Monday, December 31, 2012

Year In Review: 2012

So last year I posted links to some of my favourite posts from the year. I'm going to do it again this year. These are posts which I really like,which remind me of a good day, or are significant in some other way. If you read them, enjoy! And Happy New Years!!!

We got a great new stroller! (with a funny video included)
Dave turned THIRTY!!!

Good times with good friends
An exciting and cool field trip

Sometimes I'm a GREAT mom!
A glimpse of when they're teenagers
A significant farewell

Celebrating Sam's Third Birthday
The Moving Truck Came
Saying Good-bye to Edmonton

Rachel got dedicated
Our New Yard with Flowers!
A fun day off

The post through which a lot of you "met" me
     (and until just last week the most popular post I'd ever written both in page views and comments)
A trip to the farm
Celebrating Forty
Rachel turned one

Sam went to camp
How we spent a lot of the summer
Dr Dave!
Dave celebrated me turning forty

We had a big party
Our trip out East to celebrate my cousin's wedding (link to first post only)

I "illustrated" a book and the author commented on my post! (Squeeeeeeeee!!!)
Fun days out with good friends
I started a (supposedly!) "weekly" series
     I want to be more intentional about this in 2013!
Sam started preschool Yerghks :()
A few reasons why I blog...

We went to New York
I pondered if I was French in my parenting style (link is to first post only)
Rachel started walking!!!
We carved a pumpkin

I blogged an entire week in my life (link is to first post only)
I liked this blog post and you seemed to like it too :)

We celebrated Channukah (link to first night only)
A whole bunch of people checked out our (interfaithfully) decorated house
   and a few other Christmas/holiday blog parties I participated in
I got really sick and stopped blogging

And that's been my year. Thanks for reading along this year and I'm already looking forward to the adventures 2013 will bring.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Waterloo's Wonders of Winter

For about nine years I lived about a five minute walk from Waterloo Park and just about every winter I would go and walk and look at the holiday lights. (I call them "Holiday Lights" because they have everything from dinosaurs to Sponge Bob Square Pants to Dora the Explorer to Santa Claus to... -- needless to say, I don't think of many of those things as Christmas-y in the least!). I often went with Tim and Janice or other friends. So this year, when we were actually living here, I wanted to take Sam and Rachel. But then Sam was sick or I was sick or we were out of energy.
Noah's ark

Today we went to church (yay!) and then did a few quick errands and then headed home for lunch and naps. Rachel and I both napped and Sam had quiet time. Then Dave's parents and niece came over for supper and two hours of playing play-dough with Sam. Actually I'm not sure that was on their agenda but it sure was in Sam's plans.

Penguins and an igloo

We made a turkey sweet potato shepherd's pie (I ate vegetarian samosas and mashed sweet potatoes) and used up a fair bit of our turkey leftovers. Then we all went to Wonders of Winter. It was great because Dave's mom pushed Rachel in the stroller and Dave and his niece entertained Sam. I don't think we would have made it if we'd just gone as our family of four. I took pictures with our new camera! As we're still figuring out how it works, let's just say the picture quality is better than with our point and shoot but still not totally awesome. I'm workin' on it! As for today, I'm just glad I was able to leave the house, help cook dinner, do dishes and still be able to go somewhere after dinner. I think I'm gettin' my groove back!

A blurry nativity scene

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Back In The (Blogging) Saddle Again! This Time, New And Improved...

So I'm back in the saddle again, metaphorically that is. Last time you heard from me I was sick and promised to blog again when I felt better. Well, I do feel better, but I am by no means 100%. This has been a long and nasty illness. I think I've had influenza although I haven't officially been diagnosed with anything. I was in bed for three days straight with fevers and chills, and then I had the nastiest runny nose and cough you ever did run into. And I've been E-X-H-A-U-S-T-E-D. Wow, am I not kidding. I've been sleeping late, going to bed somewhat early and napping in between times. In terms of health, this was the worst Christmas I'd ever had. And in terms of my mental health it was sad. I cried a lot about how awful I was feeling and how I couldn't even enjoy things. (And I'm not sure you even care but in fifty years when I'm looking back on this here blog and wondering why I missed almost two weeks straight of blogging I want to be reminded WHY exactly that happened.) All this to say that I hope all of you had a merrier Christmas than I did.

So yeah, Christmas happened. It's over. I want a do-over but since I'm not likely to get that anytime soon, we'll go on from here. But our good friend, Tash Wiebe, was visiting us today from Edmonton so I'm pretty tired, even though it's only 7:45pm and so I'm going to bed. For anyone who cares I've left our house once (once!) since last Sunday, and that was to go to the library briefly on Thursday night. Tomorrow we're going to go to church (I hope!) so I need to get some energy before then.

