Monday, 31 December 2012

I have been loving watching the children with their Christmas presents. Everything they got seemed to work together with the theme that I chose in my own presents for them: something to help each of them learn and grow in some way. For Gabe, it was spiritually. For James, it was motor skills. For Grace and Jane, it was learning to help and take care of things. Of course, they got several 'just for fun' gifts, too. 
Gabe has been voluntarily reading his new Bible that we got him. It is a neat kids Bible, with big words and pictures. The pictures match the Bible storybook that he reads aloud for Language Arts in school, so he really enjoys finding those stories in the Bible. He also loves listening to the Patch the Pirate music and his Adventures in Odyssey cds while he is going to sleep. His theme for his whole year, it seems, is learning manliness through godly heroes and character building. It is posted all over our school wall. And his Christmas presents go right along. The Odyssey series is "Heroes", his Jesus coloring book is about Good Manners; his Jesus pencil says, "Jesus is my Hero!"....get the picture? :) Since turning 8, he has started becoming more responsible. He has gotten his own room, started doing his own laundry, has had to learn to be responsible for remembering his own personal property through trial and error. He is very proud of his new Bible; it has seemed to spark a new interest in growing with God.
James is fun to watch with his  new toys. He picks a costume for Larry the Cucumber (Veggie Tales), and then sets Larry somewhere. Yesterday he was a cowboy and he set him by the barn for the horses. He plays in his imaginary world with his road building set, or with his big diesel car -loader, or has conversations between his tiny animals. :) His new favorite movie is Free Willy, which he watches over and over. He also meticulously keeps his new toys in his new room and keeps the girls OUT. And when they come in, that's how he says it to them..OUT! While teaching him to 'walk in love'(Ephesians 5:2)LOL, we are trying to teach the girls to respect his space, which he keeps so neat. :)
And those girls!-what fun they are to watch with all of their new 'housekeeping' items....a Minnie Mouse vacuum that 'turns on' when they 'help' vacuum, dolly strollers, dolly beds&blankets, new dollies, 'groceries' for their little kitchen, etc. I walked around the corner last week and found Gracie vacuuming with her little vacuum right next to Daddy with his:it was too sweet. And Janie and  I put her groceries away in her fridge. They rock their babies and put them to bed and take them on walks. I hung up their little clothesline this morning and they 'did laundry'. It is hilarious to watch them put their purses over their arms, step into their princess high heels, and clomp around the kitchen pushing their baby strollers!
Well, I've got to help Gabe with the rest of his schoolwork, get the venison roast out of the oven for dinner, and get everyone ready for a special church service this evening. Have a Happy New Year one and all!

Friday, 28 December 2012

James, imparting spiritual wisdom to his little sister while decorating cookies: "What does Dod(God) say?"...speaking very slowly, as to a small child "Obey your pawents in the Woird cause dis is RIGHT! Otay?"

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Wow, where to start? Lots of different things to share...maybe I should do my random thought list. 
~To finish up  my description of our Christmas day, I'll finish up that thought first. You know how with small children there is the initial craziness of Christmas morning and everyone's opening presents all at once, mixing paper with gifts, and you can't keep track of who got what from whom? Well, I was hoping to avoid that this year. Also, as the Mommy, I felt this invisible pressure to be everywhere at once: keeping track of presents so we could write thank you notes, getting the big crepe breakfast ready, getting Christmas dinner ready, somewhere in there getting myself ready! Like I was responsible for making sure 'Christmas' went smoothly. Sound familiar, moms? :) Then my husband had a wonderful idea! Why rush? Why not spread  Christmas out all day instead of getting the fever pitch excitement over with and then sitting around twiddling our thumbs all day? So that's what we did. We took the time to ENJOY the opening of the stockings. And that's it. The kids spent the next hour playing with those small items instead of rushing on to the next thing. While I made our lovely Christmas tradition of breakfast berry crepes with whipped cream. We waited until after breakfast to open presents. But before presents, we 'did' the story of Baby Jesus. It's so important to us to make sure HE comes first on HIS birthday. The children gathered around our Little People Nativity set. I gave them each a 'character' in the story to hold. As I told the story, our characters helped act out the story, with the kids' doing the acting and helping tell it. Then we sang 'Away in the Manger' and 'Happy Birthday' to Jesus. And then each of the kids prayed to tell God thank you for His present to us, Jesus, Who will wash our sins away and show us how to be good like Him. Then, they sat quietly and listened as Daddy read the Christmas story straight from the Bible, Luke Chapter 2. The kids' version brings it down to their level, but God's version from His Word is the best of all.  THEN....the presents! You can imagine the hubbub and excitement of that. Somehow, amid it all, we managed to save our living room. Four big bags of garbage were thrown out the back door to the garbage bin, lol. :) The rest of the day was quiet and lovely while we rested (after all, Mommies and Daddies put a lot of work into Christmas Day, sometimes even staying up late finishing last minute projects!) and the kids played with their new toys. And you know what? We were too tired to do Christmas Dinner that day. So we did it the next day. And today we cut out and decorated those gingerbread cookies that we mixed up in those pictures from a recent post. And tomorrow, I'll finally get around to making the lemon meringue pie that was supposed to go with Christmas dinner, but we were all too full and I was too tired to make. So, we have successfully spread "Christmas" out over four days! 
Well, now that I got my first random thought written out, I've decided to postpone the rest of my random thoughts until later. Like Christmas, I'm spreading this post out...:D

