Friday, December 24, 2010


If Kenny has a favorite activity while visiting his Auntie Afton on Mondays it's playing chess. For a 4-year-old he's pretty good. Afton makes him follow the rules and he even "wins" sometimes. We do not own a chess board and have no intention of getting one. It's simply not as fun to have one at home.

Yesterday, while doing my Christmas cleaning, I found a small fake tree. This tree instantly became a chess piece which the boys moved around the surface of a hard covered book. The further they got into their game the more it became Kenny's only piece and Alex was imagining all of his pieces.

As I sat watching them play Alex reached beside the book and picked up one of his imaginary pieces and proceeds to place it on the board causing Kenny to shout. "No Alex you can't do that! Alex put it back! That one's dead already! Alex!" So Alex removed the errant piece off of the board.

Oh to have that kind of imagination that you even respond to the other persons pretends.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas Approaches

I read Mary's blog today, and figured I should do my own Christmas post.  She did a great job describing the nostalgia of my Christmas childhood (she and I are less than two years apart in age, so our childhood Christmas experiences are basically identical), so if you want more details on that, visit her blog by following the link I provided on her name.

On one of my days off near the end of November, while Avril was at work, I pulled the Christmas decorations out of the storage room.  The boys were pleased and helped me set out the decorations.  Our nicest decoration I would have to say is our bronze tea light nativity set.
Since we've been married, I've been gradually trying to get Avril to be okay with an artificial tree.  Don't get me wrong; I love real Christmas trees.  It's just that the fuss of getting them perfectly into the tree stand, keeping them watered, and constantly cleaning up the needles gets tiresome.  Last year, while I was working in Edmonton, Avril's parents bought us a Christmas tree.  It was a nice tree, but it wasn't a Nova Scotia spruce, which is what I usually buy, and Avril had an allergic reaction to it.  So she was much more willing to get an artificial tree.  So, again while she was at work and I was home with the kids, I went out and bought an artificial tree.  I set it up and put the lights on it, and waited until later in the evening to put the rest of the decorations on it.  The boys gladly helped, and Avril came home (later than I expected, which is why we started without her) and helped us finish.

Like Mary, I inherited some old decorations from Mum to add to my own tree.  Among my favourites are the first egg with my name on it:
...and the egg with my six-year-old face in it:
Unfortunately, there was a casualty this year.  I unwrapped the ceramic toy soldier I painted when I was 12 and found it cracked.
I plan on gluing it together again, but I haven't gotten around to it yet.

Hannah's favourite decoration is anything she can reach.
We have to block off the tree so that she can't wreak havoc on the tree, the decorations, and the presents beneath it.  She's wily, though, so we have to watch her like a hawk when she's in the living room.

Besides decorating, we're always sure to do some baking during the holidays.  Aside from homemade marshmallows, my favourite Christmas baked good growing up was sour cream cookies, and I try to make them at least once every December.  The boys always insist on helping, which is fine by me.
I have pretty good baking skills, especially for a dude, but I can't decorate worth crap.  Remember the cake I made myself for my 32nd birthday?  That's what happens when I mess with icing.  So when it came to decorating the cookies, I let Avril take the lead.

Avril brought with her some of her own Christmas traditions, including making chocolates.  One evening while I was at work, she and the boys melted some chocolate and poured it into little paper cups with peanuts, walnuts, raisins, and Skor bits.
So we've done some baking, we've decorated, and we've finished buying our Christmas presents.  Now we just get to sit back, listen to Christmas music, and wait for Christmas.

Also, just because, look at how pretty my little girl's eyes are:

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A Busy Week

Last Monday, I started working again, part-time, as a legal secretary. Mike and I work mostly opposite days and shifts so one of us is almost always with the kids. On Monday afternoons we overlap and my sister Afton watches the kids for us. We are very grateful for all she does and that everything seems to be working in our favor for once.

On Tuesday night we got a call from Edmonton from some of my in-laws. The family adult Christmas party was the coming weekend and we were not planning on attending. They offered to bear our costs, the reason we were not attending, so that we could come. So my already stressful weeks was intensified.

We left Friday when I finished work. The Chinook wind had melted the roads nicely during the day, but once night fell it froze the highways. It took me 45 minutes to get home. Then it took us an hour to get from home to highway 2 (usually a 20 minute drive). Once we got to the #2, the roads were fine.

This kids slept most of the way up, which was a blessing and a curse. We got to Sara and Quincey's house just after midnight with some well rested children. 2 hours later we finally got everyone to sleep. Kenny still woke up at 6:30 in the morning. Thank goodness Auntie Sara was up with her baby so we didn't have to get up with him.

Hannah got to meet her baby cousins. She's the oldest of this years batch, but somehow seems to be the smallest.

6 month old Tate with 8 month old Hannah

4 month old Quinn

Kenny and I crashed a bit in the early afternoon.

Alex and Eloise playing 'together'

Kenny exercising while Max plays video games.

The kids had so much fun with their cousins and were very sad to leave. It was really nice to see everyone. I hope we can make it up again soon.

Snow, Snow, Snow

I finally remembered to take the camera out while playing in the snow. The boys have so much fun out there. Alex doesn't have a proper snowsuit so he doesn't last as long as Kenny, but he still has a lot of fun.
Kenny and Alex bundled up for their first outing into the snow.

Alex with a snow encrusted toy.

Kenny decided to dig out the big snow drift.

The wind that day covered the shoveled walk withing minutes of shoveling.

Snow blowing in Alex's face. This ultimately caused him to retreat to the house.

This is how I found Kenny after delivering Alex in to the warmth of the house. Mmm Snow. We didn't last too much longer than this.

A Growing Girl

Hannah's 8 months old as of this last weekend. She still ways in light and is very petite, but that brings it's own set of adventures. She still isn't crawling, but for almost 2 months now she's been very mobile. She pulls herself around to where ever she wants to go. About two weeks ago she learned a new trick.

She can sit up on her own now. So she'll drag herself to where she wants to be and sit up. She is extremely happy about it. On Thursday of last week she surprised us again by doing this...

She pulls herself up on anything she can now. She's two month ahead of the boys on this. As a light weight her muscles have the strength to do this.

And just for fun here are some pictures of the boys boxing.