Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Another year has gone by!!!

I'll be back with my Yearly Reviews notes when I get caught up!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A family visit

We made the drive to see Sean and his family for the day. We had a really good visit - easy going and the kids had a blast getting to hang out with their cousins. Man it was cold though! I had hoped to send them outside to play but no go. We headed back home around 4:30 making us realize how we really should do this more often. Usually it seems that they come our way but we should be making the effort to get down there!

Monday, December 28, 2009


Oh yes, there are a few indulgences that I partake in over the holiday season. Should I make a list? In reality not that many come to mind. Certainly cookies or squares or baking is top of the list. I rarely make cookies any other time of the year but when I do? Not too many make it out the door. I also love the music. I mean technically we could listen to Christmas music all year round couldn’t we? Yet I don’t. So I really try to get my fill during December. There is also sleeping in, real apple cider, visiting with friends. All of these things we could really do any time but just seem to focus on at Christmas. Oh and of course picking up a few extra trinkets for myself along the way (not that I don’t do that normally either!) so are these really indulgences? I guess when you really think about it just the baking will suffice.

Sunday, December 27, 2009


One thing I love about the holidays is the opportunity to sleep in. Most days it is up early with the kids to get them off to school. Christmas break this year only gave us a few days before the “big day” and we had daycare kids coming in each of those days. Christmas Eve was a bit later then I had anticipated and of course there was no sleeping in then. But ahhhh Boxing Day. We stayed in bed until 10:50! Such an awesome feeling. I love that the kids are old enough to take care of themselves for the most part and allow us to do that. It’s not going to be much longer that we can do that! Today we had church so we were up around 9 am but oh am I looking forward to tomorrow…

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Boxing Day

Another fulfilling day. Matthew actually slept in until 7:30 and then was directed downstairs on his own. Marlee rose around 8:30 and was directed to do the same. We finally staggered out of bed at 10:45 realizing we were supposed to head to mom and dad’s for 11:30. So the bite to eat, showers and dressing all madly took place, only for us to get to their place for 11:45ish and no cousins in sight. Oh well. We enjoyed visiting, they came around 1:30 and more visiting ensued. We finally got eating around 3:30 (yes the kids were FAMISHED), and gluttony and more visiting prevailed. We finally left after more food and talk around 9:30 pm and let the kids crawl into bed. Literally. The place is a complete mess but the couch calls. All can wait for tomorrow. It was a good day.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

It’s 12:10 and I should be heading off to bed. We just wound down by watching a (pretty bad) movie and are ready to move on. All in all a very good day. Family, festivities, fun, food. What more could we ask for. The kids seemed to appreciate all of their gifts and I think I did a better job with Drew this year. He outdid himself and got me a new digital SLR camera. I should have known – he seemed to have been hinting at it for the last week or so. Now I just need to learn it. The gifts we gave seem to have been appreciated as well. We had a late night last night and the kids were up at 6 – then sent back to bed. After a few more interruptions we got out of bed at 7:20. Stockings and then right on to gifts. So much for waiting. We had a bite to eat (amidst dozing) off and on until Cierra came home around 1 pm. She opened her gifts (with the usual display of gratitude - I do love that about her!!!) and then Drew's family came shortly after. We opened gifts with them and eventually headed over to my family around 4:30. Gifts and then dinner and a little relaxation. That and a sore back – all brought about the cluttered house which was left untouched and a restful movie. Perhaps we should have seen It’s a Wonderful Life but who knew. Now it is off to bed. Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Our stockings are hung by the chimney with care;
the presents are ready – we hope they are fair.
The fillings from Santa, some practical, some fun.
Start off the day right, one by one.

Our goal is to give three gifts to each of the kids for Christmas (like the gifts from the wise men). They come from us, not from Santa. Santa gives some things in their stockings and also before Christmas, but aren't actually labelled "from Santa". If we go over our gift quota, the stockings usually get whatever else we wanted to buy or saw at the last minute. Not truly keeping to our 3 gift rule but it does make it fun none-the-less. I don’t think there will be much room for candies and fruit this year…

We also give family gifts when they apply and this helps eliminate the "That's mine" problem. It's not that we don't believe in Santa, we just don't stress Santa. Christmas is about receiving the ultimate gift from Jesus and trying to live out the spirit of giving as He demonstrates and as Saint Nicholas also tried to promote. We hope they get the message.

On a side note - it's funny about the stockings. That is the one thing that Cierra has been preoccupied with this month. We don't usually put them up until a week before Christmas but she has been asking about them regularly. To her that must mean Christmas.

7 years old!

Our little boy is 7!

He wanted a few simple decorations at home (door streamers and balloons in his room) and lucky charms for breakfast. He got a few simple gifts (gasp - a gift he hadn't opened from last year!) and then had a free day until his party.

We held a birthday party at the church which turned out to be a real blast. We set up the blow-up slide in the fellowship hall along with food tables and then mini-stick hockey on the other side. Because of the low cost he was able to invite 17 friends although a few were unable to make it. It was 2 hours long which was perfect. Not many wanted pizza but did enjoy the legos off the cake. They also liked the cheezies and licorice set up at the side.

We decided to go a different route for gifts this year. Last year we did the book exchange which was okay although I think Matt felt a little jipped. We, and other family members still gave him gifts but he didn't really see it as getting anything from his friends. This year we went with another friends idea and had a toonie party. Each friend was to bring 2 toonies - one for Matt and one for a charity of his choice (He chose World Vision). We would then match the contributions and take him to get a toy of his choice (we knew it would be Indiana Jones Lego).

Either way, it worked out well. A few friends donated more but the amount was quite nice. Nothing too overloading - especially around Christmas. We just really don't need more toys in the house and are trying to promote the idea that celebrations are for family and friends and togetherness. It isn't all about the "things". We'll see how it goes over. And yes, we will be doing the same for Marlee in August too. We haven't had a traditional friend party for Cierra so it wouldn't be the same for her.

I sometimes struggle with this idea. Both kids go to LOTS of birthday parties over the year and they naturally bring gifts for each of the children. Sometimes it doesn't seem fair that you spend the money and then don't get the "return" when your own kids have a party. After contemplation though, having that many new gifts at one time is simply overwhelming for us. It is just too much. And as I mentioned, when we keep the cost down , we can have more friends. I don't know how long we can keep this up but I hope that the next few years will really help with this mindset. The people we have talked to have liked the idea. Whether they do it themselves will remain to be seen. For us, it helps focus on a few true wants and not a lot of extra things we don't need. At least I hope it does!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Still to Do...

I don't think my list is tooo long but there are definitly a few things left to do:
turkey stew;
cards/ letter;
year end album gifts;
menu contributions and shop;
3 gifts for you know who;

I still have a few days right?

Monday, December 21, 2009

Right here, right now...

Our first day of holidays inevitably has brought about ANOTHER Pajama day. I spent a lot of the morning on the couch just snoozing and reading a book. Don’t get me wrong – there are still things on my to do list but I definitely didn’t feel like doing them today. Maybe this evening. The kids have had a full day of electronics and are about to head outside for a much-needed breath of fresh air. I think the evening holds a movie night. Way to get into the holidays! I do need to do some planning for Matt’s birthday party tomorrow though…

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Tales of the Unexpected

Things have been going along pretty tickety boo this year. I’m feeling rather in control despite the fact that I still have not looked at the “holiday planning” sites. The one bit of unexpected news is the family separation – silly in many ways and yet there in the back ground. I’m glad we are still getting together even though it won't be all of us. Otherwise no surprises, no unexpected news, nothing out of the ordinary, at least yet!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Dear Santa

If I could ask Santa for something this year it would have to be a renewing of the holiday spirit for all we encounter. That I would have a better understanding and appreciation for our fmaily members and that they would see the value in compromise and togetherness.

