Sunday, December 10, 2017

Party on


I'm breathing a big sigh of relief and happiness over here.

We hosted our sort-of annual (we sometimes skip a year) neighbourhood party last night. A large part of the past week was spent cleaning and preparing for it but it was definitely Worth It. We had a great turnout and had a lot of fun. We have awesome neighbours. We have a mix of young and old, singles and families and I love it when they all meet and mingle. I feel like a proud mother watching her children get along and have fun together. Some of them didn't know each other before but everyone was chatty and friendly and fun. One of my favourite moments was when two women who knew each other professionally spotted each other and were shocked to find out they'd been neighbours for over a year. They live literally straight across the street from each other. They were both so excited and made plans to see each other. There were other great connections made as well; it really is a small city and an even smaller neighbourhood.

I regret not taking pictures during the party. It's just a bit weird to start taking pictures of people that I don't know super well. I wish I'd at least taken a photo of the table spread. We had so much food. I made a lot of it but people brought stuff too. I love appetizer/snacky foods SO much. We set up a photo booth in the study and mostly forgot to tell people to go use it. The kids had a heyday with it - it was quite entertaining to see the pictures on my camera today. At the end, we did some pics with Janet and the girls (honourary neighbours!).

Tia wins by far for the best face. Actually I didn't know we were making faces. Neither did anyone else - I guess it was Tia's secret.

Other happenings last week included a busy week at work. Thursday was our annual luncheon with the premier and you may have seen the news about an a comment he made there. It caused quite a stir because it was inappropriate and put all involved in an awkward position.

On Friday we had our staff Christmas party. We had a nice dinner, followed by virtual reality games. It's the first time I've done VR;  I didn't really know what it was. But it was so cool! I did "The Plank," which involved walking a plank off the edge of a really tall building. I was okay with walking the plank even though it was pretty freaky, but when I was told to step off the plank, everything in my body resisted the idea. It took me a couple of minutes to build up the nerve to step off. The company who did the VR has a place in the Exchange District called the Portal. If you're looking for something to do during the holidays (or any time), check it out!

Another thing I did this week was go on another tour of the North Forge Fabrication Lab (the place I talked about a couple of weeks ago). This time my dad and two uncles came and I think they all found it very interesting. I don't get many opportunities to hang out with my dad and his brothers so that was fun.

Now that the party's done and work is less busy, it's starting to feel like Christmas. Yesterday morning I zipped over to Shelmerdines and walked around the greenhouse with Janet. I bought a wreath (pictured above) which I love but ironically it's made of real greens and is meant to be hung outside, while the wreath I have hanging outside the front door is artificial. So I keep switching around the wreaths to give the real one as much outside time as possible. Whenever anyone comes over, I'll quickly switch them. Except if they come to the front door, it's going to be awkward. Christmas is complicated.

Today I slept in, went for a run, wrote out a few Christmas cards to people who live far away, went to the Forks with Dale to do a bit of shopping, and then went to Starbucks for eggnog lattes. We had planned to have coffee at the Forks but it was so full. It's nice to see it all vibrant and busy but the older I get, the less time I like to spend in a crowd. After our usual Sunday nacho dinner, we played Dutch Blitz and watched Elf. How's that for a good weekend?!

This week I hope to turn my attention to Christmas shopping. We have a few other fun things going on so I think it's going to be a good week. Wishing you all a happy mid-December week!

Sunday, December 03, 2017

Day 30

This is the end of the line for my 30 days of blogging that took me 40 days to complete. The same thing happened the last time I did a 30-day challenge. I'll have to start calling it the "30 in 40 challenge." It was kind of fun forcing myself to write something but I struggled with meaningful content. Maybe that's a sign that I need to shake things up and find new things to do and experience. I'll let you know how that goes.

The vast majority of the day today was spent at Neve's gymnastics competition. Unlike her last in-house one, this was a competition with at least six different clubs competing. Neve's club is less intense than some of the others so our expectations are realistic. She did really well, but unfortunately so did the others. I was secretly willing her competitors to fall off the beam. A lot of them did. Is that bad? Coincidentally, she placed second in beam which was her best event. I'm mostly joking about wishing ill upon her competitors; I'm really not a hardcore sports mom and generally want everyone to be happy. But it's nice if my kid is the happiest.

In an exciting and unexpected turn of events, her final score earned her a spot in the 2018 Manitoba Games, which are being held in Thompson in March (the top six gymnasts in each level were chosen). A week or two ago, I heard Neve mention this possibility in passing but apparently I wasn't listening or didn't think it pertained to us. So when the announcement was made at the competition today and the team members were instantly whisked away to get fitted for new team bodysuits, I was caught totally off guard. I had to ask other parents what was going on and they all seemed to know all the details and some of them had booked hotel rooms in Thompson in August already. WTF? How am I the only mom that is totally clueless?! So I guess we're going to Thompson. Except all the hotel rooms are already booked so we might have to sleep in the van (fortunately the gymnasts already have accommodations). I suck.

