Thursday, December 13, 2012

Thursday Thirteen: The gift of giving (year 2)

I did this a few years ago on my blog and had a ball planning it out, so I am doing it again this year.

One of the things I love the most about the Christmas season is the spirit of giving. I love giving gifts. I am going to make a pretend list here of gifts I would like to give people if I had unlimited funds. It would be nice to give gifts of healing to my family members and friends who are in need of a healers touch, but I have no control over things like that. Maybe one day I will have loads of money and will be able to give people really cool presents - but for now I can just wish for fun things to give away and so this is what I would give if I could.....

1. For my Blog friend Teena: I would get her a trip for two to Germany and a Beer Tour!

2. For my sons: I would build an addition to each of their bedrooms - a slide from their room on the second floor to the living room on the first floor. I know they would love an indoor playground and perhaps running up the stairs to use the slide would have an additional benefit for me :)

3. For my spouse : I would buy round bales of hay. Enough round bales to put all the way around our property. She has big plans for round bales and thinks I am opposed to them. She would LOVE this gift!

4. For my friend Loralee: I would build an indoor doggie park where she could take Cletus anytime of the year to play and play and play and not get attacked by vicious dogs in the neighbourhood or tormented by kids in the backyard. Since this present is REALLY for Cletus I would add a lifetime supply of Frog Calendars for Loralee. She loves them.

5. For my friend Mel: I would buy matching kilts for her and I and a photographer to follow us around taking photos with strangers. (so that wouldn't take a lot of money but oh how flipping funny that would be.) I would also buy her a piece of land in Scotland from HERE so I could call her "Milady Melody".

6. For my Sister Jill: I would buy a truckload of VERY cute fabric and a wicked sewing machine for all of her sewing projects. (this would not be seen as a punishment I am certain!)

7. For my baby bird: I would buy a whole closet of dress-up clothes - really this is so that she will stop dressing in the boys underwear as we are folding laundry or taking boots from the back door to wear so I can't find boots when I am dressing the boys for the bus in the morning. 

8. For my mother: I would buy one of those weekly grocery deliveries of exotic fruit - for the rest of her days. I haven't seen anything like this recently but I used to see these things that you could pay for and have groceries or fruit or treats delivered through the mail. Mom would be in HEAVEN with fresh fruit weekly!

9. For my friend David. I would buy a floor cleaning company. When we worked in youth corrections he would stay up all night and strip and wax the floors because the staff had to do all the cleaning in the facility. I told him I would get him a sweet floor stripped if I ever had the money but what the hell - I'll get him a whole COMPANY of floor cleaners. Then he can tell people what to do.

10. For my mother in law. I would buy a tractor. So she could give it back to us. When she stayed with us this year she told me every day I needed one. I agree. I think she should give it to me!

11. For my dog Rescue Puppy. 365 chew toys. One for every day of the year so she can stop eating everything in my house. I mean EVERYTHING.

12. For the town where I live: A movie theater.

13. For myself : A ghost writer to finish my thesis FAST.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12 of 12 : December

Today is an interesting day the 12th of the 12th 2012. (12.12.12)
I had an appointment today to go to Grande Prairie and get a tattoo on my foot. When I started out the day it was still pretty dark.

Once I was on the road it was getting lighter. I was taking photos as I was driving so I was not focussed on the quality of the photo at all.  Headed down to the river the roads were sketchy.

 For November we have had a LOT of snow.

 Crossing the bridge.
 My first tattoo of the day - I got two.
This is words from the song " You'll Never Walk Alone" by Gerry and the Pacemakers, more famous for the fact it is the song of the Liverpool Football Club.

 This is my tattoist. James. He is excellent.
 Set up
 Working on Tattoo number 2 - my family crest (adapted by me for the purposes of this tattoo)
 Oh the gorgeous colours of ink. So pretty!


Where I grew up the roads around my home were lined with Jacaranda trees - (the photo above is actually from Zimbabwe). I LOVE Jacarandas.
This Christmas my mom brought me a baby Jacaranda. She has grown it from seed - from Zimbabwe. It means so much to me and I have it in my office at work where it is safe from kids and pets.
I love it. I need to name it. I'll keep you updated on it's progress.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

