Sunday, December 13, 2009

Busy December

As I've already written, I LOVE Christmas. I think I've made that abundantly clear. And I therefore love December. I do not love the stress of December. It seems as soon as December begins, the hectic pace begins. There was the piano recital, the office party, the 5 Christmas concerts we will have attended, getting the Christmas tree, decorating the Christmas tree, coordinating family gatherings for Christmas, all on top of our regular family schedule of work, school, volunteering, homework, piano lessons, basketball practice, and church commitments. This is not even taking into account Christmas SHOPPING and Christmas BAKING, and the other things that the children have decided that, since we've done them once, they are traditions. Like making a gingerbread house. That is on the to-do list for after school ends.

This year is different. This year I am a 100% stay-at-home Mom. It has made a world of difference. I don't have 15-20 other little ones for whom I feel bound to make Christmas special as well as my own two darlings. No Christmas concert to plan. No "last day Christmas pajama party" to prepare for. No Christmas crafts to research and get ready to guide little hands through. I have to admit that I do miss a lot of this, but it clearly did add to my "December stress". There are at least a hundred things that are usually on my December schedule that are not this year. And I have so much TIME to do all the million things that do need to be done!
So this year I am making a conscious effort to ENJOY this beautiful season, and all that goes with it. This afternoon is a perfect example: Sunday afternoon, and there are lots of gifts to be wrapped and plenty of baking to do. But I didn't. I decided that while my children were happy playing outside (and later watching the latest Christmas "Veggietale"), and my husband was busy working so he'll be able to take time off over Christmas, I would allow myself to sit by my Christmas tree and get lost in a book. It was heavenly! It didn't feel like "busy December". It felt like a peaceful Sunday afternoon! I don't think I can remember having one of those in December!

Tomorrow morning I'll wrap gifts, run out to a store or two, maybe even start some Christmas baking. And I'll enjoy it, because I won't be in a panic. And I'll appreciate it, because I understand the stress working moms are under. Who knows if I'll have a December like this again, so I'm going to love it while I can. And next Friday, when the kids come home from school excited and ready to celebrate the season, I'll be ready to celebrate it with them (I hope!) This will be our last Christmas in this house, and we're going to make it a Christmas to remember.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!

I LOVE Christmas! I would start singing carols and trimming my house in early November if it were up to me. I love the warm feeling that the smell of evergreen, the glow of candlelight, the sound of "O Holy Night" and the taste of peppermint hot cocoa brings. I even like Christmas shopping! The bustle of like-minded people crowding holly-decked stores while the strains of Amy Grant's Christmas album (one of the four) beckon faintly through the hubbub — well, it energizes me! I LOVE CHRISTMAS!!!

Unfortunately, I live with Scrooge. He is a sweet and adorable Scrooge, but undeniably a Scrooge nonetheless. He doesn't like any hint of Christmas to enter his sphere of reference before December 1st. Christmas music in November? Humbug! Red and green decorating the house? Not yet! Dragging him to a shopping mall during the festive season is a painful experience for all involved — limited to once a year at most! And any mention of that most profane of all four-letter-words (SNOW) sends him spiraling into a depression.

So I have to be covert about it. I dig out the Christmas CDs about mid-November and listen to them through the day when he isn't home. The kids and I starting reading our millions of Christmas books around American Thanksgiving. And then the decorations start coming out. A few here and there, so he might not notice (I try to leave the snowmen for last).

But this year, I have to admit, my darling Ebenezer has been somewhat gracious about Yuletide preparations. We went Christmas shopping a couple of times in November, and he hardly complained, even admitting it might be a better time to do it, with smaller crowds and more selection (although he was drained of all energy afterward, as if I had forced him to endure some inhumane ritual!) He has been adament about "No Christmas Music when I'm around", but he made me some MP3 CDs of my favourite Christmas albums, so I can put one on the new Ipod/CD players and just let it play all day. He only made a passing mention of the first decorations I put out (one being a countdown to Christmas clock, which he didn't really appreciate). And when I suggested surprising the kids by putting up the downstairs "kids tree" on November 30, he was all for it! So I did, and subsequently decorated the whole house with my favourite Christmas trinkets. When he came home there was the comment that "it sure is Christmas-y in here", but no real complaints. He even agreed to go get the real tree next week before my parents arrive for a weekend visit. Maybe there is a small bit of Christmas spirit lurking somewhere inside that stony exterior.

