Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 in review.

January - It was so warm and we got to go hiking on two weekends. Nathan split his head open and had to have 5 staples, and we had Grandma Shirley with us for a while.

February - We took the kids to see their first IMAX 3D movie. Gary and I went to his work's winter Gala on Valentines Day and I made chocolate covered strawberries for the first time which were met with rave reviews.

March - The kids decided they wanted a dog so Gary and I decided we'd go for a baby instead. We hiked the Crags beyond Woodland Park on the other side of the mountain, and my little baby Nathan turned 4.

April - We got snow. Gary caught some kind of virus and suffered some hearing loss in his right ear, and the kids were ill over Easter.

May - Leia turned 8 and was baptised. I felt old. Spencer also turned 6. We had Mum, Rachel, Ben, Max, Gary's Mom and Jim with us during the month. We grilled a lot.

June - We continued to enjoy visiting with Rachel, Ben and Max. I drove all the way up Pikes Peak and wasn't scared. Crazy Town was told that it was expecting a new resident. (not a dog!)

July - Spencer chased a deer around the backyard. I felt sick all month but I got to hear a beautiful little heartbeat. Our tenants ran out on us without paying two months rent leaving the house trashed. Gary had to drive to Ohio and renovate. My stress level increased.

August - The boys went out on a father/son campout and Leia and I had girl time. It was HOT HOT HOT and the lack of air conditioning in the house made my fourth month of pregnancy difficult.

September - School got back into full swing. We found out that another little boy was coming our way. The children dealt with their own issues getting used to the structure and expectations that a new grade brings. I turned 30.

October - For the second year in a row we had a warm Halloween and the kids could go out in just their costumes and have a wonderful time.

November - We sold our house in Ohio FINALLY and my stress levels began to decrease. I actually put on some weight. I blogged every day about what I was thankful for and Thanksgiving was lovely.

December - CHRISTMAS! Leia sold truffles at school. We went to a carol concert, it snowed and we waited in anticipation for Santa who managed to get us all something we really wanted. My tummy got really big.

I'm very excited about 2010 and what it will bring. Hopefully it'll bring us one step closer to being able to buy a home here and to feel more settled. And of course we are all waiting in anticipation to meet the sixth member of Crazy Town.

Christmas Recap

Christmas was lovely. It was just us and our traditions. On Christmas Eve we had a feast, opened a present or two, watched Polar Express together and left treats and milk for Santa. On Christmas Day we played with the kids all day long apart from the time I spent cooking which wasn't too long as I made sure what I had planned was low maintenance. We played new board games, Leia painted, the boys and Daddy played with Legos. At Christmas dinner we pulled crackers and wore our silly hats. We ate WAY too much and went to bed WAY too late and as a result the next few days were marked by a few upset stomachs and three overtired children. But as I said it was lovely. An interlude before 5 become 6 and things change forever.

Right after Santa visited our house. I love the way that looks. It's always sad that it lasts all of 30 minutes or so.

Going DS crazy. Looks like some rules and rationing will have to be implemented.

The disaster area that was the living room after present opening.

Gary spent 5 hours on Christmas Day putting together legos for the boys. But I know he enjoys it and has been waiting to do it since the boys were newborns!

Christmas dinner. One of my most favorite traditions.

Friday, December 18, 2009

3rd Grade Products Fair

Today the 3rd Grade at Leia's school held a products fair as part of a weeks long Community project. It was so much fun. Each child had to come up with a product to sell at the fair. They decided how much to sell their product for and had to rent a booth by donating a toy to charity. They made their own money which they gave to parents to attend the fair to buy their products with. We also had to donate a toy to get into the fair.
Leia decided to make truffles and her and I got to work. Then she packaged them up ready for the fair. She was responsible for keeping an account of what she sold and she had made signs to advertise her product.

Here she is packaging up her truffles. Two to a bag, one chocolate, one chocolate peppermint.

Here she is keeping careful account of her sales.

She just LOVED the whole experience.

The truffles were a huge hit. She had repeat customers and sold out very fast. She was so confident that she had prepared the "sold out" sign in case of this eventuality. But she didn't mind one bit as this left her plenty of time to go and spend the money she had made at the fair.

