Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Sweet Memories

Ahhhh, looks whose feeling a bit nostalgic tonight... I can't believe this was already 4 1/2 years ago. My sweet baby girl.

I've been looking through some older photos, for yet another project I have in mind. [I should make 2010 the year of 'catching up'. But let's face it, that's just not me. I always have half a dozen things on the go!]
Any way, I always wanted to do this layout, it's scrap lifted from this amazing scrapbooker. She has all sorts of layouts posted on the 2peas website. (Hours at a time can be spent there, I'm speaking from experience)
I just knew I wanted to lift this layout when I saw it, which was months ago, maybe even years ago. I've looked and looked through old pics of both kids, and then suddenly, this afternoon, this picture of me and Mad popped up and I thought "That's it!" I got right to work. Have I mentioned I'm LOVING the digital thing? And who says you can't go back and scrap older pictures? Of course you can!
Switching gears, I'm trying to pin down my 'word' for 2010. Remember, my word for 2009 was choice? I can't say all the choices I made were terrific ones, but at least I made them! I think the year of choice went a lot better that 2008's word, discipline... Eeks, that one didn't fare too well. Just thinking about it makes me cringe.
Any way, I've got it narrowed down to a few... I have another day to ponder... I'll keep you posted.

Monday, December 28, 2009

We Made it Once Again

It's over for another year.

We made it.

I am breathing a sigh of relief. Christmas day came and went as it always does (whether you're prepared or not). Ironically, this year I was both prepared and not prepared. I actually shopped throughout November, and I don't mean to brag or anything, but was mostly done by December 1st. (It was an incredible feeling, I do highly recommend it, and will do my best to do that every year). We were free to enjoy the kids Christmas performances. We were able to enjoy outings. We were able to enjoy the advent calendar... (**Note to self, next year, don't make the advent calendar more work than it needs to be, throw in a few more things like "hug someone you love today" Or "Get an extra cookie for lunch today") The kids still love to open it each morning, and I don't have to be fretting about what's going to happen. I'd have to say, we followed through with about half the things that we were supposed to do.

A few of the most popular were [Pop some corn and watch a movie together as a family]; [Camp out under the Christmas tree tonight] - too bad that one ended quite violently with a certain 4 1/2 year old FREAKING OUT... [Eat dinner by candlelight] - to celebrate winter solstice. [Make Christmas flavored milkshakes after supper] - which ended up being the flavor vanilla, but they were indeed dandy. [Watch the Polar Express] - first time I'd seen this movie, it was fantastic even though we did need to keep retrieving Madelyn from the steps because she was scared. [Have a drive and check out Christmas Lights and displays] - Mason saw a house in our neighborhood that the lights were set up to music. You drove up, tuned into the radio station and the lights went on and off to music... It was awesome.

Those were some of the favs, that I racked my brain to come up with over 24 days. Hindsight is 20/20. I know for next year. A few "smarties" and a few "take care of each others" can certainly fill in the void.

What I was unprepared for was the oven incident, but even that worked out in the end. I just have to do some baking now, to keep Gigi equipped in the treats she's become accustomed to. ;-)

Here is a look at some of the things we've been up to the last month.

Isn't the montage AWESOME? You can find out how to make one for yourself here. This is called a Mosaic. Love it!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Year Barry Saved Christmas...

Thanks for the treats Carrie. How did you know we love candy so much?

Let me let you in on a little tid-bit. The excitement at my house the last 24 hours.

We had friends over last night. We were having my favorite thing, appetizers. And I have to say I was PRETTY DARN excited (as I so often am when it comes to food). I was in the process of making my second batch of Nuts 'n Bolts, (because the first batch disappeared so darn fast). I realized that I was out of Worcestershire sauce, as the butter was melting in the oven. So I turned the oven off, thinking, "I'll finish that off tomorrow". About a half hour later, I turned the oven back on to preheat (back to appie-ville) and after it was preheating at 375° for about 1/2 an hour, I kind of thought 'weird'. But when I went to put my beloved snack in... the oven was stone cold. That's right. The light was on, but it wasn't working. The two guys, Barry and Murray worked at it like crazy, removed panels (that I had NO idea even existed). Found fuses and buttons... Nothing they monkeyed with helped. Murray finally shook his head sadly and said, "I think you need a new oven." (Oh - and a quick side note, phyllo pastry on the BBQ is a bit touchy) I can't say that I'd recommend it, but if you have no other options, it did work, and the charred pieces we could pull off.