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

It has been a beautiful Christmas! Though, really, ours is not over yet. For one thing, this whole week feels like Christmas because Richard is off. This is by far the most relaxed Christmas we've had since we got married. We were more prepared. Also, we are out of the baby stage, so the kids are all more aware of what Christmas is. Their level of excitement made it that much more fun planning Christmas for them. Another reason the holiday is not over yet is because we haven't had our Christmas dinner yet. :) We were simply too busy and too tired. 
I have inadvertently established a sort of tradition of making a big Christmas breakfast of berry crepes with whipped cream, simply because that is what my husband requests every year. He was looking forward to that more this morning than any present opening. He remarked, "Every year I find myself looking forward more to the food than to the presents!"  Well, by the time I got the breakfast made and we opened presents, I was tired. Done. I went to bed. And, though everyone was hungry by late afternoon, we just didn't feel like the big ordeal of a huge meal all over again. I was running out of time to lay everything out, so we just postponed it. We ate box noodles for dinner! :D It will be so much nicer tomorrow, though.  
We will have time to enjoy it at a decent time of day when we have big appetites. 
I will post more tomorrow about our fun day with the kids, because Richard is waiting on me to go watch a movie. 

Monday, 24 December 2012

Yay! I figured out how to put pictures on my blog! These are of the kids and I making gingerbread last on Friday. I let them do as much of it as possible, because I remember being little and wanting so badly to 'help'. The only thing I reserved for myself was the mixing of the spices, or else we would have nasty gingerbread. You don't want to mess up those proportions!  But I even let James crack the eggs. We had a hard time getting started because the bowl kept walking away...on Jane's head! I gave each child a whisk and let them stir often. Of course the three youngest immediately tried to eat the shortening/sugar mixture...yuk. Jane began to cry when she got her tongue stuck in her whisk. I laughed and took a's the one where she's showing me her owie tongue. The second picture above was just too precious...Daddy reading his Bible while rocking Baby Jane. She looks so happy to be snuggled in with Daddy. :)I'm blessed to have a husband who leads our family with God's Word. 
Well, we're off to the Christmas Eve service at church with caroling afterwards. Looking forward to spending Christmas Eve with our church family, who truly do feel like family. But until the time to go, I'm going to sit here a few minutes longer and put the final stitches on Grace and Jane's layette for their baby dolls. :)Merry Christmas Eve!

