Making The World A Bit Smaller

1 june

It has been a few weeks since we left Doha and we are slowly adjusting to life on the other side of the planet. The Muppets have had to get used to not having as much freedom living here in Texas. Living in a compound in Doha allowed them the freedom of riding their scooters around, playing at the park and the club house and of course an endless amount of other kids to play with. At our apartment in Pearland we are on the ground floor and have a nice little park behind us and a pool. They are allowed to play at the park out back but with the days hot and humid they need to wait until the evening to play. The other night there were a few kids out there playing but the Muppets haven’t made any friends yet. We have tried to keep busy every day by exploring our new surrounding but being together 24/7 takes it’s toll on all of us.

The other day the oldest Muppet was online with his friend from Australia and another friend who is in Canada for the summer, the three of them played for hours talking and laughing like they were in the same room together. I figured I should try and set something up for the other two muppets so today we spent half the morning setting up Skype, iMessage and FaceTime accounts and connecting with friends.

For about an hour our little apartment in Pearland sounded like our Villa in Doha with the oldest and middle Muppet playing Minecraft with a friend in Canada and the youngest Muppet Skyping and playing with his two best girlfriends in Doha. It was a good feeling almost like everyone was here, and that our house was full of friends.

We are missing all of our friends and family that are all over the world at the moment and I am sure that as the weeks wear on and school starts for everyone the texts and phone calls will not be as frequent but it is good to know that right now we are able to make our world a little bit smaller through technology.

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Three Muppets Skiing 

  
Three new snow suits were purchased, new gloves and ski goggles sat on the kitchen table and three excited muppets waited for our first day of skiing in Bulgaria. 

We have skied two previous years out here and unfortunately our first day skiing has always been the worst. Every year there has been frustrated muppets and husbands, tears and in one case almost divorce. I gently reminded the muppets and myself that we were going to have to practice the first day and remember the skiing skills that we acquired last year. I explained to them that they may not be on the big hill right away and that they would have to listen to their instructor. The three of them remembered their frustration at the beginning of last year and agreed that it was going to take a few days to get back to where they were at the end of last year. 

I decided that this year I would take a lesson with a friend as well. This would keep my husband and I apart for my initial remembering how to ski morning and I was also hoping he could give me a few pointers. Once we got the children in to their lesson my friend and I found our instructor and he asked us to do a run down the small hill to see where we were at skiing wise. The two of us made our way slowly and deliberately down the small but steep slope. At the bottom we met our instructor, he asked both of us how we felt with that run. We both shrugged our shoulders and said we thought it was ok. He smiled and shook his head and then said in his thick Bulgarian accent “You are both not so good skiers, you are doing so many things wrong”. We both laughed and followed him to the nursery slope, he explained that with our skills at that moment taking us to the top of the hill we would only be worried about one thing… getting to the bottom of the hill alive! I told them that was exactly how I felt about skiing at all times!!! During our two hour lesson he showed us a bunch of thing we were doing wrong and how to ski the proper way and at the end we both felt a little bit more confidant in our skiing. 

The afternoon and the following days consisted of the muppets getting more and more confident in their abilities. Everyday they were a little faster, and able to go down a different run. By the time our friends from the UK arrived they were happy to ski from the top of the hill. My abilities on the other hand had not gotten quiet as strong as my children’s. My fear of totally hurting myself held me back and I was always last down to the bottom of the run (like super duper last). I am very thankful they have a father who loves to ski as much as they do and I started to ski on my own and enjoy hot chocolate and my book a little more than the slopes. 

On our last day of skiing the muppets reluctantly put on their snow suits and climbed in to the ski van. All five of us were exhausted and if we hadn’t pre-purchased lift passes I think we would have decided to stay in bed for the morning. When we got up to the hill the muppets did their regular warm up before the instructor came. Once they were going they were happy to be out on the hill. The muppets had their two hour lesson, mummy had her two runs and two hot chocolates and Daddy was able to ski for two hours with friends, the morning was a success and when we stopped for lunch the vote was to do more skiing in the afternoon. As we loaded everyone on the ski lift the muppets talked about going up to the “big hill” they were eager to do a big run with their dad. I on the other hand had some reservations about that run. The previous day it was busy and icy and at the end my legs felt like they were going to fall off. My husband suggested that I follow him and the kids in the big snake line. “Ya mummy, you can just follow us down in the big snake, don’t worry we will take care of you. The middle muppet encouraged me. So I agreed to take the big run with them. 

Right from the start I was behind but just kept going at my own pace. As I passed the middle muppet he said “You are doing great mum just keep going”. I approached the last hill in the run and watch the oldest and middle guy make their way down. The youngest was standing beside me and his father told him to follow me down since he was going to go anther way. Then he changed his wording and told the youngest he should lead me down the hill. The youngest smiled at me and said “Come on Mummy, I will take you down with me.” I followed him slowly down the hill, “Come on this side Mummy, it is easier” he shouted. I followed his lead and we skied together to the bottom of the run. “Good job mummy, you are doing very well” he said with a smile. We met their dad at the chair lift and I decided that I was finished for the day and the four boys went off together and enjoyed the rest of the afternoon skiing. 

