Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Holiday Challenge: Favourite Holiday Tradition

Fabulous Holiday Blog Challenge

Today in the Holiday Challenge with Amber and Neely, the topic is my favourite holiday tradition new or old.
This year is the first time we're not going to be making a crazy sport of travelling all over the province to see every family member at Christmas, and I'm really looking forward to having a quiet(er) holiday season.

That being said, since I've got a large extended family, I've got a lot of traditions.

My immediate family (siblings and parents) has a tradition of going to church Christmas day, and opening presents after we got back and ate lunch. As a child, I hated the waiting, but now I really like that we were forced to remember the real point of the day, and I think I'm going to continue this tradition, but with a slight change. Since hubby and I go to a church that doesn't do Christmas Day services, we're hoping to read the Christmas story from Luke to the kids in the morning, and then open presents after having a really great meal.

My extended family always gets together the day after Christmas (boxing day here in Canada) and since we're so large, we've had to rent a school for the past few years to host the event. This is the one time of the year that we ALL get together. There is a camping trip in the summer, but lately more and more people have had to miss it for many different reasons. At this Christmas get-together, we have a giant meal, we play games and sports (since there is a gym) and we watch the little ones open presents. It's an awesome day of family, fun and food, and I don't think it would feel like Christmas without it.

There are other traditions I've missed, especially the ones from hubby's family, but I'll save those for next week when I get to talk about how we celebrate the holiday season.


Monday, November 28, 2011

Holiday Challenge: Favourite Gift Received

Fabulous Holiday Blog Challenge

This is the first year I've been out of school in 2 decades, and since I've been home with my two kids, I've got all kinds of time to think about getting ready for Christmas.

I'm participating in the Holiday Challenge hosted by A Complete Waste of Makeup and Brunch with Amber. Each day I'm going to be posting about the topic they have chosen. Today is about my favourite gift I've ever received.

In thinking about this, I remember many gifts over the years that my parents have spoiled me with. The best Christmas present I've ever received has to be from last year.

I was in my last year of Culinary school, and I have always done a lot of baking, so I would always drool over the KitchenAid equipment my school had. I knew that even the most basic KitchenAid mixer was normally over $200, so I thought it was a crazy item to put on my list, however, come Christmas day there was a heavy box with my name on it, and before I even opened the wrapping paper, I knew that my mom had spoiled me more than ever before.

Now I may be a bit obsessed about baking (I've already admitted that cookbooks are my bedtime reading material), but this present tops anything I could ever ask for. I would be Popeye because of all the buttercream icing I make if I didn't have this machine.

Basically, after my kids, this would be the one thing I'd grab if my house was on fire...

And I think the only gift that could ever top that machine is the gift that Christmas is all about, the little baby boy born 2000 years ago in a stable.


Friday, November 25, 2011

It's not December, but it's Christmas Season already!

I can post about Christmas now, right? I mean once American Thanksgiving is over the Christmas season is in full swing...

We put up our tree on Thursday. My husband works for an American company that's here in Ontario, so they were closed. Bummer for the paycheck, but Yay!! for the help cleaning the house.

My little monkey was so thrilled with the tree that he hugged (and kissed) it goodnight. He keeps grabbing the ornaments and moving them around to different branches (we have all child-friendly ornaments on the tree so no worries about break-age.) His favourite is a snowman made from bells that he takes and shakes and sings "Jingle Bells, all the way. Jingle Bells, all the way..." until we tell him to stop.

We started watching Christmas movies and reading Christmas books this week as well.
I've got about 25 books that are winter or Christmas themed, and the PLAN was to wrap them each up, and then unwrap one a day to read, but when we took the tree out of our storage closet, the bag of (unwrapped) books came too, and Monkey immediately pulled them out and started looking at them. I gave up trying to take them away, so now they're sitting in a basket under the tree.

We've also started Christmas crafts.
So far we have finished some cards (that I'll post about when we've mailed them) and we've made a garland for the tree from construction paper. I've done a few other things on my own, but I'll post those pictures later.

