Friday, December 30, 2005
KidSites.com A website dedicated to finding the good quality kids websites out there. It has some fun links (including another snowflake maker) and is definitely worth checking out...
The Canadian Encyclopedia An online Enclyclopedia of Canada..free! Try their Canucklehead quiz and see how much you know about Canada
iMusic Store: Purchase and then download tons of different audio books for adults and children... I'm really excited about this because I'm forever trying to find good audio books for the kids to listen to, and they are always out at the library (or scratched so they don't work halfway through the story). What a great source!! I think we'll getd Anne of Green Gables, and Narnia first!!
We have watched the Sound of Music together and have listened to the soundtrack over and over and sung all the songs together...
We have watched the Nutcracker Ballet on DVD and danced and giggled...
We have eaten chocolate and cookies and turkey and ham and stuffing and apple pie...
We have played cards with Sean's new poker set and enjoyed the fun of using real poker chips... and feeling oh-so-sophisticated...
We have cleaned here and there around the house and have dreamed about what our basement will look like when it's all developed...
and... we have even ventured to the mall to go shopping with Christmas money for the kids. No surprises as to what they bought: another Playmobil toy (a princess and her royal bed chamber), and two trains.
Now, as I type, the children are laughing outside with their dad as they run around the yard with rosy cheeks and cold noses. Maybe I'll try to make some hot chocolate for them again (this time with SUGAR LOL).
I love Christmas break and don't want it to end. It's just so much fun to have my husband home and be able to enjoy being a family all together, without the stress of all of our other activities and jobs. I hope you all are having a beautiful Christmas season too.
Blessings to you, and Much Love!!
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
Being parents of three small children all under the age of six (and hence all under the age of reason!), we decided it was wise to schedule our day around their nap time, so the evening mass and the following Christmas day activities wouldn't end in melt downs and temper tantrums (we learned from experience last year).
We spent the morning playing, cleaning and trying to find that elusive lightbulb on the tree that was burnt out and wrecking the whole string of lights... then after nap time we decorated our tree (or should I say that the parents decorated the tree while the kids played with the ornaments and Heather tried to eat it). Then we had dinner, got dressed and rushed off to church to find a seat in the very crowded church for the very special Christmas Eve mass. It was beautiful and grace-filled, and the children especially enjoyed sitting with Auntie Anna and Uncle Cameron who came with us. They also loved blowing kisses to baby Jesus in the nativity scene as we left for home.
At home we lit up our pretty tree for the first time, along with our white candles for our advent wreath, and read the Christmas Story together on the couch. A great start to a new tradition which can only get better (maybe next year we will be able to hear the story over the baby fussing, and the toddler getting off and on the couch in search of his trains and cars). After our night prayers together, the kids cuddled baby Jesus and laid him in the manger and then they went off to bed to wait for Saint Nicholas to come in the night with instructions from daddy that they were to wait for us before they went downstairs in the morning, and were not allowed to get up too early.
Which leads us to 4:00 a.m. the next morning when the little angels woke us up to wish us a very merry Christmas! They went back to sleep and got up later at a more respectable 6:00 and we made it downstairs before 6:30. They were very excited to see that Saint Nicholas had brought them stockings full of toys and candy in the night... and there were presents under the tree from mommy and daddy and others.
The morning was lots of fun with lots of smiles and screams from Elizabeth and Zachariah, and clapping of hands from Heather who was delighted with the gingersnap she got in her stocking. E was especially pleased with the Swan Lake Barbie and Prince that her great-aunt was clever enough to find on eBay for her, Zach is still playing with his 'mountain for Gordon' that mommy and daddy got him, and Heather looks so beautiful in all of her new clothes.
Later on in the day all of their grandma's and grandpa's came over, and we had a lovely feast complete with the turkey that is never quite done, homemade cranberry sauce, and pretty red and green veggies from grandpa Jack. After dinner we played a modified version of pictionary with the kids, then sent them to bed so we could eat apple pie and ice cream. What fun!!
