Monday, November 30, 2009

Advent is Ready to Go!

I've got my advent calendar done, and ready to roll. I think I posted that already didn't I? In any event, this is what it looks like.

I've included nothing but a few m&m's in each muffin holder (I made this from a muffin tin, did I mention that?) This year, I focused on creating a prompt of things to do, see, make, watch, go to, read, etc. each day. I know the kids are going to LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it. I'm looking forward to watching the reactions each morning, I know Mason will run downstairs to retrieve "today's message", excited about what he'll find. I've included things like: write your letter to Santa!; Watch the Grinch who Stole Christmas; decorate a gingerbread house, bake sugar cookies together; make our own ornaments; sleep out under the Christmas tree; have a family candlelight dinner. It's going to be so fun. It is something though, that requires a lot of preparation on this end, if you can do that, by December 1st, you're laughing.

We've had some interesting weather in the past few days. Friday got UGLY out. Suddenly it went from Normal to sheer ice. It took some people hours to get home from downtown. Thankfully we only had to pick kids up from school. We were celebrating my brother's birthday on Friday, and we opted to choose a restaurant much closer to our homes. That way, we didn't need to get caught up in the mess.

So Friday, we went for dinner, then back to Ama & Baba's for b-day cake and presents. Madelyn was so funny on Friday, she was more smitten than usual with her Uncle Chris. Hugging him, snuggling him, loving him up. You've got to take it when you can from her, it doesn't happen too often. Any way, back at my Mum's house, she was crawling all over him on the couch and suddenly said "I don't know why I'm so attracted to you..." It was hilarious to say the least. Kids say the darnedest things.

This is what I LOVE about being a stay at home Mum, you get a little girl her breakfast, and the fact that she is able to come to the table and eat, with last years spider hat on... How lucky we are, truly... [sigh]

I put the rest of our Christmas stuff up this wknd. I really didn't put out all my stuff this year. It looks nice. There's just enough stuff. I love how the lights twinkle, and everything is so sparkly at this time of year. I wish it lasted longer. The sparkle and joy of Christmas need to pull us through to March, rather than be over at the end of December... The kids are interested in listening to Christmas Carols now, that is my favorite. We've been enjoying ourselves so far.

And tomorrow, we start a new month. I feel like I can really sit back and enjoy it. I've got the majority of my shopping done. I've got Christmas cards ready to go. I've got recipes dog-eared. I've got crafts ready for the days they'll be done on. (I do have to p/u some felt though, better not forget that, but it doesn't come into play until the 12th). We can just enjoy the magic of Christmas.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Hustle is on the Rise

Everywhere you go, evidence of Christmas. People are beginning to turn on their outdoor lights (of course we were the trend in our neighborhood, with the tree up so early and all) Malls are full, the drugstores, the supermarkets starting to send out their fliers. Everyone has the next best thing. Everyone has the best idea. No wonder Christmas turns into this romantic, unattainable thing... It's just not realistic.

I am excited though, because I think I'm 85% finished. Seriously folks, I'm on top of it. It's a wonderful feeling. I need to sit down now, and figure out what I'd like to bake. Not that I do much of it. I remember as a kid, my Mum and her Mum getting together and bake, bake, bake. There were melting moments, snowballs, fruit bars, butter tarts... I'm starting to salivate, just thinking of it. Then they would put trays of baking together, and set it out when people came over. I remember fondly sneaking into the freezer and sneaking some of those oh-so-yummy Christmas cookies. I'm sure no one ever noticed, right Mum? 'Cause I kinda jiggled the tin around, to disperse the cookies evenly...

Now... We don't do that the same. Of course I don't speak for everyone, just myself. Am I glad that I'm living right now? You bet. What with the computer, the Internet, digital cameras, altering photographs, scrap booking, caller id, cellphones, satellite radio, jeans to church.... Sheesh, things are as good as can can be. (That doesn't even take into consideration texting, the iphone, or itouch, because that stuff scares the crap out of me.)
[My 7 year old, is using lingo that I don't understand. In fact the other day, he asked his Dad and I, "When do I get my own itouch?"