The one thing that made it really seem like the Christmas season is started is the snow we got on Wednesday morning. Monkey woke up with a bad dream at about 4am, but when I saw the snow on the ground, I held him up to the window to look before I put him back to bed.
The first snow is always magical.

I'm excited for all the rest of the Christmas activities we are hoping to do this year! I'm still working on an advent calendar (hoping to finish before Thursday!), and hopefully we'll be able to do lots of fun things as a family in December!

happy crafting!

I'm Blank Because....

Found this cute post on Little Moments Like This (and she got it from Little Miss Momma)

I'm weird because...

-I hate the smell of baby powder, but love the smell of my baby's head.
-I like to organize my things alphabetically or by colour.
-I don't like my pencils and pens to live together.
-Dull pencil crayons drive me crazy.
-I use cookbooks as bedime reading.
-I know ALL the words to "The Lip Song" from VeggieTales, and met one of my best friends by singing that song.
-I check the mailbox multiple times daily, even after I get the mail.
-I own only 4 pairs of shoes: runners, winter boots, Crocs, and heels.
-I find folding laundry to be relaxing.
-I love making cakes and cupcakes, but don't like eating them.
-I've had dreams entirely in french (and understood every word).
-I have a pattern inventory of crocheted hats of almost 100, but I haven't made a single one.
-I can't sleep with my sheets untucked (and my husband can't sleep with them tucked in).
-When anyone says they are going to get a haircut, I immediately say "and a real job."
-I'm afraid of the movie Pinnochio.
-I listen to movies like people listen to CDs (but only ones I've seen before).
-My favourite number in french is 99, but in english it's 3,5,8,11, and 15 (and don't make me choose just one).
-I don't wear makeup or jewelery. EVER. Not even my wedding rings.

I'm a bad friend because...
-I will read emails, come up with a response, but not reply for a week (or more).
-I get jealous of things my friends have done or received (lost weight, bought a house, started a new business...)
-I go days or weeks without replying to messages, and then expect my friends to reply to me instantly.
-I forget birthdays.
-I'm one of those annoying facebook friends who sends game requests...

I'm a good friend because...
-I am a good listener and I keep conversations confidential.
-I encourage and build up my friends when they're down.
-I look for the good in my friends and want only the best for them.
-I laugh with them or cry with them.
-I forgive easily.
-I make awesome baked goods (if I remember birthdays).

I'm sad because...
-I've got a lot of weight to lose before I'm happy with my body.
-I yell at my son too often.
-I use the TV as a babysitter.
-I live far away from my best friends.
-I've barely taken any pictures of my daughter, and she's already a month old.
-My marriage is nowhere near as good as it looks on the outside.
-My husband has a problem that causes me more pain and stress than I can put into words.

I'm happy because...
-My daughter smiles at me and knows my face.
-My son will come up to me and say "I love you." or "I missed you." after I've only been gone a few minutes.
-People have told me that my cupcakes are better than the ones they bought at our local cupcake store.
-I have two amazing children who are happy and healthy.
-I have awesome friends who support me and pray for my family when we're in tough times.
-My mother has become one of my best friends and my biggest cheerleader.
-I have a business opportunity to teach cooking classes, which will let me stay home with the kids.
-I'm already down 30 pounds since baby girl was born (even though most of the weight was from her).
-My husband still shows me he loves me even when I'm a royal pain in the rear.

I'm excited for...
-Christmas baking
-Making and sending Christmas cards
-Getting Christmas cards in the mail!
-Seeing my brother who moved out east
-My birthday (happens on Thursday!!)
-The Good Lovelies concert in Kingston on December 14!
-Decorating the house for Christmas.
-Making a trip to North Bay (hopefully next week!)
-Introducing my little girl to my extended family on Boxing Day!


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

We've been 4 for one month!

It's been one month since our precious little girl joined our family (technically it was one month on Sunday) and I can't believe how fast time has gone by!

