Dec 29, 2012

Christmas Eve- All Was Calm and Bright

Christmas Eve was a good mix of quiet and busy. Ben worked a half day and I was completely exhausted (partially due to a certain kitten who likes to play at 5 am...) so I spent the first half of the day napping and watching Christmas movies. Around supper time we drove to my parents house to open our stocking with them, as we always do. I love that tradition, stockings are so fun! My parents always include a new ornament in our stocking and this year I received a beautiful hand painted one, I love it! We brought the kitten with us, and my Mom never wanted to give him back. He hates car rides though- so that part wasn't enjoyable:(

    I just love this picture


After dropping the kitten off at home, we headed to Ben's Aunts to spend the rest of Christmas Eve with them. They have their dinner and open presents on Christmas Eve. It actually works out nicely that Ben and I can spend the bulk of Christmas Eve with them, and Christmas Day with my family and there's no conflict. As always there was an abundance of food, lot's of laughter, and dancing. Ben's family loves karaoke and dancing, and they set up the music in the basement for the kids. It wasn't long before most of the adults joined in, particularly for an enthusiastic rendition of "Gangham Style". So fun to watch! We went home with some good wine and lovely gifts from his parents (including a really nice sweater for me).

We were only supposed to open the presents from Ben's parents when we got home, but then we got too excited and opened our gifts to each other as well. Since the kitten was our Christmas gift, we agreed on stockings only. Except I cheated, and went way over budget on the stocking and also bought Ben the Kitchen Aid 10 piece pots and pans set he had been wanting. It was my turn to spoil him, and he wasn't expecting it! That's not to say that my stocking wasn't wonderful- it was filled with chocolates and candy, a great eucalyptus mint bath set for relaxation, a day planner (he gets me one every year) and some art supplies. He also threw in the Lion King, because I love Disney movies, and I'm building my collection back up for my future children:)

Had to include this one from earlier in the day- there's something about pictures with lit Christmas lights that make me happy- Ben does too:)

I always watch "It's a Wonderful Life" on Christmas Eve, and so even though it was already midnight, I turned off all the lights except for the mini lights over our bed and put the movie on. I may have fallen asleep halfway through, but I fell asleep happy.

Christmas Lunch With Friends

The Saturday before Christmas I met up with some of my girlfriends for lunch. We went to Lonestar, (Mexican, yum!) and had lot's of girl talk over Christmas coloured nachos and fajitas. It was actually supposed to be our Christmas baking day, that got postponed due to illness, and now we'll get to look forward to it in January. We talked so loud and for so long that I'm sure the other patrons in the restaurant were staring!  Afterwards we did a bit of last minute Christmas shopping and relaxed at Chapters with some peppermint hot chocolate. I love days like that.

Mom's Birthday

We celebrated my Mom's birthday on December 20th this year, (her birthday is actually the 21st), because Ottawa was getting a huge snowstorm on the 21st! And a huge snowstorm we did get.

So after work on the 21st we all drove to my parents house to spend the evening with my wonderful Mama. We celebrated her with a delicious Parmesan chicken and sweet potato dinner, home made lemon cake sent over from my Aunt, and presents.

 I had ordered a nest necklace from MelodyJoy1983 for her, (she had long admired mine) and it arrived just in time for her birthday:) My mom's necklace has three pearls in the nest to represent her three children. She was thrilled and wears it all the time! 

                   Showing off her new necklace:)

                  My Dad bringing out my Mom's new music stand

Shortly after dinner we had to head back home to avoid driving in the storm. It was a short, but sweet celebration. 
Mom, I love you so so much, I appreciate your kind and generous spirit always, and am so grateful to have you in my life! Happy Birthday!

Our Early Christmas Present!

We found our kitten!

He came home with us December 21st. He is a 9 week old short haired tabby cat. He is just the sweetest, snugliest, playful little guy. No name yet....Ben loves unusual names (think greek mythology or comic book characters) and I tend to like people names (Finn has been voted down several times). Huck was a front runner for awhile (as in Huckleberry Finn) but we're still unsure. We want to get to know his personality a bit more before making a final decision. I certainly hope we don't have this much trouble when it comes to naming our future child!

