Sunday, December 30, 2007

Family Photo. . . Argh!

How do families produce those glossy Christmas card photos of their families, where all of the children are:
A. Present
B.Looking at the camera
C. Looking somewhat happy with the world?

This last is my favourite. Possibly because of Caelah's impish look into the camera. She's saying; "We've won." Or perhaps it's Gabriel's little eyes peeking over his brother's head. He's completely resigned to his brother's ways. But most likely it's Elijah's posture of complete stubborn refusal that speaks to me. You know, this photo is actually a most representative portrayal of our family. What exactly do perfect family photos offer anyways? All lies, I tell you.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Radio Flyer

This year's Top Gift:

Caelah and Elijah each got one. Smart Move! They have already "personalized" their vehicles with stickers. We decided they might as well use them throughout the house because summer is a long way off. Our floors and layout provide a perfect circular "track" for them. I don't regret this decision. These are two very happy kiddoes, getting plenty of exercise during the off season. However we did not have the foresight to avoid a littlest boy's awareness of being left out. He can't work of those scooters. In fact, I think they scare him a little, (he has been run over a few times since they have come into this house,) but he still wanted to be part of the Scooter Gang. We eventually went outside and dug his toy car out of the snow. It moves a lot more slowly than the scooters, causing regular traffic jams around the kitchen island, but he seems satisfied. Now they all have wheels.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Food List 2007

Because I love Christmas
And I love Food
And I love Pictures of food. . .

Here is our home's 2007's HOLIDAY FOOD list:

Bree & Pecan Tarts

Whole Walnuts.
They taste better when you have to work to eat them.

Mulled Apple Cider.
Smells Good. Tastes better.

Aidan and I have this as an evening snack all month long.

Like candy, but seasonal. So I get them by the crate-loads.

White Chocolate & Cranberry Tarts

Sugar Cookies.
Holiday sweets that the kids will go for when the decadence of everything else is lost on them.

Scottish Shortbread.
Long-held family tradition.

Rum & Coconut Truffles

Almond Fudge Truffles


8 lb seasoned Prime Rib Roast
Yorkshire Puddings
With Whipped Horseradish, Potatoes, Squash & Broccoli

Orange Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Icing


Yummy time of year. And there's still New Year's!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Locked In

We are officially members of the societal group known as mortgage-holders. We are most pleased. It has been a very long time coming. Now that we know the numbers, we can finally begin to budget out our lives. The immediate future calls for a new vehicle to accommodate our rapidly growing family, but there will be other needs that arise, and other financial challenges that will force us to rework figures and adjust our lives to find a new balance. This doesn't scare me. I'm eager to be working within some parameters. I feel like this homebuilding endeavour has finally come under the security of a guiding compass. See? We do know what we are doing. The bank says so. It's all very exciting. In my husband's words; "I think it's time to go and get that bottle of scotch I have been holding out for."

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Farmhouse Hutch

One of my favourite garage sale finds last summer. Aidan insists he could have whipped one together for me if I had asked, but that would have meant patiently waiting for him to find the time.

It's old and beat up and I love the way that shows through as it is, but. . . I don't like red toned wood! It seems to find me wherever I go, but I prefer dark tones. The red doesn't work with the kitchen anyways. The kitchen is black, white and silver. So, do I paint it black and say goodbye to all of the exposed character of the wood? Or do I stain it darker? Painting is so much easier
. . .

Either way, the bulk of the work will have to wait until spring. For now, I've taken off two of it's doors and am considering painting the shelves and inside to cover over the horrible mint green colour it presently is. Any feedback?

Monday, December 17, 2007

BIG snow

I've heard it was about 40 cm of snow. I've heard it's the greatest snowfall we have ever experienced in one day in this region to date. I believe it. And I love it!

Mom and Dad's plum tree, buried up to to it's lower branches.

Our brand new mailbox smashed up by snow plows.

A merciful friend came by to "plow" us a path to our front door. . .

