Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas Thoughts

Rebecca and her new glasses! (her old ones broke at school and she taped them together on the side and coloured the tape black.....when I saw them I asked her to please not tell anyone her Dad is an optometrist!!!) Thank goodness she already had an appointment at the office because when Don heard of it, voila new funky glasses! She is pretty happy with them. She also got her cast off today after we went to the hospital and our Dr. Desai took a look at the xrays, she still needs to be careful though.
Our REAL tree this year that Don and Melodie went HUNTING for in the grasslands up in the hills! We had to cut at least a foot off to get it to fit, and as you can see some of the branches are perpendicular to the tree...........but Melodie seems to think it is our best one yet!!!
Danielle and Tim weren't able to make it home this year and I thought I was okay with it until I pulled out her stocking!! Had a good cry, this was our first Christmas without her! I was also sad because I know how much she misses us....... luckily she was thinking and planning because about a week before her and Tim sent us a webcam! We set it up(I use we loosely since Don was in the study for hours.......) and it was a surprise Christmas morning! So fun to use and although it wasn't quite the same, it really was so much better than a phone call. So happy with the technology we have..........

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christmas Writing Challenge #4: December Activities

December Activities that help you remember that Christmas is coming? I can think more of what I do now as a Mom than I can really remember as a kid. Most of my growing up years that I can really recall were spent in Northwestern Ontario in a little town called Finland, next to Emo about an hour from Fort Frances (in the Lake of the Woods area). We lived on this farm (where we built our house) for about 5 years before we moved out to New Brunswick.
This part of Ontario has very, very cold long winters and I know -25 below was the normal temperature. We had a wood stove and we always felt like roast turkeys because all of us kids slept in the top of the house.......Dad would build up the fire at night so it would last until the morning, but we would swelter til it died down. I know much of December was spent gathering firewood!
Christmas for us was always going to bed really early Christmas Eve because my Mom and Dad kept the midnight tradition........they would wake us up at midnight when we would open all our gifts and then we would have a midnight buffet, eat for a while and then go back to bed to sleep in until late. It was always exciting and we never protested going to bed. We would desperately try to stay awake but it never failed that Mom and Dad would have to come in to wake us up because we had fallen asleep..... then we would run down the stairs where the tree would be bursting with presents. I'm not sure if they were ever wrapped, Dad never believed in wrapping paper, he would always say that he could buy another present for the cost of wrapping paper!
But me, I love wrapping paper and since I buy it in January it never costs wrapping paper or bags is a must for me.
My parents would always invite friends or single people over so often we had our neighbours over for this midnight feast. I think it stemmed from the Roman Catholic faith they grew up in where they went to midnight mass.
Although I would like to have kept this tradition, when Don and I tried it a few times, our kids were so tired and didn't want to get up......and I was so insistent about their bed times because I like to sleep, so it didn't really work for us. We just put our kids to bed and wake them up in the morning. Besides until a few years ago, I was usually up for hours wrapping presents. I discovered that I love wrapping when I have lots of time, so I try to do it every couple of days or whenever I get enough presents around to do it, or no one around to see me doing it........what an amazing difference, Christmas Eve is so much more fun now and not so stressful!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Christmas Writing Challenge #3: Me + The Big Guy in a Red Suit

I am responding to Amy Sorenson's third writing challenge about what did we know of Santa and how did we find out about the real Santa!

I've struggled with this a little, I don't really remember any moment that I found out "the truth", in fact even today I like to keep his spirit alive in our home! One of my earliest memories though is when we were on Cortez Island and we were all together as families (my Mom, her parents and some of her sisters), so lots of cousins. We were all excited because we had been told that Santa was actually going to pay us a visit ( I think I was only 7 or 8) and we waited all night, then in came Santa big tummy and all with his great big HO, HO, HO and of course we all started to giggle and whisper to each other......"that's not Santa, that's Grandpa!" But we loved it anyway and anxiously waited to see what he would pull out of his big red sack! I'm pretty sure we were all at my Aunt Marie-Line's house, I seem to remember wooden log walls and the pungent smell of wood smoke.

Fast forward to a few years ago and in our house there are always presents under the tree from Santa and of course the stockings....... well this particular year I decided to be totally organized and had all of our presents bought and wrapped and put them under the tree a day early, that way Christmas Eve would be so stress free! Forgetting the intelligence of little ones..... you can imagine my dismay Christmas morning when Mitchell who was only 3 or 4 I think, said to me "Didn't Santa come Mommy? and I said: "Yes, of course!" to which he responded, "Well he didn't leave any new presents under the tree, because I counted and there are the same number!" I don't remember what I told him, but I do remember backpedaling fast and that was the last time presents came out early!!!