I'm very tired tonight. With trying to help Leia plan for the fair and all the end of term stuff that has been going on, I am so happy to sit here and veg. I really need some down time. I know I'll be ready for the kids to go back to school at the end of two weeks but Gary is taking some time off during the holiday and it will be wonderful to spend time with him and the kids and our Christmas traditions. It's going to be a lot of craziness and high spirits but a lot of laughter and fun also.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas Concert.

I thought this might be the year for us. The year where we could go out to evening Christmas events and all enjoy it together. Our children are in a very regular bedtime routine and are in bed by 7pm. We have so far had to avoid evening Christmas events particularly spiritual events (we do go out to parties where they can run around) because the kids just can't handle it.
Tonight we decided to give it a try. There was a large Christmas concert at church and the handbells in particular always get rave reviews. I love Christmas music and was really looking forward to it. We sold it to the kids via the promise of refreshments served after the concert. We arrived half an hour early to get good seats which we did, although we were sharing the bench at the front with three other families so we felt snug to say the least.
Half an hour in, the boys were asking when we were going home. Nathan was so tired he was flailing around and generally being fidgetty. I gave the kids a piece of gum to try and hold them off. Spencer and Leia hung in there pretty good but Nathan was just done. At 7.45pm he fell fast asleep under the bench in front. Meanwhile, it was getting hotter and hotter in the chapel. My ankles turned into cankles and the band aids I had stuck over my belly button to stop my guts from spilling out, were seriously irritating my skin and pulling on it.
At the end of the concert, Gary picked up Nathan who stayed resolutely asleep. We decided to avoid the crush at the refreshment tables. There were hundreds of people there and Nathan really needed to be in bed. Well Leia and Spencer were horrified that they weren't going to get the cookie or whatever it was they had been promised. I could tell Spencer was really working himself up over it by the clenched fists and facial expression. Fortunately I managed to save the day by allowing them an edible tree ornament once we got home. Nathan just wanted to get straight in bed, that's how exhausted he was.
So that was a once in a few years experience for us. Next year we'll have a baby that will definitely not be leaving the house after 7pm.
But one thing I can say is that the music and the handbells were GLORIOUS!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Sympathy is welcome!

