Thursday, December 23, 2010

P.S I got books!!!!!

 Ooh, I forgot!  I got books today! Lots of books!  On our way out of town, we stopped at the library so I could pick up my book on hold.  As I walked in, I noticed the cart full of books for sale.  On the top shelf, sticking up so I could see them easily were The Babysitter's Club books.  I loved that series as a child and here they were for 10 cents each!  But I didn't have any money on me.

 As I checked out my book, I asked what forms of payment they accepted.  I expressed regret that I had neither cash nor cheque on me.   To my surprise, the librarian offered to hold the books for me.  Out in the hall, I decided to check the cart on to discover that they had the Bobbsey Twins and Nancy Drew.  I decided just to get the Babysitter's Club and the Bobbsey Twins, but when Steve went back he picked up the Nancy Drew books too.  In the pile was the very first book in the Nancy Drew series in pristine condition too!  It's a later edition, but I'm so excited!  Aris is relived to have more books to read.  Apparently she finished her latest stash.

 So I'm going to bed now, for real.  Really.  Merry Christmas! :)

And The Holidays Are Here!

 Holidays are upon us, complete with chilly weather, colds, children out of school, and road trips.  Yesterday we drove into Toronto to visit the Mythical Creatures exhibit at the Science Centre.  While it was very cool, I think I would have enjoyed it more had I been allowed to wander through slowly, not trying to keep my active toddler in view.  Today we drove an hour and a half the other way to visit Steve's grandmother.  We didn't stay long, just for lunch, but I think it was a good visit, especially because of the brevity. By the time we left, our boys had just about exhausted the limits of their good behaviour.  They managed to be pretty quiet for most of the visit, but started getting rambunctious and knocked over a lamp just as we were leaving.  Thankfully it didn't break and Grandma didn't yell.  We knew it was definitely time to leave.

 This evening, I went skating with my best friend Kate and my daughter.  Last winter, our city opened a new outdoor skating rink in the uptown hub.  I skated there a couple times last winter, but it was a first for Kate.  Next to the rink was a giant evergreen trimmed in blue and pink(?) lights.  Upon seeing the rink, Kate exclaimed "It's just like New York, but without the crowds!!!"  Shortly after we started skating, some carollers dressed in Victorian-era garb began to sing.  It was splendid!  This was Aris' first time on skates this year, so she fell down a lot.  She had just gotten back from her grandparent's so she was a little off, but it wasn't bad. I didn't fall, so I count it as a complete success.   We all hope to go again and soon.

 After skating, I quickly put together some sticky buns for tomorrow's breakfast and then us big girls headed out to Marble Slab.   Surprisingly, no one was there.  This was our first time being the only costumers in the store.  We took great advantage of this, trying several flavours each.  Thankfully the clerk was very patient with us, especially when we were distracted being silly.  As I write this, I can just picture T trying to look innocent. :) We laughed, ate our ice cream, threatened to eat each other's ice cream and just generally hung out.  It was good.  I'm sore, tired and feeling vague holiday guilt, but all in all, I think I'm ready for three days worth of family togetherness.  At least we're not doing any more road trips until the 28th.

 I hope you all have a fabulous Christmas!  Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Baking and Other Thoughts.

 My house smells like eggnog.  I'm not exactly sure why since it has not been spilt (that I know of).  Maybe it's because I've had about three cups of coffee with eggnog in them.  I'm trying to limit my eggnog intake, but it's oh so good!

 There are also many oh so good types of cookies floating around my house too.  I'm hoping to do some more Christmas baking just because I have so much fun baking.  I've made four batches of cookies so far this season.  Aris loves to help me bake and I've discovered that she really opens up while baking.  Sometimes she tells me about school, other times she just sings a song she's creating.  She has a new song entitled "My mom thinks I'm a sheep".  She did record a version of it, but it wasn't quite as detailed or amusing as her earlier version.  I think I'm going to bake more often just so I can enjoy her company.

 I've had a couple of rough weeks, both physically and otherwise.  I'm doing better emotionally this week, although yesterday was harder.  However, I seem to be having another flare-up.  When that happens, I don't type as much mostly to avoid aggravating my hands.  They seem to be the worst hit, probably because of the pre-existing tendonitis and carpal tunnel.  So I've taken time to be still.  My husband and I have spent many nights this week on the couch, catching up on Stargate Universe.  Yes, we're geeks and very happy about it.  This time of quiet has been very good for my marriage.  When in tears I called my husband yesterday, feeling too broken to have any value, he reminded me how much fun he's had with me this week.   I'm very blessed by this patient man who feels loved when we watch sci-fi together.

