Thursday, December 31, 2009

finishing off 2009

The year is rounding up, in about 2 hours from my location. Our house is still a disaster from 2009, where is Mary Poppins and her magical snapping when you need her? We still have a tree to dismantle and our first box to pack for the move: Christmas ornaments. This packing thing could be a long process if the tree is any indication. I would have already started on it, but I know that this time, I need to take care to wrap carefully and also as efficiently as possible. It is amazing that this year we will move and no small move at that, but to a whole other country, climate, life... The year 2010 will definitely be one of change.

On a humorous note, I will start my new pocket 2 year calendar. I started buying these in 2003 I believe and I remember being surprised at looking through my used book to notice that when had bought it, I didn't know for certain that we would be birthing a child and I'd have it filled with doctor appointments, birthday and pediatrician appointments. Since then I have bought 2 other books and with each one we've had the same thing- a baby born within that 2 year book! Now I face a new book with the same question... will we have another by the end of the next 2 years? NO, we are not trying right now with everything that we are about to have to do, but we've always thought 4 was our number, so we'll see how we survive the move and insanity of life with a trio in Canada and maybe this will be my last pocket 2 year book tracing the birth of a new life. While new life is amazing, I do know that Brian and I have a definite limit. I wonder at the women (at least a couple of whom were my great grandmothers)- who birthed and raised a dozen or more children. I just couldn't do it, unless and I had no choice in the matter and then I'm not sure I'd stay sane!! Of course I live in a highly privileged time and place when I can choose where to live, how many children to have, what food I want from the grocery store. I know there are so many who do not have all the liberties or riches I do. I am humbled by that knowing that I am very, very fortunate.

PS- It's so crazy to see Emora walking more and more and understanding things! Another toddler is in the making.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

nutty nutcracker

The gift theme was scooters. Christian already has one, but the other grandkids became wheeling menaces too. Andrew is the older cousin here and his made sparks. The kids of course loved opening the gifts, but perhaps their greater highlight was to go to the nutcracker with Nana and Papa. They have been looking forward to this since Nana first mentioned it some months ago. They’ve watched Youtubes, read books and seen other recorded ballets in preparation. Dominique was absolutely thrilled to dress up with her tights and fancy shoes. Even with it being nap time, she watched the ballet with rapt attention. The grands informed me that when the mice attacked, Dominique yelled out for the nutcracker to grab their tails and bite them. And this was at a BALLET! Can you imagine her at a competitive sporting event?

When they got back, she told me of a man flying and showed me her own nutcrackers that she had picked out. As I type, they are listening to the soundtrack and likely dreaming of sugarplums dancing overhead, or maybe her nailpolish from Ivan. She told me that she had dreamed about her nailpolish! Who dreams about nailpolish? Where did I get such a froufrou girl?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Emora walks!

Emora really made huge strides while in Houston. She was quite enamored with her 13 year old cousin Christian. He and I were with her in the hall. She learned to stand up from a sitting position and walk several steps toward Christian! Do you know how many times I’ve tried to get her to do that for me? Christian is very good with kids and it showed because she kept going to him over and over for a half hour or so. Now that we are back in Abilene, she has been trying out her new skill and is very pleased with herself.

She likes her computer and when she realized that it says “goodbye” as she closes it, she repeatedly closed the lid, waved and said “da!” That’s her universal word for everything. She also says “oh oh” and did a lot of that after throwing something on the floor- another favorite game.

It seems like she got older overnight. Her hair is suddenly longer and curled up in Houston with the humidity. She figured out that she could quickly make it to mom and dad's bed by screaming in the night in a house full of people and she learned how to tilt a pretend letter just so to get let it slide into her mailbox toy. Next she'll be hacking into the computer with Dominique as her guide. But I guess I won't complain, it may be good to have a daughter or two that know how to work this fool thing!

