Monday, December 18, 2006

Checking In...Again

Hello all,
Just letting you know we are still alive and well. Kids are recovering over a nasty cold - even Kori was down and out with it. Rai is coming along slowly. He has stomach pain every day now from his enlarged kidney. His test day at CHEO (Jan 11) is coming very quickly, even though it sounded like it was a long wait when we first got the appointment.
I think today was the busiest day of the year for us. Kori said we did 20 errands today. We certainly did accomplish a lot. But we are exhausted. I am trying to be efficient in getting ready for Christmas. Next year, would someone please remind me to bake in early December and then freeze everything...PLEASE! I planned to bake this week. Yet this week seems like it's slipping away too fast. What a stupid plan that was!!
We enjoyed a great day on Sunday. We drove to the farm and celebrated Kori's bithday with the McCombs. Grandma once again outdid herself with the cake. They gave her some beautiful gifts. It was nice having her party early. Now she has time to enjoy her birthday gifts without having them all mashed in with her Christmas things. Funny enough, last week we put in a full size new-to-us desk in Kori's room. Grandma and Grandpa and Paul gave her a whole whack of drawing, colouring, writing and cartooning supplies. So her new desk is stocked with new supplies. I don't think I've seen her happier.
I'm trying to keep up with the housework. It's just about killing me, but for a week+ I've managed to keep in almost-ready-for-company shape. At any point, I've been ready to run the vacuum through and we'd be good for visitors. Not only that, but I have been consistently caught up on laundry. At any time, there's only about a load waiting to wash. That and the ironing. But I'm improving. I'm also off the coffee. It's just about killing me. I've been to Tim's (Tim Horton's for you uninitiated Americans) twice so far and have managed to stay away from the coffee. Ok, I was supervised, but in this case, that's a good thing.
No other great and exciting news to report. The mailman used our phone to call a cab the other day. That was different. But our door was open due to the lovely weather. So I suppose he knew we were home.
That's it for now. Still trying to get used to the new set-up since the update here. I'm finding it slow. I'll try to get around to my regular haunts and comment some...that would be neighbourly of me.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Our Tour Of Town

For our homeschooler postcard exchange, we decided that a picture was worth a thousand words. For each participant, the kids decided to write a short personal note on the actual postcard. Kori is going to colour a picture for some of the kids who included a personal note in the postcard packages we received. Raiden didn't want to print anything but wanted to share about our town.

So today we ventured out and took pictures of many of our favorite places. It was one of the first cold, crisp winter-y days we've had this season. I thought it was gloomy and dreary. However, we are shamefully late getting these postcards out, so I figured as long as the pics turned out clear, they would have to do. Brian thinks the photos are beautiful - so that's encouraging.

We have a beautiful town. The waterfront is amazing. I love the architecture and the history. The kids made a list of venues that we had to take pictures of. Interestingly, not many 'must sees' included modern buildings. So, just in case you're wondering, we bypassed the new 'powercenter' that was built just last year with some of the recently popular 'box stores'. We also haven't included any pictures of suburbia - we have quite a collection of turn-of-the-century Victorian, even older Georgian, post-war quick-builds, 70s suburbia, apartment complex neighbourhoods and modern suburban sprawl.

So, here's the pics. If you want to see the bigger versions, at the end I'll leave a link to where I uploaded the pictures. Happy touring!

Monday, December 4, 2006

My New Winter Coat

I'm so excited. This winter, I'll be able to sled and skate with the kids in comfort and warmth. Isn't that a great gift??? My very generous mother in law and her husband gave it to me....early, no less!! Brian picked it out. It's a lovely new, white and blue, lined and hooded Columbia winter coat.

So I thought I'd take a picture of it:

Yes, I'm lovely. But you can't really see the coat.

Let me try again:

Hmm. That's a bit better. Not as 'complete picture' as I would like.
How about this angle?


Brian to the rescue:

There we go.

I should say that it has been ....12 years since I bought a winter jacket worthy of outdoor activity. The year I started college, mom and I bought me a Columbia shell. I figured I'd just layer up underneath....or buy a liner when they went on sale. Well, of course, college life kicked in. After the ski trip and the high wire course went off without a hitch - or a liner - I thought I was good to go. Then there was the trip to liner required. Then I was a poor, starving single person trying to scrape by on a pool-rat's a not-for-profit workplace! Yeah. Again, no liner required as I couldn't afford a car so I had to roller blade to and from work every day. Yes, even in the snow. Although I do remember one rainstorm in which I took a cab. Once I got pregnant, I was so darned hot I didn't even want liner in the silly coat. Then a liner wouldn't fit. Then I had a car! And a baby to feed. Then there was another ski trip on a picture perfect weekend...I wore the shell around my waist down the hills...Then another baby...then a weeny snowsuit to buy every winter. One year it's Kori's turn, the next year, Raiden gets one. No new coat for Mom since the babies arrived. Last winter the zipper broke. Did I mention my lovely red shell has a side zip?? Yes, now go back and read the pregnant roller blading part...I'll wait while you laugh.