Of course I always have an ongoing wish list for "things" but really - these would be better to receive.

Friday, December 18, 2009

What's for dinner?

What's on the menu for this year? Actaully we haven't talked about it at all except for the fact taht we are having it at mom's house. I know it will all come together. Here are some holiday questions to get me thinking about it though.

-who does the shopping - both Drew adn I depending on how organized we are or who is already out and about
-what's on the shopping list - the turkey comes from an organic farm family contact; veggies, bread, desserts - the usual
-who does the cooking - whoever is hosting does the turkey and the potatoes; everyone else contributes the "accessories"
-how long it takes - depending on the size of the turkey of course - usually it is big because we all like leftovers! dinner is usually mid to late afternoon (depending on who is hosting)
-what recipes are used - I'll have to ask about this one - I don't think we have any family recipes handed down; every year the veggies are different. We do always have pumpkin pie adn applie crisp. My sister has requested plum pudding and hard sauce as well as mince meat pies. I think they may be a fmaily recipe.
-where those recipes came from
-who comes to Christmas dinner - the usual brood - both sides of the family, any relations who can make it - the more the merrier!
-where you eat (whose house? What room? What table?!) This varies from year to year between the 3 houses; always the dining room at the dining table with an additional fold out table to allow room for all of us.
-how long it takes you to eat dinner - reading of scripture, crackers, eating, break and then back for dessert - it probably takes us a good few hours! What a great time!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I saw this and thought of you...

I did see this really cool shirt that I thought Drew might ‘actually’ like at the One of A Kind Show. It was a polo style shirt, simple grayish colour, with a silk screen design in the top left chest. The bottom left side says "we rented a tv series and watched 14 hours in a row”. We’ve done that – with 24, Alias, Prison Break… so it just seems like him. I hope he likes it ‘cause there’s no way to take it back.
I don't often like to "Take a leap" and buy things that can't be returned - I guuess I just like to be safe. Sometimes boring, but safe.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Busy but Bountiful

I had such an awesome day today! I got so much done. I (ah hem) did drive the kids to school and then raced to do a LOT of shopping before my 12:15 Doctor's appointment (for which he was on time I might add). What all did I do?

- Swiss Chalet for gift cards (not open yet)

- Tim Horton's for gift cards and coffee

- Sweet Oven for gift certificate

- Staples for stocking stuffers for Matt and myself

- Chapters for gift for dad

- back to Swiss Chalet (they were open)

- Canadian Tire for gift for Drew, Sarah and kids

- Michael's for teacher gift card

- Walmart for a few things
- Zehrs for groceries and stamps

- Gas

I ran out of time for Costco but all in all it was great!

And so that leads to my grateful list. I am so thankful for the following:

- That I got so much of my shopping done

- That I made plans to meet up with Sean and family
- that I am feeling the baby fluttering tonnes!
- I have great families to work with
- for the Jesse tree interest by kids
- for the Advent focus on family activities
- that we got snow!
- for the smells of candles and baking

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Who's coming to visit?

It looks like we'll have the usual visitors this year except that Sarah and John are coming YEY! Oh and we get to see Joel and Matthew too – whom we haven’t seen in a few years so that will be really nice. We’re working on going to visit Sean and Samantha too since they won’t be coming up here. So I guess when you think about it not so usual - lots of visiting!

Monday, December 14, 2009

And this gift goes to...

I got the hint that we might be mean parents for letting the kids only do the stockings once they wake up and then making them wait until after breakfast for the rest of the presents. We may have to rethink this one. I like to sit back and watch everyone open their gifts and have everyone take a turn. That starts to happen, then CHAOS takes over, then we reign them in…for a bit… then CHAOS… then all too quickly it is over.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Fa la la la la la la la la la

Amy Grant’s A Christmas album and Sunshine and Snowflakes are still my ultimate favourites and I alternate between them and the general mix of holiday tunes on my ipod. The kids are both into the play soundtracks that Matt did this year and last. Marlee listens to either one of them every night. I’d like to listen to some more traditional carols so that they become more familiar…that is if they'd let me have control of the ipod...
Template by Ali Edwards at Designer Digitals
Papers by Katie Pertiet at Designer Digitals
Christmas cut-ups by Katie Pertiet at Designer Digitals
Tree brush by Katie Pertiet at Designer Digitals
#13 by Ali Edwards at Desiger Digitals
Inspiration from here

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Tales of Christmas Past

One of the main changes for us this year is the fact that we might not see Sean and his family – at least not with all of us together this Christams season. We are discussing going down to visit them on our own but who knows how our schedule is going to work out. On the flip side, Sarah and John will be up to visit – the first Christmas in about 5 years! So yes - changes. Different from the past but who knows what the future holds.

Friday, December 11, 2009

O Christmas Tree

This year we have gone into unknown territory and are using a fake tree. Why – especially from one who has been so dead-set against a fake tee? Short answer is really that we inherited it from my grandparents and since Drew has wanted one for a while now we thought we should give it a try. It does look nice but I miss the experience of getting a real one and the smell once it is here. Oh and the kids have already voiced that they want a real one.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

It's all wrapped up - well not really.

Brown paper packages tied up with string… there is a lot of paper involved with my favourite things! Since I already journalled last year about my "wrapping style" I thought I'd reflect on the paper invovled with Christmas. This holiday (along with most everything these days) sure involves a lot of paper. I hope to do a collage with samples of just a bit of the Christmas-y things that come through our doors…

wrapping paper, advent calendars and decorations, lists, shopping bags, receipts, ads, cards, artwork, play bulletin, scrapbooking, muffin liners, tissue paper - I'm sure that's not all!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Traditions - on with the old and add a bit new...

This year we are starting a new tradition with the Jesse tree. So far the kids are really loving it – and are actually reminding me that it is time to read and light the candles. I love that they are so involved. What I also love is that all of the work has already been done for me! I just have to cut it out and prepare it!

I'm sure there are going to be some that we will have to forego for this year due to time constraints. At this point I"m not sure if we'll do the books and pj's on Christmas Eve again - although both Cierra and Matt could use new ones. I'll have to think about that one.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

It IS beginning to look a lot like Christmas but I'll have to show you tomorrow...

I kind of missed the boat with the prompt for today as I didn’t look at it until 9:30 pm. Hard to take lots of photos to show the "looks of Christmas" around the house and town when the day is pretty much done. So it will be post phoned until tomorrow.

So far still not much snow; everyday baking; hopefully some baking for the play; decorations pretty much done; beginning to get cards; made our family photo card; need to write letter and look at numbers; lots of crafts by kids; read a Christmas book; candles; advent;

I did put up our little “Paula tree” which holds all of the ornaments we have received from Paula and now Charlotte through the church at the Christmas Eve service. This has become a particularly favourite holiday decor item for me. Each ornament was made with such love and care to share the gospel of Christ with those at Christmas. So much thought was put into each one. Now that Paula has passed on, they mean all that much more. I felt they were deserving of their own special tree and I love to see them all there together.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Am I checking my lists? No but I'm contemplating holiday food...