Our last day of skiing was as good as our first this year, there were no tantrums, no tears and no divorce papers. The muppets have grown as skiers and are officially incredibly better skiers than their mother and probably will be from this point on. I think that in the future, ski time will be spa time for this princess but we will see. With the encouragement from the three muppets I may give skiing another chance next year! 

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. 

The Heron

  
We sat on the beach watching the muppets play light sabre fighting yesterday. The three of them were completely consumed by their game. My husband pointed out a heron on the walk way of the dock he was just sitting there as people passed by. Both of us thought that this was strange behaviour for a wild bird, so he called the boys in and we decided to investigate.

The five of us walked slowly up on to the dock and stood a few feet from the great bird. We could see quite clearly that he had a broken leg. He limped around nervously and the kids backed away a little bit. I suggested we call the fish and wildlife office in the area and see if there was anything that they could do to help. As I looked up the phone number a few more people gathered on the dock. One of the girls was a vet and said that there was really nothing that we could do and that the bird would probably die in the wild. The middle muppet looked up at me with his big brown eyes “There has to be something that we can do to help” I looked at my husband and both of us knew that the vet was most likely right. More people gathered on the dock and a few of them wanted to pass by to get down to their boats. As people passed by the heron moved closer to the edge of the dock. Suddenly he spread his wings and took off and made his way over to the marshy waters near the opening of the river. The middle muppet smiled at me “It looks like he might be ok mummy” he said. My husband and I both shrugged and hoped that the middle guy was right.

This morning as we sat on the deck having coffee and visiting with a friend the heron flew by. I could see his little leg flapping below him and pointed it out to my husband. We proceeded to tell our friend about the experience the day before. She told us that the heron was at her place a couple lake communities down from ours a few days ago and that they had also tried to call the fish and wildlife people to rescue it. By the time they arrived the bird had flown away, they also had said the heron would not likely survive in the wild. I told the muppets after dinner last night that we spotted the heron that morning flying. The middle muppet had a big smile on his face. “That is one strong bird Mummy, I think that he might survive and heal all on his own!” I smiled and said “You never know animals learn to adapt to their environment all the time!” We are out here for a few more weeks and we will keep our eyes watching for our heron friend and hope that the middle guy is right. 

The Lake 

     

Our morning did not start off well, the muppets had been up late the night before and up early because they were excited to go to the lake. With in 20 minutes of being awake the fights started. I dragged the bags out to my parents garage and called a family meeting. I explained to the three of them how the day was going to go. We had a six hour drive ahead of us and that was if traffic was in our favour. I told them that I did not want to hear them ask if we were their yet and that there would be no whining or fighting today. We would eat when we stopped and pee when there was a place to pee. The three of them who are used to my long trip speeches  nodded and agreed to my terms. We all piled in to our little rental car as the rain completely soaked us and the wind howled. The four of us were all shivering as we pulled out of the drive way. Our Alberta Summer had changes from a balmy 25 degrees to a dreadful 5 degrees, needless to say our bodies were in shock. 
The drive out was uneventful and long, for  the most part the muppets followed my rules. However the last few hours of travel the excitement kicked in and as we turned on to the road to the lake they were uncontrollable. We pulled up to our trailer and the boys piled out of the car. The youngest muppet went straight to the trailer wanting to check inside and make sure his bed was still there. The three of them joined my parents down at the beach and started a game of frisbee. A few minutes later the youngest and middle muppet came in to the trailer. “We want to go to the park, and ride our bikes and go for a boat ride” the youngest said as he grabbed his light sabre. I told him that he would have time to do all of those things but we needed to unpack first. Him and his brother decided to play at the park and I went back to unpacking. 
I joined the family down on the beach a short time later.  The oldest muppet was playing with his aunt and uncle and the other two joined them in a game of catch. The youngest and the middle guy soon got bored of the game and decided to play in the sand. Buckets and shovels were brought down and soon the oldest joined in the fun. It didn’t take them long to be knee deep in the water and when the oldest got the ok from me that they could get wet the started filling buckets with water to soak each other. Completely drenched the three of them lost their shirts and swam out to the dock, diving and swimming to shore and then back again. They were joined by other kids and old lake friendships were formed again. The oldest joined in a game of soccer with some older boys and the other two muppets found a hole in the sand to play in. We had only been at the lake for a few hours but the three of them had done almost everything they loved to do here. 
After dinner, a boat ride, and a few games of air hockey the three muppets settled in to their beds in the trailer. I tucked them in giving each hugs and kisses. The youngest muppet gave me a squeeze and said “I love the lake mummy, and our trailer, I want to stay here forever!” I giggled and told him that it was one of my favourite places to be as well. The next few weeks will be filled with water, sand and fun for the Wilson boys. I just hope that I have the energy to keep up with them this year!