My husband and I have had different experiences to shape our appreciation of the Christmas holidays. But he knows how very much I love this season, and as much as I feel the chasm of difference between us, I know he tries. And knowing this makes me love and appreciate him all the more! He knows that at this stage of our lives the most important part of Christmas is what we make it for our children: a celebration of the most important Birth our world has known, and an opportunity to worship joyfully while expressing love to those we hold dear. Yes, for them it is still about the presents and parades and decorations and Santa, despite how many times a day I remind them of WHY we are celebrating. I know that they understand that at our house Christmas isn't about Santa, it's about Jesus. And that isn't because I start playing carols in November. It's because they are lucky enough to have a Mom and Dad who agree about what celebrating Christmas means — even if our calendars are a little off!

I love you, Honey! Merry Christmas!

Monday, November 16, 2009

40 Sucks!

I had a birthday a couple of weeks ago. I'm not sure how this happened, but for some reason when you subtract my birthday from today's date, it looks like 40 years have past. But how could that possibly be? I mean, people in their 40s are OLD! They were my parents and their friends when I was a teenager. They were our teachers in high school—the ones who had been teaching FOREVER. When I got married they were the older couples with kids who looked wistfully at my husband and I as the lucky ones, who could go to a movie whenever they wanted to. I'm not any of these people!

Although, I guess I could have teenagers. I've been married 13 years, and I didn't get married until I was 26. I have been teaching FOREVER — maybe not consistently, but it does feel like it's been a long time! And I have to admit, I do envy those young couples who can hop off together at a moment's notice. So... maybe I am 40.

Even though it feels like I just turned 16 and finally got my driver's license. Angst filled days at university don't feel that long ago. Wasn't I shopping for a wedding dress last week? And it seems like my thirtieth birthday party, when I was nicely round and pregnant with my son, was just days before my fortieth birthday party — and somehow that baby grew 4 1/2 feet!

Time flies. We say it all the time, but it still takes us by surprise. Not long ago my baby girl wrapped her tiny hand around my finger. Now those tiny fingers are getting ready for their first piano recital. A reminder to treasure every moment! Because if this keeps up, my baby girl and I will be shopping for HER wedding dress... next week?

The lovely bouquet of lollipops above was a gift from two hilarious "over 40" ladies that I know. It has been the source of much laughter, and a great sugar fix (much better than a dozen Halloween chocolate bars!) Knowing these two ladies as I do, I'm sure that they knew I'd "get" the joke— 40 doesn't really suck. 40 can be great if I want it to be! And 40 sucks can be great, too!

Saturday, November 14, 2009


Well, Denise, twice a week isn't happening so far, but I am still going to try! It feels like I just got home from Vancouver, and it's been three weeks... Time just moves way too fast!

My wonderful husband took me to Vancouver and Kelowna last month. It was a beautiful oasis in the middle of my somewhat mundane life these days. I have to admit, I loved every minute of it -- even the 11 hours of travelling by myself to get there. I sat with my book and drank in the silence -- no "Mommy, Mommy!" or "I'm hungry!" or "I don't want to do my homework!"

I saw a beautiful part of the country that I had never seen. I spent some quality alone time with my husband. I visited friends that I never see and got to meet their lovely new daughter. I toured the Okanogan and enjoyed my first wine tastings (I actually may be able to aquire a taste for the stuff!) It was a precious gift.

I called the kids every day. I didn't miss them until we arrived at Troy and Teresa's and was surrounded by their kids. I didn't feel bad about not missing them. I knew they weren't missing me either. They were having a whale of a time with Grandma and Papa. But by the end of the week I was ready to go home. A week is the perfect amount of time to be away. Time to relax, regroup, recharge. Time to be ready to dive back into life. And I was. But I've been home nearly three weeks now. Isn't it time for another vacation?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A Pathetic Start!