Yikes is all I can say. I don't even know how to send a text, or upload a video to the Internet. It seems I'm nearly 'out with the old'. I remember 'booting up' my computer, and having to type in a command in DOS... Does anyone remember DOS? We've come a long way in 15 years people]

Man I tend to get off topic.

My point was, back in the day, people got dressed up for church. Remember the old saying "Wearing your Sunday best?". People had guests over, and served them proper things (at least my Mum and Grama did, so that was my experience) We answered the phone, because it was ringing, not because we knew WHO WAS CALLING. And when we went out, we went out, and we were not reachable until we got home. Cell phone? What was that? So though I'm thrilled to be exactly where I am right now, I do miss the calm of the days gone by.

I've got my advent calendar ready to go. It's been a bit of work preparing, but I'm prepared. We've got Christmas concerts and parties filling up the calendar. My shopping is done. I'm going to start to wrap some gifts this week. I intend to send a few through the mail by the end of next week. [I thought I'd try that out rather than waiting until Dec 23rd this year ;-)]

I've got my digital Xmas cards created, and I'm simply waiting for the disc of pictures. All is good. Life is good.

I've also worked on these layouts for my Yesterday & Today class. I came to the horrifying realization, that I am behind the camera most of the time. I need to get into more pictures. Looking for pictures of myself made that very clear. It should be a goal for 2010. (which seems really odd to type) 2010 that is... Wow. Who would have thought it?

That's whats new here!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Good Grief...

Wow. A week can certainly get away from you if you're not careful.

We've had some computer technical difficulties around here of late. I hate technical difficulties. If it's beyond pressing [ctrl-alt-del] well then 'Houston, we have a problem...' I guess our fiasco of '08 taught me nothing. [Such as, you should really have everyone you knows email addy on paper, because when you lose MS Outlook, you're hooped if you need to send an email.] We did have had a 'techie guy' come check things out, but weird things are still happening, and every so often I see a message that says something about "getting ready to do a physical data dump"... [I also lovingly refer to that as the 'blue screen of death' because you want to power that sucker off, before a physical data dump starts...] Yikes.

I have to tell you, I rely on technology more than I’d like to admit. I LOVE checking my emails. I love looking up stuff on the internet at a moments notice, or web surfing, and I love working with PSE, and doing stuff with my pictures digitally. Hopefully we'll get to the bottom of it quickly. Barry mentioned he'd like to install Windows 7 on the 'puter... That makes me a bit squeamish, I have to admit. I'm not huge on change. At least everything I love and cherish is saved to an external hard drive. [Which proves that the fiasco of '08 did have SOME impact]

This past weekend we put up our.... Christmas tree. [gasp] I know, I know, it's terribly early. And to be honest, I might not have felt as good doing it, it if it hadn't been for her post. She made it OK.

Last year I seemed to be a bit caught-off-guard by the holiday season. And yes I do realize that it does come at the same time every year... But there was a lot of things that happened last year, and when you're a bit behind the ball to start off, then add shopping, tree erecting, baking, gift getting, Christmas parties and school concerts into the mix, it just got hectic. Last year we 'had to get the tree up'. It got to the point that we kind of said, ‘If we don't do it tonight, we might as well not do it at all’. Now that might be ok for some, and who knows, maybe there will some Christmas in our future when we elect not to put up a tree. But right now, with little people living in our house, and that just isn’t an option. This year, I feel pretty strongly about NOT BEING STRESSED. Ideally, I’d like to see December calm, quiet and fun. I want to enjoy the parties I go to. I want to enjoy the baking I decide to do. (Last year I frantically tried to get things done the night before they were supposed to be due) I hate that under-the-gun feeling. I actually have a handle on this years Christmas shopping too. I know! Me! So that's what we've been up to, in a nutshell. Along with the ongoing class I'm doing with Ali Edwards called Yesterday & Today, I've also finished my December Daily binder (to keep track of Dec 1 - 25th on a daily basis) and I've registered for a free on-line class w/Jessica Sprague called Holidays in Hand.

