Friday, December 28, 2012

Love that kid!

Jonas was totally into Santa Claus at his SK Christmas concert in 2008

A co-worker asked me yesterday if Jonas is still into Santa Claus and Christmas magic. My answer was that he's on the cusp of outgrowing Santa but he's old enough now to really start getting into the true meaning of Christmas. That seemed to confuse her a bit so I'll explain.

Jonas told us several times that this year he's too old to sit on Santa's knee, and he never did get around to writing a letter. He still believes in Santa, but he didn't really have a wish list or any sense of urgency about recieving gifts. When we took him Christmas shopping, there was no "Can I have this? Instead we got a bunch of "Can I get this for so-and-so?" I said to Steven last night, that it almost makes me sad to think that we haven't instilled a greater sense of the Christmas magic in him.

Almost.....  More than anything, it reminded me of Christmas 2007, when he was three and half, and the only thing he asked for was a cradle for his Teddy.

One of the many wonderful things about Jonas is the fact that he's just not into stuff. He never has been. It's one of the things we're most proud of as his parents. He rarely asks for anything for himself, he's just as happy with some little dollar store toy as he is anything big and extravagent, and he's most happy with his stuff when he can share it. (To be fair, his request for stuff have become almost non-existant since we got rid of cable tv a year and a half ago, and he stopped getting bombarded with commercials.) 

That said, he was blessed to receive lots of stuff this year, and he's enjoying it all - even the clothes.


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays, my friends!

It's December 27th, and it was back to work for me for a couple of days, before a little break to ring in the New Year. (Less than 2 weeks to go until I go on Mat Leave!) The Christmas vacation of the last 5 days has been wonderful. I didn't get my Christmas cards out. I ignored my blog. I didn't get my gifts wrapped all fancy and crafty-like. Actually, I didn't do much of anything. I took my doctor's and hubby's advice and just relaxed. Heck, I barely even picked up the camera.

Jonas took his turns in the kitchen too.
Here he is making is soon to be famous cranberry sauce.
I did make the stuffing, cram it in the bird and wack it all in the oven on Christmas morning. After that, I left just about everything to somebody else. I have to admit that it was sort of surreal at the beginning, but I could certainly get used to being waited on hand and foot. Of course, there's only a few weeks left until BGB's expected arrival, and that overwhelming feeling of never sitting down and never getting any sleep so I'm taking advantage of all the down-time I can get.

At almost 36 weeks now, BGB seems content in there. She's doing well. I'm getting stronger and more frequent braxton-hicks contractions but even though it seems she's trying to wiggle her way out sometimes, it looks like we've got a little while longer to wait before we meet her.

In the meanwhile, we've decided that the next week or so is going to be all about spending quality time with Jonas. Even though both Steve and I have to work, our schedules are pretty flexible, especially Steve's. The two of them have been spending gobs of time playing together and it's been pretty amazing to witness. They arrived home this afternoon, GT Snow Racer in tow, with HUGE smiles on their faces, and that couldn't have made me happier. Hopefully tomorrow, I can get out there and watch them go.


Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas Groceries

Today is our annual Christmas potluck bagel buffet at work. We don't have a very big team but we sure can eat! As I shopped for my contribution, I couldn't help but think of my own Christmas grocery list. There are only 5 of us at our house this year, and my mom is doing most of the cooking. So, other than the turkey and stuffing for Christmas day and a ham for Boxing Day, I don't have very much shopping to do.

There are some things that are absolutely must haves in our house over the holidays. I think we might have a little 5 person riot on our hands if we left any of them house. Since I seem to be hungry every second of the day, I thought I'd share.


Gingerbread: We always make a gingerbread house on Christmas eve, but...
I got one of these soft gingerbread houses for the office so I picked up a second one for home.
I don't think it's possible to have too much gingerbread, is it?
Steve's layered nacho dip
Our nod to the Blanchard family traditions: shrimp ring
Our nod to the Lillie family traditions: My mom's non-bake oatmeal patty cakes
A nod to Symonds family traditions: Cranberry gingerale punch
Mandarin oranges

A nod to Uncle Chris: Eggnog + vanilla icecream + the Magic Bullet = YUMMY milkshakes
(Hint: add a little kaluha for extra grown-up YUM!)
A nod to my dad and the Symonds family sweet tooth: Butter tarts
A nod to Steve's dad: Pancakes for Boxing Day breakfast.
This year we're going to try gingerbread pancakes.

