Monday, December 31, 2012

My year according to Twitter

I must admit...I took the easy option on this weeks Monday Listicles by choosing "Top 10 Tweets". I chose it mainly because I liked that it was in keeping with the whole year in review theme. (And that it didn't require me to research any photos on items from the 1980s which I know would have sucked me into the Pinterest vortex for hours...)

I joined the world of twitter in  April of 2011 and since then have sent 3,099 tweets.  Now I'm no math expert but my calculator tells me that works out to about 5 tweets a day...

And having just read through all of my entries for 2012 I realize just how many were pretty much useless. It reminded me of the Louis CK quote about his 5 year old and how he could delete everything she had ever said to him and his life would be no different.  Much the same could be said of my twitter feed.

That said...there were a few gems that either made me smile, laugh or recall fond memories:
(And yes...I posted more than 10.  I was feeling rebellious.)

Who knew you could say so much in just 140 characters...

Thanks to Kate at Can I Get Another Bottle of Whine for the great topic suggestion.

See you next year!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

My Favourite Posts of 2012

As this year is finally wrapping up (and thanks be to god that it is) I thought I would take a page from my friend Bits of Bee's book and make a list of my favourite posts of the year.

It was actually a very therapeutic process to go through all my old posts while looking for the right ones to include on this list.  It reminded my why I had started this blog in the first place.  To keep a journal of our lives and to have a writing outlet that served as free therapy as well. they top 10 posts of the chronological order.  Because that`s how I roll...

The Story Behind the Name - the post that started it all.

Working Mama Guilt (Quotable Bits #1) - my first link up post that introduced me (through their very lovely comments) to some amazing mama bloggers.

Marriage is Tough - the first and surely not my last post on this subject.  Because it is tough...but worth the effort.

Girls Road Trip - because I like to look back and read about my alter ego...

Mean Mummy Voice - a necessary reminder that I am not a perfect parent. But I will keep trying...

Friends - I love my network of amazing women so much.  Everything would be so much harder without them.

Nobody Told Me - oh the things I wish I had known before I became a mama.

Lucky 13 - hubby and I celebrated 13 years of wedded bliss.  A monumental post...

10 Reasons I'm Great - because sometimes we can all use a little reminder. And because this is quite possibly my all time favourite Monday Listicles post. Well...maybe tied for first with this one. (see how I cheated another one in there?)

Music to my ears... - these were the moments this Christmas where I was truly happy and feeling blessed for having my little ones.

And one more bonus post - to help explain why I am happy to see the back end of 2012 already:

And the walls came crashing down

Adios 2012...please let 2013 be way kinder to my little family...

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

On Christmas and lifted spirits...

It's Boxing Day at 8:45pm.  The girls - for the first time in several nights - have actually gone to bed at a decent hour. Hubby is happily back in the world of Skyrim.  And I am sitting next to my tree of memories reflecting upon the last few days...about Christmas.

It's no secret that these last few months of 2012 have been - well there really isn't a better word - truly shitty. Stressful and frustrating and anxiety-ridden.  And my mood has been so bitter and low that not even Christmas - my favourite holiday of the year - could pull me out of my funk.

I tried - I tried ever so hard - and planned all the usual Christmas activities for the family hoping they would help.  But to be honest I simply resented eveyrthing that I had to do.  I didn't want to bake or wrap or decorate gingerbread houses.  I wanted to curl up in my bed and sleep.  And to wake up when it was all over.

God...what a horrible thing to include in a post about Christmas...but there is no way to sugarcoat how I was feeling. And so when Christmas Eve finally arrived I was glad.  I was ready to get it all done.  

Hubby & I are very lucky that our families celebrate Christmas at different we never have to pick one over the other. But it also means that there is no real downtime until Boxing Day.

Christmas Eve is always spent with hubby's family. All of his aunts, uncles, cousins etc gather together at one house and everyone brings amazing dishes for the Christmas dinner - Mexican style!

I will admit - when I first started dating hubby I was less than enthused by the food choices available at their family functions. Probably because the only dish I recognized was rice. But I soon learned through trial and error what I did and didn't like and now I love that I get two very different culinary experiences during the holidays.

So when we arrived at the house I pasted a smile on my face, held the hands of my littles and headed in to face everyone.  And you know something...I had a really good time.  Actually - to my surprise and delight - I had a great time.  And I felt my spirits lift...ever so slightly.

Both girls fell in love with their newest little cousin...
After the chaotic fun of a house bursting at the seams with people - we headed back to my in-laws for a quieter time.  And that too was highly enjoyable.  I sat watching my girls marveling over their gifts and talking so animatedly.  And I felt a lot of love in that room...not just for my kids but for hubby and I as well.

