Oh Christmas tree…

oh Christmas tree… why are you dropping little half-alive little bugs that might be little spiders, or aphids or something?  Why Christmas tree, why?

See this is what you get for having a real Christmas tree, you sometimes bring wild-life indoors, as Clark Griswold could also tell you.   Google assures me that it’s just things hatching that wouldn’t normally hatch until spring if the  Christmas tree had stayed in the forest.  But it did not stay in the forest, we brought it inside and things DID start to hatch and that meant Christmas morning  saw some sap and bug covered presents  – definitely a first for me.    No one seemed to mind, we took it all in stride, and if I do a post in a month that we are infested with an unknown insect, I guess no one will be surprised.

We did have a lovely Christmas, although I’m not sure where it went.  It was all so busy and fun that it just zoomed right by, and since Sarah is still singing, “Santa Claus is coming to town”,  these past few days there have been times I wasn’t sure whether I was coming or I was going.

Here are some highlights from our 3 Christmas’s including…

My son Erik the football…

Thank goodness for pictures!   I can see that I was there and that we did do it and that we all had a marvelous time.

So even though the snow didn’t come until after Christmas and my Christmas tree is still giving me presents of bugs (why haven’t I gotten that darn thing out of here yet???)  I’m really kinda sad that we now have to wait a whole year to do it all again.

Merry Christmas!

We’ve been adventing all month waiting for this night!  It’s here, the kids are sleeping (hurrah!) and I’m so ready to celebrate Christ’s birth – His coming to earth to save us from our sins!

The story just never gets old…

Luke 2

1 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed,who was with child. 6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

The Shepherds and the Angels

8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (ESV)

The Christmas story in a nutshell.  🙂

And now we wait for Him to come again…  come Lord Jesus,  come!

The Great Fish Stick Tail (oops I mean tale)

The count-down to Christmas is upon us, and although I believe that I’m reconciled to the fact that it will be a green Christmas, I’m not reconciled to the fact that I have yet another cold.    In the olden days they said that a green Christmas meant a  fat graveyard…  scary thought… probably because when it’s warm this time of year the cold and flu bugs don’t get frozen to death and instead get shared as merrily as Christmas cheer to all of us stuck inside because of the rain.    Thank goodness for modern medicine and hand-washing and all that jazz, I’m hoping our graveyards will stay thin.

But we are still excited about Christmas coming and we had Sarah’s Christmas concert at school last night.   And I use the term concert loosely, because if 1000 parents crammed into a gym meant to hold 500 sit and listen to their kindergartener sing 2 songs and then pack up and leave to make room for the parents still waiting to get in, than that’s what it was, a Christmas concert.  But it was very cute and I’m glad we got to see Sarah belting out her songs and see her cousin do some super-spiffy dancing.

And we’ve had a ton on the go this week already, I went skating twice, first with William’s class and then with Erik’s and then yesterday Sophia and I did a big power shop which means I almost have everything for Christmas.  But now today I’ve just crashed and although I should be cleaning my house to get ready for Christmas  – that’s just not motivating me!!!!  So I’m eating homemade carrot soup and thinking of things to do to avoid cleaning, which made me think of the fish-sticks and anything involving fish-sticks is automatically blog worthy – that is well known.   I wanted to share because I hope I’m not the only one who has taken 4 boxes of fish-sticks out of the freezer, forgot to put them back and left them to rot for a month?  Am I?  Please tell me that you’ve done this too.

See fish stick and french fries (and salad of course) is my go-to meal when I don’t feel like cooking or things get busy.  We only eat it a couple times a month and the kids like it, although probably half the time they think it’s chicken.  (Just like last night I pan-fried salmon and we ate it on buns and Sarah kept complaining that her chicken was falling off her bun).

And I have to explain that I have an extra freezer in Jason’s garage that he tolerates, just like he tolerates the potatoes from the garden stored in there as well.   So a while back when I started to smell a funky smell whenever I walked in the garage,  I was sure that there was a just a rotten potato lurking somewhere that I couldn’t find.     And then it came,  the fateful night when I was looking for the fish-sticks and they were not to be found.  I went back and forth between freezers about a millions times and finally clued in that I wasn’t losing my mind, they just weren’t there.    So where the heck were they?   And then I saw them,  in Jason’s garage stacked nice and neatly on one of his tool cabinets happily rotting away.

So much for my four boxes of fish-sticks and “Hello that’s what I’ve been smelling!”    It’s a shame that I’m such a distracted person capable of such doing such shocking things, but I guess I shouldn’t pine to much for my fish-sticks, breaded fish in a box.  There are bigger fish to fry…. like Christmas… just 3 more sleeps!!!!

City of Lights

The other day (a great way to start a post) I was thinking that it would be fun to pile the kids into the ‘Burban’  – as Soph calls our Suburban –  and drive around and look at some Christmas lights in the city.  And then lo and behold, our neighbours from down the street handed us an invite for that very thing!   Except they had chartered a city bus – because the city buses just so happen to do a Christmas lights tour –  and they had invited all the bus-stop friends and some school friends to come along!   How awesome is that?     So last night saw me feeding the kids early and heading down to our neighbours where we had some treats and hot chocolate and chatted with friends while we were waiting for the buses.  Except Jason wasn’t there.   He was trying to finish up and clean-up a job so a client could use her kitchen for the weekend.   I was bummed but couldn’t argue with that (poor woman) but still sad that he couldn’t come and that I would be stuck watching 4 kids on a crowded bus all by myself.

