Thursday, December 23, 2010


It's been a busy week, as the last half of December usually is. I honestly don't have time to write. But I do have time to post these pictures and declare "Hallelujah! Finished!"

On the weekend I posted our old entertainment unit on Kijiji "for free to anyone who can come and pick it up on Sunday". We also picked up Chris's grandmother's chair, refinished and reupholstered:
And we found the perfect end table to go between my favourite reading chairs in the living room. The great story about that is, once I had decided which table I wanted we took a quick look in the bargain room at the back. There is was, the exact table, with one small hardly noticable defect, for half the price! Are you proud of me, Mom?
One more picture, just because I haven't posted pictures of our family room coffee table and end tables, and Mom has been asking. Now I'm done, until the basement is finished.

Everything was lovely for the Haines family Christmas get-together here yesterday. Christmas has begun! Although I'm still not quite ready for it... Today I ran around doing various errands, so I don't think I need to go out again. But I do still have wrapping, cooking, laundry and packing for our trip to do. I think the packing may happen on Christmas day. I'll try to post again before then, but it may not fit into the hustle and bustle. In case it doesn't:

Merry Christmas to all,
from our home to yours!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Best Kids

I know, I should not be letting a whole week go by without posting. My mother and certain others of you will be very unhappy with me. But come on, it's "busy December", and I already wrote last year about how crazy December is! This past weekend alone we had the Christmas office party, practice for the Christmas Sunday School concert, performance of the Sunday School concert, and our Home Group Christmas potluck. PLUS I got the FLU! I always seem to get sick in December. I hope it's not my Christmas tree that is making that happen, but I seriously doubt that an evergreen would cause body aches and chills. The doctor told me yesterday that it really is just a flu that I have to wait out. So I'm waiting. Today I was supposed to help supervise at the school Christmas concert practice at the high school, but the buses were taken off today because of another storm (yes, it is once again a winter wonderland in London - they finally plowed our street on Sunday night, so it had to start snowing again!), so there was no transportation to the high school, and therefore, no Christmas concert practice, so I'm free to stay home and wrap gifts in my jammies. Unfortunately, that probably means no Christmas concert tonight. My kids won't be pleased about that.

Speaking of my awesome kids, the one great thing that happened this weekend happened after Chris and I arrived home from his office party on Friday night. We had a new babysitter because the one we had previously used was unavailable. I was pretty impressed with her from the beginning. She was very friendly and talkative when I picked her up, and once we got to the house and I introduced her to the kids she really made an effort to engage them and make a connection. I had told her that most babysitters say my kids are pretty easy to keep, so I didn't expect she'd have any problems. By the time we got home I was feeling pretty miserable. We had a lovely dinner and casino night, and I had a chance to meet a lot of Chris's coworkers, but by 11:00 I knew that the flu was beginning to settle in and make itself at home. We walked in the door and said hello to the babysitter and she immediately said "Those are absolutely the best behaved kids I have ever babysat!" Wow! We both just swelled right up with pride, and for a couple of minutes I forgot to feel like death warmed over. I know this babysitter wants us to call her again, so she probably would give a positive report about the evening, but she really didn't have to gush quite so much. On the way home she talked about how much fun she had playing games with the kids, reading stories and singing with Janelle, and then watching TV with Connor. She sounded pretty sincere, so I choose to believe that she really meant what she said.

I have to agree with her. Although they are not always on their best behaviour with me, I do have a couple of amazing kids. I'm a pretty blessed mom!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Still Snowing....

