Friday, January 27, 2012

Conversation with Hope


Hope is sick. She's been sick all week which means she's spent almost the entire week in her pyjamas. Today the buses were cancelled due to Ottawa's seriously crappy January weather freezing rain.  This mans that Emily, who always insists on going to school on a snow day, has to be picked up at the end of the day instead of taking the bus home.  And this means that I prefer that Hope gets dressed.  And thus this conversation:


Hope: I wish I could play outside.


Me:  Wait, you want to play outside but you're not willing to get dressed to go pick up Emily.


Hope: I don't mind wearing clothes, it's just that I don't want my hands to have to put the clothes on my body.


Even in sickness, this kid is super awesome.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

New-found time

Henry is in this habit of getting up in the morning at 5:45 or so.  Today he slept in to a more reasonable 6:30 but that's rare.

And what do I do with this extra time that's being forced on me when so much of Ottawa (and my own house) is blissfully asleep?

I make lunches, read the paper, read email and blogs, make coffee (or tea) of course.

But I'm thinking that I should treat this extra time as something more special (rather than consistently wishing I was still asleep as I do most mornings).  Yesterday I decided I would start trying to head out for a morning walk.  This only works if John is home.  Which he isn't at the moment.

For the mornings when he isn't here or it's too damn cold and icy to convince myself to head outside, I'm going to use some of my time to blog.  I've been complaining and whining and lamenting about the infrequency of my posts, which is truly due to how many other things are vying for my time (read: Guiding).  I don't really have an excuse if I've got an extra 30 minutes to myself in the morning.

Oh, Henry?  What's he doing during this time?  Well, watching Netflicks on my iPad, of course.  The kid knows how to find it, choose a show, adjust the volume, get back to the start of shows.  He'll probably be sending you an email to tell you all about it.

I have some ideas whirling around in my brain about goals or projects I want to undertake for this my 40th birthday year.  Blogging is going to play a part.  I've got some more thinking to do on it before I tell you all about it.  But I'm beginning to think this extra time in my day will play a crucial role.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Christmas until now: a catch-up

Once upon a time there was a blog.  And the blog was happy.

But then the person who loved the blog ignored the blog and the blog was sad.

And then the same person needed the blog to build a house and to sit on its stump.

That's when things got weird.

Christmas.  Beth's visit.  New Years.  Back to school.  Brownies and Sparks starting back up.  It's January 20 and almost a month (!) since I last posted.  I'm not sure I've had such a long hiatus since I started blogging way back in 2006 but I'm noticing this trend among some of the blogs I follow.  Maybe we all just need a break from ourselves.

However I still need to preserve our family memories since my personal memory is abysmal and getting worse with age and the less sleep I get so here goes.

Christmas was lovely.  We had Christmas morning on our own and then we bundled the herd up and headed to Pam and Jim's for a great Christmas dinner that we didn't have to cook.  And Jim made awesome Pomegranate Cosmopolitans.

Here is a selection of  photos from Christmas Eve and Christmas morning:
Christmas Eve dinner before we got dressed up and headed to the Christmas Eve service at church.  We had our usual German dinner of sausages and sauerkraut.  This year we added scalloped potatoes.  And ended with the traditional boutentelle (sp?).

Emily begins unloading her stocking
Happy Hope on Christmas morning
As expected, Henry loved his book about buses
After a breakfast of Chelsea buns and fruit salad, it is on to the main event.  Emily was happy with her Spirograph from Santa.
Hope opening her Barbie camper.  It's seen lots of play since.
John is befuddled by the way the firetruck was attached to the box.  Hey Santa, next year take stuff out of the packaging before you wrap it, okay?!
By the end of the gift unwrapping, Henry was an old pro.
On December 29, Family Reyburn descended on our house.  Beth and Kate arrived from Texas and my dad and Donna from Gravenhurst.  We crammed into our wee house and no one got maimed.  We went tobogganing (Kate's first time) and made snowmen and went to the Nature Museum and made necklaces at Savvy Bead Company (one of the favourite activities we did) and went to A Gym Tale and Beth and I went to Spa Nordik on the coldest day we'd had so far this winter.  Next time we're taking toques to wear with our bathing suits and bath robes.  We also made a huge gourmet dinner on New Years.  Beth introduced me to the wonders of St. Germain Elderberry Liqueur.  All in all, it was an awesome visit.