My favorite part of the day was when Elizabeth, who was sitting at the table painting her new princess posters, looked up at me with this innocent and beautiful child's face and said "mommy, I just love Christmas time!".
Sunday, December 25, 2005
Saturday, December 24, 2005
1. Hot Chocolate or apple cider? mmmm... Apple cider
2. Turkey or Ham? Turkey!! (with lots of gravy, but the ham my sister made last night was really good too!)
3. Do you get a fake or real-you-cut-it-yourself Christmas tree? We just switched to artificial, because we love to get our tree really late in the season (yesterday), and decorate it on Christmas Eve, and keep it up until Epiphany. They always die before then, and in fact they are usually dead when we go to the tree lot on the 22nd or 23rd LOL. So we splurged and bought a nice country-style one. One of my favorite memories was when we got to go cut one down in the woods with grandma and grandpa one year as a kid.
4. Decorations on the outside of your house? yup! pretty evergreen garlands, lights, and a nativity scene.
5. Snowball fights or sleddin'? brrr! I guess sleddin, but it's more fun to watch the kids do it.
7. Do you enjoy going downtown shopping? Urgh! no way! I don't like shopping at all anywhere during Christmas! I made some presents, and I bought a bunch online.
8. Favorite Christmas song? Away in a Manger
10. How do you feel about Christmas movies? I have some favorites from my childhood, like Rudolf, and that one where the boy got his tongue frozen to the pole... yeah, I guess I do like them! But we don't have a TV so we haven't watched many this year.
11. When is it too early to start listening to Christmas music? I usually try to wait until at least a few days before Christmas, and then we aren't sick of them for the real 12 days of Christmas!
12. Stockings before or after presents? Duh!! of course BEFORE! Like there is any other way LOL
13. Carolers, do you or do you not watch and listen to them? Never had any come!! but we love singing :-)
14. Go to someone else's house or they come to you? We like to have everyone come here.
15. Do you read the Christmas Story? If so when? We are just starting this tradition: we are going to read it on Christmas Eve when we come home from mass, just before we go off to bed. After the story is done we'll put baby Jesus in our Nativity Scene
16. What do you do after presents and dinner? Clean up!! have pie, and then get the kids in bed, and if everyone isn't too tired, we LOVE playing cards or other games.
17. What is your favorite holiday smell? Cinnamon and nutmeg.
18. Ice skating or walking around the mall? I LOVE ice skating!! can't wait till the kids are a bit older so we can enjoy it. I HATE the mall and NEVER go there :-)
19. Do you open a present or presents on Christmas Eve, or wait until Christmas day? We like to wait for Christmas Day unless some family isn't going to be here (like my sister)
20. Favorite Christmas memory? Being with my family as a child at grandma sonia and Grandpa pete's house playing cards and laughing until my tummy hurts!! I loved Sledding down the big hill, playing games with my cousins, NUTMEG!!, going for walks in the snow, eating Jo squares, playing pictionary and Slang Teasers, watching Wheel of Fortune, helping set the table, trying to get out of cleaning up after dinner, eating Pep candies from Grandpa pete, and cough drops from Grandma sonia, eating Grandma sonia's mashed potatoes. I especially liked the night my cousins and I stayed up late gambling and playing Martha Stewarts Wedding (a card game we invented). I just LOVED Christmas time at my grandparents house. It was the thing we looked forward to all year.
21. Favorite Part about winter? Chinooks! and My anniversary.
22. Ever been kissed under mistletoe? hmm.. i can't recall
23. Tagging... Ok, If you want to fill this out, post it on your blog: (or anyone can just fill it out and leave it in the comments section if you'd like to share you answers with me :-) )
After a very poor sleep, I got up at 5 am with the baby to sit in the recliner with her in hopes that she would sleep better there for a bit (she's teething... And I had some Christmas baking with milk in it on thurs night which is more likely the cause). Unfortunately, the kids are so excited about Christmas that they aren't sleeping either and got up at 6, shortly after the baby and me fell back asleep, so I dragged myself back upstairs and had a nap.