It is still snowing in London. The newspaper says we've gotten 120 cm since it started on Sunday afternoon, with about 20 cm more to come. When I look out my window I see no signs of it stopping anytime soon. I never really understood the meaning of the term "snow squalls" before I moved here. Apparently, the warm water in Lake Huron evaporates into the cold northern air and brings major dumps of snow. It is a very slow moving storm, so it just sticks around in one small area, slows down for a while, goes back out over the lake, and then brings more snow. In fact, it is only a very small area that is getting this amount of snow. Several of the people who work in Chris's office but live in outlying areas have seen only trace amounts of snow. Apparently, northwest and southwest London are getting the worst walloping. We are in southwest London. The city has nearly come to a halt. Our new mayor, who was supposed to have his inaugural ball last night, just announced that he will not be calling a state of emergency. However, London City Transit will not be running after 3 o'clock this afternoon. I haven't seen or heard a snow plow on our street yet, but there was evidence that one went by on the other side of our street yesterday. We must be a very low priority area — quite a contrast to living on Crocket Street! The snow drift piling up on the window beside my desk has nearly hit the halfway point. I have to boost myself up on my seat to see the houses across the street. It is a winter wonderland.
The kids love it! They are sure they won't have to go to school this week at all. I keep warning them that school is almost never cancelled in London, so they better be prepared to go tomorrow. A Grade 8 boy quoted in the newspaper said he could remember one other time that school was cancelled for snow. That is something my kids will have to get used to! Last year in Fredericton school was only cancelled once (the day our moving truck came), but that was a very mild winter and very out of the ordinary. My kids are accustomed to missing at least 4 - 6 days a year for snow.
Chris hates winter. He hates clearing the driveway, even with his snowblower, because of all the work involved in clearing off the vehicles and moving them into the street before he can really start blowing the snow away. Our new house has a two car garage, something that was on the top of our "must have" list when we were house-hunting. Actually, this house has a three car garage, if you count the area deep enough to actually park two cars. Unfortunately, since we moved here, our garage has been a shed. When we first moved in we were able to get the van in on one side. Then we brought a bunch of stuff out of the basement when we thought we had hired someone to finish it. No more van in the garage. There are boxes in it, wood for the basement, the cabinet that I just finished varnishing. No cars. It's been a "no car garage". Sunday night, Chris and I spent two hours reorganizing the garage so that Monday morning we would be able to get both cars in it. I am happy to say, we were successful! Today we are all home. School is cancelled and Chris is working from home, and the snow is piling up in the driveway. But there isn't a flake of snow on our cars. They are cozy and warm in the garage.
I am a Maritimer who is very accustomed to big snowstorms, but this is a lot even for me! I love it, though. It means my whole family is cozy and happy and together. I am enjoying my Christmas tree and a good book. The kids have been tobogganing with their friends down the street on the huge piles of dirt behind our subdivision. They come in occasionally for lunch or cookies and hot chocolate, but they always have big smiles on their faces. And Chris is happy because our two car garage means the driveway will be easy to blow out. This is a fun storm.

"Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow...."

Monday, December 6, 2010

Merry Christmas, Mom!

My mother doesn't get to see my house decorated for Christmas this year, so this post is especially for her. Wish you were here, Mama!

The Christmas tree came home on Saturday, after we went to the Springfield Christmas Parade with Jocelyn, Mark and Ellie, and before the HUGE dump of snow! We got it just in time!

The tree is in the front room, in the corner by the hallway.
The banister. I found a pre-lit garland with battery operated mini-LCD lights.

It's so nice to finally have a mantle to decorate!

The kids' tree, in the family room. The rule is they can decorate it however they want. I don't think they're finished yet!
Our front door. The wreath is a birthday gift from Brad, Jody and Hailey (I got it with my gift card), and I found the prelit trees at Kohls in Indianapolis at 3 a.m. on Black Friday.
There you go, Mom! You've seen it all! But the most Christmas-y part of all of it is the view outside my window today:
30 cm down, and it's not ending until tomorrow night!

Two happy kids with an unexpected day off school!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Dancing the Afternoon Away...

When I dropped Janelle, her brother and her friends off at school this morning she had a big smile on her face. I'm sure the gently falling snow that she was catching on her tongue had something to do with it, but that wasn't the whole story. The main source of her excitement today is the first dance of the school year, being held for the grades K-3 classes this afternoon from 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Where we come from, dances don't start until middle school. And when I was growing up, even those were discouraged by responsible adults. I think I only went to one dance in Junior High, and maybe three in high school. Dances were a pretty taboo activity for good girls like me, and knowing some of the things that went on at those dances, it might have been for good reason. But as a parent of kids of the 21st century, I feel like I need to really consider my attitude toward school dances and my kids' attendance at them.

Maybe dances aren't such a big deal. I went to sock hops in Junior High at lunch hour every Friday, and I loved them! I was a good kid, and I wouldn't have been involved in any "taboo" activity no matter where I was. And my kids are really good kids, too. I'm not volunteering at the dance today, but I plan to be a pretty regular presence at any and all of the activities that my kids want to be involved in. And this is one activity that Janelle really wants to be involved in! Last year we were only here for one school dance, and I was really quite surprised when Janelle said she wanted to go. I don't know why I was surprised, though. That is just so "Janelle". When I arrived to pick her up, she was happy as could be, singing and dancing with her friends, and eating a bag of Cheesies. It could not have been more innocent fun, and maybe it is a bit of a utopian ideal, but I think that if a school dance can be an innocent affair in Grade 2, it can be in Grade 12. It's really all about how involved we are with our kids, isn't it?

So this afternoon Janelle will be going to her second school dance, from 3:30 to 5:00. The dance for the Grade 4 to 6 kids is from 5:00 to 7:00, and Connor hasn't decided whether or not he is going to go. Last year he decided to go at the last minute, and he had a great time. I'm pretty sure he'll be going this time, too, when he finds out how many of his friends will be there. He'll go, but if he's planning to actually dance, I might have to sneak in with a camera!