Now take a moment to put yourself in my shoes... I'm hosting Christmas dinner here in 2 days. That's right. An oven is a somewhat crucial element when it comes to COOKING things. Things like CHRISTMAS dinner!

So after a sleepless night of fretting and worry, Barry went out to buy fuses. Nope. The fuses apparently were fine. A waste of money to buy new ones.

Can you imagine needing to go and buy a new oven the day before Christmas? I mean let's talk delivery here... I was pretty sure we were up the creek if you will.

I suggested that perhaps we could get a new element, and try that out. What did we have to lose? So Bar bucketed off to buy a new element, and then, as I stood in a line up of 23 at Superstore, I got the call.... "IT WORKED! The oven is heating up!" Ahhhhhhh, I could calm down and life will return to normal.
Now, having said that life returns to normal, what I mean by that is, dinner on Christmas day will be fine. But the baking I had planned to do for Gigi (the kids great-grandmother) NOT looking very promising... So though I was prepared for the season, there are a number of things that I did indeed wait to do at the last minute. And these things, are the baking for Gigi. I will be hard pressed to get it done tomorrow, in my 4 hour window, but I'll indeed having something to present her with Christmas Day.

So now, 2009 has officialy become known as the year Barry saved Christmas! [He puffed up so nice when I told him he saved Christmas].Thanks honey! Glad you're so handy!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Ahhhhhh....School is Over...

I rushed around for the last time Friday afternoon.

Both kids are finished school (Mason was done Thursday, and Madelyn had her last day of preschool Friday). We have 2 days short of 3 weeks of 'family time'. All I know, is that NO ONE had better call my house before 9 am, for the next 3 wks. [Yes, I KNOW how lucky I am, to have kids that either a) sleep in, or b) are too scared to wake me up :-)]

The kids and I concocted a special little treat to take to the kids at school. We sent these little gems in on the kids last days.

I found the idea in this fantastic little Christmas book. I've renewed it 3 times so far. Sorry to anyone out there hoping to get a hold of it before Christmas. The saddest thing is, I saw it at Winner's in November, and walked by it without purchasing it. Silly monkey.

We've been carrying on w/the advent calendar, and Thursday nights message was to "have a sleep out under the tree and share your favorite Christmas memories..."

Seriously... what was I thinking? I obviously forgot I have a 4 and 7 year old (who don't go to bed very well in the first place) Or perhaps I was thinking, this is something that is so special, that they'll remember forever... [I do remember BEGGING my Mum to let my brother and I sleep under the Christmas Tree. I remember lying under it and looking up at those sparkling lights, and it was so... so perfect.]
Last night might look perfect in pictures, and indeed I did take pictures. (I do scrapbook after all.) So here, this is how it looked. The twinkling lights, the kids all a snooze in their beds... But what the picture DOESN'T show, is me hauling Madelyn up to bed at 10:30 pm, kicking and screaming because she just wouldn't settle down. I kid you not. These kids could outlast the energizer bunny. I could bet money on it and I'm confident I would win...

And while I'm reminiscing a bit... This year, I actually won a designer digital card, from the write click scrap website. Can you believe it! I won! And I won the year I designed my own Christmas cards. What a bummer! So here's the image I chose, that the Marnie Flores designed. I did NOT send these images out, as cute as they are. For those of you on my mailing list, keep watch, your cards shall be arriving soon. And yes, I did indeed design them on my own.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas Concerts are Over for Another Year

We watched my favorite show today, for the umpteenth time... I love that you can get it on dvd now, and watch it commercial free. Sheesh, as a kid, we had to find out what night it was on, and watch it, WITH commercials! Kids these days don't know how lucky they have it!

Maybe Christmas doesn't come from a store, maybe Christmas, perhaps... means a little bit more...

We had our second concert this week, at Mad's preschool. It was SO cute, and so very reminiscent of Mason's concert. (He was a wiseman 3 years ago) This year Madelyn was an angel. She sang so great, and did wonderful in front of everyone that came to watch.

She certainly looked angelic... Check these pictures out.

Mason has his last day of school tomorrow, and these kids are getting wound up. Getting Madelyn into bed every night is a challenge, to say the least. With a week before Christmas, I'll have to wear these two out every day, or we may never get a break from them.