Another merciful soul came by shortly after with a tractor and plowed the rest of the driveway in a matter of minutes. Bless him!

And the wind continues to blow, undoing all of the plowing. Big drifts finger their way across the open roads.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Three days of celebration

Friday Night.
So many people we love coming and going. Filling our home despite the white snowy way to our door. Despite the howling wind. Despite the traffic. Despite, despite, despite.
Always-friends. The ones who always come. Would come to us even if they were near deaths door. Family we see often, but rarely see here in our place. Them to us this night. Welcome to our home! Last minute sleepover guests. Cousins we love but never see. Technical talk and many, many mugs of coffee. Bestowers of lost memories; family long gone. Wisdom. Laughter. An unexpected visit from a grieving widow. Here to visit our party only hours from the side of her husband's grave. Oh, welcome dear Aunt. Lover of life. Do not compliment. Do not thank. Just rest here with us a moment that we might share this warm place with you on this cold, dark day. Glowing lights. Children flitting here and there in a pack. Thrilled by the responsibility given them to decorate the big tree. Food. Never-ending food. A little girl honoured for her five years of life.

Saturday Morning.
One nervous girl at our doorstep. "Mommy, please stay five minutes with me?" Another little girl. Another. All bearing gifts. All quick to fly away giggling, exploring this new place. Introductory words between women. Surface level inquiries. What do they think of me? My home? Sprinkles and sweetness and sticky fingered ladies. Little personalities revealing themselves in all their uniqueness. One needs some comfort. Another bellows out demands. One sits demurely. Another leads the way. Glittery pink gifts; uselessness in all shapes and sizes bring a grin to my girl's face. I'm glad. Through it all two little boys are swept along for the ride. Caught up in the feminine flurry of activity. 2:00 comes. Little girls go, taking with them currents of energy that leave this house calm.

The day she was born. A special crepe breakfast, by request. Tiny sleepover guests make the morning lively. Snow. The day becomes defined by snow. The sky is white with it. The roads are a mess of zigzagging drifts. Wraith-like fingers streaming across the pavement. Willing our little car to make it through the drifts and over the dunes. A church filling with souls who have braved the roads. A service for the little ones, that they might share a story. Wee sheep and dainty angels singing age-old songs that we all know. Fellowship and food, cars being buried outside by snow. Let it come. Many willing hands will help dig us out, and on our way. And dig we did. Stuck. Dig. Stuck. Dig. All the live long day. Finally reaching our night-haven. No going home tonight. Refuge from the storm. One little girl's birthday marked by a day's bountiful display of co-operation, generosity and love.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Tree Day

A white, wintery day. Good day to cut a tree.

We set out at noon, trailing behind Josh and Karin and their bouncing boat trailer. It began to snow big white flakes as we wound our way through the countryside to Cedar Hill Farm. The way was lovely and rolling and full of photographic pastoral scenes. The farm itself was found beyond arches of trees and pretty bridges. In a cozy wooden woodstove-warmed shop we found a welcoming woman who was in the middle of making wreaths from fresh pine boughs. A grumbling engine signalling his arrival, her son scooped us all up for a tractor ride to the back of the property.

We had left it a bit late so our first scan of the tree-spattered horizon revealed very short, scruffy looking specimens. I have only ever known one kind of Christmas tree, but this year a different kind caught my eye. The chubby, long needled pines. They remind me of paunchy old men. One such tree stood out immediately on the path. We passed it by and toured the whole lot but came back to to it in the end. It has a funny gap at the top, a huge girth and so much character. I think it may take over the living room, but it will be a welcome invasion.

And our dinner of choice after a tree-cutting: Waffles! It took hours of hunting through our unpacked stuff to find our waffle maker but it was found and enjoyed. As was Josh's espresso maker, brought along purely for he and I, who alone appreciate a good cappuccino.

Thursday the fancy tree stand we ordered, (thank you Niki), will arrive at our local Home Hardware and we'll set up our chubby old man tree and bedeck it in finery.