Friday, December 31

Ode to Kelly and Dawson

Ode to Kelly:

My sister in law Kelly for the past three years has been taking a Chinese Medicine course in Calgary with the end goal of being a Registered Acupuncturist and Doctor of Chinese Medicine.  She has been working her butt off to achieve her goal and we’ve been so proud of her as she has been preparing/studying/sacrificing (even missing my birthday party) for her provincial exam which has only a 50% pass rate.  A lot of people from her class deferred the exam until they were done their fourth year of the program out of fear, but not our Kelly.  She bravely took it head on this fall and I’m happy to report that she passed and is now a Registered Acupuncturist and is now preparing to go to China to work at a hospital there in a few months for some additional practical experience.

My dearest Kelly... we are so very proud of you!  You inspire me to go back to school and try something new; even if I’m afraid.  You are the best friend a girl could ever have!  Thank you for loving our children so much, and of course thank you for getting a job at Anthropologie... I know it will be short lived now that you are a Doctor, but I love you just the same.


Ode to my Brother Dawson:

My friend, I have no words to describe how much I truly love you.  I could thank you from now until the end of time for how good you are to our children and how dear a friend you are to Drew and I, and it still wouldn’t scratch the surface.  The quality time you spend with each of our boys telling them stories and reassuring them and making them feel special is something that I could never give them, because I’m their mom.  And although I love them too (of course) you, Sir, are magical in their eyes.  When I watch you sit and talk with Seth about how one day he will be as big as you (or bigger) and I watch his face light up with joy because he believes with 100% confidence that what you say is true, it warms my heart.  I love you so much that I needed to just take a moment and let others know how special you are.  There is a light in you that is undeniable and warming to all who have the opportunity to be around you.  I am grateful that I am numbered among the lucky few.  One day I hope to repay the love you show to my children to yours (wink wink).

All my love always to you both,

J


Today:


I am grateful Ethan's birthday was so enjoyable!  He loved his hockey net and he and his friends played outside for hours and hours.


I am grateful for my Drew's family that came to have pizza and wish Ethan a Happy Birthday.


I am grateful for a new and exciting year and all that it will bring.


Thursday, December 30

Happy Birthday Ethan!

Happy Happy Birthday Ethan!!!

Today my little man Ethan is turning 9 years old. It is so cliche to say, but I feel old, and where did the time go?
As I do with every special birthday I have a few things to offer you on your special day.

Dearest Little Bear,

You are pure joy my darling boy. You are the sweetest, most caring child a parent could have. You have a beautiful soul and a tender nature that I am thankful to be around.
You are getting older now and your world is not one I have complete control over anymore. You are a very smart boy, and I trust your judgment, but please remember not everyone you will encounter in this life will be trustworthy. So please pick your friends and associates carefully. There will be times you are hurt, but you will learn much from those times and will heal and be better for them. Learn the importance of good friends early.

You are a born leader, and are a very smart boy. Please use your leadership power wisely. Others will naturally follow you, so be careful not to lead others down shady paths. You are not responsible for the choices others make, but you have a charisma and charm others will be drawn to. Sometimes that will feel like a curse, but it is actually a blessing when used well. Always listen to what others have to say then make the decision that's right for you; you will be more valuable to the world if you are a good listener and be sincere because people can tell when you're not. Choose the right that's right for you.

Please please PLEASE get as much education as possible. You have been blessed with your fathers brain and knack for learning. Do not waste it!!!  You are a brilliant person, I am very excited to see what path you choose in life. I know whatever you decide to do, you will do it brilliantly!
And to be clear, you can choose any path you want, we will support you always. I just want you to be happy. But you have a God given gift and it is not to be ignored.

Stay the HELL away from drugs. I know and appreciate everyone in this life is entitled to their own journey. But I will literary end you if you ever touch that crap. Drugs take you no where good. Period!

Always give every young lady a fair chance. Just because one might be pretty to look at does not mean she is worth your time. Make sure you always treat every girl with kindness and respect.

Happy Birthday on your special day my little man.  Know that it has been an honour and privilege to be your mother thus far. Thank you for choosing our family to come to.

Love,
Mom.


Today:

I am grateful that you are a healthy child. You had a rough start but have really evened out.

I am grateful that you still enjoy spending time with me and the rest of our family. It means a lot to me.

I am grateful that you love to read. Don't ever lose that. You can go anywhere in a book!

I am grateful for your curiosity in life and your adventurous spirit.

We are so grateful for your humour.  It truly seems that you have inherited the best of both dad and I and we could not be more proud.

