Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 wrap-up

This year has kind of ended on a slow note in the blogging department.  I have to admit, there was a time I thought about stopping all together.  But then looking back, it's pretty cool to see some of the memories that I've captured and that I would have forgotten about already.  So, as I write a final post for this year, I hope next year will be back to some more regular writing.

Where to begin?  I've got a few notes on my iPhone that I jotted down, thinking I would blog about them.  Truth be told, I don't know what some of them mean now.  How bad is that?  Oh well, I guess I'll just try to wrap up our month of December.

We have a Fisher Price Little People nativity set.  We get it out every year before Christmas and then pack it up again with the decorations.  This year when we got it out, Jorja and Ginny took to acting out the whole story from start to finish.  They had Gabriel coming to visit Mary and Joseph, the census, the trip to Bethlehem.  It was amazing all the details they remembered even before they got to the stable.  They did this for a few days, and then one day they were looking for something to do, so I told them to play with the nativity set.  Ginny said, "I want to, but I can't.  I can't find Gabriel."  I asked her if the other angel in the set would work, to which she replied no because that angel looked like a girl.  Without Gabriel, the story couldn't start, so she couldn't play with it at all.  It's funny how things change from year to year.  This year was strictly a literal translation of the story.  Last year baby Jesus took a trip to Strawberry Shortcake's house.

We hosted our bible study Christmas party here this year, so we had the tree up maybe a little earlier than normal.  I think it went up the last weekend in November.  It was nice though - the girls all had fun decorating and I don't even think anything was broken this year.  Since we had snow that stayed since Halloween, I kind of missed the boat on getting lights on the outside of the house in nice weather.  But I found a day that was only slightly below zero and got some done.  Not as many as I would have liked to, but it still looked pretty good.  Julie loves the inflatable lawn decorations too, so this year I bought a couple of those too.
The girls proudly showing off their handy work

The lights up, inflatables inflated
We also had a bunch of Christmas parties to go to.  My work Christmas party and Julie's Weight Loss Forever party were on the same night, but we managed to take in some of each.  Both were a good time and Julie ended up getting the 'most inspirational patient' award for the work she had done on her v-log chronicling her journey.  We found a new babysitter this fall too that the girls absolutely adore.  She's in grade eight and lives right on out crescent, so it's super convenient too.  It just makes going out that much more enjoyable when you know the kids are in good hands and enjoying themselves too.  The next party was the kids' Christmas party, put on by the brewery.  The girls look forward to this every year and this year was no different.  They wore themselves out playing at the Fun Factory and then got to see Santa.
Playing at the Fun Factory

The last party we had was Julie's office party.  It was a good time too, and again no issues with the babysitter and the kids. 

Aside from parties, the month was also filled with concerts and recitals.  Ginny and CeCe sang in church with the Sunday School singers.  That afternoon, they both had their piano/music recitals.  Jorja had her school Christmas concert the next day (Monday evening).  And Ginny had her preschool concert the following week.  Yes, it was a busy month, but by the eighteenth, it was all over and we could take time and breathe again. 

Ginny and CeCe with the Sunday School singers

CeCe's music recital
December was also a month that saw quite a bit of sickness in our house.  CeCe had the stomach flu once, Ginny had a cold forever that ended up with an ear infection, Jorja had a migraine one day and threw up from that.  Ginny also threw up one morning with her ear infection (we think just from motion sickness because she said she was dizzy.  Any sudden movement and she would throw up.  A couple dosed of antibiotics and that was all cleared up.)  So yes, all three kids threw up this month - not something that I hope is repeated any time soon.  Jorja has such a tender heart and is really affected when her sisters are sick.  It upsets her and she wishes she could make things better.  Here's the card she made for Ginny when she was sick.
Her faith is also something that is pretty amazing.  She came up with the part about God healing Ginny all on her own.  She also made Ginny a Christmas card and asked to see my the Bible on my phone so she could write down a verse in the card.  She new exactly what she wanted to say (Luke 2:13-14).  She told me it was the verse about a great multitude of angels praising God.  I thought that was pretty impressive for her to remember the verse and want to put it in a card.

What else happened this month?  I have a couple more notes in my phone that I do remember.  One night Ginny was getting out of the tub and I asked her if she was all dried off.  She said yes, except for her butt.  I asked her why she didn't dry off her butt and she said that she didn't want to, because there were germs in there.  I said that it should be clean having just gotten out of the tub.  "Nope," she said, "it may look clean, but there is more poop right there lined up and ready to come out."  Okay, it's tough to argue with that.  Air-dry it is.  Then there was the morning I had Ginny and CeCe by myself shopping at Superstore.  I was looking at the cough drops and Ginny wandered across the aisle.  She pointed to a box with a little picture of a devil on it and asked, "What are these?"  Not wanting to explain what condoms were yet, I just told her they were nothing and to put them back.  We're not quite ready to go there yet.  (The stock boy thought it was pretty funny though - someday he too may have kids and I hope they put him in the same awkward situation.)  That afternoon happened to be when I took Ginny in to get her ears checked out for her ear infection.  As we were waiting for that to get filled, CeCe picked up a box of tampons.  She didn't really ask what they were, but when I told her to put them down, she just yelled, "No!  I'm still looking!"  Oh the joys the next few years will bring.