Wow... Re-reading that, is it any wonder why I continue to have sleepless nights. Sheesh, maybe I set myself up for failure.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Another Layout from my On-Line Class

I'm still taking Ali's Yesterday and Today class. It's been quite different from what I expected. For one thing, I've really enjoyed the pictures of 'yester-year' a lot more than I thought I would have. A few of the assignments have been a bit personal, and therefore I haven't shared them on my blog. This latest assignment was so much fun. I had to scrounge up pictures of long ago, and once I got scrounging, I couldn't stop. On top of collecting images of my young family, when MY kids were born (because Mason was born before our digital era). I've been collecting images of my parents young family (when my brother and I were born) Then pictures of both my Mum's and my Dad's young families. In essence, where I came from. And to think that this is all part or half of my kids past, because now half comes from Barry's side too.

In school, many moons ago I recall having to gather information for a family tree. Now, with the digital age on our side, we can scan, and print, and collect these images, and it's so cool to have them at our disposal. Our kids don't know how lucky they are... (I laugh when I say that, because I wonder how many times our parents must have said that about us as kids) But they really are lucky, we have so many conveniences that were never around when I was a kid. I could start to name them all, but it's mind-boggling, believe me.

I LOVE pictures, and when it's people that are part of the reason I'm here today, that just makes it even more interesting.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

For a Limited Time Only...

Thanksgiving weekend, we had family pictures done, by a photographer, Rachel Ludwig, who is based in Abbottsford, BC. I have been watched her work for a few years now, first as a scrapbooker, and now as a photographer. I was tickled pink to find out she was heading to Calgary and booking a few sessions during her stay. Even more pleased when I found out, she was able to accommodate our family.

Here is a look at some of the pictures of our session on her blog.

For a very limited time (a week I think) you can view a slide show of our pictures here...

I'm really pleased with how they turned out, and I have a tough decision to make as to which pictures I want. [Obviously, I want them all, much to Barry's horror...]

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Phew...It's over

Ok - I made it through the weekend. What a load off. We had dressing up at school, dressing up at preshool, a sleep over, an adult Halloween Party and a kids Halloween Party. And now, I'm sipping on a red wine spritzer thankful to have the day to myself.

And a lazy day it has been. Madelyn is still in her jammies, and Mason made the switch to LAST years Halloween costume, he's zooming around the house as red Spiderman, as opposed to 'black Spiderman'. I thought the black Spiderman was venom, but apparently it's not. I got heck for telling people he was venom. "I am NOT Venom Mum, I'm just BLACK Spiderman". Who he keeps reassuring me, is normal-old Spiderman. So how come we needed to purchase a new costume? Beats me too.

A recap of the weekend. Mason come home for lunch on Friday, and this is what we had.

Then off to school, and preschool wearing costumes of course. Friday night, we had a costume party (adult) So much fun. Everyone participates, and it's always so great to see some of the creativity. Great snacks, and visiting, and laughs. Fun was had by all.
The next morning, we got up bright and early, to get ready for the kids party. The kids came, and had a great time. I know they had fun, but as they get older I have to pick it up a notch.

Creepy fun snacks! Mason was so pleased that the vampire teeth were one of the most popular choices. I wouldn't have thought so... We did a craft, that the boys weren't all that into... We did cookie decorating, which is always a big hit. And coloring pages, and a game. We watched a Halloween movie. I think it was fun.
Here are my two costume-clad kids:

After everyone left, we had supper, and there was the excitement of going out to collect candy. We bundled the kids up, and out they went.

This is how our pumpykins looked outside. Quite inviting I'd say...

And finally, this is what I'm enjoying, a red wine spritzer... Another successful year of parties!