Friday, December 30, 2011

One Simple Goal

This logo is on my favorite shirt.
It's a motto our family will continue to focus on in 2012.

As New Year's Eve approaches, I can't help but to reflect back on the year that was. I think it was good one, if not an easy one. We made a lot of significant changes this year and I think we're better for all of them. It's an on-going challange to simply our lives. Creating better routines and breaking the bad habits we've developed over the years is hard sometimes but it's a battle that I think we're winning.

Our priorities for 2011 were simple: eat better, exercise more, work as a team and get healthier financially. We've done very well at eating better, making smarter use of our money and working together as a team. Though our focus on nutrition slipped in December, we made some significant moves on the financial front and Team Blanchard is working very well together. Overall, I'm really happy with how those three life goals are progressing.

Exercising regularly and together are on-going battles. We haven't done well with them at all. We've relied too much on Scouts and not enough on our family. We've gone for a few family hikes and outtings this year, but not nearly enough. Our school transport routines rely on driving almost all the time and Jonas is old enough now that he's spending more and more time out playing with his friends, leaving Steve and I to putter about on our own. Those two things translate into a need to refocus and reinvent our family exercise opportunities. Hopefully the introduction of snowboarding and the arrival of the winter snows will help us get over the hump.

So our family mission for 2012 is even simpler - to keep simplfying. Reprioritizing and really buckling down are simple goals that are not so easily acheived. We're slowly moving ourselves into a better position for the future and that's really our big life goal. Eat well. Play well. Strengthen the team. Simple!


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Budding Outdoorsman

Jonas has always been the kind of kid who's happiest outdoors, exploring nature. He started camping before he was born and hiking before he could walk. Both are things he now loves as an eight year old.

How did that happen?

We simply let his curiosity, enthusiasm and energy lead us all. We started him young, we never forced him or sucked the fun out of it for him (except when his mind and body butted heads with safety) and we don't let the changing seasons stop us. We do it as a family and we let his passions lead the way. If he wants to carry Steve's rucksack pack full of survival gear, we let him. When four year old Jonas insisted that Teddy come with us on every hike we got him a pack with a special seat belt for Teddy. When he became ready to use a knife and learn to start a campfire, we started to teach him. When he wanted to climb trees, we cheered him on. Make snow angels? No problem! Build a tee-pee? Sure, why not! We're also helping him develop smart outdoor safety habits and learn the basics of wilderness survival along the way. Something that, for now at least, he's got a keen interest in.

These are the reasons why we camp and hike, even in the winter, they're and a big part of the reason he and I joined Scouts together - to encourage his love of the outdoors and to nurture the wild child within him. We are but two of his teachers. He is the leader of us all!


Wordless Wednesday: Christmas Memories

My favorite picture from Christmas this year:

Jonas and Teddy just before bedtime on Christmas Eve as I read "The Night Before Christmas".

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Mom and Jonas Monday

Today was my last day off until New Years. Steve had to work so it was just me and Jo. We decided to do one of our favorite things: go for a hike. We had a great day. We hiked for about an hour through the forest to the beach, where the wikkiup from our summer hike was still standing. We started a campfire, had a warm lunch in our shelter from the cold rain, and then hiked back as the rain turned to the first real snowfall of the year.

By the time we got home, Steve was back and the snow was starting to collect on the ground. Jonas was eager to give his new sled a try so, after another warming bowl of turkey soup, he put on his snow pants and coat and headed out the door for some more outdoor fun, while I shot some pictures. He arrived home after the sun had set with a huge, wonderful smile on his face. It was a day neither of us will ever forget!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Blanchard Boxing Day

We are enjoying another wonderful Christmas. We spent Christmas eve at my Dad's with my dad, (step)mom, brother, sister, brother-in-law and niece. We spent Christmas day at our house with my mom and brother. We've had two amazing turkey dinners, been spoiled with gifts and surrounded with love. It's been wonderfu! The only thing missing is Tasha.

Today it's been just the three of us. We've been engaged in all of our indoor toys. Builing, creating, playing, watching, surfing, eating and napping to our hearts content. We haven't been out of our jammies for two days. What a great way to spend a day off!

