Wednesday, November 26, 2008


I have to admit that I am starting to feel the spirit of Christmas rising up in me. It doesn't take much, mind you. Some snow on the ground, a Christmas tune or two, and I'm pretty much ready to go.
I am not, however, one of those crazies who has their tree up the day after Halloween. In fact, currently, there isn't one Christmas decoration to be seen in my house. Oh, but soon, very soon, that will all change.
The rule of thumb in this house is that American Thanksgiving must be over-with before the Christmas season can really begin...and seeing as tomorrow is American Thanksgiving, I can start decorating on Friday. But the tree, it won't show up for weeks.

This afternoon the kids and I went to see "A Christmas Carol". It was a really really good play and the kids enjoyed seeing live theatre. There was actually quite a bit of singing of Christmas carols in it. That's all I needed to start thinking thoughts of garlands, baking, Christmas cards and the like.

There are a few things that bring Christmas to mind for me, not your typical things like mall decorations, outdoor lights and Christmas flyers...but here they are in no particular order.

1. Clementines. When I see these in the grocery store, I know it's Christmas. When I start to peel my first one, the smell that rises to my nose is a smell of Christmas time.

2. Egg Nog. As soon as it's in the grocery store, I must have it. I didn't know I even liked the stuff till I married Nate but now it's a tradition and even the kids love it.

3. The Festive Special at Swiss Chalet. As soon as I see an add, I need to go. I don't even eat the stuffing or the cranberries but what does that matter??

(Funny how all these things are food.)

Sure, there are other things that bring Christmas to mind, but these are the sure signs that the season is upon us.
I'm sure I'll be decorating the house this weekend, with a cup of egg nog and the Christmas music on and I very much look forward to it.
One of my finest childhood memories is of my mom doing the same thing...baking, decorating and the like. My dad refused to help her. As she was in the living room putting the decorations out, he was sitting at the kitchen table, reading the newspaper and having a cup of coffee. (He is completely against any Christmas music, decorations or shopping before Dec. 15th.) As he sat in peace at the table, my mother's voice came hollering in from the living room. What were her words of comfort and joy??

We kids have never forgotten it...and repeat the story every year just to get a good laugh. So get out there, decorate your homes...and make some memories!!

Monday, November 24, 2008


In writing about Uncle Alec and the way family reacts in a crisis, I got a really nice email from my own aunt listing the times in her life when she needed family and we/they were there for her. Again I think it's awesome and something I am so so grateful for.

I can remember the night we brought Jack home from the hospital. Nate got me settled with the kids at home but because his mom had been hospitalized the same day, he wanted to go and have a quick visit with her. Moments after he left, things began to fall apart. I was trying to do too much and in turning my back, one of my kids picked up the new baby...and promptly dropped him. Before long all five of us were in tears.

I picked up the phone and called my sister. I could barely speak on the phone and nothing intelligible came out of my mouth, I'm sure. Her response? "I'll be there in two minutes. Hang on." And she was. It almost brings tears to my eyes to think of it. How when I need something, I can actually think of a list of family and friends who would drop everything to come and help.

How blessed am I!

My aunt finished her email with this line...
"You were so right to say that family comes to our aid. Shopping doesn't matter. Eating doesn't matter. Comfort and ease don't matter. But being together where we can hug and cry and laugh and priceless."

Amen, Aunt Carol. You hit the nail right on the head.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Good News

Uncle Alec is doing great. He's out of the ICU and moving forward in his recovery. So it looks like the trip to Hamilton is off due to the nasty storm but hopefully the shopping trip is still happening.

There's nothing like a family emergency to get you thinking. The cool thing was to watch Nate's family snap into action the moment they were needed. That's what family is for. People driving long distances at all hours just to be there. People covering for each other, watching dogs on short notice, making phone calls to cancel plans, hair appointments, etc. One family member had 17 others over for dinner short notice because they all needed something to eat and a break from sitting in a hospital.

I think it's an extraordinary thing, family is. You may not see each other for ages and yet when someone is in need, everything is dropped just to be of help, support and encouragement. I'm so grateful that I am a part of one that would do the same for me...everyone should be so lucky.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

We Make Our Plans...

This weekend is supposed to be a busy one...and until yesterday afternoon I was pretty excited about it.

Friday night, Nate and I & my brother and his wife are heading to Hamilton for a Christmas party for one of the soccer leagues we run. It's a free dinner out and some time to hang with two of my most favourite relatives.
Then on Saturday, my mom, sister, sister-in-law and I are going to head for Boutique Target in the great USA for some Christmas shopping, a meal at the Olive Garden etc.

How plans change in a moment...the blink of an eye.

Nate's uncle (he's one of the really good ones) had a major stroke yesterday and is in hospital in Huntsville, not really expected to live. Uncle Alec is wonderful...I met him before I even met Nate when I worked at camp. When we worked together, he was fun, full of life and loved, loved, LOVED a good prank. We spent a lot of time pulling pranks on one another and getting a good laugh.

