Sunday, December 30, 2012

He shoots, he scores!

That things have been quiet on my end has not quite been planned. We lost our internet connection Christmas night and only just got it back. At the same time, my Blackberry has died... there is a white screen of death that the IT department at work has so far been unable to fix. (I will not mourn it if it is truly dead; I am ready for an iPhone!)

Anyway, even though Christmas seems like ancient history now, I will come back with a wrap-up post. But for now, here's some more exciting news. In his third season playing the game, guess who finally scored his first goal? 

I am not one of those parents yelling from the stands, but trust me - I was screaming on the inside.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas from the family

(Yes, that title is a reference to a holiday song by Jill Sobule, one that was in heavy rotation in past years and now I realize that I am missing it... along with the vast majority of my other holiday music. I guess I didn't fully recover everything after the computer crash last spring. A project for the new year!!)

Friday, December 21, 2012

Still here

The world didn't end, and we're all still here, despite the radio silence on my end. This week has passed by in a blur.

On Sunday we had girls day/boys day. Mallory and I got dressed up and hooked up with some friends to go see The Nutcracker ballet. I didn't know how it would go over with her, but she loved it, at least the first act. By the end of the second act she did have her head in my lap for a bit of rest, but in her defence she was sick for several days late last week and when we were cleaning vomit out of her bed at  9 p.m. Saturday night, I didn't think we'd be going to the ballet at all. Luckily she took a turn for the better after that!
 While Mallory and I were at the ballet, Chad took Liam to a London Knights hockey game. I just prayed that Liam wouldn't catch whatever Mallory had and have to miss the game - he missed tennis this summer and our Winter Classic tickets were refunded - poor kid deserves to see a live sporting event this year!
Monday was uneventful but then Tuesday was when our local school board was hit with the one-day rotating strikes making their way across the province. I took the day off to spend at home with the kids, but they went to gramma and grampa's for lunch while I attended our company Christmas lunch. This was a mistake because I got pulled into the office after lunch for a couple of hours, and was back in the office again for several hours after the kids went to bed. So much for a vacation day.

Also, note to self: taking your five-year-old for her booster shot is NOT a fun way to spend a vacation day. Just sayin'.
 Wednesday was Mallory's Christmas concert, and if we had to get hit with the strike then I am at least thankful that it did not interfere with the concert. Mallory has been singing these songs around the house for more than a month. Very glad they didn't have to cancel or postpone the event.
Late in the week, there was more work - a mad rush to finish things up before the holidays - and more sickness. Liam is just getting over whatever Mallory had last weekend, Mallory has a fresh new cold, and I was in for a chest x-ray today to rule out another round of pneumonia. Good times indeed.
In other news, Pip has settled in and pretty much rules the roost. Here's what watching Christmas specials on TV looks like circa 2012: Liam plays on the iPad during the commercials (if Mallory weren't under the weather she'd likely be fighting him for it); Pip owns the best seat on the sofa; and yes, those are rabbit-covered Easter pyjamas that Mallory is wearing with five days to go until Christmas. Silly girl.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Meet Pip

I know we said, before we knew how close to losing Captain we were, that when the fateful day came when Captain would cross that rainbow bridge, we'd take a break from pet ownership for a while. And that 'while' lasted not quite three weeks. Yes, it was lovely not to have a basement that smells like litterbox and far fewer dust bunnies floating around. But the house also felt very empty. I will also fully admit that had it not been for the holiday season, we may have delayed things a little longer. But I took a trip to the OSPCA that turned into about 4 or 5 trips all told, and soon the idea of having a kitty under the Christmas tree seemed pretty cool.
Of course, things don't always work out the way they do in the movies... we couldn't delay the adoption until Christmas because the OSPCA is simply overrun with cats right now and had no room to keep her that long. On the bright side, they had also dropped the adoption fee - a fire sale on kitties, if you will. I have long been partial to calicos and so we honed in on Pip - old enough to be past the spastic age of kittendom, but still very much a kitten at roughly 5 months old.
No, she didn't come home with the name Pip. She actually came home with the name Tink, which we did not let on to the kids; I wasn't keen on keeping it. Liam did find the adoption paperwork and saw it after the fact, but by then he was sold on Pip, too. Chad and I went back and forth on names and mutually agreed on this one. He will tell you it comes from Pippi Longstocking and I will tell you it comes from the orphaned protagonist of Charles Dickens' Great Expectations... what matters most is that we all like it. And I will admit that it does seem to suit her more than Gracie or Minka, which were a couple of my other favourites.
The kids simply adore her. She has proven over these past 48 hours to have a very sweet personality, fun and playful and very much a lap cat. We have had a couple of issues with her... number one, our pre-lit Christmas tree mysteriously 'went out' tonight, with her underneath it. Chad diagnosed the problem and it's lit once more, and he doesn't think she should be held responsible for it, but I do find it funny that the tree has worked for 5 years now and as soon as she's under it something goes wrong. Of course, she's not just under it; she also likes to get INTO it, as seen here. Which is why we keep her shut into the music room at night. The only problem with that was when we heard someone playing piano sometime after midnight on Saturday...
And we also had the issue of a very wet cat jumping up on the couch tonight, which after some detective work, seems to be the result of her having fallen into the toilet. We think. The kids' bathroom was utterly sprayed with water and had a telltale trail of paw prints leading out of it. Ughhh.