Hot chocolate with mini marshmallows.
This year I think I'm going to make a batch in the crock pot and just keep it warm.

Homemade multi-grain bread for Steve's amazing left-over turkey sandwhiches

Thursday, December 20, 2012

School Christmas Concert

Jonas all ready to rock the gynasium.

I had the pleasure of watching Jonas's school Christmas concert today and I must admit that I was a blubbering fool. Something about watching my little boy playing "The Little Drummer Boy" on his recorder with his class made me tear up. I could say it was because of how hard he's worked to learn the song. (He even used some of his piggy bank money to buy his own second (red) recorder so he could have one at school and at home.) Or I could claim that it was how confident he looked while doing it. In part it was because I kept flashing back to his kindergarten concerts, and thinking that we'll be doing that all over again in a few years with BGB.

The truth is, what made me cry was watching him look casually around the gym when he walked in, and then get huge smile on his face when he picked me out of the crowd. Just like almost every other kid who had a parent there, he started waving, and kept waving as I waved back and hepointed me out to his best buddy Kyah. (Kyah is a girl, by the way, and their teacher calls them "Frick and Frack" because they've bonded to well.) It made my heart melt and tears start to flow.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: The Christmas Cat

Scruffy has decided the the Christmas tree is his new special place.
Here he is having a cat nap about halfway up.
(Honestly, I think that if the tree wasn't bolted to the wall, it would be in pieces on the floor.)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

New Camping Goodies

Christmas seems a little anti-climactic this year. Not only has life been put into sharp perspective by the recent tradegy in Newtown, Connecticut, but I feel like we're in a holding pattern, waiting for BGB's safe arrival. This year the only thing that I truly want for Christmas is a healthy baby, in addition to our healthy family. That said, there are four presents under the tree that I'm especially looking forward to opening. I won't get a chance to use them for a while, but I'm REALLY looking forward to the day I do.

It's only December, she's not even born yet, but it seems I've already got cabin fever! As I've mentioned before, camping, hiking, canoing, etc. are things I love, especially when we do them as a family. In fact, I think they're some of the best times we have together as a family. I can't wait to get BGB out there and can only hope that she falls in love with it too. (WOW! I just has my first thought about one-on-one camping trips with her and it made my heart flutter a little bit.) My nesting instincts have kicked in big time over the past week or so, but since I can't get at her room just yet, I'm a little preoccupied with adjusting our camping gear for our new little one.

In case you don't know, I not only love camping, I'm also a little bit of an addict when it comes to camping gear. In a nicely timed twist of fate, I recently won some new goodies to add to the backpack. I'm a member of a group that runs seasonal camping contests, and even though I didn't sleep on the ground in this fall, I did get out and do some hiking and had two amazing weekends with both the Fish N Chix and our Scout group. I posted the pics and the stories and was surprised to win the fall contest. The prize pack is made up of some goodies that will be put to good use, once BGB is ready to hit the trail.


3-man Tarp Tipi
Jonas and I started moving towards tarp camping this year so this is a fabulous addition!

GSI kettle and an Esbit Stove
Esbit stoves are so easy to use and we've been looking for a good new kettle
since we destroyed ours a few years ago, trying to chase away a black bear.

Bacho Laplander Saw
LOVE folding saws and this one is top of the line.

Monday, December 17, 2012

BGB - 6 Weeks to Go!

It's week 34. My mom reminds me that I was born at 34 weeks, and also that 6 weeks early isn't as early as it was back then. My Mother-in-Law asked me on Saturday if we're ready in case BGB comes early.  I think we're as ready as we're going to be. A friend pondered where I'll be when my water breaks this time. I'm trying not to think too much about it.

She'll arrive when she's ready but I wonder.....


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Playlist for My Daughter

Pregnancy hormones are running rampant this week.
We're making a playlist for her MP3 player and this one brought tears to my eyes.


