Thursday, January 05, 2017

Happy New Year from inside my house

Christmas is over but we’re still in holiday mode over here. I’m taking a vacation week this week; combined with the time off between Christmas and New Year’s, I’ll have had a grand total of 17 days away from work. Even though I only work three days a week, it’s often pretty hectic and working from home means work is never far from my mind. So this break has been amazing. It’s given me the time to tackle some projects I’ve been putting off. I’ve started several projects and finished none (except two puzzles):
  • Chloe and I purged, cleaned and painted her room. There is still work to be done (patching/painting the ceiling, pictures on the walls, blinds, a new dresser) and a big pile of stuff in the hallway outside her room that I don’t know what to do with. I’ll post pictures when it looks less clinical and more cozy.
  • I put away all the Christmas stuff last week but still need to clean the storage room. The hoarder in me keeps every box that ever enters our home. I find it hard to part with boxes.
  • We hooked up an old monitor to our iMac and it works! $775 to fix vs. a $40 cable to hook up an old work monitor. We still have to keep the old giant monitor because in a Mac, the screen IS the computer. The two monitors make it look like we’re a flight control centre, but whatever works. Now that the screen actually stays on instead of going to sleep every couple of minutes, I’ve been able to start organizing my digital pictures. This is taking much longer than I ever dreamed possible. I have a lot of pictures. I thought they were pretty organized (by month or event) but it’s my iPhone pics that are messing me up. I back them up randomly without keeping track of what I’ve already backed up, so sometimes there are multiple duplicates. It’s a mess. But I’m wading through it all and slowly making progress. My goal this year is to take pictures more selectively. I will pretend I’m using film. Or polaroids.
Besides these works-in-progress, I’ve had lots of time to read, puzzle, and watch Gilmore Girls. I’ve never watched it before, so the girls and I are powering through episodes. Chloe went back to school today so that may slow down our schedule. I’ve spent many days in yoga pants; on the rare occasion I have to leave the house, the first thing I do when I get home is change back into them. We sleep until ten, go to bed at 1 a.m. and forage for food when we’re hungry. By the time Monday rolls around I think I’ll be good and ready to move on, but for now I’m enjoying every second of my hermit existence, especially with the ridiculous amount of snow and frigid temperatures outside my door.
Backing up a little for a quick Christmas recap …
On Christmas Eve we had our fettuccini scallop dinner, went to a candlelight service, opened a few gifts, played games and went for a walk.
My children and their grandma on Christmas Eve (this is not Spencer or Chloe's best pic)

Playing Code Names, which was a hit this Christmas.

On Christmas Day the kids opened their stockings and gifts. Everyone seemed happy with their gifts, which is all that a parent wishes for. The thing Neve wanted most on her list was a mermaid tail blanket. I ordered it weeks ago, but it didn't arrive in time (still hasn't). She was fine with it and now has something to look forward to. I also realized I forgot to give her the iTunes gift card I bought for her. I still haven't told her so now I have one birthday present done. Some of the magic of Christmas is dialed down a bit as the kids get older but the benefits are immense. We didn't have to explain why Santa didn't have the blanket ready or why the presents were wrapped with the same wrapping paper we have. And if the kids didn't get exactly what they wanted, they have money of their own to make that happen.

The best gift I got this Christmas was a book of letters from the kids. It's a booklet with twelve different letters, based on prompts like "Something I've learned from you is ..." or "A special memory I have is ..." Each of the kids wrote four letters and they obviously put a lot of thought into them. Chloe was the mastermind behind this idea (does that even need to be said?) but the others cooperated nicely. She seriously has a magic touch when it comes to making her siblings do what she wants. Or she's excellent at threatening them. It doesn't really matter; I appreciate the result.

Chloe gets nailpolish remover, while Spencer gets ...

... a laptop. Some years the gifts just aren't even. (Don't worry, she also got socks and underwear).

For days, there was ominous talk of a blizzard starting in the early afternoon of the 25th. People were rearranging plans days in advance, which seemed extreme to me. Sure enough, it didn’t amount to much that day. We slept over like we always do at Christmas and by morning, the accumulation of snow and blowing snow closed a bunch of roads, including the main highway to Winnipeg. Even then it wasn’t nearly as dramatic as we were hoping; we just took a different road home and it was no problem.
It was a fun couple of days of eating, playing games, opening gifts, and relaxing.
Kids table

Dale found a new friend to cuddle. Jim and Sabrina brought their brand new kitten Willow. She's a very cute, very relaxed ball of fluff.

Dan and Jenn sent a special gift: Methusala's arm. With balloons attached. It was worth the postage it must have cost.