When Sean and I both emerged at 8am we came down to the funniest sight: two kids who have been left alone for two hours, jumping around the living room amidst piles of empty wrappers and half eaten life savers. They apparently found the candy that they got from my parents the night before (which I tried to hide and take out again on Christmas day... To no avail). They are now twirling and spinning like tops that won't stop!!! Good thing I got that good nap in this morning :-)
Last night we celebrated an early Christmas with my half of the family because my sister is flying out to her in-laws today for the week. So we spent the afternoon at her house helping her cook a ham and then our parents and grandma sonny came over in the evening for a fun celebration.
She did a great job of cooking! I was there to teach her the finer points of how to cook a big dinner for your whole family. First lesson was while we were resting comfortably on the couch:
me: "the first thing we have to do is get the vegetables peeled and into some water so we don't have to worry about them later. Here's the easiest way to do it: you ask the men if they would please go peel the vegetables"
She caught on right away and yelled "Sean, Jack! Could you please peel the potatoes and carrots?" and of course the men, being well trained into the finer arts of dealing with the women of our family, trotted into the kitchen and bonded while peeling piles of potatoes and carrots.
This is how my mother and my grandmother taught me how to cook and who am I to break family tradition? I still can hear the echo in my mind of Grandma yelling "Pete!" all through the dinner making process. (sure do miss that guy!)
We had a lovely evening together, and the kids were allowed to open their present from Auntie Melissa and Uncle Jack (which was more like FIVE presents... But I digress), and spent the rest of the night running around in their new PJs (Z is now Superman with a real cape!). My favorite part was the roaring fire she bought for a bargain $2 from the Cable company.
Oh! and the baby learned how to clap!!! and she is so delightful to watch. She claps when she gets excited about getting some food to eat.
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Oh, and Elizabeth gave us some good logic problems by trying to tell us that Christmas is the day after yesterday... or is it the day after the day before yesterday? She talks like she is so grown up now, and sean and I have to try really hard not to laugh when she comes up with some of these things. I can't believe I have a 5 year old already!!
We also had fun visiting with Grandma Sonia this week and she sent us home with a big bag of cookies and some really yummy Stollen (christmas bread). The kids love going over to her house because she always has treats, and funny things to show them. This time they laughed and laughed at the Cowboy Santa who dances to music
The next day with her as my inspiration (and with her pie plates too), we made three apple pies for Christmas dinner which is coming sooner than I think!!
Monday, December 19, 2005
This weekend we had lots of fun things to do.
On Saturday night we went over to Sean's brother's house for a Christmas tree decorating party. It was fun for us to go to their new house and be a part of their own new traditions as a young family. (they've been married just over two years).
The kids had so much fun eating appetizers, hanging ornaments on the tree, reading Christmas stories, and decorating cookies. Auntie Anna and Uncle Cameron are so much fun! They always fill the kids up on sweets just before bedtime, and then get them super excited and full of crazy energy. There's something about Aunties and Uncles that does that to them..... ah.. Just wait until they have kids.
Then on Sunday evening we went to a Familia Christmas party at our good friend's house, and had a ball playing with friends. Elizabeth was overjoyed to find three of her little friends there, and they played all night long. Zachariah was having a great time playing with his little friend Joseph (they are almost the same age), and even Heather made a friend. :-) I just love events where there are a bunch of Regnum Christi families gathered together, and the children outnumber us four or five to one sometimes LOL. It's such a joy to watch them all running around and having fun. The gift of life is so precious.
Now that I have my own children (where have the years gone? I already have more kids than my own parents did), I find it even more fun to be able to watch them get excited about Christmas time. We have so much to do this week to get ready, and thank God I am finally feeling really good!!
What's your list of things left to do? This is ours:
- bake cookies
- bake pies for christmas dinner
- get presents for a few remaining people
- give santa some tips on where to find some dairy-free stocking stuffers
- finish making a few Christmas presents
- clean our house top to bottom
- do the laundry
- finish up our Jesse Tree
- set up our outdoor nativity scene
- buy a Christmas Tree
- buy new Christmas PJs
- get hair cuts for everyone
There has been lots of thought put into Christmas traditions this year, and with me being sick, we have really tried to scale back and simplify. What we want to make sure we do is spend lots of time together as a family: together with just us and the kids, together with all of our extended family, and together with our beloved friends. So.. I have to get this house cleaned up and in shape so we can have our friends and family over and welcome them into our home and shower them with our love :-)
Here is what we are going to do this year:
On Weds we are going to go pick out a tree and set it up in our living room (no decorations yet).