Monday, December 28, 2009

a not so Texan Christmas

Driving to Houston Christmas eve was an adventure to say the least. We got up to snow and ice, not thinking that it was much of anything. When we had loaded the van and kids and grabbed winter clothes "just in case" I looked at the thermometer which said 0 degrees. I remembered dad once saying that right at freezing was the worst temp. to drive in a winter storm. I should have taken that as a huge hint to not hit the road. But we set off. In town it was not bad. Out on the highway a mile out or so we said "hey if we can't survive this we have no business moving to Canada". Well I lived a long time in Canada and survived lots of ice storms, but I soon remembered they are not fun when on the road with precious cargo like children skating in a vehicle instead of on skates. We drove about 20 miles/hour or 35 km/hour for over 2 hours in ice and slush, in what was surreal conditions. No visibility at times, freezing windshield wipers, cars, SUVs and semis hitting the ditch along the way. We jackknifed across the road at one place, skidding on one side then the other and repeated again until finally coming to a stop. Thankfully there were no approaching cars or any following since we had taken up the entire roadway. The kids were oblivious to it all watching their videos, but we were severely shooken up. An hour or so later, once in a town untouched by the ice, we stopped for a potty break and looked in wonder at the van that was very much covered in intricate ice formations, heaped up on the running board, on the roof, sides, bumper, door handles, mirrors. It was crazy, to the point that a passing motorist was making motions at our van in awe of all the ice. Abilene got about 7 inches of snow that day and although it has been thawing temps in the day there is still quite a bit of snow and ice in town on lawns. Tomorrow they are forecasting more snow and ice. I'm glad we don't have to drive through it again that's for sure.

We did our family Christmas together before leaving. The kids also got each other and us gifts. The whole family got Emora a computer, Ivan got me chocolate milk mix, Dominique got her brother Cars themed games, I made the kids rice bags from material they had picked out. Brian got socks and clone wars dvd. It was a lot of fun. Excuse Dominique's messy face. She had indulged in some Christmas cookies before opening gifts.

Sunday, December 27, 2009


Time flies. By the time you are reading this we will already be heading back home to our Abilene friends. Then I'll get to tell you about our adventures in Houston, experiencing the ballet for the first time and other Christmas craziness.

With New Years around the corner, do you do resolutions? Think back over the year? Plan?

This year, we added another wonderful girl to our family. I love so much how the kids bond in a new way. Dominique LOVES having and being a sister and that is so very precious. Ivan is great with helping and being a protecting, caring big brother.

We look forward to creating other special memories with our friends before leaving Abilene.

My friend Trish and the kids are pictured and then the kids with Lily and Isaiah.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Can anyone one say sugarplum fairy?

Dominique is excited about a lot this Christmas, but not much of it has to do with gifts. She is very excited about her tights, her new shiny black shoes, fashionable pink blazer with pink princess motif on the shiny chocolate colored inner layer and the NUTCRACKER. She has watched the full movie video, youtube clips, listened to the music, watched other ballet and practiced the moves. I am quite sure she will be dazzled and awed by the performance and being with Nana on such a special and high falluting outing.

Do you like to go to watch movies? plays? dances? sports events? other performances?

Pics are from our early Christmas with Big Buddy. He gave Emora a doll that kisses and giggles. Emora giggles right with her.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!!!

Hoping all of you are enjoying a wonderful Christmas day. I wanted to post some pictures to cheer your day.

The kids decorated this gingerbread house imported from Germany. Thanks Andrea! It was a sugary, messy kind of job with candy, some disappearing candy and lots of smiles. We had seen some award winning gingerbread houses some days previously and Ivan wanted to win an award for ours. I assured him that it was of the award variety, in my books anyways.

This was the kid's favorite display. It was very much insane with decorations on every part of the lawn and roof, with a special display constructed on the driveway with a sign saying "walkins welcome" and music playing. We took Brian and Ivan's picture here when he was a baby.

This here wins my funny picture of the year award. We were with my friend Trish and her daughter Bella for a lunch date. Bella was texting, so I got Emora's phone out so that she could text too. She is a natural at it! The teenager waiting for her body to grow into her mature habits.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Christmas eve

I'm writing this before we head out, but if all goes as planned we will be able to get up, get kids dressed and breakfasted, pack and hit the road, arriving before nightfall in Houston. This year, the kids have figured out Christmas, or at least Ivan has. He loves giving (and getting) gifts and is so very excited about it. I am hoping he sleeps some through the night. Here is where all the mayhem of the previous weeks comes to fruition and we can all relax again, start looking toward the new year and dreaming of what is to come. We have a lot of dreaming to do in our little gang. Ivan is our self-appointed moving coordinator. Dominique just wants to get to our going away party. Emora is pretty much oblivious.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


I'm afraid that once we reach #3, we are out of ideas, and much energy. We have already tried everything and nothing much is new. Thankfully, by the time #3 arrives, it appears that they magically grow up on their own without too much parental guidance! Look, just add ponytails and she's 6 months older! Yeah, I have to watch this one, she is growing up too fast. I do feel badly because we rarely read Emora books. I will try to do better with this. Of course Emora doesn't want to sit long for reading either, it would only take us some seconds to read her a one word a page book, so I need to get the older kids involved in reading to her too.