I haven’t really gotten very far in the Christmas list check off point yet – I haven’t opened my Christmas Control Journal on a regular basis; looked at the flylady site or even looked at . I’m not sure what is up with that. I feel confident with gifts for the kids and the other “wish lists” are starting to come in. Dinner isn’t at our house this year so I’m not in charge of the turkey (I don’t think)! I’m actually not feeling pressured but I think I better get going over my lists or it’s going to hit me – really soon!

Some things to do – figure out how to print my card(s); turkey; gifts for family

My favourite holiday food would have to be pumpkin pie. I know it is available all throughout the year but my mom doesn’t make it except at Thanksgiving and Christmas. It is the best. It has to be served cold and preferably with whipped cream. I also enjoy all of the cookie recipes that come out at this time of year – the shortbread, the walnut crescents, the chocolate haystacks and toffee bars. We certainly enjoy the whole turkey and trimmings meal and are blessed to have it a few times a year. We try to get a turkey big enough that there will be leftovers. I love leftovers. Especially cold pumpkin pie. Yum-yum!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Memories of Christmas' past...and holiday symbols

One of my fondest memories of Christmas past is ringing the bell at church – I wonder if they still do that? Other scattered memories include the shag carpet, Christmas trees from the top of the hill; Sean waking us up early; receiving my Raggedy Ann comforter (Which I still have and STILL LOVE). More recent memories? Reflecting on last year and trying to do better for Drew. To really show him that I do care and can actually put some thought into a gift for him (Well how much thought is following a list but I guess not leaving it to the day or two before would help). Anyway, that is a memory and a goal…

The true symbol of the holidays for me would have to be crèche. Or in certain cases of the nativity scene – just baby Jesus as He is often in Mary’s arms. I particularly like this version as it was [another] gift from my sister. It is fairly simple in nature and was brought back by a friend of hers from Guatemala. Simple. Meaningful.

C is for carols and countdowns

For as long as I can remember, one of my favourite holiday songs has been Amy Grant’s song Oh Little Town of Bethlehem. It is a great little melody and pulls in the song Emmanuel as well. I love those songs that incorporate a few all in one and this one does a great job of putting me in the Christmas spirit. It is one of the first Christmas albums I ever owned ( I still have the original cassette tape), and Amy Grant was one of the first Christian artists that I started to listen to. Her Christmas albums continue to be amongst my favourites.

and countdowns...
I was introduced to the idea of the Jesse Tree through a blog (Simple Mom) that I frequently read. The whole concept is to “think of a Jesse Tree as a sort of advent calendar, except that in addition to a countdown to Christmas, you go through a family devotion in the Bible, starting with creation and ending with Jesus’ birthday. It’s geared towards the kids, so the devotional times are short, easy, and visual.” ( Soooo, this year we are going ultra simple – the kids get a paper ornament which they can colour if they want to, as well as the suggestion of a family activity to do together. Some days I may throw in an extra candy or something – or make them search for the activity but that depends on the time available each night. They each have their own chocolate countdown calendar that they may have in the morning before school (yikes – chocolate before school I know- I know). We are only day 8 but the kids are eager to read what comes next and to light the candle each evening. So far it’s been a great way to get away from the candy focus. We may plan on getting real ornaments some year but to be honest – right now I am happy with this arrangement!

Friday, December 4, 2009

A perfect Christmas...and holiday decor.

As the day wound down I found Drew resting on the couch in the darkened living room with the fire on, the Christmas lights on the mantel and the soft glow and smell of candles from the kitchen. I thought of the things that I had yet to do (journal today for instance) and put them aside thinking this is what it is all about. We talked for a good hour about stuff – dinner, church etc. This is what I want Christmas to be about. Being together, cozy, peaceful. It’s not all about the stuff and the to do list. Life will go on whether it gets done or not. But this here, is what is important. Thanks for the reminder.

I don't know that i have a particular piece of holiday decor that I am really sentimental about. I think that I have several that I would be extremely upset if something happened to them. This would include our advent calendar. My mom made it a few years back for us to use with the kids - and they are really beginning to enjoy it. I also have the Willow Tree nativity scene that my sister has purchased for us. I love the simplicity of it and the way they all look together. I have a number of items from the craft program at the association that I have collected over the years which to me are cute and "just part of Christmas". I'm also enjoying the various things we can do with all of the Christmas balls - the glass jars, hangnign in the archways, hanging on the trees. It's been fun to discover new ways to use them!

If I was to reflect on my childhood there are definitely a few pieces that I would love to inherit. My aunt made a really cool nativity scene out of bean bag type people. I love the way they look - and they are durable enough to handle. I haven't even seen it for a few years as mom and dad have been away and haven't set everything up, but I do remember it clearly from our childhood. I also love the homemade tree ornaments my parents have on their tree that we made as kids - with pictures of all of us in our early elementary age. Again, I haven't seen them for a few years but those are what I would call sentimental. I think that as our kids get older and begin to recognize certain items returning year after year I will get more sentimental about them. For now, it is really the meaning behind the few items we do use.

I need to get some photos of those ornaments!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

From Cards to Joy...

We haven't received any Christmas cards yet and ours certainly aren't ready to be given out. I haven't actually decided what we're doing for ours yet. I had to cancel our photo shoot at Zehrs for tomorrow because Matt has his final dress rehearsal for his play. I wasn't able to reschedule until Dec 29! This doesn't actually mean much in our world - for many years our cards get sent out after Christmas in order to coordinate getting Matt's birthday photos at the same time. Then I gave that up in return for getting the cards out on time. This year I am dappling with the idea of making my own digital card with current photos of each of us being"us". We'll see. I'm still on that [steep] PSE learning curve.

Basic stats about cards?

I forgot to buy stamps today - I think they are about 52 cents now. It's been along time since I've actually mailed a letter!Last year we sent out 60? cards - I plan on about the same this year. We usually receive a tonne from people at church and around 20 or so mail ins.

We usually sign and give a quick hello along with a typed letter explaining all that has gone on in the year. I figure i love to receive them so I hope they do too!

I do keep a list of who we receive from and who we give to. We generally don't give to everyone at church - there are just too many!

Joy is my middle name so it is a special word. The dictionary definition says this:

The passion or emotion excited by the acquisition or expectation of good; pleasurable feelings or emotions caused by success, good fortune, and the like, or by a rational prospect of possessing what we love or desire; gladness; exhilaration of spirits; delight.
That which causes joy or happiness.
The sign or exhibition of joy; gayety; mirth; merriment; festivity.
To rejoice; to be glad; to delight; to exult.
To give joy to; to congratulate.
To gladden; to make joyful; to exhilarate.
To enjoy.

For me it essentially means things that make us happy, things that help us be content I guess. What brings me Joy? Today both younger kids spontaneously showed their love. Matt has been doing this a lot lately! Marlee is so huggy right now too. Cierra - she even asked for a hug! Drew brings me joy - he bought me flowers out of the blue today! I got lots of things crossed off my to do list and the kids to do list (like their icky cupcakes - but it made them happy!) - that brings me joy; It brings me great joy that the kids are excited about and ask for the advent story and lighting of the candle; The smell of the new Creme brule candles today brought me joy as well s the smell of freshly baked muffins. Getting out for dinner with just Drew brought me joy. Heading off to bed a wee bit early now is going to bring me joy - very soon! Feeling this life inside me brings me joy! Isn't joy awesome???