And those darn sprits...well they lifted again.

Finally - at 11pm - we headed home to do our own Christmas Eve tradtiions with the girls.

We put out cookies and milk for the big guys.  And 9 mini-carrots for the reindeer - we figured they probably get a lot of full-size carrots over the night so this would be like an amuse bouche:

Then I settled down in my favourite chair - with my children on my lap - and read them the very same version of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas that I was read as a child.

And after tucking them in I was thinking this Christmas thing was actually pretty cool after all. And we still had a full day with my family waiting for us in the morning.

And Christmas Day didn't disappoint.  It took up where Christmas Eve left off and kept getting better.  I won't pretend the whole day was perfect.  Or that my kids didn't act up.  Or that there was deftinitely more than one time where I wanted to crawl into bed.  But on the whole it delivered.

"He ate the cookies and took all the carrots!"
Santa brought "Guess Who?" for M...
...and Princess Play-Doh for little T.
"Shhh....don't tell Daddy what it is!" It was a light saber...he was pretty happy.
These menus (25cents at Michael's) were the fave stocking stuffer by far!
Kids table at Christmas Dinner...
Hubby's plate full of Xmas dinner...first round.
Dessert buffet...pure gluttony.
Someone loved her new sweater with the fur.  Modelling like a movie star.
spoiled rotten...
...but they deserve it.
And so - after 3 days filled with family, friends, love and laughter - I am feeling somewhat renewed. And at this point - with so much negativity around me in the form of things I cannot change - I am going to take what I can get.

I look forward to seeing the end of 2012...and hoping that 2013 has a lot more good to bring than bad.

Monday, December 24, 2012

My tree tells a story... (Monday Listicles)

I am very honoured that Stasha took my suggestion for this weeks Monday Listicles. This weeks topic is one i have always wanted to write about and I can't wait to read everyone else's posts about it.

Every year when we trim the Christmas Tree and I open all the ornaments I am reminded that each and every one has a story. And I love to relive them and to tell my girls about them.

One of the best traditions my mum started for my brother and I was to put a keepsake ornament in our stocking every year. She started it back in 1981 when I was just 4 and I am so glad to have all of those great reminders from my younger years.

When hubby and I first started dating I told him very clearly that he was expected to continue my mums tradition. And he has done so very successfully.

And of course when our girls were born I knew that we would make sure to do the same for them.

The result is a tree that tells the story of my stages. As a child, pre-motherhood and now with children of my own.

And here are 10 of my favourites:

1. Our First Christmas Together - I bought this back in 1995 for the first Christmas hubby and I spent together. Of course he was just my boyfriend back then...and look how cute (and young) we were.

2. Angels in Training - I got this ornament back in 2002 and it is one of my faves. Growing up I had a picture of these 3 angels on my wall with this poem:
"Fold my hands and bow my head, 
Don't chatter while the prayer is said, 
Quit squirming till they say 'Amen', 
Uh-oh, my halo slipped...again."
I like to think I'm the angel on the right...

3. 1999 - my mum made this ornament r for us the year we were married. She used one of my favourite candid shots from our wedding day. I love it.

4. Feliz Navidad - this is the first ornament that I bought for boyfriend (now hubby). He is from Mexico and I thought it was so perfect I'm sure I squealed in delight when I first saw it at Hallmark. A great start to his collection.

5. Snowflake on Skates- this was his first ornament to me...and it remains one of my all time favourites. On the box he wrote "this reminded me of the pictures of you as a little girl. Merry Christmas to you on our first Christmas together." Awwww...

6. My 1st Ornament- I was only 2 but my artistic genius was clearly evident. Whoops...that should have said "lack of" artistic genius. When I paint ornaments now they still look like this.

7. Handprint - you know all those things you do for our first child that you forget to do for your second. This is a prime example. I'm so glad to have this handprint of my oldest on her 1st Christmas but it makes me a feel guilty that my youngest doesn't have one too.

8. Tower of London Angel - when hubby and I travel (which isn't nearly as often as I'd like) I usually look for a Christmas ornament to commemorate our trip. This little angel is from the Tower of London...sadly she didn't survive the return trip unscathed. But that little bit of crazy glue on her wing just makes her more unique.

9. Snowball Fight - I bought this last year on a trip to Bellis Fair. I loved that it has all our family on it and is personalized. I also love that both my kids are perfectly portrayed....right down to the toque falling down over little Téa's eyes.

10. Their 1st Ornaments - and of course...I wouldn't be a proud parent without including the first ornaments my lovely girls made. Cue the final "awwwwww...."

I can't wait to add to my collection...and to continue to grow the ones for my girls.

Merry Christmas everyone! Hope you all enjoy your time with your friends and loved ones.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Snow Day!