Just Dance
The annual kids-by-the-Christmas-tree photo. Bella is wrapped up like a present. My new sister-in-law Lori's daughter and son-in-law stopped by and were also in one of our photos but I don't know how they feel about being on the internet so I played it safe.


Snowed in.

Driving home
On Dec. 27, we went to Dale’s mom’s for Christmas with his family. It was a really good day of more eating, more playing games, singing (I moved my lips while others sang) and gifts. I feel very lucky to have two families that I really enjoy spending time with. And very lucky for healthy parents and mother-in-law who still enjoy hosting and cooking the whole meal. I think that’s pretty rare at my age. I feel kind of spoiled but so thankful and appreciative.
I'm posting way fewer pics from Christmas with Dale's family, only because again I don't know how everyone feels about it. I should ask but then they'll know I have a blog and it feels like a secret even though anything on the internet is the opposite of secret. Please note I didn't edit any of today's pictures because I was tired of staring at my computer screen and just wanted to get this done. That's why the picture below is slanted and off-centre.

Proof that I exist. And yes, Neve's hair is pink (courtesy of Dan & Jenn)

Energetic game of Donkey
Once the formal celebrations ended, I’ve been mostly living a life of sloth as previously mentioned. I did get dressed up to go out for dinner with Mike and Darla one day, and to go to our neighbours for New Years Eve. Yesterday I met my niece and her kids downtown for cupcakes and a Toad Hall visit. Oh and Dale and I went to a spin class. And that’s pretty much it. I shall now commence lounging in my stretchy pants with my puzzle and my book.
my cute little Elvis great-niece at Toad Hall


Anonymous said...

The snow fort video doesn't work! Or is it my stupid Apple product Safari?...No, tried it in Google Chrome, didn't work there either.

Fun times. I love it. The cold weather and snow since Christmas has kept us inside too. I've only been out to shovel so I could get the car out to get groceries. That's about it. No, wait -- we also went to Rogue 1. It was fun. Lucy is losing her marbles though as she desperately needs some exercise. If you and Dale go to another spin class, can you take my dog and run her on the treadmill?

It is currently 11:28 am and I'm still in my pyjamas. I slept until 10 am. The boys have been sleeping past 08:30 which is crazy and we are loving. Hooray for almost teenager sleep ins. Also hooray for almost teenager when those lazy butts can do the shovelling for me.

Dale - needs a cat.

I like that you feel it's okay for kids gifts to receive disparate gifts. (I also know you're feeling the angst over that a bit...Stop it guilt ridden Menno!) Gifts are about being thoughtful and getting what people need and/or want. Price tags do not matter. Comparing gifts just breeds competition between kids. I told my kids, 'Suck it up, Babies. You're sharing a gift this year: millennium falcon drone. Boom." (Well they also got their own gotch, books and lip chap. The lip chap was a hit. It was the first time either of them had their own. Why did I never think of this before?? Now my lip chap will not be all mushed up and destroyed! Win win.). Of note, the millennium falcon drone is soooooo fun. I drove it around Tuesday night until the batteries died while B&E were at a sleepover and Steve was at a movie with his brother and dad. p.s. I didn't actually say 'suck it up babies...'

I think I should try to get out of the house today as the length and rambling of this comment may be indicating I need some adult conversation/contact in my life.


Daniel said...

I had a problem with the 'video' too, until I opened it on something bigger than my phone, and saw that I was able to zoom in, and then I noticed that the Play button pixelized along with the image, and realized it was just a screen-capture from a video! Amiright?

The book from your kids is wonderful!!! So thoughtful of them (her)!

Nice to see Dale in his happy place! Yeah, that guy needs a kitten. Or 3. LOVE Bob's new beard! That's awesome! Playing outside looks a little bitter. Hope there was hot chocolate waiting for them inside!

That's a sweet shot of you and Neve!!

Sheri-Lee - it's been a long time since I've heard underwear referred to as gotch! :-D Guess that happens when you have young lads around.

Enjoy a few more days of sloth, Ellen! I could use some more of that too - my Christmas break was spent snowboarding every other day and fighting with our computer the other days. It's been slowing to a crawl, and I thought I'd take the opportunity of my time at home to reset it to "factory fresh". That part worked fine, but then trying to install all the updates and programs kept failing. I finally came to the conclusion that the hard drive was failing, so we sprung for a new laptop. It's nice and fast! And I've vowed that when this one slows down, we'll just buy a new one again. The last one lasted 5 1/2 years, so I guess that's not TOO bad.

someone said...

I loved this post and have so many questions and comments but I also have so much work to do and have procrastinated long enough. (I had to think for about 45 seconds what the word for "delaying completing my tasks" was!)

But - I will repeat the above sentiments - GET DALE A KITTEN ALREADY!!!!

xoxoxox Sio

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