 Once again, this seems to be rather random.  I'm hoping my hands will stabilize enough so I can write more.  But I'm treasuring the good moments I'm having with my husband and for all the interests that we share.  Many of these have been a surprise blessing for the both of us. :)  I hope you all have a lovely week before Christmas. :)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Catching Up

Once again, exhaustion pulls at my bones.  I've been busy and bone-tired, so haven't written even as the words cascade inside of me, wanting to spill out.  I've started half a dozen posts in my head, only to have them whirl off into the recesses of my foggy brain before I get to the computer.  Life has not been silent, or even unkind to us lately.  I am only silent here, but not for lack of words, just lack of computer time.

 On Thursday, a dear friend of ours came for dinner.  He comes about three times a year, during exam season.  Darren is one that I can welcome in even when my house is the most chaotic.  He doesn't mind.  He cheerfully eats whatever I feed him and is amused by my children.  They entertain him.  Typically, he would open up his macbook while we put the children to bed, but Aris' bedtime is now later.  She grabbed his hand and with enthusiasm requested that he make cookies with her.  Darren hesitated, but when it was reframed as an opportunity to spend time with her, he quickly acquiesced.  It was amusing, watching and listening to them.  Being a mathy, Darren was soon instructing my daughter in sequences, functions and sphere packing.  She listened intently and asked good questions.  Once the cookies were baked and decorated, Aris went to bed and the grown-ups chatted.  Mostly Steve and Darren chatted while I laughed at their very interesting and geeky conversations.  I wasn't mocking them, they just have very strange discussions. That evening Darren sat in the computer chair so I couldn't blog.  It's his fault I didn't write on Thursday, really.

 I was going to catalogue my days, but really there has been too much.  Another dinner at my grandmother's, this time a full-out turkey dinner complete with stuffing and cranberry sauce.  She put together a lovely box of candy and crackers for my children as a Christmas present.  I'm blessed beyond measure to be rebuilding our relationship.

 My best friend came home for the weekend.  We went to Chapters briefly and then made more cookies, this time for a cookie exchange.  Aris was home this weekend, so we included her in our activities.  That was more stressful for me, but nice for Aris.  She loves Kate and cherishes the time she spends with her. On Saturday night we headed out to a youth service.  The music was amazing, so loud that we couldn't hear ourselves sing.  We worshipped with abandon.  This is the second of these services I've attended and each time my soul has been deeply ministered too.  Last night's worship and reflection both mended and repurposed me.  Attending with my best friend didn't hurt either.  We laughed deeply and often, while continuing our ongoing discussion on faith and life.  She challenges me while loving me.  Although leaving our church has been painful, I'm finding solace in attending church with my best friend and her family.  She headed back up north after this morning's service, but will be back for Christmas vacation in just a week.  I can't believe that Christmas is almost upon us!

 I've been reflecting on Christmas too.  Currently, I'm dissatisfied with how I celebrate Christmas.  We're in the long and slow process of modifying our traditions.  Yesterday, someone told me that they hate Christmas.  While I understand where he was coming from, I've been mulling over my response to that.  For me, God made flesh is so important.  Loving a distant, all-powerful God is hard.  Fear comes naturally, but love?  But this Emmanuel opens the door to a relationship with God, not just because of His eventual sacrifice, but because of His walk here on earth.  God put on flesh and dwelt among us, not as an overlord, but as a member of the working poor.  The God who created this universe is hard for me to trust or love.  But the Jesus who wept, who loved, who healed and who gave His life with abandon, Him I can love.  Thus a bridge is built, not only between sinful man and Holy God, but also between omnipotent God and fragile frail man.  This is more meaningful for me this Christmas than other years as I have been struggling with trusting and loving this God whose immensity I cannot grasp.

 There is more I could write.  My brain is full.  But my husband has an iPod to play with, so I will relinquish the computer to him and return to my book.  In time, I will endeavour to write more.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Changing Tone

 Yesterday was bad. Bread was made with anger, not love, after grumpy baby backwashed into Momma's precious cup of coffee.  Daddy was called, a state of emergency was declared, and all was not well in this house.  An oncoming storm aggravated this girl's head bringing pain and prickles to one side of her head.   Upon awakening this morning, the pain was back.  I almost stayed in bed, but the husband had a meeting so up I got.