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

December Second

What is with the weather? We are just starting December and still no snow. Yesterday's mini dusting is a distant memory and then today was up to 9 degrees! Beautiful but strange. I did take the opportunity to get a few more things up outside but regarding Christmas prep that was it. A very lazy day.

Remember... I remember making (or rather eating) all of the special cookies my mom made at Christmas time. Shortbread, walnut crescents, chocolate haystacks, toffee bars. We would help with the cookie cutting part but I don't really recall the making of the dough together although we probably did. We've been dividing up the cookie making the last few years and sharing the results - actually cutting down on the amount even. Those are still the favourites though.

A toasty fire, my slippers and comfy pyjamas. All cozy and warm. Ahhhh.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A finished layout

A combination of Holidays in Hand prompts and Journal Your Christmas when combined with the journalling below.

Welcome to December and early memories

Welcome to December!
Matt had a great time "prepping" us all for some photos to usher in the month. Definitely some of our prouder moments!

My earliest holiday memory would have to be having my brother come into our room (I shared with my sister growing up), and waking us telling us that Santa had come. He was so excited and it seemed like such an early hour. I know there were years when my parents told us it was too early and we had to go back to bed.

I'll also never forget when both Sean and I got our Raggedy Ann and Andy comforters. I still have mine and LOVE it. It goes on car trips with me and is always the best blanket for movie time. So much so that I now have to fight the kids for it because they love it too. I can picture the scene that morning - yellow shag carpet, piano in the corner with the tree beside. Warm, snuggly blanket to follow. Awesome.

December 1st!

Let the adventure begin!

We started the day with our first official snow fall. The kids were so excited! I did drive them to school as we were going out immediately afterwards to the playgroup. The snow was gone by lunch time unfortunately as it got up to about 7 degrees. It seemed fitting though that we FINALLY got some snow and not just a thick frost on the ground. So unlike this time of year here. It was really cute though - C asked if we could play at the playground after school so we could play in the snow. I had to explain that the snow was all gone - just like it was in our backyard. "But it was just here!" He was quite sad.

Today is the beginning of a big adventure. I can already feel the stress in some ways so my vow this year is to let go and just do what I can. What am I referring to? Oh, only advent, JYC, Holidays in Hand and Daily December. I want to do so much but I know I can really ONLY do so much. I mean get real. I already missed the first 2 days of advent because I couldn't find our calendar. For someone who claims to be organized - get real. But we did find it last night and I had the kids decorations in it ready for this morning. I think I mentioned in a previous post (if not I'll return with the details), but I am going with the Jesse Tree theme for advent this year. So the kids got a decoration in the pocket to colour (note to self - print on cardstock next year!), and this morning got a clue to find the chocolate daily countdown calendar. We read the scripture and discussion this evening at dinner time as well as lighting the candle. They were quite receptive. As much as part of me would like to to have additional treats each day, I think I will really keep it simple and just do the decoration and then they can have their chocolate. We are also aiming to do a family activity each day. It's not like they need any more candy in their lives.

It's just amazing to me how long everything seems to take these days. Drew is always on me about my sense of time (or lack thereof) and I am beginning to see what he means. The kids want to do so much each day but it just doesn't work. and things you think will only take a few minutes stretch into 15 or 20. Like our Welcome to December photo for today. Matt wanted to take the photos so that added time in itself. They were fun but then he wanted to play a game and he still had to have a shower. In comes mean-y mom. Needing to enjoy what we have already done and not make it more stressful by adding in more activity. It is so easy to fall back into wanting more but this HAS to be it.

I have to remember that our family values around the holidays really center around the true meaning of the season and being together as as family. It isn't about how much we can do and get done. It isn't about how many presents to get each other. It is to remember the most amazing gift I have received ever. The gift of confidence of knowing I am never alone. The assurance of being able to get through anything life throws us. The promise of a life everlasting - of knowing our kids will always be with us as they share our faith. The awareness of being able to share my innermost thoughts and not be judged - although I will be forgiven. The acceptance of not being able to do the right things on my own strength. The joy of being unconditionally loved by my creator. These gifts are what life is all about - and it is all brought closer to mind at Christmas.

So how does this all fit into the natural busy-ness of the season? My goals shall remain:

I PROMISE to take a few minutes each day and BLOG about our holiday together. I HOPE that we can do something festive each day together - even if it is just reading our advent story. I PROMISE to continue taking a photo or more each day. I will strive to CREATE something meaningful to me for the holiday season, daily if possible. I will continue to REFLECT on holidays of the past, ENJOY the holidays of the present and DREAM of holidays of the future. I will CHERISH the time and traditions that are being spent with our family by taking back Christmas and making the most of what we do, finding a balance between the reason of the season and the daily busy-ness of life. I will also SHARE what makes this holiday special with those I interact with around the holidays

How will I do this?
It REALLY helps to have the laptop upstairs - so much easier to grab a minute here and there.
I have made half of my pages already for an album.
As mentioned, I will decrease my expectations for advent giving.
I will not stress if I don't do 25+ pages.
I will keep notepaper handy to jot down ideas.
I will do digital when time necessitates.
I will let go of my perfectionism to have it "just so" and try to ENJOY the process!

Onward and upward adventure!

November 2009 Recap

Wow - November came and went quickly!

Exercise – again, not worth mentioning other then the fact that Rina is keeping me in shape with our weekly 52 card pick up

Books Read – n/a

Movies Seen
Nicholas’ Gift;
Children From Heaven;
Freedom Writers;
Family Stone

Special Events
–Safe Church Training (2nd)
Gratrix’s here for dinner (6th)
Matt to Gavin’s 7th birthday (7th) – movie Astro Boy
Leader’s retreat (19th-21st)
Drew’s work Christmas party (28th)
One of A Kind Craft Show with Kristy (29th)

Travel – n/a

Significant Purchases/ changes
basement stair railing up;
new washing machine;
paid off mortgage portion of LOC (Gr & Gr);
2nd garden bed installed (awaiting dirt before winter)

Health notes
Matt - tooth number 10 & 11 came out
Drew - several moles removed

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Skor Bars!

We had our budget meeting at church tonight. I took some of the skor bars I made for the mingling beforehand. When the meeting had a lull in it, the chairman thanked everyone for bringing the goodies. At this point my dad stood up and said something along the lines of " yes - especially those chocolate wafer cookie things - those were great. Where did those come from?" At this point I raised my hand (while seated at the same table) and said "those would be mine!" It got quite a laugh!

Anyway it is one of the easiest recipes and here it is:

Cover metal baking with saltine crackers, salted side up.
Boil 1 cup brown sugar and 1 cup butter (you can use some margarine but I've found it should have some butter)
Pour mixture over crackers; spreading out to edges.
Put in oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.
Open oven door and sprinkle 1-2 cups chocolate chips over top.
Once melted, spread out over top and remove from oven.
Place tray in freezer for at least 45 minutes.
Crinkle tray and crack cookies into pieces.
Store in refrigerator.

A few of us were thinking it would be good with skor bits or crushed walnuts on top as well. I can't wait to try!

Happy baking!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth...

That might actually be Matthew's request as he currently doesn't have any front teeth - although I really don't think he minds. It's pretty cute too.

As December will be upon us pretty soon, I thought it prudent to start with the good ol wish lists. I come from a family of wish list makers and believe me. I like it. I know I can get something that they will actually want and use - and they still have some "openness" to them too. We are also trying to cut down on extra "things" - for the household and for the kids so this tends to help keep the items practical and desired. The problem is, I haven't actually given this a tonne of thought yet but I know I can always add to it as time goes on.