REAL Christmas music

My mom was able to come and spend some time with us in November. It was awesome (as always) to have her and we celebrated a bit of an early Christmas. We put up the tree, had a Christmas meal, sang carols and exchanged some small gifts with one another.
I am a HUGE fan of Christmas carols and never tire of hearing them. We busted out the CD's and started to sing along.
I learned for the first time that Max has a favorite Christmas carol - he loves Deck the Halls and sings along to every fa la la. I also learned that he considers Boney M to be "REAL" Christmas music and a couple of times when we were listening so something other than Boney M he threatened to remove the source of all music playing (he IS is charge of music in our house if you didn't know) unless we played REAL Christmas Music.
Thank goodness Boney M is a favorite of everyone in the house!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

take down the trampoline

There are some things meant to be done as the "getting ready for winter" yard ritual. One of these things is taking the pad off the trampoline. Last year I was diligent in my preparations and I did this. This year I thought I would leave it up - I know of others who leave theirs up all winter - and then if we had balmy days they kids could play.
Well what do you know, we have more snow at the beginning of December than we had all year last year and the tramp mat was busting under the weight of the snow.
I kept thinking I would get out and take it down, and then we heard a weather warning for our area and a prediction of another 15 cm of snowfall and I knew we had to take it down right away. It was bitterly cold and windy but mom and I girded up and went out to take it down.

 It was VERY cold out - the wind was blowing and the windchill made it even colder. I think it was about -26 degrees C.
 We were enthusiastic to begin with!
 The snow on the tramp made it very heavy. The tool I have to pull the springs to get them off broke about half way through and we had to improvise our strategy. It is a LOT easier to do this when it is warmer and now covered in snow.
We did finally accomplish our task and packed the tramp away until the spring. I will have to get a new tool to put it up, but I don't need to think about it for a few more months. (You can see in the background other toys that were pulled out after being packed away for the winter. These will have to stay out now - the Quonset is frozen shut!)

Friday, December 7, 2012

I love the frost

Frosty mornings are beautiful. I love this aspect of the winter.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

raise your words, not your voice

This is my goal as a parent this year. I MUST stop raising my voice!!

family photo

My mom was here with us for a week and we had an AMAZING time as we always do.

While she was here we had scheduled some family photographs. We don't have any family photos of the four of us and we have been saying forever that we need to get them done but for whatever reason it has not come together until now.

The whole thing was a fiasco.

We thought we scheduled a full session with a photographer, but she had us scheduled for a Christmas mini session. We thought we got a print as part of the package but we didn't. We asked for them to be taken inside but she said her inside studio was a mess and that she had a place set up outside where we could go that was sheltered from the weather (It was -26 degrees). The kids FROZE. Her house backs onto a main road and in the background of some of the photos are cars driving by. She thought she could use the photos in her online portfolio but because we have foster kids she cannot - and I think this is why we didn't get what we thought we were getting? We picked up the disk from her and when we opened it the first group of photos were COMPLETELY out of focus. The really good photos were in black and white and we wanted colour but she said we didn't specify colour and she edited them to look what she thought was the best.

I guess the moral of this story is - ASK LOTS OF QUESTIONS PEOPLE! If you don't like something (like the location of the shoot) then I recommend cancelling!

At the end of the day there are one or two usable pictures and we now have a photo of the four of us.

Here is one for your viewing pleasure. (with a car in the background!)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Reading with the boys

How Do Dinosaurs Say Merry Christmas?

Shel and I are HUGE readers. ( I have read 111 books this year!!!)

It has always bothered me that as much as we like books we could never interest our boys in sitting and having us read to them. It was part of my "dream" of having kids that I reluctantly had to let go of when I realized there was no way our boys had any interest in being read to and in fact trying to sit and read with them was a complete exercise in frustration. Pre-kid days I had visions of curling up with books and reading to my sons and sharing with them the joy I had in having books read to me as a child. When we finally HAD children and they never stopped long enough or paid any attention to books whatsoever, I set that dream aside and mourned a little at what was not to be.

Imagine my surprise when all of a sudden, THIS year, THIS month, they have both expressed an interest in having us read to them before bed. I am THRILLED beyond words, and so we have begun our journey into the world of book reading and cuddling with our boys to read a book, or two or three.

Shel ordered this book from the library this week and CJ brought it to me as soon as he found it. I was excited to read it to him as we are right in the middle of celebrating the Christmas season in our house.  I have to say I was very disappointed in it. The illustrations are AMAZING, but the story leaves something to be desired. For the first half of the book the dinosaurs are all doing naughty things - shaking presents and being destructive. The second half of the book explains that this is not what dinosaurs REALLY do at Christmas and proceeds to show them being kind, singing sweetly and so on.  I would much rather read a book that didn't have the initial focus on being bad around Christmas and even if the point of the book was to say that the dinosaurs really were NOT bad - the ideas were already out there on HOW they could have been.

So while I am thrilled to be reading to my boys and will continue to do so, I doubt we will read more in this series.

Monday, December 3, 2012

a little birdy told me

This little guy visited us at work today