Friday, 21 December 2012

"Deck the Halls with boughs of holly, Fa la la la la la la la la!"
Yeah! It's finally Christmastime! This is going to be a fun year; I can feel it. All the babies are bigger this year. In fact, really, they're not babies at all anymore.  I have a preschooler and two toddlers. And, boy, are all four of the kids excited for Christmas! Gracie has already unwrapped one of her presents, which I rewrapped behind her back and stuck back under the tree. She didn't know who it was from or that it was for her. And the girls have raided the stockings once when Richard and I accidentally left them all sitting in the rocking chair waiting to be hung up. Each girl is now minus a piece of candy that they stole and ate! And, of course I knew when I hung the candy canes on the tree a couple days ago that the babies would have a heyday with that. And they did. There are a couple broken ones that I repossessed and hid in a Christmas tin for later.  And one still hanging on the tree with a shorter hook than normal. It's our handicapped candy cane, lol. 
Due to our late start in the school  year, we had to continue school all the way up to today and, depending on what Daddy decrees next week, we may have to resume the day after Christmas. Or, he may say 'forget it' and we'll start when he returns to work the following week. At any rate, we eagerly finished up the week's work this afternoon. One very excited little boy busted out of here the  minute I said "Dismissed", much to my amusement. But I was as excited as he was. :) 
I am making sure to get my house shining clean this evening so I can have it nice for Christmas week. I want to start out right. I just finished the kitchen. The rest will come after the kids go to bed, because you know, as they say, trying to clean house with kids is like shoveling snow while it is still snowing! :)  Thankfully, the house didn't get too bad this week and will require minimal straightening. 
I am enjoying a few moments of quiet right now, as the kids are all upstairs hanging out with Daddy, my dishwasher is quietly humming, and it is not quite bedtime. I'm gonna let them stay up a bit longer tonight to enjoy time with their daddy.  But, after they're in bed--THEN I am going to have FUN! 
1. Set out supplies & ingredients for making gingerbread men with the kids tomorrow morning. 
2. Finish sewing Gabriel's sailor bedroom curtains.
3. Cut out and hem up the pink and white fleece dolly blankets for the girls, as well as the pillows and little quilts. It is finish up work for them tonight. I can't wait to lay it all out to see! I feel like I'm playing with my "dollies", making nice, tiny things for Grace and Jane. :)
4. Have a ball finishing up Christmas card making at my desk. 
5. Finish coloring the Disney Princess posters I'm having laminated for the girls' room.
6. Finally getting the chance to paint my Christmas ornaments for my tree. I hope to have them on the tree tomorrow evening. 
OH! and,
7. I better practice my song for Sunday! :) "Mary, Did You Know?" is what I'm going to attempt to sing. My voice is still suffering a tad from the larygitis I had awhile back. It takes me forever to completely recover. 
Well, I am not sure what else to write at this moment and the kids are wanting a bedtime snack. They ran off all their dinner playing out in the garage after supper. :) I will try to update over the next week. I'm not sure how busy it will be. Richard has the entire week off-hallelujah! :) So if I don't get back here till after New Year---"Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!" from Richard, Rachel, Gabriel, James, Grace, and Jane "Peace on earth, goodwill to men!"

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Ahhh! Exhilaration, a breath of fresh air! We went to Gabriel's Calgary Children's Choir Christmas Program this evening. I am SO impressed! (I am squealing with excitement here) That is what a Christmas program should be like. I left relaxed, with a smile on my face. A couple of times it even brought me to tears. Those children can SING! They are learning to sing properly and classically. We were able to see the entire group of choristers, from itty bitty age four all the way up to high school graduates. I could see firsthand what Gabriel has to look forward to, and I was pleased. They never wavered from tasteful, classic music. And, what I loved most of all about the program--they left Jesus in Christmas! They weren't trying to be all politically correct. These innocent voices were allowed to sing out, "Jesus, born to live, born to die!" It was so beautiful to go to a Christmas concert with Christ included and to leave praising Him in my heart. It was not even a Christian function.
That said, Gabriel, in his formal choir uniform with a black vest and red bow tie, was adorable! I just wanted to eat him up. He's 8 years old, but he looked so small up there! Watching his face, I could see which songs he really knew well and liked a lot, because his face would light up and his body came alive with the music. He seems to genuinely enjoy his friends and music at choir. It is worth every penny.
So, that was Gabriel's big event this week. James and I had a day together this week as well. His Christmas program is not until next week, but this Thursday was his day to bring snack. His snack day is also my volunteer day, and his day to be Teacher's Helper and bring something for Show and Tell. It's like, "Feature James" day. I love how they give each child this opportunity to be special. And going along with him gave me a chance to watch how he learns and is behaving. I kept in the background; they gave me the fun job of putting up a new bulletin board-right up my alley. :) But I watched as James moved from station to station in his preschool room....corraling tiny horses inside a fence in the sand table.....donning a smock to paint a picture at the easel.....joining the girls to comb all the dolls hair, too funny and cute......interacting with his teacher as she helped him make a Christmas card. As a hands-on Mommy, I like to see firsthand the activities of my children.....though in this instance I'm handing the 'hands-on' part over to his preschool teacher. But I got to see how he's doing for myself, which made me feel good. :) James took his 'duties' very seriously. He got to be the head of the line and pick the colors for their game. He got to help pass out the snack he brought. At storytime, he got to sit up in a special chair right by his teacher(the one he has a crush on, lol!). She let him do the counting for the calendar and put the next day up on the board. And then he got to Show and Tell. He was so cute. One guess what he brought---um, yes, his Calgary Flames hockey stick and Daddy's special puck! :D That is James for you. Of course he had to show all his friends how he can play hockey. I could see his teacher suck in her breath anxiously as she cautioned him, "Be careful not to hit anybody!"....but even I was surprised how controlled his stick handling was, never even coming close to the kids in the front row. I had to laugh when she asked him whose team that was on the stick. He didn't say "Calgary Flames"-he said, "That's my daddy's team!-mine and my daddy's and my brudda's!"
Well, it is an early Sunday morning and I have oatmeal to make, clothes to iron, and a family to get ready. Have a blessed Lord's Day!