On a positive note... The weather has warmed up. It went from -30° on Monday morning (not including the windchill) to a balmy 3° today. The roads are a soupy mess. If you don't have windshield washer fluid, you're in for a problem... Only in Calgary can the temperature be that extreme and then change so drastically. The bright sunny day was a blessing today.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

12 Days 'Til Christmas

Wow... Today is the 13th of December, that means there are only 12 days left. Crikey. And the funny thing is, I'm prepared, and I'm still shocked that it's going by so quickly!

Thursday night, we had Mason's school concert, it was fabulous. He had a narrator role, and was thrilled beyond belief. He did great! Our hearts soared as the microphone got passed to him, and he perfectly said his line... On our way to the school, he said "Mummy, I feel nervous, I have butterflies in my tummy". To which we responded, well, you should! Everyone there feels the exact same as you do. Once we explained that to him, and that all the people in the audience were there to see their own kid, it was fine.

We came back to our house, had a little celebration (the first of many late nights) Why does that get so out of control at this time of year?

The advent calendar is going smoothly. They're both so excited each morning to read what's in store for the day ahead. It's great for Mason this year because he's reading so well.
It was bitterly cold this weekend. The kids were still bound and determined to get outside, which they did. Those little cheeks just flaming upon coming back into the house. A good time had by all. Friday night we decorated gingerbread cookies. The cookies did get decorated, and oddly enough, we didn't run out of decorations. One for the cookie, one for me, one for the cookie, one for me...

We visited Santa today, at Golden Acres. Wow. It's decorated so beautifully in there for Christmas. If you have nothing to do, you should stop by there simply for a field trip. And the Santa in there was so good. We got a picture and went on our merry way.

Tomorrow we're going to Madelyn's Christmas concert at school. She's so excited that it's her turn. The kids finish school this week. We're all looking forward to a break in routine.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Holy SNOW Batman!

Well, we had another storm on Friday.


The only reason it wasn't considered a blizzard, was because it wasn't quite cold enough. But it was dreadful enough.

While it blew and raged and stormed outside, we stayed warmly inside, listening to Christmas carols, building a gingerbread house and watching Charlie Brown's Christmas.

On Saturday, it quickly became clear that I had 2 of the happiest kids this side of the equator...

I don't know how they can stand to spend as long as they do outside. [Though come to think of it, I think I loved that as a kid too]

We just have to ensure everyone hits the bathroom before they head out!

Here's a few pictures, that don't do the amount of snow that fell, justice.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

December Has Arrived

Yup, it's here. I feel good about it. Our tree, as you know, has already been up for 3 wks. I finally put the remainder of the Christmas decorations out and the boxes sitting in our dining room disappeared, finally. Mason is a bit skeptical... He KNOWS not all the decorations are out, and keeps calling me on it, and I keep saying "Yes they are!" I just can't be bothered with all that crap this year... Do you know how that is? So I'm dubbing this year a Simple Christmas.

I began working on my December daily book. It's so great that it was finished long in advance. Even though documenting something each day doesn't seem like a lot, as those of you who document things know, it IS a lot. But I'm forcing myself to sit down w/a pen and paper each day, and follow along w/Jessica's Holiday in Hand worksheets. I'm adapting her stuff, for the little album I already created.

Dec 1st we wrote our letters to Santa. The kids sat at the kitchen table, pens and paper at the ready, looking through the Sears Wishbook. That thing is absolutely invaluable. Mason has decided on more Lego... We have enough lego, that we could re-create our house. I'm sure of it. I don't know when to say 'enough is enough'. I do know the right time is NOT while we're in the process of writing our letter to Santa.

Madelyn has requested 2 things: a Jack-in-the-Box (?) and a Venus Fly Trap... Good grief, Santa has his work cut out for him this year...

I was web-surfing and came across a neat layout on the Write. Click. Scrapbook. website, that I scrap-lifted and made my own. Reading it over, no WONDER people get completely stressed out this time of year! [And I've already got decorated house, put up Christmas tree, and buy Christmas presents, scratched off!]

I finished my week 9 layout for Yesterday & Today. It was documenting a day in my life. I've done this several times before. I've documented a week (big commitment) and a month (even bigger commitment) but I'm always so glad to look back when it's done. I suppose that is what I'm doing w/my December daily, is keeping track of the month of December. I know the initial keeping track and jotting things down, taking pictures, will require some discipline, but having that later on, is where we'll benefit from it as a family.

Looking forward to embracing and enjoying the holiday season this year. I'm thinking really hard about what gives me Joy. I certainly know what doesn't. But what makes me most joyful... Hmmm. I'd better go get a cup of coffee and ponder that one awhile.