And as to the rest of the "new and improved blogging" promised in the title -- Dave and I bought each other a DSLR for Chanukah/Christmas. I was too sick to even pull it out of the box when it arrived a week before Christmas so I told Dave to go ahead and open it on Christmas afternoon while I was napping. We've been having fun taking pictures and I'm looking forward to being able to get even better pictures. Until then -- here are two of my new favourite pictures of my two favourite kids :) I love our new camera!!!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

sick :( Sick :( SICK :(

So all last week Sam had a fever and was completely exhausted. Then on Saturday he started coughing. Just as he was starting to feel better I got hit. I have been more asleep than awake since Tuesday night. I think four hours of awake time in a row is my record. Plus fevers and chills. Can I just say, this sucks???

Obviously it doesn't suck on the world stage of global warming, people starving and homelessness, but on my little self-centred stage of my parents are coming in three days to visit for a nice Christmas, my kids don't know which way is up, and Dave hasn't been able to go to work in a day and a half -- this sucks. Plus I feel really awful.

I don't know when I will feel up to regular blogging (and commenting (and responding to comments!)) again but until then know that I WILL catch up... eventually. For now I just need to focus on staying awake longer, interacting with my family and trying to comprehend that CHRISTMAS is in FIVE days. If only I will be healthy enough to celebrate it.

And I hope that Dave and Rachel don't get this nasty flu either.

List of things to do when I start to feel better:

1) grocery shop for Christmas dinner. At least we have the turkey. And my parents will be here to cook the bulk of the food.
     1b) thaw the turkey
2) make cranberry sauce.
     2b) buy cranberries.
3) re-decorate the tree after it fell on Rachel today.
     3b) figure out to secure tree better first.
4) co-worship lead with my Grade Six Sunday School class on Sunday.
     4b) thankfully there are no other parts to this.
5) hopefully feel well enough to go to the Hedrick's carol sing.
     5b) buy punch ingredients.
6) Resume regular blogging.
     6b) feel well enough to open the DSLR (!!!) which arrived on Monday and is still sitting in the box it was shipped in because I've been feeling like crap and Dave has been patient and wanting to share in the joy of our Awesome. New. Camera!!! with me.
     6c) Resume regular blogging with better pictures! Whoo hooo!!!

I think that's it. Until then, enjoy the moments of calm you are afforded this season and, if you aren't fighting (and losing to!) a nasty bug like I am, also enjoy your health. Hopefully I'll be back to regular blogging soon.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas Card Carousel and Show Us Your Life: Holiday Cards

Today I'm linking up with Faith for her Christmas Card Carousel and I'm also linking up with Kelly
on Friday for her Show Us Your Life series. Welcome to anyone stopping by from either of those two linky parties.

Dave and I haven't always done cards but some of my friends clued me in to Costco's website. Making a card from there couldn't be simpler -- you simply choose your design, upload a picture, add a message and click to order. Plus you can pick your cards up the next day and they are very reasonably priced. This works out well for Dave and I.

We would love to do separate Chanukah and Christmas cards but we don't have enough of each group of people for the minimum order of 50 so we do a generic holiday card for everyone. I always try to coordinate (a little) our outfits and we try to get a recent family picture. This year our picture was taken on Sunday morning at church, in front of the stone wall in our sanctuary. Our card looks a little weird in this post because Dave had to scan it at work but in reality it is actually quite nice!

The one thing I am really happy about is that this year it only took one take to get a decent picture. Last year was a whole different story and you can see the outtakes here!
I'm off to check out all of your cards but before I go I want to wish you Merry Christmas! Happy (Belated) Chanukah! Whatever holiday you are celebrating this season our wish of peace is also for you.

EDITED TO ADD: I actually wrote this post on Friday morning in preparation for these blog parties. I just want to add, given the horrific events in Newton, Connecticut on Friday that our wish for peace feels even more urgent. Having a son who will be starting school in the fall, this tragedy has hit close to home, a feeling shared by many of us, I'm sure. Please take a moment to offer up a prayer of comfort for those who lost family members, especially their children.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Show Us Your Life: Christmas Decorations

In my decorated house post, I said we didn't have our Christmas Tree up yet so I wanted to post about that. Also, thanks to Kelly's blog hop I found a few things I wanted to add to my decorations so here are some updated pictures.

Exhibit A: The Christmas Tree (you can see the decorating process here if you want to see more.)
Exhibit B: The updated piano top, post-Chanukah.
Exhibit C: The dining room light fixture, inspired by this blog. Dave actually said he thought we might need BIGGER ornaments here! Gasp.
Exhibit D: The stockings were hung by the chimney on the staircase with care...
And that's the updated version of the decorating. Thanks for stopping by!

