to sell newspapers on the side of the road back then. He laughed and assured me that they also used it in the olden days as well. We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring the Park. The muppets learned how people used to ground wheat in to flour, saw an old school house, bought cookies at the bakery and decided that the “old fashioned” dentist was scarier than the dentist that they go to today. Throughout the whole afternoon the three of them prodded me with questions about the “haunted house” on the park. The oldest had come up with the idea that people had played a trick and that there were no such things as ghosts. The middle guy was certain that he was going to see a shadow when we got there and the youngest guy had not stopped talking about the ghost woman in the house. As we walked towards the Prince House I told the boys that they were going to be disappointed with the lack of huntedness the house was going to have. They all told me that they didn’t care and just wanted to see it so we made our way up the sidewalk to the house. 

Cautiously the three muppets stepped inside. They looked in each of the rooms on the main level and then decided to make their way to the second level. We looked in each of the rooms the three of them stopped in front of the nursery door. “This is where they saw the ghost woman” the youngest said, they stood completely silent. I broke the silence by tickling the middle muppet and saying “BOO!” All three muppets jumped, and the middle guy pushed me “Why would you do that Mum!” He yelled “You shouldn’t scare someone in a hunted house!” I laughed and apologized for scaring him and we walked down the stairs together. 
As we were walking out the front door the youngest muppet shouted “Where did the hat go!?” I looked at him confused. “There was a hat hanging on the hook when we came in, and now it is gone…” he explained as he pointed to the hooks by the front entrance. The middle muppet backed up his story saying that he had noticed the hat as well. “I think she took it” said the youngest. “Who?” I asked still not sure what he was talking about. “The lady in the flower dress mum, I am sure she took the hat!” He said completely sure of himself. We walked out of the house the youngest still jabbering away about the ghost woman. “That is kinda freaky” the middle guy said “It is kinda fun being a little scared like that, that house is totally haunted!” 
After a trip to the candy shop the five of us made our way back to the start of the park. The oldest walked ahead with his grandmother and the two younger guys walked with me. They were both telling me scary stories that their friends had shared with them. “This was a great day” the youngest muppet said as he shoved another piece of candy in his mouth. I agreed that it was a great way to spend our last day in Canada. “Maybe next year Mum we can come back and say hi to the ghost lady” the youngest guy said “And visit the candy shop again too” he smiled. 
I am pretty sure that the hat in the house was taken by some one working at the park but when the muppets tell their story it will be the ghost lady in the flower dress that took it. Tomorrow we head back to our other home, back to the heat, routine and daddy. We all have mixed feelings about leaving this year but have lots of fun memories from a wonderful summer with friends and family. And now the muppets have a ghost story to share with their friends. 

I Will Take Care Of You

Most of the nights since we have been in Canada the Muppets have crashed in to bed from exhaustion. Spending lot of time running around outdoors, swimming and visiting has made bed time as easy as can be this holiday.  The other night the three of them were crashed on the couch after a day of bouncing on trampolines and playing with friends. The youngest Muppet came up stairs and complained that his brain hurt and I told him that it was probably time for bed. There were moans from his brothers about not being tired as they both rubbed their eyes. When teeth were brushed and pjs were on I tucked the three of them in to bed and went back up stairs to visit with my mother in law. Twenty minutes later the youngest made his way back upstairs. He told me that the middle guy was having nightmares and that none of them could sleep.  I walked down stairs to find the middle one in hysterics. He couldn’t tell me what was wrong so I brought him over to the couch and cuddled him. I told the other two to try and get to sleep while I calmed the middle Muppet down. The two of us sat on the couch and watch some television and he finally calmed down.

The oldest Muppet came out of the room to get a drink of water. He told me that the youngest boy was feeling scared and sad and feeling scared. He told me not to worry and that he would bring the youngest in to bed with him and cuddle him until he fell asleep. I thanked him and continued to focus my attention on the middle guy.  About a half hour later the middle guy decided he felt like going to sleep. He kissed me good night and made his way off to his room. When I finally decided to call it a night I popped my head in to the bedroom to check on the muppets. The three of them were all fast asleep in the double bed, I thought about moving the youngest back in to his bed. I decided to leave them be and went to bed.

The next morning at the breakfast table the youngest Muppet told me that he had a great sleep. He told me that his older brother cuddled with him and told him funny stories to make him feel better and then he had good dreams. The oldest smiled at him and told me that he didn’t really sleep that well but he was glad the youngest Muppet slept through the night and didn’t bother me. I thanked him for making his brother feel better and assured him that tonight his youngest brother would be back in his own bed.  All three Muppet’s are growing up in different ways and it is nice to see the oldest taking care of his brothers the way he does. Not only does it make me a proud Mama but it is nice to know that they care so much about one another.