On Friday night we are going for a special dinner at my sister's house to celebrate and early christmas with them
On Saturday night (Christmas Eve) we are going to go to an early evening mass and celebrate the birth of baby Jesus.
When we come home from mass, we are going to get into our new Christmas PJs, put on some Christmas music for the first time this season, get out some good Christmas baking, Christmas oranges and eggnog, and decorate our Christmas Tree together. Then we'll read the Christmas Story, put baby Jesus in the nativity scene, say our bedtime prayers together downstairs and then go off to bed. (after the kids are asleep we'll put out all the presents under the tree, and hopefully santa will come and fill our stockings)
Christmas morning we will get up at a reasonable hour (LOL) and open our stockings and presents, have breakfast, sing happy birthday to Jesus, start the turkey, play with our new toys and enjoy a nice quiet morning together. In the afternoon our family will all come over and we will celebrate the special feast day together, with fresh white candles in our advent wreath, a nice homecooked meal, laughter, love and joy.
Daddy doesn't have to go back to work until after New Years, so we will have all week to play, avoid the packed malls, go for walks and sleigh rides, go to mass, play cards and games, visit friends and family - and have them over, take naps, giggle, make messes... and just plain celebrate the twelve days of Christmas.
I can't wait!!
Friday, December 16, 2005
(of course that would require much work on mom's part sorting through all the junk out there, and organizing it all etc... So I will still be buying curriculum because it's much easier on me).
Here are a few places we have found with great worksheets (what are some of your favorite sites?):
homeschool share (free unit studies)
We also did another Jesse Tree symbol. We are a little behind because of me being so sick, but that's ok :-) She's starting to get the concept of history and the idea that Moses and Adam and eve and Noah etc.. all came BEFORE Jesus did. I consider this great training for starting up a formal history curriculum in the next few years.
This picture was of Joseph (you know, the technicolor dream coat guy). He was sold into slavery by his 11 brothers who didn't like him (because his dad loved him the best - hence the cool coat of many colors he gave him). I guess Joseph is the guy being pulled behind the horse. He's frowning and the captor is smiling. I love the details she puts in her pictures... Also look how she has the guy on the horse facing the same direction as the horse is. She's a better artist than I am already LOL
Thursday, December 15, 2005
Today was my little ballerina's last ballet class and they had a mini recital for us where they performed the Nutcracker ballet. It was so adorable, and Elizabeth was so proud. This class was just with our local Parks and Recreation program and it was four classes for less than $30. It was so much fun for her and waaaaaayyy less stressful and serious than her ballet school she did last year (not to mention way cheaper too). This is definitely the way to go as far as I can see. The little girls were so sweet acting out the ballet and copying their teacher.
Elizabeth was telling everyone she met that today was her recital, and she was so brave performing in front of an audience.
After we came home from the big performance, she wanted to do some piano lessons . Last weekend I bought a piano book for preschoolers that came with a CD, and she has really been enjoying listening to it and learning how to play the piano. The course is called Music For Little Motzarts by Alfred Publishing, and it's really good. Maybe one day she'll do a recital for us :-) She is definitely into the arts.
After the ballet class she wants to do another art class... And Jenny, you'll be glad to hear that she wanted to know if one of the projects they were going to do in the art class was take photographs (because she knows that Jenny is an artist and she takes pictures LOL).
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
With me being sick off and on for the last month and a half we haven't done much in the way of formal schoolwork where we sit down and learn something from a workbook, but we've still been busy learning lots every day.