 I grumbled, moaned and was just plain miserable.  Bundling the children up earlier than normal, we headed out for the daily trudge to school.  My heart muttered grumpily.

 The sun shone brightly against the clouds and a brilliant blue sky.  The grey trunks of bare trees were illuminated, their starkness a different kind of beauty.  The snow sparkled and crunched under foot.  How could I be grumpy on a day such as this?  It was cold, but not windy.  I felt invigorated, not frozen.  And as we crossed between the plaza's loading docks and the forest, I happened to see a woodpecker.  He was a little bird, striped black and white with a startling red cap.  As we watched, he hopped and pecked around the trunk, bobbing up and down as he went.  We marvelled at his beauty and his lack of fear at our presence.  Soon we scurried on, for school bells wait for no man, certainly not for those who stop to stare.

 The tone had been set.  Instead of gloom and misery, we saw brightness and delight.  My day, my course had been changed and for the better.

 Looking for grace with the rest today at

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Redemption by cookies?

 She perches on the kitchen chair, licking fingers clean of icing sugar.  Her face, top and leggings bear witness to her enjoyment of this delight.  Perhaps I'm guilty of the same offence, as sugar trails white comets down the front of my hoodie.  We made Walnut Snowball Cookies tonight together.  It's a simple recipe, perfect for tired nights and eager helpers.  Using the food processor, we ground up the walnuts and then she mixed it all together.  Once baked, we rolled them in icing sugar.  Of course there was leftover sugar that we just had to eat.  It would be wasteful just to leave it, right? :)

 It's been a hard day.  My adorable Kian had a bad day, leaving him very violent and demanding.  When he backwashed in my coffee, this mommy exploded!  The day didn't get any worse, but it took a very very long time to get any better.   To top it off, I have pain and numbness on side of my head.  I'm not happy.  But my little one wanted to make cookies and I'd found this recipe today and I really do love her, so....We made cookies.  And they're very very good.  So today wasn't a waste after all.

Monday, December 6, 2010

It wasn't me!!!!

 This afternoon, Mr. Kian decided to have some fun.  So he emptied out the bag Daddy had so carefully filled up with milkbag yarn and arranged himself in the middle.

 He insisted that he couldn't have done this, not at all!  Instead he blamed it on Sparkle, Aris' cat.

 Sparkle attempts to look innocent.

 In the end, he was so cute that I let him be. Adorable, isn't he? :)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Me Time

 One of the biggest stressers for me the past year or so has been the lack of me time. Specifically, time away from responsibilities.  Tonight I actually managed to get some of that time.  A group of moms connected with the school got together to watch a movie and then go out for drinks and desserts.  I was invited.  We've been eagerly anticipating this for at least three weeks and oh, was it good!  I'm exhausted now, but I ate wonderful food, laughed long and hard, had some deep conversation and made new friends. I feel much happier and more relaxed than I have for a while. Yay!  Now to scurry off to bed...:)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Eggnog Gratefulness

This will be short, but I am thankful for eggnog, eggnog in coffee, friends that bring over eggnog to share and nutmeg on eggnog. I'm also really thankful that my husband doesn't like eggnog so I don't have to share it with him. My children do like eggnog, but I can't decide if I'm thankful for that. It's great that they like it, but then the container gets emptier that much faster!

I'm also thankful for school movie nights, naps in the car, delicious pizza at school movie nights, good friends that come over after children are in bed, and watching Princess Bride with aforementioned friends. But I've stayed up too late(again!) so to bed I go!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Naked Trees.

 The leaves are fallen from the trees, leaving them stark against the sky.  Although I mourn the passing of Autumn's rich beauty, these silhouettes catch and hold my eye repeatedly.  It is here, in the death of colour and life, that the bones of the tree and indeed the forest are revealed.  The slender trunks, lofty often symmetrical branches speak of elegance and form.  The art of a naked tree astounds me.

 In spring, summer and fall, I pay more attention to the leaves or the shade, then I do the tree.  But now, having all else stripped away, I admire these steadfast trees.  The lack of leaves does not concern them, they do not scramble to hide their nakedness.  Rather, they stand as boldly as before with peace, assurance and confidence.

 Would that I could do the same, stand firm in the midst of being stripped.  My comforts are gone, have been disappearing like autumn leaves for quite some time.  I see hope, but her coming is a far off.  May I like the trees I so admire find grace, strength, peace, assurance and most of all trust in this inner winter.

 I join with Emily and the rest today,