For Matthew:

  • Wii games ( must be E only at this point)
  • Lego Indiana Jones or city sets (he particularly wants the big temple set that DOESN'T have the ball)
  • Goalie equipment for ball hockey? details???
  • a good pencil sharpener
  • Itunes gift certificates

For Marlee:

  • At this point anything Strawberry Shortcake, Polly Pockets or Pet Shop, Barbie or Disney Princess
  • She has a tonne of clothes but always loves cute things; she is particularly into mismatched socks and cool patterns
  • music certificates (itunes) - or her own ipod (blue) to trade with Matt's
  • leggings to wear under skirts

For Cierra:

  • Anything Hannah Montana (she will be getting the movie)
  • I saw a cool dance program for the playstation featuring Family Channel characters, including HM - if something comes out for Wii....
  • Jeans
  • Cool t-shirts
  • Magazines on teen stars

For Drew:

  • Clothing - TBD (from Costco and Land's End)

For Al:

  • Wooden cutting boards (8,5x11-14" size - 3; one for meat, veg and fruit)
  • Pampered Chef muffin stone
  • gift certificate for albums
  • Michael's certificates
  • (Grow your skills) ecertificates to learn PSE
  • ecertificates to purchase digital supplies and how-to classes
  • large wall clock (ask for details)

For Household:

  • Life jackets (elementary school age size)
  • Wii Fit

So - just a few things to consider. I'm sure there will be more fine tuning as the days go on. The kids are doing quite well I have to say in terms of "wish list" requests. Actually I think I am just about done their shopping but I know there are lots of relatives starting to consider. Just remember - it's not all about the gifts - we love time and togetherness. And as Sam is demonstrating - we can also buy for others in place of ourselves - we definitely aren't lacking in any areas.

Now back to those teeth - Matt lost his other front tooth yesterday. Isn't he just adorable?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Family Mission Statement

I was inspired a few weeks ago by Simple Mom, to create - or at least consider the process of developing a Family Mission Statement. I had heard about it a few years back actually on Jon & Kate Plus Eight (we won't go there), but was reminded of this with Simple Mom's blog post with their mission statement. I love the thought of goals. I love the desire to bring our family together more and give us purpose. I love that hers was posted and that it totally resonated with me. Obviously it would need a few tweaks to personalize it but a lot of it just felt right. She also took their mission statement and made goals for the year for their family. Again, many seemed to be totally in line with how we live our lives and with what we have in mind for our future.

This past weekend worked out well to work on this as I had Drew trapped in the car on the way to and from our retreat. We used this time to go over some of the preliminary questions and how her mission might relate to ours. Drew is usually quite willing to work on things like this but interupt the evening golf routine? Uh uh. Car trips are great for this. I was happy to see that we were pretty much on the same page. Similar goals for the future and we are seeing things similarly in our family right now.

So yes, I have taken many if not most of her ideas and have made them into our goals as a family for us (it is SOO awesome that she loves God!). I imagine that some will change over time and as we work on it, more ideas will come to light, and some may not work at all. There may be things that do make it more OUR family. But for now, these goals look like they will work - many we have already been working on. As I don't claim to be creative in this way, I again am thankful that most of the work was already done. Does it seem wrong to have another family's goals? I hope not. I truly appreciate the work that was put into it.

I hope to somehow "scrapbook" this in some way and then post it in our house as a daily reminder (I know I need it to be seen in order for it to be effective).

For anyone interested in exploring this topic, this post on creating a family mission statement is excellent - with questions and how to follow up included. More will follow as I type up our progress.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

V is for Values

What do I really value about the Christmas season? Such a good question. Ultimately, the things we value the most make us who we are, but sometimes these get lost in the chaos that the holidays can bring. I feel this way a lot. I want our Christmas season to be meaningful but sometimes I think I spend so much time trying to cram in "meaningfulness" that it actually ends up getting lost.

First and foremost, Jesus is the reason for the season. How do we keep Him the main focus?

Secondly, it is truly a time for family and relaxation (I mean it is a time off school, relatively little commitments)

tradition - I want the kids to have a sense of tradition - some things we do every year that are important to them. This isn't to mean that traditions can't change - why do it for the sake of doing it if it doesn't mean anything to anyone? And as we hear or discover new things, to be open to trying new things that may end up being traditions too.

Togetherness - we are fortunate to have both sides of extended family near by and even more awesome is that in the last several years, they have all come together for the major holidays so time juggling is less of an issue. The gifts are less important then the sharing of time together.

When family from afar can join - all the better.

Gratitude - I want our family to always have a spirit of gratitude. We are SO blessed and no matter how crummy a day we've had, there is ALWAYS something to be thankful for.

Giving - Along with gratitude, I want our family to have a spirit of giving. To realize how much we do have and how we can share and be a blessing to others. There are so many out there less fortunate then us and we have in abundance. We need not store up treasures here on earth.

As the kids get older I look forward to being able to work together with those that are less fortunate to help give them a blessed holiday as well.

How do we do these things?

We need to be clear in our expectations and our goals. Decide what our priorities are and what expectations are actually realistic. How much can we handle?

We need to be organized and have a plan. Last year went really well. I followed a lot of Flylady's prompts for getting ready for Christmas and I also took a lot of advice from Organized Great resources. My Christmas control journal has been a HUGE help to keeping me focused.

We need to be clear in our communication about what comes into the house gift-wise. Often we give the wrong message to the kids and we want to be changing our focus from the gifts towards family and together time.

We need to set goals for the future. A lot of what I would like to do isn't practical for the kids at this age. Too much for such a short amount of time. But maybe in a few years.

And finally - making sure that the foundation for the season is already laid and built upon every day. Christmas isn't just about December. Jesus is the reason for not just this season but for every day. Making this an everyday thing will go a long way to keeping the focus right at Christmas too.

Christmas Creative Plannning

I think I may have done myself in already. Last year I took part in Shimelle's Journal Your Christmas (Paid for last year, free from now on) - a daily prompt for journalling, scrapbooking and photography daily from December 1 to January 6th, that we could do as much or as little with as we wanted. I'm still working on it. I'm at December 17th, 2008. I did do the journalling part but as usual I got caught up in the perfectionism of myself and couldn't quite decide how each day should "look". So this year I also started considering Ali Edward's December Daily (free ideas). Similar in the fact that you journal or take a photo every day but there isn't a specific prompt. She has also premade most of her pages - just needing to add the picture and journalling. THAT part I like. And I love her style. And then new this year, Jessica Sprague. Holidays in Hand (free). Another daily message with photo idea, something to do and something to write about. All of these are meant to help us enjoy the season, get rid of some of the craziness, and make meaningful memories. So how is it that I get so caught up in the process that I get myself into a frenzy as to what to actually end up doing. Crazy. Oh and I forgot, I could just blog using the prompts too. That is always an option. Bottom line, I like the meaning behind them all. The inspiration to be creative, to write about our past, present and future traditions and experiences and to ENJOY the season for what it is supposed to be. It used to bother me that people started thinking about Christmas so early (I'm not sure why), but I am enjoying the underlying buzz, the preparation and the organization it is taking to not be so rushed and crazy when the big day actually arrives.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Project 365

I finally got updated here! Take a look!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Health update

The kids and Drew all got their H1N1 flu shot vaccine today but I'm still waiting...

