Saturday, December 31, 2011

::You're Welcome::

My Gabriel can be a whiner. Often, when given something good, he makes it known that he would prefer a little MORE of that something. To which, I respond by plucking the good something out of his hands, so he goes without. Today, not a word passed his lips when I handed him his snack. That is, until:

Friday, December 30, 2011

::Snowshoe Picnic::

I really don't like buying the kids things they will use once and then forget about. I love to think of gifts that will not only be used, but will draw the kids together. This year I was truly blessed to have discovered a HUGE sale on snowshoes on the L.L.Bean website. 70% off. I snatched up three pairs, even though the two pairs assigned to my boys were decidedly lilac-toned. (I covered them in cool stickers to make up for that.) Along with the snowshoes, we gave each of the kids a knapsack packed with winter picnic essentials: A thermos & granola bars. Gabriel and I ventured out for our first picnic regardless of the thin layer of snow. He really enjoyed himself, (I know this because the speed with which he speaks is proportionate to his level of excitement, and I couldn't get a word in edge-wise,) but I know he'll have infinitely more fun with his siblings in tow along with a few more feet of snow.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

::Cheese Day::

Boxing Day: Shopping? Nope. Games, singing, Christmas Bread and lots of strange cheeses. And this year, a bit of skating as well.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

::The ways of Christmas::

One of the truths of this life is that where flexibility increases, joy increases also. Everyone loves tradition. Or, at least they love what tradition brings: security. And so come Christmas-time we all gravitate towards the age-worn ways of the past, whatever they might be. (Each family hauls it's own ancient tome of Christmas Do's & Don'ts from a trunk in the attic on an annual basis.) But, inevitably, with expansion and growth, old ways rub up against new ways and there can be friction. Or, a bit of bending takes place and joy is found in the unexpected.

Our family has undergone some rapid expansion, (three children-in-law, and nine grand-children in ten years), and without the willingness to re-assess old ways year by year, we likely would have disbanded into separate Christmas celebrations by now. Bit by bit, the Christmas of my childhood has morphed into a new thing that I am proud to be a part of. We have learned to spend less, to slow down and savour, to commit to togetherness. Therein is joy.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

::Tree Sleepover::

Every year, just before Christmas, we abandon our beds-- our cozy, comfortable beds-- in favour of the living room floor. Because that's where the tree is. It's beckoning glow. A Christmas movie plays, signalling sleep as it comes to an end. Messy mosaic of quilt and sprawled limb. I ask him; "Who does this?!" We do. To mark the season. To mark their childhood.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

::Merry Christmas::

Because I will likely not post until well after the 25th. . .

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Sunday, December 18, 2011

::Caelah's 9th Birthday::

{Birthday Breakfast: Crepes & Strawberries}
{Birthday Flower from Oma & Opa}
{Painting Workshop at 4Cats}
{Birthday Dinner: Sushi!}
{Birthday-girl Blurr}

We simply adore you, our Caelah.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

::Cookies & other Homemade Delights::

We had a Cookie Exchange here today. Ten ladies yield a lot of different cookies. Red ones, green ones, some the size of your head. This really is the way to go if you like variety. We each baked five dozen and scooped up six of each kind. The perk of hosting, of course, is that I ended up with all of the extras.

{Glass Pebble Magnets from Alanna}
In celebration of homemade treasures:
{Fabric star from Karin}

Sunday, December 11, 2011

::Nativity Play 2011::

No little angel of mine graced the play this year--that's Ryleigh below--Annorah flatly refused. I had her little white dress on, her wings tied and her halo in place on her curly head. And she systematically tore them all off. Also, we had no one representing among the sheep. Isaiah was not interested in being herded down the isle in an itchy costume. But, all things considered, a priest, a Rabi and a Mary is not too shabby. Plus, a handsome man of ours featured in every set change, hauling bits of Bethlehem here, there and everywhere.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

::Jonathan Toomey::

We have collected a dozen Christmas books over the years. I keep them in a wooden trunk I reserve for Christmas things. Come late November, I pull them all out and put them under the coffee table in a wooden tray. Most of the books are whimsical and lovely, but this one is far more than that. Each time I pull a little person onto my lap to read to this particular book I try my very best to keep my voice even and my throat clear. But inevitably a lump forms and I waver. Just read it. You'll see what I mean.

Friday, December 09, 2011

::Trimming the Tree::

We received a call two days ago from the teacher. One of our boys said that Santa wasn't real. The teacher was very upset, and so was I-- but not for the same reasons. She wants every child in her classroom to respect one anothers' beliefs, while I want every child in her classroom to believe in Jesus. That said, I took full responsibility. I admitted to her that I had forgotten to have that talk with my boy-- the one where I tell him to clamp his lips shut and say nothing at all.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

::Tree Day 2011::

Tree-cutting time again. Cedar Hill is no longer a Berry Farm, but strictly a tree operation. They built a beautiful new timber-frame lodge for sales, and have been planting like crazy. The area we were cutting in was so dense that we had to keep a close watch on the kids. Annorah became quite adept at squirming sideways between the prickly boughs and popping into the next row.

Every tree is pruned to perfection. That makes it very hard to choose. We found a tree we loved and marked it with a small pink mitten, but then spotted a new favourite a few rows away and had to hunt down the mitten again. We all left happy and in a wintery mood, (it helped that a dusting of snow remained on the ground and branches.) Once our trees were dragged up to the ends of the rows, a tractor came to haul us and our sappy treasures back to our the lodge. The family who runs the farm are such kind people. We will support them for as long as they are in business.