As it turned out though, there were so many friends there that it didn’t matter about the kids.  William went to sit with his friends and Erik found an old friend and so it wasn’t that big of a deal, and then  just as we were pulling away Jason said that he was on his way home.  Well as it turned out we had the nicest bus driver in the world as she said she would be willing to pick Jason up if he could meet us.   So as we were circling our beautifully decorated down-town park,  we saw Jason, he parked, we circled again and picked up him!    It was a Christmas miracle.    The kids were very happy to see their daddy and I was glad to see him too and pass a sleepy Sophia over to her daddy.

Wow, there are so amazing light displays in our city.  And some whole streets that compete with each other and are just beautiful and amazing.   We decided that our street needs to ramp up our Christmas spirit and our hydro bills next year and turn some lights on!   And perhaps get on the tour ourselves, which would see numerous city buses each night driving by our houses… hmmm.. .we might have to rethink that one.

I of course wish I had pictures to share, but silly me didn’t bring my camera… well technically I guess I was silly to not have had a charged battery in my camera – if I had I would have brought it.  Oh well.   You’ll just have to imagine lots of brightly lit houses with all sorts of decorations – my favourite was a snowman made out 3 different size tires painted white.  I am totally going to get Jason to make us one of those for next year!

So another wonderful Christmas night.      And it’s been a good week.  I went with Will’s class to our Local Pioneer village for his  field trip on Monday which I LOVED.  (I would like to volunteer there some day.)   It was so nice and Christmasy (even though it poured rain) and as I love historical things it was really cool to see how people used to live.  Belive me, after seeing the tiny cabin that the settlers to Canada first lived in, it makes you extremely grateful for what we have and how we are able to live now.  God has been incredibly merciful towards us and I’m so blessed to spend this Christmas with indoor plumbing and central heating!  Not to mention electricity.

As well this week this week the neighbourhood mom’s came here for our annual Christmas tea.  The 20 kids that were here ran around like hooligans over the house, while us moms sat around and ate delicious food and drank tea through the noise.     A wonderful time.

So now I find myself on  Saturday, with a clean house and nothing pressing to do at the moment.   I have enough baking – I can’t wrap presents with kids awake and so I get to enjoy myself for a bit and think about Christmas memories we’ve made already and Christmas yet to come!

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Update –   A picture!  My neighbour sent this to me, she got this pic of Erik and her twins at a stop where the bus driver kindly let us off to stretch our legs… aren’t the lights amazing?

Don’t get too excited…

So I’ve been busy getting ready for Christmas and it’s shoving blogging down in my priority list, but I thought I’d share a few odds and ends of what’s been happening.

We had a Christmas party here Saturday night and it was alot of fun.    We had a great time with lots of friends and as an added bonus our house is all spruced up and sparkly clean in time for Christmas.   Well it’s spruced up,  but with 4 kids, the clean part is already out the window.    We did get a few extra projects  done like new lights in the kitchen and pictures up on walls – projects that we never seem to have time for until we want to have our house look nice for others.  Isn’t that always the way?  Jason says we need to have a summer party now too as he was so pleased with our indoor results, I think he wants to try it on the outdoors.

And the kid’s school field trips seem to be multiplying rapidly.    I was able to skip a field trip today but I’m back on one tomorrow and then next week I have two!  And with school going right up until Christmas I can understand that the teachers like to keep the kids occupied and I enjoy going along, most times. 🙂

Last night we did Christmas with friends of ours and as she enjoys natural things, one of her gifts was a bar of natural soap that my uncle had made.     The kids all knew what it was and as she was tearing off the wrapping Erik said to her,  “Don’t get too excited” which made me laugh.   I think he was really afraid she would be disappointed, I mean, come on, it was soap!  I’m not sure there is an 8-year-old boy out there who would think that was a good gift.  In fact, Erik would probably happily live without soap if he could…  and without hair-cuts and getting his nails clipped as well.     They all assure me this will change one day.

And this week William has decided that he shouldn’t come home for lunch anymore.  He explained that when he does he gets too “attracted” to being at home and doesn’t want to go back to school.    I thought it was a very wise decision on his part.  Especially since last week he did come home and right before he had to go back he  got really really upset because he said he couldn’t draw a man in his underwear.   This stumped me for a while and as all of our efforts to calm him failed, I said I would go and talk to his teacher.   Poor William pulled himself together and at least wasn’t teary anymore when I talked to his teacher.  She  was a little astonished that he was upset because it was his idea!  They were drawing pictures of things you better not let Santa catch you doing and William thought that you better not let Santa catch you outside in your underwear?!!    But his teacher is a quick thinker and suggested Will draw a man in his clothes holding his underwear and voila… sunshine again.    Oh my 6 year old.

