time flies when you're havin' fun!

>> Wednesday, December 31, 2008


It's hard to believe another year has passed. It seems like just yesterday we were coming home after spending Christmas in The Big City....

Oh wait, that WAS yesterday.

But I clearly remember the trip home last December 30th as well. I took a picture of the sun shining through Fidget's window in the van because of the beautiful frost patterns it was highlighting.

She's changed so much, my li'l Fidget. From looking toddler-ish to looking like, well, older. Her cheeks aren't as chubby, her legs are longer, and she doesn't nap anymore. Well, every now and again it still happens, but I usually try to avoid it because then she's awake until 11 pm.

Since last Christmas, she's started nursery school and can HARDLY wait to start Kindergarten in 9 months. Nine short months. Wow, that's coming up on us fast ~ she only just started dressing herself in the last several weeks!

Peanut has changed incredibly, too. I can't believe how young she looks in pictures that were only taken 12 months ago!! Not to mention that she was also almost 7 inches shorter back then. And was missing almost all her front teeth.

Eleven months ago, we threw her first-ever birthday party with school friends. The second one ~ for her SEVENTH birthday!! ~ will happen in just 3-1/2 weeks. Peanut's gone from basically just recognizing letters to actually being able to read. That change actually just happened this fall, but it happened amazingly fast. Like the light just suddenly went on. It's cool to watch her read and write willingly and enjoy it.

The Bushman and I haven't changed as much. Well, he's quit shaving and I guess I did lose 20 lbs last spring. But I've gained almost half that back now in December. Not quite half, but uncomfortably close. I intend to reverse that trend starting yesterday. I don't think my husband will reverse his facial hair trend any time soon.

He'll be back on the road, starting either Sunday night or Monday morning and he'll be away from home 5 days a week for at least the next 6 weeks or so, possibly more. He'll actually be spending approximately 12 hours a day in a hotel room, but I still can't imagine he'll be worrying about being clean-shaven. The trucks will be running 24 hrs a day now in the pulp & paper industry's "harvest" season, but instead of both drivers living in the truck all. week. long., they'll spell off in a hotel room for their down hours. Which is definitely nicer. And decidedly less stinky.

And I'm pleased to report that we will see him every weekend, all winter long!

If you've been reading my blog for 9 months or less, you may be wondering what's the significance of that. But it's huge, I tell ya.

No ice road widow-hood for me this year, woo-hoo!

There's more stuff going on that I'm not free to share just yet, but I will when the time is right. Suffice it to say, this year will be a new experience for both of us and will present its fair share of challenges.

I guess that's a pretty generic statement, isn't it?! Anyone could say that. EVERY year is a new experience!

Okay, so this coming year's challenges ~ the ones we already KNOW are coming (because they're the result of the stuff that I'm not free to share yet!) ~ will be stretching for both of us. But I'm looking forward to it. I think I've needed a challenge for a long time already.

Sure, I've done a bit of distance education over the last two years, but this is different because I won't be the only person I'm responsible for. I won't be able to postpone things until both girls are in school (like I'm doing with my web design studies) or just change my mind and not do them at all if I don't feel like it. (like I do with housework almost every day!) It will be exciting, at the very least. It remains to be seen if the excitement will be of the positive or negative variety...

But I look forward to looking back next December 31 and being proud of myself for surviving and thriving in 2009 . (That's the plan, anyway!!)

Have a good one, y'all... see ya next year!!!!

2009 glasses

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just like the 101 dalmations, we're...

>> Tuesday, December 30, 2008

HOME AT LAST!!!

In a way, it feels like we've been gone too long.
But at the same time, it feels like we didn't get enough time with family.

I love coming home,
but the leaving is so hard.




snow globe 2

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still partyin'...

>> Saturday, December 27, 2008


Just a few more days...


Caroling

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here with us

>> Wednesday, December 24, 2008


I think this has to be my favourite Christmas song.

Could be because I don't know many other than the traditional carols. Could be because I love to try and wrap my mind around our Savior being human.

Just for fun, you know. Because I totally can't fathom it.

There's one verse that gets me every time:

It's still a mystery to me,
How His infant eyes had seen the dawn of time
How His ears had heard an angel's symphony,
But still Mary had to rock her Savior to sleep.