By the time school and work were done for Christmas, Julie had not yet started her yearly project of sewing all of us pajama pants.  So to get the kids out of her hair, I packed them up and went to my parents for a couple of days.  They got to meet their new cousin Cooper, and play with their other cousins Sophie and Carson too.  They had fun helping Nanny bake cookies and helping Poppa jam the jam-jams together.  After that, we had a couple night at home (one being Christmas Eve) and then went to Julie's parents' place for a few days.  We went to our church's annual service on Christmas Eve and then came home and opened presents.  The girls played a bit Christmas morning before we headed out.  When we were at Julie's parents' place, we went tobogganing one day.  It was quite cold this year, so it was a little shorter that we wold have liked.  But Julie's Dad plowed a path out to the hill with his back hoe so we could drive out there.  He made a fire to keep warm and we roasted hot dogs and marshmallows.  It's a yearly tradition that seems to be growing each year.  Definitely a lot of fun.  The girls also get a kick out of all Nanny's singing and dancing Christmas decorations that fill the house.  They went on a couple of tours and took turns pushing the buttons and enjoying the singing and dancing figures.

Julie all frosted up

Gordon roasting hot dogs

The lunch bench (bucket of the back hoe)

Julie and her Dad

'The Redneck Slopes' Julie coined them

Uncle Darcy getting loved

Movie time

CeCe telling Poppa a story
My girls

Christmas dresses

Holding Cooper

CeCe and Sophie

Jam-jamming with Poppa

Playing lego with Poppa
So this has been a full month.  But it's been good.  The whole year has been good.  Lots of things to be thankful for.  It's past December 21st and we're still here.  The girls are all pretty amazing kids (if I do say so myself).  There may be times when they make me want to pull what hair I have left out, but they are good kids and I'm proud of them.  I'm married to an amazing woman who has lost over 100 pounds this last year.  What's more impressive than that is the confidence and self-worth that she feels now.  Pretty amazing.  We've been married 11 years.  I turned 40.  We both still have good jobs.  I read the entire Bible twice this year (thanks to my iPhone) and that has really been a life-changing thing too.  Julie and I are leading our Bible study group this year which was a huge leap of faith for us.  I tattooed my favourite verse on my arm (the gist of it anyway).  'Rejoice, pray, give thanks, always.'  1 Thess. 5:16-18.  I'm really trying to live my life by these words.

So looking ahead to 2013, I just hope and pray for continued growth and health and more of God's grace. (and more regular blogging) Later. 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Vegas Vacation

I'm going back in time a bit to write this post.  This actually took place near the middle of November.  I uploaded the pics to blogger a while back, but still never got around to writing.  So here we are, Dec 20.  Let's hope I still remember the details.
Way back in August, I turned 40, and instead of putting 40 flamingos on the front yard, Julie thought she would take me to the Flamingo.  What a great present!  So our trip was booked for November and Julie's cousin has very generously volunteered to watch our angels while we were away.
November 7th, we took off on our first 'couple' holiday since we had children.  It was awesome.  Julie had booked us a limo to take us from the airport to the hotel.  We're going to Vegas, we might as well do it up right.  We landed at about 8:30 pm Vegas time and were greeted by our driver holding the sign for Julie.  How cool is that?!  We were treated to a bottle of champagne and he drove us to our hotel and around to see a bit more of the strip.  We were already having the time of our lives.
We walked around the strip a bit more that evening just taking in the sights.  The next three days were filled with exploring the strip and Freemont Street, shopping and lots of walking.  And shopping.  And we got tattoos.  We had another limo tour booked to tour the strip, the famous sign and Freemont Street.  The weather was unseasonably cool there, so some of the shows (like the pirates at Treasure Island) were cancelled.  These were part of the limo tour, so we had some extra time.  Our driver asked us if we watched 'Pawn Stars' and we said that we had seen it, so he took us to the pawn shop.  It was pretty neat to see, but nothing very big or showy.  It looks more impressive on TV.  At Freemont Street, we decided to do the zip line.  That was very cool.  Neither of us had ever done one before, so what better place than over top of hundreds of peoples' heads in Vegas.  What a rush.  Julie also got to compare tongues with Gene Simmons there (ok, not the real Gene Simmons, but she had him beat, no problem).
We rented a car for one day and spent most of the day doing some serious damage at the outlet malls.  Let's just say we went down with two half-full suitcases and came back with three zipper-bursting ones. 
One of our dining experiences was at this little restaurant right off the strip called 'The hole in the wall'.  Some of Julie's friends recommended it - said the food and atmosphere were great.  It started out good.  We were serenaded by a little old accordion player who knew where Saskatoon was.  The soup was great and the unlimited garlic bread and wine were nice too.  By the time our main course was there, some commotion occurred at a table close to us.  As it turns out, they had a cockroach come out of their salad!  Did I mention we had the soup?  Whew!  The two women at the table freaked out and were ready to leave.  One husband was supportive of this decision, but the other wasn't.  "What's the big deal?  The place is called the hole in the wall.  What do you expect?  You just got to roll with it."  He was not winning his battle, so he poured himself some more wine before they left.  I don't think we'll go there the next time we're in Vegas.
We celebrated our eleventh anniversary while we were down there and took things a notch more upscale and dined at the Wynn.  A little nicer than the hole in the wall. 
There is so much to see there, we didn't even come close.  We didn't get to any shows or the wax museum.  But our days were filled and we were tired by the end.  I guess that just means we have to go back.  Here are some of the highlights:



And the girls were kept so busy by Auntie that I'm not even sure they missed us.  They went to a movie, the Fun Factory, the museum and did all kinds of other fun stuff.  It sure was nice knowing they were in good hands.  It sure was nice to see them all at the airport when we got home too.  We missed the little stinkers after all.  Later.