Wednesday, December 29

Our Awesome Day at the Slopes that Ended with the Fuzz

My parents gift to us this year was a day of skiing/snowboarding.  The children were berserk with excitement as this was their first time snowboarding (or skiing).  We headed out to Nakiska (in Kananaskis) Monday morning and I just wanted to share with you a few highlights of the day!


Us heading out to Nakiska.  The kids were pretty excited!
So excited in fact that this is what Ethan did the entire time, even when we asked him to look at the beautiful mountains.

Cool picture of Drew.
While we drove through the mountains we were telling Nora those were the mountains she was going to ski down; Nora was getting scared saying she wanted to go home because she didn't want to die.


I love Canada!






After a ridiculous amount of time waiting for lift tickets and rentals, the boys had their snowboarding lesson.  And pretty much took to it like fish in water.


Ethan is a natural.


Such a ham.

My mom got Nora ski's and boots and loving adults toted her up and down the hill the entire day.  She loved every second of it.


Thanks Mom for the awesome day of skiing!


Seth is rad!


Gabe... funny man.


We quite literally had to peel Ethan off the hill at the end of the day.

After we left the hill we went back to my parents trailer (camping at Mt. Kidd) and we exchanged gifts.  It's Ethan's birthday tomorrow and Uncle Dawson gave him his birthday present early.  It was a snowboard and bindings and my parents bought him new boots.  This is him seeing the snowboard for the first time.

It's pretty much all we've heard about for three whole days.

Seth... you are so funny!  You are such a cool kid.


Waiting for dinner.
Here's where the fuzz comes into the story... after we left my parents trailer heading back to Calgary to the hotel/hot tub/visit with Aunty Kelly we got about 15min away and my mom phoned to say we had left Nora's snow suit in the trailer (clearly something we can't live without).  Drew & I thought it would be best for me to jump in with Dawson (following us in his truck) and go back and get the suit while Drew took the kids to the hotel.  Also I need to explain that earlier in the day my brother thought it would be festive to decorate the cab of his truck with Christmas lights.  So as we are driving back to the trailer a police officer drives past us and flicks his lights on but doesn't pull us over.  Not thinking much of it we get to the trailer, grab the snow suit and get back on the road.  On our way back to the city we pass the same police officer again (going a little faster this time) with the Christmas lights still aglow in the cab.  But this time he was not as kind and pulled us over.  When he got to the window he informed us (not sure if anybody else knows) that having Christmas lights in the cab of your truck has a penalty of a $400 fine and 6 demerit points.  To which we both nervously laughed, turned on the charm and said we thought he was being festive before by flicking his lights on, saying Merry Christmas to us.  He was a kind man and only gave a $78 ticket and a warning to not be festive in the cab of a truck ever again.  Thank you Fuzz and Merry Christmas.


On the way home the next day we stopped off so the kids could get a picture with the Polar bear at Bass Pro Shop at the Crossiron Mills shopping mall.  It was a wonderful couple of days and both Drew and I agree this is really the fun part of parenting.  


J


Today:


I am unbelievably grateful for my mother who surprised us with the news that she is taking us to Disneyland next year for Christmas.  I don't know who is more excited, her or the kids.  It's going to be a really good time.


I am grateful there was no major accidents while we were on the hill, only a minor one with my dad catching a pole in the throat.  Looks pretty bad but he says it's not terrible.


I am grateful for Dawson for passing on the snowboarding bug to our three little men; Ethan has been infected the most though.  


Monday, December 27

Another fantastic day to dance, Music Monday!

Regardless of how your weekend was (I hope it was fantastic!), I have a superior Music Monday for everyone.


An excellent collection of tunes to get you moving and bouncing to start this week off.


I have a serious rock music thing right now.


Marianas Trench-Cross MY Heart



All American Rejects-Gives You Hell



ATTENTION THERE IS A CACA WORD IN THIS SONG!!!! In case you are not rocking out alone and there are little ones with you!
Mumford & Sons-Little Lion Man



State Of Shock-Money Honey



Nickelback - Rockstar


Today:


I am grateful for having a few more days of Christmas break with the children. 


I am grateful for a dishwasher. I hate washing dishes by hand.


I am grateful for a clean house.


I am grateful for the opportunity I have every few Sundays to teach at church. I love the Ladies I teach, and I love how warm and open they make me feel. 

Sunday, December 26

Wise men still seek him




This is one of my most favorite pictures at Christmas time. The story of how the wise men traveled so far, enduring what would have been such a huge journey to meet a child. A child! How they respected this infant so much that they ignored the request of a king and returned to their home another way because they felt the king was not good.  Wise men still seek him.