Martha Stewart Doesn't Have Kids

We decorated our Christmas tree today. I'm going to let the pictures speak for themselves but I'm going to point out a couple of number of things.

First of all, we have the tree in a corner with very specific measurements so our tree is wedge shaped and missing some branches

Second of all, I saw a blog post last week about a woman who had made a fabric light garland and I thought it was really pretty. So when you see the light garland it was thanks to Kelly's blog hop! Actually, my non-crafty (his words, not mine) husband ended up finishing the last half of it this afternoon. Thanks Dave!

Third of all, I made our tree topper. It's a little dorky but Dave and I weren't happy with ANYTHING we saw in the stores. If you have an awesome tutorial for making a fabulous tree topper please let me know!

Fourth of all, Sam's ornament cluster. 'Nuff said!

Fifth of all, Rachel was just as interested as taking ornaments off the tree as putting them on. Again, 'nuff said!

Sixth of all, in memory of my grandma the first ornament on our tree today was a crocheted snowflake she made for me about twenty years ago. Love it!

Now for the picture overload. Click on any one picture to make it larger. (That's mostly for my mom.)

My Grandma

One year ago today my Grandma Ewert died at the age of 104 years and nine months. I am remembering her today and wanted to tell you a bit about her. (You can read more about her here (tribute I wrote on her 104th birthday) and here (her obituary)). In fact, I re-read those two pieces and really, I don't think there is any more to share.
Except maybe this... Grandma always liked to get her own way, and she had certain ideas about how things should go, especially when it involved her family. But when her family pushed and pulled and continued to go their own way, she gave up and joined in. Kind of like she did in this video with Sam, which is one of my favourites. Please, if you only check out one link in this post, watch that 21 second video. It shows Grandma doing some of the things she loved best -- singing and interacting with her family.
Today I will be remembering my grandma in the following ways: I'm eating some Turtles (one of her favourite chocolates). I'm drinking some coffee (mixed with hot chocolate -- my own addition!). I'm going to church (and not just that, but I'm teaching my Sunday School kids about how to be involved in next week's worship service!). And I will be eating a turkey dinner hosted by good friends who are like family. Now all we need is a Scrabble game...! I think that's a pretty good legacy to leave your children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren -- family, food, fun living and faith in God. Thank you Grandma for being such an inspiration.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

On The Eighth Night of Chanukah... (AKA Winterfest!!!)

...we lit all the candles, in a suit because we're formal around here we were heading to Dave's work adult holiday party. Remember the kids had theirs last time.
Dave's adult work party is a formal event called Winterfest. And it was awesome!!! We just about didn't go because Sam wasn't back to normal yet. He's had a high temp and been exhausted since Monday so we've been in survival mode around here (aka staying in pjs all day, not cooking supper, definitely not blogging, etc). But we decided that he would be okay with our babysitter so we went. And I'm soooo glad we did.
It was in a huge ballroom. All the employees were allowed to bring a guest so there were hundreds of people there. We sat with Dave's co-worker, Kyle, and his wife Rochelle and had a great conversation. And there were door prizes (Kyle won one, Dave didn't). I wanted Dave to win the iPhone or the travel voucher. Sadly he didn't. 
The party was emceed by James Cunningham. And then he did a half hour comedy routine and he was hilarious. At one point he asked, "Who has a Blackberry?" and Blackberry owners cheered. "Who has an iPhone?" And iPhone users cheered. "Who has a flip-phone?" And I cheered so loudly he said, "Hello Amish people!" And later he asked who was from Saskatchewan and I cheered again and he said, "Of course the flip-phone people are from Saskatchewan!" (Disclaimer: The picture of James and I is worse because I knew instinctively after taking a few bad pictures that in the dark setting, the night setting worked better for taking pictures on our camera. When Dave went to take the picture of us he went, "Oh, it's on night setting" and switched it to portrait setting. Therefore bad picture quality. Oh well. It was either this or the flip-phone picture which James is making fun of in both pictures!)

Dave and I were both looking forward to the dance but it was dance music which we can't dance to. So we came home. I cannot wait for next year's Winterfest. Hopefully by then I will own a super-awesome dress so I won't be able to have to borrow this one from my friend Karen, and a pashmina so I won't have to tap Janice again! Thanks women (and fashion consultants) for helping me out!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

On The Fifth Night Of Chanukah...

...we lit five candles on the menorah.
...Sam and Rachel each got a present.
...Sam got two more planes to go with his airport.
(And he's been playing with them for an hour and a half now!)
...Rachel got a sea life puzzle.
...Rachel stole the number 2 candle as I was trying to take an artistic picture of the Chanukah candle finger puppets Dave's aunt sent to us. Ha ha ha!