Last week and this week on tuesdays and thursdays, elizabeth has been taking a ballet class called 'Wee Nutcrackers'. She is just loving it :-) On Thursday she has a 'recital' at her classroom and she's very excited about it. She has been learning all about the music by Tchaicovsky (sp?), and having so much fun dancing with her two little girl friends who signed up for the class with her. She can often be caught twirling through the house humming strings of the 'Dance of the sugarplum fairies' and other songs from the nutcracker. She is also fond of his other music from Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty.
Right now she is busy eating an apple and listening to a Classical Kids CD called 'Handel's Messiah'. She loves hearing the beautiful melodies and listening to the story that goes with it. Earlier today we were busy making christmas presents and cards.
She has also learned how to answer the phone, and she is very polite and sweet. She picks it up, says hello and then brings it to me like such a little grown-up. I can't believe how fast time flies. It just seems like yesterday that she was crawling around at my feet trying to pull up on my legs, and now it's heather who is busy doing that.
Monday, December 12, 2005
Today I am feeling much better... but my house is another story :-) A week and a half without a wife's touch is a long time for a house. Especially with three little kids and their dad running wild through it. (actually, dad did do a lot to help keep up with the housework... but nothing can replace a woman's touch).
We spent the morning doing laundry and more laundry (and more laundry), and also cleaning up the kitchen, and just about every other room in my house. After we (I) had made at least a dent in the work, elizabeth settled down to do some drawing, and then some playing with with her leap pad.
St. Nicholas came to our house on sunday morning, and the kids were just so sweet about the whole thing... the night before, elizabeth came downstairs at around 10pm, still awake, wanting to make sure that I knew that St. Nicholas wouldn't come if me and daddy didn't go to sleep. LOL. Luckily I went to bed early that night, because shortly after 5:30 the next morning, the kids came running into my room with great excitment, waving chocolate in their hands and wanting to give Heather a cookie they found in her boot. (st. nick couldn't forget little heather I guess). Sean and I wearily dragged ourselves downstairs, making a mental note to talk to them about what time they can go downstairs for Christmas morning), and enjoyed their excitment. Aren't kids the sweetest thing ever? I can't wait for Christmas to come!!
Saturday, December 10, 2005
Anyways, I digress... Saint Nicholas is going to make a stop here tonight and put some candy and stuff in the kids shoes (well, boots actually... Elizabeth caught on right away that that meant more room for candy LOL). The kids put their boots on the table so st. Nick could find them easier. Elizabeth is so excited and you can just see the anticipation on her face. Zachariah, on the other hand is still a 2 yrold and just a few moments ago was standing on the table trying to put his boots back on his feet, not understanding the concept that the candy can't get in if his foot is already in there too :-)
Each year for the feast of st. Nicholas (dec 6th), he has come and left a letter on the table for them, and given them the traditional bag of chocolate coins, a mandarin orange and some other goodies, and then a big toy/book/game etc.. for them to share. This year we tried to find the 3 wise man set that goes with their playmobile nativity scene (which st. Nicholas brought last year), but sean couldn't find it, so he's giving them a fun animal game instead.
It also happens to be our anniversary tomorrow, and let me tell you, six years being married to the same wonderful guy hasn't been nearly long enough to show him how much I love him, so I pray that God gives us many many more.
good night all!
p.s. Heather is such a cutie pie. She is pulling up and standing next to everything now and yesterday she pushed the kitchen stool across the floor.
Friday, December 09, 2005
I think we'll have a slow day today. What a list of things I'd like to do... and I don't even watn to know how many days are left until Christmas, but my body is saying no. Thank God it's Friday is all I can say!
Maybe today I can teach the kids how to clean the bathrooms and wash the kitchen floor for school... actually, the image of them doing that unsupervised is rather scary LOL. Just a few days ago I took a gamble on my two year old by asking him to go run and get me some kleenex to wipe my nose. You never know what a 2 yr old will come back with when you ask them for something :-) It's all or nothing with them. He did pretty good. He brought back about 2 1/2 squares of toilet paper. (I was grateful he didn't bring back the whole roll, still attached in the bathroom LOL)
uh-oh the baby is crying... off to another exciting day!!
