Wednesday, December 17, 2008

WW - A Means to an End

Monday, December 15, 2008


As I leaned over to kiss my oldest Thing good night, to tuck in the edges of his fluffy duvet in the side of his bed, and tell him I love him, he instantly put it all in perspective for me.

Thing 3 has had a rough go of teething lately and has been waking mommy up at a heart-breakingly early hour each morning. I'm a smidge tired and worn out, but I try to take it all in stride because I realize the holidays will be over before I know it. I've definitely been a bit of a grump around the house, and with the added effect of two Things wound up and entirely too excited for Christmas, we had a tough day here.

I whispered softly in Thing 1's ear.

"I'm sorry I was so grumpy and tired today. Tomorrow is going to be better. I promise."

He looked up from his pillow with those gigantic blue eyes the size of helium balloons. He paused, he looked at me, and then he took a deep breath.

"Mommy, you don't have to do it all, all the time. It's ok, really, it is."

I was completely stunned. Stunned by his perceptiveness, his ability to articulate his feelings, and his keen sense of understanding the situation from such a grown-up view. I didn't know what to say.

"And, mommy?"

"Uh, yes?" said the mommy blown away by her kindergarten-going son's maturity.

"It's okay to let Daddy help sometimes."

"Even if he does it wrong."

And like a slap in the face, lesson learned.


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Ready to start giving

Like everyone these days, I am trying to be frugal and spend wisely this holiday season. One way I am doing that is by making many of my Christmas gifts. I've also not bought any new Christmas decorations this season, I am making sure I use what I've got. Although my stash is being continually depleted each day, as little tiny Thing fingers touch my glass ornaments and they shatter lifelessly to the floor. Thankfully, I have spent almost nothing on all the ornaments - they were all bought over 60 per cent off at post-Christmas sales.

Notice there are very few ornaments, and, um, NONE, at the bottom?

And the annual sugar-fest has started . . . and in all honesty it began a few weeks ago as I started to bake some items early so I could put them in the freezer. This butterscotch/peanut butter bar mixture is one of my favourites - I got the recipe from my teaching friend Shannon several years ago and have been making it ever since. So rich and so decadent. If I keep them cold, or frozen, they are easy to package up and give as little thank-you or housewarming gifts.

Teachers must really like their food, because I lucked into a recipe for truffles from my friend Shelly, with whom I also used to teach. I've made these suckers for five years - I finally perfected it this year and think they taste fairly divine. These are the big ticket item for me - almost everyone gets this as a gift from us.

This year, because I have been having a mild bout of insomnia and not sleeping well anyway, I decided to make my own boxes and cards as well. The boxes were easy to do, just trace them and cut them out and then I stamped Christmas sayings on them, glued them together and VOILA. Truffles are stuffed inside in wax paper.

I used my mom's bits and bites recipe to make a huge batch. I stuff snack-sized portions in cellophane bags, throw a ribbon around them and they end up looking kinda fancy. (Which is entirely ironic because clearly bits and bites are not fancy at all.)

Here are the goodies I will give out this week to Thing 1's kindergarten teacher, Thing 2's three preschool teachers, two school bus drivers, one dog groomer, and our hair dresser. As always I will forget somebody and need to grab something last minute, so I always have extras ready to go.

And last, but not least, here are totally delicious and melt-in-your-mouth sugar cookies, which come from my grandmother "Gurney's" recipe. I cannot bake enough to last. Everyone seems to eat them. I think of my grandmother each and every time I sink my teeth into one. I think if she were alive, she'd be mighty proud that I managed to closely replicate her perfection. (I'm not saying they're perfect, I'm just saying they taste like hers!)

Hey, is that Santa???

I promise I will be posting all the recipes on my meal-planning blog, A Crafty Mom Eats, later this week when I have a bit more time!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Can you touch your nose with your tongue?

The bustling rush of the holiday season has not afforded me much time to learn how to use my new camera. I am hoping to dedicate some time to reading the entire manual in that quiet time that occasionally occurs between Christmas and New Year's . . . well, a girl can dream, right??

In the meantime, here is a fun shot of Rudy's uber-long tongue. And for those interested, no, he has not set foot on our bed since this day. We have been cocker spaniel-free for over a month now, and loving every minute of it.

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

WW - snow this

Lookin' pretty happy for a guy who had just snow-blowed almost 20 cms of snow before going to work this morning.