I am a lunch time supervisor at my children's school here in Kamloops, Parkcrest School and just the other day I overheard a conversation that made me smile from ear to ear. Two little girls came up to the other supervisor Mrs. Canning (her grandson is in the school) and one asked with great earnestness, " Mrs. Canning, do you believe in Santa Claus from the bottom of your heart?" to which Velma answered with great firmness: " You bet I do!!" Wasn't that cute and it just made my day!!

I love the magic of Santa and his spirit of generosity and kindness. Reality comes soon enough to most children, if we can help them to believe from the bottom of their hearts, Santa will continue to bring them joy for years to come!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Christmas Writing Challenge #2: Most Vivid Memory

White Christmas!

I am writing about a couple of Christmas memories that I have from my childhood and luckily I actually have pictures of them.

I can't even remember where this was taken but I do know that I had been asked to be in a Christmas play at school (I think I was in Grade 1) and my Mom was asked to work on my costume. She spent several hours making this dress out of tissue paper and I thought it was so pretty! I loved the garland on the bottom.....unfortunately as soon as I put in on I wanted to take it right off because it was "picky"!!! My poor Mom would not budge, I was wearing that costume no matter what....... according to my Mom I complained about it all night but apparently I looked beautiful on stage!

Here we are Josee, Eddie and I (Kasandra) posing for a Christmas picture! I do know this picture was taken in our house on Cortez Island in British Columbia. We lived here for several years, where we were close to my Mom's family. Funny what pictures will bring to your memory..... I remember getting this barn as one of our Christmas presents and we were so excited, I don't remember who it was for. What I really remember is the curtains in the background (Mom must have found the material on sale, lol) because Mom sewed them and then would pack them up and put them up in whatever house we were in. I'm glad we look so happy, I have lots of happy memories of Cortez Island but some real sad ones as well...... thank goodness my parents tried to instill happy Christmas memories in us!

So Christmas resolve: take pictures of special presents this year and realize that it only takes one really good one to have Christmas be memorable!!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Christmas Writing Challenge #1: Wished-for Photo

I have been thinking of a challenge that Amy Sorenson with her The English Geek blog gave us....... to write about a Christmas picture that we wish we still had! I am already behind on her writing challenges (story of my life) but wanted to write this one.

My family and I lived in a school bus that we converted to a trailer that was painted turquoise (they got a great deal on the paint, go figure it was turquoise!!!) for almost two years. My Dad was a cook and so we would camp our trailer where ever he was cooking and live in it. We finally moved to Northwestern Ontario where we parked our trailer and started building a house on a quarter section of land that we bought. I remember going to look at the land with my family and walking through knee high snow with our every breath showing in front of us, it was so cold. The land must have been dirt cheap!

We started building our house that spring, I don't know how much my Dad really knew about building but I do know there's no way an insurance company would have insured our house......we had sawdust in the walls for insulation and I remember laying newspaper down on the floor beneath the floorboards ( I remember this because my Dad kept stopping to read the paper and we were getting annoyed with him because he promised to take us to the fair when we were finished!) We worked on it all summer and by the time school started we were so anxious to have it finished, it was going to be so much bigger than our trailer. You have to understand, we were a family of 7 living in that bus....but at least we could let the two dogs and cat out once we had our own property!

We finally moved in on Thanksgiving Day and talk about being thankful! That Christmas we finally spent in a house and what I really wish is that I had a picture of our first Christmas tree! Dad went out the week before Christmas and brought back a tree for us to decorate.....the 5 of us, my older sister Josee and 3 younger brothers Ed, Bill and Ted and I were stunned! It was worse than Charlie Brown's Christmas tree, I swear it had about 7 branches total. We all looked at each other in disbelief, a whole forest to pick from and this is the tree Dad brought home..... we fired him that day! From then on every summer we would tromp through the woods, find a perfect tree, tie a big ribbon on it and go back in December and cut down that one. I wonder if my siblings still remember that tree........ I would love a picture of it....... then I could show my kids when we set up our tree how lucky we are!!!

So note to self to make sure I take pictures every year of our lovely full tree.....artificial or real!


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