Thursday, December 08, 2005
Now that I'm back to blogging, I have no one to blog about because the kids are at the grandpa's house for the day (my father in law...what an angel for taking them and letting me rest).
Let me tell you, family is one of those treasures that is so special. I got sick very quickly on thursday night and Sean had to be at a silent retreat all weekend, so by the love and kindness of my parents, me and the kids camped out there all weekend. They played with the baby, changed her diapers and fed her. They helped the 2 yr old to the bathroom, stopped fights, made them all take naps, read stories and played games. They also took care of me the whole time as I was very ill in bed with a high fever that tylenol wasn't helping.
When my grandma heard I was sick she made up a care package of home made good food and sent it over to me too.
Then Sean stayed home for two days of work to do the same, and today my mother in law came and brought me communion and then stayed to make me tea and clean up the kitchen.
So what have we learned in our school this week?
1. There is nothing as nourishing to a sick person as LOVE
2. A close second is grandma sonia's chicken soup
3. It is a very good thing to help out daddy when mommy is sick
4. When you are sick you need lots of rest, so it's good to be quiet for mommy to sleep.
5. It is good to obey your grandparents too.
6. Grandma and grandpa have lots of movies :-)
I just love my kids to pieces. They are so dear and their smiling little faces make me so happy. Thank you God for the gift that they are.
Monday, December 05, 2005
Well, Mel is still down and out, so Daddy is staying home today to watch the castle. Why is it that the smaller they are the more work they create? For example, Heather is dissatisfied with being on the floor, but is also quite dissatisfied with being on my lap while I do this and would like to keep busy, helping mce tow o typwe fors`` example...now she's playing with the fax machine and may have called Hong Kong...
Mommy is so bored of being sick and misses her regular routine with the kids. The kids miss her too, always asking about her. So, I had them draw some pictures to cheer her up.
The one above is Elizabeth's depiction of "Mommy and Elizabeth at a recital".
This one is by Zach, and is either a snowbird flight path, a train track, or his depiction of humanity's struggle for understanding in the light of suffering. He hadn't made up his mind yet. But he gave it to Mommy and she thought it was cute, and that's all he cares about.
Pray for Mel to have a quick journey to Health!!
Friday, December 02, 2005
Anyone have any advice on how to build up my immune system again? because I'm obviously quite run down.
The kids are great though, and are such a bright spot in my day though. Elizabeth climbed into bed with me and rubbed my back and was so maternal, and the other two are so sweet too.
Gotta go back to bed.
Thursday, December 01, 2005
Today is a much better day... I got up early and made it to morning mass (brrrr!) and had a good 45 min of quiet during my holy hour while Grandma had breakfast with the kids at the bagel store. Jesus and I had a little talk about mothering :-) and even though I wanted to stay and pray all day in the cozy chapel, reading a beautiful book and just being near Him in the Eucharist, He reminded me that He gave my children to me, and that I can only really find myself by giving myself... And that is where He will truly bless me. By being all that I am called to be: mother, wife, daughter. So I reluctantly put on my mitts and big poofy jacket and dragged myself across the street to gather up my darling little children and bring them home.
Now we are again snuggled up at home with the heater on, nice music playing, and making some more crafts to hang on our Jesse Tree. Today we read the story of Abraham and Sarah and Elizabeth wanted to draw the picture of Sarah laughing when God told her she would have a baby (Sarah was in her nineties I believe LOL)... God told Sarah that ANYTHING was possible with God. (so all of you out there who think you are done with babies... Anything is possible LOL... Just remember the movie Father of the Bride 2. Wouldn't that be fun mom?)
We also did writing, and reading (wow, it's amazing how just leaving something for awhile and then coming back to it when she's a bit older seems to help... She read so much faster today, and we haven't done phonics for a month!). She's also teaching herself spelling, because she likes to show me how smart she is :-) I'd really be happy if she could teach Heather to stop pulling up on everything and just be happy sitting on a blanket playing with toys.
All we need to get in now is a little math and we'll be done for the day. Then I'm going to feed them lunch, snuggle them in bed with a good book and then go read my own of tea.