So those are my notes… Ok – I just put the kids candy in their advent calendar before I finished this (I can’t fill all the days at once because Sarah would eat all the candy) and I just realized there are only 12 more days until Christmas… now that’s worth getting excited about!

Perhaps I’m a safe place

Yesterday I went on a field trip with Sarah who is 4 and in Junior Kindergarten.  I have to reiterate those facts because the field trip was to our local art museum.  To be honest, I didn’t even know this museum existed!  And for those of you familiar with art museum’s, one would wonder why a kindergarten class is going there… especially a small town art museum that you can imagine isn’t all that big.

Well you see, they offer this little tour that is about Colour and Emotion.   Sarah’s teacher seemed excited about it and since it did sound kinda cool I was game to go.   But I started to get worried when the guide that we were assigned was slightly elderly and did NOT seem able to  express much emotion of any kind.   In fact, the only thing he seemed interested in was keeping these 4 and 5-year-olds far far away from the art.    He had a pretty museum ribbon (more colourful and interesting then some of the museum contents – but you didn’t hear that from me) and encouraged the children to look at the paintings from behind this ribbon. So here you have children who just want to touch, feel and live art,  staring at unfathomable art pieces from about 5 feet away.  It was all very surreal, and at times about the opposite of exciting.

Thankfully though, our ancient tour guide didn’t feel it necessary to stop in front of the two paintings of unclothed people thus saving us the pleasure of explaining things only parents should explain to kindergartners.   Although I heard that other groups were introduced to the paintings and at one viewing our little neighbor girl from around the corner asked out-loud, “Did they have to take off all their clothes?”  Did they Alleyah?  Did they?

But then finally we were led to a big studio room where the kids got a little lesson on warm and cold colours and got to do two paintings each, one with ‘warm’ colours and one with ‘cold’ and that vindicated the entire trip.  They could finally touch and do!!!!  And they really enjoyed it,  except for one little 4-year-old who broke down on me because she couldn’t draw a tree.  She was so very tired, the museum had probably been over-whelming and she just wanted a tree for goodness sake!

But before long we were on the bus heading back to school and I was sitting with Sarah and a little boy from her class, I think he was in JK too.   And so half-way home I look down and  realized that the little boy had fallen asleep against me… tired little guy.    He was almost falling off the seat so I got him settled so he wouldn’t fall off and the teacher sitting in the seat across from me and I just smiled.   It’s not the first time this has happened to me,  last time I went on a field trip with kindergartners I had a little girl fall asleep against me then too….  so it warms the cockles of my heart that these little people perhaps feel I’m a safe place that they can safely snooze against.  Or maybe it’s just that when you are 4, modern art is very very tiring.

Cookie and cousin fun

Well the first weekend in December is drawing to a close, but we had a great weekend and filled it fill with Christmasy things, even is those things did not include playing in the snow.  William is a little disgusted that we don’t have any snow yet,  he said we should pray about it because how is one supposed to feel Christmasy without snow?    Good question.  But we tried our hardest when we made our Christmas cookies Saturday morning.   And it was classic, before we had even begun, someone spilt the sprinkles….

And just like years past, the kids ‘paint’ the cookies before we bake them.   We paint them with an edible egg tempura that I make simply by combining food colouring and  egg yokes (you can’t taste it) and then they decorate them with sprinkles if they want.    The best part of this process is that I roll out the dough and cut it and just give them the shapes they ask for.  That worked well for the rest of them, but not this one…

She was much more interested in the dough.  I think she thought it was just a yummy sort of play-dough, I let her have some to play with and she made lots of shapes like ‘a pile of leaves’ and then processed to just sit eat her ‘play-dough’.   She definitely enjoyed herself and would probably give Christmas cookie making a thumbs up if I asked her how she liked it.

The others happily painted their cookies…

And here are some finished cookies…

Lots of food colouring fun!  Yee haa!    But it worked out because then the kids had lots of cookies to share with their cousins who came to spend the afternoon.     It’s a deal we do every December, my older brother Jason and his wife Shelly take our kids one Saturday and we get theirs one Saturday.  The kids love it, it gives the adults some time to get things done and it’s a win-win situation.  So there was lots of playing and crafting and even some sand-box time…

Nothing screams ‘Christmastime’ more than playing in a sandbox in December.   But it was nice to enjoy the kinda nice weather – as in nice for December when there really should be snow. 🙂

And then today we got our tree up!

So one minute the tree was up and almost fully decorated and then the next minute it was down… as in it fell.    I had left the room for a moment and then I heard it come down.  Poor Will and Sarah were shaken up by our tipping tree,  but after daddy secured it to the wall they ventured back to hang a few more ornaments.   As I’m looking at the tree I don’t think that it will ever be the same again,  but would you be if you fell over full of lights and ornaments?    But maybe it’s Ok that the kids have a good healthy fear of the tree – that way I know that no one will be trying to climb it behind my back.  🙂

And now as this weekend is coming to a close  my boys are watching Punkin Chunkin with their dad… a great way to end a great weekend!