What a glorious day it has been. What a wonderful, fun, exciting day. 


Our poor boys woke up at the butt crack of dawn and were so desperate for Nora to wake up. They were pacing, laughing loudly, throwing things at her bedroom door, they were flicking the lights in the hallway by her room on and off a million times. It was hilarious to watch.
Princess Nora kept those boys waiting until almost 8 am until she decided to get out of bed. 


Then it was total bedlam!


Every single thing Nora opened she responded with a gasp and said, "it's exactly what I wanted" What a great year. The boys had a fantastic day too. There is nothing more enjoyable to me than watching the boys running, playing and laughing together. 
I made out pretty well too, and Drew is not complaining. But he never does when it's wrapped in pink VS bags.


The food was amazing. My mother in law did a marvelous job (as always) and I ate way more then I should have. Yay for Gillian Micheals for the next  30  92 days! (until NYC)


It was a good day filled with joy and family. 


I would never ever be tacky enough to post pictures of gifts I received, but this one tops all the charts of what could possibly be the single weirdest gift that my husband actually asked for and got. If there was any doubt that we are different people, this just confirmed it. He is such a weirdo. 




For those of you who are wondering, my husband asked for and got 14/2 house wire so he can finish my kitchen. Sigh, and if you can even believe it, he was excited and happy to get it. 
Like I said, weirdo!


J


Today:


I am grateful for my special little treasures that I got today. I feel very loved.


I am grateful Drew has the week off.


I am grateful for the exciting fun we have planned for the kids Monday!

Saturday, December 25

Merry Christmas

It is Christmas Eve and we have just put the children to bed after a bit of a hectic day. 
The children are very excited about tomorrow and because of their excitement they've lost their minds and their listening skills have all but vanished. Drew and I got into a bit of a loud "misunderstanding" this afternoon, and Nora is upstairs crying about Santa. 


All is well here. 


But it is Christmas Eve, and it is a very special time of year. I love Christmas and I love what it means to different people. I love listening to Christmas stories; stories that often renew hope and joy.
And sometimes this time of year can be painful. We all have times in our lives when we struggle. Times that are heavy and burdensome, lonely and sad. 


To you I would like to say, hold on. Things will get better - it might not be right away, but it will get better.


Over the years Christmas time has been different things to me. One year it was a season of excitement when I met my future husband, and one year it was loss when my partner died. 
The next Christmas season I became a mother for the first time.  Every year is different and new. But Christmas is a season of hope. Hope for everyone, and hope will always get you through. 


Christmas to me this year is fun. I love seeing the children excited and happy. Anxious for the wonder that will come in the morning. Christmas this year is a good feeling in my chest when I think about family and dear friends. Christmas is always about good food, that's no surprise. 


Christmas is about the birth of my Savior and the gratitude I feel for the blessings I have in my life. For the love I feel from the Lord, and how I know he cares and understands me better then anyone else. I know prayer is heard. Not always answered the way I would like, but always the way I need. Christmas reminds me of what matters most, which is different for everyone. But I think that's why its so special.


Christmas is hope. 


Merry Christmas!!!



Nora's Christmas PJ's were sold as a package labelled size 4.
And that's exactly what the top was.  The bottoms on the
other hand were a size 8.  Thanks Superstore!




















J


Tonight:


I am grateful for men and women away from their families tonight and during the holidays serving our country and communities in the military, EMS, fire and police services. Thank you.


I am grateful to live in a country that allows me the freedom to worship and celebrate how I want. 


I am grateful for Family and Friends.



Friday, December 24

The night before the night before Christmas

Today was full of exactly everything I would want it to be filled with right before Christmas. 


Laughing, Friends, Time with family, Lights, the Nativity, and gift wrapping.


After dinner we went and saw the live Nativity at our church, complete with live animals (sheep, a lama and a donkey). A few years ago I helped make this new set, isn't it beautiful? It's our family tradition to go Christmas Eve, however this year it isn't showing tomorrow night, so we went tonight instead!




After the Nativity we took a drive and looked at all the lights around town.




We then found this house that Melanie told me about... It was amazing. The lights were synchronized to a local radio station so when we tuned the truck radio to the radio station the music was in time with the lights flashing.  It was sensational!  I think I have found a project for Drew for next year.



Then we came home and watched National Lampoons Christmas Vacation while we finished wrapping gifts. 


What an excellent day.


J


Today:


I am grateful Drew got home safe from a week of being away. I was really missing him.