Tomorrow we're going to venture out of the house to go on some sort of an outdoor adventure, at least that's the plan. We got a bunch of outdoor gear for sledding, snowboarding, hiking and camping, so at least one of those has to go on our extended holiday weekend agenda. Steve has to work tomorrow so I think Jonas and I are going to go for a hike and then to the ski hill to sign-up for snowboarding lessons - an awesome gift from Nana and Uncle Mike. What a great way to kick start a year of spending more time outdoors together in 2012!


Friday, December 23, 2011

Time for Myself

What a great night! Steve took Jonas Christmas shopping and left me with the house to myself for a few hours. I've had a wicked headache for the past couple of days and didn't feel up to doing much of anything so I parked myself on the couch, found "Love Actually" on Netflicks, made some hot chocolate and wrapped their presents. I had to take a few branches off the tree so they could fit, and that made me feel so blessed.

They came home a couple of hours later, full of smiles, laughter and shopping bags. They promptly told me that it would be a huge favour if I went and had a bath or something. So, that's exactly what I did. I propped my tablet beside the tub and watched another Christmas movie. It felt so decadent.

I haven't felt this spoiled in a long time. I think I could get used to it - at least as a new Christmas tradition!


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Our little boy is growing up. He's changed so much over the past year, particularly the last 6 months. He's thinking more mature and elaborate thoughts, wrestling with big life issues and pondering those eternal questions that some of us never find answers too. He's also got his first crush. I'm not used to the idea yet, but I'm trying. We talked a bit more about her and I ended up speechless again.

He was a little embarassed while we were preparing Christmas cards and gifts for his class last night, mostly I'm sure because his Dad was having a little fun with him. Steve pointed out that he could stick two candy canes on a card to make a heart and that he could put Xs and Os instead of smiley cafes under his signature. (Dads!)

I asked him to tell me a little more about this girl and I nearly blew hot chocolate out my nose when he said "She's hot, Mom!" After I cleaned up the mess and regained my composure, I asked "What does hot mean?" He got that look on his face that kids get when they're parents ask a stupid question. "Isn't it obvious, Mom?" he retorted. "It means she's beee-uuuuu-titiful" he said with decreasing volume and increasing blush in his face until he finally turned away from me.

My baby really is growing up.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: First Crush

Wordless Wednesday in the blogosphere means we're supposed to try to not use any words. I'm going to break that tradition today. Instead of telling you something visually, I'd like to share something that has me at a loss for words. It has to leave you silent too because it's a secret. Shhhhhhhhhhhhh!

When we got to Jonas's school last night, he was showing us to the gym when a little girl walked by going in the opposite direction and said "It's this way, Jonas." He completely ignored her and kept on going. "Jonas, that was rude," I said. He blushed and went with her. He was nervous and excited, I reasoned, and made a mental note to talk to him later about it.

The concert was great. When they came on stage the first time, he was in the back row with a huge smile on his face. The second time, he was front and centre, singing his heart out but staring at the floor. He stared at the floor every time thereafter, except in the last scene when he was in the back again. 

When we got home, we had a cup of hot chocolate, watched the video with him, and then it was bedtime. I crawed into his bed beside him so we could snuggle for a few minutes and asked if he had fun. "Yup," he said. "What was your favorite part of the play?" I asked. He said it was the beginning and then end when he was in the back. Thinking the reason was because he was so nervous, I enquired "Why?" (Here comes the loss of words part.)

It turns out that I was right about him being nervous but my radar was way off. The reason he liked being in the back was because of that little girl he was rude to. He was happier in the back because he was far from her. (She was in the front row every time.) "Oh boy," I thought, being rude to his classmate is certainly no way to endear him to his classmates, especially when she seemed to be being nice to him, and even if she's one of the kids that's laughing at the way he talks.
"Why do you want to stay away from her," I asked. "Because I like her," he said quietly turning his face into the pillow. I wasn't sure that I heard him properly because it was translated by my mom brain into something like "AHHHHHHHHHHH!", so I blurted out "What?"

"Mom, I really like her." Oh. I wasn't prepared for that. Uh Oh!

"Is she nice?" "Yup." "Is she friendly?" "Yup." "Is she smart?" "Oh yeah!" "Is she funny?" "Very!" "Is she good at games?" "Oh yeah. She runs super fast and she's really good at football. I can catch the ball pretty good but she's a super thrower! And she's really funny. She knows lots of good jokes and she's a good singer too."