Beth and Kate take the GT for a run

Emily, Hope, Kate and neighbour Anna pose with one of the best snowmen we've ever produced.

Kate works on her creation at Savvy Bead

Emily lines up her beads

Hope concentrates while she strings her necklace
Back to the routine come January 9.  And since the snow fell on Christmas Day, winter has been hitting us full force in Ottawa with temperatures each morning around minus 17.  I'm ready for a thaw.  The cold temperatures are giving us perfect skating conditions however so we're going skating this Sunday for the first time this year.  I'm really looking forward to it, as are the girls.

Henry turned 20 months old yesterday and he really deserves a post (or several) all his own.  He is everything that is perfect about this age right now.  Sure, he still has the occasional grumpy day (like today and yesterday) but mostly he is crazy fun to be with.  He is cute as all get out.  His hair is soft like feathers and curly like Art Garfunkel's.  He gives us coy looks when you ask him questions looking for a laugh.  His words are coming out faster and furiouser now.  He pipes in for the "HI!" part of the Dora theme song... you know in the last part: da-da-da-da-da-Dora - HI! - da-da-da-da-da-Dora - HI!.  He shouts out the HI! all on his own.  One of his favourite parts of the day is when I play puppets with his bear and lamb that he sleeps with.  He goes to sleep giggling away.  He calls out "Mama!" over and over again through the day when he wants me to see what he's doing, what's he's built, the trouble he's getting into, or if I just haven't looked at him in a while.  He loves playing in the snow, which is surprising given his age.  Emily and Hope didn't take to it until they were over two.  He refuses to get out of his sled when I'm pulling him around in it.  He is crazy-crazy about Kindermusik and starts the next level next week.  His favourite characters are Dora, Barney and "Toot", aka Thomas the Tank Engine.  While his allegiances definitely lie with John and me, he is totally enamoured with Hope.  He calls her name throughout the day if she's home or not.  Sadly for Emily, he refuses to say her name although he loves her to bits too.  She's dealing with it well but would love for him to give in and say 'Mimi'.  For now, it remains all about Hope.  Here is Henry's cuteness at work as well as the evidence of his fondness for saying 'Hope':

There have been some great moments with Emily and Hope from the last few weeks. While Beth and Kate and my dad and Donna were here, John and I and the girls played sleepover in the master bedroom.  John and I were on air mattresses while the girls stayed in their beds.  John has been known to snore now and again (that's called "glossing over the truth") and Emily is a light sleeper like me.  Here is the list that Emily wrote one day while we were all sharing a room:

Beth and I just about popped a gasket laughing so hard when we read this.  We did our best not to let Emily know how funny we thought it was.  I think we failed.  This gem is going right into her memory box.

This past week at Brownies we started to teach the girls how to hand sew.  They embraced it enthusiastically and Emily came home asking me to show her how to sew on the machine.  Two days ago she sewed a hot pad and Hope played around with different stitches on the machine.  As Emily sewed her first line of stitching on the hot pad I found myself saying: "Emily, Nana would be so proud!" and felt tears welling up in my eyes.  I was surprised by how emotional I was about it.  This was a direct connection to my mum and a deep connection between my mum and my girls.  This weekend each girl is going to sew a skirt for the Barbies.  I can't wait.

Emily had her first piano lesson on Thursday, another connection straight to Mum.  For the last year, I've been teaching Emily so this was her first lesson with someone other than me.  She loved every second and I was pleased to get confirmation that I've done well with her in the last year because her teacher (the wonderful Lynn) was really impressed with how much Emily already knows.

I took the girls for haircuts over the Christmas holidays and you'll note from the video above that Hope had all her locks cut off.  She's now sporting an adorable short cut that I absolutely love.  She's really happy with it too.  Hope continues to be my even-keeled, loving, cuddling, soft-hearted, reliable, hilarious and fun-loving girl.  I can now add budding reader to that list.  I'm so impressed with how her reading is coming along and thrilled that she isn't struggling with it.  And unlike Emily she seems to have much more patience for sounding out words and working at it until she gets it.  How refreshing!

Kudos to you if you've lasted this long.  I think I can count on one hand those of you who are still with me.  But this gets me mostly caught up and hopefully back in the blogging saddle.