"In My Daughter's Eyes" by Martina McBride

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

BGB Week 33 Update

This one's for the belly shot hounds.

At 33 weeks, everything is going very well. We have officially entered the stage of pregnancy when it is impossible for either of us to get comfortable, or for me to take a proper breath. Bladder being used as a punching bag, a butt sticking out of my tummy, two feet in my ribs, and she seems to like practicing splaying her fingers and toes in sort of prenatal wave. I'm not complaining, mind you.  :)   I couldn't be happier about it.

The 33rd week is a major milestone for us. Week 33 is when we lost Owen, and that memory is a bit of distraction this week. We paid tribute to him by moving his butterfly onto our Christmas tree, watched over by the angel on top of the tree. We're focusing on the positive and staying optimistic, and I have to tell you that that little green butterfly fills me hope. Butterflies symbolize change and new beginnings. Special thanks to my Sister-in-Law Anne, for that very special gift.

Of course, things are very different this time around. The doctors are monitoring us very closely and that gives us great piece of mind. Something we saw in  a tv show brought to Jonas's attention that sometimes babies don't survive, and made him wonder about BGB. He asked if our baby is ok and has been more concerned with her condition that he usually is, so we took him out of school early on Monday afternoon so he and Steve could join BGB and I for our stress testing, which we passed with flying colours.

Of course Steve and I always breath a little easier when we're reassured that she's doing ok, but the second best part of the day was Jonas's reaction. He thought it was neat to hear the baby's heartbeat and see how it changes when she moves. He was  very interested in the monitoring of contractions too. They're still weak, just as they should be, but he had quite a conversation with nurse about how they change during labour. I imagine that's going to generate a few questions in the coming weeks. :/


Friday, December 7, 2012

Confessions of a Second-hand Treasure Seeker

This year more than ever, we've got a very tight budget for Christmas shopping. I'm always on the hunt for ways to save money and at that only amps up during the holidays when I have to make our money stretch even farther than usual. I'm not much of a shopper, in the  stereotypical "women love shopping" sense. That said, I have to admit that I love shopping at second-hand stores. I love poking through all the stuff and finding treasures passed along by unknown strangers. Besides being better for the environment and our local economy, and often partnering with local charities, second-hand stores are a great way to find great deals and selection without breaking the bank.

I truly believe that it's the thought behind the gift that counts, not the price tag, but it took me a while to get over the feeling that other people would view me as a cheap-garbage-can-raiding-skinflint when the gifts I give don't come in fancy big store packaging. I've come to realize, that for me at least, the exact opposite is true. I spend more time pouring over the racks and shelves of goodies at Value Village, trying to find something that's just right for the people I love, than I do at mainstream stores, where I find everything so generic.

Regardless of where I buy it or how much it costs, when I give someone a gift that I've put a lot of thought into and that I think they will appreciate, it makes me feel good. I can only hope that the gift reciever feels the same way.


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Week 32: BGB Update

BGB and I had a very long day at Mount Sinai yesterday. All is well, it just took a while to confirm that because was backed up. (Don't get me started on the ride home on the TTC!)

BGB had a little growth spurt over the past couple of weeks. She's up to about the 70th percentile for growth - about 4 pounds now, and tracking to be about 8 when she's born. She scored perfectly on all her other tests for movement, heartbeat, fluid, etc. She appears to be a healthy little peanut. Phew!

I, on the other hand, have a bladder infection, a yeast-type infection, need a higher dosage of hypothyroid meds and my morning sickness has ramped back up so I need a little more Diclectin every day. None of these things are any risk to the baby as long we treat them properly and, thankfully, they're monitoring us very closely. Pukey and tired best sums up how I'm feeling. Of course, it's a small price to pay for such a wonderful blessing. If only I could get a little more sleep. Oh well, we are in pre-training after all.  Sleep will come again in a few years.  ;)


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Mom's Christmas Wish List

I truly believe that Christmas is a time to give to others, so I don't usually think much about a wish list for myself. However, the troops were whining, I mean asking about possible gifts for me last night. (I might add that none of them has given us a list either.) They're not contemplating a DIY crafting adventure, don't think "family time" counts, and apparently they think I'm hard to buy for this year.  Of course, they're all pretty tech savvy and I'm, well, I'm not. I'm a simple girl and have simple needs and wants, so I guess I get it, but I really don't think I'm much of a mystery.

