Last day of NaBloPoMo. I went through my posts for this past month trying to find my favourite, and I don’t have one. I think I did a “better” job last year, but I had more going on. I can say that from a life perspective, I’m much happier this November than I was last November. I’m happily ensconced in my new home, my kids are sleeping through the night, I don’t have a ton of packing/unpacking awaiting me (although there is still some unpacking to do…one year later), and I’m enjoying being back at work. Unfortunately it wasn’t the best November for Greg, but hopefully December will be better for him.

If I do this again next year I will either use a theme to guide me, or post on the family site, as it seems I have little trouble finding something to write about when it comes to Elliot and Amy. The other thought I had was posting a picture every day (old or new) and writing about the picture.

We’ll see. For now, I’m signing off.

something exciting happened today!

I have my sister-in-law to thank for providing some content for today’s post. She gave birth to a baby boy at 5:30 this evening. She sent an email out at 3:30 pm saying things had started but they were still “light and slow”. Two hours later, baby arrived. Wow.

No name yet, but his sister didn’t get named until a week after her birth, so I’m not surprised.

So that brings the tally of cousins up to four boys and two girls. I’m pretty sure that’s it for everybody, so it looks like Amy and Rosie will be outnumbered forever.

Congratulations, Bill and Anna!

sue crocker

I baked today. Three times. I made pancakes for breakfast, cookies with Elliot right before lunch and cornmeal muffins with our soup for dinner.

My mother was a baker, and we always had something homemade and sweet in the house. I don’t remember ever seeing a box of store-bought cookies in our pantry. She taught me to bake early (I don’t remember learning) and as I got older I did more and more. Never anything fancy, just cookies, muffins and cakes. I continued baking for my first couple of years of university, but it came to a halt as I got busier with school. And then I just got out of practice and it became a chore.

So there hasn’t been a lot of baking happening over the years, and there’s been many a store-bought cookie crossing the treshold of our house. But I’ve recently started again. Partly because Elliot can now help me and it’s something we can do together, and partly because I don’t want to deprive my children (or myself!) of sweets — and if I can make them then I can control what goes into them.

This year for the first time since I lived at home I’m planning on doing some Christmas baking. I’m looking forward to having the house smell good, having Elliot help me with both the making and the decorating, and having goodies in the freezer I can pull out when I get the craving.

the week has ended

Just got home from Greg’s work Christmas party — came home alone as he wanted to stay a bit longer. Kind of weird going to a party for an office that is shutting down. I had a good time, but I was ready to leave. I’m just not a small talk in big group kind of person. It energizes some people ,but it exhausts me.

Anyway, I’m glad to be home, glad to be in my pajamas, soon to be crawling into bed.

traditions of the season

Continuing with my Christmas theme from yesterday…one of the things I loved about Christmas as a child were the traditions my family shared. When we were very young my dad would take all four kids out for a drive to look for Santa. We’d invariably see an airplane and he’d tell us it was Rudolph. Meanwhile, back at home, my mum would be scrambling to get last minute wrapping done.

Every Christmas Eve we’d have a beef fondue. Mum would make four or five different sauces, we’d heat up the oil and we’d dip our beef in. As I recall, that’s all we had for dinner. No veggies, no salad, just meat. I’m sure there was something else, but all I remember is the meat.

On Christmas Eve we’d go to bed with just a few presents under the tree, and when Christmas morning rolled around we were always greeted with a pretty large increase in the number of presents. Mum continued this well after the Santa-believing age, and I loved it.

Our stockings would be stuffed to overflowing, and the extra presents would be on the hearth of the fireplace. There was always a box of sugar cereal for each of us. We never had it normally, so it was a real treat. And Mum knew all our favourites. Corn Pops were mine.

We were allowed to open our stockings and one present of our choice before breakfast. And my parents were pretty lax about how early we got up. I don’t think 6:00 was unheard of. Their bedroom was next to the living room, and I imagine they woke up to their kids squealing with delight as we turned on the living room lights.

One particularly good memory I have is of waking up really early on Christmas morning and not being able to get back to sleep because I was so excited. My sister, who is six years older than me, was always the same way, even into her late teens. I saw her light on across the hall and I climbed into bed with her. We lay there reading together until it was time to get up. I remember being really warm, snuggled up against her.

We didn’t have any extended family other than grandparents, so Christmas dinner was always at our house. We occasionally had people over, but mostly I remember it just being the six of us and my maternal grandparents. We always had Christmas crackers at the table, and we always wore the hats.

It has been hard for me to transition into an “adult” Christmas. Over the years as my siblings have got together less and less I’ve had to struggle with what Christmas looks like for me. It has become a little easier now that I have kids, and a new focus, however I put pressure on myself to create our own family traditions. I have to stop trying so hard. I don’t think you “create” traditions. I think they evolve over time.

Regardless of how we spend each Christmas, I do hope that Elliot and Amy have as fond memories of their childhood Christmases as I do.

one month to go

Last Christmas wasn’t the best one for me — we had just moved, I didn’t feel like my house was my home, there was lots of unpacking to do, and Christmas mostly just got in the way.