We had a checkup today, and Annika Charlotte (named after my grandma and Hubby's grandma) now weighs 10 lbs 5 ounces. She's up 2 lbs 1 ounce since birth.

We've already made many trips with our little one, including Trick-or-Treating with her big brother. Of course, she slept through the whole thing, and she didn't get to eat any candy.

We all went to the Santa Clause Parade on November 19. Again she slept through most of it, and she didn't see Santa at all, but Monkey really enjoyed the parade! He climbed out of the stroller so he could dance to every marching band and float that had music.

The biggest trip was a weekend (Girls only) trip to Toronto to watch my sister's volleyball tournements. Once again, our little snoozer enjoyed the trip her own way.

But she did get to have her picture taken with the champions.

We love how peaceful you are little one. It's such a great change from the ball of energy your brother is. I know you're still small, but I can't believe how much you've already grown.

I love you.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Love - Multiplied

It's been a few months, but I'm linking up with Jamie again for What I Love Wednesday

1. I love that the weather lately has been more like September than November. I can barely tell that it's less than SIX weeks from Christmas. The grass is still green, and I can take the kids for walks without worrying about scarves, hats and mitts... It's wonderful!

2. I love all the little smiles that my girl has been giving me. She'll be 4 weeks old tomorrow, but she's been smiling for over a week now. This week she's started cooing, and those sounds make all the crying and sleepless nights seem like nothing.

3. I love the grammar of toddlers. My little Monkey has a way with words that makes me laugh. He said the other day that he didn't want daddy to forget his lunch. Or rather he told him to "forNOTget" it. He also told me that he didn't want to behave. He said "I want to beNOThave mommy." I'm not going to pick on it, he'll learn soon enough, and those little quirks make me laugh.

4. I love family, especially my sister and mother who I just got to spend the weekend with in Toronto. We enjoyed my sister's vollyeball tournament and her team won their first medal (Silver! Go Breakers!). We stayed at a hotel in Toronto and had fun with just the girls while my hubby spent the weekend with Monkey.

5. I love my TWO little ones. I love how they stare at each other, and I'm so glad that Monkey already adores his little sister. He says that she's a gecko (and he is either a monkey or an elephant). This morning he started calling her "Kiki" but I don't know if that's a nickname, or just a made up word.

6. Everyday I choose to love this man. And today I love that he writes me love notes and calls in the middle of the day to see how things are at home. He's really stepped up around the house now that my attention is separated between the two kids, and I don't thank him nearly enough.

Today and everyday I choose you.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Adventures in October

Some pictures of some of the fun we had in the last month.

Grandpa S. came for a visit to meet his new grand-daughter (and to celebrate Monkey's birthday)

Look at how proud he is!

Grandpa S. ALWAYS gives the best presents. Last year Monkey got a riding dump truck that makes noise, this year he got a giant car racing kit (you know, the noisy ones that send cars flying across the house...) Daddy had as much fun with this kit as Monkey did.

Cleaning out the pumpkin before the traditional "put our baby in a giant gourd" picture. Neither one of our kids has been a fan of this photo, but that hasn't stopped me and my mom from trying. I guess if we have any other kids, the only way they can avoid this picture is to be born in the spring or summer...

Monkey in a pumpkin (October 2008)

Baby Girl in a pumpkin (October 2011)
Coffee Break had a clothing exchange, so my mother and I went through all Monkey's old clothes to find items I wanted to donate. Of course, this meant that Monkey had to put on clothes as we were sorting them.

Splash pants, a golf hat and cowboy boot slippers make a perfectly acceptable outfit, right? And I'm not the only mom who takes pictures of the crazy outfits my kid comes up with...

My husband and kids on Halloween night. Monkey loved knocking on doors and saying "Trick-or-Treat!" And his basket was so small, he could only make it to 2 or 3 houses before emptying it. This made it really easy to prevent him from eating candy before we got back home.
October was an amazing month. We were blessed with great weather, fun visits from family, and of course, a wonderful little girl.

Here's hoping November brings even more smiles!