    Can't forget to include pictures of this one:)

                   A quiet moment, he kept inching closer and closer to her:)

In the meantime, all is well. It has been a smooth transition for all. Jewel was unsure for a couple of days, but tolerates him now - even when he jumps on her. Poor Jewel!

A Weekend With Friends

A couple of weeks ago we spent the weekend with our good friends Morgan and Dan and their kids. We had such a wonderful time! Awhile back Morgan and I had decided that we wanted to have a "Christmas Weekend" together, where we would watch Christmas movies, listen to Christmas music, do some baking, crafting, exchange gifts etc. We did just that. I was so excited to give all of them their gifts, especially the kids! I love the handmade owl I gave Jill from I Sew Lucky so much I almost bought one for myself. Morgan and Dan got us this wonderful print of NYC (they know us well) and it's up in our room already:)

                   These two love each other- it's the sweetest!

    Love lazy mornings with these kiddos!

                   Her favourite toy- I should have given her one for Christmas;)

    Denny's lunch date with our favourite family

 Dollar store shopping with Morgan and this sleepy cutie.

                     Watching her by the light of the tree. Christmas is magical.

 Christmas movies and cupcakes. My first time watching "One Magic Christmas", I cried...but I'm a crier.

 I passed her over to Ben and she snuggled right in. This picture makes my heart so happy!

 Sunday pyjama day with "A Charlie Brown Christmas" :)

 Making salt dough ornaments! Paul loved it...we did too!

                  More snuggles:)

Watching some of my favourite childhood Christmas movies with Paul and Jill, especially "A Charlie Brown Christmas", making salt dough ornaments, enjoying delicious food, and spending time with some of my favourite people was ideal. Christmas is that much more fun with kids around, I cannot wait until we can celebrate it with kids of our own:)

Saturday night Morgan and I even got some girly alone time (along with Jill who was still awake) and we watched several Christmas movies in our pyjamas with a glass of wine and cupcakes. Exactly what I wanted. The men went out to catch a movie and when they got back we watched Friends and enjoyed some more snacks- we just introduced Morgan and Dan to Friends, of course they love it!

In a perfect world these types of weekends would happen more often, but I'm grateful for any time we have together. I have also come to the conclusion that baby snuggles are, in fact, good for me:) I definitely got my fix. We'll get to see them again soon when they come over to meet the new kitten, and we're spending New Years with them as well- yay! So blessed to have such wonderful friends in our lives.

Dec 18, 2012


Watching the snow fall. Finally! It's snowing big, fluffy, wet flakes around here and I am thrilled!!! It's going to be a white Christmas:)

Saving all my Instagram pictures to my computer. Most people by now have heard about Instagram's new terms of service, where they will partner with Facebook to use our images in ads without our permission. I'm feeling pretty wary of this, and unsure of my future with Instagram. I hope I don't have to delete my account- I LOVE Instagram!

Enjoying a bowl of pasta with pesto. With my new dietary requirements this has become a favourite meal, and there's just something so comforting to me about a bowl of warm pasta, mmmmm...

Making lists. Endless lists. I am sorry to say that yet again I have several unfinished tasks to complete before Christmas. Nothing too unmanageable- (and I think being sick in bed for weeks is a good excuse!), but nevertheless I am behind. I can do this right?

Relishing in my last few days with the kiddos before I go on my Christmas holiday. These two boys are such a joy to look after and they make me laugh. Constantly. I am definitely ready for a break (thank you exhaustion), but I will miss them!

Still feeling sad. Newtown is still weighing heavily on my heart. I think about those families everyday. Somehow looking forward to Christmas feels wrong this year.

Eagerly anticipating the day we bring our kitten home. We thought we found the right one yesterday, but someone swooped in before we could and adopted her. I may have pouted about that for awhile last night. Nothing watching old episodes of the Office and taking a bubble bath couldn't fix though. Anyway the search is still on, hopefully not for too long!