The office had some vaccine leftover from their clinic and if it is not used up within 24 hours they would have to throw it out. After the scare with a church friend (who ended up having strep throat), Drew didn't want to take any chances. We've upped our hand washing, our vitamins, our sleep time, keeping up with our outdoor time and have added saline nose swipes and gargling. And for me, I'm still praying and waiting.

Friday, November 6, 2009

One year ago... Israel!

One year ago at this time, I was in the Holy Land. THE Holy Land. I still can't believe it. I can't believe how much it has impacted my life. The scripture I read, the songs I sing, the stories I share. It has all been impacted by this amazing place. A place that now that I have seen it in person, brings the scriptures and the songs and the stories to life. I am a visual person and now I can picture in my mind how and where these things took place. I can't believe it was a year ago.

Here I share my top 10 photos - in no particular order. (BTW - I still have yet to put my photos in an album - or even to scrapbook a page on it). I have tried to do a digital page many a time but end up frustrated. I still have a goal to put together an album that coordinates with the video that a member of our church put together. I still cry when I see it. His pictures tell the whole story. One day. For now, here are my favourites:

It was so awesome to go with my whole family. Here we are in the Garden of Gethsemane under an olive tree. We'd just heard scripture recalling how Jesus sat here in prayer, moments before He was betrayed. There was a quiet time for reflection and then remembrance of the fact that it has all worked out for His plan.

This was a tree at the Holocaust museum. They have all been planted and a plaque sits in front and commemorates individuals and families that helped save the Jewish people during the Holocaust. This particular one was for Schindler - from the popular movie Schindler's list. What was pointed out and has stuck with me, is that we need to look beyond those "popular" names and see the many many individuals who are not well-known, but did their best to help in some small way. Each of these people made a difference. How true.

This was Masada. An amazing mountain palace for King Herod who was paranoid about being overthrown so he built a secluded palace here overlooking the dead sea. What is more amazing is the whole story of Masada and the Jews that lived there for a time. As I heard our host tell the story I kept thinking this sounds familiar - and I finally realized that I had heard it in our Bethel Intensive class. Just being here has made the story so much more meaningful. Check it out here.

Sarah and I in the mud pit at the Dead Sea. What an experience. It is all that people have said it to be. The floating the stinging in the eyes, the luxuriousness of the mud. We tried it all. Head to toe. I'd show that picture but that's a bit much LOL!. One of our poor friends had such a hard time getting out - but it really was quite a laugh. We all tried out the skin products at the store (and most of us purchased some of course - the Ahava foot cream has been the best so far). I even brought home some actual water and some mud from the sea (okayed at the airport btw).

This is an excavation site at King Solomon's palace. What was really neat about this area was the way our leader described the "pie" showing all of the different layers of civilization. It was such a clear description.

This picture shows one of our group getting baptized in the Jordan River. It was such a moving experience - for many it was a renewal of faith and for many it was the first time declaring their intentions. (It was also cool seeing Dad performing some of them - I'm sure as a pastor it must have been a dream of some sorts).

We passed this art piece several times a day at the hotel in Jerusalem. Drew commented on it every time. It was definitely worthy of a photo.

I'd always wondered what Frankincense and Myrrh looked like and we came across some at the local market. What a place for sights and sounds! Beautiful displays. Live fish. Bright colours. Amazing smells.

Dad got to read scripture to the group at the Sea of Galilee. This is just down the hill from where the miracle of the loaves and fishes took place.

The Garden Tomb. It is posted, "He is Not Here, For He is Risen". He is risen indeed. Our tour guide for this site was a retired pastor from Florida named Al. He was so passionate and it was obvious that he loved his job. He had great insight to offer us. The thing that struck me the most was his comment, "When people ask you what was the favourite thing you saw? It should be what is was you DIDN'T see. For Jesus is not here. He is risen indeed." So powerful and true.

Such an amazing blessing to have been a part of this group and witness all that is in this beautiful land. After all the worry about getting there, I felt completely safe (as did Drew), the kids were well cared for, we had great family time, got to know church member better and am that much closer to Christ. I would highly recommend this to anyone questioning a trip here. I'm so glad we went.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

LOAD Recap and blogging

LOAD ended a few days ago and as the month wrapped up I realized I didn't do too badly. Certainly not bad in the LOAD department but also in life in general. Dishes weren't piled up, the garage was clean, the laundry room is tidy, dinners were fed etc etc. Oh and Light the Night went without a hitch and without major late hours. Jump back to LOAD May - not quite so smoothly. LOAD went great but the rest of the household suffered a wee bit. Why the change this time? I'm not entirely sure. I did have less church commitments but I was even less prepared for LOAD this time - I didn't do up a month's worth of page kits. I had some ideas but they weren't all laid out. I probably had a little bit more time during the day this time around (although I don't recall doing a lot of scrapbooking during the day) but it probably freed up my time in the evening. Either way, this time went a lot more smoothly - I was way productive and my family was still happy (mainly Drew) - so thumbs up for the next one.

And now on to other projects. As October wound down and November begins, I'm excitingly awaiting a new project. This one begins November 2nd and again involves Shimelle (Journal your Christmas). It's all about blogging and scrapbooking and how they are related and how to make the blogging part work for your scrapbooking. I'm in! That has always been the main goal of my blogging - to use it as a sort of on-line scrapbook - a place to help me jog my memory and give me a common, organized format for when I actually get around to doing a layout. Either way - I'm looking forward to what I can learn. Stay tuned - I'm not usually able to keep up with the pace of the classes I take but I am betting better at at least getting the daily information down.

So, how did I do at LOAD?

39 items uploaded
31+ layouts submitted
15 double page layouts
12 8.5x11 or smaller layouts
5 digital layouts (YEYYY!!!)
7 photo-less layouts
175 photos scrapped!

oh and SOOO much inspiration!
And just to show off... here are my favourite 5 layouts:

Favourite Layout #5:

I finally finished Matt's calendar page for December 2004. This has been sitting around for ages. I don't do a lot of this style anymore but I am so glad to be done and now I can bind it and show it off. It was a calendar following all of the daily things he did for his second year. It's hard to believe he is almost 7!

Favourite Layout #4:

This is one of 3 layouts I got done on Christmas cards received layouts. Very simple in design and quick to make (Becky Higgins scraplift CK Dec06) - I don't know why I procrastinated so long on these ones. I think I am going to start a separate album for them as it will be neat to see the changes in families as they grow over the years.

Favourite Layout #3:

Another catch-up project I got back to working on. This one is 28 days through Big Picture Scrapbooking. I actually can't find all of the journalling I thought I had done but once I made the cover page and got my head around the format I wanted, I got several pages done. It still isn't complete but I know now it won't take long. It's very much a everyday life type album - one that will be really fun to look back in a few years (what am I saying - it was Feb07 that I started it!!!) Note to self - who would have thought it would be the start of something similar to Project 365!

Favourite Layout #2:
I found this quick page on Scrapping with ikea goddess and loved it (other then the skull but I'm choosing to overlook it). It really was quick and it has become a favourite because it really showed me that I can actually do some digital layouts without a lot of difficulty. I like the colour and simplicity in this layout.

And now for Favourite layout #1;

This is my favourite for a number of reasons: 1) I didn't actually scraplift this one - it's mine! 2) I really like how the masking turned out. It was fun and I like the result! 3) I love that it shows all of a month's work at one time on one layout 4) it doesn't hurt that quite a few people doing LOAD liked it too =)

So there you have it in a nut shell. What I was doing for the month of October. For more check out my flickr account and the slide show going at the side. I think the next LOAD challenge in coming in February. I just hope I actually get some layouts done before then!