Tonight we opened gifts. The kids, Brian and I bought Emora her own computer. It has a mouse looking mouse and about 9 buttons with different settings. We were trying to let her play with that while the big kids opened their gifts with small swallable parts. Everyone got what they wanted (umm-requested). The fun part was that Ivan wanted the kids to get everyone things too. So we helped guide them in selections for everyone and they paid for the items too. The kids gave me hair clips, chocolate mix and cappucino mix and they gave daddy warm socks. Ivan gave Dominique a little package of 8 nail polish colors and she gave Ivan a Lightning McQueen game set with checkers, Rummy cards and a puzzle. They have been so excited about it for so long and are presently curled up with their warm rice bags listening to the nutcracker cd. Tomorrow we hit the road for Houston. Abilene may get a white Christmas while we are gone. It was raining with thunder a bit ago and is supposed to drop below freezing at night. But if we miss it, we won't be too bad off, we'll have plenty of white Christmases in the years to come.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Tonight's goal: bed before 11pm

Now I'm excited about Christmas. My shopping is done and something I thought of last minute that I couldn't find in the stores, that I ordered online Thurs. paid extra for priority mail and crossed my fingers would arrive before we leave Thrurs. morning came in today!! With days to spare. We exchanged gifts with Big Buddy. He gave the big kids remote control cars and Emora a baby that giggles. They love them. Ivan is proud to say that he is learning the fine art of off roading. Emora has surprised me with her understanding. She pushes the huge cars and makes engine noises. She has also started to rub her hands as I clean mine after changing her diaper. When she sees that I notice her mimicry, she giggles and smiles. So fabulous. She has also started throwing tantrums. I was a bit shocked to see one so young throwing herself on the floor and pounding her legs, so I guess it's started.

Every day Ivan begs to open the gifts, but we are making him wait. Yesterday we went out to look at lights. They loved it so much.

We've managed to make it to a few of the free kid's clinics at Lowe's. The kids enjoy making the projects. We'll have to try to go again in the new year.

Can you believe the year is almost over?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

leaves at Christmas time

The leaves have finally fallen here, for the most part, but days can still be very nice, so it was perfect for a leaf play day. Since this time, Brian mowed, so no more leaves, but we still have the good memories and these pictures.

I think I've finally finished with the Christmas shopping, so I am relieved. I made 20 things on my sewing machine. The kids are so excited about the gifts of course. We hung out with Big Buddy some today and he gave the big kids remote control trucks and Emora a doll that kisses and laughs. I think he was more excited to give them than anything. He made about 3 trips on his own down the street in his motorized wheelchair to buy the gifts and he said that was the highlight of his week. We are constantly trying to get him out, but he always says it's too hot, cold or windy. But then when he made himself go he loved it! He called me at least twice to ask what to get Emora. The thing is that the kids have everything, but they got something more and it made him so happy for him to get them something. He even wrote them out little cards and gave them some cash. Yes, they are already excited at their young ages to receive money!

Brian and I got to go on a date yesterday for our 11th anniv. We watched The Blind side, which was a great movie and went for supper while my neighbor kept the trio. That was such a huge treat. I didn't think of the kids during the whole movie! I did remember them once in the quiet vehicle and then was once again thankful to NOT have them at the restaurant. Of course we love them, but sometimes a few hours away from them is such a huge treat!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

This is so LA

Sorry I have been so delinquent. Still up until the wee hours of the night making gifts. Here are some funnies to keep you giggling.

Ivan is so terribly excited about the gifts. He already told Brian all of Brian's gifts and Ivan knows what all he is getting. Brian took the kids out one night to let them buy me a gift each and when they got back Ivan said: "we got your Christmas present!" I said "Ivan you're not supposed to say!". He clapped his hand over his mouth with his eyes big and replied "nothing, nothing, we got you nothing." A few seconds later, he adds "Do you know what it is?"

The kids have been enjoying a science DVD from the library. It is popular mechanics for kids and has these preteen hosts. It can be a little mature for them though, which is why it was so hilarious the other day when they kept saying "This is SO L.A." in a perfect preteen voice.

The older kids are already interpreting Emora's baby chatter. The other day, she babbled and Dominique exclaimed with enthusiam "mom, Emora said "sit down!" Dominique then turned to Emora, clapped and told her "good girl Emora". Shortly after, Ivan informed me that Emora said the she wanted his juice". It was noteworthy that he was lamenting over having to drink his prune juice at the point when she miraculously requested to down it for him.