"If you like her, why did you ignore her when she tried to help you tonight?" I asked gently. He said "Because if I'm near her or talk to her, she's going to know that I like her and she might want to kiss me and I don't want to get married yet."

Enter my loss of words.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Thankful Tuesday: Take Two

My Three Things list today don't feel entirely grateful so I thought I'd do a retake and add one more thing to the list.

This week I'm grateful for technology. I'm not talking about my tablet computer, which I LOVE, especially being able to watch a movie while soaking in a hot tub.  I'm thankful for simplier things like clocks and calculators. Jonas got to use both on his math test at the end of last week. After 3 weeks of struggling with complicated math problems at homework time, he got an A+ on his test, in part because his teacher him use a calculator and a clock. She was testing whether he knew what to add, subract and multiply so doing actual calculations were secondary, so using these tools makes a lot of sense and obviously helped him stay on track. Yeah!
I love my Little Professor calculator when I was a kid.
I think I'll see if I can get Santa's elves to make one for Jonas

Thankful Tuesday: Three Things

Three of the many things I am grateful for this week are:
  • Jonas asking to be the Head Gift Wrapper this year. Given my lack of wrapping skills, maybe I should start taking advantage of the in-store wrapping services so generously offered at some stores. (The stores I visit never seem to give me this opportunity though, in part, I'm sure because of my determination to avoid the malls and big stores in December.) Bringing gifts home already wrapped scares me though. I worry that wrapping the gifts too early will encourage my memory to become even more short-term and make me forget what I've already bought. That always induces the horrific panic that comes when I think I've forgotten a niece or a nephew in all the chaos and it's just not worth it. On the other hand, teaching Jonas the joys of gift giving is something that's important to me. Letting him learn to take the time, and feel the pride, of giving that special gift some TLC makes me feel a little more like the mom I want to be.

  • Small stores and 24 hour shopping. I am not a shopper. I hate going to stores at this time of the year. Unfortunately, no matter how early you cross everything off your list, there is always something that needs to be bought at the height of the retail frenzy. Things like groceries and the last minute thing you kid forgot he needs for school. Some of the big stores have 24 hour shopping so I can stop in on my way to work at 5:30am. Others are smaller, a little off the beaten path, not nearly as popular as other places and carry a wide range of merchandise that appeals to my one-and-done perference.
  • Old friends. They say that kids make friends easily, and that may be true for some kids, but when you're the 8 year old kid who stutters, is sensative about it, and who thinks differently from the herd, it's not so easy. Jonas is having a very hard time making friends at his new school. He says that he doesn't have any friends there and it seems that they may be true. The continuity of having friends from before the school move is a true blessing. In the past couple of days he had the chance to for a play date with a friend he's had since kindergarten, and he also got to go a birthday party for Gavin and Leah, who are like a brother and sister to him. We're strategizing about ways to help him make friends at this school but spending time with friends who know and accept him does wonders for his self esteem which has been taking a beating lately. 
Weren't they cute! Jonas, Gavin and Leah have been friends since they were babies.


Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Central

Wow! Less than a week to go until the big day. All of my shopping is done. I think. I hope.

We have an extra bedroom upstairs that is basically a junk... I mean, a storage room. I call it a junk room because it's important to understand that this room is clutter and chaos. Anything that doesn't have a place eventually ends up thrown in there. By the time Christmas rolls around, we could make an appearence on one of those Hoarders shows. The annual closet, dresser drawer and toy clean-out foragings end up there and it also becomes my gift hiding and sorting room at this time of year. Despite the inherent risks of entering a room riddled with boobie traps, it's a challenge to keep the boys out of there. Steve's already visited it at least once, when he dropped off some presents for Jonas, and Jonas always seems to have something urgently important to ask me whenever I'm in there. I have to be a bit covert going in there. It's no wonder I'm a little less than confident about what I have in there.

I am no Martha Stewart. I wish I was one of those women that has her Christmas shopping done, wrapped and organized by July. I dream of having a wrapping room so I could have everything perfectly wrapped with coordinated paper, tags and bows before December starts. I long to be give people gifts where the pattern on the paper lines up like a perfect wall paper job.
My inner Martha Stewart is too far inside to have a room like this.

That's so not my me. In my world, things are more fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants. Some would call it erratic. I call it personalized.