The week after I started this blog I went on vacation. I had planned us a wonderful vacation, primarily because it was focused around two of my favourite beaches: Parlee Beach in Shediac, NB, and Cavendish Beach in PEI. We started out with two glorious days at the beach in Shediac, the first followed by Connor's case of sunstroke, and the second followed by my realization that I had diligently covered everyone else in sunscreen, and forgot to get Chris to do my back. OWWWW!!!!! But I got my beach vacation --- hours spent splashing in the water with the kids, and more on the beach with a good book. What could be better?

Then we moved on to PEI, where we spent a lovely couple of days with my cousin in Montague. Connor learned to kayak and shoot a BB gun. I had some great bonding time with Christy. And the adults enjoyed a rousing game of Wizard after the kids were asleep, from which I emerged the victor! Another great day!
Then we were off to Cavendish, for the non-visiting portion of our vacation—to which we were all looking most forward. I refuse to bore you with the details on my non-enjoyment of this part of my perfectly planned vacation. Suffice to say, strep throat doesn`t check with your schedule before it descends upon you, ruining any chance of more fun beach days! I did try to muster up the energy to enjoy the water slides with the kids (pre-antibiotics), share a walk on the beach (post-antibiotics), and of course visit Green Gables (the day we left for home). Not the vacation I had hoped for, but my kids, who I wanted to impress the most, had a glorious time despite Mom`s achy throat.

While we were away I thought of a dozen quirky posts I could add to my blog when I got home. Unfortunately, I blame our vacation for my pathetic start to this blog. I got out of the habit. I came home and Chris didn`t go right back to work because he had a week more of vacation. And it was the last week before school started. So we had to make every moment count. No writing happened.

The kids went back to school and I had loads of time on my hands. NOT TRUE!!! Time to put the house on the market. Time to declutter and clean like crazy for two weeks before I could even think of allowing potential buyers see my adorable house. No time for writing.
Now my house is clean, and my kids are in school, and my husband is away looking for a house for us in London, and I have found myself complaining of boredom. I checked my email today, and found myself reading a number of posts from a dear friend`s blog, and wishing I had the time and talent to write my own. Then I remembered: I have my own blog!!! I`ve just had a pathetic start to it! Time for a restart! So here I go, ready to start over again, documenting my life and the changes I`m going through as I find myself at home with no job and an immaculately clean house, and loads of time to write! Someone needs to hold me to this October Resolution of mine. See you tomorrow! (I hope.....)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Packing up Preschool

I finished packing my office today. I'm no longer a preschool teacher. It was a dream job! I invented it myself, got to set up my own classroom, make all the rules. I loved (almost) every minute of it. But Chris and I both decided a year ago that this should be my last year. And I'm ready to move on, but I am so sad to be leaving this beautiful classroom that was all mine, and the sweet little darlings whose laughter filled it every day (not that they were always darlings!)

I didn't realize when we made the decision to stop teaching at First Steps that I would be leaving more than my classroom this year. The next time I teach it will be in Ontario, and I'll have a whole new system to learn! Scary, but a little exciting. I think I'll stick to volunteering in my kids' school for a while and go back to the world of teaching big kids next year.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Journey Begins

Here we go. We've broken the news to the kids. We've wiped their tears and promised they will make even better friends in their new city. We've told all our parents and made them promise to visit our new executive guest suite. We've even started looking for a cottage so we can hold onto a little piece of home and know that it's waiting for us next summer.

I've started cleaning like mad so we can put our home on the market. I'm going through the motions of making this move. But my heart isn't in it yet. My heart is in New Brunswick, and I expect it will stay here for a while after my address changes.
But this is where I will document my change of heart. This blog will follow my journey to the place that will become my new home. I know that someday London will feel like home. I know this because the three people who make home to me (no matter where I am) will live there. And that is really all I need.