I am grateful I have such a wonderful babysitter that I trust so much. I used her a lot this week. 


I am grateful for my family. I am a lucky girl. I know I constantly say how funny they are, but they really are quite hysterical. This is what Nora did this afternoon, and I almost peed.








Thursday, December 23

Dear Santa

Dear Santa, 


For Christmas this year all I would like is some sleep. I am exhausted. I have gone to bed late every night this week. So sleep is all I want.


Sleep and a new top from Anthro, but mostly sleep.


A new top from Anthro and a new cookie sheet. Ya, a cookie sheet. Thats all.


Sleep, a cookie sheet, and new lulu lemon pants. Anthro top on the side.  But still mostly sleep.


Ooh and of course a trip to NYC, but sleep too. 


Thanks Santa.


J


Today:


I am grateful this long day is over, I took the children to the pottery painting place in Spruce Grove and we all had a wonderful time painting things and having fun until Nora lost her mind. Then the fun ended.


I am grateful Drew is home tomorrow. 


I am grateful for Jordon and Landon and how much we laughed tonight. Thank you guys!

Wednesday, December 22

Disturbing afternoon at the movies



I took the children to go see the movie Tangled this afternoon because Drew is out of town until the end of the week, and I wanted to do something fun with the kids. 


Ooh my goodness what an excellent show. I laughed and laughed.


Some of the highlights included the semi attractive portrayal of the child abductor that would randomly burst into song, and during the song verbally and emotionally abuse the abducted child.


The Stockholm syndrome plagued girl that was awkward to watch and uncomfortable to witness that also randomly burst into song as she toiled with whether she should leave her capture of return to her.
.
The miles and miles of hair that was carelessly dragged in the forest collecting dirt, twigs and I am sure small helpless animals. the entire time I just thought, why not braid it??


The thief that rescued the captive child from the tower, who almost got hung, but became the hero and love interest at the end of the film?


Do not forget the magic hair that glows and heals everything when it was sung to?


And of course the ending when the actual parents of the missing girl get her back with a convict as a son in law.


Bravo Disney, you have done it again! True family entertainment.


Today


I am on day 3 of doing the Jillian Michaels 30 day shred. I only have 97 more days until NYC so I am getting ready. I will let you know if I am grateful for it soon. So far I am just sore.


I am grateful there are 3 days left of the 12. I am really enjoying this.


I am grateful for sleep!


J







Tuesday, December 21

My gift from Physio guy

This afternoon I had physio and to my surprise physio guy had a special gift waiting for me.
When I arrived he asked me to lay face down on the physio table and had warm heating pads ready for my back. It was wonderful. Then after 20 minutes of the heating pads he started lightly rubbing my back, progressively getting harder and harder...wow, that does not feel so relaxing anymore.


Hey is that your elbow jammed into the middle of my back? Why are you putting all your weight on that spot?
Ouch, hey!
Gasp...gasp, Physio guy, yup, that hurts right there...
Tapping out tapping out.... please let this end soon.


Sigh.... Finally, he is done.
wait, what? Now it's time for needles?


This is one crappy Christmas gift buddy!








Today


I am grateful I got to sleep in until 9am this morning!!! I love the holidays!


I am grateful Nora did not knock out her teeth when she fell face first onto the steps when she was coming inside. She did not even put her hands out to break her fall. Thankfully it was her chin that took the impact and not her pearly whites.


I am grateful for our babysitter today so I could go to physio.


I am grateful for my friends at physio. They make it so pleasant to be there. I am grateful for how much we all laugh.


J

Monday, December 20

Merry Christmas Monday

We had a great weekend, I hope it was wonderful for everyone.
Sunday morning the family we have been doing the 12 days of Christmas for ambushed Ethan on one of his drop offs and scared the total crap out of him. It was absolutely hilarious. He came barreling down the road yelling. I am still chuckling just thinking about it. Later Sunday afternoon the couple came by with goodies of their own and they shared with us how much they have enjoyed and appreciated our 12 days of Christmas. The husband told us the story of how he was waiting to startle Ethan, and he was smiling so big and laughing while telling us.
I have to tell you, seeing them both smiling and laughing and clearly happy has made my whole week. I am so happy they are having an nice holiday season.


Later on Drew and I did a Nativity reading with the children. They really love hearing Drew read.  (Check out Drew's shirt, I found it at Old Navy! It says Griswold Family Christmas.)






After Drew was done reading we asked the kids some questions about what the wise men gave baby Jesus. They answered Gold, Frankenstine, and Murf. My kids are so funny


Today for Music Monday I of course am doing a few Christmas songs. I decided to post a few of  my personal favorites to help get you through the last few days. This one is my all time favorite Christmas song. This version is a little different, but is nice too.