Dec 17, 2012

This Christmas

Christmas. My favourite time of year.

                         My parents tree last year

Our tree was set up a month ago, (I needed my Christmas cheer early this year).
Numerous Christmas movies have been watched, (including my first time watching Elf- loved it!). 
I've already done most of my shopping- a first.
There have been a few setbacks, including illness, but I'm feeling pretty good about this Christmas season.
If only we could get some decent snow...

Unlike some years previous, I am very happy to be spending my Christmas vacation at home this time around. Our first Christmas in this apartment we went to New York for the week, which was amazing. Last year we were home, but out a lot. This year there aren't any big plans, other than the usual Christmas Eve and Christmas day celebrations with our families, and that's just fine!

With my energy levels so low since I got sick (details for another time, I think), being home seems perfect. Ben and I are also planning on getting a kitten as our present to each other this year (to join our cat Jewel, and Gilmore the turtle), and so of course I want to be home snuggling the new addition as much as possible too. I will post pictures once we've brought her home- and named her.

Ben only has to work two days Christmas week, so he'll be home with me a lot too! Christmas night it's just going to be the two of us. We're usually at a family dinner, but that was switched to Boxing Day, so now we have plans to make a special dinner together, enjoy some chocolate fondue, craft (his idea!), and watch a Christmas movie. I am beyond excited!

As always, I am just feeling so lucky to be able to spend Christmas with my dear friends and family. We spent this past weekend in Kingston visiting our dear friends Morgan and Dan and their kiddos for our pre-planned mini Christmas celebration. I especially enjoyed  the night we kicked the men out to see a movie, and Morgan and I watched Christmas movies in our pyjamas with snacks and a glass of wine. That's an ideal night for me, all it was missing is a crackling fire in the fireplace. Oh how I miss having a fireplace...
Point being, spending time with our good friends is just what we need right now.

Next weekend is pretty busy... in a good way. Friday is my Mom's birthday, and so that night we will celebrate her with Christmas movies, presents, s'mores and cake! Saturday it's off to my friend Jess' place with my other friend Brittany, where we will partake in our second annual Christmas baking day. Instead of presents last year we decided to spend a day together baking goodies, then exchange the recipes. It was a hit, and so the tradition continues. Sunday will be a mandatory relaxation day, combined with any last minute Christmas preparations.

One thing I'm missing this year is our usual trip to a Christmas tree farm to pick out my parents' tree. My parents went and did it early this year without us, since our schedules are more difficult to coordinate now that we're older, sad! I'm honestly tempted to beg Ben to take me to a farm anyway, even if we just look around and enjoy the hot chocolate, it's a much loved tradition for me.
I have such vivid memories of almost all of our trips there- fresh snow crunching under our feet, the wonderful smell of pine everywhere, the shrieks and giggles coming from all the excited children running around, the pain the came from our toes eventually freezing, and the soothing warmth the warm fire and hot chocolate rewarded us with at the end. It was never an easy task, choosing our tree- when you have five opinionated members of your family, it's tough to agree! We always found a good one in the end, and after driving it home there would be Christmas music playing, egg nog poured in small glasses, Christmas cookies served, and we would all decorate the tree together. Wow, I'm getting really sentimental about this. I need to remedy my longing for that trip stat! Followed by a night time drive to see the Christmas lights:)

That's all for now, I'm off to do a Christmas craft...

* I wrote this post last Thursday, and didn't get around to posting it. I wrote it before that awful tragedy struck Newtown, Connecticut. When I first heard the news I'll admit I was glued to my phone, constantly hitting the refresh button on the "live update" page so that I could find out more. I eventually had to stop myself, because it was too much. I cannot even comprehend how something like this could happen. All I can think about are those poor families who are now facing life without their loved one. Of empty beds and unopened presents under the Christmas tree. My heart broke for them on Friday. For those poor scared children. I continue to pray that those families will be surrounded by love, kindness and as much comfort as one can provide them in the coming weeks/months/years. I pray that they know that their children will not be forgotten, at least not by me.