Twas the Night Before Christmas

The Things and I are filled with holiday cheer and are just about ready for Santa to make his much-anticipated annual visit. Some of the most exciting aspects of the holidays - for me personally - are the emotions stirred up by creating and establishing our own traditions and memories.

As a child, Christmas was a warm, loving, electric time of joy for my family. When I was a little girl, I was a giant ball of energy before the holidays. I couldn't stand the wait and drove my parents crazy with my excitement and antics as December 25th approached each year. While I can pretty much guarantee they will tell you I was waiting to tip-toe down the stairs on Christmas morning and tear into the beautifully-wrapped presents that Santa left under our perfectly decorated and sparkling tree (and of course that is true), for me it was always more about the time we spent together as a family. I looked forward to Christmas Eve dinner at my Nan's house, when each year all of us Maritimers would dive into a steaming hot pot of fresh seafood chowder. So utterly rich and creamy. With fresh-from-the-sea local lobster. And fresh rolls. And something decadent for dessert. Like maybe hot milk cake.

We would then pile into our car and drive back to our house. As my sister and I snuggled and giggled in the back seat, my father would burst out - in such an eager and boisterous tone that at the time was always credible - that he had just glanced up in the sky and seen Santa's sleigh and eight little reindeer. We always fell for this. We would stare up at the sky, directly where he had been pointing and not move our eyes for a second, hopeful that we, too, we catch a quick peek of Saint Nick himself.

When we arrived home, we proceeded to put together a delicious snack for Santa and leave it on a plate in the kitchen. We would then slip into our pajamas and get ready for our father to partake in one of the best traditions of all.

As we all settled in nicely in our living room and sat in front of our old woodstove, he would read us that timely holiday classic, Twas the Night Before Christmas. We would hang on to each and every last word, not wanting it to ever be over. But when he eventually would reach the last page and wished "to all a good night", we would scamper up to our beds to wait for visions of sugarplums to dance in our little heads.

I'm so proud to be continuing this time-honoured tradition with my own Things. And I've thrown in How the Grinch Stole Christmas just for good measure! I absolutely love the looks on my boys faces when we lay down each night for our bedtime stories and they each beg me for these two favourite classics. And so we will continue to read them each and every night this December, right up until Christmas Eve on December 24th. As the holidays wrap up we will gently put them away with the Christmas-related decorations, not to be seen again until next year.

Want to take a peek at some more of our Christmas cheer? Having such a soft spot for crafts, most of my Christmas decorations are all hand-made, either by me, my mom, or other talented artisans.

Aren't these Santa gourds just the cutest??? A good friend of my mother's makes these - I LOVE them!

Happy Holidays blog-readers!!!

Monday, December 08, 2008

The holidays hit the Things

A Crafty Mom is busy, bustling, and billowing with the Christmas season wrapped around her like a toasty warm scarf. The Things and I have been spreading our Christmas cheer and doing all things holiday-related.

Our fun-filled, holiday-laden weekend consisted of the Things Nana and Grandad coming to visit from Nova Scotia. We won't be spending Christmas with them this year, so they like to come and visit us before the holidays come around and everyone gets too busy.

It just so happened that Grandad arrived on his birthday. Thing 1 felt compelled to make sure that Transformer party hats were distributed to all attending party guests early on in the evening.

"Old" Grandad with Thing 3 and Thing 1

Nana cuddles with Thing 2. Marker on forehead? Check.

Thing 3 inspects Grandad's face. Yup. Definitely wrinkles.
We all went out Saturday morning to find our *perfect* Christmas tree. Things 1 and 2 help out with the tree trimming. While they tried to patent their ornament arranging style, I'm quite certain parents of toddlers and preschoolers all over the world are familiar with the "cluster" effect.
Living in Ottawa, we are always blessed with holiday snow far, far in advance of the holidays. We have a huge park across the street from our house, with a big sledding hill. We busted out our LL Bean tubes for a fun ride.
Chilly Mommy
Mommy and Thing 1 take on Thing 2 in a tubing race
Snow-loving little guy. Hard core winter enthusiast.

And Mother of the Year goes to . . . the woman who pulls 65 pounds of Things up the hill a dozen times because they are "too tired to climb themselves".