We had our first major snowfall of the year today, I forgot how great it is to wake up to see everything blanketed in white.

And of course it's much easier to love the white stuff when I'm on vacation and don't have to commute in it. So instead of climbing in the car the girls and I pulled on our gumboots and pulled on mittens and headed on the walk to school.

Malia and I both thought it was amazing but my lovely little Téa was immediately "too cold" and "too wet" and "too tired".

She was determined to make the 10 minute walk the longest walk. Ever.

Still it was pretty...

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Music to my ears...

Both my girls have been practicing for days in preparation for their concerts this week.  Oldest has definitely worked harder though...she is nervous about the increased size of the audience now that she's in elementary school.

Hubby and I both took the day off so we could attend the matinee performance without youngest daughter in tow.  Not having to watch over a 3 year old would make actually watching the show a lot easier.

We arrived at 10:30 and secured our front row seats. 

i swear all school Christmas concert stages look the same...
I have to admit I love school Christmas concerts. I loved attending the concerts for my nephew and youngest cousin before I had kids of my own.

One thing you can always count on at an elementary school concert is a good laugh at the expense of the freshman band. I totally get that they have only been playing their instrument for a few weeks.  And I also understand that they are trying their best.

But it is still freakin' funny!  My all time favourite moment is when a song starts out soft and mellow - maybe just with flutes and clarinets - and then the brass and drum sections come blaring in and almost blast you out of your seat.

this year the song that put me over the edge was Hot Cross Buns.  Oh. My. God.

So parents of kids in the band...don't get offended when you see other laughing (some so hard that they are actually crying)'s nothing personal against your child. It's just funny.

Anywho...I digress.  After the band had mercilessly finished (even my youngest asked if her sister would sing "after all this noise is over...") it was time to welcome the kids from grades K-4 to the stage.

Now...the trouble every parent has with concerts like this is we have no earthly idea where our children will be positioned on the stage.  And in a choir situation (such as this one) if they wound up in the middle of a row then you have little hope of getting a clear shot.

For once - luck was actually on our side.  When oldest strode out on stage she ended up at the end of the row closest to us. Jackpot!

She - and her friends - sang their little hearts out to tunes about Christmas, Hannukah and Kwanzaa. I couldn't stop beaming with pride at my 'little' girl who looked so decidedly grown up.

We repeated it all again for the evening performance and took T with us as well. She was surprisingly well behaved...even dancing along with her sister and (prematurely) singing the last note of the final song.

The next day it was time for dear youngest to shine on the stage.  This daycare Christmas  Concert marked her first public performance and she was very excited about playing the role of Cupid. 

Given the tragic events of that morning in Newtown, Connecticut all of us parents were feeling all that more connected to our children...and so grateful to have them there and performing.  I suspect many of the tears shed that day had little to do with the performance going on in front of us...

that said...with this lovely moment in front of me my heart was truly full...

I look forward to all of the many Christmas Concerts in our future...and I plan on laughing at the band at each one.  Even if my own kid is playing in it.

Call it a twisted holiday tradition...

how did I get so lucky?

I know I'm cheating a little on my Monday Listicles here...but the topic was anything consider this my top 3 musical moments from this Christmas season! :)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Letters to Santa (Part 2)

Tonight we made good on our promise to the girls that they could post their letters to Santa in the worlds biggest mailbox. And while the mailbox itself didn't quite garner the amazing response we would have liked - we had ourselves a good ole time anyway.

family self fave shot of the night
We started our night with a stop at (where else?) Tim Horton's for a hot beverage and a donut...the necessary fuel for any night of holiday fun in Canada.

All filled up with sugary goodness we headed over to City Hall to check out the parade of trees. 

It was tough to pick a favourite - but in the end both girls decided that the pink tree with the 'Cinderella shoes' was the best.

Congrats River Rock hooked 'em in young...
After checking out all the trees -and managing to avoid completely disrupting the Council meeting taking place in the building we headed off to find the famous mailbox.

For the record...I thought it was cool. I mean it was 17 feet tall...that's pretty impressive. The girls on the other hand were decidedly unimpressed. Especially when they realized that they actually put their letters in a regulation size mailbox hidden in the back of said giant mailbox. 

Letters posted we checked out the giant menorah (this they thought was neat) and walked over to the outdoor track and field area.

Once they had run a little track...
on your mark...get set...GO!
We moved on to take a stroll under some "pinky flies" aka Christmas lights. Where I let both girls take a few photos with my phone.

And then it was time to head home. We took a few detours on the drive looking for impressive Christmas light displays and by the time we got home the girls were both exhausted.

All in all we had a great time...and with a price tag of around $8 (for donuts and hot cocoa) that was money well spent.