For better or worse, we have a kid and cats. We can't put our presents under the tree too soon, for fear of a kitten attack or a peeking 8 year old. This results in piles of gifts in the junk room, sorted by the household they're going to. These piles migrate to the dining room about a week before Christmas. Right about, oh... this past weekend.

My dining room has transformed into a rag tag satellite of the North Pole. It now looks like Christmas central, with groupings of gifts on every chair and ledge. My dining room table has become an operating theatre for presents, with scissors, tape, tags and ribbons. The next phase of Christmas is upon us: The great wrapping! Wish us luck!

My helper elf
 One more thing:
Dear Santa, please don't let me forget that
Steve and Jonas's presents are still in the junk room
and need to be wrapped by December 23rd.


Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Surprise for Mom

Wow! Steve went from having no idea what to get me for Christmas, to giving me my present a week early. (He had no choice. We have to use it for 10 days before we register the warrenty.) And what a gift!

I was thinking about a new pair of pajammas or a thermos, (and I have to confess that I already bought myself a new pair of longjohns) but he and Jonas got me a new tablet computer! It's nowhere near the top of the line but it solves the problem of fighting with Jonas for time on my computer when he's awake, and not being able to do enough with my handheld.

I'm not a technology girl but this thing is really cool. I can do everything that I could do on my desktop and more - AND I can do it anywhere.  Now I can do Scout work, blog, check Facebook, read, take and edit pictures, listen to music, watch videos, surf the net, check Jonas's class website and write my endless notes, all in the comfort of my bed after I put Jonas to bed at night. Hooray!

As an added bonus it also has voice recognition software. I have arthritis in my hands and it makes typing increasingly difficult. My hubby. He's so thoughtful!


Friday, December 16, 2011

A Gift for Myself

For the last few years we've been living on a very tight budget and have been working hard to reduce our debts and lighten the load. We have everyhing we need and though it's taken some time to adjust to it, we're getting pretty good at stretching our money and finding creative soloutions to challenges like Christmas shopping. We've always been blesssed to have presents to give to our loved ones and, of course, the little guy that lives with us and still believes in ALL the magic of Christmas.

The belt tightening is paying off. The shopping for our kids, nieces and nephews is done, and we've put money aside for new snow tires on both vehicles and to fix the power steering in my car. We've spent a little more on the kids than we usually do and it feels great to be able to do that, especially when they're used to not being overindulged and are always genuinely grateful for what they receive.

What I hadn't anticipated was Steve asking me the other day what I want for Christmas. It really stumped me. We've got a little extra money to spend so I've been thinking of the perfect gift to get him and something for myself hasn't crossed my mind. I don't often shop for myself, especially not for anythng more elaborate than the basics. I'm a pretty simple girl who isn't into shoes, fashion or jewlery and it doesn't take much to make me happy. Steve's looking for a little help though so I'll have to give it some thought.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas Menu Planning

I'm happy to report that I'm almost done my Christmas present shopping and even got a bunch of cards in the mail this morning. Woohookachoo!

Now I'm turning my attention to menu planning for the big day. I am not a baker but I love cooking, especially a big meal for people I love. We're spending Christmas day at our house this year and my mom and brother are joining us. The plan is for us all to wake up at our house on Christmas morning so I need to plan a full day's worth of meals. I'm going with all the family favourites this year so I think I might be strung up if I missed something.

Since the cyber world seems to be bubbling with yummy recipe ideas, I thought I'd share the menu with you as I write my grocery shopping list!

Christmas Morning Breakfast:
  • Banana French Toast (Our traditional Christmas breakfast for several years now and one of the only things I look forward to baking.)
  • Nana's Fruit Salad
    (This recipe was handed down from my Grandma Lillie: Mandarine oranges + apples + bananas + grapes + berries + juice from mandarines)
Finger Foods for the day:
  • Mrs. Barker's Homemade Cheese Ball and Crackers
    (This recipe handed down from a high school best friend's mom: 1 pack Imperial cheese *that red plastic container with the black lid that you've always wondered about + 1 pack cream cheese + 1 small container sour cream + 2 or 3 green onions)
  • Steve's Amazing Layered Nacho Dip
    (This is a Blanchard Family Favourite, invented, I think, by Steve's mom: Salsa + sour cream mixed with cream cheese + green onions + grated cheddar)
  • Peel and eat shrimp
    (Another Blanchard family favourite)
Turkey Dinner:

Oh! I'd better not forget the egg nog!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Christmas Traditions

Building a gingerbread house
Watching Christmas movies
(This is me watching Rudolph while the kids listened in and built a gingerbread house.)
New slippers for Christmas
The kids decorate the tree (and put it up, now that they're old enough)
and I fill in the ornament gaps later.  (Notice the cat?)
Cats attacking the tree
Stockings hung on our paddles with care


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Thankful Tuesday: Three Things

Three of the many things I am grateful for this week are:

  • Our kids. They're the greatest gifts I could ever receive.
  • Family Traditions. Like building a gingerbread house every Christmas, family traditions add meaning and enjoyment to our time together and help us build memories that will last a lifetime.


Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Comes Two Weeks Early

Tasha came home for the weekened!  It was the only chance we'd have to be together until New Year's day, so we decided to make it a Christmas weeekend at our house.

The weekend began in earnest when she surprised Jonas at school on Friday. They had a night out at the movies together while Steve and I went to my company Christmas party. Jonas was so happy and excited that he crawled into our bed so he could tell me all about it when Steve and I got home.

We spent the rest of the weekend celebrating all things Christmas, including a full-on turkey dinner last night. In fact, we barely made it out of our pajamas! We decorated the house, put up the tree and the stockings, put a serious dent in our Christmas shopping lists, made a gingerbread house, sang Christmas carols and watched Christmas movies. Most of the very best parts of Christmas, two weeks early. It was great! The only thing we didn't get done was a visit to the big guy in the red suit. Jonas was having so much fun with Tasha that he didn't want to waste time standing in line at the mall.  ;)

The Blanchard family stockings: Steve, Jacqui, Tasha, Jonas and Teddy

Happy Holidays! 

To all of our  friends around the world, no matter what culture or religion,
may you enjoy a very special holiday season.


Friday, December 9, 2011

Queue the Mom Guilt

It's been a rough week around here. Jonas has been whiney, argumentative, and has been having meltdowns at home and at school. He had a REALLY rough day at school on Wednesday, so much so that his teacher sought me out to ask if he had his medication, or if something was happening that she didn't know about, because he was acting so out of character.

After all his hard work making his puppet and helping his six write their puppet show, we decided that I would go to Scouts alone on Wednesday night, so Jonas could stay home with Steve and get to bed early. He was so disappointed.  Queue the mom guilt. 

Honestly, it's been exhausting.  I'm fighting a cold, my energy and patience levels are low and my guilt level high. He's also got a cold and is still recovering from the weekend of late nights. He hasn't been eating or drinking very much this week, which I suspect is a combination of his medication and the cold. All that combined is messing with his body and his emotions. These not excuses but are definitely contributing factors. He still has to face the consequences of his actions, but I feel like everything would be better if I could just figure out a better deal with it all.

Thankfully, the guilt was alleviated when I got home yesterday to find a smiley face in his school agenda. The early bedtime seems to have helped. We had another difficult session of math homework last night, but once that was out of the way, it was a pleasant evening. Of course, part of that might be that I went to bed as soon as dinner was over.  ;)  Both the boys seemed to be in good spirits this morning, so I'll take it as a good sign.

Tasha arrived home after I took Jonas to school this morning and is going to surprise him by picking him up at school today. We've got a low-key weekend planned, with nothing on the agenda except our company Christmas parties tonight and Saturday night, putting up the tree and decorating the house. We're not planning on getting out of our pajamas except for when Steve and I go to the parties. I'll bet it's going to be good medicine for all of us.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Homemade Puppets

Tonight is the Cub Scouts Christmas Puppet Extravaganza! Our Cubs made their own puppets and wrote their own puppet shows to present to the Beaver Scouts. Here's what Jonas and I came up with:

Jonas's Frosty the Snowman, for the Green Six's play about a winter storm
that knocks Santa out of his sleigh to be rescued by Frosty.

My "Jennifer" puppet, who's an understudy for the Purple Six's play about friendship and sharing.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Thankful Tuesday: Three Things

I'm full of the Christmas spirit right now and it's making it very difficult to pick only a few of things that I'm grateful for this week! I'm going to take a chance and single a few people out today. I am blessed to have wonderful people in my life, many deserving of a special shout-out. These people have left special foot prints on my heart this week:
  • Tasha and Jonas. They love each other so much. Their's hasn't been a convential siblinghood. They came together later in her life, but they're making up for lost time. Sure, they fight and argue but usually they're warm and fuzzy towards each other. Jonas adores her, and Tasha has gobs of patience and understanding for him. The house hasn't been the same without her this year. She's coming home this week it's a secret surprise for Jonas.  He's going to be thrilled!