Doesn't that just blow your mind?

I wonder how the lullabies Mary sang to her Savior compared with the angel choruses He was undoubtedly familiar with.

Was Jesus collicky?

Were there times she forgot He was The Messiah and got annoyed with Him?

Did He have a michevious streak as a young boy? Did Joseph ever have to {gasp} spank Him?!

I can't even imagine.

But despite the inability to understand, I choose faith.
However it happened, I believe it did.

I cannot imagine NOT celebrating His arrival here on earth some 2,000 years ago. I cannot imagine NOT agonizing over His brutal crucifixion ~ the whole reason He came in the first place (even more unfathomable than His human childhood!). I cannot imagine NOT anticipating His victorious return.

Though it offers a parallel, the anticpation of Christmas gifts pales in comparison.

May you feel His nearness this holiday season.
May your hearts be opened and warmed by His miraculous love, and may our lives reflect it with ever-increasing intensity this coming year.

Have yourselves a wonderful Christmas!

Easter Cross

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of parties, packing, and keeping the magic alive...

>> Monday, December 22, 2008

...and all sorts of Christmastime fun!! (mixed with a healthy dose of procrastination and panic!)

Last Sunday was our church Christmas program. My best friend and I were in charge of organizing it this year, and though it was a little worrisome at times, it came together beautifully. It was short and sweet, amusing and poignant, and best of all, there was cookies and dainties afterwards!

And then on Saturday night, I threw a party!! In MY HOME! (I know, it's hard for me to believe, too!) It was kinda spur-of-the-moment ~ the invites only went out on Monday afternoon ~ but most came. I'd originally planned it to be a potluck supper, but since I don't have enough seating (or a big enough table) for us all to eat together even if we did it in shifts, and since two people were only going to be able to be here a little later, I decided to make it a Fabulous Finger-Food Feast!

Plus, there are all too few enough occasions during the year where we can make a full meal out of appetizers and desserts!!

I had so much fun that I think I may seriously consider making this a tradition. And the food was absolutely incredible!!!

The merriment continued yesterday, with a potluck breakfast at church and then an afternoon of kiddie crafts at the home of one of Peanut's school friends. Another friend and her kids were there, too, so it was a mini-riot ~ but a lot of fun! Although the hostess commented that if we did it again, we'd set the kids up with popcorn and a movie.... forget the crafts! Too much work for moms!

And then last night, over leftovers from Saturday night's Finger-Food Feast, we read the Christmas story and the girls opened their gifts. It was pretty low-key. In the past, we've set aside a special DAY for this, but since it's always over in 10 minutes anyway, we decided we didn't need a full day to exchange gifts ~ especially since The Bushman and I didn't this year. So there was only the two presents that got opened, and then after watching The Waterhorse together, the girls went off to bed.

I was pretty much ready to go to bed by then myself, but I forced myself to stay awake long enough to watch Casino Royale. (is it just me, or was that a very abnormal Bond flick? Geez, the guy almost seemed HUMAN ~ like, with EMOTIONS and everything!!)

And today, I'll begin the arduous process of laundry and packing ~ we head to The Big City on Wednesday for a week of gatherings. The girls have been packing up their things for two weeks already, so sorting though all their bags, boxes, and backpacks, weeding through all the toys they've packed in order to make room for SOME clothing, should be a treat!

{sigh}

It's a chaotic time of year, there's no doubt about that.

Christmas isn't the magical time it used to be ~ all excitement and anticipation. Days when all you had to do was show up and there'd be a feast and presents. Remember those? Sometimes I miss those days.

It's definitely more WORK now.

I used to be a little bitter about that, until I realized it was my parents' behind-the-scenes efforts that had made it effortless for me. And so, like it did with them when I was a child, it now falls on me, this great responsibility to create that magical quality of this time of year for Peanut and Fidget.

And suddenly, when I look at it like that, I don't mind all the extra time in the kitchen, the organization of Christmas programs, the panic of having 17 people in my tiny little home, the packing and the laundry, the logistics of trying to meet with as many people as possible while we're on holidays...

Because therein lies the magic for them.


Three Kings 2

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how pets celebrate Christmas...