Celtic Women-Carol Of The Bells





I always love Elvis.


Blue Christmas-Elvis



I love this song so much, I actually listened to the CD on repeat for hours when I was in labour with Seth.





I have seen these guys live, AMAZING!


Oh Holy Night-Il Divo



Today:


I am grateful the children are now on holidays for 2 weeks and I get to sleep in tomorrow!!!.


I am Grateful for this season and how good it felt today knowing we have helped someone feel good this Christmas.


I am grateful there are only 5 more days, I am getting really excited to watch the kids Christmas morning.


I am grateful for my dear friends who make me laugh.


J 


Don't forget day 8

Sunday, December 19

T minus 7 days

Today we had so much to do my brain could have quite literally blown right off my shoulders, and wanna know how much of my list I got done? ZIP! NADA! ZILCH!


All we did do today was shovel sidewalks for the elderly, played together, ate together, laughed together, visited with friends and wrapped gifts. 


Maybe it was not a total write off. 


My heart is continuing to warm the closer we are getting to Christmas. Tender feelings are happening more and more, and soon it will be time for the live nativity. That is our families favorite tradition. 


J


Today I am grateful for the humor our family shares.  And I am so grateful the children seem to have learned/received it through DNA.


Today is day 7 of our 12 days of Christmas. Don't forget!

Saturday, December 18

Party Crashers and Christmas Miracles

Today was the second Christmas miracle of the holidays so far. Do you remember a few weeks back when I talked about the episode of Oprah when she did her favorite things? Her last favorite things ever? Remember when I said I actually cried when she gave her audience a set of Julia Child's favorite cookware Le Creuset, made in France? 


Well, this morning after I dropped Seth off at school, English Sam and I were at Value Village finding things for her new house here because I had a 30% off coupon.
She stumbled on two pots made by Le Creuset. Now these pots were in very good condition, but were only the pots. She picked them up and showed me. I sighed, that is an excellent find Sam. She says, ya, but there are no lids. 
I said, you could still use them on the cook top. 
She says ya, but with no lids?
Then she put them back. Which in Value Village etiquette means they are now fair game.
I go pick them up. 
She says, you are going to take them without lids?
Just then a lady who works there passes by, I say to her, excuse me, is there any chance the lids are in the back somewhere and you have not brought them out yet?
She now has 2 other woman with her, and they all say, no, sorry. We all checked for them too, because we all liked them.
SO I said to Sam (this is the honest truth, I actually said this)... Well, I have faith they will turn up. One day I will come and there will be two lids on the shelves and then I will get them. Value Village is a magical place.
She looked at me funny as I flipped them over and saw they were $5 and $7 (they are normally $500 for a set of 5).  Plus I get an additional 30% off.
We go pay for our things and go out to the cars. I pulled away, waiting for Sam to follow me and I had no idea why she was taking so long.  When she finally gets to where I am, she says that just as she was getting ready to leave, one of the ladies came racing out and stopped her. 
Excuse me lady, are you the person who bought the pots?
Sam says my friend is, the lady hands her 2 lids and says we found them in the back!!!!!!


I love Value Village!!! And can you even believe it is in the colour I would have chosen too had Oprah given it to me?!?! Honestly, it is a true Christmas Miracle!  And one that Sam is none too pleased about... giggle.




Unrelated to the cooking Christmas Miracle, I received a phone call from a friend of ours inviting us to her work Christmas Party. We do not work for her, but she said the tickets for the dinner were already purchased and a few of her employees cancelled last minute, leaving a few extra seats. Would we like to come?
Heck Ya! 
So Drew and I got all dressed up and we to a fancy-shmancy resturant and ate delishious food, visited with wonderful people and listened to a live band. It was really great. 






Today:


First, I need to tell everyone in the entire world, screaming it from the rooftops how grateful I am for Melanie today.  Who completely saved my parental bacon when she went and purchased my children a special lunch from McDonalds and dropped it off at their school, because it was their last day of school before Christmas break and I had promised them a special lunch and then couldn't make it back.  Melanie, I am forever in your debt.  


I am grateful to live in Canada... check out this snow picture.



Today I am really grateful for the 12 days of Christmas that my family is doing.  I felt really good about getting to give the family we chose today's surprise. I love that my children are enjoying this so much and I'd like to think this is maybe making this time of year a little more tolerable for her. Don't forget, today is day 6 people!

Have a wonderful weekend, and Merry Christmas!

J