So thank you Madeline, G. This Christmas gift is more appreciated than you know. I will wear it well and often. Even if the red shell stays in the closet.

Sunday, December 3, 2006

Sunday Night. At Home. Bored.

So we fed the dog peanut butter. Talk about cheap thrills. I laughed so hard I nearly...well, it was funny.

Saturday, December 2, 2006

Happy December!!

I am not really a Christmas person. Could be because I found the holidays stressful througout my teenage years. That was totally my own doing as my parents always prepared a wonderful holiday season for us. Then the couple of years around Kori's birth were a wee bit strained around the holidays as well. I did see some hope in enjoying the holidays as the kids began to understand the excitement. Then I worried about pulling off a nice holiday for everyone. It didn't go very well: If mom is unhappy, ain't noone happy. So the last couple of years I've let myself get caught up in the whole month of December. This seems to be working out with some success.

I spend the time from November 1 to December 1 griping and complaining (in 'pretend negativity' as I'm really not that grumpy about it; I just avoid it if I can) about the commercialism in the stores. Some poor sap spends the night of Hallowe'en cramming all the unsold Hallowe'en costumes onto one shelf. Then the rest of the night, they have to beautifully display Christmas candy and decorations in prominent spots throughout the stores. Really, is that enjoyable?? Novemeber 1 we walk into our local WalMart and poor Kori nearly peed her pants in fright when the 4' Santa moved and sang at her. It's a good thing I was holding her hand when she jumped because she nearly fell over.

So to avoid the unecessary pre-holiday stress I used to take on, I consciously make effort to have our home decorated for Fall. Until yesterday, there was a cornicopia on my table. There was a scarecrow in the hallway. Leaves and pinecones and fall placemats. Any Christmas shopping has usually been post-poned and only exists in list form. Now, this year, Brain and I have been able to have two kidless days so a lot of our shopping was done then. That seemed to work. No stress overload. Only some minor, infrequent anxiety. So shopping in November might be an option again for next year.

Our first holiday activity is normally the local Santa Clause Parade. THEN we being talking about how Advent is approaching. THEN I begin doing the mental math making sure I have wreath supplies on hand and filling up the calendar with specific holiday plans.

Yesterday was December First. The kids know Advent doesn't start until Sunday. We deep cleaned the upstairs - bedrooms and bathroom. Now, throughout the busy month of holiday celebrations, things will only need a passing over. We'll do downstairs today. We went around collecting the Fall decorations and packing them away in their spot on the shelf downstairs. I took the kids' chocolate Advent calendars out of the freezer (we have not done chocolate calendars in I don't know how long, but these were a gift from Uncle Brad's trip to Disney last month. He brought home chocolate. I recommend the Disney chocolate calendars if you're going to do them. Individually wrapped in foil, a generours hunk of lovely chocolate. But I digress). We set out the Winterish placemats and matching centerpiece.

Today we will continue to dig out the Advent/Holiday decorations. I have the St.Nicholas book in the basket, ready to read. I might even go to church tomorrow.

The tree is up for discussion this year. Normally, we celebrate Kori's birthday on the 23rd. After birthday celebrations, we put up the tree - usually on the morning of the 24th. Presents arrive throughout the day. Nice Christmas Eve dinner (the kids request the menu - last year I think we had pizza, or chicken fingers...). We follow Brian's German tradition of gift giving on the 24th. Works out nicely. However, this year, Kori has asked to put the tree up early. We don't usually miss having the tree up, with the Advent wreath and a daily Advent activity. So we'll see. Maybe if I can spare the space.

So in all this rambling, I guess I'm trying to say that after a few false starts, Chrismas is becoming enjoyable again. It's really nice to be able to fall back onto Brian and be able to ask him to make the decisions with things I'm feeling particularly stressed about. He's good like that. We've managed to carve out something that the kids understand and enjoy, something that I am ok with planning, something that is balanced and sustainable for the month and something not so overdone that we diminish Kori's birthday.

Now....if it would only stop raining....