Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Over & Out

I'm shedding some guilt and declaring a blog-iday. A holiday from my blog. I feel guilty when I don't blog regularly as I do enjoy it. I enjoy getting visitors and comments. I enjoy recording the little happenings in our lives and our learning. I, however, have learned that I cannot do everything when things get busy.

We're preparing for the holiday. December is a holiday in itself, never mind the whole Christmas thing. We've been enjoying making crafts and a bit of baking. Doing up some cards and having photos done. Sledding and shovelling and taking the dog out in the snow. I'm cleaning the house and keeping the laundry caught up. We're sidestepping the siding/roofer guys that keep clogging up the bottom half of our driveway and then huff and sigh when we ask them to make space for our car. We're wrapping and planning. Packing officially starts tomorrow.

So, for those December birthdays I'm not around for - Happy Birthday wishes to you. And Merry Christmas to those who are celebrating. I am looking forward to the post holiday blog posts from those who wish to share about their holiday happenings. I hope those who are not feeling well perk up soon and those who do feel well continue to do so through to the New Year and beyond.

For us, the holiday will continue through to the end of the month. Family Christmases on the 24th, 25th, 29th, 30th and one to be announced. Some travelling, some visiting, some sight-seeing and lots and lots of family time. There's a shin-dig my brother's been planning for New Year's and then I should be back. With stories!

So, I am off. See you on the flip side! Some pics to send you off...

Nuk lying in a snowbank. She's about five foot above the road at the end of our drive, watching traffic. Silly beast.

Puzzle piece Gingerbread Men ornaments in progress. Hat tip to Jennifer for the idea.

Homemade Christmas Cards. I sent out a whopping 4. The rest are to go with the homemade Christmas gift baskets for those we will see over the holidays.

A December tradition with friends. Graham cracker 'gingerbread' creations. R made a hockey rink complete with boards, goalie creases, face off circles and Zamboni snow banks.


Sunday, December 16, 2007

Self-Portrait & Shovelling & Sentiments

8:30am and I'm heading outside. Welcome to Canada, folks!

It's like shovelling silica gel out there! The snow is heavy, but not too dense. The end of the driveway was a little tricky when the plow went by. Good exercise, though. K and I had to shovel the top of a snowbank 6 feet south a couple of times. As we piled the snow up, it began to slide back at us. Not only that, but the bank at the end of the drive was as tall as I was and I figure that's an unsafe obstruction when I'm sitting in my car trying to pull into traffic.

I love having a lot of snow. First, it's insulating and who doesn't like to be warm?? It reminds me of when I was little, living 'in der valley', the Ottawa Valley, that is. We lived in a tiny town on a dead end in suburbia. I must have been very short as all I remember of winters there are the snowbanks. The plows would pile the snow up well above my head. My similarly statured friends and I would walk to school on the snow banks, enjoying the slide down to street level every time we came to a driveway that had been shovelled. Of course, then we had to climb back up. The exciting part was never knowing when you would plunge, hip deep down into the snowbank. Risk-taking, adrenaline junkie 6 year olds that we were. It's been a long time since I remember seeing snow like that. Today reminded me of taller-then-my-head snowbanks.

Batten Down The Hatches

Saturday was cold, grey and cold. We got together with a few friends and went sledding despite the chilly temperature. It was -15°C and colder at the top of the hill. The kids had a good time, though. We lasted nearly two hours until I couldn't feel my toes. We led an exodus to the local Tim Horton's where hot drinks and muffins helped us to thaw.

Saturday was also calm. It was a little windy at the top of the hill, but that's to be expected. As hills go, it's pretty big. Normally, I wouldn't have been watching the forecast very closely, but we have an out-of-town birthday celebration planned for K tomorrow. So I checked the forecast.