Monday, 3 December 2012

James announced joyfully this morning, "It's TODAY today!" which made me laugh and set a nice tone for the day. He's a hoot. :)
Yeah! Gabriel and I finally finished our first reading book for school. I thought we'd never get through it, due to time and circumstances. It was a mystery/adventure about the famous Blue Grotto on the Island of Capri. To celebrate the discovery of the mysterious cove and the completion of the book, we did an art project. We made posters illustrating the book. They turned out nicely, if I do say so myself. 
We are all waiting for the hot dogs to get done. We are all waiting for Richard to get home. I am waiting for the kids to go to bed so I can clean up my house. It was our first day back to a normal week of school today. I'm afraid I was not as organized as I should have been. Not to mention I stayed up too late preparing for today, only to be so tired today that I was out of energy. So the babies got ahead of me and now I have much to clean up. This was one of those days where all the hair pretties got dumped in the sink, clogging it up. The sugar jar was raided; hence the babies are in need of baths. Toys were dumped. Crayons were spilled. Baby powder squeezed all over(I'm afraid to go look in my room where the crime was committed!). That kind of a day. 
On a lighter note, there's eggnog. And the sun came out today. And the kids had fun playing outside this morning. And I made 13 boiled eggs with colorful happy faces for a fun lunch. Is boiled eggs and eggnog for lunch bad for cholesterol when the recipients are 8 and under? :) It was just what we felt like eating. 
Richard is tinting his new baby, his brand new Orlando, which he bought last Friday. Our poor friend, the Alero, gave up the ghost at long last. It's crippled remains are parked in the deserted lot behind CMP, where it faithfully transported Richard for 7 long years. Goodbye-you were a good little car!
Well, I need to go get those babies into the bath. The hot dogs got done and eaten and the babies are ready for bed now. Tootaloo! 

Saturday, 1 December 2012

So I haven't posted in awhile because I have had a lovely week enjoying my mother's visit. We had mom/daughter time with a girls day out for lunch, pedicures, and a bit of shopping. We had grandma time, reading stories, setting up the Christmas tree, and some early presents. We had a Thanksgiving dinner Monday night and ate ourselves silly. I was so sad to see her go back home on Wednesday. Come again, soon, Mom! 
So Richard and I have given up. When someone tells us we should 'come to this thing' or 'come see this great show!', if that person is not a Christian, then the event is almost always going to be uncomfortable to us as Christians. Even work banquets end up being uncomfy and we leave early; we're not even going this year. Last night, we got a babysitter and were going to have a date to see what WE 
thought was a nice little concert at the high school featuring two pianists playing duets. Um, not so. They had the place set up like a Las Vegas showroom and the pianists were playing and singing raunchy songs with such distasteful jokes that we were incredibly uncomfortable. We literally walked in, sat down for five minutes, got back up and walked back out. It wasn't worth ruining our testimony to sit there uncomfortably; there's no reason for us to endure the world's junk. So we went and found a cozy coffee shop. Sitting there snuggled next to my husband on the couch drinking a chai tea eggnog latte was WAY more relaxing. And then I got to go watch him play hockey; he scored two goals for me-way to go, Richard! Then we found an empty parking lot and I got my first lesson in driving a stick-shift. I think I made him nervous, lol! Goodness, I made MYSELF nervous! :D

Janie made me laugh with a new word-I was trying to get her dressed from her bath, but she kept clinging to me like a baby orangutan, shivering, & saying, "I colding! I colding!"---as opposed to 'freezing', she's 'colding'. :) On that funny note, I'd better go get these babies ready for the church banquet this afternoon. Do I dress them up, or dress them in practical bibs from head to toe in light of the mess they are about to go make eating that big dinner...hmmm, there's a thought. :)