But Mallory was sick this weekend, and she curled right up with her on the couch, and within a couple hours of having her home on Friday Liam had already made her a stocking (pictured above), stuffed with cat treats and toys left over from Captain... which goes to show just how endearing she is. We're back in it for the long haul.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

For all my mama friends and family

Why you're never failing as a mother

There are better role models than Macaulay Culkin out there, but whatever.

So, it's happened. The day I have long been preparing for. I officially have my kids hooked on their first John Hughes movie: Home Alone. (I do indeed hope to eventually hook them on Ferris Bueller's Day Off and Some Kind of Wonderful, but I will take it one day at a time. Hey, now that I think about it, they started getting into Vacation over the summer while we watched reruns in anticipation of our own road trip out West; so maybe this is their second John Hughes film crush.)

They did watch Home Alone last year and loved it, but this year they have been begging for it. For, like, the past month. Home Alone 2 was on TV several weeks ago so we DVR'd it and have been watching it, and they like it too, but still they've been asking for the original, as well they should. It's definitely the best.

I love watching these movies just to have the kids explain the finer plot points to me. "See mom, the power went off, so the alarm clock didn't go off, so everyone was in a rush, and then they counted heads but one kid was the NEIGHBOUR and they thought it was Kevin but he got left home alone!"

I wouldn't have known that if Liam hadn't spelled it out for me. :)

Anyway, Home Alone was finally on on Sunday night, so darn right we recorded it, and we watched the first hour on Sunday with plans to finish the following day. But then Mallory was being sassy on Monday and had her TV privileges taken away. Gosh darn it, Mallory! So we had to finish it up last night instead.

My kids are entering their prime movie-viewing years. I think I have a very juvenile taste in films. I am also really partial to Back to the Future and I think that should be on Liam's radar any day now.

Last night we saw a preview for a Home Alone marathon coming up on December 23rd. The first 2 Home Alone movies are great - the third one is pretty bad - I have never seen the 4th one - and now they are debuting a new made-for-TV Home Alone 5! I don't expect much, but you never know. Maybe they will make John Hughes proud with this one.

Monday, December 10, 2012

This means you, Mallory

The irony is not lost on me that this is the surprise Reddy had in store for the kids when they woke up Sunday morning... and then Sunday afternoon, at a family Christmas party, Mallory went into full-blown public tantrum mode, the likes of which I do not think were even seen when she was a toddler. She had better watch her step or some (more) returns are going to be made. Yes, I can tell we're in mid-December now; struggling to get enough rest to keep us from being cranky as we go from social engagement to social engagement, cramming as much work as possible into the last two weeks of the year before vacation time kicks in, and trying to fit the demands of daily life in around it all (no run or swim for me on the weekend, I found myself pulling out the sewing machine at 10:30 Sunday night to finally put the name badge on the back of Mallory's ringette jersey, and don't even think of looking in my laundry room right now.) It will be an early bedtime tonight for sure.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Saturday, December 8, 2012