We're in for a storm, folks. Our present location is scheduled to get the brunt of the snowfall. Apparently, it's to be accompanied with thunder (thunder?!), a bit of ice rain and high winds. They're predicting a high rate of snowfall which means driving in our small town will be treacherous. Traditionally, the Old Boys Club here likes to wait until it's stopped snowing before clearing the roads. That will prove to be entertaining at the very least with 40-45cm of snow expected.

With this new found knowledge and very few staples in the house, I called for a grocery run. I told the kids to be prepared for a busy grocery store, however it seems that was unnecessary. The store was eerily vacant. Strange for a small town that normally overcompensates when a weather warning is posted. The Ice Storm of January '98 is still very fresh in our minds.

Not a flake of snow was flying before 10pm. We had a late dinner and movie with the kids (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix) before heading to bed. At bedtime, it was snowing very lightly. Just enough of a dusting to see swirling patterns of snow on the empty road.

This morning, Sunday, there is some accumulation. And as we pass the 7:30am mark, the snow is coming down fairly steadily. It looks like some shovelling is in order. It also looks as though Plan A, The Birthday Party, will have to be postponed. Plan B, The Wrapping of Presents and The Decorating of the Christmas Tree will be put into action. It's just as well...that will give me time to worry and wonder about my extended family who will be attempting to drive home to this neck of the woods from the Toronto area - yup, directly along the storm route. Fun times, I'm sure.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

We've Been Out And About/'First' Snow

A few weekends ago, we went downtown and caught the local Santa Claus Parade. It wasn't' too cold until about halfway through when the wind picked up. It was only an hour, though, so nothing too unbearable.

On this particular weekend, we had company to join us. I won't point everyone out. Those who need to be in the know, do. It was nice. After the parade, we came home and I started a pot of hot chocolate. Our company aren't hot chocolate people, they say. However, I certainly didn't have any left over so either they are extremely polite or I make a wicked hot chocolate.

There's a newish kennel in town. We're so happy to find a great kennel run by someone we trust with our fur baby. We were very surprised to see the kennels float in the parade. It was a great float.

I normally get very excited about the first snow we get. I was underwhelmed this year, though. So the pics about aren't the first snow. They're more like the third snow. For our first week of 'dusting', the kids were quick to get out there and shovel. Then, the snow was a little more cumbersome. At that point, I began taking the dog out and shovelling in the early morning. The kids and I go out a couple of times a day to freshen up the shovelling or to take the dog for a 'tunnel'. It's very curious. The dog, once outside, plants her head into the snow and then drives her head through the yard with her back legs. After a week of deeper snow, she hasn't let up yet. More evidence that having a dog is like having a toddler forever. At least this one is contained on a leash.

Paper Projects

I've been working hard to finish a paper project. My mom asked me to frilly up some pictures for one of my brothers. I'm a total rookie when it comes to these things, but I can claim some creative abilities which were much more prevalent in my youth. I finally finished it because there are two other projects knocking down my door.

Especially for Penelope, here's a few grainy, blurry highlights of the finished product:

Title Page. The glare is from the page protectors which are finicky to remove and replace.

Downtown London spread. I was a bit nervous to cut up the pictures when doing this project. After all, it wasn't my trip and I wasn't sure which pics were favourites. The pic at the bottom of this layout was sliced in half and there's another on the right that was chopped up into three tiny pieces.

Pop-Up Brother. I cut Dear Brother out of one of the copies of this picture and placed him over top of himself. Clever, no? In all of Dear Brother's pictures, the greens are very green and the blues are really, really blue. Must be that fresh English countryside air.

Pockets. These hold all Dear Brother's ticket stubs, receipts, flyers and pamphlets and other odds and ends you collect on a trip.

Endpage. If you know Dear Brother, you know that he', we'll call it 'self-assured' and 'confident'. He took some pics of his hand holding Stonehenge. Unfortunately, his perspective was off. So R and I played with the pics, cut out bits and pieces and came up with what R calls "How Stonehenge Was Built".

And that's the preview. Hopefully Dear Brother isn't angry that I cut up his pictures.