October 2009 Recap

Another month bites the dust...

Exercise - - um yeah – not worth mentioning – once a week? This extra weight in my belly area is making it impossible to run!

Books Read – The Gift;

Movies Seen – Annie Hall; Tom Jones; The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas; A Jurassic Ark Mystery;
Special Events
Melissa’s 40th birthday celebration (3rd)
Nicky – baby shower (4th)
John’s 62nd birthday (7th), Melissa’s 40th (7th)
Thanksgiving Dinner here (11th) – announced new member to be to family
Field Trip with Marlee’s Class – Pumpkin Patch (14th)
Matt to Joshua’s 7th birthday party (16th)
J & B R’s for dinner (17th)
Colts game (22nd)
Williams family here for lunch (25th)
Halloween Party (31st)
Accomplished LOAD project (Oct 1-31st)

Travel – n/a

Significant Purchases/ changes - n/a

Marlee - strabizbus eye surgery in Newmarket
Matt - 2 teeth removed due to absess (28th)

Friday, October 30, 2009

While I'm Waiting

The news and email have been full of information and opinions about the H1N1 and the vaccine. I am totally up in arms about it - so much so that I've sort of worked myself into a bit of a tither. I've never gotten a flu shot (at least not for several years) and we really try to go as natural as possible around here. I rarely take medication and thankfully am rarely sick with more then a runny nose and maybe a sore throat once a year. We try to let the kids' illnesses run their course and keep the antibiotics until absolutely necessary. I guess I tend to be of the mindset that we need to let our bodies build up natural immunities and fight what we can.

I am also not sure that a lot of this isn't hype and hysteria. We regularly get emails telling us natural course of action to take and why the flu shot isn't necessary. Yes we need to question the sources and we need to really weigh the information. There again lies some difficulty with family being in the medical business although the plus side is we are able to get things checked out very quickly and conveniently. Tough sometimes though. Especially when it comes to serious issues like this.

So anyway, I've really been struggling with this especially given that I am now in the "vulnerable" group. Which gives me even more questions.

So I've been praying. A lot. About discernment. And why can't I just be told blatantly with a big billboard - "Alison - do this"! I know it doesn't work this way. I also have a tendency to over read overwork over think things. Like the following:

Today I was reading an email about the flu and the vaccine and again, just really pondering what I should be doing - for me and for the kids. As I got to the section on pregnancy, my heart started beating faster and I was just like "Ahhh - I'm so confused - what do I do?" Then I caught the words of the song on the radio. Read the lyrics:

I'm waiting
I'm waiting on You, Lord
And I am hopeful
I'm waiting on You, Lord
Though it is painful
But patiently,

I will wait
I will move ahead, bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience
While I'm waiting
I will serve You
While I'm waiting
I will worship
While I'm waiting
I will not faint
I'll be running the race
Even while I wait I'm waiting
I'm waiting on You, Lord
And I am peaceful I'm waiting on You, Lord
Though it's not easy
But faithfully, I will wait
Yes, I will wait I
will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting
I will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting
I will serve you while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting on You, Lord

And while I listened to the song, it brought tears to my eyes and get this - I actually felt the baby move for the first time. So, more tears.

So at this point I am waiting. For what? Til the 20 week point? To get more opinions? I don't know. That's my over analyzing part. So I'm trying to be patient, to be trusting, to follow good health practices and just wait.

By the way, I recognized the song but not who it was by. I actually emailed the radio station who relayed that it was "While I'm Waiting" by John Waller from the movie Fireproof (watch the song video).

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Luckiest

I just heard this song for the first time today and it made me think of this.

I don't get many things right the first time In fact, I am told that a lot Now I know all the wrong turns, the stumbles and falls Brought me here

And where was I before the day That I first saw your lovely face? Now I see it everyday

And I know That I am I am I am The luckiest

What if I'd been born fifty years before you In a house on a street where you lived? Maybe I'd be outside as you passed on your bike Would I know?

And in a white sea of eyes I see one pair that I recognize And I know

That I am I am I am The luckiest

I love you more than I have ever found a way to say to you

Next door there's an old man who lived to his nineties And one day passed away in his sleep And his wife; she stayed for a couple of days And passed away

I'm sorry, I know that's a strange way to tell you that I know we belong

That I know That I am I am I am The luckiest

The Luckiest by Ben Folds

Missing you!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

What do I want to be when I grow up?

For as long as I can remember I wanted to be a teacher or an airline stewardess. In many ways I think I fulfilled my dreams. No I didn't go to teacher's college but I did get my Resource Teacher Certificate as a post grad degree. I do currently teach young children. In nursery school settings, in home settings and at church. I tend to be resourceful and many people I think, do learn from me.

As for the stewardess? Well that obviously didn't pan out but I certainly have a love for travelling - which is probably why I wanted to be one. So while I may not get to see the many places of the world for free or less cost, I also don't have the jet lag, the time away from home and the hectic schedules. (Well I do have that but oh well). And really, we have been able to do so much travelling in our lives. Thankfully Drew is pretty good with wanting to see new places each time too.

So am I happy doing what I am doing? You bet. I am a wife, a mom, a sister, a daughter, a careprovider, a teacher, a healer, a volunteer, a driver, a traveller, an artist, a creator, a homemaker, a sewer, a gardener and much, much more.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

October LOAD

A new chapter begins. I finished learning and now I am going to try creating again. Or catching up. Or reliving the memories. Or go insane. I don't know. But I'm ready to try because for some reason, just having the actual challenge works for me. I get pages done. Few are rarely my own creation but rather lifted form others more original then I. But I don't care. They are still our memories and they are still fun to create. So here goes.

Here is my layout for today. It is a scraplift but I don't know from where. I will come back when I find it and I will be more diligent to write down the sources in the future. TFL!

September 2009 Recap

Exercise - 7th; 8th; 9th; 13th; 14th; 15th; 23rd; 25th; 28th

Books Read
A Woman's Place;
Have a New Kid by Friday

Movies Seen - Anne of Green Gables; When Did You Last See Your Father?; Love Comes Softly; Bolt; For One More Day; Annie; Run Fat Boy Run; Million Dollar Baby; House of Sand; Moll Flanders; Love's Unending Promise; Love's Long Journey;

Special Events
- Will, Preston Birthday (12th);
- LSNED (blogging)
- U2 concert with Melissa!!!
- My birthday (37)
- haircuts (girls)
- 22nd- meet and greet school barbq
- Drew men's retreat (25-27)
- Melanie's baby shower (26th)
- RR with church friends (27th)

Travel - ...Thunder Bay (Aug 22 - Sept 5)

Significant Purchases/ changes - n/a

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

What I learned from learning

Concluding this project has been a great feat for me. As I explanined yesterday, I really only set out to do what I thought I could accomplish this month. And I did it. It was a neat journey to focus on the things that we can learn - from each other, from our environment, from ourselves. We can and should have a lifelong journey of learning - it's just a matter of making ourselves aware. This was a great step for me. And who knows, maybe next year I'll be ready to document it in a different (and more creative?) way. But regardless - here's to daily learning - may we all strive to do this!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Taking what you can handle

As we wind down the learning something new every day project, I think that one of the biggest things that I have learned is to not bite off more then you can chew. Set yourself realistic limits. Make a plan you can live with. I knew that I would not liekly make an entire album for this project. I knew that I might not even take relevant pictures each day. But I knew that I wanted to focus on looking for that "something" that is learned, or relearned. And I really liked that. I liked having a forum to document it - whether or not anything creative is ever made from it. So has it been a success? We'll see tomorrow.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Growing up

Today I learned that Marlee is growing up. I am seeing such a change in her. Today it was raining and I didn't have any other kids to walk so I decided (gasp) to drive them. There was a lot of room in the parking lot but Marlee was quite content to go into the school with Matt all on her own. This is big!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Take a chance-chance-chance

Today's learning thought for the day (which I didn't read until later) was actually quite appropriate for today. It's reminding us that taking the opportunity to take a chance sometimes can take us to unexpected places - you never know what you might learn.