Of course Neve was super excited about being part of this team, and also excited that a friend from school came with us to watch the competition. This is a new friend she's made this school year, and I have to say a new friend that will sit for over three hours to watch you is a very good friend indeed.

It's a busy week ahead filled with work, cleaning, shopping, decorating, Christmas parties, appointments and more. Bring it on!

Day 29

Today I toiled in the kitchen from sun-up to sun-down. I made:
  • white velvet cookies (and icing)
  • chocolate peanut butter balls
  • caramel chocolate squares
  • chocolate pretzel bark
  • chocolate mini cupcakes
You may notice a pattern in my baking. I like chocolate.

The above list doesn't count the banana bread I made first thing this morning. My kids are odd - they preferred the banana bread to my Christmas baking. Even Spencer, who is repulsed by bananas.

We went to Mike & Darla's tonight. We had a delicious dinner of Chinese food, followed by Rook. I didn't win but I've done worse. I should've gotten their cute puppy on the picture too. And their cute kids. I had a really great time, especially since it was the first time I left the house that day.

I also got the lights and ribbon on our Christmas tree this afternoon. Tomorrow we need to finish that up along with the rest of the decorating. I was inspired by Mike & Darla's simple yet festive holiday decor. I'm hoping to sort through my bins and remember that less is more.

Friday, December 01, 2017

Day 28

It's December! All five of us went to pick a tree. It wasn't as idyllic as it sounds; Dale and I had to zip to Costco first so we met the kids at the tree lot and picked out a tree in 30 seconds. Spencer took off the instant we decided on a tree and walked home. The girls said, "Why did we all have to come?" and also left. For the record, I asked the kids if they wanted to come and I was surprised when they all said yes. No one was forced to be there.

When we got home, the girls and I watched the Grinch (the one with Jim Carrey) while Dale watched hockey and Spencer roamed the house. But we were all home and it was nice. The smell of pine is in the air and it's starting to feel like Christmas.

I was super productive today. I had a long list of things to do and I accomplished all of them except one. I even bought a couple of Christmas gifts (although a couple were for myself) which wasn't even on the list. It felt good to get so much done and I definitely deserved happy hour today. Who am I kidding, I always deserve happy hour.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Day 27

I'm feeling pretty good tonight. I finally finished a writing project I've been working on for over four years. I could've written the great American novel in all that time but I assure you I did not. I can't give more details at this point because it's a Christmas gift (for someone whom I don't think even reads the blog), but I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I should clarify that I haven't been working on it for four years straight - it's been a very sporadic project with a few years off in between. But tonight I finally sent it to the printers and all that's left to do is wait for it to arrive and wrap it up.

Now that that's out of the way, I need to get in gear for Christmas. There's so much that I need to do that I need to make a list of the lists I need to make.

This afternoon I had high tea in Rosenort. That's something you probably never thought you'd hear. But yes! It's a thing at the Farmhouse CafĂ©. Before today, the only time I'd ever had high tea was at the American Girl store in Miami so my experience was limited. Dolls and small children are not very picky (although it was actually considerably better than I expected). High tea at the Farmhouse was quite lovely with its elegant table setting and yummy little finger food. I went with my sister, my mom, Dale's mom, and my sister's neighbour. I would post a photo of us but I don't know how the neighbour feels about being on the interweb.

It just so happened that on tonight's episode of the Great Canadian Baker, the bakers had to make high tea goodies for one of the challenges. The creations they came up with were much (much!) fancier than what we had. I wish I hadn't seen that. I'll just tell myself they probably didn't taste as good as ours did.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Day 26

It felt like spring today. I wasn't ready for the snow to stay in early November so every morning I look out the window with hopes that it would've melted in the night. It's supposed to be nice all week so my wish may still come true.

I just finished one of the best books I've read in a long time. It's a thriller called Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris. By "best", I don't mean in a highbrow literary way, I mean most riveting, can't-put-it-down way. Without giving anything away, this woman marries someone who is not as the person he appeared to be. After reading this book I'm going to scrutinize every person I thought I knew and search for red flags. I probably shouldn't give you advance warning; if there are any psychopaths among you, now you'll be extra careful the next time I see you. Good luck with that, I'm still going to expose you for you really are.

We had a cute little visitor tonight. My great-nephew hung out here while his parents were out. I've said it before and I'll probably say it again, but this is such a chill kid. He is so content and easy-going, it's almost hard to believe he's real. He played happily with trains for a long time and then went to bed with basically no objection. I got a little carried away with the picture-taking and posting but I'm sure no one's going to complain about excessive cuteness.