December-to-date recap

The holiday season is in full swing around here. Luckily we finished our decorating and most of our shopping before December kicked in... leaving us a little more time for everything else. Note though that I said 'most' of our shopping. Mallory has changed course on what she wants for Christmas with a little more than two weeks to go! I have some returns to make...
The first couple of weekends of the month there is a hockey tournament in town so Liam's ice time is cancelled. It's actually a good thing, because those are busy weekends for us. We've had our gingerbread party and our company's Christmas party in addition to the two birthday parties and first family Christmas gathering this weekend... phew!
Add to add a bit of interest into the everyday, the kids are into their Advent calendars - this year we sprang for Lego advent calendars for both kids (great timing as they came out with a girls' version for the first time this year!)... and our elf Reddy has been back in the house since December 1. This works well on weekday mornings when Mallory, in particular, is out of bed at the crack of dawn because she is so excited to go find him. (He occasionally does something funny or crafty; but for the most part he still just hides.) It does not work so well on weekend mornings such as today when she was downstairs looking for him at 6:30 and came up to inform me that she could not find him so it MUST be because grandma touched him last year and as a result, he did not come back from the north pole. She did eventually find him.)
And here's one more random photo - Liam playing with the gift he got at the company kids' party. It's a remote-control car that drives on the walls/ceiling. I realize though that in this picture, it just looks like an oversized bug.

Friday, December 7, 2012

2012 edition

December is in full swing. I have yet to really start my December Daily book but hope to get on it this weekend. Here's a shot I know will make it into the book... the annual on-Santa's-lap shot from our company Christmas party last weekend. Look at Liam - I don't think he will be fitting on Santa's lap for too many more years! Nor will Mallory at this rate. She has put on a few inches over the last little while.

On the agenda for this weekend: two birthday parties and our first family get-together. Hopefully some baking. A run and a swim, a trip to the grocery store, addressing the bulk of our Christmas cards (which FINALLY came this week), and otherwise... churning out the first 9 or 10 days of December Daily.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Burning question for parents:

Do you put yourself in your holiday card?

There is a huge debate going on over at Apartment Therapy right now, and it's got some thought-provoking commentary (as well as a few loons coming out of the woodwork). To see where I stand on the issue you'll have to wait til next week... My cards just came and I hope to finish addressing them this weekend. If the past is any indicator though, I don't go so much by philisophical reasoning as I do by which picture turned out best. Some people really over think things. You don't like my card? Throw it out and move on. Sheesh.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

That festive feeling

Thanks for all of the kind comments/emails/phone calls. We are all doing better... life goes on.

So... moving on with some happier content. I'd promised some shots of the super-fantastic exterior decor that I am so happy with, and December 1 seems like a good day to do it.

I actually shot these pictures twice. The first time was a couple of days earlier and then it happened... we woke up last Sunday morning with snow. I had to get outside to take some new pictures because the snow made it all the better.
This was the year I got over my fear of listening to 9 wreaths flap in the wind non-stop, and just bought them and put them up already. I have been wanting to do this since we moved here and always thought they would blow away in no time. NOT SO! It turns out that suction cup hooks are magic. I have 3 on each wreath, in the 4, 8, and 12 o'clock positions. The wreaths have been up there for 3 weeks or so and none have come loose yet. Win!

I bought a wreath to go on the top centre window, and I'll be honest - neither Chad nor I relished the task of climbing up on the porch roof to somehow hang it. The other second-storey wreaths were hung from inside the house, but that centre window is inoperable (and also sits in the middle of a double-height foyer). So, the window is bare. I've seen photos of houses done both with every window covered, and without, in cases like ours. It doesn't bother me enough to risk life and limb climbing up there. Maybe a straight, rather than curved, porch roof would have made a difference. Oh well - too late for that now.

These wreaths were all cheapies - now that I know it works, maybe we'll upgrade to some nicer ones in the future.
 The porch area itself was treated to an upgrade of fresh greens - the urns, the wreath on the door, and the garland around the door. I've re-used the old tree-form grapevine topiaries in the urns but I think next time I will probably ditch those and just use more green stuff. The green is a little on the skimpy side simply because I couldn't fit any more in.
We topped it all off with coloured lights, which we had on hand. The kids love it but I think we may switch back to clear lights in the future. Clear just goes so nicely with real green stuff. Maybe we'll repurpose the coloured lights and deck the back yard out as well as the front sometime.

Glad to have gotten this stuff all out there before the snow started to fly... but even if we hadn't, we'd still have had our chance. I hear it's supposed to be in the 60s on Sunday. That seems way too warm for the first weekend in December.