At this point in my life over the last two days, all I can think to do to avoid doing something very dysfunctional is to blog all about it and eat lots of chocolate while doing it. THANKFULLY my wonderful sister sent me a package with my absolute favorite chocolate in it and it arrived the other day. I literally only get to taste this chocolate a few times a year and it's perfect for chasing away the blues.
On Monday night a winter storm rolled in. Where we are, we couldn't have gotten more than 6 inches but the temperatures are RIDICULOUS. The wind chills at one point yesterday made it feel like double digits below (for all those Brits out there we are talking -30 degrees celcius).
So anyway, on Monday there was some snow on the ground. School was in thankfully and I had errands to run. I packed Nathan up and off we went. The car was making some whiny noises, almost as if it was complaining about the weather conditions. Especially when I turned the wheel, the noises would get worse. I finished the errands, made it home thankfully and called Gary. He thought it was probably to do with the icy roads but said we'd go out when he got home and see what the car was doing then. When he got home, we went out for a spin and the noise was obviously not to do with the weather at that point. Since it got louder when the wheel turned, Gary figured it might be to do with the power steering. He opened up the hood and checked the power steering fluid which was very low. He bought some more and filled it up. As we drove around a bit more the noise started to die down. We congratulated ourselves on being good car sleuths and put the car in the garage thinking that the problem was solved.
Well the storm rolled in Monday night and school was cancelled yesterday. This was a real irritation because I had an OB appointment that morning. If it was a warm sunny day and I had to tote all the kids to the doc, it wouldn't be so bad but with the temperature outside being 2 degrees F/-16 degrees C, it required a lot of planning. By the time I got my shower that morning, it was just before I had to leave. I had no time to wait for my hair to dry or even get the hairdryer out. I got the kids bundled up, threatened them with strangling if they misbehaved at the doctor's, and piled in the car. As soon as we got out of the neighborhood I realised that the noise was louder than ever and as I turned onto the main road the wheel seemed stiff somehow. By the time we entered the parking lot it was obvious the power steering was completely out. I was having to navigate the treacherous conditions and crank the wheel with all I had just to get around the corners. But the most scary thing was the noise. I mean it sounded like the car was hysterically crying. And of course the kids were bothered by it. It's only a two year old car and always runs smoothly.
Getting from the car to the office was awful. The wind was blowing sideways. Of course I had worn my shades to combat the glare from the snow and in my rush I left my regular glasses in the car. Once inside I realised what I had done and had to run back out to the car to get them. Because my hair was wet, it froze. I have never had this experience before. It was stiff as a board. I have no idea what I looked like but by the time I got into the bathroom to produce my urine sample, it had thawed.
After the appointment where the kids were pretty good all things considered, we returned to the car and said a prayer to get home without incident. Apart from getting sore muscles from fighting with the steering wheel, we made it home safely and I called Gary who arranged a towing service to take the car to the dodge dealership. Turns out a hose or something was broken and power steering fluid was leaking out. They said they could have the car fixed by sometime this afternoon. One day without the car. I can deal with that right? WRONG!
This morning school was delayed two hours due to record low temperatures and bad road conditions. I already knew I had to walk the kids to the bus stop instead of driving them in my pre-warmed car but I had a battle plan. Scarves around faces etc... I got a phone alert this morning about 8am saying that our school district was having bus trouble and the bus could be up to 30 minutes late. The operative word here was COULD. It didn't mean we could show up at the bus stop 30 minutes later than usual because everything might have been fine. We would have to stand out there from the normal time onward just in case.
The morning ticked along. Leia tried to steal Spencer's Leapster and I told her that she needed to play her own game system which is a Leapster Didj for older kids. She then informed me that she didn't know where it was and hadn't known for weeks??? I was so mad. I think the last few days was getting on my nerves. I told her that she needed to find it before school or Christmas would be cancelled. I hate making threats I know I can't actually come through on but I said it in the heat of the moment. I have such a hard time with the disregard and lack of respect the kids show for their possessions. Both Leia and Spencer's room were completely torn up and still it wasn't found. Eventually Leia convinced Nathan to admit he'd thrown it in the trash. I have no idea if this is true or not. When I got Nathan on his own, he said he hadn't thrown it in the trash. But at this point I was fuming, to the point of tears. We've just finished Christmas Shopping for the kids for this year and I almost don't want to give them more expensive things to lose. Leia was in tears and I couldn't trust myself to say anymore.
Well we set off for the bus stop. I looked like a Russian refugee or something but the kids seemed impervious to the cold. They were just happy to get a chance to play in the snow drifts. Leia was still melancholy and we hadn't spoken so I took her hand on the way to the bus stop. I hate sending them off to school with any bad feelings. She immediately teared up again and said she was sorry and that she'd find it when she got home. I reassured her but I'm pretty sure that it's not anywhere in the house. C'est la vie. No more Didj. I know I'll get over it and to be honest I just can't stay mad over something which is unimportant in the grand scheme of things.
Well after 30 minutes of standing at the bus stop in the frigid cold I began to realize the bus wasn't coming. The kids were happy playing cake boss and using the snow to make their cakes but I was miserable. I sat on a piece of concrete for as long as I could stand it but then I began to worry about hemorrhoids, something I'd rather blank out considering what's on the horizon for me in the near future anyway! Just as I was about to bawl, a nice neighor who I don't actually know stopped and offered to drive us all up to the school. I could have kissed her feet. Sometimes we do a small act of kindness for someone and we don't realise what a difference it makes. I don't think that she had any idea how grateful I was although I tried to artiiculate it.
So here I am. I've eaten two chocolate bars and had a large cup of hot chocolate with cream in it and I feel much more at ease. Nathan has been picked up and taken to school and it is the quietest it's been since Monday night. I can't bear to think of the mess downstairs. Gary is going to have to help me face that when he gets home from work as the amount of bending over it's going to take to get things back in order is something I'm not prepared for right now.
I expect I better go and try to eat something better than sugar or sugar for my lunch at least for the sake of the future troublemaker and anxiety producer hanging with me for the next 8 weeks.

Sidenote: If the car is not done today, Gary will have to take the kids to either the bus stop or school in the morning even if it makes him late for work.