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

WW - a little joy

Staring pure joy right in the face.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008


Thing 3 drank from a sippy cup last night. It was her monumental first sip of any liquid not from a booby.

It was water. From an Avent Magic sippy cup that had previously been used as a toy. For five long months, she threw, licked, shook, spun, rolled on, rubbed, dropped, and banged with fervor this BPA-free sippy cup. Concerned friends and family members suggested I purchase other cups, from other brands, in hopes that the little baby might soon realize liquid comes from other "sources" than her mommy's bosom. I reluctantly hestiated, too cheap to fork out money on another cup that she might not drink out.

And, to give credit where credit is due, it was all daddy's doing. He handed her the cup, placed the soft spout at her lips, and COWABUNGA BABY she started to suck. And suck. And suck. Until at least 4 oz of water were gone.

In all seriousness, I had just recently begun to worry if she was getting enough liquid from me, and I supsected that maybe my milk supply has been down a little bit. She just hasn't had many wet diapers lately, and that was concerning. Hopefully offering her more drinks of water and milk throughout the day will help us tackle this issue.

(No, I am not done nursing but am kinda THRILLED my little Thing 3 will not be getting all her milk directly from the tap any longer.)

Monday, December 01, 2008

An impulsive decision costs me my sleep

It is, quite unfortunately, in my nature to make impulsive decisions sometimes. While I'm always trying to improve my impulsive ways ("work in progress" is my middle name), I do often have to lay in the bed I've made.

Today's bed is uncomfortably HARD.

When I had been running on a regular basis over the summer, I had lost the rest of my baby weight and was feeling pretty good about myself. I was far from perfect, but at what I deemed an acceptable weight and size for someone who had recently had three Things.

By the end of August my allergies were in full force, making it difficult to breathe outside, let alone run. I was then walloped with a serious sinus infection, which lasted about 3 weeks. This takes us to the end of September.

Then, bring on Thanksgiving, Thing 3's baptism weekend FULL of cake and treats, and Halloween . . . ALL in one month. And while I'm thankful the 3 Things didn't eat much Halloween candy, I'm woefully embarrassed to tell you who did.

The first week of November brought with it Paul's birthday, with - wait for it - more cake. The colder weather also means I am cooking a lot of hefty comfort food for us to eat each night. And did I mention the cookies? Yep, I bake them a lot so I don't have to buy them. It's a good idea in theory - until you stuff too many in your own mouth.

This spiraling sequence of events left me feeling a little bloated, a lot out of shape, and enormously fearful for the upcoming Christmas season. On impulse, I decided something drastic needed to be done.

A friend told me she did a "boot camp" this summer, that is held right around the corner from my house. Perfect. It runs 6-7 a.m. and I could be home before the 3 Things even get up! Brilliant! It's fairly expensive, but, hey, I'm worth it, right? As Paul's favourite mantra goes . . . HAPPY WIFE, HAPPY LIFE.

So I bit the bullet, went to the website and without a moment's consideration, I signed up for a month of bootcamp on Tuesday and Thursday mornings in December. I was excited. Weeks ago when I registered.

Now? Not so much excited. More like terrified. Truly fearful. I've heard it's really tough, and that the woman who runs it trains Olympic athletes. While I'm not in the absolute worst shape of my life, I doubt I am ready to keep up with a roomful of buff and firm keeners who won't even break a sweat.

And what was I thinking signing up for ANYTHING at 6:00 a.m.??? I will have to get up at 5:30 a.m.! It is dark then. My 3 Things don't even wake before 7:30 a.m. It is cold. My car will be cold. My body will be cold. And sore. And sweaty. And tired. I like my sleep, and I sleep a lot, at least 8-9 hours a nine.

Wish me luck. I start tomorrow morning. I suppose the good news is if I hate it I don't have to register again in January. But being stubborn, I will go to each class this month because I paid for it.

The 3 Things Get a New Look!

Yes, that's a fabulous new blog design you see!!

I can't take any credit, it was designed by Rachel of Ladybird Blog Designs and The Adventures of An American Mum! It's so refreshing and fun, I just love it. And perfect timing for gearing up for the Christmas holiday season with the 3 Things. Rachel is very talented and did a fantastic job.

Hope you like it as much as I do!

And be sure to check out what we're eating this week at A Crafty Mom Eats . . .

Have an absolutely wonderful first day of December!

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