Since it's Wordless Wednesday, I thought I'd give them some visual clues, to coincide with my advice to hit Value Village, Goodwill, flea markets, craft sales, church bazaars, etc...


To speak to the techies in them:
This one I'll clarify:
I have an ipod, I just can't figure out how to make and upload a playlist for it.
The techies that are my husband and kids could probably figure it out.

I got locked out of my running Jeep (in the rain, I might add) this past weekend.
A spare key, strategically placed, might be a good idea.
I never seem to have enough batteries or memory cards for my camera.

Right up my alley kind of stuff:

And, since we're all preoccupied with the safe arrival of BGB, here's a few with her in mind:

I need a new cold weather sleeping bag and one that will fit both of us seems imperative.

I plan to do a lot of hiking after she's born so baby carriers (inside and outside) are definitely on my BGB stuff wish list, along with an off-roading stroller.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Unboxing Our Christmas Traditions

I realized today that we haven't started this year's Advent calendar yet. We're only a few days into December so catching up won't take long, but it got me to realize that it's time to let Christmas take-over the house. I've distracted today, thinking about some of the other Christmas traditions we have.

We planned to pull out the Christmas decorations this past weekend, but that never happened. This weekend is circled in red on the calendar, and we had quite a discussion last night to agree on a plan. Steve is in favour of making a duct tape tree on the wall. My vote is for a full-on Chevy Chase Christmas Vacation-like celebration. Jonas is voting for traditional decorations, enhanced with duct tape accents.  Tasha has her own apartment so has the luxury of not having to compromise with any of us.

Getting a real tree was debated. Only putting  up part of our artificial tree was mentioned. Put of the joy of Christmas around here is the pleasure of putting together the puzzle that is our 40 year old hand-me down tree. Frustration and cursing were discussed, as was the reality that any tree-like structure will be attacked by our herd of kittens.

Decorating said tree isn't nearly as difficult a decision as the "what tree?" one is every year. We let the kids do it. (Usually in their jammies on a Saturday or Sunday morning.) The theme is: whatever they fancy. Tasha won't be home this year so Steve and I will help but the process is simple: assemble the tree and put whatever decorations you want on it. We have boxes of 70s - style lights, garland and ornaments, some handed-down from my Grandmothers.

We got our first Christmas card yesterday. We usually hang a ridgeline of string in the front hall and drape the cards we receive over it (secured with clothes pegs) to let their festive spirit greet us when we walk through the front door. My mom has a brass tree-shaped stand thingy (Yes, I do think that is it's official title) that sits on a table in her front hall to show off the cards. I liked the 3D effect of that and today I found instructions for making this rustic Christmas card tree. I totally love it, just haven't yet figured out where we're put it.

Another thing that's ready to come out is the annual Advent calendar. When I was a kid, we got chocolate ones. I always wanted one of the fancy ones made of wood, with doors and windows that opened. When I lived in my first apartment, I bought a cloth and wood calendar that we still use every year. Last year, however, was a break-through when it comes to the old December countdown - we found a Lego Star Wars version. Every day Jonas got a new mini Lego action figure, sort of an early Christmas present, rewarding good behavior. The only problem is that they cost $50.  Now, $50 is a good deal for 24 Lego guys, but I'm still pondering the budget.

We also have a family tradition of  making a gingerbread house together on Christmas eve. It started off as something that my brother, sister and I did together. Today, it's something our kids do, with a smackral of help from us. This was Jonas and Tasha's creation last year:

Of course, they won't be used until Christmas Eve, but our stockings need to be hung with care as well. Mine is from when I as a baby and Jonas has special one too, that was handmade by my Aunt Heather.  Believe me, it looks even more difficult than than the baby blankets that take me two years to knit, and it deserves a month of showing off. We don't have a fireplace or mantel so we hand them on our family paddles in the living room, while we sleep with visions of a dancing campfire in our heads. 

And then there's the presents and food and the outside decortations.... But those are entirely different blog entries.