It sucks that he might be dying in hospital.

I don't really care about the free dinner and the shopping, but it just struck me how we make our plans for each day, each week, each weekend, and then one thing happens and we are stopped in our tracks. Plans change...quickly.

On top of it all, Nate's mom and her two sisters (and their spouses) are all supposed to leave for a 10 ten tour of Israel on Sunday. How do they go when their brother might take his last breath while they are gone?

The good news is that Uncle Alec is doing really well right now. The stroke is a tricky one...not your typical clot but a brain hemorrhage (spelling??) so currently, he is sitting in the Huntsville hospital, chatting away to his family, siblings, & grand kids, cracking jokes and being the life of the ICU.

I hate to think of what might actually be happening this weekend, and it brings to mind the verse that says, "Man make his plans but God orders our steps." How true and yet how amazing that we can trust Him. Whatever happens, I rest in that.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Pick More Daisies...

Many years ago, (I think I was 18) I went to a conference somewhere...about something out-doorsy. All I can remember is that we were at some camp around Peterborough, the food was terrible and I learned to do things like howl like a wolf and plan activities for kids. This is what you get when your college education program starts with the word "Recreation."

Anyhow, the key-note speaker (yes. there was one...despite the fact he played the penny-whistle during his speeches.) read this great poem and I have never been able to find it. I just did a little searching on the information super-highway and finally I have it.

This is my favourite poem. It was written by an 85 year old woman who was asked to look back on her life. Here's what she said...

"If I Had My Life to Live Over" by Nadine Stair

I'd make more mistakes next time. I'd relax. I would limber up.
I would be sillier than I have been on this trip. I would take fewer things seriously.
I would take more chances. I would climb more mountains and swim more rivers.
I would eat more ice cream and less beans. (amen, sister!)
I would perhaps have more actual troubles, but I'd have fewer imaginary ones.

You see I'm one of those people who live sensibly and sanely, hour after hour, day after day.
Oh, I've had my moments, and if I had to do it over again, I'd have more of them.
In fact, I'd try to have nothing else.
Just moments, one after another, instead of trying to live so many years ahead of each day.

I've been one of those persons who never goes anywhere without a thermometer, a hot water bottle and a rain coat.
If I had to do it over again, I'd travel lighter than I have.

I would start barefoot earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall.
I would go to more dances.
I would ride more merry-go-rounds.
I would pick more daisies.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Where's my camera??

Man, twice this week I have needed my camera so bad to take a picture of Jack to show you all. It's such a bummer because both moments were so funny...and I know that even if I describe it to you, it'll never be the same.

Nate has the camera in his truck...he needed it in case he got 'something' while hunting. The "something" he got was just a cold from sitting in a tree for 8 hours. Not much of a photo op...

The first moment was when Jack was left alone at the dinner table before supper....for mere seconds I turned my back. (Okay I was reading on the couch but our couch is about 5 steps from our table.) He decided to butter a piece of bread and when I turned to look, he had PAVED the bread with about and inch and a half of butter (seriously) and was licking the gobs of butter off the knife. At least he'll have a nice shiny coat...

Right now as I type, he's fallen asleep standing up at the couch. How tired can this kid be? His feet are on the floor and his head and arms are draped on the couch...I wish I had my camera..

Enjoy the drizzly rainy weekend, my friends. I'll get my camera back in action right away...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Difference Btwn Me and Nate

Today is a green light day. Do you know what this means?? This means that, if you are a hunter, this is the BIG day. The deer are out. The deer are active. The moon is full (nothing to do with contraception, I assure you.). This is the day.

Nate has never really been a hunter...until this year. I don't mind it as a hobby, I guess. I mean, I know that my meat comes from animals. I can understand that one must kill an animal before one eats it.

However, sitting in a tree stand, dressed from head to toe in green and brown is, well, more than I am willing to do. I acknowledge that men are different and that some of them want to "bring home the bacon" in more ways than just a pay check. But there are a few things I don't understand about hunting....

1. Why bowhunters (those who hunt by bow and arrow) must wear green, brown, tree-looking clothing, but gun hunters have to wear hi-visibility orange. This is absurd. Can the deer see colour or not? Let's set the record straight and recognize that all this camo stuff is just a marketing ploy by hunting companies to make some extra bucks. Really -- I have seen camo underwear (do the deer have x-ray vision??) and even camo socks?? Pourquoi?

2. Spraying yourself with deer-pee scented stuff. Deer pee? That's just yucky. Boys are weird.

3. Going out for a full day/week/couple of weeks with your friends only to go into the woods alone and NOT talk to each other the entire time. Now this is the most absurd thing of all to me...and exactly why Nate would never take me hunting. You don't get to chat. Ridiculous!

So, here I sit in my cozy home at my fancy computer while Nathan is out today (on this green light day) sitting in a tree stand, only yards from my brother, NOT saying a word.

Whatever floats your boat...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Taffy Should Stay A Thing of the Past

Alright, I'm not doing it. NOT because I'm a coward, but because none of you have tried it and can tell me what a pleasure it was.