>> Saturday, December 20, 2008



I know I've been posting a lot of mindless cartoons lately ~ but, well, I keep finding more and more that make me laugh out loud, which in turn, just makes me wanna share 'em!! (Plus, I've been doing a fair bit of auto-posting lately because of all the activity surrounding the holiday season ~ that's my main excuse!)

Hope you're laughing, too!

And havin' a merry weekend!!


Stocking

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"Not Only Christmas Day"

>> Thursday, December 18, 2008

Lord, this is my prayer:
Not only on Christmas Day,
But until I see You face to face
May I live my life this way:

Just like the baby Jesus
I ever hope to be,
Resting in Your loving arms
Trusting in Your sovereignty.

And like the growing Christ child
In wisdom daily learning,
May I ever seek to know You
With my mind and spirit yearning.

Like the Son so faithful
Let me follow in Your light,
Meek and bold, humble and strong
Not afraid to face the night.

Nor cowardly to suffer
And stand for truth alone,
Knowing that Your kingdom
Awaits my going home.

Not afraid to sacrifice
Though great may be the cost,
Mindful how You rescued me
From broken-hearted loss.

Like my risen Savior
The babe, the child, the Son,
May my life forever speak
Of who You are and all You've done.

So while this world rejoices
And celebrates Your birth,
I treasure You, the greatest gift
Unequaled in Your worth.

I long to hear the same words
That welcomed home Your Son,
"Come, good and faithful servant,"
Your Master says, "Well done."

And may heaven welcome others
Who will join with me in praise
Because I lived for Jesus Christ
Not only Christmas Day.



-- Mary Fairchild
Dove

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and then there were eight...

>> Wednesday, December 17, 2008


MUDTRAP.COM


ROTFL

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why it's worth it to walk first thing in the morning (part 2)...

>> Monday, December 15, 2008

(See Part 1 here.)






Have I convinced you yet?


Bundled

PS. Okay, but I'll forgive you if you're not interested this morning. I'm sure as heck not setting foot outdoors today!! These pictures were taken two weeks ago ~ on a CONSIDERABLY warmer day! It was probably only about -5(23F) that day. Until this weekend, we'd had a fairly mild late fall.

But the last three mornings... not so much.

We're sitting at -33(-27F) today; -47(-53F) with the windchill. GROSS. But the one perk (and believe me, this is the ONLY perk!) is the school buses aren't running, so Peanut has a day off school and the girls get to sleep in after spending a late evening at the church Christmas program last night! Woo-hoo!

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li'l timmy's revenge

>> Friday, December 12, 2008

It all started out one night when Timmy was young ~ but just old enough to stay awake long after bedtime and quietly creep back down the stairs to try and catch a glimpse of Jolly Ol' Saint Nick...


Needless to say, the experience was emotionally scarring.

A few years later, Timmy's therapist recommended he try and get some closure on the whole thing...

It wasn't exactly what the therapist had had in mind, but Timmy's Christmases have been quite merry ever since.



Happy weekend, y'all!


Elf

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and so it begins...

>> Thursday, December 11, 2008

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

Ahhh, winter. The season I love to hate, but kinda like being able to brag about surviving through...

It's officially here. A little late snow- and temperature-wise this year, actually. But Wednesday morning's trip to nursery school was the inevitable first-time drive to Town on uncleared, snow-covered gravel roads and snow-packed, wind-swept, slippery highways.

For your viewing pleasure, I decided to take my camera along to virtually put you in the driver's seat.

Here we are, on the highway, having just driven through our Little Village:

Heading into the second curve in the road (this was the worst spot in the drive):

Now we're almost to Town:

Whew, we made it!! And Fidget wasn't even late for school!

Now we need to head into town for some groceries and other errands, so let's make a left on Main St.:

(that white van looks stuck, but it's really just making a left turn)

I need to make a quick stop at my aunt and uncle's house on the far side of town to pick up a parka and a dress my aunt graciously agreed to fix for me, so just keep followin' Main past the railroad tracks, past the highway out of town, to where the road enters a residential part of town:

And look at that! Now we're back at my Little Village. We've driven the 30 km (19 mi) round-trip to Town and back without incident. Good for you!!

It's stopped snowing, and the sun's out, and we've just turned off the highway. This is the first view of The Little Village:

I think I'm going to go get the mail, so we'll make a left up ahead instead of continuing on straight. Now we're looking down the main road:

Ahh, the homestretch ~ the last mile before home:

And here we are, safe and sound! Hey look, someone's cleared the driveway already!!