This year I’m feeling like this is home, and I’m looking forward to having a good Christmas here. It looks like we’re going to have a busy December with lots of celebrating and visiting, and I’m thankful for that. We’ve got Greg’s office party this weekend, plus we have family visiting. Next weekend is my office party and some gingerbread house making with friends. Then we’re heading to the mainland in the middle of December to catch up with a few friends over there. We’re also hoping to have an open house here nearer to Christmas. We never had a house-warming, so we thought we might do an open house instead. We’ll see if we actually get our butts in gear to pull that off.

My mum will be here for Christmas morning and for a few days before, and we’ll be heading up to Greg’s mom’s Christmas afternoon for a couple of nights. And it looks like we’ll have plans for New Years as well.

And we’ll go to the Esquimalt Light-up, Greg will take the kids to the Truck Light parade, we’ll go see the Navy ships all lit up, we’ll take my Mum to Butchart Gardens and we’ll go see the Christmas trees at the Empress.

Oh, and on December 1st I’ll crack open the new Christmas CD I bought after listening to one of the tracks on the CBC.

Should be fun!

open cupboards, crumbs and leftover coffee

So this post idea was given tongue in cheek, but I’m going to write about it anyway.

Almost 20 years ago, after my first year of university, I needed to find a new place to live. And I couldn’t afford to live by myself so I was looking for a roommate too. My then boyfriend and I did a weekend blitz looking for a place for me. I can’t remember how many places we looked at, but it was a lot. We happened along a place at 10 Mile Point that was pretty appealing. I honestly can’t remember what my exact first impression of my future roommate was, but it must have been good because as the story goes, my boyfriend was busy telling her how I was going to think about it when I walked into the kitchen and said “I’ll take it”.

We only lived together for about two years, but it’s turned into a 20 year relationship that has been a bit of a ride. There have been marriage breakups, miscarriages, babies born, new relationships, family deaths, dogs, cats, dead bunnies, other let’s say “interesting” roommates, a period of time when we were pissed off at each other and didn’t speak, and an even longer period of time when we were so caught up in our own lives that we heard from each other maybe once a year, if that.

Then along came Twitter. Or more accurately, an invitation to follow her on Twitter. I accepted right away, and that has opened the door to the relationship again. I have been able to catch little snippets of her life, and we finally saw each other recently, after not seeing each other for over three years.

So this post isn’t so much about the best roommate ever (although she was), but more about how happy I am that we have reconnected. Sure, it’s mostly been electronically, but that’s a whole lot better than nothing.

this was a stupid idea

Some thoughts regarding this NaBloPoMo endeavour:

If I were growing a moustache I’d have something to blog about.

I have six more posts to do after this one…something exciting better happen in the next six days, preferably every day.

Not sure I’m going to do this again next year.

Maybe I’ll do it on the family blog and then I won’t feel like I’m cheating by posting about my kids every day.

I think a theme would be easier. However, thinking up a theme is NOT easy.

Someone leave me a comment with an idea for a post tomorrow. Better yet, leave six ideas.

At least this post is longer than a tweet.

whirling dervish

My sister has a bunch of Aeroplan points and a couple of weeks ago she offered to use some of them to get some tickets for us to fly out to Ottawa with the kids for a visit this winter. We mulled it over a bit. Given Greg’s employment status we weren’t sure we could afford it (we paid the taxes), and we weren’t sure he’d want to take off for a week when he’d (hopefully) just started a new job.

I thought about taking the kids on my own, but that thought lasted all of two seconds. Flying with Elliot is easy, flying with Amy is not. I thought about going out again with just Elliot, but my sister would really like to see both kids. So in the end we’ve decided to go as a family.

A couple of days ago (and this is related), Elliot and I were sitting on his bed reading. He’s always been into books, but he’s stepped it up quite a bit and I figure we’re probably reading about 20 books per day to him now, on the days we’re home all day with him. So we were sitting there reading, side-by-side, and Amy was playing in the room. She would run over to the train table, grab a car, come running back to the bed, grunt and groan until I helped her onto the bed, put the car in the pocket of the sweatshirt I was wearing, get off the bed and repeat the process. Periodically she’d stay up on the bed and try to zip or unzip the pocket. Then she’d ask for help and get mad when I tried to help her. And she’d get mad when I would put my arm down to turn the page, because she couldn’t get to the pocket. Then she’d take all the cars out. And put them back in again. Then sprawl herself on my lap. Then roll over. You get the picture.

Through all this, Elliot didn’t moved a muscle. He’s listened intently to the book, even through all the distractions. And I suddenly realized…THIS is what the plane ride will be like. Thank God I’m not doing it by myself.

enough about the kids

Tonight Greg and I are having dinner with two other couples, at one of the couple’s new house, sans kids. It’s been planned for over a month, and I’m really looking forward to it. Greg and I get plenty of time to ourselves in the evenings because we thankfully have two good sleepers, but we don’t go out a lot without the kids, so this is a real treat. Uninterrupted adult conversation with good friends, coupled with wine and food. Sounds pretty awesome to me.