I had the opprotunity to take a few chances today and am thankful that I did. And I wish i had in another instance.

Let me start by saying I feel naked without my camera - and I learned that when I forget it I should "take the chance" and go back for it. Now that I am thoroughly involved in P365, I almost always have my camera with me. On the way to church I realized I had forgotten it. I wasn't that far from home but decided oh well - I'm sure someone at church would have one if something came up. I wasn't thinking of afterwards.

After church A&E invited us to meet up at the local pumpkin patch as they had been asked to do some videography for their website. In order to assure that the place was busy, they were invited to bring along some families for free. I am often not spontaneous in this way, but since Drew was away, we had no plans and it was involving our small group, I "took a chance" and decided why not? Of course there are always things to do at home but we had wanted to go to the pumpkin patch anyway and what better way then with friends?

On our way out (I decided we didn't have enough time to go home, have lunch and get my camera b/c I had to practice some flagging before leaving - but that is another story) we went to Wendy's for lunch - where low and behold we met up with A&E. We had a nice chat over lunch and even though it was starting to rain, we "took a chance" and decided to still go figuring it would probably be fine up the road. It was.

We had a great time. The kids played so well together, we got to try out all the areas of the farm, took part in a pie-eating contest (mmm pumpkin), picked some great pumpkins for home and had no photos to show for it. But there will be some lovely shots I'm sure on the website at some point.

So yes - today I learned - take a chance - you never know what it might lead to (and you might be able to have pictures of it too!)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Weather is a big part of our lives.

Today's prompt discusses how we learn from our enviornment. The topic of weather and seasons came up at least 3 times today - from which you could also say I learned a few separate things.

1. You can't always go by the weather network. Case in point - at Matt's ball hockey game today it started to rain - not muc, just a few sprinkles. But the weather network said it wouldn't rain until 2 pm - and I actually said this to a few bystanders!
2. As much as I hate to say it, summer is coming to an end. Yes it is September 26th and we have determined to close the pool Thanksgiving weekend (becuase there is always a slight possiblity we can get one more swim in isn't there?), and yet I caved today and bought our first pumpkins and fall mums. We went ot the garden store looking for some black-eyed susans (of which there weren't any) and left with pumpkins. I had told myself no pumpkins until October 1st - fall comes soon enough - but the kids won out. I'm going to put tem into the planters this year instead of fall flowers - and we just got the one pot of mums for the ground.
3. I have said it beorfe and I said it again today - I love that we have the 4 distinct seasons here. We went to a baby shower today where the grandmother-to-be was up from Ohio. I'm not overly sure what the weather is like there but I did comment about living here and how much I enjoy the seasons. Again - one day I will scrpabook about this because obviously it is a theme in my life!

Another BTW - the mother-to-be (who is 34) - this was her first baby shower EVER! She had such a blast. It was a real pleasure watching her sheer enjoyment of the event. Their baby is due in November.

Friday, September 25, 2009

There's just something about Fridays!

It's true. As discussed in the prompt today, there's just something to look forward to about Fridays. I'm not even really sure why. For me, the day itself isn't that different from any other. In fact, today was an A-Day so it was my busiest (after school that is), with 9 kids. I was home all day, did get some things accomplished (like finishing my latest book - yey!) and got another run in. After school the kids wanted to play at the school even though it was Wii day so that was fine by me - there are going to be enough indoor days coming soon. We had a great walk home (boys deep in discussion). Drew was heading out on a retreat for the weekend so it was a quick dinner and then relaxation time. Oh how the kids like those nights. So all in all - nothing too special, but there really is just something about Fridays that I look forward to!

Oh - and another thing I learned? One person's impression of another does not necessarily live up to the truth - and that can be a good thing (a lesson better learned BEFORE one puts one's foot in their mouth!)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Do it now!

On the topic of learning and procrastination... I am learning the "Do it now" principle. And it is working!

So often I look at something and think, Oh, I'll just do it later. I am now learning that it is much more to my advantage to just get it done. And more often then not, it doesn't take me nearly as long as I thought it would.

This is another of Flylady's principles. Perfectionsism, pracrastination, getting sidetracked - all of which I am definately guilty of. This new lesson is a good thing to learn!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Slow down, you move too fast

I want to make the moment last.

When you want things to go fast, life inevitably slows down. And I'm glad. Life has a way of teaching us that it has its own pace. For a reason.

I had a day at home today. How I love these. I didn't particularly accomplish much. I had a good run (10 and 1's!) and then puttered in the garden (finally trimmed the tree) and picked Cierra up for a doctor's appointment. I had a lot I wanted to accomplish today and really didn't get to any of it. Life has a way of doing that to me. It's almost like when my to do list is too long, I'll get into a good book. Or my run will be good I make it longer. Or alternately, I'll get sidetracked into surfing the net for too long. Either way, it's a reminder at the end of the day that these kind of days are okay. We need some days to just step back and enjoy. Take part in the day. For they pass so quickly.

On another note, it was meet the teacher barbq at school today. I hope the time so far this year is a good indication of how the year will go. The kids had a great time showing us around- and again I am reminded of what a nice community of families we have around here. I finally met the neighbours on the corner and Drew was reaquainted with a family in the court. We did talk about missing J and B though. They were our "Steadies" at these type of functions. I'll have to put their number in my cell phone.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

What is it about boxes?

It doesn't take much to entertain kids (I think I already knew this but as many posts are showing, it is relearning - or rather remembering all that I have learned over the years).

We had a great day today - I am just so amazed at how well the kids are getting along. We quickly went to the grocery store where the kids of course picked up some boxes to play with. As soon as we got home they set about painting them. As they dried they moved on to other things. Later in the day as they watched tv, they sat in their boxes on the couches. It was quite the sight.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Learning curves

A little something every day. I hope that is how I can learn digital scrapbooking because today I learned again, that there is a huge learning curve to this new venture.

I'm trying to work on some digital layouts - simple (???) collage templates, but they are just not coming together that well. I did do a step-by-step one by Jessica Sprague which I quite like - now I am not sure exactly how to get it printed out. I know I saw somewhere how to transfer it to a 12x18 and then add 2 copies of 6x6's to fill the page. One of these days I hope to come across the instructions again.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sparkling waters...

Today I learned that... sometimes you just have to put one foot in front of the other and get going... and you never know what you will see.

I had a hard time getting into my run today. I could only get 5 and 1's going but at least I did get some exercise. It was beautiful though. I ran home from church today - well walked and ran! When I rounded the corner and started down the hill toward the lake I was just struck by the beauty. The sun was sparkling all over the water and the view over the fountains was breathtaking. I even talked with a young family who was taken by it as well. I do love this area!

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Info to come soon!