(Having an unemployed husband has a few benefits, I guess!)

So thanks for being my chauffeur ~ it was good to be able to relax and take pictures instead of white-knuckling it the whole way!!


Frozen


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Reinventing Christmas progress report

>> Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Reinventing Christmas Blog CarnivalSo? How are you coming along with your plans to simplify Christmas and make it about touching hearts and lives rather than buying presents? How many of you have had some Christmas celebrations of some sort already? We've had our nursery school Christmas program, but so far, that's it.

The first thing I did in preparation for a different Christmas was price out a few of the crafts that I mentioned in the previous post. I was not really surprised to discover they could actually be a little pricey, since I had very few of the supplies on hand, but about that time, I received an Oriental Trading Company catalogue in the mail for some unknown reason, and ended up ordering a few craft kits from them. (Just a note for interested Canadians, keep in mind the prices are all in US dollars! This changes the unit cost as well as the shipping charges.)

Despite the difference in the dollar and the amount charged for shipping, it will still only work out to approximately $1/unit. So I was pretty excited about that, except that I only just received email notice that my order had been shipped last Thursday, so it's highly unlikely I'll get them in time for this Christmas AND THE BUSHMAN JUST PICKED THEM UP AT THE POST OFFICE!! Woo-hoo!

But, it turns out to not be a terrible thing that the craft kits don't arrive in time because gifts for both girls' school teachers have already been taken care of. Fidget's nursery school teacher received a group gift at the Christmas concert last Thursday night for which all kids had contributed $5. And at Peanut's school, the students collected money for our province's Children's Hospital Foundation in lieu of class and teacher gifts. Works for me.

The next project was to pack a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child. The shopping part wasn't quite the experience I'd hoped for (an understatement to say the least!), but packing it up was a lot of fun. Instead of the provided shoebox, we purchased a slightly larger plastic container to send our gifts in, but next year, I think we'll opt for two of the provided shoeboxes so each girl can pack her own.

After it was packed and the girls were off in bed, I got a little crafty and made a card to put into the shoebox. I used the pictures I had taken of the girls packing the box, and on the last page, beside the picture of the girls holding out the box, I wrote, "We loved packing your gift box and we hope you like it too!"

Each of the girls signed it the next morning and off it went.

And then there are THESE four little cuties who should be here any day now ALSO ARRIVED IN THE MAIL TODAY!!

Oooo, I'm so excited!! Peanut and Fidget have been begging for Cabbage Patch dolls for months already (actually, ever since last Christmas!) and I finally had the brilliant idea to check eBay. These lovelies are vintage CPK's, and because they've been gently loved, I got them for a song on eBay, shipping included. I will make blankets and pillows out of the cute fleece material you see in the background for the two larger dolls. The girls will be THRILLED!!

I have to laugh, because when we explained to the girls that we were attempting to spend less this year, Peanut solemnly told me as long as she had a small package under the tree to open, she'd be happy, and that all she really wanted was a "shiny, painted rock."

Good to know her expectations are low, since she's getting second-hand toys!! And what's really funny is, they'll each be getting TWO! Because I completely forgot I'd bid on the fairy mini-CPK's! (They're 9" dolls and the other two are the standard 16".)

Gifts for our parents, pastor couple, Sunday school teachers, and The Bushman's siblings I can't reveal just yet because I don't want to wreck any surprises! (and because we haven't decided some of them yet!) I'll wait with those until the wrap-up carnival on January 6, but I'm very excited about the ideas we've come up with so far. We've definitely spent less money this year than ever before and though we're not quite finished yet, I'm pretty sure it's safe to say we're putting a lot more thought and time than money into the gifts this year.

I'm looking forward to reading how the rest of you are carrying out your plans! Sign up with Mr. Linky below to join the fun!!
Christmas Lights

Oh, and be sure to check out Chris's post ~ the first participant in this instalment. He's not so much participating as just supplying a WONDERFUL look at why one gift he received a few years ago is the best gift someone's ever given him. His post is precisely why I'm trying to do Christmas differently this year and I hope I can touch someone's heart this year the way the gift he talks about touched his.


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