  • My cousin Jennifer. We hardly ever see each other but Facebook keeps us connected. She's a teacher in British Columbia and has been a tremendous support as we try to navigate through the world of ADHD.  She works so hard for her own family and students and yet always makes the time for us as well.

  • Our Scouting famly. Jonas and I spent another great weekend at camp this past weekend. As a mom, I love seeing how he flourishes when he participates in Scouts. I also love the dear friends I've made. Having the opportunity to spend time with them is something that I cherish. They make me a better mom and a better person.


Monday, December 5, 2011

The Little Keeo: A Lesson in Leadership

Jonas and I spent another wonderful weeked at camp with the Scouts and Beaver Scouts this weekend. It was a great couple of days and a special opportunity for Jonas. You see, the Cub Scouts weren't part of this camp. Jonas was one of three Cubs, called Keeos, who came to help with the Beaver Scouts. It's a very special role, designed to teach them a bit about leadership. Intended for older Cub, Keeos help both the Beavers and Leaders, as sort of a Junior Leader. (Or, in Jonas's case, sort of Junior Junior Leader.) Their most important responsibility is being a good role model for the Beavers. That can be a tall order for 8-10 year olds and Jonas was very excited about the opportunity.

Jonas and another of our Keeos encouraging the Beaver Scouts with their leathercraft.
Although the other two Keeos join our Beaver meetings every week, this was Jonas's first chance to take on the role, a reward for working so hard in school and in Cubs. Opportunities like this are an added benefit of being a Leader's child, but not something that we'll continue if he doesn't rise to the challenge. It's not fair to anyone to put him in a position that he's not ready for, especially him, so we considered this a well-supervised trial.

Jonas enjoying the warmth of the campfire, waiting his turn to roast a marshmallow.

So, how did it go?

Pretty well for his first time. He did a great job playing with the Beavers, assisting with cabin chores, and helping on our hikes and with crafts. He's still young though, and has a hard time understanding that what's fair for a five year old isn't the same as for an eight year old, and that just because one Keeo doesn't follow the rules doesn't mean that he can do the same. Waiting for his marshmallow at the campfire while the other Keeos and then the Beavers got theirs first, and being chosen last for the games we played, were hard for him.  He had a few tears but overall, I'd say he did very well. More importantly, when I asked him what he thought of the weekend, he "It was great!"


Thursday, December 1, 2011

It's Time for the Advent Calendar!

One of my favourite family Christmas traditions is the Advent Calendar. We always had one when I was growing up and my brother, sister and I would take turns opening a door each day. In our home now we have a cloth one with a wooden Christmas tree that moves one spot every day. We also usually get one of the cheapo chocolate ones for Jonas. It's a nice countdown for all of us, giving Jonas a little treat every day and reminding my that I've got one less day to get through my To Do List.

I have to admit though, that I've always suffered from Advent Calendar envy though. Ever since I was little, I've always wanted one of those fancy Advent Calendars that has little trinkets inside. Honestly, other than one a friend had when I was 7 or 8, I think I've only ever seen them in movies. This year I decided that we were going to have one. I determined that I would put little toys in the pockets of our fabric calendar for an extra special surprise. My plan was to stock up on some little Lego guys, Go Gos, Squinkies and some Hotwheels.

And then I found this.... 

I saw it a couple of weeks ago but resistedbuying it. I hmmm'd and haaa'd, and wrestled with the idea of spending so much money. Then I decided that it would be worth it. Christmas only comes once a year, and Jonas will soon be too old to really be enraptured by the magic of it all. He doesn't get a lot of new toys, except on Christmas and his birthday, and he rarely asks for new stuff. That's one of the things that makes him such an amazing kid. He truly is happy with what he has. Then I imagined the smile on his face when he sees this and how excited it's going to make him.

So, this morning I headed off to that big blue store where things seem to be a little cheaper than anywhere else and I was delighted to find that they still had some AND they were 30% off!

Merry Christmas!!