I looked it up online and found this one recipe that scared me to death. I quote...

Step One: First, lay down several painter’s cloths, taping the edges to protect every inch of your floor.

Step Two: Next, sprinkle a light layer of flour over the painter’s cloths—this will help keep everyone’s shoes from sticking to the cloths when the inevitable spills occur.

Step Three:Finally, tape down some wax paper over the table or countertop where you plan to start your taffy pull.

Can you believe this?? Okay, I haven't even pulled a pot out of the drawer and I'm already a half hour into this ordeal? Forget it. Taffy is dead to me. I'm not even sure I like the stuff anyhow.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Good Ol' Fashioned Taffy Pull

I'm just wondering if any one of you faithful readers have ever done a homemade taffy/candy pull? Nate's cousins family has had this great family tradition for years and it sounds so cozy and homespun that I'd like to give it a go.

But before I do, I'd also like to find out if it's worth my time. Has anyone tried this? Is it more work than I believe it to be? Does the mess far outweigh the memories or possible photographs I could get out of this? I hate to think that I'd get halfway through it and think, "This was a stupid idea."

So....if you've done it, let me know...honestly. I want to know the truth...'cause if it's easier to just drive to the candy store, I'm all for it.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Big News

Okay, here it is...I'm pregnant...again.

I'm afraid that there really isn't much to say about it. The deed is done. I'm nauseous and tired.

The most fun part of this pregnancy so far has been the reactions of those I have told. From shock and speechlessness to the rolling of eyes and tears, it has been a rather entertaining experience for me.
The first, second and may be even third time you announce that you are expecting, people are thrilled in a warm and wonderful way. The excitement is real, tangible and contagious. In my experience, however, the reactions to announcements about #4 and #5 change dramatically. Most people look at you, take a step back and pause before they say a word. Once they have recovered the ability to speak they say something like, "You know what causes this, don't you??"

Oh, ho, ho, there's a comedian in every crowd.

So yes, we know how it happens. When it happens -- may be not so much. Here's an excerpt from a past conversation...

Nate: "Like, where are you in the "cycle"?
Me: I don't know...what's the moon doing these days?
Nate: It's waxing.
Me: That sounds good.
Nate: You're sure it's safe??
Me: Oh yeah, when the moon waxes we're all good.

Obviously we are a little irresponsible with the family planning. But really, once the shock wears off we are all good. And the baby will be arriving in June sometime. So there you have it, the big news.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

No, No, November!

Can this possibly be the month of November?? It is 20 degrees here today and the sky is a gorgeous fall blue. The kids used to sing a song in their kindergarten class that said,
"No, no, November, you can't make us sad...dark days and wet days can only make us glad..."

This is my kind of weather and if November keeps this up, I'll be very glad indeed. Today we went to our pond. In just a few quick steps, we can be at the perfect little pond for kids. It's small and shallow but full of life and activity. It's by far the best science classroom in the city. From turtles to toads, blue jays to black birds and ducks to duckweed, it's the most fun place my kids can think of. They wade in, get mucky and have a blast. Here's what it looked like today...

To get to the pond, you need to cross a creek. I opt for the little footbridge, the kids opt for the water crossing...

Nolan fell in almost immediately.......and soaked everything but his one shoulder. Then we fed the ducks...Jack isn't going to hit the ducks with that stick, in case you're worried. It's his "weed-whacker" ~ he takes it everywhere, dragging it across the top of grass and plants, making a weed-whacker-ish noise. He loves it. And even if he hit a duck, how can you be mad at a face like this??

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Okay...the moment you've been waiting for. I really hope, actually, that you haven't been waiting...I hate to keep people waiting. I have excuses for why it has taken so long for me to upload some pics...but you probably don't want to hear them. So here we go....

This is the first pic of our 2008 Halloween Costumes....

1, 2, 3 of these....and....

One of these!

Did you guess? If you figured out (despite my terrible sewing) that they were the three little pigs and the big bad wolf, you're right! You get the prize! I won't say another word....the pics do all the talking...

A couple of nights before Halloween, Nate came home to find the kids running around the house in the costumes. He had to leave quick because he had a hockey game. But when he came back the kids were already in bed. Here's the conversation that followed...

Me: Hey, did you win?
Nate: No, but I need to talk to you.
Me: Okay, what's up?
Nate: It's about the costumes...
Me: Oh, really? What is it?
Nate: Ummmm....they are HORRIBLE!
Me: (gasp) Really?? Like Horrible-horrible?? Oh no...
Nate: I thought I should be the one to tell you...
Me: Oh really that bad?
Nate: Bad. Dorky. What were you thinking??

I laughed my head off....I was thinking....dorky, actually. See, I'll get to use these photos in my kids wedding reception power point presentations and the thought of them being horrified about it makes me giggle with glee. I'll keep making the costumes if they'll keep wearing them...even by the hair of my chinny chin chin.